Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Procedure

Due process is a fundamental part of the legal system, including Florida family law cases. Due process includes the right to be heard and to receive fair notice about court proceedings. In the appellate case Barsis v. Barsis, 209 So.3d 654 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017), we see what happens on appeal when the appellate court determines a party was denied due process. 

In this case, the parties entered an agreed parenting plan which specified that they would have equal time-sharing with their children and that the former husband would pay child support. Subsequently, the former husband filed a motion to determine the location of the time-sharing exchanges, stating no such provision was specified in the parenting plan, and that due to a recent incident, all exchanges should happen at a monitored location. 

A hearing was held on the former husband's motion, and the former wife did not attend the hearing. In her absence, the trial court entered an order granting the former husband sole parental responsibility, modified time-sharing to "as allowed" by the former husband and suspended the former husband's child support payments. After the former wife's motion to reconsider this ruling was denied, she appealed. 

The appellate court reversed the lower court's order, holding it was error for the court to modify parental responsibility, child support and time-sharing in the absence of notice to the former wife. The former wife was only on notice via the former husband's motion and notice of hearing that the time-sharing exchange location was at issue, not the other issues ruled on by the court. In the absence of notice to the former wife, the appellate court ruled her due process rights were violated. 

Timely seeking reconsideration of an erroneous order and appeal of the same is important in protecting your rights. Having a knowledgeable Miami family law attorney on your side is a good start to preserving your appellate rights,