Firm Shield

Firm Shield

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 11 - May 20, 2011

Kemp v. Kemp (May 20, 2011)
5TH DCA: Under prevailing law, the trial court must make findings to substantiate an award of attorney’s fees to allow for meaningful review.  Court must award a reasonable fee, determined from testimony (absent any stipulations) as to the prevailing rates for attorneys in comparable circumstances and the amount of time reasonably expended by the attorney on the matter.

Poe v. Poe (May 20, 2011)
5th DCA: To justify a modification of child support, a movant must show: (1) a substantial
change in circumstances, (2) the change was not contemplated at the time of the divorce judgment, and (3) the change is sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent.  "[A] showing of permanent change requires proof that the change is not temporary or transient, but rather encompasses an extended period of time."  In this case, the court did not err in rejecting the testimony of the ex-wife and ex-husband’s employer both of which claimed the ex-husband was fired BEFORE the marital settlement agreement in favor of ex-husband’s testimony that he lost his job after the MSA was signed (credibility of witnesses is in the exclusive purview of the trial court).  Further, it was not error to reject imputation of income on ex-husband based on loans he had received from his parents as there was no evidence that the loans were intended to be continuing and ongoing.  However, it was error to impute income on former wife as there was nothing to refute her testimony that she was actually earning less.

Shelden v. Shelden (May 20, 2011)
2nd DCA:  Former husband sought modification of alimony based on his unemployment for six months and wife co-habiting in a financially supportive relationship.  The court found that former husband failed to prove the supportive relationship but did grant reduction based on unemployment.  However, the order included “bizarre” language such as an indication that the parties would be granted a divorce (which had been granted previously).  Further, the fact that the court file had been lost in conjunction with the limitations of the magistrate hearing, the case was remanded for a full hearing regarding whether former husband’s alimony should be reduced based upon change of income.

Ross v. Ross (May 18, 2011)
4th DCA:  Court committed error by adopting the proposed order of former wife without allowing former husband to submit his own proposed order or to submit any objections (in this matter former wife sent in her proposed order without sending a copy to former husband and the court adopted it without change almost instantly).

Gordon v. Gordon (May 13, 2011)
5th DCA: Trial court made several errors in determining support obligations.  Although a trial court can order a husband to pay a reasonable amount toward a wife's medical insurance premiums as part of a support award, it is error to require the husband to secure medical coverage without setting an amount or limitation on that obligation.  Further, this payment of insurance premiums must calculate as a decrease in the husband's income and an increase in the wife's income.  Further still, while life insurance can be ordered to secure alimony and child support orders, the amount of insurance required must be related to the amount of obligation to be covered.  Private educational expenses may be awarded as part of child support when the parents have the ability to pay and such expemses are in accordance with the family's customary standard of living and are in the child's best interests.

Lule v. Lule (May 11, 2011)
4th DCA:  Case had to be remanded for further findings as the trial court failed to comply with Florida Statutes 61.075(3) by not providing any basis for its decision including the awarding of the marital home to the former wife.  It appears this award was made as “lump sum alimony” because the husband had abandoned the marriage.  This was error.

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