Selected Family Law Appellate Update for week ending 9/6/17

FelixBaseman
FelixBaseman

Pulkkinen v. Pulkkinen (First DCA)

The parties were originally divorced in Michigan.  That original decree provided that if certain criteria were met, the mother (who received child support from the father) would need to give the father a credit toward his future child support obligations.  The mother ultimately refused to do so, and the father brought enforcement proceedings in Florida.

The trial court agreed with the mother that this provision was counter to Florida public policy because it would deprive the child of support.  The First DCA reversed, citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in LeDoux-Nottingham v. Downs, 210 So. 3d 1217 (Fla. 2017).  There, the Supreme Court held that Florida cannot “elevate its public policy over the policy behind another state’s judgment.”  Because there was no evidence that the original divorce decree violated Michigan public policy, a Florida could not void the relevant provision simply because it violated Florida public policy.