Drelich v. Guardianship of Drelich

Drelich v. Guardianship of Drelich, 2013 WL 5629770

The intersection of guardianship and family law often presents a new spin on our typical guardianship fact patterns.  Here, husband and wife were married with both pre and post nuptial agreements.  Husband later filed for dissolution of the marriage.  The wife filed a motion to stay or abate the divorce proceedings, and alleged that her husband was incapacitated, that she anticipated filing a guardianship proceeding and that she was asking for fees, since her husband (or really, his agents), filed the divorce proceeding in bad faith.

The wife's guardianship pleadings did not mention the pending divorce.  In his response, the husband denied the allegations in her petition and moved for fees and costs based on his wife's bad faith in filing the guardianship proceeding.  He admitted that he was depressed, but said he was completely capable of making his own decisions.

The examining committee unanimously found the husband to be competent, so the wife dismissed her petition for guardianship.  When the husband asked for his fees and costs in the guardianship proceeding, the guardianship court denied.

The appellate court noted that the wife's petition was filled with omissions of material facts and false allegations, and was filed for the purpose of delaying the divorce proceedings.  It held pursuant to F.S. 744.331(7)(a), that the husband was entitled to a hearing on whether the wife's guardianship petition was filed in bad faith, in order to determine whether he was entitled to his fees and costs in the guardianship proceeding.

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