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

December 2014 Archives

Divorce In North Palm Beach, Florida

In a divorce action, in determining venue, the trial court is to look to the single county where the intact marriage was last evidenced by a continuing union of partners who intended to stay and to remain married indefinitely if not permanently. In McGee v. McGee the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "Venue transfer orders are reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Mgmt. Computer Controls, Inc. v. Charles Perry Constr., Inc., 743 So. 2d627 (Fla. lst DCA 1999). We begin by noting that venue is proper where the defendant is domiciled, where the cause of action accrued, or where the property in litigation is located. § 47.011, Fla. Stat. (2013). "In a dissolution of marriage action, the trial court is to look to the single county where 'the intact marriage was last evidenced by a continuing union of partners who intended to remain and to remain married, indefinitely if not permanently.' " Crawford v. Crawford, 415 So. 2d 870,870 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982) (citing Carroll v. Carroll, 341 So. 2d 771,722 (Fla. 1977)). But a court may transfer any civil action "to any other court of record in which it might have been brought" for the convenience of the parties or witnesses or the interest of justice. § 47.122, Fla. Stat. (emphasis added). See also § 61.13(2)(d), Fla. Stat. (providing that in modification proceedings "[t]he court may change the venue in accordance with s. 47.122.")...

Alimony in Jupiter, Florida

In making an alimony award, a court's failure to make findings of fact relative to all of the statutory factors is reversible error. In Julia v. Julia, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "[I]n imputing income to the Wife in the amount of $45,000 per year, the trial court neglected to make any findings with respect to whether the Wife's unemployment at the time of the hearing was "voluntary," nor did the court address the Wife's evidence that she has been making "diligent and bona fide efforts to find employment." See Durand v. Durand, 16 So. 3d 982, 985 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) (quoting Leonard v. Leonard, 91 So. 2d 263, 265 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008)). This court has determined that both inquiries are necessary in imputing income and that"[t]he spouse claiming income should be imputed to the unemployed or underemployed spouse bears the burden of showing both employability and that jobs are available." Id. 

Child Custody and Visitation in Jupiter, Florida

In awarding child custody and visitation, the court order must make a finding of fact as to the best interest of the children. In Julia v. Julia, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "Appellant Martha Julia ("the Wife") appeals the final judgment of support and the final judgment of dissolution of marriage related to her second marriage to Appellee Juan Carlos Julia ("the Husband"). The Wife argues that the trial court's judgments must be reversed in light of violations of her right to due process. We agree. Furthermore, we find six additional shortcomings with respect to the trial court's decisions that must be addressed on remand. Accordingly, we reverse the final judgments for reasons stated below and remand for further proceedings...First, in awarding the four children exclusive use and possession of the marital home, with the parents rotating in at two week intervals, the trial court's decision made no mention of "the best interests of the children" with respect to this ruling. This is a required factor for the court to consider when determining parental responsibility and distribution of assets. See §§ 61.075(1)(h), 61.13(2)(c), Fla. Stat. (2013). 

Divorce in North Palm Beach, Florida

In a divorce proceeding, due process requires that the parties be given sufficient time to call witnesses and to be heard. In Julia v. Julia, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "Due process requires that a party be given the opportunity to be heard and to testify and call witnesses on the party's behalf... and the denial of this right is fundamental error." Minakan v. Husted, 27 So. 3d 695,698 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (quoting Pettry v. Pettry, 706 So. 2d 107,108 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998)). The opportunity to be heard must be "full and fair, not merely colorable or illusive." Pelle v. Diners Club, 287 So. 2d 737,738 (Fla. 3d DCA 1974) Additionally, this Court has recognized that justice cannot be "administered arbitrarily with a stopwatch," yet that is what happened in the instant case. See Woodham v. Roy, 471 So. 2d 132, 134 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985). Throughout the hearing, the trial court made it clear that it intended to complete the trial in one day without going much beyond 5:00p.m. Although this goal is not inherently violative of due process, summarily shortening proceedings can give rise to a due process violation when they fail to afford a party a full, fair, and meaningful opportunity to be heard, such as in this case where the Wife was severely restricted in time to examine witnesses, to call any of her own witnesses, or to make any argument as to the evidence presented... 

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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
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Wellington, Florida 33414

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West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

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