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Date: 01-10-2020

Case Style:

JEREMY OFFICE vs SHERRY OFFICE

Case Number: 4D18-2910 & 4D19-497

Judge: PER CURIAM

Court: DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA FOURTH DISTRICT

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The trial court’s order awarding fees simply stated that Former Wife was entitled to fees and cited to Rosen v. Rosen, 696 So. 2d 697 (Fla. 1997), and Bitterman v. Bitterman, 714 So. 2d 356 (Fla. 1998), to support that assertion. However, it is not apparent from the record that Former Wife had a need for fees. See Zahringer v. Zahringer, 813 So. 2d 181, 182 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002) (citing to section 61.16, Florida Statutes (1999)). Although the trial court’s citation to Bitterman indicates that it may have awarded Former Wife fees under the inequitable conduct doctrine, the order does
not list the specific factual findings necessary to conclude that Former Husband engaged in inequitable conduct. See Moakley v. Smallwood, 826 So. 2d 221, 227 (Fla. 2002).

Outcome: Therefore, we reverse the order and remand this matter back to the trial court to make the necessary factual findings to support either a ruling that Former Wife has a need for fees or that Former Husband’s conduct justified the imposition of fees under the “inequitable conduct doctrine.”

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