Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A.

February 2015 Archives

Florida Alimony Reform Bill 2015 Fails in the Florida Legislature

Florida Alimony Reform legislation recently failed in the Florida legislature with the early departure of the Florida House of Representatives on April 28, 2015. A special session for the Florida legislature is likely to take place on June 1, 2015, however, Alimony Reform legislation may or may not be addressed at that time.

Modification of Child Custody & Visitation in Jupiter, Florida

In a Modification of Child Custody & Visitation proceeding, Courts are required to keep in mind the fact that a parent has a constitutionally protected right to a meaningful relationship with his or her children and timesharing privileges should not be denied to either parent as long as the parent conducts himself or herself, while in the presence of the children, in a manner which will not adversely affect the children. In Fay v. Fay, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated that in order for any restrictions or limitations on custody and visitation to be put into effect by the court, there must be there must be competent, substantial evidence in the record that these restrictions are in the best interests of the children before those restrictions will be sustained. It is the court's responsibility to ensure that an appropriate relationship is maintained between parents and their children, and that responsibility cannot be abdicated to any parent or expert. The trial court cannot delegate its authority to another person to rule on the custody and visitation details. A parent's visitation rights may not be conditioned on the payment of the parent's financial obligations.

Alimony in Jupiter, Florida

In awarding alimony, the court imputes income to an unemployed or an underemployed individual. In Cameron v. Cameron, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "In a dissolution of marriage proceeding, each party's sources of income and ability to pay are factors to be considered in determining whether alimony, child support, or attorney's fees are appropriate, and if so, in what amounts." Smith v. Smith, 737 So. 2d 641,642 (Fla. 1st DCA1999). Where a parent is underemployed, the court is required to impute income to that parent unless the lack of employment is the result of the parent's physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances beyond the parent's control. ยง 61.30(2)(b), Fla. Stat. (2011); Hentze v. Denys, 88 So. 3d 307, 311 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012). The decision of whether to impute income must be supported by competent, substantial evidence. See Gray v. Gray, 103 So. 3d962, 966 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012)."

Modification of Child Support in Jupiter, FL

Modification of child support in Florida was recently explained in Arquette v. Rutter.  In Arquette v. Rutter the Florida Court of Appeal stated: "This court recently explained the circumstances, under the UIFSA, in which a Florida court may modify a child support order issued in another state: [A]s is the case here, when not all of the parties reside in Florida, a Florida court may only modify the order under one of the following circumstances: 1. After notice and hearing the tribunal finds that a. the child, individual obligee, and obligor do not reside in the issuing state; b. the petitioner seeks modification and is not a Florida resident; and c. the Florida tribunal has personal jurisdiction over the respondent. 2. The tribunal finds that it has personal jurisdiction over an individual party or the child and that all of the individual parties have filed a consent in the issuing tribunal to the Florida tribunal's modifying the support order and assuming continuing exclusive jurisdiction over it.

Division of Property and Assets in North Palm Beach, Florida

To modify a division of property and assets, there must be a specific reservation of jurisdiction in the final judgment to make a later adjudication of property rights. In Daoud v. Daoud the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: "Dora S. Daoud, the former wife, raises four issues in this appeal of a contempt order resulting from her failure to comply with the final judgment dissolving her marriage to Khader Daoud, the former husband. We find merit in her challenge of the trial court's modification of property rights previously adjudicated in the dissolution judgment, and reverse and remand on that issue. We affirm without comment the balance of the appealed order.

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