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In Florida family law actions, as in other proceedings, parties have the right to appeal orders they believe were issued improperly. Such right is not absolute, however, as there are certain prerequisites to filing an appeal, including the requirement that the relief sought must be attainable. This was illustrated in a recent Florida divorce action in which the court found that the husband’s petition for certiorari review was inappropriate. If you are contemplating ending your marriage, it is smart to talk to a Miami divorce attorney about your rights.

Procedural and Factual Setting

It is reported that the husband and the wife were divorcing. During the pendency of the divorce, the court issued a temporary relief order granting exclusive use of the rental property to the wife, establishing her right to possess it. The husband did not seek an appeal at that time, however. The court subsequently issued an order finding the husband in contempt for not vacating the property.

Allegedly, the order did not adjudicate him as being in criminal contempt but was focused on securing compliance with the prior temporary possession order, threatening the husband with 179 days in jail. The husband then sought certiorari review of the contempt order. The order in question did not grant immediate appeal, being neither an enumerated non-final order nor a final order. Continue reading ›

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When people in romantic relationships decide to part, they will typically go their separate ways. If they have a child together, though, they may have to seek intervention from the courts to determine their parental rights and obligations. In any custody matter, the Florida courts must rule in the best interest of the child. In doing so, however, they must uphold the parties’ right to due process, as explained in a recent Florida custody action. If you have questions about what steps you can take to safeguard your relationship with your child, it is wise to contact a Miami child custody attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties began their relationship in August 2019 and had a child in June 2021. Following the child’s birth, the mother returned to Miami, and the relationship between the parties ended. The father initiated a paternity action, seeking a 50-50 timesharing arrangement. During the hearing on the motion for temporary relief, the trial court introduced the concept of a two-week rotating schedule, which was not previously raised in the pleadings.

Allegedly, the court considered this schedule despite objections from the mother and her counsel, who requested time to discuss the alternative and present witnesses. Nevertheless, the trial court ordered the two-week rotating schedule based on its determination of the child’s best interests. The mother appealed. Continue reading ›

In Florida child custody cases, the courts will always rule in the best interest of the child. In some instances, this means that they will grant temporary custody to an extended family member rather than either of the biological parents. The courts can only do so if certain requirements are met, though, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Florida court. If you need assistance protecting your parental rights, it is prudent to confer with a Miami child custody attorney about your options.

Procedural and Factual Background

It is reported that the mother of a minor child sought to challenge a trial court order that granted immediate exclusive custody and care of the minor child to the child’s maternal grandmother. This case revolved around the issue of whether the grandmother qualified for temporary custody under Chapter 751 of the Florida Statutes in 2022. Chapter 751 permits extended family members to pursue temporary custody of minors under specific circumstances. Specifically, it allows proceedings to be initiated either by any extended family member, if they have the signed and notarized consent of the child’s legal parents. It also allows any member of the extended family to initiate proceedings if they care for the child full time, taking on the role of the substitute parent and with whom the child is presently living.

Typically, in Florida family law cases, the parties must pay their own costs and fees. In some instances, though, the law permits parties to recover costs from their opponent. As illustrated in a recent Florida family law action, if the law mandates the assessment of costs, they are recoverable regardless of whether a party does not request such costs immediately. If you are involved in a family law dispute, it is in your best interest to talk to a Miami family law attorney about what measures you can take to protect your interests.

 History of the Case

It is reported that at the end of July 2022, the father filed a motion to tax costs after a dismissal order was entered at the beginning of the month. The trial court applied a reasonable time standard to the father’s request and found that the father’s decision to wait until the end of the month to file his motion was unreasonable based on the facts and circumstances.

Allegedly, the court pointed out that in April 2022, the father had filed a Townsend Motion and stated that the father should have made his claim for costs within a reasonable time after filing the motion and provided the mother with notice that he would be seeking costs. As such, the court found that the father’s delay in filing for costs was unjustified and denied his request. The father appealed. Continue reading ›

Florida law dictates that parents must support their children financially. As such, in many instances in which parents share custody of a child, the Florida courts will order one parent to pay the other child support. In recognition of the fact that circumstances often change over time, the law permits parties to request modifications to child support orders as well. As discussed in a recent opinion delivered in a Florida child support case, such a request should be granted if the requesting party demonstrates a substantial and lasting change in their financial situation. If you need assistance with a child support dispute, it is wise to contact a Miami child support attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Setting

Reportedly, the parties were married in 2004 and had two children during their marriage. After ten years of marriage, they divorced. The final judgment of dissolution incorporated the parties’ parenting plan and marital settlement agreement, which stipulated, in part, that neither party would be obligated to pay child support because they had equal timesharing and similar incomes at the time of the agreement.

Allegedly, in 2018, the wife filed a petition for modification, alleging a substantial decrease in her income since the final judgment, making it impossible for her to afford their children’s needs. She further asserted that the husband’s income had substantially increased since the divorce and asked the trial court to modify the judgment to require the Former Husband to pay child support following the statutory guidelines. The court denied her request, and she appealed. Continue reading ›

Florida law permits the courts to grant alimony in certain divorce actions. Alimony awards are based, in part, on the party’s income, assets, and needs. As such, if a party’s financial status changes after the court issues an order granting alimony, the party may seek a modification. As discussed in a recent Florida ruling, modifications will only be granted in certain scenarios, and if a court denies a request for a modification, it does not have to set forth factual findings in support of its ruling. If you want to learn more about your rights with regard to alimony, it is smart to talk to a Miami divorce lawyer.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the husband and the wife divorced in 2003 after a marriage that lasted over 22 years. The Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage incorporated the parties’ marital settlement agreement, which required the husband to pay the wife permanent periodic alimony of $750 bi-weekly. More than fourteen years after the divorce, the husband filed an Amended Supplemental Petition to eliminate or reduce the alimony payments.

Reportedly, during the trial on the husband’s petition, he abandoned his claim that his ability to pay alimony had diminished. Instead, he sought a reduction because the wife’s income had increased. The husband acknowledged income earned as a full-time college professor and his pension. In contrast, the wife testified that her standard of living had declined significantly, stating she was driving a 21-year-old car, residing with her adult daughter, and struggling to make ends meet. The court denied the husband’s petition, and he appealed. Continue reading ›

In Florida child support cases, it is unfortunately not uncommon for the parent obligated to pay support to fail to uphold their duties. If they do, they can be held in contempt. The party seeking a contempt order and arrearages must act in a timely manner, however, otherwise, they may be precluded from recovering the amounts owed due to the defense of laches. In a recent Florida child support case, the court provided a valuable overview of the affirmative defense of laches, ultimately determining that it did not apply. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is in your best interest to meet with a Miami child support attorney to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the parties divorced in 1994, and the former husband was ordered to pay child support until their child was emancipated in 2005. However, in 1995, the former husband ceased paying child support through the disbursement unit, citing job loss, and instead paid the former wife $100 weekly, with a promise to resume full payments when he found employment. Unfortunately, he never did.

Allegedly, a Judgment/Certificate of Delinquency was filed but expired in 2016. In 2017, the former wife initiated a motion for contempt, which the general magistrate deemed “premature.” The magistrate instructed the former wife to file a motion to determine the child support arrearage, but she never did. Two years later, the former husband passed away, leaving his entire estate to his long-term girlfriend, who subsequently also passed away. Following these events, the former wife filed an independent action to collect the owed amount, totaling $282,070.64. Continue reading ›

Under Florida law, people who marry someone with a child will often embrace the role of being that child’s step-parent. Unless they formally adopt the child, though, they will not have any parental rights in the event of a divorce, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling. If you have questions about how you can protect your parental rights in a custody dispute, it is prudent to confer with a Miami child custody lawyer as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background:

It is reported that the wife challenged a final judgment of dissolution of marriage that granted equal timesharing and shared parental responsibility of her minor child to the husband. The situation was complicated by the fact that the husband was not the biological or adoptive parent of the child, and there had been no finding of parental unfitness or harm to the child. The background of the case revealed that the wife initially identified her then-partner as the father of the minor child on the birth certificate. Later, the wife and the husband married, and during their marriage, she obtained a judgment disestablishing the putative father’s paternity of the minor child. However, the husband neither adopted the minor child nor sought to establish paternity.

Allegedly, in 2021, the husband filed a petition to dissolve the marriage and asserted that there were three minor children born to the parties, including the minor child. He sought equal timesharing and shared parental responsibility. The husband identified himself as the “father” of the minor child in an affidavit and mentioned that paternity had been disestablished in 2018. The trial court conducted a hearing and ultimately rendered a judgment granting equal timesharing and shared parental responsibility. The wife appealed this decision. Continue reading ›

In family law disputes, particularly during contentious divorces or custody battles, it’s not uncommon for individuals to resort to various tactics in order to gain the upper hand. One of the most troubling and potentially damaging tactics is the weaponization of domestic violence allegations. If a court finds that a party maliciously alleged that their former spouse engaged in acts of domestic violence, it may impose punitive damages on the party, as discussed in a recent Florida ruling issued in a divorce case.  If you need assistance with a domestic violence issue, it is in your best interest to meet with a Miami domestic violence lawyer to determine your rights.

Case Background

It is alleged that the wife initiated an interlocutory appeal in response to a court order that allowed her husband to assert a punitive damages claim against her. This claim arose from the wife’s alleged malicious prosecution of a domestic violence complaint against her husband. Notably, the wife had submitted the domestic violence petition just a month after filing her petition for the dissolution of their marriage, and both cases were consolidated under the jurisdiction of the family court. Subsequently, the wife withdrew her domestic violence petition after the parties agreed to a no-contact order.

Reportedly, however, two years later, the husband took legal action by filing a complaint for malicious prosecution. In this complaint, he asserted that there existed a complete and utter lack of probable cause for the domestic violence injunction petition and contended that the sole purpose of the petition was to gain an advantage in their divorce proceedings. To substantiate his claims, the husband presented evidence, including testimony from a family friend who recalled the wife boasting about filing the petition. Additionally, he pointed out inconsistencies in her accounts of the alleged domestic violence and cited testimonies from police officers who had not observed any physical injuries on the wife. Continue reading ›

In divorce actions involving children, it is not uncommon for the parties to come to an agreement regarding custody and child support. In most instances, such agreements are enforceable, and a party that fails to abide by the terms of their agreement may be held in contempt. As discussed in a recent Florida case in which the court affirmed a contempt ruling against a party that paid child support via unauthorized means, strict compliance is often required. If you are considering filing for divorce and you have minor children, you should consult a Miami child support attorney to determine your potential rights and obligations.

Case Background

It is alleged that the husband and the wife divorced; during their dissolution proceedings, they entered into a settlement agreement that required the husband to channel his child support payments through the state disbursement unit. However, following a motion for contempt and enforcement by the wife, a court order decreed that the husband would only receive credit for payments made through the disbursement unit.

It is reported that despite this, the husband persisted in making direct payments directly to his ex-spouse. This recalcitrant behavior prompted another motion for contempt/enforcement by the wife, culminating in a subsequent order that denied the husband credit for the direct payments and imposed a $33,000 purge. The husband then appealed. Continue reading ›