Family Law Case Updates – April 2022

Agreements:

Parbeen v. Bari, 337 So.3d 343 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred determining wife who signed a “Mahr,” an Islamic religious document, that could have secular provisions was only entitled to “15,00,000 (Fifteen Lac) Taka only.” In the instant case, the Mahr did not unambiguously express a desire to waive equitable distribution or temporary support. Judge Dennis D. Bailey, reversed.

Alimony:

Rea-Manna v. Manna, 336 So.3d 804 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court erred awarding 8 years of durational alimony instead of permanent alimony in a long-term marriage, without any explanation of how wife’s ongoing need for support will expire after eight years. Judge Elijah Smiley, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Appeals:

Figueroa v. Kossiver, 336 So.3d 1260 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Pro se litigant lost ability to challenge issues of fact by failing to seek exceptions to general magistrate’s report. If no exceptions are filed, circuit court does not need a hearing to enter an order on report. An appellate court is not simply another forum to which the dissatisfied litigant may submit his or her list of grievances in hopes of a more favorable outcome. It is not a question of whether the appellate court agrees or disagrees with the result, but whether that result was reached in a fair manner and was within jurisdiction and authority of agency whose opinion is being appealed. Judge Jeffrey Mahl, affirmed.

Doukas v. Doukas, 335 So.3d 218 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Motion for rehearing not authorized on non-final order and therefore does not toll time to file appeal. Here, appeal that was filed within 30 days of order denying rehearing was untimely, because it was filed more than 30 days after the issuance of the underlying order subject to appeal. Appeal dismissed.

Equitable Distribution:

Orth v. Orth, 338 So.3d 363 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). The trial court averaging the cost of a smoker’s premium v. a non-smoker’s premium for life insurance was an unauthorized modification to an MSA. Under the terms of the MSA, husband was responsible for rate increase. Judge Marcia Del Rey, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Padmore v. Padmore, 335 So.3d 239 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2022). Trial court erred finding 2018 tax refund was marital when divorce was filed in 2017. Judge Denise Pomponio, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Income:

Sadlak v. Trujillo, 336 So.3d 1275 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Trial court’s amount of imputation reversed when there was no competent evidence wife was qualified to work as “CAM” (community association manager) beyond having a license, and no evidence of prevailing wages in community. Judge George A. Sarduy, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Injunctions:

Brooks v. Basdeo, 336 So.3d 423 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court deprived respondent by taking evidence and relying on an unpled incident as part of granting injunction. Statute provides “sworn petition must allege the existence of domestic violence and must include the specific facts and circumstances upon the basis for which relief is sought.” Judge Heather Pinder Rodriguez, reversed.

Klement v. Kofsman o/b/o A.K., a child, 337 So.3d 27 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Because the first judge had previously considered the allegations litigated in the second hearing, and had previously found each one of them insufficient to constitute qualifying acts of harassment/stalking, the successor judge was barred by res judicata from reconsidering those allegations as qualifying incidents at the second hearing. Judge Debra Moses Stephens, reversed.

Rollins v. Rollins, 336 So.3d 1241 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for denying injunction for protection against sexual violence even through the court found both parties “credible,” but still found petitioner did not prove case by preponderance of the evidence.  Lengthy discussion on difference between burden of proof at trial and burden of proof to overturn court’s discretionary judgment. Judge Barbara J. Leach, affirmed.

Labrake v. Labrake, 335 So.3d 214 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court erred denying motion to dissolve injunction when movant demonstrated that the scenario underlying the injunction no longer exists, so that the continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose. Judge John F. Simon, reversed.

Life Insurance:

Murphy v. Murphy, 335 So.3d 224 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court erred awarding life insurance to secure alimony when court found no special circumstances that warrant security. Judge Mary Polson, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Modifications:

Ceballos v. Barreto, 337 So.3d 69 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Order modifying timesharing at enforcement hearing went way beyond relief requested in motion and notice for hearing. Judge Karen Miller, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Oyebanji v. Collier, 336 So.3d 431 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court reversed for not imputing income to former husband after denying former husband’s petition to modify support because he left his job voluntarily. Dissent which this action agrees with argues that because former husband left job voluntarily, no reason to impute. Judge Maureen Horkan, reversed.

Name Change:

In Re: The Name Change of Sheikera Williams, 335 So.3d 145 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Even with no transcript, trial court erred denying facially sufficient petition for adult name change without providing a factual basis to do so. Judge Frank D. Ledee, reversed.

Parenting:

Schneer v. Llaurado, 338 So.3d 337 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for temporarily placing the minor child with maternal uncle and ordering supervised timesharing for both parents. No transcript. Appellate court noted all findings were predicated on best interest of the child, and nothing on the record contradicted this. Judge Jason E. Dimitris, affirmed.

Paternity:

Nelson v. Mirra, 335 So.3d 236 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred denying Mother’s emergency motion for pick up, when paternity established but no order on custody. Father’s paternity alone does not grant him child custody. Judge Joshua A. Mize, reversed.

Procedure:

Payne o/b/o C.P. v. Koch, 336 So.3d 1280 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Petition for certiorari granted in part, when court ordered child to attend behavior therapy as a result of a pick-up order when that relief was not requested in the motion.  Injury could not be fixed on appeal and because relief was not requested, the trial court departed from essential requirements of the law. Judge Susan Stacy’s order, quashed in part.

Polo v. Hernandez, 338 So.3d 336 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Trial court reversed for not having hearing on party’s timely-filed motion for exceptions to magistrate’s report. Judge Marcia Del Rey, reversed.

Dike v. Dike, 335 So.3d 814 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Pro se appellant seeks review of six non-final orders. All of them dismissed and appellate court cautions pro se litigant of future sanctions and prohibition from future pro se filings. Dismissed.

Orth v. Orth, 338 So.3d 363 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Appellant, who is an attorney, attempted to argue MSA was unenforceable where court did not incorporate MSA or retain jurisdiction to enforce. There was a provision in MSA that parties agreed to continuing jurisdiction of the court. This was incorporation by reference. Appellant’s argument rejected in this case. Judge Marcia Del Rey, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

In Re: Amendments to Fla. Fam. Law of Procedure 12.350, 346 So.3d 1094 (Fla. 2022). Rule tweak on production of things and entry of land. Allows third-party defendant(s) to propound.

In Re: Amendments to Fla. Fam. Law of Procedure 12.911(a – e), 346 So.3d 1073 (Fla. 2022). Revises forms to clarify minor children cannot be subpoenaed to appear in court without a prior court order.

In Re: Amendments to Fla. Fam. Law of Procedure 12.490 and 12.491 and Forms 12.920(a – e), 346 So.3d 1053 (Fla. 2022). Amends rules and forms in accordance with recent rule changes. Now referred to as a Motion to Vacate instead of exceptions to a report.

Support:

Dorvilien v. Verty, 335 So.3d 146 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court correctly calculated child support, but erred by failing to attach guidelines to the judgment. Remanded back to the court to attach child support guidelines worksheet to judgment. Judge Renatha Francis, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Temporary Relief:

Shaw v. Shaw, 337 So.3d 61 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred by failing to calculate alimony and child support separately. Thus, the trial court’s award of undifferentiated support was erroneous. Judge James L. Martz, reversed in part, affirmed in part.


Eddie Stephens (Author), a sixth generation Floridian, is a partner in Stephens & Stevens, PLLC. Eddie is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney who specializes in high-conflict matrimonial law. He has earned the AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating by MartindaleHubbell, a professional rating indicating the highest ethical standards and professional ability.

 
With 25 years of litigation experience, Eddie specializes in high-conflict, high-asset divorce cases. Eddie focuses on helping clients with domestic legal issues such as property division, business valuation, child support and spousal support, child custody and visitation, post-judgment modifications, child relocation, same sex marriages, and both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.


As a divorced father of two children, Eddie knows first hand what’s at stake when counseling his clients. Eddie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Child Counseling, Inc. and Board of Governors of Leadership Palm Beach County.

Eddie is a past recipient of the Family Law Section Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award (2017), the Leadership Palm Beach County Leadership Excellence Award (2018) and most recently, the Families First of Palm Beach 2019 Harriet Goldstein Awardee (2019).

In addition to practicing family law, Eddie is an author, lecturer, and community leader who supports a number of local civic and charitable organizations. His hobbies include Jiu Jitsu, cooking, yoga, and spending time with his family. Eddie is happily married to Jacquie and has two children, Christopher and Matthew, and they all call Palm Beach, Florida home.

Caryn A. Stevens (Editor) is a Partner at the law firm of Stephens & Stevens, PLLC in West Palm Beach, where she focuses her practice exclusively in the areas of marital and family law. Prior to practicing law, Caryn spent over 12 years working in the mental health and counseling fields, as a mental health counselor in private practice, as a counselor for the Department of Children & Families, and later as an Elementary School Guidance Counselor. Caryn is a graduate of Florida State University, where she earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology, and her Masters and Specialist Degrees in Counseling & Human Services. Caryn received her Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, and received pro bono honors for her volunteer legal work.

In her prior work as a mental health counselor, Caryn had the unique opportunity to assist thousands of children, families and couples through difficult life circumstances, which allows her to bring a unique and compassionate perspective to the clients she represents. Caryn is a passionate advocate for her clients, and a skilled litigator in the courtroom.

In 2021, Caryn was honored with the prestigious Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award from the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, recognizing her outstanding pro bono services and significant volunteer community activities that improve the lives of Florida’s children and families. Caryn is currently the President of the Susan Greenberg Family Law Inn of Court of the Palm Beaches, is a graduate of the Leadership Palm Beach County Class of 2019, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Herizon (formerly The Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches). Caryn has also served as mentor with the Women of Tomorrow Program for the past four years, mentoring at-risk high school women to live up to their full potential.

Caryn is a native South Floridian, and currently lives in Palm Beach County with her Husband, David, and their adorable Mini Aussie, Emma. She is a passionate fan of the Florida State Seminoles, and in her spare time loves going to the theater and traveling the world.

Gina Szapucki (Associate Editor) concentrates her practice exclusively in the areas of marital family law. Gina quickly realized she had a passion for helping families while clerking for a family law firm. Her passionate drive to assist and guide families, both efficiently and effectively, during challenging times continues to grow. Gina represents clients from all walks of life while zealously advocating for individual’s rights under Florida law. Gina is originally from New Jersey but has called Florida home for the last 15 years. She is a proud Chi Omega Alumni and in her spare time enjoys traveling, cycling, exploring new restaurants and cuisines, and spending time with family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: