Family Law Case Updates – August 2022

Appeals:

Brown v. Norwood,343 So.3d 685 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Mathematical errors on the face of the judgment may be corrected in appeal even without a transcript. Judge Tanya Davis Wilson, reversed.

Holt v. Crowley, 343 So.3d 654 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2022). Appeal seeking to challenge reservation of jurisdiction to award fees was premature as judicial labor on issue not finished. Appeal dismissed.

Attorney’s Fees:

Erskine v. Erskine, 344 So.3d 566 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court has jurisdiction to grant temporary appellate fees without authorization from appellate court. Judge John F. Simon, Jr., affirmed.

Your Support Solution, PA v. Ovalles, 343 So.3d 178 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Order denying charging lien because fee was contingency is reversed. Rule 4-1.5(f)(3)(a) authorizes contingency fees to collect unpaid child support and alimony. Judge David Young, reversed.

Equitable Distribution:

Martin v. Martin, 344 So.3d 621 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court erred distributing husband’s military disability to the wife in equitable distribution. Military disability is not a pension, and military disability payments are exempt from the definition of “disposable retired pay.” Judge Kelvin C. Wells, reversed.

McGowan v. McGowan, 344 So.3d 607 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Court adopted Former Husband’s proposed final judgment verbatim, and this case reveals the peril of doing that. The court misclassified non-marital assets as marital assets. The court misclassified several retirement accounts as marital when they had non-marital components to it. The court misclassified two (2) liabilities as non-marital when they were incurred during the marriage. Judge Lester Bass, reversed.

Collier v. Collier, 343 So.3d 183 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for charging wife with the millions of dollars she transferred to an irrevocable trust after filing. The wife removed assets outside the marital estate for her sole non-marital benefit. Judge Shonna Young Gay, affirmed.

Injunctions:

Cadavid v. Saporta, 344 So.3d 478 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Section 57.105(8) now provides right to fees in injunction cases when there is clear and convincing evidence that one of the parties lied. In this case, no clear and convincing evidence of a lie, so fee award reversed. Judge Stefanie C. Moon, reversed.

Jurisdiction:

Chatani v. Blaze, 346 So,3d 670 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for dismissing paternity action, when Florida is not the child’s home state. Detailed discussion on temporary absence from the home state. Judge Abby Cynamon, affirmed.

Paternity:

DOR o/b/o Zelaya v. Trochez343 So.3d 668 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Trial court erred ordering genetic testing when paternity was not “at issue” and no showing of good cause. Judge Marcia del Rey, order quashed.

Procedure:

In Re: Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 and Florida Family Rule of Procedure 12.530, 346 So. 3d 1131  (Fla. 2022). Clarifies that motion for rehearing is required to preserve an objection to insufficient findings in a final judgment.

Allen v. Allen, 346 So.3d 667 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Trial court properly denied motion to re-open, when motion was not based on any newly discovered evidence. Judge Maureen Horkan, affirmed.


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.


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