Gort v. Gort

Gort v. Gort, --- So.3d --- (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)

In this decision, the Court considered, among other things, whether a petition to determine incapacity may be voluntarily dismissed.  The statutes governing guardianship do not expressly address this issue.  The statute states that once a petition is filed, the court shall set the matter for hearing within certain time constraints.  F.S. 744.331.  It also states that a court shall dismiss a petition if the examining committee members conclude the person is not incapacitated.  But the Court found that the statute is silent on whether a court is required to hold an adjudicatory hearing every time a petition is filed, and is silent on whether a party may voluntarily dismiss a petition to determine incapacity.

The Court found that the Jasser v. Saadeh decision, 97 So.3d 241 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) was distinguishable from this case.  In Jasser, the court distinguished a voluntary dismissal from an agreed settlement and mutual dismissal.  The Court held that the Jasser court did not hold that a person cannot voluntarily dismiss a petition once filed.

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