Lyons v. Lyons

Lyons v. Lyons 155 So.3d 1179 (2014), 2014 WL 5460621

To understand this decision, I think it makes sense to first lie out the series of quit claim deeds that lead to the litigation:

(1)  Husband and wife quit claim their homestead to wife alone.
(2) Wife quitclaims the residence to a QPRT, but husband does not sign quit claim deed.
(3) Wife quit claims the residence to herself and her daughter.

The trustees of the QPRT moved to set aside conveyance (3) on the grounds that the wife did not own the residence when she attempted to quit claim the residence to herself and her daughter.  The wife responded by arguing that conveyance (1) was void, since it was signed only by her and not her husband.  The trial court agreed with the wife.

The Appellate Court reversed the trial court's decision, focusing on the fact that article X, section 4(c) of the Florida Constitution focuses on the conduct of the owner spouse (wife) and provides protections for the non-owner surviving spouse (husband) or minor children (none).  It held that the wife could not now claim that the quit claim deed (1) was not valid, since she is not the non-owner surviving spouse who has standing under the Florida Constitution.  The husband was the only party with standing to make that argument.  The Court further noted that it would be "absurd" for the wife who created problematic quit claim deed (1) to then be able to attack the viability of that deed which she herself signed.


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