Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Two issues are discussed in the recent appellate case Bro v. Bro, 2D18-31 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018), specifically: (1) whether it was proper for the trial court to direct division of the assets of a corporation owned by the parties and (2) whether it was proper for the court to award a portion of a significant tax refund to the former husband. The appellate court ultimately reversed the trial court’s ruling on both issues.

In this case, the parties entered a marital settlement agreement but left a couple of issues for the court to decide. A trial, the court determined it was best for the parties to sell the property owned by the parties’ corporation and then split the proceeds between the parties. The trial court further ruled that a tax refund of over $50,000 received by the former wife should be shared with the former husband. No evidence was presented that the former wife used the tax refund for anything other than her living expenses.

On appeal, the former wife argued it was error for the trial court to direct the sale of the assets of the corporation when the corporation was not a party to the case. Additionally, the former wife argued it was error to equitably distribute the full tax refund amount because it had been spent by her without any evidence of wrongdoing or dissipation.

On these issues, the trial court agreed with the former wife, holding, “In this case, it is clear that the court did not find Ms. Bro's testimony on how she spent the tax refund to be credible. Moreover, the court found that Ms. Bro created an advantageous tax situation for herself while disadvantaging Mr. Bro. But the court did not make a specific finding of intentional misconduct and no evidence was presented to rebut Ms. Bro's testimony that the funds were used for living expenses. Accordingly, we conclude that the court abused its discretion by distributing Ms. Bro's 2013 tax refund.” Additionally, the appellate court found, “[T]he court did not have authority to reach CK Holdings' property directly because the LLC is a separate legal entity and was not a party to the suit.”

From start to finish, having an experienced Miami divorce attorney on your side may mean the difference between paying sums you may not owe and securing your financial standing. Start with a consultation to determine your rights and obligations in your Florida divorce case.