Fletchinger v. Fletchinger

56 So. 3d 403

 

RULE:

Property that was communally owned by a couple cannot subsequently be designated to be non-communally owned if the couple later files for divorce.

FACTS:

The parties were married, and subsequently filed for divorce. In order to split up their property, they enlisted the services of an arbitrator, who decided that the couple's "movable property" should be allocated 55%-45% to the wife. In order to do this, the arbitrator ordered the husband to produce the movable property that he had in his possession; namely, a number of oriental rugs, to be split up. The husband declined to do so, claiming that they were not marital property, but rather, his sole property because they were registered to an LLC, of which he was a principal. The Trial Court ruled in the husband's favor on the issue of the rug ownership. The wife opposed this, and sought accounting and production of the rugs.

ISSUE:

Whether the rugs that the couple had jointly owned were actually the husband's property.

ANSWER:

No, the rugs that the couple had jointly owned were not actually the husband's property.

CONCLUSION:

In reversing the trial court's ruling, the appellate court found that the arbitrator's ruling was agreed  upon (by the parties) was be binding; however, the arbitrator, though ruling that the husband was entitled to all interest in the LLC, never meant to allocate the rugs, or ownership of the rugs, to the husband. Instead, the rugs were to be divided between the parties, according to the arbitrator's outline.

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