Smith Family Law Firm Blog

This blog provides brief summaries of the most recent family law appellate cases and statutes that may effect the issues our existing and prospective clients are facing. This is not an exhaustive list and do not automatically assume that if a case seems similar to your facts that the same result will be reached. We encourage individuals to secure counsel. These are very difficult issues to go through alone.

Smith Family Law Florida Case Law Update: Week of December 4, 2017

Posted by Roy Smith on Dec 11th 2017

Dennis v. Dennis, Fla 1st DCA, December 7, 2017:
Trial court’s refusal to allow attorney’s fees on a contempt motion for actual failure to pay alimony because the court “did not find Former Husband to be in contempt, and declines to award attorney’s fees and costs” was insufficient as there was no hearing on the issue of fees and no findings regarding the financial situation of the parties. Matter was remanded for the court to consider these issues.

Dogoda v. Dogoda, Fla 2nd DCA, December 6, 2017:
Trial court erred in denying modification of alimony based on changes in circumstances occurring before entry of Final Judgment but AFTER signing of Marital Settlement Agreement. In cases involving a marital settlement agreement the effective date of the agreement establishes the date to which a trial court should look in determining whether a substantial change in circumstances was contemplated by the parties (especially in cases such as this where there is a long delay).


Smith Family Law Firm Case Law Update: Week of November 6, 2017

Posted by Roy Smith on Nov 13th 2017

Shaleesh v. Shaleesh: Florida 3rd DCA, November 8, 2017:
Trial court’s decision to allow a temporary suspension (a non-final order) of the parties’ timesharing plan was upheld. In order to obtain a temporary custody modification, the moving party must satisfy a two-part test by establishing through competent, substantial evidence that (1) there has been a substantial or material change in circumstances and (2) the modification is in the best interest of the child involved. Here the mother testified and the minor child underwent an in camera interview.

Brady v. Brady: Florida 5th DCA, November 9, 2017:
Trial court’s judgment was remanded because a) alimony was incorrectly calculated on the parties’ gross incomes as opposed to their net incomes, b) while insurance may be necessary to secure an award, the judgment did not include the findings necessary as to insurability, affordability, and whether appropriate circumstances existed to require said insurance and c) the award of attorney’s fees did not include a finding of need, ability to pay, and factual findings to justify the award (such as reasonable number of hours and reasonable hourly rate).


Smith Family Law Case Law Update: Week of October 23, 2017

Posted by Roy Smith on Oct 30th 2017

Duncan v. Brickman: Florida 2nd DCA, October 25, 2017:
A simply disastrous case from the stand point of delays in magistrate reports and orders. The result was overlapping rulings that negated one another. However, as a matter of law, a trial court cannot modify a custody order as a sanction for contempt. Further, the contempt order itself, rendered three years after the underlying evidentiary hearing cannot stand as a matter of judicial discretion (which is the typical deference given to trial courts with regard to contempt orders).

West v. West: Florida 5th DCA, October 27, 2017:
Trial court adoption one party’s proposed final judgment was error. In this case the court did not allow closing arguments but simply had the party’s submit proposed final judgments. While doing so is not uncommon, it was uncommon for husband to submit his proposed final judgment without copying wife. This did not allow her to make corrections or objections. Further, as the court did not make any oral rulings or findings, the simple adoption of one party’s judgment without any alteration when the final judgment had portions not supported by evidence was enough to remand for a completely new final judgment.