Division of Property And Assets – Atlantis, FL

In a division of property and assets divorce proceeding, the Court’s findings must be supported by competent, substantial evidence. In Jordan v. Jordan, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “A final judgment of any distribution of marital assets or liabilities ‘shall be supported by factual findings . . . based on competent substantial evidence… [and] include specific written findings of fact as to… [any] findings necessary to advise the parties or the reviewing court of the trial court’s rationale for the distribution ….’ §61.075(3)(d), Fla. Stat. (2012). 

Where certain findings are not supported by competent evidence, reversal of the final judgment is proper. See Konz v. Konz, 63 So. 3d 845, 846 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (reversing a final judgment for recalculation of the equitable distribution where the evidence at trial did not support the trial court’s findings and where the trial court failed to factor certain marital liabilities). Specific factual findings underlying the court’s determinations are not required to be expressly stated where the record contains competent evidence to support the trial court’s findings. Kelly v. Kelly, 557 So. 2d 625, 627 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990). In the instant case, we find that competent substantial evidence is lacking to support the trial court’s valuation of certain marital assets and liabilities in the equitable distribution schedule attached to the final judgment. These unsupported valuations contribute to totals that were used to determine the ultimate equitable distribution award for Former Wife, leaving Former Husband in a position to pay an amount that appears to be overstated…However, in this case, as in Banton, ‘the evidence is simply insufficient to support some of the trial court’s conclusions.’ Id. at 156 (‘When reversible error occurs with regard to valuation or distribution, the entire distribution scheme must be reversed and remanded to allow the trial court to ensure both parties receive equity and justice.’

To speak with a divorce attorney in Atlantis, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.