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Parents generally want what is the best for their kids and strive to raise them in a stable and loving atmosphere, but not all parents are capable of providing sufficient care. As a result, the courts may be forced to make the painful choice to terminate parental rights in some cases. Despite the fact that the parent is making progress, the court may decide to officially end the parent-child relationship in specific situations. This was proven in a recent Florida decision in which the court upheld a trial court’s judgment terminating a mother’s parental rights notwithstanding evidence that the mother had made significant improvement. If your parental rights are being challenged, it is vital that you hire a dedicated Florida child custody lawyer to help you fight for them.

The Case’s Background

Allegedly, the Florida Department of Children and Families has taken steps to terminate the mother’s parental rights over her two minor children. In order to keep her parental rights, the court devised a case plan that the mother was compelled to follow. Because the mother did not follow the plan, the court issued a final order ending her parental rights. The mother then filed an appeal.

Florida’s Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights

After considering the facts of the case, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s decision. The appellate court observed in its brief judgment that the mother initially failed to follow the case plan, but that she had recently begun to make improvements, according to testimony. However, the appellate court explained that there was substantial evidence to support the trial court’s decision that terminating the mother’s parental rights was in her children’s best interests. Continue reading ›

Parties sharing custody of children may not concur with the court’s decision about their parental rights. While people have the right to request a revision, they must provide adequate evidence to prove that the change is required; otherwise, the courts may reject their request. Further, if a judge amends a custody order without first determining that it is necessitated due to a significant alteration in circumstances, an appellate court may reverse the order. This was illustrated in a recent Florida ruling, where the court overturned the trial court’s custody modification order because it lacked such a determination. If you need help with a custody battle, it’s a good idea to talk to a Florida child custody attorney about your choices for safeguarding your parental rights.

History of the Case

Allegedly, a trial judge granted an order changing the father’s timesharing rights with his daughter. However, soon before the modification order was issued, another court ordered a five year injunction against the father, due to domestic violence, that limited his timesharing rights to supervised visits, among other things. The revision order issued in the custody matter, in contrast to the injunction, gave the father the right to enjoy timesharing with his daughter without supervision after he met certain requirements. The mother filed an appeal against the modification of the custody order.

For many couples, one spouse is the main earner, while the other mostly looks after the home. When such relationships fail, the courts may decide that the spouse with less means should get alimony. In calculating adequate alimony, the courts will consider a number of variables, including the length of the marriage. While lifelong alimony may be suitable in some scenarios, it is rarely appropriate in short-term marriages. This was established in a recent Florida case where an appellate court overturned a trial court judgment providing permanent alimony to a party because the trial court misapplied the applicable criteria. If you or your spouse want to end your marriage, it’s a good idea to talk to a Florida divorce lawyer about how to preserve your finances.

The Case’s Background

Per the opinion, wife one and wife two were married for three years before separating, according to reports. They lived together for twenty-four years before marrying. Wife two had health problems four years before they planned to marry. Wife one told her that she could stop working and that she would financially support both of them. As a result, when the divorce was finalized, wife two requested alimony. In the end, the trial court awarded wife two perpetual alimony. Wife one filed an appeal, claiming that the court erred in considering the length of the couple’s connection previous to marriage when determining the award.

Florida Laws Regarding Alimony

An alimony award will be upheld by an appellate court if it is supported by adequate evidence. Permanent alimony may be awarded only if the court produces written findings that extraordinary circumstances exist following a short-term marriage, defined as one that lasts less than seven years. Furthermore, if a court awards permanent alimony to a party after a short-term marriage, the ruling must state that no other kind of alimony is reasonable and equitable in the circumstances. Continue reading ›

Money disputes are one of the most common reasons for divorce. As a result, it’s not surprising that in many divorce proceedings, the parties have heated arguments about how assets and property should be disbursed. In order to avoid such conflicts, Florida courts use a three-step approach to determine what constitutes an equitable property allocation. As illustrated in a recent Florida judgment, if the court disregards the procedure and divides property without correctly identifying assets and liabilities, it may be grounds for reversing an equitable distribution award. If you want to dissolve your marriage, you should choose a qualified Florida divorce lawyer attorney to represent you and protect your rights.

The Case’s Background

Reportedly, the husband and wife were in the process of obtaining a divorce. Few other factual details were provided in the court’s opinion, though. It is simply stated that the trial court had given a final decision terminating the marriage. The husband then filed an appeal, claiming that the judgment’s alimony and equitable distribution awards should be overturned. The appellate court agreed, and the trial court’s decision was reversed and the case was returned for additional proceedings.

The Equitable Distribution Process in Florida

Equitable distribution is usually a three-step process in Florida. It specifies the identification of nonmarital and marital assets, the valuation of any assets deemed marital, and the statutory division of marital assets. The husband argued that the trial court erred by neglecting to identify all of the parties’ liabilities and assets and categorize them as marital or nonmarital in the case at hand. The court of appeals concurred. Continue reading ›

Generally, business owners can be held liable for harm caused by dangerous conditions encountered on their property. There are some exceptions, though, such as when a hazard presents a blatant danger. In a recent Florida ruling, a court explained a property owner’s duties in the context of open and obvious conditions. If you suffered injuries in a fall on another person’s property, it is smart to meet with a Florida personal injury lawyer to discuss what evidence you may need to establish liability.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant’s boathouse to have his boat serviced. He went to the dock to board the boat and stepped on the sea wall. Unfortunately, he stepped on a divot, which caused his foot to go out from beneath him. He subsequently fell and suffered injuries. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its negligent failure to remedy the defects in the sea wall led to his harm. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment, and the court granted the defendant’s motion, but the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the trial court ruling was reversed.

Liability for Harm Caused by Open and Obvious Conditions

On appeal, the main question was whether the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s harm when the condition that caused his injury was open and obvious. The court explained that typically, a business owner has no duty to protect a customer entering their property from dangers that are known to them or are so apparent and obvious that they may be reasonably anticipated to discover them. Continue reading ›

Cruise vacations are popular, and many people embark on cruise lines out of Florida. While cruise ships are generally safe, circumstances can arise that cause passenger to suffer harm. Whether a cruise ship will be deemed liable for injuries caused by a dangerous condition depends on numerous factors, including whether the defendant was or should have been aware of the condition. In a recent ruling issued in a lawsuit against a cruise line, a Florida court discussed what evidence is needed to establish actual and constructive notice of a harmful condition.  If you were injured on a cruise, you might be owed compensation, and it is in your best interest to contact a Florida personal injury lawyer to determine your possible claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was vacationing on a cruise ship owned by the defendant when she suffered bodily harm. Specifically, she suffered a partial amputation of her finger after it was caught in a door that slammed shut. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the door constituted an unsafe condition and that the defendant failed to properly maintain the door or warn passengers of the potential risk of harm. Prior to trial, the defendant moved for summary judgment.

Notice of Harmful Conditions on Cruise Ships

The court explained that in order for the plaintiff to recover damages under maritime tort law, she must show that the defendant had a duty to protect the plaintiff from certain harm, a breach of the obligation by the defendant, and actual harm proximately and actually caused by the breach. The court elaborated that the reasonable care standard they employed, which is based on what an ordinary person would do under the circumstances, dictates that a ship owner must have constructive or actual notice of the condition that created the risk in cases in which the risk is one that is commonly encountered on land and is not limited to cruise ships. Continue reading ›

Spills are common at gas stations, and unfortunately, are often the cause of slip and fall accidents. While people hurt in falls at Florida businesses can often recover compensation, merely because a fall occurred does not necessarily mean that the property owner will be deemed liable. Instead, as shown in a recent Florida ruling, the injured party must show that the property owner either knew or should have known that the condition that caused the spill existed but failed to remediate it. If you were hurt in a fall at a business in Florida, it is smart to contact a Florida slip and fall attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Injury

It is alleged that the plaintiff stopped at the defendant’s gas station to put fuel in her car. She parked and went inside the station to pay for her gas. Surveillance footage showed that when she was inside, a car drove by and left a puddle of liquid. The plaintiff exited the station and slipped and fell in the puddle. She suffered multiple fractures in the fall, which required surgical repair.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its negligence led to her fall and subsequent harm. The case proceeded to trial, and following the close of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant moved for a directed verdict. The court denied the motion, and the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her substantial damages. The defendant appealed. Continue reading ›

Traveling by air is generally safe, but turbulence, rough landings, and other conditions encountered while flying can sometimes cause personal injuries. Merely because a person suffers harm while flying does not necessarily mean they can recover damages from an airline, however. Instead, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, they must provide competent evidence establishing causation, and if they fail to do so, their claims may be dismissed. If you sustained losses while flying, you might be owed compensation, and it is in your best interest to confer with a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered injuries during a rough landing on a flight from Florida to North Carolina. Specifically, she asserted she sustained a compression fracture and other back injuries because the flight crew neglected to monitor the rate of descent and approach speed of the plane, which caused it to land in a violent manner. She subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit in federal court against the airline that operated the plane. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing in part that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate causation.

Establishing Causation in Florida Personal Injury Cases

The court ultimately adopted the defendant’s reasoning and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that, pursuant to Florida law, to sustain a claim for negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, that the defendant breached that duty, and that the breach caused the plaintiff to suffer damages. In negligence actions, Florida has established a preponderance test for causation; a mere probability of causation is not enough. Expert medical testimony as to medical causation is often necessary in a negligence lawsuit when the causal relationship between alleged injuries and the incident at issue is not clear to a layperson. Continue reading ›

Summary judgment is a tool often used in civil lawsuits, which disposes of claims prior to trial. Either party can file a motion for summary judgment, and the burden is the same regardless of who files. Specifically, the moving party must show that no factual dispute exists, and therefore, the court should grant judgment in their favor as a matter of law. While, in theory, summary judgment may be granted in any matter, it is rarely appropriate in car accident cases, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling. If you suffered harm in a collision, you might be owed damages, and it is advisable to speak to a Florida car accident attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was involved in a collision with a vehicle owned by the defendant, the United States Government. The parties disputed how the accident occurred; the plaintiff argued that it was caused by the defendant’s driver making a sudden U-turn in front of her, causing her to strike the rear of the vehicle, while the defendant argued its vehicle was parked along the side of the road when it was struck by the plaintiff. The defendant moved for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Grounds for Granting Summary Judgment

The court ultimately denied the defendant’s motion. It explained that summary judgment would be granted if the pleadings, discovery materials, and evidence on record demonstrate that there is no material factual dispute, and therefore the moving party is entitled to judgment in its favor as a matter of law. Continue reading ›

While expert testimony is not required in most personal injury cases, it is generally permissible. A party that seeks to introduce an expert must show both that the expert possesses the qualifications needed to offer an expert opinion and that the expert employed reliable methodologies in developing the opinion in question. If a party fails to establish these elements, its expert may be precluded from testifying on certain issues, as demonstrated in a ruling recently issued in a Florida matter arising out of a slip and fall accident on a cruise ship. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Florida premises liability attorney to evaluate what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff was a passenger on a cruise ship owned by the defendant when she slipped and fell on a wet substance on the lido deck. She suffered injuries in the fall and subsequently instituted a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging in part that the accident was the direct and proximate outcome of the defendant’s failure to reasonably maintain the floor in the lido deck area.

Allegedly, the plaintiff retained an expert to conduct an engineering analysis of the area where the fall occurred and to offer testimony that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous conditions that led to her fall and the defendant’s failure to comply with industry standards. The defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying, arguing that he was not qualified, his opinions were not helpful to the trier of fact, and they were not derived using reliable methods. The plaintiff opposed the motion. Continue reading ›

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