Zelman v. Zelman

Zelman v. Zelman, 175 So.3d 871 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), 2015 WL 5125439

Does a spouse have a due process right to be heard, call witnesses and present evidence at an incapacity hearing?  The Court in this decision held that because a spouse is an interested person, the spouse has standing to participate in the guardianship proceeding, and that participation must be meaningful.  Meaningful participation must be more than being allowed to be present and to speak- the spouse has the right to introduce evidence at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.  This is because the effect of a guardianship proceeding on a spouse is extensive.  The proceeding can impact the marriage, the marital home and the marital finances.  A spouse is also in a position to weigh in on what is in the ward's best interests.  Here, because the trial judge precluded the spouse from participating in the proceeding, the Court reversed the guardianship orders and remanded the case for new hearings. 


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