Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A.
Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach And Wellington, Florida Offices 561-328-1095

September 2011 Archives

Modification During Pendency of Appeal in Florida

Trial Court has jurisdiction over a petition for modification during the pendency of an appeal. "Both the Third and Fourth Districts have held that the trial court has jurisdiction over a petition for prospective downward modification of alimony and/or child support even while the appeal of an initial award of alimony and child support is pending because "'[t]he granting of modification relief prospectively would have no effect on the order being appealed.'" Atlas v. Atlas, 708 So. 2d 296, 298 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998) (quoting Merian v. Merhige, 690 So. 2d 678, 681 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997) ) (emphasis added)." Cooper v. Cooper

Division of Property & Assets in Palm Beach County, Florida

A trial court can award a party interest on those sums that should have been distributed as part of an equitable distribution. "This court reviewed and affirmed the pre-Final Judgment valuation which required Former Wife to pay the equalizing amount of $193,479.50 to Former Husband, plus interest for the years she delayed disbursement...The trial court has the discretion to award [a party] interest, accruing from entry of the final judgment of dissolution, on those sums that should have been distributed." Shinitzky v. Shinitzky

Division Of Property And Assets In Palm Beach County, Florida

An agreement between the parties pertaining to equitable distribution of assets is binding upon the parties, without a court order, however, agreements between the parties relating to custody and child support are not binding without a court order. "Former Wife is incorrect that the portions of the 2007 mediation agreement pertaining to equitable distribution, debts, and property agreements are unenforceable because an order approving the agreement was never entered. 'A stipulation properly entered into and relating to a matter upon which it is appropriate to stipulate is binding upon the parties and upon the Court.' Yeakle v. Yeakle, 12 So. 3d 884, 885-86 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); see Dorta v. Dorta, 626 So. 2d 312, 313 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993) (recognizing that property rights in post-dissolution marriage proceeding are enforceable under contract law). Therefore, we affirm the trial court's rulings on the enforcement matters pertaining to equitable distribution, debts, and property agreements. Former Wife is correct that the 2007 mediation agreement is nonbinding and unenforceable as to child custody and child support issues until the trial court enters an order approving the agreement as being in the best interests of the children. Feliciano v. Feliciano, 674 So. 2d 937 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996)." Comstock v. Comstock

Division Of Property And Assets In Palm Beach County, Florida

It is error to include assets in an equitable distribution scheme that have been diminished or dissipated during the dissolution proceeding, unless they were diminished as a result of misconduct during the dissolution proceeding. "'As a general proposition, it is error to include assets in an equitable distribution scheme that have been diminished or dissipated during the dissolution proceedings.' Roth v. Roth, 973 So. 2d 580, 584 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008). '[A]n exception to this general proposition exists when misconduct during the dissolution proceedings results in the dissipation of a marital asset.' Id. at 584-85. Misconduct exists when one spouse has used the marital funds for his or her own benefit and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage. Id. at 585. In order to include a dissipated asset in the distribution scheme, 'there must be evidence of the spending spouse's intentional dissipation or destruction of the asset[ ] and the trial court must make a specific finding that the dissipation resulted from intentional misconduct.'" Id. Tummings v. Francois Division of Marital Property and Marital Assets - Marital

Contempt of Court in Florida

A finding of criminal contempt of court must be based upon a finding that a party has the present ability to pay. [T]he court's finding that Mr. Keeler had the present ability to pay was 'based upon his history of obtaining funds when needed.' In Bowen v. Bowen, 471 So. 2d 1274, 1279 (Fla. 1985), the Florida Supreme Court stated: 'If incarceration is deemed appropriate, the court must make a separate, affirmative finding that the contemnor possesses the present ability to comply with the purge conditions set forth in the contempt order...From the trial court's order, it seems the judge focused on the past, not the present ability to pay. We therefore vacate the contempt but otherwise affirm." Keeler v. Keeler,

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Palm Beach Gardens Office
The Financial Center at the Gardens
3801 PGA Boulevard
Suite 600
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410

Phone: 561-328-1095
Fax: (561) 472-1568
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Wellington Office
Wellington Reserve
1035 South State Road 7
Suite 315
Wellington, Florida 33414

Phone: 561-328-1095
Fax: (561) 472-1568
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West Palm Beach Office
Phillips Point
777 South Flagler Drive
Suite 800
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

Phone: 561-328-1095
Fax: (561) 472-1568
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Boca Raton Office
One Boca Place
2255 Glades Road
Suite 324A
Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Phone: 561-328-1095
Fax: (561) 472-1568
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