Family & Divorce Case Law

January 2020

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-RETIREMENT ACCOUNT:   Consideration of the consequences of income tax laws on the distribution of marital assets is required.   The purpose of considering tax consequences is to ensure that one party is not charged with the full value of an asset that is burdened with an inevitable payment of taxes.   Sumlin v. Sumlin, 5D18-2701  (1/10/20)


DISCOVERY:    Court may  prevent husband from presenting evidence regarding equitable distribution, alimony, and attorney fees where husband did not file financial affidavit, and failed to respond to discovery. Sumlin v. Sumlin, 5D18-2701  (1/10/20)


ATTORNEY’S FEES-APPEAL:     Husband may not appeal order for payment of attorney’s fees until after Court determines the amount of those fees.   Serna v. Botero, 5D19-1765  (1/10/20)


ATTORNEY’S FEES:   Court may not award attorney’s fees absent a showing of need for the fees or entitlement under the inequitable conduct doctrine.   Office v. Office,  4D18-2910  (1/8/20)


TIME SHARING:     Time sharing/child custody may not be raised in an administrative child support case nor raised on appeal.    Brookshire v. DOR, 4D19-1308 (1/8/20)


TIME SHARING-INJUNCTION: Court cannot establish exclusive time sharing in a domestic violence injunction hearing when shared time sharing is requested in the petition.   Courts are not authorized to award relief not requested in the pleadings. Stover v. Stover, 2D18-4820  (1/3/20)

INJUNCTION-STALKING-MINOR: Petitioner, Father of Child, and Respondent are former gay partners and Respondent  wants to continue relationship with Child. Appearing outside Petitioner’s home on one occasion, traveling in the same social circles, and patronizing the same restaurants is not stalking. Santiago v. Leon, 3D19-11 (1/2/20)

DEFINITION-FOLLOW: In the context of seeking a stalking injunction, the plain and ordinary meaning for “follows” is to tail, shadow, or pursue someone. Santiago v. Leon, 3D19-11 (1/2/20)

INJUNCTION-HARASSMENT: Getting a tattoo, twice emailing the father, mailing several packages to the child, contacting the father’s surrogate, appearing once outside the child’s home, frequenting the same restaurants as M.L., making eye contact with M.L. from his car, and social media posts, without more, is not harassment. Santiago v. Leon, 3D19-11 (1/2/20)

DEFINITION-SUBSTANTIAL EMOTIONAL DISTRESS: The term “substantial emotional distress” establishes a more demanding burden than the dictionary definitions of the word “harass” might suggest, which include the verbs “worry,” “tire out,” “vex, trouble, or annoy continually or chronically,”  “plague,”  “bedevil,”  or “badger.” Santiago v. Leon, 3D19-11 (1/2/20)

ALIMONY-RETROACTIVE: Court may not order retroactive temporary alimony to the date of separation without making written factual findings about the historical needs of the wife.    Court must consider the Wife’s need and the Husband’s ability to pay during the earlier time period. Cura v. Cura, 3D 18-1126 (1/2/20)

December 2019

ALIMONY-SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Court may not grant summary judgment on motion to terminate alimony based on the allegation that the Wife had entered into a supportive relationship where the slightest doubt remains on whether the facts are so crystallized after the evidence has been assessed and all inferences have been drawn in favor of the non-moving party. The inferences from a lease arrangement between the former Wife and an alleged paramor is ambiguous evidence. Bradner v. Bradner, No. 1D18-4604 (12/27/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-MODIFICATION: To be entitled to modification of timesharing, the moving party must show that (1) circumstances have substantially and materially changed since the original custody determination, (2) the change was not reasonably contemplated by the parties, and (3) the child’s best interests justify changing custody. This required proof imposes an extraordinary burden on the party seeking modification. Limiting the time Father spends with his son, changing the child’s school without notifying him, and had moving several times do not amount to a substantial change in circumstances. Hutchinson v. Hutchinson, No. 1D19-946 (12/27/19)

DEPENDENCY-MENTAL ILLNESS: The Fact that the Mother had been Baker Acted is insufficient evidence of prospective neglect or abuse to justify a finding that her children are dependent. E.S. v. DCF, 2D19-1897 (12/27/19)

INJUNCTION-VENUE: Court did not err in transferring venue from Hillsborough County to Pasco County where all prior litigation had been in Pasco County.    “[W]e are compelled to note the curious timing of Ms. Johnson’s decision to seek relief in Hillsborough County. Recall that Ms. Johnson filed the. . petition in Hillsborough County, three days after the dressing-down she received in the Pasco County trial court’s order finding that she had weaponized the litigation against her ex-husband.”  Venue can be transferred in the interest of justice. Johnson v. Johnson, 2D19-847 (12/27/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Where the parties’ income disparity is substantial, a trial court abuses its discretion by denying a request for attorney’s fees and costs.  Earning two and [one half times] more than one’s former spouse constitutes a substantial income disparity. Schutt v. Schutt, 1D17-3022 (12/23/19)

OCTOBER   2019

CONTEMPT: Court may not hold father in contempt for his in-court outbursts without inquiring as to whether the father had any cause to show why he should not have been adjudged guilty of contempt by the circuit court nor allowing him to present evidence of excusing or mitigating circumstances. “Given the father’s violent and uncontrollable outburst, we do not see how it would have been reasonably possible for the circuit court to have completed rule 3.830’s mandatory inquiries on the record without risking the safety of the deputies, others in the courtroom, and the father himself. . . Based on the foregoing, we request the Florida Bar’s Criminal Rules Committee examine whether to recommend to the Florida Supreme Court that rule 3.830 be amended to clarify that a person may be temporarily detained until safety can be ensured, then promptly returned to the courtroom to provide the person with procedural due process.”   Manzaro v. D’Alessandro, 4D18-2178 (10/23/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-DISCOVERY: Current husband (a non-party) has the constitutional right to prevent the disclosure of the tax return that he jointly filed with his wife unless former husband can prove that this financial information is relevant to the modification of child support.   McFall v. Welsh, 5D19-2275 (10/25/19)

MSA-ENFORCEMENT: Where MSA specifically says that medical expenses not be divided evenly when treatment is provided at a provider not covered by insurance, Court may not require equal payment of expenses. MSA must be strictly enforced according to its terms.   Neighbors v. Neighbors, 1D18-3582 (10/24/19)

MSA: Reconciliation and resumption of marital relations for any period of time renders a previous settlement of property rights void.   Hellard v. Siegmeister, 3D17-2175 (10/23/19)

DEPENDENCY: Child is properly found to be dependent as to the mother where the Father had killed a different infant child by immersing her in extremely hot water after she had soiled her diaper, and where mother elected to direct her efforts at ensuring the father’s vindication rather than caring for the surviving child. “We are cognizant that the mother suffered a debilitating loss in the indescribable death of her daughter. Indeed, her pain leaps off the pages of the hearing transcript. However. . .the primary purpose of a petition for dependency is to protect the child, not to punish the caregiver.”    R.B. v. DCF, 3D19-1307 (10/23/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court may not include within the assessment of attorney’s fees and costs clerical work which the attorney’s secretary performed.  Kalis v. Kalis, 4D18-3062 (10/23/19)

CONTEMPT: Court may order incarceration for failure to pay alimony, but must make a finding of ability to pay and establish a purge amount. Court must make written findings.
Perez v. Borga, 4D18-3400 (10/23/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-MODIFICATION: One party’s failure to exercise time sharing can constitute a substantial change of circumstances warranting a modification of child support. Myers v. Lane, 4D18-3681 (10/23/19)

JURISDICTION: A trial court has subject matter jurisdiction over dissolution petitions of non-citizens who satisfy the residency requirements of Fla.Stat. s.61.021. Eskanazi v. Eskanazi, 3D18-1924 (10/16/19)

MSA: Handwritten changes by wife to Husband’s proposed MSA make it other than a full agreement and therefore not enforceable. An acceptance must be a “mirror image” of the offer in all material respects or it becomes a counteroffer that rejects the original offer. Romaine v. Romaine, 5D18-2521 (10/18/19)

STALKING: An earlier incident of the Respondent hitting the Petitioner in the face, followed by several texts, flowers, and a phone call is sufficient to warrant an injunction for protection against stalking. Stalking does not require violence.  Khan v. Deutschman, 1D18-822  (10/11/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: The clear and convincing evidence standard may be used to terminate parental rights. E.L.J. v. DCF, 1D19-1966 (10/11/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: The clear and convincing evidence standard may be used to terminate parental rights. J.C. v. DCF, 1D19-2277 (10/11/19)

MSA-FRAUD: The financial affidavit is at the center of the system established by the Family Law Rules to resolve the issues that arise in family cases. The Final Judgment based on an MSA which itself was based on the Husband’s financial affidavit which omitted a disability settlement he was to receive may be set aside as fraudulent. Hess v. Hess, 2D18-3155 (10/11/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-PATERNITY-JURISDICTION: Court may not vacate a child support obligation entered in one case after a separate paternity case, later voluntarily dismissed, established by DNA testing that the Payor was not the father. D.O.R. o/b/o Wolfe v. Sinawa, 5D18-2595 (10/11/19)

SERVICE OF PROCESS: Service of process on an incompetent person is void: service must be made on his or her guardian. Injunction for protection vacated.  Ewell v. Trainor, 5d-19-1115   (10/11/19)

ALIMONY: Alimony is properly denied where Husband is nearing retirement and Wife is independently wealthy.   Weininger v. Weininger, 3D17-49 (10/10/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Marital assets should be distributed equally between the parties, unless there is a justification, such as dissipation, for an unequal distribution. Weininger v. Weininger, 3D17-49 (10/10/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: One party’s use of an asset out of necessity and for reasonable living expenses does not justify an award of a depleted asset absent evidence of misconduct.   Weininger v. Weininger, 3D17-49 (10/10/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Credit for a party’s payment of marital property-related expenses during separation is a matter of judicial discretion.    Weininger v. Weininger, 3D17-49 (10/10/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: A trial judge has no duty to make findings of value if the parties have not presented any evidence on that issue.   Weininger v. Weininger, 3D17-49 (10/10/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may terminate parental rights of the father based on nominal contact with the children, notwithstanding that he “loves his children and an emotional tie exists.”    L.Q. v. DCF, 3D19-577 (10/10/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-ALIMONY-CONTEMPT: A person cannot be held in contempt for violating a court’s order if the order is not sufficiently explicit or precise to put a party on notice of exactly what it must or must not do. Husband is not in contempt for not paying child support when clerk had told him that his overpayment of alimony would be applied to his child support obligation.   Robinson v. Robinson, 5D17-1109 (10/3/19)

PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION: A request for a psychological examination must be related to a matter in controversy” and the party must have good cause for the examination. The mental condition alleged must directly involve a material element of the cause of action. Wife’s repeated and baseless suggestions that the Husband was sexually molesting his child or children is insufficient to warrant a mental health evaluation of the Wife. A forced psychological examination has serious privacy implications; people have the right to be free from compulsory examination absent compelling circumstances.    Reno v. Reno, 1D19-1282 (10/3/19)

TIMESHARING-MODIFICATION: “While it certainly can be argued that requiring a child to attend a four day, out-of-state workshop, followed by ninety days of no-contact with one parent, constitutes a modification of timesharing, . . .a court-ordered, temporary remedy to address what the trial court has concluded is an urgent situation of parent-child alienation either equates to, or triggers the due process protections that must accompany, a formal timesharing modification.”   Foreman v. James, 3D19-1802 (10/2/19)

TEMPORARY SUPPORT: Court may not order temporary support without making a finding as to the Husband’s net income.  Meldrum v. Belgramo-Meldrum, 4D18-3481 (10/2/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-MODIFICATION: When modification of an existing order of support is sought, the proof required to modify a settlement agreement and the proof required to modify an award established by court order shall be the same.   Knowlton v. Knowlton, 1D (10/1/19)


INJUNCTION: Non-threatening emails following a break up is insufficient to show a reasonable fear of imminent violence.  Schultz v. Moore, 5D18-2774 (9/27/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Unpleasant and uncivil messages are insufficient to cause substantial emotional distress and do not warrant an injunction for stalking. Reid v. Saunders, 1D18-1562 (9/25/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Evidence which had been the basis for an earlier petition for an injunction for protection, previously found to be insufficient, cannot be used in a later injunction, and in all events is stale.   Reid v. Saunders, 1D18-1562 (9/25/19)

PARTITION: In a partition proceeding, there must be an accounting to determine whether each co-tenant has paid his or her proportionate share of the expenses of the property, and to adjust the co-tenants’ accounts accordingly. A cotenant paying the obligations of the property is entitled to a credit from the proceeds of the sale for the other cotenant’s proportionate share of those expenses.   Fernandez v. Marrero, 3D16-2931 (9/25/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: An injunction for stalking is warranted based on the Respondent sending profane text messages, canceling him a reservation for a cruise by impersonating the Petitioner, calling the Petitioner a “raging psycho,” and sending an email saying “Vengeance is mine.”   Auguste v. Aguado, 3D19-394 (9/25/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER:     Final Child Support Order entered after a proposed order was sent to Father’s previous address but which he never received since he was living elsewhere, must be vacated.   Joseph v. DOR, 4D19-487 (9/25/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Ten-month delay in entering disposition order does not justify setting aside TPR order. While an excessive delay between a non-jury trial and the entry of an order of disposition may require reversal, a delayed ruling does not, standing alone, justify setting aside the final judgment.   K.G. and K.H. v. DCF, 4D19-1011 (9/25/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: When calculating child support, Court must consider Wife’s income automobile expenses paid by wife’s business. A party’s gross income includes reimbursed expenses or in kind payments to the extent that they reduce living expenses.” § 61.30(2)(a)(13), Fla. Stat. (2017). Mikhail v. Mikhail, 2D18-2153 (9/20/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-MODIFICATION-RES JUDICATA: Shared parental responsibility and timesharing between the parties as established by a final judgment of dissolution of marriage may not thereafter be modified without findings that the modification is in the best interests of the child, notwithstanding that the child is not biologically descended from the mother. Final judgment establishing shared parental responsibility establish the mother as the parent. It is res judicata of the rights and obligations of the parties as of the time it became final.   Thomas v. Joseph, 1D19-0102 (9/18/19)

JUDGE-DISQUALIFICATION: Upon motion, Judge must disqualify himself in divorce case where the attorney for one of the parties had been his attorney in his own contested divorce case. Judge should, at the first practicable instance, disclose the fact that one of the parties’ attorneys personally represented the trial judge in the trial judge’s own marital dissolution proceeding.   Becker v. Becker, 3D19-1493 (9/18/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may not terminate the parental rights of a “mother who never harmed her children (or any other child). . .based on past conduct which, in the opinions of her caseworker and the guardian ad litem, would likely cause harm to her children in the future.”   Q.L. v. DCF, 4D19-526 (9/18/19)

DEPENDENCY-PATERNITY:   Husband of biological mother is husband is presumed by law to be the child’s legal father. He may not compel a DNA test payable by DCR to determine paternity in a dependency case.   DCF v. D.A., 5D19-1415 (9/18/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-JURISDICTION-UCCJEA: Where children lived with Husband and Wife in Florida, Wife went to Jordan with the children, then returned to establish residence with the children in Massachusetts, where she filed a motion for temporary custody, Florida has jurisdiction over the children, but must contact the Massachusetts court concerning whether Florida is the most convenient forum for exercising jurisdiction.  Awad v. Noufal, 2D18-3448 (9/13/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-MARITAL GIFT PRESUMPTION: A gift of money to the Husband which is used to purchase the marital home is presumptively a marital gift. Value of the home must be evenly distributed.   Erdman v. Erdman, 5D18-3043 (9/13/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: When marital assets (i.e., the home) have appreciated passively since the filing date, the date of the final hearing generally should be used for valuation.   Erdman v. Erdman, 5D18-3043 (9/13/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Where a parent is or will be incarcerated for a significant period of a child’s minority, here, for thirteen years and until after the Child’s eighteenth birthday, the child is abandoned and parental rights must be terminated.   C.G. and C.G. v. R.C., 1D18-4552 (9/12/19)

DEPENDENCY: Attorney for the Mother should be allowed to review the dependency file on the disappearance of another of the Father’s children who is-because she disappeared-not the subject of the current termination of parental rights/adoption case.  C.G. and C.G. v. R.C., 1D18-4552 (9/12/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-JURISDICTION: Removal of the Child to another state for more than six months does not deprive Florida of jurisdiction. The UCCJEA does not operate to divest a court of continuing jurisdiction unless virtually all contacts have been lost with the forum state.   Bock v. Vilma, 3D19-1691 (9/11/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may terminate parental rights of both parents when the Child suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome and it could not be clearly determined which parent had abused the child. If the mother was not the abuser, she was willfully blind and failed to protect the child.   J.H. v. DCF, 4D19-718 (9/11/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court may award Wife all the marital assets to protect her right to meaningful financial relief where Husband is an unemployed alcoholic with a history of domestic violence who had burned the marital home to the ground and is now serving a 20-year sentence.   Hardy v. Hardy, 1D17-277 (9/9/19)



INJUNCTIONS-DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Domestic Injunction cannot be issued against grandmother for protection of the granddaughter on the grounds that the daughter claimed that she was abused by the grandmother (her mother) as a child. Incidents remote in time by as little as a year are insufficient to support entry of a new injunction, absent allegations of current violence or imminent danger.   Curl v. Roberts, 1D18-1408 (8/30/19)

INJUNCTION-NOTICE: Once served with the original temporary injunction, further notice is complete upon mailing to the party’s last known address.   Stone v. Germann, 3D18-2560 (8/28/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-MODIFICATION: Court erred by relying on the parties’ private agreement regarding placement of the child over the best interests of the child. A trial court is not bound by an agreement of parents regarding child support, custody, or visitation. Rather, the best interests of the child supersede any agreement between the parents and must be independently determined by the trial court.  Cappola v. State, 4D18-2812 (18-2812)

APPEAL-ATTORNEY’S FEES: Because the court’s ruling reserved jurisdiction to determine the amount of fees, the judgment on this issue is nonfinal and therefore non-appealable. Burch v. Burch, 1D (8/21/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-TIME SHARING: Requiring a young child and one of his parents to travel three out of four weekends every month by plane between North Carolina and Florida at great expense and inconvenience to both parents and the child it is not in Child’s best interest.   Marini v. Kellett, 5D17-1726 (8/16/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-NAME CHANGE: Court abuses its discretion in ordering the child’s surname to be changed from that of Mother to Father’s for the announced purpose of establishing a good father-son bond and to conform to certain traditions.   Marini v. Kellett, 5D17-1726 (8/16/19)

CHILD SUPPORT:   Child support must be based on net, not gross, income, and must take into account health insurance payments.   Marini v. Kellett, 5D17-1726 (8/16/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-PENSION: Upon the Parties’ second divorce from each other, the court may not consider the duration of the first marriage in distributing the Husband’s pension, particularly when the MSA from the first divorce settled all property rights in that case.   Hubbard v. Berth, 5D19-503 (8/16/19)

CONTEMPT: Court may not hold former husband in civil contempt for failing to pay attorney’s fees and costs without making findings as to the former husband’s ability to pay. Orban v. Rorrer, 3D18-1618 (8/14/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING-CYBERSTALKING: Child protection advocate cannot get an injunction against a counter protester because of his protests who objects to restrictive sex offender laws.”Each party is a vocal advocate for opposite positions on sex offender laws. This is an issue currently debated within what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once described as the ‘free trade in ideas.’. . .True, one side of this debate has far greater public support than the other, but that does not make the appellant’s advocacy illegitimate.” Logue v. Book, 4D18-1112 (8/14/19)

CYBERSTALKING: Facebook/social media posts do not meet the statutory definition of cyberstalking because the posts are not directed at a specific person.  Logue v. Book, 4D18-1112 (8/14/19)

QUOTATION: “We live in times where violence occurs all too frequently and an ordinary day may turn into a horrific tragedy. . .Notwithstanding. . ., courts must also adhere to the Constitution and the laws enacted by our legislature.     Logue v. Book, 4D18-1112 (8/14/19)

QUOTATION: “I write to express my concern that in the day and age in which we live social media postings, such as those involved here, have led people to lash out and wreak havoc on our children, families, friends, and communities. Recently, a man was arrested for sending pipe bombs to a number of legislators allegedly as a result of social media encouragement. Indeed, international terrorists have been radicalized through social media. And, our elections have now fallen prey to manipulated social media. Perhaps thought should be given to whether the law should provide some protection for those at which social media directs its attention, and others are motivated to act.”  Logue v. Book, 4D18-1112 (8/14/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court must consider the parties’ ability to pay and need for attorney’s fees any time it considers whether to award fees, regardless of whether it actually decides to award such fees.   Hollonbeck v. Hollonbeck, 1D18-2066 (8/13/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court may not deny request for attorneys fees in a divorce case without making specific findings regarding the parties’ respective financial needs and abilities to pay. Financial resources are the primary factor.  Allen v. Juul, 2D17-2965 (8/9/19)

TIME SHARING-TEMPORARY ORDER: Temporary timesharing order which gives the Father timesharing on weekends, which is when he works, is not reversed, but Court is invited to revisit its previous order in light of the parties’ circumstances.   Beck v. Howard, 2D18-2319 (8/9/19)

INJUNCTIONS-DATING VIOLENCE: Past acts of violence before the parties broke up, the Respondent’s alleged history of violence towards women, and claims that Respondent has repeatedly called her names and yelled obscenities at her do not give rise to reasonable cause to believe that she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence. “[T]heir testimony suggested a relationship in which both had difficulty controlling their tempers. . .The parties’ arguments eventually devolved into bickering over Di Stefano’s ‘glaring’ at Long at their community pool and the need to avoid each other at community softball games.”    Di Stefano v. Long, 2D18-3180 (8/9/19)

CONTEMPT:   When husband is prohibited from commenting about case on social media, his wife may not be held in contempt for doing so. In Re: Contempt Adjudication of Jessie L. Weiner, 2D19-1413   (8/7/19)

CONTEMPT-JUDGE-DISQUALIFICATION: Judge must disqualify herself in contempt case involving disrespect or criticism of the judge. In Re: Contempt Adjudication of Jessie L. Weiner, 2D19-1413 (8/7/19)


JULY 2019

CONTEMPT-NOTICE:   Husband cannot be held in contempt for failure to respond to order sent to former counsel who had withdrawn from case over two months earlier rather than to the husband himself.   Lattanzio v. Hoffman, 3D18-934 (7/31/19)

DEPENDENT CHILDREN: Where the Mother’s mental condition is in controversy and good cause is shown, the trial court may order a mental health evaluation.   E.P.V. v. DCF, 3D19-764 (7/31/19)

CONTEMPT-ATTORNEY’S FEES: When a contempt action arises in the context of a dissolution of marriage action, the trial must determine need and ability to pay before imposing attorney’s fees.   Manko v. Manko, 5D18-3883 (7/23/19)

JUDGE-DISQUALIFICATION: A claim that a trial judge has made an error of law is not a basis for disqualification.   Ripley v. Ripley, 5D19-1182 (7/23/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Theft of signs from the neighborhood, a “blow me” email, a sign throwing incident, chasing his neighbor who was riding a bike and yelling profanities, threatening to say bad things to the Petitioner’s employer and a verbal altercation do not add up to stalking.   Shannon v. Smith, 1D18-4587 (7/23/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-SAME SEX COUPLE: Only the biological mother is entitled to custody of the Child when a lesbian couple breaks up. A coparenting agreement between a biological parent and a nonparent is not enforceable. A “de facto” parent in a same-sex relationship has no standing to seek time-sharing. Springer v. Springer, 2D18-2265 (7/19/19)

APPEAL-BELATED-TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: The proper procedural vehicle for seeking a belated appeal and a termination of parental rights case is petition for writ of habeas corpus filed with the trial court.   H.K. v. DCF, 4D19-1916 (7/17/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court may not award of attorney’s fees without making factual findings about need and ability to pay.   Miron v. Richardson, 1D18-1221 (7/16/19) (7/16/19)

RELOCATION-PROSPECTIVE-BASED ANALYSIS: Court must explain and base on evidence its determination that all statutory factors justifying relocation are neutral. A prospective-based analysis of a Child’s best interest is unsound. Discussion of the problems on the prohibition of prospective-based analysis.  Miller v. Miller, 1D19-843 (7/16/19)1st DCA 2003).

ALIMONY-MODIFICATION: Court erred by decreasing alimony 85% based on Wife’s more modest life style, without the airplane, extensive travel and multiple residences of her married years. Wife “should not be penalized for attempting to ensure her financial future by limiting her expenditures.”   Dunn v. Dunn, 5D18-111 (7/12/19)

ANTENUPTIAL AGREEMENT: Court properly invalidated and antenuptial agreement presented to the wife less than a week before the wedding and without reasonable financial disclosures and where the day before the wedding the husband said “[n]o agreement, no wedding.”    Ziegler v. Natera, 3D19-86 (7/10/19)

LEX LOCI CONTRACTUS: “As the contract. . .was entered into by the parties in Venezuela, pursuant to the principle of lex loci contractus, Venezuelan law should govern. . .Nonetheless, both parties urged the application of Florida law and it appears that the trial court ratified this tacit stipulation. Thus, we conduct our analysis under Florida law.” Ziegler v. Natera, 3D19-86 (7/10/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: As a general rule, when marital property has been equitably distributed and the parties’ incomes have been equalized through an alimony award, the trial court abuses its discretion by awarding attorney’s fees.   Ingram v. Ingram, 2D18-3978 (7/10/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court erred in denying Termination of Parental rights where evidence showed mother’s incapacity to care for children.   DCF v. K.W., 1D19-163 (7/10/19)

CHILD CUSTODY: Court may not be awarded sole parental responsibility over education and health issues on his mother for contempt where the change was neither ple nor tried by consent.   Ducali v. Ducali, 1D17-1002 (7/9/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-ALIMONY: Court must calculate alimony based on net income, not gross income.   Jackson v. Jackson,  1D1803533 (7/9/19)

ALIMONY-PERMANENT: Permanent alimony may be awarded in long term marriage only where the Court makes a written finding that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties.  Engle v. Engle, 2D17-620 (7/3/19)

APPEAL-ALIMONY: Issue of Court’s failure to make factual finding justifying award of permanent alimony need not be brought to Court’s attention by motion to modify/correct to be cognizable on appeal. Conflict certified.   Engle v. Engle, 2D17-620 (7/3/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court errs in ordering child support without determining the income of the parties.  Carmack v. Carmack, 2D18-1769 (7/3/19)

DEPENDENCY: Court may not place child upon accusations of abuse in the foster home without conducting a home study report.   A.H. v. DCF, 3D19-1057 (7/3/19)

JUNE 2019

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION:   Court may not defer distribution of an unliquidated asset to an indefinite date in the future.   Gudur v. Gudur, 2D16-3127 (6/28/19)

ALIMONY:  Any award of alimony must consider Husband’s living expenses.  Will v. Will, 2D18-539 (6/28/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Videotaping and photography Petitioner and saying “you’re going down,” “you’ll get yours,” and “you’re all alone,” made in the context of bitter litigation between the parties is insufficient to establish stalking because it is insufficient to show emotional distress in a reasonable person.   Caterino v. Torello, 2D18-1712 (6/26/19)

ATTORNEY-DISQUALIFICATION: In dissolution of marriage case, attorney is not disqualified from representing the husband when he previously represented the Wife in an unrelated and immaterial matter and was familiar with her finances.  Goff v. Goff, 2D18-3163 (6/26/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: In order to terminate parental rights, the State is required to establish by clear and convincing evidence the existence of at least one statutory ground for termination and that it is in the manifest best interest of the child and the least restrictive means to protect the child from serious harm. . .[D]uring the mother’s episode of poverty, instead of reasonably assisting her. . ., the Department left the mother without viable options, essentially ensuring she would be left financially bereft and unable to fulfill the remaining demands of her case plan. . .After the mother, through her own arduous efforts, managed to remedy her poverty, . . .the Department relied upon her prior plight to avoid further reunification efforts.”   I.T. v. DCF, 3D18-2361 (6/26/19)

QUOTATION: “We are not aware of a precise definition that tells us what a model parent is. Perhaps it is nothing more than a mythical figure. . . that good parents should seek to emulate. . . .[T]he law does not profess to require parental perfection.”   I.T. v. DCF, 3D18-2361 (6/26/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court erred in denying petition to terminate parental rights where the evidence showed that the Mother suffers from a lifelong mental disorder that no treatment can render her able to safely raise the child and she is an enduring threat of harm to the child. Where the testimony on the pivotal issues is not contradicted or impeached they cannot be disregarded.   GAL v. K.H. AND DCF, No. 3D19-24 (6/26/19)

DEPENDENCY-STANDING: Foster Parents of child in dependency proceeding have standing and the right to 72 hours notice before a hearing on a change of placement for the child.  Clingerman v. Clingerman, 5D19-1633 (6/21/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may not enter a consent to termination of parental rights based on the Father’s failure to appear at a hearing for which he was not properly noticed.  S.C., v. DCF, 2D18-4432 (6/21/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES: The burden on the moving party to establish a substantial change of circumstances is extraordinary. A forty-five-mile move is not a substantial change warranting modification.    Hollis v. Hollis, 2D18-2293 (6/19/19)

PATERNITY: Putative father is not entitled to notice of proceedings where he did not timely register with the Florida Putative Fathers Registry,     Howell v. Hickman, 4D19-520 (6/19/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-MILITARY PENSION: Where marital funds are used to purchase credit for premarital years of employment, the enhanced value to the pension plan is marital.   Martin v. Martin, 1D18-2546   (6/19/19)

ALIMONY: Housewife for twenty years is entitled to permanent, not durational, alimony. Molina v. Perez, 3D17-1642 (6/19/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: Retroactive child support can only be ordered going back two years, and must be based on income as known at the time. Holley v. DOR, No. 2D17-2407 (6/14/19)

ALIMONY-RETIREMENT: Husband’s retirement as a truck driver 50 years, coupled with physical ailments, is a substantial change in circumstances warranting a modification of alimony. A reasonable retirement is not voluntary underemployment. Holder v. Lopez, No. 1D18-1870 (1st DCA 6/7/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court may order retroactive child support based on a supplemental petition for modification based on the Husband’s failure to exercise parenting time. The original petition for dissolution of marriage. Smith v. Smith, No. 1D18-2771 (1st DCA 6/7/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Absent a showing of misconduct, it is error to include assets in an equitable distribution scheme that have been diminished or dissipated during the dissolution proceedings. Griffin v. Griffin, No. 1D18-4078 (1st DCA 6/7/19)

FINAL JUDGMENT: Final Judgment must identify and value all of the parties’ marital assets and liabilities. Tritschler v. Tritschler, Case No. 2D18-761 (2nd DCA 6/7/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may properly terminate parental rights based on Father’s continue involvement in selling drugs and failure to complete a case plan. A.F. v. A.B.-L.S., 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1441d (1st DCA 6/5/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS-JURISDICTION: Florida has jurisdiction to terminate parental rights where Florida was the home state of the child but the abuse (leaving the child in a hot car) occurred in California where the family had gone to flee Hurricane Irma. N.B. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1436a (3rd DCA 6/5/19)

APPEAL-TIMELINESS: Notice of Appeal is deemed timely where Appellant attempted to electronically file that there was an error in the payment processing system portal which prevented him from doing so. Clerks must accept electronic filing with or without the filing fee. Filers must be able to submit notice of appeal to the portal without any other prerequisites to successfully complete the filing. Burns v. Burns, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1431a (4th DCA 6/5/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-DEPLETED ASSETS: Court erred in including the value of a Corvette which had been sold during the pendency of the divorce without making a finding of improper dissipation. Fischer v. Fischer, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1427a (4th DCA 6/5/19)

ATTORNEY ‘S FEES: Court must make specific factual findings in the final judgment as to the reasonable hours and reasonableness of the hourly rate in awarding attorney’s fees. Fischer v. Fischer, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1427a (4th DCA 6/5/19)

MAY 2019

ALIMONY: Where it is anticipated but not guaranteed that the Wife, who raised the children and worked only part-time during the marriage will secure all well-paying employment, the Court should order nominal permanent alimony so that jurisdiction is preserved to increase the alimony if things don’t work out. Shaw v. Shaw, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1412a (2nd DCA 5/31/19)

ALIMONY: Court must make specific factual findings to justify the amount of the alimony award. Walker v. Walker, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1410a (2nd DCA 5/31/19)

TIME-SHARING: Court erred in limiting the Father’s timesharing because of the limited space in the Father’s home. Walker v. Walker, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1410a (2nd DCA 5/31/19)

TIME SHARING-MARITAL RESIDENCE: As a general rule, a trial court should award the primary residential parent exclusive use and possession of the marital residence until the youngest child reaches majority or is emancipated, or the primary residential parent remarries, unless there are special circumstances. Walker v. Walker, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1410a (2nd DCA 5/31/19)

RELOCATION-MODIFICATION: A parent who is denied relocation because the trial court finds that it is not in the children’s best interest but who voluntarily relocates anyway is not still entitled under the statute to have the trial court change the previously agreed upon time-sharing between the parents and their children. Having chosen to relocate prior to trial and without court permission, Former Husband did so at his peril. Hull v. Hull, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1406a (5th DCA 5/31/19)

JUDGES-DISQUALIFICATION: Court may not hold hearing on child support after Mother had filed a motion to disqualify the judge. Godin v. Owens, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1401c (5th DCA 5/31/19)

PARTITION OF HOME: Court is not required to set a date for partition of the marital home when partition was not affirmatively pled. Rivera v. Rivera, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1391a (3rd DCA 5/29/19)

CONTEMPT: Monetary fine of $12,500 is improperly imposed as indirect contempt because it contains no purge provision nor is it possible to discern how such an amount was arrived at. Alonso v. de Zarraga, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1390a (3rd DCA 5/29/19)

ALIMONY-IMPUTED INCOME: Court erred in imputing income to the Wife immediately where Wife needed therapy to become employable full-time. Horowitz v. Horowitz, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1382a (2nd DCA 5/29/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-FINDINGS OF FACT: “Dissolution of marriage cases are unlike other civil litigation. The final dissolution judgment is often not the end of the litigation process. The final judgment establishes ground zero for the purpose of petitions for enforcement, modification, and contempt proceedings. Without the statutorily-required findings of fact, it is difficult, if not impossible, to review the record for evidentiary support of the judgment, to enforce a judgment, or to subsequently determine if there has been a material change in circumstances sufficient to justify a modification of that judgment.” Horowitz v. Horowitz, 44 Fla. L. Weekly minor D1382a (2nd DCA 5/29/19)

PARENTING PLAN: Parenting plan must describe in adequate detail the methods and technologies that the parents will use to communicate with the child. E.V. v. D.M.V.H., 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1381a (2nd DCA 5/29/19)

MODIFICATION-CHILD CUSTODY: Parenting plan may be modified based on the Child’s failure to thrive. Schot v. Schot, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1367a (4th DCA 5/29/19)

INJUNCTION: Where Wife’s testimony that Husband forced himself upon her and scratched her breast was uncontradicted and not found to be not credible, the court erred in denying the Petition for injunction for protection. Statements of fact cannot be wholly disregarded or arbitrarily rejected, even though given by an interested party. Taylor v. Price, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1330a (4th DCA 5/22/19)

PATERNITY: Court may not enter judgment and establish a parenting plan based solely on arguments of counsel, without testimony being presented. “In recognition of our binary, common law system of adversarialism, the argument or proffer of counsel, not rendered under oath, . . .does not constitute admissible evidence.” Pena v. Rodriguez, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1346a (3rd DCA 5/22/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION: A home purchased during the marriage and titled in one party’s name is a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. Title alone is insufficient to support an unequal distribution of property. King v. King, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1337a (2nd DCA 5/22/19)

ALIMONY: There is a presumption against alimony in a short-term marriage (under 7 years). King v. King, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1337a (2nd DCA 5/22/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may terminate parental rights based on abandonment because of the parent’s incarceration and the act which caused them to be locked up. R.L. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1334a (4th DCA 5/22/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-MODIFICATION: Court cannot modify child support on party’s motion for contempt for nonpayment of child support. Bordonaro v. Bordonaro, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1319d (1st DCA 5/21/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-SPENDTHRIFT TRUST: Spendthrift provisions is a special needs trust are unenforceable against a valid child support and discretionary disbursements are not protected from continuing garnishment for support payments. Alexander v. Harris, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1311d (2nd DCA 5/17/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-MODIFICATION: Reservation of jurisdiction does not authorize the Court to make a redistribution of property. Once the final judgment becomes final, the lower court does not retain the power to modify the equitable. Farid v. Rabbath, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1307a (1st DCA 5/16/19)

CONTEMPT: Husband cannot be held in contempt of court for having his significant other present at the Child’s doctor appointment when the Final judgment does not prohibit that. When a final judgment or order is not sufficiently explicit or precise to put the party on notice of what the party may or may not do, it cannot support a conclusion that the party willfully or wantonly violated that order. Godwin v. Godwin, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1296a (4th DCA 5/15/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-MODIFICATION: Court cannot modify child custody provisions of the final judgment in a contempt hearing. Godwin v. Godwin, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1296a (4th DCA 5/15/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-CONTINUANCE: Court abused discretion in denying Father’s request for thirty-day continuance to secure counsel to represent him in an administrative child support case. Father has a right to be represented by counsel, at his own expense, at the support hearing. Timely attempting to obtain affordable legal assistance can be good cause for a continuance. Jeancharles v. State, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1291b (4th DCA 5/15/19)

ALIMONY: Court properly denied alimony based on the Wife’s significant assets and the fact that she had cohabited with her paramour for over a year and received money from him. Zubricky v. Zubricky, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1286a (4th DCA 5/15/19)

INJUNCTION-DATING VIOLENCE: An injunction against dating violence is not warranted where the Respondent was never violent with the Petitioner. The fact that the Petitioner felt in danger when the Respondent showed up at her home uninvited but did not threaten her is insufficient. Sumners v. Thompson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1272a (1st DCA 5/13/19)

INJUNCTION-DATING VIOLENCE: A 4-year long on-again off-again casual sex relationship is a dating relationship. “Nothing in the statute requires that the parties go out on a date, at least in the traditional sense of a couple going to dinner and a movie. Rather, the statute requires only that the relationship is continuous, significant, and intimate.” Sumners v. Thompson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1272a (1st DCA 5/13/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Respondent’s ongoing sexual harassment at work is insufficient to warrant an injunction for stalking because the acts were not bad enough to produce substantial emotional distress in a reasonable person. It is not enough to be “weirded out” or uncomfortable. Klenk v. Ransom, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1270a (1st DCA 5/13/19)

LUMP SOME ALIMONY: Where Premarital Agreement calls for lump sum alimony at different levels depending on when “a” petition for dissolution of marriage is filed, and wife files two petitions for dissolution of marriage, the 1st of which is dismissed, the earlier petition is the relevant date for establishing lump sum alimony. Famiglio v State, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1260d (2nd DCA 5/10/19)

QUOTATION: “The tiniest words can have the greatest consequence. In this appeal. . ., the word ‘a,’ the smallest of words in the English language, could mean the difference of a million and a half dollars.” Famiglio v State, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1260d (2nd DCA 5/10/19)

DEFINITION OF ‘”A”: “A” means “any.” “The purpose of the indefinite article is to indicate a noun that is, in some way, variable, unidentified, or unspecified. . . Linguistically, ‘a’ refers to ‘any or each’ of a type when used with a subsequent restrictive modifier. . . The word ‘a’ is ‘a function word before singular nouns when the referent is unspecified.'” Famiglio v State, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1260d (2nd DCA 5/10/19)

DEFINITION-WHEN SOMETHING OCCURS: “In common parlance, predicating a condition on ‘when something occurs’ or ‘at the time something occurs,’ is normally understood to mean the first time that the something occurs. This is so because conditional statements such as these are made with a view towards the future, as a way of indicating that a consequent condition will arise from a future condition’s occurrence. And since the future cannot be known (except in hindsight), we would ordinarily read a provision. . .to align with the way we experience the passing of temporal events; that is, we would consider the future condition’s first occurrence to be the operative one, even if it is a condition that might be capable of repetition.” Famiglio v State, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1260d (2nd DCA 5/10/19)

DEFINITION-BARELY LATENT AMBIGUITY: “Although the trial court pointed out this inconsistency, it did not explicitly characterize it as a latent ambiguity. At the risk of coining a phrase, perhaps it could be more aptly described as a barely latent ambiguity.” Famiglio v State, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1260d (2nd DCA 5/10/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-REOPENING EVIDENCE-LIFE INSURANCE: Defendant is entitled to a rehearing and requirement the DMZ life insurance where he attempted to obtain life insurance after the entry of the final judgment and found he could not get any because of the pre-existing medical condition. Manko v. Manko, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1249a (5th DCA 5/10/19)

DEPENDENCY: Court may find dependency based on the mother and child being homeless and the mother twice having refused offer of shelter services. L.J. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1224a (3rd DCA 5/8/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred in considering as marital property a piece of land owned in the name of the Wife’s parents and which was promised to the parties, but which was never conveyed. Goley v. Goley, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1203a (1st DCA 5/6/19)

PATERNITY-RELOCATION: Mother cannot be found in contempt of court for violation of standing court order by moving child to another county when the move occurred before she was served with the court’s order. Dowell v. Knoras, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1182d (2nd DCA 5/3/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Court may not order an injunction against stalking based on the Respondent putting dog poop in Petitioner’s trashcan one time, revving a car engine one time, and stepping on her driveway to avoid being hit by a bus. Stone v. McMillan, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1171a (1st DCA 5/2/19)

MODIFICATION-ALIMONY: Absent a transcript, denial of the petition for modification of alimony is affirmed. Padgett v. Padgett, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1167b (1st DCA 5/2/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-ARREARAGES: Father is entitled to a reduction of allocated child support as each child reaches maturity. MSA which refers to child support for each child is allocated child support. A hearing is required to fix child support as each child becomes emancipated. Stout v. Stout, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1140a (4th DCA 5/1/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Final judgment containing a fee provision must provide that it will be based on need and ability to pay. Du Perault v. Du Perault, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1135a (4th DCA 5/1/19)

APRIL 2019

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court must make written findings to support award of attorney’s fees. R.M.A. v. J.A.S., 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1107a (2nd DCA 4/26/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS-DEFAULT: Court may not enter a default termination of parental rights or the parent, through counsel, claimed that she could not appear in court due to car trouble. In the Interest of A.D. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1104a (2nd DCA 4/26/19)

MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT-MODIFICATION: The effective date of the Marital Settlement Agreement establishes the date to which a trial court should look in determining whether a substantial change in circumstances warranting a modification has occurred. Dipasquale v. Dipasquale, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1078a (2nd DCA 4/24/19)

APPEALS-JURISDICTION: An order which reserved jurisdiction over child support and equitable distribution, but not over timesharing and parental responsibility, is nonappealable as a nonfinal order as to any of the issue. Browner v. Browner, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1020c (1st DCA 4/22/19)

INJUNCTION: Court may not include a finding that the Petitioner was a victim of stalking when this was not part of the parties’ verbal agreement to an injunction. Emile v. Excellent, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D983c (4th DCA 4/17/19)

ALIMONY-POWER OF ATTORNEY: Power of attorney allows Court to award non-dissolution alimony notwithstanding the Husband’s incapacity. Levy v. Levy, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D983a (4th DCA 4/17/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES-RES JUDICATA: Previous order denying attorney’s fees is a final adjudication of entitlement to those fees with res judicata effect. Pelphrey-Weigand v. Weigand, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D973a (2nd DCA 4/17/19)

APPEAL: Court cannot review award of alimony and child support absent a transcript, that can review the award of attorney’s fees where no written factual findings are entered. Dood v. Dood, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D969b (2nd DCA 4/12/19)

INCOME DEDUCTION ORDER: Income Deduction Order is legally insufficient where it fails to designate how much of the order is for arrearage and how much is for current obligations. Moore v. Holton, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D969a (2nd DCA 4/12/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-CLOSELY HELD CORPORATION: Court may not give each party 50% of the closely held corporation without knowing its actual worth. Parties must present valuation evidence so the court may award assets to one or the other and devise a plan of distribution which is practical and beneficial both parties. Bowen v. Volz, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D957a (1st DCA 4/11/19)

DEPENDENCY: Court may not terminate protective services absent a written motion or a written report to the court. J.B., Father of M.L.B. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D956b (1st DCA 4/11/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: In awarding attorney’s fees court must make factual findings about the number of hours spent and how the fee amount order was arrived at. Scire v. Hochman, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D950a (4th DCA 4/10/19)

INJUNCTIONS-HEARSAY: Injunction for sexual violence cannot be entered based solely on statements paid by the child to her mother without complying with child hearsay law. Hussey v. Lara, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D940a (3rd DCA 10/10/19)

TIME-SHARING-MODIFICATION: Court properly modified child custody upon finding that the Father’s alcoholism was in remission. McClendon v. D’Amico, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D894b (1st DCA 4/5/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court must consider mortgage payments as being part of child support. Johnson v. Johnson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D890a (5th DCA 4/5/19)

MSA-FRAUD: Father may not set aside MSA for fraud when the only fraud was the father lying about his income. The doctrine of unclean hands is designed to prevent courts from granting a party relief from a result the party brought about through its own voluntary acts. “Father previously testified. . . that his prior employment included: ‘distribut[ing] flyers for every night club in the city’ . . .; creating an escort service that ‘provid[ed] female company”;. . .and starting a talent management business.” Corrigan v. Vargas, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D889a (5th DCA 4/5/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-MODIFICATION: Wife obtaining full-time employment as a grounds for modifying child support. An increase in the ability to pay is itself sufficient to warrant an increase in child support. Paulette v. Rosella, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D887c (5th DCA 4/5/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court may not engage in a piecemeal approach to equitable distribution; only when the parties challenge the entire scheme can the court review equitable distribution. Dorsey v. Dorsey, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D875a (1st DCA 4/3/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-JUDGMENT-FRAUD: Wife is entitled to a hearing on her request to set aside the judgment based on fraud when the request is properly pled. Rowe-Lewis v. Lewis, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D844a (4th DCA 4/3/19)

ALIMONY: Court may not deny alimony without addressing the statutory bases in detail. Rowe-Lewis v. Lewis, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D844a (4th DCA 4/3/19)

MARCH 2019

NAME CHANGE-PATERNITY: Court may not order that the child’s surname be changed from that of the mother to that of both parents, separated by a hyphen absent proof that the change is necessary for the welfare of the child. Unmarried mother is entitled to select the child’s given name and surname. Bowman v. Hutto, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D822a (1st DCA 3/28/19)

TIMESHARING-CONTEMPT: Modification of a timesharing plan is appropriate as a sanction for contempt. Andre v. Abreu, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D810a (3rd DCA 3/27/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-DISSIPATION: Court may not include assets in an equitable distribution scheme that have been diminished or dissipated during the dissolution proceedings unless there was misconduct that dissipated a marital asset. Pearson v. Pearson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D795a (2nd DCA 3/22/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-PENSION: FRS pension accrued during the marriage is marital property subject to equitable distribution. Pearson v. Pearson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D795a (2nd DCA 3/22/19)

CONTEMPT-INDIRECT-CIVIL: Court may not make a finding that failure to pay child or was willful and therefore hold him in contempt of court, where the Father was not present at the hearing. Seaman v. Seaman, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D787b (5th DCA 3/22/19)

DEPENDENCY: By placing the child with the father and terminating jurisdiction, the circuit court lacked any statutory authority to require the mother to complete a case plan. If the circuit court’s intent was to require the mother to complete a case plan after having placed the child with the father, then the court could not require the mother to complete a “maintain and strengthen” case plan. N.A. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D778a (4th DCA 3/20/19)

CONTEMPT-CHILD CUSTODY: Mother cannot be held in contempt for not forcing the child to go with the father when the child refused to get on the plane, and the order was not specific about what to do in that event. Akre-Deschamps v. Smith, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D756a (2nd DCA 3/20/19)

INJUNCTION-DISSOLVING INJUNCTION: Court must dissolve injunction where the circumstances have changed such as, as here, where the Respondent has moved away, and is precluded from getting work in law enforcement because of the injunction. “[T]the theoretical possibility of future contact between the parties was by itself sufficient to conclude that the circumstances underlying the injunction remained the same. . .fails the test of reasonableness. . .[A] merely speculative fear of future violence cannot be enough to justify the never-ending existence of an injunction.” Trice v. Trice, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D754e (2nd DCA 3/20/19)

ALIMONY: There is a rebuttable presumption that permanent periodic alimony is appropriate after a long-term marriage. “Neither age nor a spouse’s ability to earn some income will alone rebut the presumption. Gilliland v. Gilliland, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D720a (5th DCA 3/15/19)

ALIMONY-IMPUTED INCOME: Court may not include income of a full-time public school teacher to the wife where it was not based on the Wife’s recent work history, qualifications or prevailing earnings in her community. Testimony of occasional expert that the wife could maximize her income with further education is insufficient to impute income. Frerking v. Stacy, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D717a (5th DCA 3/15/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court may not order child support based on anticipated gross income from self-employment without factoring in ordinary and necessary expenses incurred to produce that income. Mattison v. Mattison, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D665a (5th DCA 3/8/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-ARREARAGE-INTEREST: Courts must award prejudgment interest on arrearages found to be due in the final judgment. Mattison v. Mattison, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D665a (5th DCA 3/8/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: Collateral child support expenses must be allocated in the same percentages the child support allocation, not 50-50. Mattison v. Mattison, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D665a (5th DCA 3/8/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court may not include assets in an equitable distribution screen that have been diminished or dissipated during the dissolution proceedings, unless marital misconduct results in the depletion or dissipation. Mattison v. Mattison, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D665a (5th DCA 3/8/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-JURISDICTION-DISMISSED CASE: Court has jurisdiction to enter a final judgment for dissolution of marriage based on a case which had previously been voluntarily dismissed. Carlton v. Zanazzi, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D640a (2nd DCA 3/6/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Intentional misconduct is required to find dissipation of assets sufficient to warrant an unequal distribution. Husband’s act of liquidating an IRA with substantial early withdrawal and tax penalties to pay off marital debts is not intentional misconduct. Welton v. Welton, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D636a (4th DCA 3/6/19)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Waiver of attorney’s fees in MSA does not extend to waiver of right to seek attorney’s fees for enforcement of the MSA. When an attorney’s fees provision in a marital settlement agreement does not contain specific language waiving attorney’s fees in future enforcement or modification proceedings, these fees are not waived. Laux v. Laux, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D635a (4th DCA 3/6/19)

TIME-SHARING: Even if the trial court’s decision not to award unsupervised timesharing is supported by competent substantial evidence, the court must provide the parent who is denied timesharing with specific steps to obtain unsupervised timesharing. A court may not delegate its responsibility to determine timesharing to a third party. Lightsey v. Davis, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D628a (4th DCA 3/6/19)

INCOME DEDUCTION ORDER: Income deduction order must have a date upon which durational alimony ends. Rodriguez v. Rodriguez, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D611b (5th DCA 3/1/19)


RELOCATION: Court must hold a hearing upon the former Husband’s objection to relocation of minor children notwithstanding that the objection failed to comply with the statute by laying out facts in support of it. “[T]he legislature requires verified facts, but it did not make them a pre-condition to a temporary hearing before relocation.” Pearce v. Boudreaux, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D605a (1st DCA 2/28/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-VENUE: Argument that venue is improper is waived if not timely raised. Knapp v. Knapp, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D599g (1st DCA 2/28/19)

STALKING: Court may not summarily deny a petition for an injunction without providing an explanation as to how the allegations are insufficient or without a hearing. McCaffrey v. Ashley, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D548c (5th DCA 2/22/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-EQUALIZATION: Husband is entitled to certain expenses which he continued to pay after the evidentiary hearing until the entry of the final order. Adams v. Adams, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D521a (4th DCA 2/20/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-RELOCATION: The parent wishing to relocate has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that relocation is in the best interest of the child. If the other parent fails to file an objection, it is presumed that the relocation is in the best interests of the child. Sanabria v. Sanabria, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D540a (3rd DCA 2/20/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-RELOCATION: Relocation statute does not require that the Child must be returned to the non-violating parent when the other parent relocates without following the statute. Allende v. Veloz, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D533a (3rd DCA 2/20/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-DISCOVERY: Wife is entitled to production of documents by subpoena held by 3rd parties to support claim for temporary support in attorney’s fees. Phillips v. Phillips, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D494a (2nd DCA 2/20/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-LIFE INSURANCE: Husband may not be required to maintain life insurance to protect awarded child or without making the required factual findings. Grasso v. Grasso, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D488a (1st DCA 2/18/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: A Finding of abandonment justifying termination of parental responsibility cannot be based solely on the Parent’s incarceration and inability to provide for the children. However, a court may terminate an incarcerated parent’s parental rights if the period of time for which the parent is expected to be incarcerated will constitute a significant portion of the child’s minority. J.C. v. DCF and GAL, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D448a (4th DCA 2/13/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-MODIFICATION: A party moving for modification of child support has the burden of proving the following factors: (1) a substantial change in circumstances; (2) the change was not contemplated at the time of the final judgment of dissolution; and (3) the change is sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature. Tisdale v. Tisdale, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D481a (1st DCA 2/15/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may not enter a Final Judgment terminating parental rights based on grounds that are not pled in the petition. S.H. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D471e (5th DCA 2/14/19)

CONTEMPT-PARENTING PLAN: Mother cannot be held in contempt for violating parenting plan (parties “shall share parental responsibility for the children consistent with Florida Statute”) which is insufficiently clear and precise to put Mother on notice of what she may or may not do. Cancino v. Cancino, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D453a (3rd DCA 2/13/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: An equity line of credit secured by a nonmarital asset does not convert that property into a marital asset. Escalona Socarras v. Bazan Vassallo, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D452a (3rd DCA 2/13/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-MORTGAGE PAYMENTS: When a husband and wife are jointly responsible for the mortgage on real property and one spouse pays the entire mortgage during the pendency of the dissolution, as part of the judgment of dissolution, the paying spouse is entitled to credit for half the total payments made. Matthews v. Matthews, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D418a (2nd DCA 2/8/19)

RELOCATION: Court must consider the relocation factors of §61.13001(7) in determining the best interests of the child during the divorce case even when the statute does not apply since relocation happened before the filing of the divorce. Parris v. Butler, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D417a (2nd DCA 2/8/19)

DEPENDENT CHILDREN: After already having entered into a disposition as to the Mother, the Court must hold a separate disposition hearing as to the father as to who the children are adjudicated dependent later. In the Interest of E.T. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D401e (2nd DCA 2/6/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-MSA: Court must consider motion to set aside MSA based on learning about Husband engaging in subsequent domestic violence. Court may not ratify MSA without considering the best interests of the children. Pagliaro v. Pagliaro, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D390f (4th DCA 2/6/19)

IMPUTED INCOME: Court, who has made a finding that a party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, may properly impute income to that party based upon that party’s demonstrated earning capacity. Alvarez-Reyes v. Fernandez-Gil, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D387b (3rd DCA 2/6/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-EXTENDED FAMILY: Extended family members may petition for temporary under Chapter 751. Court is under no obligation to determine whether the child has been abused, abandoned, or neglected, or whether the child is dependent. Case involves deportation/immigration consequences. Mendez v. Mendez, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D387a (3rd DCA 2/6/19)

ALIMONY: Court erred in allocating to wife monthly income reflecting anticipated future gifts from family based on what family had given wife in the past. Sarazin v. Sarazin, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D365a (1st DCA 2/5/19)

ALIMONY: Court may not increase alimony award beyond what was requested in Wife’s petition when she was in a better financial position at the time she filed the original petition. Lizzmore v. Lizzmore, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D366a(1st DCA 2/4/19)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Ex-Wife is not entitled to an injunction for stalking based on the fact that the Husband’s email account have been configured on the Wife’s truck’s On-Star system, enabling him to receive text and email notifications her location. Hutsell v. Hutsell, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D363a (1st DCA 2/4/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-DEPENDENCY EXEMPTION: The primary custodial parent has the right to claim the exemption IRS Dependency Exemption, but the noncustodial parent can claimant under certain circumstances. Lennon v. Lennon, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D350a (2nd DCA 2/1/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: For purposes of computing child support, the Court may consider testimony that the Father made unauthorized and undocumented withdrawals from the business, but must make specific facts in order to justify an award of child support based on testimony that the Father used the business as a personal slush fund. J.A.D. v. K.M.A., 44 Fla. L. Weekly D346a (2nd DCA 2/1/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-DISCOVERY-NON-PARTY PRODUCTION: Financial documents from the company in which the Wife held a fractional ownership interest are discoverable. Hall v. Hall, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D338a (5th DCA 2/1/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-WEDDING RING: Engagement and wedding rings are not to marital property. Moody v. Newton, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D337a (5th DCA 2/1/19)

IMPUTED INCOME: When the circumstances suggest that a self-employed spouse has not accurately reported his or her income, the court may properly assign a higher income value than that claimed by the spouse. Moody v. Newton, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D337a (5th DCA 2/1/19)


PATERNITY-PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION: Court may order a psychological evaluation of a party only where the condition subject to the examination be in controversy in the party submitting the request to have good cause. Delgado v. Miller, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D309a (3rd DCA 1/29/19)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-MODIFICATION-JURISDICTION: When the MSA retains jurisdiction to modify the final judgment upon a joint motion signed by both parties, the court has jurisdiction to enter an order of modification. Unambiguous language of the agreement should be interpreted according to its plain meaning. Rector v. Rector, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D293a (5th DCA 1/25/19)

INJUNCTION-REPEAT VIOLENCE: A uncivil text messages and attends exchange and belittling game is insufficient for an injunction for protection. “It might occasionally be helpful if the circuit courts had the power to enter an order requiring adults to act like grownups.” Dailey v. Roth, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D260b (1st DCA 1/22/19)

DEPENDENCY: Court may not terminate jurisdiction and protective supervision without giving notice to the parents. In the Interest of I.U. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D253a 2nd DCA (1/18/19)

ALIMONY: In ordering permanent alimony, the Court must make a finding that no form of alimony other than permanent alimony is fair and reasonable. Julia v. Julia, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D242b (4th DCA 1/16/19)

CHILD SUPPORT: Absent some logically established rationale to the contrary, collateral child support expenses must be allocated in the same percentage as the child support allocation. Julia v. Julia, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D242b (4th DCA 1/16/19)

CHILD SUPPORT-MORTGAGE PAYMENTS: In awarding retroactive child support, Court must consider the Husband’s mortgage payments during the dissolution’s pendency. When one party pays the mortgage payment or housing expenses of another party, it is considered an in kind contribution for purposes of the child support. Julia v. Julia, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D242b (4th DCA 1/16/19)

ALIMONY: Wife is entitled to permanent periodic alimony after a long-term marriage, and after she sacrificed a career to be the primary caregiver for the parties’ children. Griffitts v. Griffitts, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D234a (5th DCA 1/11/19)

ALIMONY: Alimony payments must be made through the state depository and income deduction. Griffitts v. Griffitts, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D234a (5th DCA 1/11/19)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-RETIREMENT BENEFITS: To determine the amount of a retirement fund a party has accumulated during a marriage, a trial court must create a fraction where the numerator is the amount of time the employee was married while participating in the plan, and the denominator is the total time the employee has in the plan. The trial court then multiplies the plan’s present value by the coverture fraction to calculate the total present value of the retirement fund which accrued during the marriage. In distributing retirement benefits, Court must factor in portion of benefits going to husband’s first wife in calculating husband’s monthly retirement pay before ascribing the portion to go to second wife. Bolden v. Bolden, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D229a (1st DCA 1/10/19)

CHILD CUSTODY-DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY: Court improperly gives Wife ultimate decision-making authority over all major decisions without specifying areas over which the wife could exercise that authority. Clarke v. Stofft, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D206a (4th DCA 1/9/19)

CHILD CUSTODY: There is no statutory requirement that the trial court make specific written findings supporting its decision in a custody decision. Vinson v. Vinson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D189a (1st DCA 1/7/19)

CHILD CUSTODY: Florida courts respect separation agreements as long as they are fair and are not tainted by fraud, overreaching or concealment, but the best interests of the child takes predominance over any agreement between the parents and must be independently determined by the trial court. Vinson v. Vinson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D189a (1st DCA 1/7/19)

FAMILY LAW GOOFINESS: “[T]he former husband challenges. . . the trial court’s. . .failure to award him sole ownership of the lawnmower, a Coke machine, and a gumball machine.” Vinson v. Vinson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D189a (1st DCA 1/7/19)

INJUNCTIONS: Court may not enter an order dissolving an injunction while he knows that a motion for disqualification is pending. Sweet v. Tucker, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D188a (1st DCA 1/7/19)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may not order termination of parental rights based on unexplained nondisplaced oblique fracture of a five week old child’s left humerus. The injury may have occurred because of Mother’s attempt to treat the child for nursemaid’s elbow, i.e. that the mother caused a spiral fracture trying to fix a possibly dislocated arm. In the Interest of K.E. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D178a (2nd DCA 1/4/19)

JUDGE-DEPARTURE FROM NEUTRALITY: Judge does not depart from neutrality by asking questions to clarify testimony and to ascertain the truth. E.T. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D169a (4th DCA 1/2/19)

DEPENDENT CHILDREN-NEGLECT: Mother can be deemed to have neglected the children by remaining in a violent relationship with her boyfriend. It is not necessary to establish that child saw or was aware of domestic violence for a finding of neglect. J.D. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D167a (4th DCA 1/2/19)


CHILD SUPPORT-IMPUTED INCOME: Court may not impute monthly income without finding that unemployment is voluntary. Gay v. Gay, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D150c (1st DCA 12/31/18)

ALIMONY-MODIFICATION: Husband is not entitled to modification of alimony based on the remarriage of his former spouse where the divorce decree provided that husband would pay alimony for the rest of the wife’s life. If a marital settlement agreement provides for the continuing payment of alimony despite the remarriage of the recipient, then its terms will control over those in section 61.08(8). Inman v. Inman, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D127a (2nd DCA 12/28/18)

CHILD SUPPORT-MODIFICATION: Husband selling a restaurant and opening a less profitable coffee shop because is ready to slow down is sufficient to support a finding that he is voluntarily underemployed and to deny his motion to modify child support. Windsor v. Windsor, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D124a (1st DCA 12/28/18)

CHILD CUSTODY: Court cannot ordinarily order father to undergo compulsory psychological evaluation in a custody case. Oldham v. Greene, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D103a (1st DCA 12/27/18)

INJUNCTION MODIFICATION: Court must modify injunction for protection where petitioner’s school and bus stop changes. Miley v. Dunn, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D57b (2nd DCA 12/21/18)

ALIMONY: Failure to comply with the statute’s requirement of factual findings is reversible error regardless of whether a motion for rehearing is filed. Prior case law receded from. Conflict certified. Fox v. Fox, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D27a (4th DCA 12/19/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may not terminate parental rights based on §39.806(1)(e)(1) when the child had never been adjudicated dependent. G.M.R. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D20a (3rd DCA 12/19/18)

JURISDICTION: Final dissolution judgment and subsequent orders entered by trial court were void where they were entered while an interlocutory appeal in the case was pending before appellate court. Llanso v. Gomez de Cordova, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D21a (3rd DCA 12/19/18)

INJUNCTION: Court may not extend temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence where there had been no violence between the parties. Counsil v. Anderson, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D2a (1st DCA 12/18/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may terminate parental rights when the parent engaged in conduct toward the child that demonstrates that the continuing involvement of the child and the parent-child relationship threatens the life, safety, well-being or physical, mental or emotional health of the child. A.P. v. DCF, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1a (1st DCA 12/18/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-CONTEMPT: Court lacks authority to enforce an equitable-distribution scheme through its powers of contempt. The Court cannot convert a general payment obligation into something enforceable by contempt by simply characterizing it as an obligation to perform a specific action. Schroll v. Schroll, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2795a (1st DCA 12/14/18)

TEMPORARY ALIMONY CHILD SUPPORT: Court must hold a hearing on the Husband’s exception to Magistrate’s order. Erskine v. Erskine, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2784d (1st DCA 12/14/18)

ALIMONY: A marital settlement agreement is a contract subject to the well-settled principles of contract interpretation. The Court may not go outside the plain language of the MSA when its terms are unambiguous. That when the language is ambiguous (i.e., what is “periodic income”) Court should consider extrinsic parol evidence about the intent of the parties. Walsh v. Walsh, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2779a (5th DCA 12/14/18)

INJUNCTION: Respondent breaking into an unoccupied house and stealing cats is insufficient basis for injunction for protection against domestic violence. Tate v. Tate, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2766a (2nd DCA 12/14/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court may not order the parties’ limited liability company to be sold; the LLC is a separate legal entity and not a party to the suit him. Bro v. Bro, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2765a (2nd DCA 12/14/18)

DISSIPATION OF MARITAL ASSETS: Court may not include dissipated funds in his equitable distribution scheme when evidence is uncontradicted that the funds were used for normal living expenses. Bro v. Bro, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2765a (2nd DCA 12/14/18)



CONTEMPT: Order to show cause deficient land is not state essential facts constituting is not attached to the show cause order. Mayo v. Mayo, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2711a (2nd DCA 12/7/18)

CONTEMPT: Court may not find Defendant in contempt where court failed to notify Defendant of his right to counsel, advise him of the allegation against him or indicate whether he was facing criminal or civil contempt. Mayo v. Mayo, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2711a (2nd DCA 12/7/18)

PATERNITY TESTING: Court may not require a paternity test in injunction case, particularly the issue is not raised by the pleadings. Llanos v. Huerta, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2704a (3rd DCA 12/5/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Income Deduction Order (QDRO) cannot be used to force direct payment to a nonparticipating spouse of a portion of a spouse’s municipal pension benefits in order to achieve equitable distribution of marital assets. Palmateer v. Palmateer, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2690c (2nd DCA 12/5/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES-VEXATIOUS LITIGATION: Court can award attorney’s fees for vexatious litigation in a divorce case. Subramanian v. Subramanian, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2681a (4th DCA 12/5/18)

ALIMONY-CONTEMPT: A second motion for contempt is not barred by a prior contempt motion where the allegations are different. Portwood v. Portwood, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2675a (5th DCA 11/30/18)

CHILD SUPPORT-APPEALS: Portion of order which directs that supplemental petition for modification of child support be referred to a magistrate for further consideration is nonfinal, nonappealable order where parties were also ordered to attend mediation prior to scheduling a hearing on the motion before the magistrate. Cammarata v. Cammarata, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2647a (4th DCA 11/28/18)

GUARDIAN AD LITEM: Court may not order the forced sale of the party’s marital home to pay Guardian ad litem fees. Seligson v. Seligson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2637c (4th DCA 11/28/18)

PARENTING PLAN: Court errors in awarding one party ultimate decision-making authority as to all issues. Giving the primary residential parent unlimited decision making authority over all matters regarding the children is incompatible with shared parental responsibility. Seligson v. Seligson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2637c (4th DCA 11/28/18)

ALIMONY-CHILD SUPPORT: When alimony ends before child support obligation ends, the Court must adjust the child support accordingly. Seligson v. Seligson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2637c (4th DCA 11/28/18)

RELOCATION: Court may authorize relocation and otherwise modify a parenting plan to make up for the father’s lost parenting time. Saponara v. Saponara, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2592a (4th DCA 11/21/18)

FREEZING ASSETS: Assets may not be frozen on the sole basis of the argument and allegations of 1 of the attorneys. Neither a verified motion nor the statements of an attorney are evidence. Olson v. Olson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2527a (4th DCA 11/14/18)

ALIMONY-RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION: Court erred by making modification retroactive to date of husband’s amended supplemental petition for modification, rather than to date of original petition, where both original and amended petitions cited husband’s job loss as basis for modification and nothing in the record supported rejection of the request for retroactivity to date of original petition. Nuttle v. Nuttle, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2525a (4th DCA11/14/18)

CHILD SUPPORT-JURISDICTION-AGE: Court has continuing jurisdiction requires support for a defendant person beyond the age of 18 when the person is mentally or physically incapacitated, or is still in high school with the expectation of graduating before the age of 19. DOR v. Vobroucek, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2507a (2nd DCA 11/9/18)

TIME-SHARING: Provision of final judgment of paternity limiting father’s visitation of child to either Texas or Florida is reversed where there were no factual findings that established the necessity of such geographical limitations. R.B. v. B.T., 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2506c (2nd DCA 11/9/18)

CHILD CUSTODY: Former wife waives any claim that the judgment was defective for not making best interests finding where the former wife failed to apprise the Court of the issue in a motion for rehearing. Vinson v. Vinson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2481a (1st DCA 11/7/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Value of 401(k) plan should be determined as of the date of the final hearing, not the date of the petition for dissolution, when, the funds had been distributed to pay household bills. Horton v. Horton, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2468b (1st DCA 11/6/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court may not order temporary attorney’s fees, costs and suit money without making findings as to reasonable hourly rate and number of hours expended. Rotunda v. Rotunda, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2463a (5th DCA 11/2/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Parties are entitled to credit for payments each made to reduce the debt on jointly-held marital home after the entry of the final judgment and prior to sale and closing. Blackburn v. Wissner, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2465b (5th DCA 11/2/18)

INJUNCTION: Court erred in entering an injunction against domestic violence where there was no evidence that the respondent had physically injured, had physical contact with or threaten physical injury to the petitioner. Acting irate and yelling profanities is not sufficient. Robinson v. Robinson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2464b (5th DCA 11/2/18)

INJUNCTION: An adult parent has standing to petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence against a former spouse on behalf of his or her minor child. The petitioner does not need to be must be an eyewitness, provide direct physical evidence, or provide an eyewitness affidavit to the sexual battery of the child to obtain an injunction for protection. Caldwell v. Caldwell, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2462a (5th DCA 11/2/18)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Court may not enter an injunction against stalking when neither hearing nor testimony establishes that a reasonable person would experience substantial emotional distress. (knocked on the door of his house and ran, has claimed to have many pictures of him and his wife, and said she would “get the crackers on [him].” Venn v. Fowlkes, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2455b (1st DCA 10/31/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE: Final judgment which creates appearance that it does not reflect the judge’s independent decision making must be amended, except for the part dissolving the marriage itself. Toth v. Miller, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2429a (2nd DCA 10/31/18)

ADOPTION: Where grandparents actively participated at nearly all stages of post-termination of parental rights adoption proceeding and established their interest in adopting child, grandparents were legally interested parties entitled to notice and opportunity to be heard regarding foster parents’ petition to adopt child. Berenyi v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2421b (3rd DCA 10/31/18)

MAGISTRATE: Court may not refer case to magistrate for hearing on modification of trial support where Husband filed a timely objection. Administrative Order allowing referral of case to magistrate is null and void because it violates Rule 12.490. No matter shall be heard by a general magistrate without the consentall parties. Skelly v. Skelly, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2408a (5th DCA 10/26/18)

PARENTING PLAN-MODIFICATION: Court erred in altering the mode of communication between the parties where modification occurred without any request by either party and in finding wife attempt for allowing children to be tardy where the Final Judgment did not prohibit tardiness. Preudhomme v. Bailey, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2373a (4th DCA 10/24/18)

PARENTING PLAN: Parenting plan must include a provision that either parent alone may provide consent for a child to receive mental health treatment. Lennon v. Lennon, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2337a (2nd DCA 10/17/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: Husband is be entitled to credit against the retroactive obligation to extent that he can offer competent evidence of actual payments qualifying under statute. Lennon v. Lennon, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2337a (2nd DCA 10/17/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-APPEAL: Judgment withstands appeal if no transcript is provided. Evans v. Miller, 5D17-4090 (5th DCA 10/12/18)

PATERNITY: The presumption of legitimacy is rebuttable. The biological father of a married woman’s children has the right to bring an action to establish his parental rights as the father as long as he has manifested a substantial and continuing concern for the welfare of the children. Martinez v. Valerio, 3D17-1731 (3rd DCA 10/10/18)

INJUNCTION: Court may not order child or spousal support in injunction case if not pled. Regalado Lopez v. Regalado, 3D17-1731 (3rd DCA 10/10/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Compelling former spouses to remain in business together creates an intolerable situation and is an abuse of discretion. Business must be valued and one side required to buy out the other. Garrison v. Garrison, 4D17-3401 (4th DCA 10/10/18)


TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS-APPEAL: Parent’s appeal from disposition order terminating parental rights was untimely where not filed within 30 days of rendition of order. T.W. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2235g (1st DCA 9/28/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may not terminate Father’s parental rights for failure to comply with case plan less than 12 months after the child had been placed into shelter care. Each termination case involves three questions: (1) Does a ground for termination of parental rights exist? (2) Is termination in the manifest best interest of the child? (3) Is termination the least restrictive means of protecting the child from harm?” G.F. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2175a (3rd DCA 9/20/18)

CHILD SUPPORT-RETROACTIVE: Florida does not permit a retroactive reduction of accrued amounts due for support, even if such an approach were in the best interests of both the child in having some amount, albeit smaller, actually paid, and the obligor parent in making a manageable payment rather than being faced with the often unattainable and unrealistic expectation to satisfy large vested arrearages. Shaarbay v. Alvarez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2158a (3rd DCA 9/20/18)

ALIMONY: Court may not impute income to wife in determining alimony without evidence and particularized findings. Masino v. Masino, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2147b (1st DCA 9/14/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Mortgage on non-marital property was a marital debt where there was no evidence that proceeds of mortgage were used for a marital purpose. Frederick v. Frederick, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2140b (2nd DCA 9/14/18)

DEPENDENCY: Mother’s testimony that she had been diagnosed at some unstated point in time as having anxiety and depression is insufficient to support an adjudication of dependency. Absent a sufficient nexus between a psychiatric disorder and the likelihood that a parent will substantially impair the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health, an adjudication of dependency cannot stand. M.W. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2138b (2nd DCA 9/14/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-CONTINUANCE: Court did not abuse discretion in denying motion for continuance filed on the eve of trial in order to allow Husband to prepare an expert evaluation to rebut the court-appointed expert’s report. Fry v. Fry, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2127b (4th DCA 9/12/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-PASSIVE APPRECIATION: Court must determine value of passive administration that accrued during the marriage by subtracting the value of the wife’s nonmarital property (here, upside down because of two mortgages) from the value of the property at the time of the divorce. When a marital home constitutes nonmarital real property, but is encumbered by a mortgage that marital funds service, the value of the passive, market-driven appreciation of the property that accrues during the course of the marriage is a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. New statute effective July 1, 2018 modifies calculation of passive appreciation. Matyjaszek v. Matyjaszek, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2125a (4th DCA 9/12/18)

COHABITATION AGREEMENT: To impose a constructive trust, there must be (1) a promise, express or implied, (2) transfer of the property and reliance thereon, (3) a confidential relationship and (4) unjust enrichment. Court did not err in failing to find a constructive trust where he found the party so claiming to not be credible. Maio v. Clarke, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2116a (4th DCA 9/12/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court may not order attorney’s fees as a sanction for vexatious litigation absent a showing of need and ability to pay. Maio v. Clarke, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2116a (4th DCA 9/12/18)

RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT: One makes a proper claim for relief from judgment based on a fraudulent affidavit submitted to the trial court in a marital case and there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the former husband’s affidavit was in fact fraudulent and whether the former wife relied on the draft of the allegedly fraudulent affidavit when she entered into the marital settlement agreement. Engstrom v. Engstrom, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2099a (3rd DCA 9/12/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court may not award a dissipated asset to one party without a specific finding of intentional misconduct. McKenzie v. McKenzie, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2075a (4th DCA 9/5/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court must use net income, not gross income when calculating child support and must consider Wife’s self-employment taxes. McKenzie v. McKenzie, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2075a (4th DCA 9/5/18)

PATERNITY-CHILD SUPPORT: Where court made no findings as to how it arrived at the child support obligation, award is vacated. Foster v. Chong, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2044a (3rd DCA 9/5/18)

SHARED PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY: Court is required to order shared parental responsibility unless it finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to child. Foster v. Chong, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2044a (3rd DCA 9/5/18)

CHILD CUSTODY-MODIFICATION: Court properly supplemented ing previous parenting plan, which had omitted time-sharing schedule and provisions addressing parties’ communication rights with child. Swearingen v. Swearingen, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2040b (1st DCA 9/5/18)

CHILD CUSTODY-PSYCHOTHERAPIST PRIVILEGE: On request of guardian ad litem, psychotherapist/patient privilege can be waived. Garcia v. Guiles, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2035a (1st DCA 9/5/18)


FINAL JUDGMENT: Court erred by adopting wife’s proposed final judgment almost verbatim without conducting an independent analysis. Clements v. Clements, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2024a (5th DCA 8/31/18)

CHILD SUPPORT-JURISDICTION: Court erred in finding that it had no jurisdiction to award child support to wife because wife and child had lived continuously in Ireland for more than two years, so that Florida is not child’s home state under UCCJEA. UCCJEA applies to child custody, child support. Keough v. Keough, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2022b (5th DCA 8/31/18)

FINAL JUDGMENT: Where the judge adopts the Wife’s proposed sixty-five-page final judgment without a single alteration, it appears that the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage does not reflect the Judge’s independent decision-making, and must be stricken. Toth v. Miller, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2016c (2nd DCA 8/31/18)

AMENDMENT TO FORMS: Forms amend amended to provide that a party may the court reporter. In Re: Amendments to Approved Family Law Forms, 43 Fla. L. Weekly S328a (FLA 8/30/18)

DEPENDENCY TAX EXEMPTION: Court lacks authority to directly allocate dependency tax exemption, and may only order a party to execute a waiver of exemption. Spikes v. Fonville, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2012a (1st DCA 8/30/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Parental rights may be terminated on the incarceration parent and his designation as a sexual predator. In the Interest of C.M.H. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1993a (2nd DCA 8/29/18)

CONTEMPT: Contempt order which does not make a finding that the Husband had the present ability to impeach purge amount is defective. Onge v. Carriero, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1971b (1st DCA 8/24/18)

CONTEMPT: Husband may not be held in contempt of court for not paying one half of orthodontic expenses where MSA only requires him to pay one half of dental expenses. Onge v. Carriero, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1971b (1st DCA 8/24/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Husband’s status as primary source of income while wife pursued law degree, husband’s provision of substantial care for wife’s handicapped sister, fact that wife began to earn a significantly higher salary just prior to parties’ separation and kept those wages in her separate bank account is not justify an unequal distribution of marital assets. Cooley v. Cooley, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1965b (2nd DCA 8/24/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE: Court erred in entering Former Wife’s proposed final judgment without ruling on Husband’s objections. Fields v. Fields, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1963a (5th DCA 8/24/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE: Court erred in entering an order requiring re-mediation where husband did not request that relief in his motion to set aside the judgment. Fields v. Fields, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1963a (5th DCA 8/24/18)

CONTEMPT-INDIRECT: Where attorney filed motion for order of commitment and writ of bodily attachment after respondent failed to comply with order requiring payment of attorney’s fees to petitioner, it was error to grant the motion without issuing show cause order and without complying with rule applicable to indirect criminal contempt proceedings. Baratta v. Costa-Martinez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1934a (3rd DCA 8/22/18)

CHILD SUPPORT-ARREARAGES: Magistrate may not award child support arrearages based on child support obligation established on a temporary domestic violence injunction that had expired. Carroll v. Goll, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1933a (3rd DCA 8/22/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Dissipated assets cannot be included in equitable distribution scheme absent a showing of misconduct. Olivarez v. Olivarez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1902b (1st DCA 8/16/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court may not order lump sum child support. Masnev v. Masnev, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1863b (4th DCA 8/15/8)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court improperly classified marital home acquired by wife during marriage and titled in wife’s name as nonmarital property where wife used commingled funds to make down payment and pay mortgage payments. Distefano v. Distefano, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1849a (2nd DCA 8/15/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: Child support can be adjusted based on child support actually paid for another child from another relationship, but cannot be adjusted based on anticipated support for an unborn child. DOR v. Cockran, 43 Fla. L Weekly D1842b (1st DCA 8/10/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: ALJ did not abuse discretion by deciding to deviate from guideline amount based on finding that father provided consistent and regular support payments for his other biological children. DOR v. Johnson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1842a (1st DCA 8/10/18)

ALIMONY: Court may not enter an order of alimony without making a specific finding as to the amount of income to impute to the husband. Imputed income may be based on prior income, but must be specifically stated. Velez v. Montalvo-Velez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1831a (2nd DCA 8/10/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court deprives Father of Due Process by ending hearing at the end of the designated time period without allowing Father to fully cross-examine the Mother or present his own evidence. Munoz v. Munoz Salgado, 43Fla. L. Weekly D1825a (3rd DCA 8/8/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court erred by terminating parental rights were mother had substantially cured the reasons for the dependency action policy had not fully completed her psychological treatment. C.R. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1811a (3rd DCA/8/18)

RELOCATION: Court erred by entering a default judgment and Petition to Relocate where Mother hired an attorney did not file an objection Petition to Relocate in a timely manner. Ryan v. Ryan, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1796b (4th DCA 8/8/18)

CONTEMPT: Notice, but not formal service of process, is sufficient in contempt hearing for failure to pay alimony. Frank v. Frank, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1795b (4th DCA 8/8/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-ENFORCEMENT: Once a final judgment of dissolution of marriage is rendered, property rights are fixed and vested, and a court is without jurisdiction to modify those rights unless it specifically reserved jurisdiction to do so. Frank v. Frank, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1795b (4th DCA 8/8/18)

INJUNCTION-DISSOLUTION: Respondent is entitled to hearing on motion seeking to dissolve injunction where petition alleged the change in circumstances. Bork v. Pare, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1794 (2nd DCA 8/8/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Presumption of legitimacy does not keep the putative biological father from challenging paternity of a child born to an intact marriage. Putative biological father is entitled to join paternity action. In the Interest of J.S.H. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1782b (2nd DCA 8/3/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION- APPRECIATION OF HOME: Where wife renovated the home which she owned before the marriage, and the funds for the renovation work from her nonmarital assets, but she had commingled those funds in a marital checking account, the appreciation of the home based on the renovations is a marital asset. However, an unequal distribution of the appreciation of the marital home marital home is warranted. Knecht v. Palmer, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1779a (5th DCA 8/3/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-RETENTION OF JURISDICTION: Court may not retain jurisdiction to make further orders on property rights except for a narrow specific purpose. Knecht v. Palmer, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1779a (5th DCA 8/3/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: Parents may not contract away or waive the rights of their child for support. Standard v. DOR, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1771b (1st DCA 8/3/18)

CHILD CUSTODY: Due Process precludes modifying timesharing and primary residence where that relief was not sought in the pleadings. Buschor v. Barnes, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1775a (5th DCA 8/1/18)

ALIMONY-LIFE INSURANCE: Court erred by requiring husband to maintain life insurance to secure alimony where there were no special circumstances warranting such security. McKnight v. McKnight, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1752b (1st DCA 8/1/18)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Unprofessional conduct in litigation, including telling opposing counsel “he was having her watched by means of remote drones,” is not a basis for one attorney to seek an injunction for stalking against another. Raulerson v. Font, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1746a (3rd DCA 8/1/18)

DICTIONARY WARS: “Harass” for injunction purposes is more demanding than the dictionary definition: “worry,” “tire out,” “vex, trouble, or annoy continually or chronically,” “plague,” “bedevil,” or “badger.” Raulerson v. Font, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1746a (3rd DCA 8/1/18)

INJUNCTION: Old incidents of domestic violence, coupled with two recent incidents where Respondent peeled out of a parking lot and angrily waved his finger at his wife is insufficient to justify an injunction against domestic violence. Douglas v. Douglas, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1711a (2nd DCA 8/1/18)

JULY 2018

ADOPTION-TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court did not err in appointing counsel for unmarried putative father not on the Florida Putative Father Registry in termination of parental rights/adoption case. “[W]hatever delay the presence of an opposing attorney could be said to entail, Florida law recognizes that indigent parents are entitled to court-appointed counsel in a proceeding to terminate their parental rights.” Gift Of Life Adoptions v. S.R.B., 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1698c (2nd DCA 7/27/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-JURISDICTION RESIDENCY: Residency can be corroborated by a driver license, a voter’s registration card, a valid Florida identification card, or the testimony or affidavit of a third party. The residency requirement may not be established by the uncorroborated testimony of one party, nor can the requirement of corroborating evidence be waived by admission by the parties. McNeil v. Jenkins-McNeil, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1694a (5th DCA 7/27/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred in entering an order vehicle distribution without making a statutorily required factual findings. Vaughn v. Vaughn, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1683a (4th DCA 7/25/18)

APPEALS-DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-MODIFICATION: Portion of order modifying Final Judgment as to retirement benefits is nonfinal and nonappealable or the amount is not yet set. Marzullo v. Marzullo, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1668a (2nd DCA 7/25/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-DISCOVERY: Court departed from essential requirements of law in post-dissolution proceedings by ordering former husband disclose extensive personal financial information where it had not yet been determined that the information was relevant. Elkins v. Elkins, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1617a (4th DCA 7/18/18)

CHILD CUSTODY-EDUCATION: Court did not abuse discretion by granting father’s motion to authorize children’s enrollment at a private Christian school at the father’s sole cost upon finding that granting of the motion would be in the children’s best interests. Lane v. State, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1582d (3rd DCA 7/11/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-JURISDICTION: After denying motion for rehearing, trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter second order modifying certain provisions of an earlier order adopting general magistrate’s report and recommendations absent change in circumstances. Demming v. Demming, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1551a (1st DCA 7/9/18)

INJUNCTION-REPEAT VIOLENCE: Neither approaching daughter at school and making remarks about her being “messed up” nor saying under his breath that he would kill Petitioner and his family without evidence about ability to carry out the threat, does not qualify as a violent act. Evidence was insufficient to enter injunction. Tash v. Rogers, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1550a (1st DCA 7/9/18)

JUNE 2018

PATERNITY: A biological father is entitled to rebut the common law presumption that the mother’s husband is the legal father of a child born to an intact marriage, where the mother or her husband object to allowing such rebuttal, when he has manifested a substantial and continuing concern for the welfare of the child. The presumption of legitimacy is overcome when there is a clear and compelling reason based primarily on the child’s best interests. Simmonds v. Perkins, 43 Fla. L. Weekly S273a (FLA 6/28/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES-INJUNCTIONS: An award of attorney’s fees in an injunction case is permissible under §74.046 (repeat violence), but not under §741.30 (domestic violence). Sager v. Holgren, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1494c (1st DCA 6/28/18)

CHILD SUPPORT: Court erred in ordering Husband to pay full amount of child support arrearage where husband raise the equitable defense that one of the children actually lived with him. Moody v. Moody, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1489b (1st DCA 6/28/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court abused its discretion by refusing to reopen trial to allow wife to present evidence of accrued vacation and sick leave which were not listed on husband’s financial affidavits. Lovelass v. Hutchinson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1476a (4th DCA 6/27/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-PENSION: Two principal methods have evolved whereby courts distribute and divide pensions: the ‘immediate offset’ method and the ‘deferred distribution’ method.” Under the immediate offset method, one spouse receives the present value of his or her interest in the other spouse’s pension either in cash or as an offset to the share of marital property. Under the deferred distribution method, the court determines what the employee’s benefit would be if he retired on the date of the final hearing without any early retirement penalty. The court then multiplies this dollar amount by the percentage to which the other spouse is entitled. This method yields a fixed dollar amount which the awarded spouse receives from each of the employee’s pension payments after retirement. Lovelass v. Hutchinson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1476a (4th DCA 6/27/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION-UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION: Court may order an unequal distribution without that relief having been specifically pled. Lovelass v. Hutchinson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1476a (4th DCA 6/27/18)

TIME-SHARING-PROSPECTIVE MODIFICATION: Court may prospectively modify timesharing as of the time the child starts kindergarten. Court may properly determine timesharing based upon an objectively and reasonably certain future event. Rivera v. Purtall, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1421a (5th DCA 6/22/18)

RULES-AMENDMENT: New forms for Notice of action for Termination of Parental Rights and Stepparent Adoption Parental. Form for designation of E-mail address to allow litigant to indicate whether or not he or she is going to designate an email address. In Re Amendments to Approved Family Forms, 43 Fla. L. Weekly S268b (FLA 6/21/18)

RULES-AMENDMENT-INJUNCTION HEARING: Domestic violence injunction hearings must be recorded. In Re Amendments to Approved Family Forms, 43 Fla. L. Weekly S268a (FLA 6/21/18)

TIME-SHARING: Where husband had been granted supervised time-sharing with children, it was error to fail to set forth specific steps that husband must take in order to obtain unsupervised time-sharing. Solomon v. State, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1398a (3rd DCA 6/20/18)

ALIMONY-MODIFICATION-SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES: Former wife’s daughter and sister’s inability to continue providing for her needs is not a substantial change in circumstances. Increase in Wife’s expenses and debts may be a sufficient change in circumstances to warrant a modification of alimony. Malowny v. Malowny, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1390a (2nd DCA 6/20/18)

RELOCATION: Relocation permitted where the wife moved to Alabama without permission. “We again caution trial courts, however, that it is not proper to use a parent’s cooperation against that parent. As we have previously recognized, this ‘would have the deleterious effect of discouraging cooperation between parents when they agree to make temporary changes in their children’s living arrangements to serve their children’s best interests.'” Ness v. Martinez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1356b (1st DCA 6/13/8)

NAME CHANGE: Court lacked authority to grant mother’s petition for name change of minor child where she had failed to obtain consent to serve constructive notice on the father, whose identity is known but whose name is not on the birth certificate. In Re: The Name Change of Maria Fernanda Benitez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1348a (3rd DCA 6/13/18)

HEARING-TIME LIMITS: Justice cannot be “administered arbitrarily with a stopwatch.”, such as in this case where the Wife was severely restricted in time to examine witnesses, to call any of her own witnesses, or to make any argument as to the evidence presented. Summarily shortening proceedings can give rise to a due process violation when they fail to afford a party a full, fair, and meaningful opportunity to be heard. Walters v. Petgrave, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1339b (4th DCA 6/13/18)

DUE PROCESS: Court denied Mother’s due process rights by precluding her from presenting her case-in-chief at the final hearing. Walters v. Petgrave, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1339b (4th DCA 6/13/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-DELAY IN ENTRY OF JUDGMENT: New trials required were court failed to issue ruling for 2 ½ years following the final hearing. Johnson v. Johnson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1315a (2nd DCA 6/8/18)

ALIMONY: It is improper toward durational alimony rather than permanent periodic alimony for a long-term marriage. Johnson v. Johnson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1315a (2nd DCA 6/8/18)

HEARING: Mother is denied due process when court does not allow her to complete her presentation of the evidence for a modification of parenting plan. Haywood v. Bacon, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1309b (5th DCA 6/8/18)

APPEALS-COURT RECORDS-DEPENDENCY: Appellate court lacks jurisdiction to rule on whether the press has access to dependency proceedings where the trial court has not entered a final order, but rather only order the preparation of a transcript to review for possible redaction. C.H.-C. v. Miami Herald Publishing, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1298a (3rd DCA 6/6/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-VACATING SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: Court erred by setting aside the settlement agreement on the grounds that the notary and parties had limited understanding of English. In order to set aside a settlement agreement the court must find that the agreement is unfair or unreasonable, and that there was either concealment or presumed lack of knowledge. Roca Rodriguez v. Roca, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1294a (3rd DCA 6/6/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: Court erred by setting aside marital settlement agreement where findings of fraud, Misrepresentation and coercion were not supported by competent substantial evidence. Any misunderstanding Husband had with his own interpreter does not constitute fraud. A party to a marital settlement agreement is presumed to know what he is signing and is charged with the duty of procuring a reliable person to explain the document to him prior to signing it. Gutierrez v. Gutierrez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1269e(3rd DCA 6/6/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: in entering judgment on former wife’s motion for attorney’s fees without calculating lodestar by determining number of hours reasonably expended and reasonable hourly rate. Garrido v. Garrido, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1266a (4th DCA 6/6/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court erred in awarding attorney’s fees without making factual findings regarding reasonable hourly rate or reasonable number of hours expended. Amro v. Gazze, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1265a (4th DCA 6/6/18)

RELOCATION: Relocation statute applies to people who are, or may be, reported. There is no distinction between voluntary and involuntary parental location. Castleman v. Bicaldo, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1256c (4th DCA 6/6/18)

RELOCATION: Court may not include in final judgment of dissolution of marriage a prospective based analysis about the effects of possible deportation. Castleman v. Bicaldo, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1256c (4th DCA 6/6/18)

ALIMONY: A award of durational alimony may not exceed the length of the marriage. Castleman v. Bicaldo, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1256c (4th DCA 6/6/18)

DEPENDENCY: Court may enter a default order after mother failed to appear at arraignment where she had appeared at the shelter hearing and was advised of the arraignment date. In such cases, service of process is not required. C.J.L-M. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1248a (4th DCA 6/6/18)

ALIMONY-MODIFICATION: Former wife reaching the age when she could access retirement accounts without penalty may be considered a substantial change in circumstances warranting a downward modification in alimony. A substantial change of circumstances occurs even if that changes foreseeable or anticipated. “As a prerequisite to the modification of an alimony award, the notion of an ‘anticipated’ change in circumstances has crept into Florida law over the years. We often see it argued, as in this case, to preclude changes that were ‘foreseeable’ at the time of the original final judgment. The word choice of ‘anticipated’ has been unfortunate because it has transformed a very different concept into something that it is not. Gelber v. Brydger, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1243a (4th DCA 6/6/18)

MAY 2018

MSA: Court violates due process by modifying MSA without giving notice and opportunity to be heard on the issue. Williams v. Sapp, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1215b (1st DCA 5/31/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Court may deny petition to terminate parental rights based on the Father’s 97-month term in prison. D.M. v. M.D., 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1215a (5th DCA 5/30/18)

DEPENDENCY: Court erred in finding the child defendant on the basis that she let the child in the custody of her aunt. The fact that the aunt had a prior history was DCF and discharged again in the child’s presence does not establish that she is an inappropriate caregiver. C.H. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L.Weekly D1203c (3rd DCA 5/30/18)

ADOPTION: Biological father’s challenge to adoption is barred by statute of repose. Also, biological father has no standing as he had no legal parental rights to children born into an intact marriage. J.G. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1201a (4th DCA 5/30/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred when it required former husband to make a lump-sum equalizing payment to former wife as there is no indication in record that former husband had ability to make such payment within time frame set by trial court. Kurtanovic v. Kurtanovic, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1194a (1st DCA 5/25/18)

DURATIONAL ALIMONY: Award of durational alimony is stricken where Final Judgment failed to contain sufficient factual findings of former wife’s need and former husband’s ability to pay to allow for meaningful appellate review. Stricklin v. Stricklin, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1184a (1st DCA 5/25/18)

HEARING: Wife was denied due process when court ruled on motions at a hearing that had been noticed only as a scheduling conference. Carson-Grayson v. Grayson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1171b (5th DCA 5/25/18)

ALIMONY: Court erred in determining amount of prospective durational alimony without considering tax consequences. Persaud v. Persaud, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1146d (2nd DCA 5/18/18)

CHILD SUPPORT-RETROACTIVE: Court erred in using unpaid retroactive alimony when calculating wife’s income for purpose of determining her retroactive child support obligation. Persaud v. Persaud, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1146d (2nd DCA 5/18/18)

IMPUTED INCOME: Court properly imputed income to Wife who had worked for ten years with her claimed disabilities and had made substantial income. U.S. Census Bureau median income for full time workers must be imputed when the evidence is insufficient for the court to make an individualized determination of imputed income for the parent. Heard v. Perales, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1121a (4th DCA 5/16/18)

MSA: Where MSA indicated that husband had right to have house sold or to refinance house in his own name and buy wife out of the home for 50% of the equity if wife failed to refinance mortgage within six months of dissolution of marriage, Court erred by directing that the parties evenly split the proceeds of the forced sale of their home, as 50% provision applied only if husband refinanced house in his own name and bought out former wife’s interest. Sealy v. Sealy, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1119a (4th DCA 5/16/18)

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE-PATERNITY: A husband who is not the natural or adoptive parent of a child, and has not otherwise contracted for the child’s care and support, has no duty to pay child support upon the dissolution of the marriage. Court must make specific findings in regards to children born or conceived during the marriage but for whom the Husband is not the father. Davis v. Davis, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1118a (4th DCA 5/16/18)

INJUNCTION-MOOTNESS: Injunctions against domestic violence are not rendered moot by their natural expiration because of collateral consequences, i.e. prohibition on possessing a firearm, etc. Injunctions against stalking, however, are rendered moot by their natural expiration. Molina v. Valenzuela, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1115a (4th DCA 5/16/18)

MSA: Hearing required to interpret ambiguous provision of FRS plan providing for wife to receive 50% of Husband’s retirement. Fazio v. Fazio, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1113a (4th DCA 5/16/18)

CONTEMPT-INDIRECT: Court failed to follow requirements for indirect contempt by issuing writ of bodily attachment. Bajcar v. Bajcar, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1092a (3d DCA 5/16/18)

MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: A latent ambiguity exists where a contract fails to specify the rights and duties of the parties in certain situations and extrinsic evidence is necessary for the interpretation or a choice between two possible meanings. When a latent ambiguity exists, the court must hear parol evidence to interpret the writing properly. Where MSA anticipated that Husband’s inheritance would be given him in a lump sum and it turns out that he got it through disbursements from a trust fund, the Court must consider parol evidence to interpret the MSA intent. When considering parol evidence concerning the parties’ intent, a reasonable interpretation is preferred over one which is unreasonable, and an interpretation that leads to an absurd result or that nullifies other provisions of the contract should be avoided. Morrison v. Morrison, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1074a (2nd DCA 5/11/18).

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred in distributing marital value of depleted investment account to wife absent specific finding that dissipation of account resulted from intentional misconduct. Depleting an asset to pay attorney’s fees in the divorce case is insufficient, without a finding of misconduct, to warrant assigning the depleted asset as part of the equitable distribution plan. Bellows v. Bellows, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1048a (4th DCA 5/9/18)

CONTEMPT-INDIRECT-FAILURE TO PAY ALIMONY: Due process is violated when former husband is not given motion for contempt until the time of the hearing. A party must have actual notice of and time to prepare for a contested hearing. Two days notice is insufficient notice of a contempt hearing. Kane v. Kane, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1023a (3rd DCA 5/9/18)

APRIL 2018

CHILD CUSTODY-BEST INTERESTS: Following the death of the mother, because stepfather was not a natural parent, use of best interest of child standard to determine temporary custody was error. Biological father should have been awarded custody of child unless stepfather proved either that father was unfit or that remaining with biological father would result in demonstrable harm to child. Morris v. Morris, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D952b (1 st DCA 4/30/18)

CONTEMPT: An injunction order must be obeyed until vacated or modified reversed on appeal the matter how unreasonable or erroneous. Kozel v. Kozel, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D950a (2nd DCA 4/27/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Father is entitled to attend hearing in which court determined whether termination of parental rights was in the children’s manifest best interests. R.E.B. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D947a (5th DCA 4/27/18)

ALIMONY-ABILITY TO PAY: Temporary order of child support and alimony leaving the Husband with $300 per month is excessive. De la Piedra v. De la Piedra, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D940a (1st DCA 4/25/18)

TIME-SHARING: Statute allowing military servicemember to designate family member to exercise time-sharing rights while the servicemember is under temporary assignment orders to relocate away from the child does not apply in instant case in which service member’s assignment was a permanent change in station. Overstreet v. Overstreet, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D937c (1st DCA 4/25/18)

MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: Court erred when it interpreted MSA addendum as unambiguously treating former husband’s sale or refinance of former marital home as condition precedent to his obligation to pay former wife’s equitable distribution. Agreement failed to specify when and how husband would become obligated to make equitable distribution payment to wife if sale or refinance did not occur. Kirschner v. Ramsier, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D929a (4th DCA 4/25/18)

TIMESHARING: Court did not err by accepting stipulated fifty/fifty timesharing without making a specific best interests finding. Issue not preserved. Daniels v. Caparello, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D878a (1st DCA 4/20/18)

CONTEMPT-TIMESHARING: Court may not modify timesharing schedule as sanction for failure to provide her physical address. Lewis v. Juliano, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D845a (4th DCA 4/18/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: DCF is not required to offer mother case plan before turning parental rights. K.D. v. State, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D787a (1st DCA 4/13/18)

CHILD CUSTODY-MODIFICATION: Due process prohibits court from granting verified emergency motion to suspend timesharing agreement where father was given only 19 hours’ notice of hearing. Ferris v. State, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D752a (2nd DCA 4/6/18)

CHILD CUSTODY-MODIFICATION: Court may not provide relief which is not requested in the petition for modification, regardless of whether there is a substantial change of circumstances. Russell v. Russell, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D735c (1st DCA 4/5/18)

MARCH 2018

CHILD SUPPORT-INCOME: Court may not factor in business losses in income calculation when evidence was conclusory. Crespo v. Lebron, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D684a (5th DCA 3/29/18)

INJUNCTION: Evidence supports injunction for protection of child and 100% parenting time after drunk father on New Year’s Eve, among other things, played television loudly (wife cut the TV cord), husband got the wife out of bed by flipping the mattress, and husband threatened to send her back to Russia. Zarudny v. Zarudny, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D669b (3rd DCA 3/28/18)

DEPENDENCY: Due Process violated when goal is changed from reunification to permanent guardianship without three day prior notice. A.R. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D609a (2nd DCA 3/16/18)

CHILD CUSTODY-ATTORNEY’S FEES: Final Judgment must contain factual findings justifying attorney’s fees or time-sharing. Brown v. Brown, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D607a (2nd DCA 3/16/18)

CONTEMPT: Failure to include in motion for contempt that failure to appear might result in writ of bodily attachment and incarceration did not adversely affect husband’s due process rights. Carter v. Hart, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D599 (5th DCA 3/16/18)

ALIMONY: Although court may order both durational and permanent alimony, only permanent alimony should be ordered when there is ongoing need. Hedden v. Hedden, Fla. L. Weekly D598a (5th DCA 3/16/18)

ALIMONY: Courts may not base alimony on unrealized possibilities, such as anticipation of social security. Hedden v. Hedden, Fla. L. Weekly D598a (5th DCA 3/16/18)

TIMESHARING: Court erred in delegating authority to determine visitation to therapists and the guardian ad litem. Subramanian v. Subramanian, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D569a (4th DCA 3/14/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Promissory notes and a debt consolidation loan incurred after date of filing of petition for dissolution of marriage are not marital debts. Subramanian v. Subramanian, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D569a (4th DCA 3/14/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Error to award attorney’s fees without determining need or ability to pay. Ringenberg v. Ringenberg, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D554b (1st DCA 3/8/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred in including in equitable distribution scheme the value of thrift savings plan liquidated by husband without making specific finding of misconduct. Jones v. Jones, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D553b (1st DCA 3/8/18)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Provision of injunction for protection against stalking enjoining respondent from coming within 500 feet of petitioner/neighbor’s house was overbroad, as it seemingly deprived respondent of all lawful use of his property, including his right of ingress and egress from the neighborhood. When an action has been tried by the court without a jury, the sufficiency of the evidence to support the judgment may be raised on appeal whether or not the party raising the question has made any objection thereto in the trial court or made a motion for rehearing, for new trial, or to alter or amend the judgment. Givens v. Holmes, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D532a (2nd DCA 3/7/18)

WEIRD: “This record . . . reflects that Mr. Givens lodged an objection at his earliest opportunity, albeit the judge had exited the courtroom and was not privy to the objection.” Givens v. Holmes, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D532a (2nd DCA 3/7/18)

ADOPTION: Father who wants Mother’s right terminated in favor of grandparent adoption is not a petitioner. I.B. v. In Re: Adoption of Z.E.S., 43 Fla. L. Weekly D511d (4th DCA 3/7/18)

FOREIGN DIVORCE-RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT: It would be inequitable to allow the former husband to attack the validity of the 2000 Jordanian divorce decree in 2015 after having relied on it to marry and dissolve his 2011 marriage to the former wife. Albassam v. Klob, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D509a (4th DCA 3/7/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Unless there is clear and convincing evidence of abandonment, Father’s consent is required for TPR and relative adoption. Failure to pay support is not conclusive to support a finding of abandonment. S.M.K. v. S.L.E., 43 Fla. L. Weekly D502a (5th DCA 3/2/18)


EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred in characterizing payments to be made from husband to wife for her one-half interest in amount to be received from sale of marital business as support enforceable by contempt. Stufft v. Stufft, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D446b (5th DCA 2/23/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Property deeded to adult sons is not subject to Equitable Distribution. Perez v. Perez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D444c (5th DCA 2/23/18)

ALIMONY: Alimony should be based on net, not gross, income, and must be supported by specific findings on need and ability to pay. $1750 per month in alimony is reversed. Perez v. Perez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D444c (5th DCA 2/23/18)

APPEAL-PATERNITY-TRANSCRIPT: Judgment affirmed in the absence of a transcript. Pitcher v. Schneider, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D442a (5th DCA 2/23/18)

ALIMONY: Court abused its discretion by giving retroactive effect to alimony modification so as to charge wife with an obligation resulting from past overpayments by former husband, especially since former wife has suffered a stroke. Millan v. Millan, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D351a (2nd DCA 2/14/18)

MSA: Where settlement agreement provided for former wife to have sole possession of a piece of marital property until the parties’ daughter finished four years of college, and for the former husband to be entitled to 50% of the net proceeds upon sale of the property by former wife, trial court erred in finding that agreement did not require former wife to sell the property after the daughter finished four years of college. Wells v. Wells, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D346a (2nd DCA 2/14/18)

INJUNCTION-JURISDICTION: Court has no jurisdiction to enter injunction for protection against domestic violence against non-resident who has no contacts with Florida except that his children and a brother live in Florida. Fact that party has traveled to Florida did not give rise to personal jurisdiction. Youssef v. Zaitouni, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D345a (2nd DCA 2/14/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Once it determined by clear and convincing evidence that child was conceived through unlawful sexual battery, trial court was required to presume that termination of father’s parental rights was in best interests of child in absence of credible evidence showing otherwise. Guardian ad Litem v. C.W, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D333a (2nd DCA 2/9/19)

ALIMONY-CHILD SUPPORT: Court erred in using unpaid retroactive alimony when calculating wife’s income for purpose of determining her retroactive child support obligation. Persaud v. Persaud, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D329a (2nd DCA 2/9/18)

ALIMONY: Court erred in determining amount of prospective durational alimony without considering tax consequences. Persaud v. Persaud, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D329a (2nd DCA 2/9/18)

INJUNCTION: Court may not enter an injunction against sexual violence when the children denied the allegations during the videotaped interview with the Child Protection Team and there were no eyewitnesses to the alleged abuse. The mother claiming that the children said the Respondent had molested them is insufficient. Keller v. Ramseyer, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D317b (5th DCA 2/9/18)

VENUE: Court erred in denying motion for change of venue to county in which parties last resided with intent to remain married. Diaz v. Vasquez, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D297c (4th DCA 2/7/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court abused its discretion by using par value of stock as means of assessing value of former husband’s business. Soria v. Soria, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D293a(2nd DCA 2/7/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred in valuing the balance of former husband’s bank account at time dissolution petition was filed and assigning that balance to husband rather than using the diminished value of the account at time of hearing where account was diminished to pay marital expenses and there was no evidence of misconduct on part of former husband. Stewart v. Stewart, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D290a (1st DCA 2/5/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court erred in assigning an enhanced value of former husband’s pre-marital company to him where former wife failed to show that any enhancement resulted from marital labor. Stewart v. Stewart, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D290a (1st DCA 2/5/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Award of attorney’s fees cannot be based solely on disparity of income. Burnett v. Burnett, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D288a (1st DCA 2/5/18)

ALIMONY: Court erred in ordering former husband to secure alimony with life insurance without findings regarding availability and cost of insurance, former husband’s ability to pay, and special circumstances that warrant security. Burnett v. Burnett, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D288a (1st DCA 2/5/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: Court erred in awarding former wife attorney’s fees without findings regarding each party’s need and ability to pay. Nassirou v. Borba, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D287a (1st DCA 2/5/18)

CONTEMPT: Order holding former wife in contempt for sending former husband vitriolic text and voicemail messages and ordering former wife to pay former husband $100,000 was a criminal contempt order rather than a civil contempt order where the fine included no purge provision. Because court failed to afford former wife requisite protections for a criminal contempt order, the order is reversed. Ash v. Campion, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D285c (1st DCA 2/5/18)

ALIMONY: Court erred by denying award of alimony on ground that former wife was in a supportive relationship without making findings about the extent of the relationship. Only those relationships that are substantially equivalent to a remarriage warrant a reduction of alimony. Bruce v. State, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D284a (5th DCA 2/2/18)

ALIMONY-MODIFICATION-JURISDICTION: Court has jurisdiction to modify duration of alimony where the petition was filed in same court where final judgments were executed. Ispass v. Ispass, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D278a (5th DCA 2/2/18)

CHOICE OF LAW: Court may not disregard agreement’s choice of law provision without determining whether Israel’s law would contravene Florida’s public policy. Gal v. Gal, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D276d (5th DCA 2/2/18)

INJUNCTION-SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Requiring a psychosexual evaluation of respondent is overly broad where it fails to specify the time place physician’s name and manner, conditions and scope of the evaluation. Curtis v. Reinhardt, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D276a (5th DCA 2/2/18)


TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: Neither incarceration nor inability to financially the child due to incarceration alone warrants termination of parental rights. B.F. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D255a (4th DCA 1/31/18)

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS: The fact that the court made substantial changes to DCF’s proposed termination order indicates that the court exercised independent judgments. D.R. v. DCF, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D253a (1st DCA 1/31/18)

INJUNCTION: Court is not required to stay the hearing on a permanent injunction on the basis that going forward would jeopardize 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in a pending criminal case. Speegle v. Rhoden, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D245a (1st DCA 1/26/18)

MSA: Absent any evidence that the parties intended to endow a special meaning in the terms used in the agreement, the unambiguous language is to be given a realistic interpretation based upon the plain, everyday meaning conveyed by the words. Kirschner v. Ramsier, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D209a (4th DCA 1/24/18)

PARENTING PLAN: Court may not prohibit all contact with one parent without detailed factual findings so justifying. Verrier v. Oaks, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D191a (2nd DCA 1/19/18)

INJUNCTION: Court may not summarily deny motion to dissolve injunction for protection against repeat violence without affording movant meaningful opportunity to be heard. Leija v. Byrd, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D161a (1st DCA 1/17/18)

INJUNCTION-STALKING: Only one incident of stalking is sufficient basis for an injunction. Stalking is by definition repeated acts. Driving by a house only one time is not stalking. Pickett v. State, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D159b (1st DCA 1/17/18)

ATTORNEY’S FEES: It is permissible to award attorney’s fees to Defendant in baseless dating, repeat, and sexual violence injunction proceedings. Lopez v. Hall, 43 Fla. L. Weekly S11a (FLA 1/11/18)

TIMESHARING: Hearing is required to determine by extrinsic evidence the intent of parties in an ambiguous timesharing clause of MSA. Wohlberg v. Connor, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D134a (4th DCA 1/10/18)

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Court improperly disqualified attorney in divorce case on the basis that the attorney had drafted a prenuptial agreement in the absence of a sworn motion and sworn allegations supporting a conflict. Furman v. Furman, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D113a (2nd DCA 1/5/18)

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION: Court must make specific findings as to whether property is marital or not. Price v. Price, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D112a (2nd DCA 1/5/18)

DEPENDENCY: Court is required to make specific factual findings as to each ground in order to make a proper determination with regard to dependency. Court may not make a blanket determination that there are no grounds for dependency. Guardian Ad Litem v. K.W. and K.W., 43 Fla. L. Weekly D110a (2nd DCA 1/5/18)

RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT: Allegations that husband’s agreement to mediated settlement agreement was result of coercion and duress constituted intrinsic fraud subject to one-year limitation for seeking relief from judgment. Robinson v. Robinson, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D102a (1st DCA 1/3/18)

PATERNITY: Court erred in granting petition to disestablish paternity on basis of newly discovered evidence demonstrating that petitioner is not biological father of child without making findings that newly discovered evidence relating to paternity has come to petitioner’s knowledge since initial paternity determination and that scientific test to show probability of paternity was properly conducted. DOR v. Augustin, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D93a (3rd DCA 1/3/18)


INJUNCTION: Court may not deny a motion to dissolve a domestic violence injunction without affording movant a meaningful opportunity to be heard