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Koepke v. Koepke

Florida Court of Appeals, Fifth District

July 26, 2019

KARL O. KOEPKE, Appellant,
v.
NANCY M. KOEPKE, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Orange County, Donald A. Myers, Jr., Judge.

          Roy D. Wasson, of Wasson & Associates, Chartered, Miami, for Appellant.

          Gregory M. Wilson, Orlando, for Appellee.

          PER CURIAM.

         AFFIRMED.

          GROSSHANS, J., and ROBERSON, E.C., Associate Judge, concur.

          COHEN, J., concurs and concurs specially, with opinion.

         Karl O. Koepke ("Former Husband") appeals the final order finding him in indirect criminal contempt of court in his post-dissolution action against Nancy M. Koepke ("Former Wife"). He raises two issues on appeal: (1) the trial court's failure to effectuate proper service of process pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.840(a), and (2) the insufficiency of evidence establishing willfulness.

         The second argument raised is meritless. Former Husband, a practicing lawyer, has been battling with Former Wife over his payment of alimony. During the pendency of the proceeding, Former Wife sought discovery related to Former Husband's anticipated settlement of a personal injury case, in which he was expected to generate a significant award of attorneys' fees. Former Wife sought to use the award to resolve Former Husband's unpaid alimony obligation. However, after settling the personal injury case, Former Husband proceeded on a course of conduct devised to conceal from Former Wife both the settlement and his award of attorneys' fees. Ultimately, Former Husband placed a significant portion of his awarded fees[1] into an irrevocable trust to shield the monies from use for repayment of past due alimony.

         The record amply supports the trial court's findings holding Former Husband in indirect criminal contempt. The court, in its well-articulated order, stated:

In this case, the Court concludes that the Defendant's responses to the discovery requests, both as a lawyer and client, were untruthful and intentionally misleading, interposed for the purpose of obfuscating and delaying Former Wife's discovery of the terms of the Settlement Agreement at Mediation. At the time the Defendant produced no settlement agreement and affirmatively stated there were no settlement agreements, there was in fact a Settlement Agreement at Mediation personally signed by the Defendant. The Court also concludes that the Defendant's intentional failure to comply with the properly issued subpoena duces tecum for trial was intended to obfuscate and delay Former Wife's discovery of the terms of the Settlement Agreement at Mediation, and to delay and hinder trial on the issues of alimony.
. . . .
While successfully accomplishing the delay in disclosure of the personal injury case settlement, Defendant researched, planned and executed a diversion of the attorneys' fees to an irrevocable trust. The diversion effectively shielded a substantial asset that would have been available for payment of overdue, unpaid alimony and attorneys' fees/costs as appropriate. Further, it impacted the Court's ultimate analysis of the Defendant's "ability to ...

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