There are many ways that your family law case can go awry, and some of those ways are completely unrelated to the facts of your dispute. You can get tripped up by things like jurisdiction or the statute of limitations. You can also encounter difficulties if you fail to meet discovery deadlines, including those related to expert witness testimony. Severe enough infractions can even lead to your expert being excluded from trial and you being denied a continuance to get your evidence in order. If you find yourself in a family law dispute, be sure to obtain a skilled Florida divorce attorney to avoid these pitfalls and, if it is the opposing party who is delaying, to use the courts to protect yourself and your children.
The issues of delays and continuances were at the center of one recent South Florida divorce case. In this dispute, the wife filed for divorce and asked the trial court to appoint a psychologist who would “interview, test and evaluate” both spouses and their child. This was related to determining parental responsibility, timesharing and a parenting plan. The spouses eventually agreed to a doctor and the examination went forward. Later, the husband hired a different psychologist to give testimony about the first doctor’s report, as well as prepare a report of her own.
The trial was scheduled for June 1. The deposition for the husband’s expert was set for May 30. The husband missed many deadlines for disclosing his expert’s report. Finally, on May 25, the husband asked for a continuance of the trial. At the continuance hearing, the husband’s expert said she’d been delayed by computer problems and a death in the family. The trial judge rejected the husband’s request for that delay of the trial. The judge also excluded the husband’s expert from testifying in the case.
The husband appealed but the appeals court also ruled against him. The husband cited to three cases where the courts found continuances to be appropriate, but the appeals court concluded that they were all different from his case. In those three previous cases, the facts of each were clear that the party seeking a continuance had in no way been engaged in any sort of delaying tactic, but had done everything they could to avoid needing a continuance. The facts of this husband’s case were not like those other cases. In this case, there was a “record of setting dates on which the report would be submitted followed by last-minute cancellations of depositions.” Under that set of facts, it was not unreasonable for the wife to argue, or for the trial court to decide, that the husband’s promise of “just one more week” was not something upon which the judge could rely. The husband’s “expert continued making and breaking promises as to the completion date of her report, right up to the eve of trial,” the court wrote. Under those conditions, denying a continuance was not improper.
Being equipped to obtain a positive result is about more than the facts of your case. It is also understanding the procedural requirements of a divorce litigation and making sure you meet them. The experienced South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. are here to give you the effective and reliable legal representation you need. Our attorneys have spent many years in thoughtfully helping clients to pursue beneficial outcomes for themselves and their families . Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Secures a Win for a South Florida Father Who Was Deprived of His Constitutional Rights in a Timesharing Modification Case, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Aug. 22, 2018
Court’s Refusal to Allow Mother to Present Her Case-in-Chief Violated Her Due Process Rights, Florida Appeals Court Says, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, June 19, 2018