Below are summaries of recent decisions from Florida's appellate courts on Florida divorce and family law issues. Clicking on the case name allows you to view the appellate opinion described in the analysis below. These summaries are courtesy of Bruce Law Firm, P.A., a law firm limited to representation of clients in the mediation, litigation and appeals of Florida marital and family law matters. The firm also created and maintains the family law focused appellate resources website DivorceCourtAppeals.com.
Case: Martinez v. Izquierdo
Trial Judge: Laura M. Watson.
Attorneys: Blanca Rosa Sordo.
Issues: Protection Against Domestic Violence.
Holding: A trial court may enter an injunction for protection against domestic violence if it properly finds, on consideration of sufficient evidence, that the petitioner has an objectively reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of an act of domestic violence. Under Florida Statute, the party being enjoined shall surrender any firearms of ammunition in his or her care or possession, unless he or she is a law enforcement officer, in which case, the prohibition may apply to them personally but not regarding their employment.
In this case, the trial court did not err given that the evidence was sufficient to establish that the Petitioner had an objectively reasonable cause to believe she was in imminent danger of becoming the victim of an act of domestic violence. However, in issuing the injunction, the court erroneously required the Respondent to surrender his ammunition and firearms notwithstanding that he was a law enforcement officer. The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s entry of the underlying injunction, but reversed and remanded with instructions that the trial court remove the prohibition on ammunition and firearms based on his status as a law enforcement officer, without prejudice for the trial court to provide limitations on any personal firearms or ammunition in his possession.
Case: Herman v. Herman
Court: Third District Court of Appeal.
Trial Judge: Mindy S. Glazer.
Attorneys: Evan L. Abramowitz, Cynthia L. Greene.
Issues: Parenting, Time-sharing.
Holding: Florida Statutes (2015), provide that the trial court shall order the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless it finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. The trial court shall evaluate the evidence to determine if both parents are equally capable of providing for the minor child or children, and are capable of making paramount the child’s or children’s needs.
In this case, the trial court did not err in that it articulated its findings in a Supplemental Judgment, such findings being supported by competent substantial evidence. Nor did the trial court abuse its discretion by ordering shared parental responsibility. The appeals court affirmed the timesharing schedule established by the trial court in the Supplemental Judgment.
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