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Castleman v. Bicaldo

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

June 6, 2018

JOSEPH RYAN CASTLEMAN, Appellant,
v.
JEANN SAGA BICALDO, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Indian River County; Robert L. Pegg, Judge; L.T. Case No. 312016DR000262.

          Eduardo J. Mejias of AAA Family Law, LLC, Altamonte Springs, for appellant.

          Michael L. Cohen of Michael L. Cohen Law, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Forst, J.

         Appellant Joseph Castleman ("Husband") raises multiple issues on appeal from the final judgment of dissolution of marriage between the parties. Unless otherwise addressed in this opinion, we affirm without comment. We find fundamental error requiring reversal and remand with respect to the trial court's (1) finding the relocation statute inapplicable to appellee Jeann Bicaldo ("Wife") in the event she is deported; (2) making a future-based projection of the parties' minor child's best interests by granting Wife permission to take their daughter with her if she is in fact deported; and (3) awarding Wife durational alimony for a period longer than the length of the marriage.

         Background

         Wife immigrated to the United States from the Philippines to marry Husband. Because of the marriage, she obtained conditional permanent resident status (a Green Card). But, twenty-six months after the marriage, Husband filed for dissolution. At one point, the parties stipulated to staying the case for up to six months while they attempted to reconcile. Husband, however, moved to resume the action two months later. Ultimately, the trial court entered a final judgment of dissolution, and in it awarded Wife durational alimony of $2000 a month for three years.

         The trial court also ruled in its final judgment that in the event Wife's application for citizenship is denied, she would be permitted to take the child with her to the Philippines. In making its ruling, the trial court did not comply with the dictates of section 61.13001, Florida Statutes (2017). It reasoned the section did not apply to persons forced to relocate due to deportation.

         Analysis

         Husband failed to file the trial transcript, thus we review for fundamental error apparent on the face of the judgment. See P.S. v. Dep't of Children & Families, 68 So.3d 421, 421 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).

         A. Parental Relocation with a Child

         The trial court committed fundamental error when it found that section 61.13001 (titled "Parental relocation with a child") "applies only to persons wishing to relocate voluntarily, not those who are forced to do so by the government following a change in their marital status."

         Subsection (7) of the statute states that "[a] presumption in favor of or against a request to relocate with the child does not arise if a parent or other person seeks to relocate and the move will materially affect the current schedule of contact, access, and time-sharing with the nonrelocating parent or other person." ยง 61.13001(7), Fla. Stat. (emphasis added). This subsection sets forth ten specific criteria "the court shall evaluate" with respect to child custody arrangements in the face of "a proposed temporary or permanent relocation, " as well as a catch-all "[a]ny other factor affecting the best interest of the child or as set ...


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