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Divorce

Florida divorce: improper venue vs. inconvenient venue

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

What is the correct venue for a Florida divorce? According to Florida law, it is the county in which the parties last resided during the intact marriage. There is an important distinction between incorrect venue and inconvenient venue as stated in the case Knapp v. Knapp, 1D17-2869 (Fla. 1st DCA February 28, 2019).

Florida divorce: Credit for marital expenses after a motion for rehearing is filed

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

A party who disagrees with a court ruling in a Florida divorce has the right to challenge that ruling in various ways. One method (which is often required before the party can appeal to a higher court) is to file a timely motion for rehearing and/or reconsideration after a final judgment is entered. With this motion, a party can ask a court to “fix” mistakes the court may have made in entering the final judgment, such as overlooking certain evidence, not applying the correct standard of law, not making required findings, etc. As one recent appellate case shows, it is important to ask for certain relief that extends beyond a motion for rehearing in order to preserve a claim to that relief.

Florida divorce: Line of credit on non-marital property does not transform classification of property

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Can property a spouse owned before marriage be transformed into marital property? Yes, in some instances, but usually the transformation is intentional, such as a gift to the other spouse. In instances in which it is not intentional, however, the spouse claiming that non-marital property has been transformed has the burden of proving this to the court.

How gifts from family members affect a Florida divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Throughout a marriage, one spouse or the other may gift substantial money to family members. Can these gifts be held against the spouse who gave the money away when it is time to divorce? What about monetary gifts received from family members - can these funds be used to determine a spouse should not receive alimony or an award of attorneys’ fees in a Florida divorce? The recent appellate case Sarazin v. Sarazin, 1D17-5237 (Fla. 1st DCA February 5, 2019) examines these issues.

Florida divorce: former spouses cannot be forced to be business partners

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Divorcing spouses no longer want to be in a marriage together, and they may no longer want to be business partners in a jointly-owned corporation. Thus, Florida law favors not forcing ex-spouses to continue to jointly operate and own a marital business. Instead, the court is required to fashion a remedy that takes into account each spouse’s share of the business.

Florida divorce: allegations of fraud deserve an evidentiary hearing

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Sometimes parties hide assets in a Florida divorce. This results in a spouse not receiving his or her fair share of the marital estate. In the case Rowe-Lewis v. Lewis, 4D18-1982 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019), the former wife appealed an order denying her motion to set aside the final judgment based on the fraud of the former husband in not disclosing all of his assets. The former wife also appealed the court’s denial of her alimony claim.

Judicial discretion in a Florida divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Marriages that end in divorce after decades usually involve substantial assets and an alimony claim. Such was the case in Dorsey v. Dorsey, 1D17-5375 (Fla. 1st DCA 2019). Both parties appealed aspects of the trial court’s final judgment concerning equitable distribution, alimony, child support and attorneys’ fees. Many of the issues appealed allow for judicial discretion, which means the trial court has a choice in choosing between certain remedies for parties.

How bad behavior affects a Florida divorce case

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Parties are understandably emotionally invested in the outcome of their divorce case. Sometimes this leads to erratic and unpleasant behavior which can negatively affect both parties. In the case Rawson v. Rawson, No. 1D17-1413 (Fla. 1st DCA 2019), we see how such behavior can affect a judge’s ruling on issues such as alimony and equitable distribution.

Sending subpoenas to third parties in your Florida divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Discovery in a Florida divorce refers to a process in which each party is entitled to request documents and other evidence to explore the issues in the case. This is the time when each party investigates issues raised in the petitions. One way to investigate is to send subpoenas for information from third parties such as banks, employers and the like. But what limits are imposed on the information that can be obtained by third parties?

Attorneys' fees in Florida divorce require a finding of ability to pay

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Florida family law allows for the payment of attorneys’ fees and costs based on need and ability to pay. So even the “winner” of a family law case may be required to pay the other party’s attorneys’ fees and costs based on principles of equity. The playing field is leveled in this way so that one party does not have the ability to hire a lawyer while the other must proceed without counsel. However, before attorneys’ fees and costs are ordered to be paid, there must be findings as to a party’s need for them and the other party’s ability to pay them.

Clear terms of a Florida divorce settlement agreement are enforceable

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

The terms of a Florida marital settlement agreement are enforceable and subject to interpretation like any other contract. So when terms of a marital agreement are clear, a court will enforce them. This is illustrated in the recent appellate case Rector v. Rector, 2D17-3651 Rector v. Rector (Fla. 2d DCA 2019) in which the former wife appealed an order denying her motion for temporary fees to enforce the final judgment.

Florida divorce: Bring a court reporter to your hearings

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

It is important for parties to bring court reporters to their Florida family law hearings as a type of insurance. This is because if you want to appeal a family court ruling, you usually cannot do so without a transcript of the proceedings. This is illustrated in the case Joyner v. Worley, 1D17-3540 Joyner v. Worley (Fla. 1st DCA 2019) in which the former husband appealed an order but did not provide a transcript of the proceedings.

Alimony, child support and equitable distribution overturned in Florida divorce case

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

The year in appellate cases started off strong with the case Julia v. Julia, 4D17-2261 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019) in which the former husband appealed an array of issues in his Florida divorce ranging from equitable distribution to child support to alimony. Ultimately, the former husband prevailed on appeal on the issues raised.

Disclosure of medical records in Florida divorce requires "calamitous event"

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Can a party subpoena all medical records in a Florida divorce? The answer depends on what is at issue in the case, and whether or not the party requesting the records has a good reason for being entitled to them. Take the case Brooks v. Brooks, 239 So.3d 758 (Fla. 1st DCA, 2018) in which the wife subpoenaed the husband’s medical, psychotherapist, pharmacy and employment records based on her allegations of domestic violence and the husband’s angry tirades during custody exchanges.

Suing adult children in a Florida divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Divorce can be a process that is filled with animosity. Adding adult children to the opposition no doubt adds to this animosity. The case Perez v. Perez, 238 So.3d 422 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018) presents a situation in which the former wife felt she had no choice but to sue her adult children over property that was at issue in her Florida divorce.

Florida divorce: "Courts won't interpret a contract in such a way as to render provisions meaningless when there is a reasonable interpretation that does not do so"

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

We see time and time again how language in a Florida marital settlement agreement can be interpreted in multiple ways. Ultimately, how the court interprets the language is what controls, and how the court arrives at that decision is based on established Florida law. In the case Wells v. Wells, 239 So.3d 179 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018), an issue arose regarding the interpretation of a clause of a marital settlement agreement which gave the ex-wife possessory rights over the marital home for what turned out to be a disputed length of time.

Error to use par value of stock in valuing corporation in Florida divorce

Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

When a business interest needs to be divided in a Florida divorce, parties are usually required to hire a forensic accountant to provide expert testimony as to the value of the business, and the accountant usually values it based on the assets held by the business as well as the goodwill associated with the business. In the case Soria v. Soria, 237 So.3d 454 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018), the former husband appealed the trial court’s decision to value his business interest based on the par value of the stock in the business.