Family Law Case Updates – November 2022

Alimony:

Leyte-Vidal v. Leyte-Vidal, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2160 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred awarding wife with $6,500 in alimony when based on wife’s own testimony she only needed $6,000 per month. Judge Nickolaus Hunter Davis, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Appeals:

Finch v. Cribbs, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2232 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Lengthy discussion on mechanics of provisional order granting fees. Remanding issue to circuit court.

Attorney’s Fees:

Eadie v. Gillis, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2378 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Charging lien cannot attach to homestead property. Homeowner cannot waive homestead rights in unsecured agreement. Judge Dan R. Mosley, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Johnson v. Johnson, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2243 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred by denying wife’s request for fees without addressing the “bad faith” fees requested by wife. Judge Christopher A. France, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Income:

Eadie v. Gillis, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2378 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred imputing income to wife with an amount that she never earned. Judge Dan R. Mosley, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Leyte-Vidal v. Leyte-Vidal, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2160 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred determining husband’s annual income was $332,500, when that was the most the husband made & it contained a bonus that was not regular or continuous. Judge Nickolaus Hunter Davis, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Injunctions:

Leyte-Vidal v. Leyte-Vidal, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2160 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred when written judgment was inconsistent with oral pronouncements. Judge Nickolaus Hunter Davis, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Jurisdiction:

Fradera v. Fradera, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2250 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred finding it had personal jurisdiction over husband. The fact the husband sought appointment of general magistrate to oversee the sale of the property did not confer personal jurisdiction by seeking affirmative relief. Husband’s motion was wholly reliant on wife’s petition for partition, and it could not be maintained without it. Therefore, Husband was not seeking affirmative relief. Judge Susan Stacy, reversed.

Life Insurance:

Leyte-Vidal v. Leyte-Vidal, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2160 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred awarding life insurance to secure alimony and child support without findings of cost, availability and special circumstances that warrants security for obligation. Judge Nickolaus Hunter Davis, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Modification:

Salazar v. Dominguez, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2363 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2022). Trial court erred granting modification on default and denying mother’s motion to vacate judgment when there was no record evidence the trial court considered the best interests of the child. Judge Mark F. Carpanini, reversed.

Paternity:

Enriquez v. Velazquez, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2251 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred finding 742.14 (assisted reproduction technology) applied to a couple who conceived a child at home, do-it-yourself method. Judge John D.W. Beamer, reversed.

Procedure:

Hiatt v. Mathieu, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2292 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Appellate court denies motion for rehearing and notes that due to amended rule 12.530(a), which provides “to preserve for appeal, a challenge to the sufficiency of a trial court’s findings in the final judgment, a party must raise it by rehearing,” so issue would be moot. Judge Renatha S. Francis, denied.

Schenavar v. Schenavar, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2291 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court reversed for issuing a final judgment that did not include timesharing schedule, failed to set forth child support pursuant to §61.30, failed to determine which party had the right to federal tax exemption for minor children, and failed to apportion cost of health insurance for minor children. The court also erred denying wife’s motion to vacate judgment without an evidentiary hearing. Judge Karen M. Miller, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Akerman LLP v. Cohen & Cohen, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2281 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court erred in finding that the actions of husband and his attorney waived the attorney-client privilege for a non-party business. Judge James L. Martz, order quashed.

Bowers v. Smith, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2277 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred suspending wife’s timesharing because that relief was not requested by the other party. Judge Christopher A. France, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Johnson v. Johnson, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2243 (Fla. 5th DCA 2022). Trial court erred failing to address wife’s request for income deduction order and life insurance. Judge Christopher France, affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Baroff v. Baroff, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2223 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for denying second 12.540 motion on the same issue as the first 12.540 motion. Remedy for losing first motion is an appeal, not another 12.540 motion. Judge Laura C. Burkhart, affirmed.

Sosa v. Pena, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2168 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2022). Trial court affirmed for failing to dismiss a motion for forum non conveniens, and father’s unjustifiable conduct. Florida retains exclusive continuing jurisdiction until both parties end ties with Florida. The Court cannot review other issues without a transcript. Judge Denise Martinez-Scanziani, affirmed.

Same-Sex:

Stabler v. Spicer & Spicer, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2230 (Fla. 1st DCA 2022). Same sex partner, who is not the biological parent, but had been a de facto parent that participated and supported raising the child pursuant to a mediation agreement, had no legally enforceable rights to the child. Judge Ross M. Goodman, reversed.

Temporary Relief:

Alizzi v. Alizzi, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D2287 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022). Even though wife overstated her expenses, the court erred awarding her an amount of support not supported by evidence. The court also erred denying wife temporary attorney fees because the wife showed a net worth of $3.8 million.  $3.5 million of that net worth was the value of the house, and wife did not have control over other assets. Judge Laura Johnson, reversed.


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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