Dissolution of Marriage Case Summaries in Florida
In the case of Stefano Guizzardi v. Rosario Guizzardi, the former husband appealed a post dissolution order that granted the former wife the ability to relocate their children to Peru.The former husband’s argument regarding the appeal was that the trial court erred in applying the new relocation request statute instead of the correct statute governing all relocation requirements. The court had jurisdiction to hear the relocation request and the new law’s provisions did apply to the requirements of relocation. However, the wife was not granted the ability to relocate the children to Peru because the court did not find a substantial change in circumstances that would merit the modification of the final judgment which included a provision against the relocation of the minor children without the other parent’s full consent.
In the case of Florence Franks v. Eugene Franks Jr., the trial court found that the former wife resided in Florida for six months before the petition for a dissolution of marriage was filed. The court was also able to address the former wife’s request for attorney’s fees and did not abuse its discretion when they named the former wife a beneficiary of a military survivor benefit plan to keep her portion of the Navy retired pay from her former husband. However, the court did fail to create an extensive and appropriate bridge the gap alimony for a period of 24 months. There was a remand for the trail court to clarify the character of the alimony awarded to the former wife and to rule on the former husband’s motion seeking clarification on the asset distribution.
There was an issue regarding rehabilitative alimony and the amount that was to be awarded during a two year period in the case of Adams Katz v. Jennifer Katz. The award of rehabilitative alimony that was to be granted to the wife was supposed to be put towards professional licenses and memberships. In the final judgment the award of rehabilitative alimony for the two year period would have equaled ten years of licenses and memberships. On remand the trial court will have to revisit the amount of rehabilitative alimony for the former wife so it can be incongruence with her needs and the financial ability of the former husband.
In a dissolution of marriage and child custody case of Kay Culbertson v. Victor Brad Culbertson, there was a dependent child who needed extensive amount of medical care and around the clock attention for his health. Trail court did not abuse its discretion when it granted the father unsupervised overnight shared visitation with the children. There were some disturbing aspects of the father’s testimony that made it seem as though the father was insensitive to the children’s needs. However evidence did show that the father was able to take care of the child’s medical condition and could deal with the medical emergencies.
A dissolution of marriage and alimony case of Florence Penni Silverman v. Syndey I. Silverman, developed an error when the Court failed to grant the former wife an increase in alimony on the grounds that her cost of living had changed. There was apparently no evidence that they wife’s standard of living had reduced because of inflation. Alimony is supposed to leave the former spouse with a life style similar to that enjoyed in the marriage, and the wife’s main argument was that her lifestyle was very different from the one she previously experienced while married.
February 13, 2013
In Perez v Perez 37 Fla. L. Weekly D2605, the District Court found that where neither the record nor the amended final judgment nor the attorney’s fee award contains sufficient factual findings to support the award to the wife that the award is reversed. The trial court made no findings concerning the parties monthly expenses and insufficient findings concerning their need or ability to pay which required reversal. The fee order contained no findings to support the trial court’s award of the portion of wife’s fees it ordered the husband to pay. If attorneys fees are to be awarded as a sanction for litigation misconduct, the court must make findings that support the reduction or enhancement factors set out in the Rosen case and must explain which portion of the fees incurred was occasioned by the husband’s misconduct. In the present case the fee award contained conflicting findings concerning the extent to which both parties were responsible for the over litigation of the case.
In Toussaint v Toussaint 38 Fla, L weekly D194, the court was required to interpret the provisions of the marital settlement agreement which a portion of the military retirement benefits of the former husband was divided. The court held that the marital settlement agreement described by the trial court is unambiguous and limited the portion of the military retirement pay of the wife to 50% of the retirement of benefits that accrued during the marriage. The appellate court found that the arital settlement agreement terms were ambiguous and the trial court erred in not taking in parol evidence to elucidate the ambiguity. Resolution of this case involves interpretation of a marital settlement agreement incorporated into the final judgment for dissolution of marriage. The court held that the interpretation of the marital settlement greement as with a contract is a matter of law putting the appellate court on equal footing with the trial court as an interpreter of the written document. The appellate court stated as a general rule evidence outside the contract language, which is known as parol evidence, may be considered only when the contract language contains a latent ambiguity. A latet ambiguity arises where the language employed is clear and intelligible and suggest but a single meaning,but some extrinsic factors or extraneous evidence creates a necessity for interpretation or choice among two possible meanings. Parol evidence is admissible to explain clarify the empty the ambiguous terms. In the case at hand, the parties included no formula for computing the former wife share of the former husband’s retirement benefits. Nor is there any language in the marital settlement agreement that nequivocally sets the date from which the former wife’s right to 50% of the former husband’s retirement benefits is to be calculated. The District Court held that the general magistrate and the trial court erred in holding that the marital settlement agreement was un ambiguous. The District Court reversed the trial court’s order and remanded the case with instructions for the trial court to hold a new hearing and allow the parties an opportunity to present parole evidence to resolve the latent ambiguity as to the intent in drafting the respective paragraph of the marital settlement agreement.