FAMILY LAW: DUE PROCESS: TRIAL COURT DID NOT VIOLATE DUE PROCESS BY DENYING PETITION FOR MODIFICATION WITHOUT A HEARING BECAUSE PETITION WAS ACTUALLY AN UNTIMELY MOTION FOR REHEARING OR RECONSIDERATION

Westwood v. Westwood, ___ So. 3d ___, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D539 (Fla. 5th DCA February 27, 2015)

The trial court entered a partial final judgment of dissolution of marriage permitting the minor children to move to the United Kingdom with their father. The mother did not appeal but, thirty four days later, she filed a petition for modification without obtaining a summons or serving the petition on the father. The appellate court held that the trial court did not violate due process by denying the petition without a hearing because the petition could properly be regarded as an untimely motion for rehearing or reconsideration. The court clarified that its “opinion [was] without prejudice to [the mother’s] ability to refile a properly served petition for modification.”

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