Are Florida alimony payments required after the death of the payor?

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

Can a Florida divorce court require a spouse who pays alimony to have his or her estate continue paying the alimony after the payor's death? This issue was explored in the case Kurtanovic v. Kurtanovic, 1D17-202 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) in which the former husband appealed several issues, including the court's order for his estate to continue paying alimony after his death. 

Florida child custody: How does deportation affect a relocation petition?

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

Divorcing parents may face a dilemma when one parent is due to be deported after a marriage is dissolved. The court is faced with the question of whether or not to permit relocation of the child with the deported parent. In one recently decided case, we review an appellate court's consideration of a trial court's decision to grant a prospective relocation that turned on whether or not the mother's application for US citizenship was granted. 

Contempt is a remedy for enforcement of certain provisions of martial settlement agreements

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

An agreement or order is only as good as the ability to enforce it. In a Florida divorce, parties may enter a settlement agreement. Both parties usually intend to honor the terms of the agreement and make certain promises in good faith reliance on the other party's compliance with the agreement. When a party does not uphold his or her part of the contract, the court must intervene to force compliance in most cases. 

Florida child custody: When parents disagree about private school enrollment

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

What is a Florida family court to do when parents do not agree on private versus public school education for their children? As with most decisions involving minor children, the court must use the "best interest" standard to make a ruling. The best interest of the children is paramount to what is fair to either parent. We see how an appellate court handled this issue in the case Lane v. Lane, 3D17-2538 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018). 

Florida divorce: Commingling of marital and non-marital funds

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Commingling refers to what happens when non-marital funds are mixed with marital funds. Commingled money, in most cases, makes the non-marital funds marital since it is presumed the spouse intended to gift the money to the other party. As we see in the case Knecht v. Palmer, 5D17-533 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018), however, a Florida court's powers of equity can overcome this gift presumption.

Florida child custody: when an appellate court overturns a trial court's findings of fact

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

When a party appeals a Florida family law ruling, in most cases, findings of fact made by a trial judge will not be disturbed unless there is a clear error. This is because the appellate court has a policy of not wanting to substitute its judgment for that of a trial court judge who saw witnesses testify and was able to weigh the credibility of those witnesses.  A recent appellate case illustrates an extreme case in which the appellate court did feel it had to overturn the trial court's ruling because it was not supported by competent, substantial evidence. 

When life insurance is required to secure a support obligation in a Florida divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Requiring a paying party to maintain life insurance to secure an alimony or child support award is subject to the court making certain findings. Ultimately, a party cannot be forced to maintain life insurance that is not affordable, nor can a party be made to pay for insurance coverage that does not match the amount to be secured. 

Appealing an expired injunction against domestic violence in Florida

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Domestic Violence

The goal of a civil restraining order in Florida is to protect a victim of domestic violence from future abuse, threats and harassment. Beyond prohibiting the abuser from contacting the victim, these orders can have negative affects on the abuser's job prospects and can generally cause inconvenience. This is why in one recent appellate case, the court reversed a wrongfully-entered restraining order even though it had already expired by the time the appeal was decided. 

Procedure: Discovery cannot be compelled until it is determined to be relevant

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Family Law Procedure

Discovery is often dreaded by parties involved in a Florida family law case, but it is a necessary part of the procedure that will lead to a trial. Discovery is the process in which each party exchanges certain documents and information to prove his/her side of the case. For example, bank statements, pay stubs and other financial documents may be exchanged as part of discovery to prove a party's ability to pay child support. 

How to satisfy the proof of residency requirement in your Miami divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Miami Divorce

Before you file your Miami divorce case, you want to make sure a court has jurisdiction to enter a final judgment. Otherwise, you may spend a lot of time and money only to find at the end that all of it was for nothing because the court has no power to sign a final judgment. How do you know if the court has jurisdiction? 

No special equity allowed in Florida divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Miami Divorce

Generally, property purchased during marriage in Florida is considered marital property and both spouses may have a claim to that property. Title to the property is not controlling - meaning an asset that was purchased during the marriage but titled only in one spouse's name does not mean the asset belongs to the titled spouse alone. As seen in the appellate case Lopez v. Hernandez, 4D17-3495 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018), the court must make specific findings if it decides to award one spouse an asset purchased during the marriage. 

Preserve an appeal in modification of Florida alimony

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Miami Alimony

Finding oneself on the receiving end of a motion for contempt can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when punishment for contempt can range from fines to incarceration. We review a man's decision to appeal a finding of contempt against him based on his failure to pay alimony while he was at the same time trying to modify his obligation. 

What happens to money in a joint account while a Florida divorce is ongoing?

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Divorce can be expensive when you consider changed living arrangements and attorneys' fees. There may now be two attorneys to pay and two separate households to support. For that reason, while the parties may have savings or other bank accounts at the time of filing for divorce, those accounts may be depleted by the time a case goes to trial. According to the appellate case Bellows v. Bellows, 4D16-3745 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018), the court is required to treat the depletion of those assets a certain way. 

Florida child support: Imputing income to an unemployed or underemployed parent

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When a parent is not working, how is Florida child support calculated? The Florida Statutes state "Monthly income shall be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed parent if such unemployment or underemployment is found by the court to be voluntary on that parent’s part, absent a finding of fact by the court of physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances over which the parent has no control." We see this statute applied in the case Heard v. Perales, 4D17-3115 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). 

A Florida divorce gone wrong: Davis v. Davis, 4D17-1644 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018)

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Sometimes, believe it or not, the court gets it wrong and errors must be corrected on appeal as was the case in Davis v. Davis, 4D17-1644 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). In a Florida divorce case, a court is required to make certain findings related to equitable distribution, child support, alimony and child custody. In the Davis case, the trial court failed to make certain findings on multiple issues, resulting in the appellate court having to reverse the final judgment.

Florida child custody orders cannot be based on future circumstances

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

A Florida child custody case is supposed to result in a parenting plan that is either agreed-to by the parties or ordered by the court when the parties are unable to agree. The parenting plan must be found to be in the best interest of the child, and since none of us can predict the future, the court looks at the present circumstances in determining this best interest. In the case Preudhomme v. Preudhomme, 1D17-1615 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), the trial court's determination of a future event was reversed for this reason.