Florida Court of Appeals for the Fourth District
49 So. 3d 838 (2010)
Sheila Scott-Lubin (plaintiff) filed a divorce petition against Paul Lubin (defendant) in 2005. Sheila provided notice of the suit by publication, because she was unable to find Paul, but Paul still failed to appear. A default judgment of dissolution of marriage was entered one year later in 2006. The trial court divided the res and awarded Sheila the marital home, two vehicles, permanent alimony, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Two years later, Sheila sought to enforce the judgment. Paul’s attorney filed an appearance on his behalf, and then Paul appeared at a hearing pro se, or without the assistance of counsel. Paul told the general magistrate at the hearing that he did not pay, because he was not aware of the judgment. The trial court ruled that Paul must pay all alimony owed and court costs. Paul’s lawyer then filed a motion to vacate the final judgment, on the basis that Paul was not personally served with the divorce petition. The trial court found that it lacked jurisdiction to determine the ancillary economic issues due to the fact that Paul was never personally served with a petition for dissolution of marriage. As a result, the trial court held that the 2006 final judgment was void except as to the granting of the divorce itself. Sheila appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Levine, J.)
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