Firm Shield

Firm Shield

Friday, February 27, 2015

ISAACS v. ISSACS: 4th DCA  February 25, 2015:
A contempt order based on non-payment of support must include: a) a finding that the party had the present ability to pay support and willfully failed to comply with a prior court order, b) a recital of the facts on which these findings are based, and c) IF incarceration for non-payment is granted there must be a separate affirmative finding that the person has the present ability to comply with the purge amount set and the factual basis for that finding.

PURIN v. PURIN: 2nd DCA February 25, 2015:
Trial court erred in awarding durational alimony (of ten years) in a long term marriage (in this case, 30 years) simply based on the fact that the husband (alimony payor) would be retiring in ten years.  Trial court could not properly resolve a current alimony issue by speculating on the parties' needs and ability to pay when the husband retired in the future.  An obligor's retirement does not mandate termination of an alimony award.  Appellate court did not say that there had to be permanent alimony though.  An option of durational alimony coupled with a nominal permanent alimony award was offered as a possibility that could minimize future litigation but also preserve wife's right to secure support if the need still existed when ex-husband retired and if ex-husband still had ability to pay.

WESTWOOD v. WESTWOOD: 5th DCA February 27, 2015:
Ex-wife's "Verified Petition for Modification of Partial Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or in the Alternative Motion for Reconsideration" while detailed was not served on ex-husband.  As a result the 5th DCA reasoned that the filing was instead an untimely motion for rehearing/motion for reconsideration filed 34 days after a final judgment and therefore a denial without a hearing on the motion was not error.

PANOPOULOS v. PANOPOULOS: 2nd DCA January 23, 2015:
While the issues of Husband's appeal were deemed untimely as the time to appeal a judgment which is amended to correct only a scrivener's error runs from the date of the original judgment...not the corrected judgment... the 2nd DCA advised that the arguments would fortuitously be preserved based on the unusual proceedings.  A discussion of the unusual proceedings is merited.
The trial court engaged in a "trifurcation" of a divorce.  The original bifurcation resulted in a dissolution of marriage with retention of jurisdiction to deal with all remaining issues.  While the bifurcation order was not on appeal, the 2nd DCA did note that it is only in exceptional dissolution proceedings which bifurcation is a good idea and that a matter should not be bifurcated unless it is clearly necessary for the best interests of the children.  In this case, not only was there a bifurcation, but after the bifurcation the trial court then addressed only equitable distribution issues while reserving as to timesharing and child support issues.  According to the 2nd DCA, this "trifurcation" was even more unusual.