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Miami family law firm

Scrivener's error does not divest Florida family court of jurisdiction

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

When a party voluntarily dismisses a Florida family law case, the court no longer has jurisdiction over the dismissed case. This means the same case cannot be re-opened and re-litigated. A party wishing to proceed again on the case needs to file a new case under a new case number. In the recent appellate case Carlton v. Zanazzi, 2D18-603 (Fla. 2d DCA March 6, 2019), the court reviewed a case in which a divorce was dismissed but then later re-filed under the previous case number.

Insufficient notice for a hearing may result in reversal of Florida family court order

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

“Although determining whether notice provided is reasonable depends upon the circumstances of each case, we have not identified a single case where less than twenty-four hours' notice of a hearing impacting an individual's parental rights was upheld as reasonable.” - The Second District Court of Appeal in Florida in Ferris v. Winn, 242 So.3d 509 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018). In this case, a father’s right to communicate with his children was suspended after he received less than 24 hours notice of a hearing on the issue.

Florida family law procedure: transfer is appropriate when there is a more convenient forum

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

An important component of a Florida family law case is proper procedure. Failure to follow proper procedural steps could result in a party losing a valid argument or claim based on technicalities. For example, knowing where to file your case is an important first procedural step that needs to be followed to start your legal process. In the case Robinson v. Robinson, 248 So.3d 174 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), an order dismissing a suit to set aside a mediated settlement agreement was appealed.

Requirements for disestablishing paternity in Florida

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Paternity

Disestablishing paternity in Florida requires careful and timely steps to be taken to ensure that a non-biological father is no longer legally responsible for a child. It is not enough to have a test confirming that a male is not biologically related to a child as we see in the case Fla. Dept. of Revenue v. Augustin, 3D16-622 (Fla. 3d DCA2018).

Waiving the patient-therapist privilege in a Florida child custody case

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

When a child is seeing a therapist and a Florida child custody case is pending, a question arises as to whether or not the therapist can be compelled to testify regarding the child’s statements to the therapist. In the case Garcia v. Guiles, 1D17-5125 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), an order allowing the a child’s treating psychotherapist was appealed, and the appellate court discussed the standard for reviewing whether or not the order was appropriate.

Supplementing a Florida child custody order to include a complete parenting plan

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

When a final judgment is incomplete, it is not error for a court to supplement it to include omitted provisions. This was the holding in the recent case Swearingen v. Swearingen, 1D17-5011 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) in which the mother appealed the trial court’s decision to supplement the final judgment with a complete parenting plan.

Can a judge modify a Florida divorce agreement?

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Parties sometimes spend hours, and even days, in mediation trying to resolve their differences. If the parties are able to resolve all issues, and thus avoid trial, relief is usually in the cards for everyone involved since a significant amount of time and money will be saved. But what if after all of that hard work, a judge does not approve the settlement agreement?

Ness v. Martinez: Adoption of proposed final judgments in Florida family law cases

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

In Ness v. Martinez, 1D17-2742 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), a myriad of issues were appealed arising from a denied petition for relocation. Among those issues was the mother's objection to the trial court adopting the father's counsel's proposed final judgment. It is common practice for a judge to request that attorneys submit proposed final judgments after presentation of the evidence. 

Out-of-state domestic violence injunction must be honored in Florida child custody case

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

Out-of-state orders concerning child custody are usually fully honored in Florida's family law courts. Florida courts are required to give full faith and credit to orders entered in other states unless those orders go against the public policy of Florida or are otherwise illegal. In the case Smith v. Daniel, 1D17-4240 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), the appellate court reviewed a trial court's decision to not honor a Kentucky order preventing the father from having any contact with his child. 

Florida child custody: Supervised visitation cannot be indefinite

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

Supervised visitation is awarded in Florida child custody cases if it is in the best interest of the children to shield them from certain harm which might come from unsupervised timesharing. The most common example is situations involving domestic violence. If a child has witnessed a parent committing domestic violence, or the child has herself been the victim of abuse at the hands of a parent, supervised visits may be appropriate. However, supervised visits usually cannot be permanent as explored in the case Solomon v. Solomon, 3D17-1553 (Fla 3d DCA 2018). 

When future changes are allowed in a Florida parenting plan

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

An often employed rule in Florida child custody cases is that a court cannot engage in guessing when it comes to the future best interest of a child. That is, a court generally cannot rule on a major change that will take place in a child's life before that change happens. This rule has been applied in different ways with different results in some Florida appellate cases. One recent case examines how this rule is applied to orders concerning where a child will live once the child starts kindergarten. 

Are Florida alimony payments required after the death of the payor?

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Alimony

Can a Florida divorce court require a spouse who pays alimony to have his or her estate continue paying the alimony after the payor's death? This issue was explored in the case Kurtanovic v. Kurtanovic, 1D17-202 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018) in which the former husband appealed several issues, including the court's order for his estate to continue paying alimony after his death. 

Florida child custody: When parents disagree about private school enrollment

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

What is a Florida family court to do when parents do not agree on private versus public school education for their children? As with most decisions involving minor children, the court must use the "best interest" standard to make a ruling. The best interest of the children is paramount to what is fair to either parent. We see how an appellate court handled this issue in the case Lane v. Lane, 3D17-2538 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018). 

Florida child custody: when an appellate court overturns a trial court's findings of fact

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

When a party appeals a Florida family law ruling, in most cases, findings of fact made by a trial judge will not be disturbed unless there is a clear error. This is because the appellate court has a policy of not wanting to substitute its judgment for that of a trial court judge who saw witnesses testify and was able to weigh the credibility of those witnesses.  A recent appellate case illustrates an extreme case in which the appellate court did feel it had to overturn the trial court's ruling because it was not supported by competent, substantial evidence. 

Appealing an expired injunction against domestic violence in Florida

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Domestic Violence

The goal of a civil restraining order in Florida is to protect a victim of domestic violence from future abuse, threats and harassment. Beyond prohibiting the abuser from contacting the victim, these orders can have negative affects on the abuser's job prospects and can generally cause inconvenience. This is why in one recent appellate case, the court reversed a wrongfully-entered restraining order even though it had already expired by the time the appeal was decided. 

Procedure: Discovery cannot be compelled until it is determined to be relevant

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

Discovery is often dreaded by parties involved in a Florida family law case, but it is a necessary part of the procedure that will lead to a trial. Discovery is the process in which each party exchanges certain documents and information to prove his/her side of the case. For example, bank statements, pay stubs and other financial documents may be exchanged as part of discovery to prove a party's ability to pay child support. 

Florida child custody orders cannot be based on future circumstances

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

A Florida child custody case is supposed to result in a parenting plan that is either agreed-to by the parties or ordered by the court when the parties are unable to agree. The parenting plan must be found to be in the best interest of the child, and since none of us can predict the future, the court looks at the present circumstances in determining this best interest. In the case Preudhomme v. Preudhomme, 1D17-1615 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018), the trial court's determination of a future event was reversed for this reason. 

Florida family law procedure: No contempt without notice

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

Can a party be held in contempt if the party never received notice that a contempt complaint was pending against him or her? A recent appellate case reinforces the right of litigants to due process - that is, the right of each party to be heard and to receive notice of proceedings against him/her.