Reider v. Reider (Second DCA, August 17, 2016)

The trial court held the former husband in contempt for failing to make his alimony payments.  Among other things, the contempt order stated that: (1) the former husband would be incarcerated unless he sold his home in Georgia and used the proceeds to pay his alimony arrearage; and, (2) the former husband was enjoined from transferring any of his property except for the purpose of satisfying his arrearage.

The District Court reversed on each of these points because the former wife had not requested such relief in her motion for contempt/enforcement, and because neither party had litigated the issue at hearing.  The Court explained that although a trial judge has the “authority to enforce alimony payments with injunctions,” such relief must be pled for and litigated before the judge has the authority to fashion an award granting same.

Ketcher v. Ketcher (First DCA, August 18, 2016). 

The trial court awarded the husband permanent alimony and the appellate court remanded with instructions for the trial court to make additional factual findings and, if necessary, to adjust the “amount of the alimony award” consistent with those findings.

On remand, the trial court made the necessary findings but changed the award from permanent alimony to 6 years of durational alimony.  The husband filed a motion to enforce the appellate court’s mandate.

The District Court granted the motion and quashed the amended final judgment, holding that the trial court exceeded the scope of its mandate.  The Court explained that a trial court must strictly comply with a district court’s instructions on remand, and that in such situations the trial court may not exceed the specific bounds of those instructions.  Here, the mandate did not explicitly permit the trial court to reconsider the type of alimony awarded, only the amount.  The Court quashed the amended final judgment and ordered the trial court to comply with the original mandate.

Manubens v. Manubens (Fifth DCA, August 19, 2016).

The District Court granted certiorari and quashed an order requiring the wife submit to a psychological evaluation because the order failed to show that the wife’s mental health was “in controversy” or that there was good cause to require that she submit.  The limited record showed that the husband asked for the evaluation solely because the wife was homeschooling the parties’ children (with the court’s permission) and he needed to determine whether she was mentally competent to do so.  The order itself was silent as to why the evaluation was necessary and appropriate, and therefore it departed from the essential requirements of the law.

Additionally, the order departed from the essential requirements of the law because it was not limited in scope.  The order failed to set out basic details such as the type of testing required and to put any restrictions on the methods that the tester was permitted to utilize.  Such an “open-ended order” was inappropriate under the relevant rules and therefore quashed on certiorari.