Change of Venue

The Florida Statutes provide all courts the power and duty to grant changes of venue. If a case is brought in the wrong county, a defense of improper venue may be raised. If improper venue is not initially challenged, the issue may not be raised later.

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Appeals from Final Judgments

Article V, §4(b)(1) of the Florida Constitution provides a party the right to an appeal.  Specific procedures for appealing final judgments are found in Rule 9.110, Fla. R. App. P.  An important first step is filing a notice of appeal within the time limits provided by the Rule (within 30 days after the judgment is rendered) and paying the appropriate filing fee.  The Rule and the case law interpreting the Rule is quite strict: a district court cannot waive or extend the deadline for any reason.  State ex rel. Diamond Berk Insurance Agency, Inc. v. Carroll, 102 So.2d 129 (Fla. 1958).

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Contempt of Court in and after Divorce Proceedings

When spouses go through a dissolution of marriage, it is not simply limited to severing the emotional relationship between the two people.  Divorce splits up a family, may require significant changes in living arrangements, and the court may be called upon to make decisions regarding alimony, parental timesharing, child support, property division, and asset/debt distribution.  These are all legal court orders that are set forth by the Florida court system.

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Grandparents’ Visitation & Contact Rights

The right of grandparents to visit and contact their grandchildren are provided for in Florida law.  However, the United States Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court have set down several decisions stating that these grandparents’ rights laws are unconstitutional as an invasion of the rights of the parents to raise their own child.

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Terminating a Dissolution of Marriage Action

In Florida, either spouse can start the process for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage.  The spouse who first files divorce papers with the court is the petitioner, while the other spouse is the respondent.  If the petitioner changes his mind about the divorce, he can stop the process by asking for a voluntary dismissal.  The respondent can only ask for voluntary dismissal of her counterpetition, if she filed one with the court.

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Uniform Child Custody Joint Enforcement Act – Forum Non Conveniens

Florida’s Uniform Child Custody Joint Enforcement Act, codified in Chapter 61 of the Florida statutes, provides that a child’s home state may decline jurisdiction if the ‘foreign’ (out-of-state) court is a more convenient place to decide the issues in the case.  The statute provides the following factors for making this determination.

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Chapter 39 Termination of Parental Rights

In Florida, a termination of parental rights (TPR) proceeding begins with the filing of a TPR petition to terminate parental rights.  This petition must contain allegations that at least one of the grounds listed in Fla. Stat. § 39.806, exists, that termination is in the manifest best interests of the child, and that the TPR is the least restrictive means of protecting the child from harm.

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Mortgage foreclosure case dismissed based on fraud

Recently in HSBC Bank vs. Frank Failla, et.al., Case No: 08-CA-004348, Hillsborough County, Florida, the case was dismissed with prejudice based on documents that were fraudulently prepared and filed by The Law Offices of David Stern, P.A.

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Jury Verdict for Defendants in Mortgage Foreclosure Case

On March 28, 2011, the mortgage foreclosure case of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank v. Joan Eakins, et al. Case No 03-CA-004775 Div A, Hillsborough County, Florida, went to trial, thus bringing an end to an eight year old mortgage foreclosure case.  Because of a Florida law that requires all mortgage foreclosure cases to be tried directly to the judge, we filed a counterclaim for the Eakins for breach of contract and fraud that were tried to a jury.

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Substantial Timesharing

A 2010 change in Florida state law has impacted how child support is calculated.  Formerly, child support was calculated by a standard formula for most situations.  However, when the non-majority parent (non-custodial parent) had a certain amount of overnights with the child the support calculation used a different formula.  This alternate formula resulted in a much lower support number.

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