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Barrow v. Barrow

Florida Supreme Court
527 So. 2d 1373 (1988)


Facts

James Barrow (defendant) lived with his now ex-wife Donna Barrow (plaintiff) in the subject property during their marriage. A divorce judgment awarded Mrs. Barrow an undivided one-half interest in the property but with no disposition regarding its possession or sale. Mrs. Barrow moved to another state immediately after the divorce. Several years later, she filed suit seeking partition of the property and one-half of the rental value for the period that James had occupied the home after the divorce. James countersued for one-half of his expenditures for taxes, maintenance, and improvements. At trial, James claimed that his ex-wife never objected to his sole occupancy; that he did not exclude her from the home; that he did not adversely possess the property; and that he never denied her access to it. The trial court found that Mrs. Barrow was entitled to one-half of the fair rental value of the property for the time between the resolution of the divorce proceeding and the partition proceeding and that Mr. Barrow was entitled to recover one-half of the property taxes and insurance premiums. The Second District Court of Appeals held that, in partition proceedings involving former spouses and the former marital home, the spouse who continues to use that home exclusively without deriving rent or income from it, exercises exclusive control over it, and maintains and repairs it, there is constructive ouster of the cotenant not in possession. Mr. Barrow appealed the district court’s decision.

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Holding and Reasoning (Overton, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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