Even if the author of a DCF (Department of Children & Families) report is available to testify, the hearsay within the report which is testified to must have a hearsay exception of its own, otherwise the report will be inadmissible.Davis v. Davis, Fla. 5th DCA Case No. 5D11-1534, January 2013,citingReichenberg v. Davis, 846 So. 2d 1233 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003).

However, inDavis, despite the Court’s decison that the lower court erred in admitting such a report, the Court found thatthelowercourt’s error did not require reversal of the ultimate custody ruling, because the errordid not “injuriously affect the substantial rights of the complaining party,” meaningan “error is harmless where there is no reasonable possibility [the] error contributed to the verdict.”Davis, citingForester v. Norman Roger Jewll & Brooks Int’l, Inc., 610 So. 2d 1369, 1372 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992) andCA v. Dep’t of Children& Families, 958 So. 2d 554, 557 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007).

*This information is courtesy of Michael Mattson, Esquire, Mediator, Jacksonville, Florida

CategoryFamily Law

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