Recent Appeals

Here are some recent results where I’ve helped family law trial lawyers get reversals on some critical issues – or where I’ve defended on appeal the victory that trial lawyers like you fought so hard to earn.

Olivarez v. Olivarez, 250 So. 3d 872 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018).

The district court agreed that $23,000 in dissipated assets should not have been included in the equitable distribution. The difference for my client was not simply in preventing her from being credited with tens of thousands of dollars that no longer existed. Instead, reversal in equitable distribution resulted in the reversal on alimony, child support, and attorneys’ fees as well.

Trial Lawyer: Homer A.C. Bliss, AV-rated family law attorney with over 30 years’ experience

Knecht v. Palmer, 252 So. 3d 842 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018).

Even when you don’t win on all the issues, a thorough presentation of your arguments on appeal can remain critical. This opinion affirming in part and reversing in part is one example. Here, the reversal on the fee issue alone resulted in a trial court award of additional fees in almost triple the amount spent to handle the appeal, from briefing through oral argument.

Trial Lawyer: J. Demere Mason, Board Certified Expert in Matrimonial Law, AV-rated attorney with more than 30 years of experience

Williams v. Sapp, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1215 (Fla. 1st DCA May 31, 2018).

My client was denied due process when a trial court performed line-item changes to the consent final judgment she and her husband had executed and entered it as revised – without notice or even her presence. The district court agreed that this violation of due process; the denial of rehearing, an abuse of discretion.

Trial Lawyer: Douglas A. Oberdorfer

Kurtanovic v. Kurtanovic, 248 So. 3d 247 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018).

We didn’t convince the district court to reverse the imputation of income, but we secured reversals on equitable distribution, the requirement to make a lump-sum equalizing payment, the life insurance to secure alimony requirement, the obligation for the estate to pay alimony, and the attorneys’ fees award.

Trial Lawyer: Otto Rafuse

McAbee v. McAbee, Case No. 4D17-3450 (Fla. 4th DCA Dec. 12, 2018).

This case, like many involving children, turned on UCCJEA issues. Tragically, like a few cases, it also concerned false allegations of abuse. The client proved in Virginia that no abuse had ever occurred after years of litigation, expert evaluation, physical examinations, testimony, and several rulings. But the mother absconded with the child and presented her allegations anew to a Florida trial court, which entered a permanent injunction without conferring with the Virginia court. Fortunately, the Fourth District agreed that the conference requirement was all the more important where a trial court has only a “snapshot of information,” unlike the Virginia court that had grappled with the issues for years and reached the opposite conclusion: the father was no threat to the child’s welfare, but the mother was.

Trial Lawyer: Kyle Bedran

Wing v. Wing, 241 So. 3d 769 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018).

Sometimes, the DCA says it best when it says nothing at all. This PCA brought to an end a complex equitable distribution, parental responsibility, and relocation battle that had raged for more than a decade. This case went up to the district court several times before; part of my job was ensuring this would be the last. I’m very proud to have helped wrap up this case, sealing the trial lawyer’s resounding win, for a wonderful client and her children who deserved that finality.

Trial Lawyer: Elliot Zisser, Board Certified Expert in Matrimonial Law, AV-rated attorney, and Former President of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

Cywes v. Wolfe, 241 So. 3d 767 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018).

In this PCA, the district court agreed with us that the trial court had reached the correct result on the hotly contested alimony and timesharing issues. It was a pleasure securing the affirmance of a hard-fought victory earned by the trial lawyers and our client.

Trial Lawyers: Robin Lanigan (before becoming a Duval County Circuit Court Magistrate), Dee Reiter - AV-rated attorney practicing family law for more than 30 years

Brown v. Kamma, Case No. 1D18-171 (Fla. 1st DCA Dec. 14, 2018).

In this PCA, the district court affirmed the trial court’s refusal to set aside a previous order involving relocation and timesharing issues. As a result, my client and his child can continue to benefit from the finality of the final order that protected the child’s best interests.

Trial Lawyer: Brenda Alexis Priestly Jackson - former Duval County School Board chairman; family lawyer practicing for over 20 years

Newsom v. Newsom, 221 So. 3d 1265 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017).

An injunction for protection can have far-reaching consequences for a respondent, so it’s critical to ensure that a respondent receives due process and that there’s an evidentiary basis for the ruling. The district court agreed.

Trial Lawyer: A. Russell Smith, AV-rated family law attorney with almost 40 years’ experience