Orange County, Florida Divorce/Long-Distance Custody Matter G.D. v. B.D.

Summary: In September 2013, the Wife filed her Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. During this time, the Wife was in communication with the Husband in regard to the parties’ debts and the minor child. The Wife attempted to have the Husband served at addresses she knew were not correct. The Wife ultimately obtained a default Final Judgment from the Court against the Husband and served the Husband with the Final Judgment entered by the Court. Upon being served with the Final Judgment, the Husband hired Bernal-Mora and Nickolaou, P.A. to contest the Final Judgment as it awarded the Wife sole parental responsibility and authority to govern the Husband’s timesharing with the minor child. Attorney Bernal-Mora filed the appropriate Motions with the Court and was able to have the Final Judgment set aside due to the bad faith conduct of the Wife. During the pendency of the case, the Wife refused to permit the Husband any meaningful timesharing with the minor child. In addition, the Wife refused to involve the Husband in any decisions related to the minor child. Due to the fact that the Husband resided in Colorado it made it difficult for him to travel to Florida to see the child as the Wife refused to permit the minor child to travel with the Husband to Colorado. After extensive litigation, the case was set for trial in September 2015 and October 2015. During the trial, the Wife attempted to portray the Husband as an unstable parent who should not be permitted to have extensive timesharing with the minor child. In addition, the Wife was requesting over $40,000.00 in child support arrears and for the Husband to be responsible for a significant portion of the marital liabilities.

Resolution: The Court ordered a long-distance Parenting Plan giving the Husband significant contact during the Summer in Colorado along with additional contact throughout the year. In addition, the Court found the Husband’s child support arrears to be only $4,493.13, which was obtained by giving the Husband the appropriate credits for monies paid to the Wife and properly calculating the child support owed since the parties’ separation. The parties’ debts were equitably divided despite Wife’s claims and requests for an uneven distribution.