June 22, 2012

Bresky Law Obtains Ruling Dispensing With Evidentiary Hearing And Awarding Client $660,611 Cash Distribution Following Appellate Win

Bell v. Bell,
Case No. 4D10-5122

This was a divorce case with several contested issues regarding the parties’ assets. Our client, the former wife, appealed the final judgment of dissolution of marriage. The former husband cross-appealed. Our client’s main issues were (1) the trial court’s failure to award her half of the husband’s accounts receivable from loans he made to his businesses; and (2) the trial court’s failure to make factual findings before denying her request for bridge-the-gap alimony.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal (“Fourth DCA”) agreed with our position that the trial court had erred in failing to award our client half of the husband’s accounts receivable. The Fourth DCA reversed and remanded. On remand to the trial court, the former husband took the position that the issue required an evidentiary hearing to determine the new equitable distribution of the asset. We opposed the need for an evidentiary hearing, arguing that the Fourth DCA had clearly stated in its written opinion that the value of the omitted account receivable was $660,611 based on undisputed testimony from the trial. The trial court agreed and entered an order denying the former husband’s demand for an evidentiary hearing.

The former husband next argued that the former wife should receive the omitted equitable distribution amount as an in-kind distribution (i.e. in assets of the business such as the notes themselves). We opposed the former husband’s position and argued that the former wife should receive the omitted amount as a cash distribution. The trial court received proposed Final Judgments from the parties reflecting the parties’ positions. On June 7, 2012 the trial court rendered an Amended Final Judgment that conformed to the appellate court’s mandate and also ordered that the omitted amount would be payable to former wife in cash in an amended equalization payment.

This outcome preserved the positive result we achieved in the appellate court for our client, saved her the additional attorney’s fees associated with a lengthy evidentiary hearing following remand, and obtained an order that the former husband must pay her the omitted equitable distribution amount in cash.