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Vitakis-Valchine v. Valchine

Court of Appeals of Florida
793 So. 2d 1094 (2001)


Facts

Kalliope (plaintiff) and David Valchine (defendant) were married for 12 years. The Valchines decided to end their marriage, but the divorce proceedings lasted nearly two years. The Valchines disputed who had a right to possession of their frozen embryos and also David’s federal pension. In hopes of facilitating a settlement, the court ordered that Kalliope and David attend mediation. The mediation lasted almost eight hours, but David and Kalliope eventually reached an agreement. Kalliope alleged that the mediator coerced her to reach an agreement with David. The mediator allegedly told Kalliope that he would inform the trial judge that no agreement was reached because of Kalliope. The mediator also allegedly told Kalliope that there was no way the trial judge would grant her possession of the couple's frozen embryos and that she was not entitled to any of David's federal pension. Kalliope requested that the settlement agreement be set aside, because it was entered under duress and coercion. The trial court denied Kalliope's motion, entered a final judgment of dissolution, and incorporated the agreement. Kalliope appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevenson, J.)

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