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

Due process is required in Florida family law cases. This refers to the opportunity for each party to present his or her side of the case with fair notice. When a court takes action without notifying the parties or when there is no pending motion on the action taken, this usually results in a due process violation. Such was the case in Singer v. Singer, 4D18-1170 (Fla. 4th DCA July 3, 2019).

Previously, the court cancelled the former husband’s alimony obligation and found that he overpaid alimony based on a provision in the parties’ marital settlement agreement which indicated the former wife should not have received alimony after a certain date because she was co-habitating with a third party. As a result, the former husband was pursuing a lawsuit against the former wife for almost $300,000.00 in over payments. He filed a lawsuit to this effect in Palm Beach County. His divorce case was in Broward County.

After both parties filed motions in the Broward County divorce case, the Court entered an order transferring the case to the Palm Beach County court because it was a more convenient forum and closed the Broward County case. There was no motion seeking a change of venue, addressing the issue of inconvenient forum, requesting closure of the divorce case or seeking dismissal of any of the pending motions. The former husband was never put on notice that the case would be closed or transferred.

The appellate court determined “Closing a case or ordering a change of venue without notice is a denial of due process.” Therefore, the case was remanded to the trial court to decide the pending motions and re-open the case. Schedule your consultation with a Miami divorce lawyer to help protect your due process rights.