Just three short months after Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s divorce became final, a Florida appeals court was again called upon to enter a decision in the half-decade long legal contest. The 3d District Court of Appeal overturned a trial court’s order requiring the NBA star’s ex-wife to undergo a mental evaluation and also removed the trial court judge from the case, citing his denial of the “most basic right of due process” to the ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches.
Many of the facts of Wade’s ill-fated marriage are well-known by now. Wade and Funches married in 2002, had two sons, and filed for divorce in 2007. The divorce proceeding turned into a marathon affair, becoming final only three months ago. In the property settlement, Wade agreed to pay Funches $25,000 in alimony, with another $10,000 in travel and living expenses. The basketball star also agreed to pay Funches’ mortgage and gave her the use of four cars.
This outcome apparently displeased the ex-wife, as Funches took to the streets of her hometown of Chicago. Funches stages a public protest claiming that the divorce had left her “on the streets.” Wade’s legal team fired back, returning to court to argue that Funches’ protest demonstrated her mental instability and dangerousness and requested that the court order a psychological evaluation of the woman and reduce her contact with the boys. Trial court judge Antonio Marin ordered the evaluation.
The 3d DCA disagreed. Rather than viewing Funches’ protest as proof of her instability, the appeals court described her actions as simply a woman “passionately voicing her views.” The appeals court ruled that, although the ex-wife’s action allowed her to create the false impression that Wade had left her homeless, the protest, by itself, was not enough to “place the Mother’s mental condition ‘in controversy,'” nor was it sufficient to establish that she was “unfit to exercise her parenting time with the children.”
The appeals court did not stop there, though. The court also disqualified the trial court judge handling the case. The appeals court noted that, at one point during the lower court hearing, the judge adopted a recommendation issued by a “parenting coordinator” whom Wade had called to testify, without first giving Funches the chance to cross-examine the witness. This action, the appeals court decided, “denied the Mother a most basic right of due process and reasonably caused her to fear that she would not receive a fair and impartial hearing.”
The ex-wife’s legal team proudly declared that, “Justice prevailed,” and that “the appeals court was not swayed by [Wade’s] celebrity status as law should not be,” according to BET.
Divorce and child custody matters can be grueling cases. While one hopes that the parents will come together for the benefit of their children, this does not always happen. If you are involved in a divorce or custody case and your ex-spouse is insistent on battling instead of compromising, reach out to the South Florida family law attorneys of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. They have years of experience helping people in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade area navigate the court system, assert their rights and protect their relationships with their children. Contact us online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Child Custody Concerns on a Startling Rise, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, July 31, 2013
The Dwayne Wade Divorce Saga Has Ended, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, July 24, 2013