A wife successfully managed to obtain a freeze of $3 million of her husband’s assets while posting an injunction bond of only $100. The 3d District Court of Appeal upheld this low bond because Florida’s courts were in the position only of enforcing an order in an underlying divorce case situated in Argentina, which meant that the Florida courts should defer to the Argentinian rule, which disfavors imposing bonds on the economically weaker spouse in a divorce.
A woman filed for divorce from her husband in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2011. Both were Argentinian citizens and residents, but the wife claimed that the husband held some money in bank accounts in Miami. The court in Argentina issued an order freezing half the funds in those accounts and seeking the aid of the American courts in enforcing that order.
The wife then went to the Circuit Court in Miami and succeeded in obtaining a temporary injunction to freeze the accounts. The court required the wife to pay a bond as part of the injunction process, but it set that amount at only $100. The husband asked the court to increase the amount of the bond, claiming that the injunction froze roughly $3 million in assets and that $100 was too small an amount. The court held a hearing but declined to increase the bond. The Circuit Court concluded that its role was nothing more than one of enforcement of the Argentinian order under the principal of comity, which means the recognition of legal rulings from an outside state or country.
The husband appealed, arguing that Florida law demanded a larger bond. He contended that the Rules of Civil Procedure required a bond large enough to protect him from the “costs and damages” of the injunction if, ultimately, the injunction never should have issued.
The 3d District, however, agreed with the Circuit Court. The court explained that the husband correctly recited Florida law and, if the underlying divorce action had been a Florida case, his argument likely would have succeeded. But his divorce was an Argentinian one, not a Florida one, and the Circuit Court in Miami was doing nothing more than carrying out the order issued by the court in Buenos Aires.
The Florida courts were bound by the rules of comity regarding family law cases. In this case, that meant following the standards of Argentina. In Argentinian divorces, courts do not require bonds from a party if that party is the financially weaker of the two. Since the wife was in that position, Argentinian law did not require a bond at all. Given that the court with jurisdiction over the actual divorce action did not demand a bond, Florida courts should not inject themselves into the role of creating their own local bond requirement, the appeals court decided.
Miami and South Florida are an international crossroads, with many people whose lives spread through this area as well as foreign countries. Regardless of whether you are a resident of Florida or a foreign country, if your divorce case has ties to this state, you should consult with an experienced Florida family law attorney. Talk to the South Florida family law attorneys of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., who are equipped and ready to offer you the benefit of our years of experience and give you clear and thoughtful advice to aid you in managing your divorce case.
Contact us online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
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