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It is a common practice for the Florida courts to issue orders in family law cases that impose obligations to pay child support or alimony. Additionally, to ensure that such obligations are upheld, the courts must issue a separate income withholding order. Recently, a Florida court discussed income withholding orders in a matter in which the wife objected to the trial court vacating an existing income withholding order. If you have questions concerning alimony, it is wise to confer with a dedicated Miami divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Underlying Case

It is reported that the wife and husband divorced, and the court ordered the husband to pay alimony. In 2021, the husband moved for a modification of his obligation. The court granted the husband’s motion and issued an amended income withholding order. The wife appealed the trial court’s ruling, arguing that it erred by issuing the order without notice or granting her an opportunity to be heard. As the appeal was pending, the trial court vacated the income withholding order but did not enter a new order. The wife asserted that this was improper under Florida law as well. The husband did not pay any alimony during the pendency of the appeal.

Income Withholding Orders in Florida Family Law Cases

The court noted that the wife’s reasoning was correct and remanded the matter to the trial court, directing it to enter a new income withholding order. In its opinion, the court noted that the trial court was mandated to do so by Florida Statutes. Specifically, the law dictates that when entering an order establishing, modifying, or enforcing an obligation for child support, alimony, or both, unless the order is temporary, the court must enter a separate order for income withholding unless one has already been entered. Continue reading ›

Divorce can leave one party in a precarious financial situation. In many divorces, then, a person will seek alimony from their spouse. In evaluating whether alimony is warranted, the courts will look at not only if the party seeking alimony can demonstrate their need but also if the other party has the ability to pay. If either party’s economic circumstances change after a court enters an order granting alimony, the court may grant a modification. Recently, a Florida court discussed the factors considered in determining whether to terminate alimony in a case in which it upheld the trial court’s ruling. If you are considering ending your marriage and want to learn more about alimony, it is smart to meet with an experienced Miami divorce attorney.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife divorced in 2008. Their marital settlement agreement was incorporated into the final judgment of divorce. Among other things, the agreement dictated that the husband was to pay the wife $3,000 in alimony per month until the wife remarried, the husband reached the age of 65, or either party died. It stated that the obligation could be modified, but an increase in the wife’s income did not constitute grounds for a modification.

Allegedly, the husband filed a petition for modification in 2016 after he lost his job. The wife filed a motion for enforcement and contempt, as the husband had ceased paying alimony when he was terminated. There was no activity in the case until 2019, when the wife filed a second motion. The husband then filed a second petition for modification or termination. The case proceeded to trial, after which the court found that the husband had demonstrated a substantial and material change in circumstances and suspended his obligation until his ability to pay was restored. The wife then appealed. Continue reading ›

Co-parents often disagree over the terms of their shared custody of a child or what constitutes an appropriate amount of child support. As such, in many instances, they will rely on the courts to define their rights and obligations. A party’s situation may change over time, though, and what was once an appropriate order defining custody and child support may need to be modified. Parties that disagree with modifications have the right to appeal, but generally, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case, if a court’s ruling is supported by substantial evidence, it will be upheld. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is advisable to consult a skilled Miami child support lawyer promptly.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and father had a child in 2016. Prior to the birth of the child, the parties acknowledged the father’s paternity and developed a parenting plan. The trial court subsequently entered a final judgment of paternity in which it incorporated and ratified the parenting plan the parties agreed upon. Two years after the child’s birth, the father filed a petition to modify child support and the parenting plan. The court granted the father’s petition, and the mother appealed.

Grounds for Upholding Orders Modifying Child Support and Custody

On appeal, the trial court’s ruling was upheld. The court noted that the trial court entered its order granting the father’s petition for modification following a seven-day trial during which it considered evidence from the parties and their experts. Further, the order, which was thirty-four pages, set forth explicit findings of fact that were supported by evidence that was substantial and competent, and thoroughly analyzed the statutory factors of Florida Statute 61.13, which guide the courts in determining what is in a child’s best interest. Continue reading ›

It is not uncommon for people who live and work in Florida to maintain citizenship in the United States and other countries. This can present challenges when it comes to co-parenting and custody disputes, however, as dual citizens often wish to move back to their native country while maintaining their rights to custody and visitation. As demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, while parents have the right to make such requests, they should not expect their co-parents to share the significant costs associated with sharing custody internationally. If you have questions about your parental rights and obligations with regard to custody, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Miami child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the mother and father met in 2016 and had a child together in 2017. The father lived and worked in the United States but was a dual citizen of Belgium and the United States. The parties lived together initially, but the mother and child moved out eventually. The father did not maintain a relationship with the child until 2019. He lost his job in 2020 due to the pandemic and moved back to Belgium.

Reportedly, the father only returned to the United States once in 2021 so that he could visit the child. At that time, he filed a petition to establish visitation and child support. The father sought to have the child visit him in Belgium twice a year, but the mother argued that neither she nor the father could afford the cost of the travel. She requested child support as well. The trial court held a hearing but did not make any findings. It then sought proposed final judgments from both parties and adopted the father’s judgment, which among other things, ordered the mother to pay half of the cost of transporting the child to Belgium and granted the mother $148 per month in child support. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that in divorce actions, the courts have the authority to divide marital assets in a manner that they deem fair and just. Not all property acquired during a marriage is subject to equitable distribution, though, as shown in a recent Florida ruling. If you have questions about how ending your marriage may impact you financially, it is prudent to talk to a skilled Miami divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the husband and wife divorced. In the final dissolution of judgment, the trial court ordered the husband to pay the wife $255 per month, which the court stated represented a portion of his “military retirement.” Five years after the divorce was final, the wife filed a motion for enforcement and contempt, arguing that the husband retired two years earlier but had not paid her any portion of his military retirement. The court granted the wife’s motion, and the husband appealed.

Assets Subject to Equitable Distribution

On appeal, the husband argued that he medically retired and that, therefore, the money he received represented military disability payments rather than retirement payments. He further noted that he did not meet the length of service requirement to receive retirement payments from the military. As such, he argued that the trial court erred in ordering him to make payments to the wife. Continue reading ›

One of the fundamental elements of litigation is the right to question your opponents and their witnesses. The right is not absolute, though, as demonstrated in a recent child custody case in which the courts protected a child witness from being deposed. If you are concerned about protecting your parental rights, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Miami child custody attorney.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father began living together over a decade ago. The mother had a daughter from a previous relationship, and the mother and father later had a daughter together. In 2019, the mother’s older daughter advised a mental health coordinator at her school that the father had sexually abused her and that her parents were aware of the abuse. She was interviewed multiple times, and her testimony was the same each time.

Allegedly, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) filed an action to terminate the mother’s and father’s parental rights to both children. During the trial, the oldest daughter testified regarding the abuse but recanted her earlier statements that both parents were aware of the abuse. The father moved to disqualify the judge and for a new trial, and his motion was granted, and a new trial was ordered. Continue reading ›

In divorce actions, the parties will typically go through the process of discovery, during which they will seek any evidence that they can use to help them obtain a favorable outcome. Once discovery is complete, and the court issues its final judgment, however, parties will rarely be granted the chance to offer additional evidence. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, in which the court explained that reopening evidence in a divorce action would be unfairly prejudicial to the wife. If you are interested in seeking a divorce and want to learn more about your rights, it is smart to confer with a knowledgeable Miami divorce attorney.

History of the Case

It is alleged that in 2014, the parties divorced pursuant to a consent judgment that, among other things, fixed the equitable distribution of the estate. In 2020 the wife filed a motion asking the court to clarify her right to the husband’s pension. The court conducted a hearing during which the husband, the wife, and the benefits manager for the husband’s pension fund testified. The court ultimately entered an order defining the husband’s pension obligations to the wife.

It is reported that a week after the trial, the husband obtained a new attorney, who then moved to reopen the evidence on the grounds that the court granted the wife a greater share of the husband’s pension than she was entitled to receive. The motion asserted that supplemental evidence from the benefits manager was necessary to issue an equitable ruling. The court denied the motion, and the husband appealed. Continue reading ›

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In many divorce actions, a couple will disagree as to how marital property should be divided. In some instances, a party will go so far as to intentionally divert funds to prevent their spouse from accessing them. The courts typically do not look kindly on such behavior, as demonstrated in a recent Florida divorce action in which the court found that the wife’s act of depositing marital funds in an irrevocable trust constituted misconduct. If you have concerns about how a divorce could impact your finances, it is in your best interest to meet with a Miami divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the husband and the wife were in the process of divorcing. After the petition for dissolution was filed, the wife transferred approximately millions of dollars in marital funds into an irrevocable trust. She allegedly did so to protect the husband from wasting the assets after the divorce, given his history of being reckless with marital funds and subject to extortion schemes. Allegedly, in the trial court’s final judgment of divorce, it allocated the money in the trust to the wife for purposes of equitable distribution, which increased the value of the marital estate and ultimately prompted the court to require the wife to pay the husband an equalizer payment of approximately $2 million. The wife appealed, challenging the trial court’s ruling.

Intentional Diversion of Marital Funds

On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed. Specifically, the court found that contrary to her assertions, the wife’s actions solely benefitted her and were unrelated to the marriage and, therefore, constituted misconduct and intentional diversion of marital funds. Continue reading ›

Florida law dictates that all parents have a duty to support their children financially. When parents share custody of a child, this is often reflected through the imposition of child support obligations. While one parent may be compelled to pay child support to the other, such support is for the benefit of the child, not the parent. As such, in cases in which a court is presented with factors indicating a support obligation should be offset, their paramount concern should be the child’s welfare, not the financial status of the parents, as discussed in a recent Florida case.  If you have questions regarding child support, it is in your best interest to confer with a Miami child support attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the father and the mother had one child during their marriage and subsequently divorced. The court granted them joint custody and time-sharing rights and order the father to pay the mother child support. The father failed to make any payments for a lengthy period of time and incurred a significant arrearage. He subsequently filed a petition to modify time-sharing. The court granted the motion and modified the custody order to indicate that the child would reside primarily with the father.

Reportedly, the court also imposed a child support obligation on the mother. It then set off the mother’s obligation against the father’s arrearage and stated that the mother would not have to pay child support for years. The father appealed. Continue reading ›

Parties seeking a dissolution of their marriage in Florida must comply with any applicable procedural rules. This means, among other things, that the party that institutes an action must properly serve the initial pleading on their spouse. If they do not, the court may lack jurisdiction over the responding spouse. A person cannot attempt to avoid dissolution by evading service of process, however, as demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion issued in a divorce case. If you or your spouse intend to end your marriage, it is important to speak to a Miami divorce attorney regarding your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. He then hired a process server to serve the petition on the wife. The process server attempted to serve the wife at her father’s home. She tried to evade service, however, by refusing to answer telephone calls or the door and running into the house. Further, her father attempted to stop the process server from getting close to the house.

Reportedly, the process server subsequently left the wife a message on her cell phone and yelled into the house that he had papers to serve her. She did not respond, and he ultimately left the papers in an obvious location and screamed that she had been served. The wife subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the action due to improper service of process. The court denied her motion, and she appealed. Continue reading ›

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