Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fernandez v. Marrero

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

September 25, 2019

Jorge Alfonso Fernandez, Appellant,
v.
Romena Marrero, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 15-10845, John Schlesinger, Judge.

          Alvin Goodman P.A., and Ilene F. Tuckfield, for appellant.

          Jorge A. Fernandez; Matthew E. Ladd, for appellee.

          Before SALTER, [1] FERNANDEZ, and LINDSEY, JJ.

          LINDSEY, J.

         Appellant Jorge Alfonso Fernandez ("Fernandez") appeals a final judgment[2]of partition entered following a non-jury trial. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Fernandez and Romena Marrero ("Marrero") began dating in January of 2013. They moved in together in June 2013. Thereafter, in December 2013, the parties moved into a house ("the property") that they ultimately purchased. The parties were permitted to move in prior to the closing because Fernandez knew the owner. During this time, Fernandez made several repairs and improvements to the property, including, but not limited to, lawn care and the replacement of a fence. The closing took place on March 25, 2014. Fernandez paid the down payment and closing costs. The parties purchased and titled the property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.

         Since the closing, Fernandez has paid all the mortgage payments without contribution from Marrero. After the closing, Fernandez incurred expenses to repair the property, to reduce the principal balance of the mortgage, and to pay for taxes and insurance. The parties ended their relationship on or about March 10, 2015- less than one year after the closing. Marrero moved out shortly thereafter and filed the underlying action. In her one count complaint, Marrero sought partition of the property.

         While Fernandez conceded that Marrero was entitled to partition, Fernandez argued that he should receive credit for the down payment and closing costs, as well as expenses that he incurred before and after the closing. In support of his claim, Fernandez contends that he only purchased the property with Marrero as joint tenants with rights of survivorship because his credit score was not high enough for him to qualify for a loan on his own. In furtherance of this theory, Fernandez testified that Marrero had agreed to sign over her interest in the property after the first year of ownership. Thereafter, it was his intention to refinance the loan on his own. Fernandez further testified that the only reason he chose to title the home as a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship was because he did not want the property to escheat to the state upon his death. In his view, the purchase of the property was a business transaction and not a product of his relationship with Marrero.

         Marrero, on the other hand, testified that they purchased the property because they had plans to start a family and that Fernandez never asked her to sign any kind of contract or promissory note that would support his position that the purchase of the property was merely a business transaction.

         Nidia Lopez ("Lopez"), the title/closing agent, also testified at the trial. Lopez testified that, prior to the closing, she explained to Fernandez that he and Marrero could take title as joint tenants with right of survivorship or as tenants in common. She further explained the differences between the two tenancies, as well as the implications of taking title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Specifically, she explained that upon Fernandez's death, his half would automatically go to the other joint tenant-in this case, Marrero. By contrast, she explained that if they acquired the property as tenants in common, Fernandez's heirs would inherit his half upon his death. Lopez testified that, following her explanation, Fernandez elected to take title as joint tenants with a right of survivorship.

         After a day-long bench trial the trial court made its findings, focusing on the following three categories: (1) down payment and closing costs; (2) pre-closing expenses; and (3) post-closing expenses. The trial court concluded that Fernandez was not entitled to any credits for the down payment and closing costs. The trial court also declined to award Fernandez a credit/reimbursement for pre-closing expenditures. However, following O'Donnell v. Marks, 823 So.2d 197, 199 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002), the trial court ordered Marrero to reimburse Fernandez ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.