Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trial Court Erred by Not Making Findings of Fact to Support Reduction in Alimony

The Florida 1st District Court of Appeal  just released an opinion today which provides that a trial court must make findings of fact regarding the factors set out in Section 61.08, Florida Statutes, when modifying alimony.  Additionally, the 1st DCA stated that if a trial court must also make findings of fact regarding the factors set out in Section 61.14, Florida Statutes, in order to reduce or eliminate alimony based on the recipient being in a supportive relationship (or de facto remarriage).  The 1st DCA further explained that living together, alone, is not enough to show such a supportive relationship (or defacto remarriage), but that it must also be shown that the person receiving the alimony is being financially supported by the "live in" girlfriend or boyfriend and that the expenses of the person receiving alimony have been reduced as a result of the relationship.  See Overton v. Overton, Fla 1st DCA, April 29, 2010, Case No.:  1D08-5391.  You may view the opinion here:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Relocation of Child - Court Erred in Relying on a Purported Agreement of the Parties and Failing to Establish a Timesharing Schedule

The Second District Court of Appeal reversed a Trial Court's ruling on the mother's request to relocate with the child where the Trial Court relied heavily on a purported agreement reached by the parties, where the "agreement" was not signed and did not provide for a timesharing plan upon the child reaching school age.  The District Court also held that the Trial Court erred by not including a specific timesharing plan in its order, and by ruling on child support without making any findings regarding the income of the parties or whether the Father would enjoy substantial time sharing.  Zepeda v. Zepeda, Case No.: 2D09-4303 (Fla 2d DCA March 26, 2010).  You may read the entire opinion as,%202010/2D09-4303.pdf

The Florida Supreme Court Amends Rules Regarding Mediators and Advertising

The Florida Supreme Court recently issued an opinion which amends the rules regarding mediators, and specifically the manner in which Florida Supreme Court certified mediators may advertise and/or market mediation services.  See In Re Amendments to the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, Case No. SC09-1384 (Fla. April 1, 2010).  You may read the opinion at

Improper For Court to Reduce Child Support Without a Request or Notice

The Florida First District Court of Appeal recently stated that it was error for a Trial Court to reduce child support when there was no written request filed with the Court for such a reduction and the other party was not on notice that the issue would be tried.  Brown v. Holmes, First District Court of Appeal CASE NO. 1D09-3718, 1D09-5058 (April 9, 2010).

Steve Combs Named Chair of The Florida Bar Family Law Rules Committee

My law partner, and husband, Steven P. Combs, has just been named chair of The Florida Bar Family Law Rules Committee.  Steve has already been serving as a member of that committee, as well as The Florida Bar Rules of Judicial Administration Committee.  Both of these committees propose amendments to or propose brand new rules to the Florida Supreme Court for approval.

Deborah L Greene - Profile on

Deborah L Greene - Profile on

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prospective Relocation Disapproved by Florida Supreme Court

In January 2010 the Florida Supreme Court reversed a case from the Second District Court of Appeal regarding relocation in a divorce proceeding.  The Supreme Court case is Arthur v. Arthur, 35 Fla. L. Weekly S 38 (Fla. January 14, 2010), and the Court resolved a conflict between the Second District Court of Appeal (which originally decided the Arthur case, and a case from the First District Court of Appeal, Sylvester v. Sylvester, 992 So.2d 296 (Fla. 1st DCA  2008).  The Florida Supreme Court agreed with the First District Court of Appeal and held that it was error for the trial court to grant a prospective relocation by a parent with a child and stated that if relocation is not supported or warranted at the time of trial, then the trial court should not order relocation at some point in the future.  The decision regarding relocation must be determined based on the then existing facts and circumstances.

Appreciation of Pre-Marital of Non-Marital Assets During Marriage

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to resolve the conflict between the cases of Stevens v. Stevens, 651 So.2d 1306 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995) and Kaaa v. Kaaa, 9 So.3d 756 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009). These District Courts of Appeal disagree in these two (2) cases on the manner in which appreciation (or increase in value) during a marriage of pre-marital or non-marital assets will be treated by the Court in a divorce action (i.e., whether the increase in value of the pre-marital or non-marital asset will be considered a marital asset).

Oral arguments on the issue are scheduled before the Florida Supreme Court on May 4, 2010.

The First District Court of Appeal is more willing to consider the increase in value during a marriage of such pre-marital or non-marital assets to be marital. The Second District Court of Appeal is much less willing to do so.
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