FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; Richard A.
Allison M. Perry of Florida Appeals & Mediations, P.A.,
Tampa and Kendra R. Davis of Law Office of Kendra Davis,
P.A., Tampa, for Appellant.
A. Neumaier, Tampa, for Appellee.
Duncan, the father of a minor child, A.L.D., appeals from
orders that emanated from a contempt proceeding in which the
circuit court curtailed his timesharing with A.L.D. For the
reasons that follow, we must reverse.
protracted litigation between Mr. Duncan and A.L.D.'s
mother, Thalia Tatham Brickman, originated in 2006, when
A.L.D. was sixteen months old. Initially, the parties were able
to settle several issues, including those relating to the
distribution of their property and debts. Disputes about the
rearing of their child, however, remained. In August of 2008,
the trial court entered a temporary timesharing order
awarding majority timesharing to Mr. Duncan, while referring
the final determination of paternity, timesharing, and child
support to a general magistrate.
general magistrate would not conduct hearings on these issues
until the summer of 2010, two years after the referral, and
those hearings would continue into the spring of 2011 before
a report and recommendation was issued that winter. Ms.
Brickman filed exceptions to the report and recommendation,
and in the summer of 2012, now four years after the initial
referral, the trial court held a hearing on those exceptions.
Following that hearing, the trial court referred the matter
back to the general magistrate for clarification of a
procedural issue concerning rebuttal witnesses. In the
meantime, from September 2011 to September 2012, Ms. Brickman
had filed five motions for contempt, each alleging that Mr.
Duncan had violated the temporary timesharing order, which,
four years after its entry, was still the operative
timesharing order in effect. The trial court heard these
motions in a consolidated fashion over the course of two
hearings, one held in the spring, and the other in the
summer, of 2013.The hearings concluded, and the presiding
judge informed counsel for the parties that he would reserve
ruling and render an order at a later time.
court would not issue that order for three years.
the contempt hearings concluded, this matter lay dormant for
several months until the spring of 2014, when the general
magistrate-almost two years after the matter was referred
back to him as a result of Ms. Brickman's
exceptions-issued a new report and recommendation. Ms.
Brickman filed exceptions to this new report and
recommendation as well, but for reasons unclear, the trial
court did not rule on these exceptions for another two years.
While Ms. Brickman's latest exceptions remained pending,
the circuit court entered an order on her contempt motions on
June 13, 2016.
order, the trial court found Mr. Duncan in contempt of the
temporary timesharing order, which, by now, had been in force
for eight years. As part of its contempt order, the trial
court modified the parties' timesharing with A.L.D. Mr.
Duncan had enjoyed majority timesharing for the past eight
years, but the contempt order purported to grant both parents
equal timesharing. In that regard, the order stated:
The prior order relating to temporary time-sharing is
modified in the following respects. Mr. Duncan shall no
longer have temporary majority time-sharing. Instead,
temporary timesharing shall be shared such that Mr. Duncan
shall have fifty percent time-sharing with the Minor Child
and Ms. Brickman shall have fifty percent time-sharing with
the Minor Child. . . .
Mr. Duncan is again admonished to refrain from exercising
sole parental responsibility and from conduct that is not
conducive to effective co-parenting. Further sanctions may be