In a divorce proceeding, even where a default is granted, a court is required to hold a trial to determine the appropriate amount of alimony and the form of the distribution of assets, but the defaulting party may be prohibited from presenting evidence. In Ehman v. Ehman, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated:
“On July 30, 2012, the Wife filed another motion asking the trial court to strike the Husband’s pleadings based on his failure to provide discovery documents or proof that he requested the documents. On September 10, 2012, the trial court granted the Wife’s motion, struck the Husband’s pleadings, and entered a judicial default against him…Following the default against the Husband, the Wife filed a “Notice of Final Default Hearing.” This proceeding should have been treated as a nonjury trial. Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.440(a) states that the trial court must enter an order setting the dissolution action for trial, even where a default has been entered against a party. Because this issue was not preserved, we do not reach it. But we note that the failure to comply with rule 12.440(a) could result in a reversal. See Merrigan v. Merrigan, 947 So. 2d 668, 670 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007). On remand, because the default was properly entered against the Husband, all well-pleaded facts are deemed admitted and relief specifically prayed for is acquiesced to. See Baricchi v. Barry, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D170, D171 (Fla. 2d DCA Jan. 17, 2014)(citing Longo v. Longo, 576 So. 2d 402, 403 (Fla. 2d DCA 1991)). Thus, the Wife’s entitlement to equitable distribution and alimony were conceded by the Husband, but the amount of alimony and the form of equitable distribution must be determined by the trial court. See id.; cf. Ries v. Ries, 984 So. 2d 612, 614 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) (finding no abuse of discretion where trial court prohibited former husband from presenting evidence as to alimony, equitable distribution, and attorney’s fees where default had been entered and former husband failed to respond to discovery and did not file financial affidavit).”
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