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Davis v. Davis

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

May 16, 2018

JENNIFER DAVIS, Appellant,
v.
COURTNEY DAVIS, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; Edward A. Garrison, Acting Circuit Judge; L.T. Case No. 502016DR001962XXXXMB.

          Stephanie L. Serafin and Jane Kreusler-Walsh of the Law Office of Kreusler-Walsh Vargas & Serafin, P.A., West Palm Beach, and Robin J. Scher of the Law Offices of Robin J. Scher, P.A., North Palm Beach, for appellant.

          No appearance by appellee.

          KUNTZ, J.

         The Former Wife appeals the final judgment of dissolution of marriage. We agree with her that the court erred by failing to make findings as to: (i) whether the timesharing plan was in the best interest of the children; (ii) the paternity of two children; and (iii) alimony and distribution of the Former Husband's automobile business. We reverse.

         Background

         The Former Husband filed a petition for dissolution of marriage stating that "[t]here are no joint assets or ties" and claiming there were two children common to both parties. The Former Wife responded, requested alimony, and indicated that the court should determine how the assets and liabilities should be distributed. Specifically, the Former Wife indicated that she should be awarded an interest in the Former Husband's property because she put the money into a business, FAS Tech Automotive Repair & Service LLC, and because she worked doing paperwork for that business. Further, she claimed that the Former Husband removed her name from the business without her knowledge. The Former Husband denied these assertions.

         The court held an evidentiary hearing at which counsel for the Former Husband stated, "Your Honor, I believe there are no assets or liabilities for equitable distribution. The only issue pending before the Court would be timesharing and parental responsibility." The Former Husband then testified regarding custody of the two children, however, did not testify about assets.

         The Former Wife disputed the issue of assets. She stated she had helped him with the paperwork in his business, and her name was removed from the business without permission. Regarding the two children, the Former Wife testified that she did not object to the Former Husband having custody for short periods of time but, in the past, she had difficulty with the Former Husband returning the children to her.

         At the hearing's conclusion, the court granted the dissolution and instructed the Former Husband's counsel to "prepare a final judgment in that regard." The court then noted that the children belonged in Palm Beach County. Subsequently, the court issued the written Final Judgment, finding that there were no assets nor any requests for alimony. The Final Judgment required the Former Wife to return the minor children to the Former Husband in Palm Beach County but no parenting plan was attached.

         The Former Wife sent a letter to the court stating that she had returned to Palm Beach County and requesting a timesharing hearing. Two days later, the court entered an amended final judgment. The amended final judgment provided that there would be shared parental responsibility, with the children spending every other weekend with the mother.

         The Former Wife filed a motion for rehearing raising arguments now raised on appeal. After the court denied the motion ...


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