Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Procedure

When a court makes an oral ruling that contradicts what is eventually written in the order that follows, what are the parties to do? We examine this issue in the appellate case Singer v. Singer, 211 So.3d 154 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017).  

In this case, the trial transcript indicated the court said it was reserving ruling on the former wife’s request for attorney’s fees in her motion for contempt until a later date and after further hearing. However the court then signed an order which denied the former wife’s motion without reserving on the fee issue. 

In reversing the trial court’s order, the appellate court held, “Such an omission was erroneous where the trial court expressed an intention to reserve ruling and the parties did not object to the reservation.” The trial court was ordered to hold a hearing on whether or not the former wife was entitled to attorney’s fees.  

This case shows us how important it is to have a court reporter present at your Florida family law hearings to record the proceedings. Without a transcript of the trial court’s oral ruling, the former wife’s claim for attorney’s fees might have been forever lost. Having a Florida divorce lawyer assist her also went a long way in preserving her right to appeal the trial court’s order.