Florida's Third District Court Of Appeal Tells Dwayne Wade and Ex-Wife To Play Fair

Miami Heat basketball star, Dwyane Wade, and ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches, continue to square off in their legendary child custody battle over sons Zaire and Zion. In 2011, an Illinois court entered a 102-page judgment after a 38-day trial, detailing Wade’s and his ex-wife’s custody and timesharing arrangements, but the agreement has been far from a slam dunk.

In the 2011 ruling, Wade was given sole custody of their boys and permission to relocate the minor children from Illinois to Florida, allowing his ex-wife timesharing/visitation rights. Even though the lengthy custody judgement took into consideration who will have custody of the children on key days: Holidays, All-Star Weekend and the NBA finals, the arrangement has been hotly contested.

In an opinion released on March 25, 2015, the Third District Court of Appeal rejected Wade’s ex’s latest challenge to a final post-judgment order from Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge, George Sarduy, saying it violated timesharing and other provisions of the 2011 custody order. Funches’ attorney argued that Judge Sarduy’s order “impermissibly modified the terms of their 102-page final custody judgment (“FCJ”)” when it mandated that she give more advance written notice for timesharing and declined to award makeup days to her to recoup for lost visitation days.

The Appeals Court decided that lengthening the advance written notice period did not amount to an impermissible modification of the existing timesharing agreement and upheld the Circuit Court Judge’s decision.

Interestingly, much of the Appeals Court’s opinion spoke to how the disputing parties were conducting themselves. The Court warned lawyers on both sides regarding their behavior in email exchanges. Of even greater importance to the 3-panel Court was the attorneys’ obvious disregard to the custody judgment’s requirement that a Parenting Coordinator be consulted to mediate any disputes. Although the originally appointed Parenting Coordinator had resigned, the Court felt the lawyers, in this case, should have arranged for a replacement. With the mandated Parenting Coordinator, continued litigation could have been avoided and kept the star player’s family out of the public spotlight.

This was the third appeal from D-Wade’s ex. The Third District Court of Appeal made it clear that it would not welcome future appeals from these parties over similar, trivial matters.

Wade and Funches were high school sweethearts and married in 2002. Wade filed for divorce in 2007. Their child custody trial was one of the longest ever in Cook County’s history.

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