Weekly Law Update on Florida Divorce & Child Custody Cases

Weekly summaries of decisions made by Florida Court of Appeals on actual divorce, child custody, child support and alimony cases.  

Florida Divorce and Family Law Update for Week Ending May 29, 2016

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:              Shulstad v. Shulstad
Court:            Second District Court of Appeal.
Trial Judge:   Ashley B. Moody.
Attorneys:      Mark A. Neumaier, Bradley J. McDonald, Matthew E. Thatcher.
Issues:            Alimony.

Holding:       A trial court may require a party to secure child support and alimony payments with life insurance coverage. However, the record should contain evidence of the payor's insurability, the cost of the proposed insurance, and the payor's ability to afford the insurance. In this case, the trial court erred in ordering the Former Husband/Payor to maintain life insurance coverage in the absence of a sufficient evidentiary basis. The appeals court reversed.

Case:              F.G. v. D.C.F
Court:            Third District Court of Appeal.
Trial Judge:   Maria I. Sampedro-Iglesia.
Attorneys:      Ilene Herscher, Karla Perkins, Laura J. Lee (Sanford).
Issues:            Dependency.

Holding:        The courts and legal counsel must try to identify related proceedings in order to avoid inconsistent results and facilitate judicial efficiency. In this case two separate courts granted inconsistent orders as to dependency when there was no recognition of the interconnectedness of the matters. The appeals court reversed.

Case:              Fye v. Bennett
Court:            Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Trial Judge:   John L. Phillips.
Attorneys:      Siobhan Helene Shea.
Issues:            Injunction Against Stalking.

Holding:         Under Florida statutes, a person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking. In this case, the trial court erred in ordering an injunction despite the Former Boyfriend agreeing to enter into a permanent injunction against stalking as part of criminal proceedings regarding his conduct. The appeals court reversed.

Case:              Valdes v. Valdes
Court:            Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Trial Judge:   Dennis D. Bailey.
Issues:            Timesharing.

Holding:         A trial court must rely on prior agreements and evidence in making an order as to timesharing. In this case, the trial court erred in its calculation of timesharing by granting an award inconsistent with the prior Parenting Plan without competent record evidence. The appeals court reversed and remanded.

Case:              Maciekowich v. Maciekowich
Court:            Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Trial Judge:   Edward A. Garrison.
Attorneys:      David S. Fabrikant, Richard L. Dedell.
Issues:            Alimony.

Holding:      When determining permanent periodic alimony a trial court shall consider the needs of one spouse and the other spouse’s ability to pay. In this case, the trial the court erred in awarding the Former Wife nominal annual alimony because it held she did not provide evidence of need. However, the Former Husband’s evidence made out the requirements of the respective parties’ need and ability to pay. The appeals court reversed.

Case:             Stark v. Stark
Court:            Fifth District Court of Appeal.
Trial Judge:   John D. Galluzzo.
Attorneys:      Marcia K. Lippincott, Patrick A. McGee.
Issues:            Alimony.

Holding:       Durational alimony is an intermediate form of alimony between bridge-the-gap and permanent alimony. It is used following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. In this case, the the trial court erred in awarding the Former Wife a combination of durational and permanent alimony rather than solely awarding permanent alimony. Specifically, the evidence failed to demonstrate that the Former Wife’s need or the Former Husband’s ability to pay would be materially different at the end of the durational alimony period than it was at the time the amended final judgment was entered. The appeals court reversed.

About DivorceCourtAppeals.com and Bruce Law Firm, P.A.

The Bruce Law Firm, P.A. is limited to the resolution of marital and family la w matters in Florida’s trial and appellate courts.  The firm handles divorce litigation in South Florida and accepts referrals for appellate representation in all of Florida’s appellate courts.  The firm pays referral fees in accordance with Florida Bar Rules for appellate matters, which are handled primarily on a fixed fee basis with a limited money back promise if the brief is not filed within 45 days of the firm receiving the transcript and record on appeal.