Lopez v. Perez (Third DCA, November 2, 2016)

The appellate court addressed several interlocutory issues in this paternity case, only one of which warranted reversal; to wit: the underlying court entered an “Order Appointing Attorney/Guardian Ad Litem” for the minor child.  The Third District noted that a guardian can be appointed either as a child’s “next friend” or as legal counsel to the child, but not both.  The District Court held that the order in question was vague as to what whether the guardian was being appointed to serve in the former or latter capacity, and therefore it needed to be readdressed by the trial court.

Voorhees v. Voorhees (Fourth DCA, November 2, 2016)

The trial court modified the parties’ timesharing plan to give the mother “exclusive timesharing” and sole decision-making authority.  The father appealed, arguing that this was an improper, de facto termination of his rights because the court did not provide the “key” to reconnecting with his children.  The Fourth DCA rejected this contention solely because the trial court reserved jurisdiction to modify its judgment and because it stated at the final hearing that the father could potentially seek a future modification.

Additionally, when it modified timesharing the trial court also modified child support even though the mother had failed to specifically plead for such relief.  The Fourth DCA reversed on this point, holding that the trial court was without jurisdiction to hear this issue because the mother failed to satisfy the pleading requirement, because the father did not try the issue by consent, and because the mother’s request that the trial court grant “any and all other relief that the court deems just and proper” was insufficient.  In doing so, the Fourth DCA rejected the mother’s contention that the father should have presumed that child support would be subject to modification given that the mother was seeking additional timesharing.