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

Sometimes rulings are made in court which may not make common sense but are made to be consistent with established procedure. These types of rulings may frustrate parties who have spent years and a lot of money litigating a case only to find that a technical error has derailed progress.  

In the case   Llanso v. De Cordova , 3D18-100 (Fla. 3D DCA 2018), a final judgment of divorce was entered by the trial court in 2015 which ratified a settlement agreement the parties entered. Prior to the parties entering the settlement, the former wife appealed orders which denied her request for temporary relief. The final judgment was signed prior to the appeal being dismissed since the former wife did not request dismissal of the appeal until 5 days after the final judgment was entered. 

The trial court entered other orders stemming from the final judgment, including orders enforcing liens against the former wife for non payment of attorneys’ fees. The former wife then filed a motion to vacate the final judgment as void, arguing that based on the rules of appellate procedure, the trial court was without jurisdiction to enter the final judgment while her prior appeal was pending regarding the temporary relief even though that appeal was eventually dismissed.

Although the appellate court acknowledged “We are, however, sympathetic to the trial court's frustration with trial counsel” the appellate court ruled in the former wife’s favor, holding: “This may all sound like legal gobbledegook to some since, upon remand, the trial court can be expected to re-enter a similar final judgment. We concede that may be true, but jurisdiction is not a question a court can take or leave, and a judgment entered without jurisdiction is void.”

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