Stephens’ Squibs – April 2017

Alimony: Cook v. Cook, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D770 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2017).  Even without a transcript, denial of alimony remanded when judgment failed to make findings as to need and ability. Martinez v. Martinez, 42 Fla.L.Weely D769 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2017).  Error to award $600 per month in permanent alimony in 30 year marriage was reversed … Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Resolves Military Retirement/Disability Dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday, in the case of Howell v. Howell, that a state court cannot offset the loss of a divorced spouse’s portion of a veteran's retirement benefits when that veteran waives retirement pay in favor of disability pay. If you represent military professionals or their spouses, read this opinion.

My Unfortunate Real Life Battle with Darth Vader

If you know me, you know I am a Star Wars fan. It is not just a film to me.  It is the classic example of Joseph Campbell's "Monomyth", or the Hero's Journey.  This is the very blueprint I have employed to constantly expand my comfort zone.  More on that here. So can you imagine … Continue reading

Florida’s Marchman Act to Serve as Model for Country’s Opioid Epidemic?

By Joe Considine Originally Published in The Sober World "The Hal S. Marchman Act was the first law of its kind in the country to get substance abusers into treatment via the courts." The opioid epidemic has gripped the attention of the nation and we are increasingly hearing calls for drastic action. Several states have declared … Continue reading

Stephens’ Squibs – March 2017

Alimony: Van Maerssen v. Gerdts, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D678 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017).  Trial court erred awarding the Wife $6,500 per month in “undifferentiated support” instead of calculating child support and alimony separately.  Failure of court to specify what share is alimony and what share is child support makes it impossible to review on appeal. Conlin … Continue reading

Supreme Court Resolves Hooker Conflict

On March 30, 2017, Florida’s Supreme Court published its opinion of Hooker v. Hooker, 42 FLW S396 (Fla. 2017) that resolves the conflict between Hooker v. Hooker, 174 So.3d 507 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) and Merrill v. Merrill, 357 So.2d 792 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978). The Supreme Court determined the appropriate standard of review to … Continue reading

Supreme Court adopts New Stand Alone Family Law Rules effective Immediately

In 1995, Florida's Supreme Court first adopted the Family Law Rules of Procedure.  At that time, stand-alone rules for family law.  Instead Board of Governors took the position "the Family Law Rules should reference the civil rules where necessary rather than totally incorporate them with significant changes" because new rules “would make it difficult for … Continue reading

Alimony Reform Not Happening in 2017

According to the Sun Sentinel, Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Chairman Rene Garcia said he won't schedule the bill for a hearing effectively killing any chance of Alimony Reform occurring in Florida this year. "We have more pressing issues that we're dealing with as it relates to the safety and welfare of children than to … Continue reading

Stephens’ Squibs – February 2017

Alimony: Duke v. Duke, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D372 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).  Trial court failed to impute interest income Wife’s ½ share in Husband’s retirement in calculating alimony. Attorneys’ Fees: Duke v. Duke, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D372 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017).  A dissolution order awarding attorney’s fees that recites simply that the total amounts of time and … Continue reading