Orders: Absence of Factual Findings

Rivero v. Rivero, ___ So. 3d ___, 35 Fla. L. Weekly D2203 (Fla. 1st DCA 10/6/10)

The trial court, on its own initiative, ordered the mother, who had a substance abuse problem, to provide the father with HIPAA releases to enable the father to confer with the mother’s prescribing physician.  Although the father had not requested this relief, he sought to justify it as promoting the safety of the children during timesharing periods with the mother.  The appellate court reversed because “the trial court made no findings of fact or conclusions of law in support of this portion of its order,” thus precluding meaningful appellate review.  “In any case where a trial court’s failure to make adequate factual findings interferes with an appellate court’s ability to determine whether an abuse of discretion has occurred, reversal is necessary.”