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St. Petersburg and Clearwater Bar Associations Hold CLE on Collaborative Divorce

The urge for a more humane way to practice divorce law has hit Pinellas County.  The days of pitting husband versus wife, mother versus father in an adversarial courtroom divorce have both attorneys and clients pining for a private, healthier alternative to deal with family law issues.

And so the Saint Petersburg Bar Association and Clearwater Bar Association have invited Adam B. Cordover, Esq., John L. Sullivan, IV, CDFA, and James B. Morris, Jr., Ph.D., to discuss the interdisciplinary collaborative divorce model at their annual Family Law Update.  The 2014 Family Law Update is approved for 4.0 general continuing legal education hours and 3.5 hours for purposes of Marital and Family Law certification.

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What Is A Florida Parenting Plan?

Any Florida parent who is going through a divorce with children or otherwise dealing with child custody issues will need to have a parenting plan.  A parenting plan is document that is either agreed upon by the parents or created by a judge that sets out each parents’ rights and responsibilities.  The Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pinellas and Pasco Counties) further describes a parenting plan as follows:

It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. Florida Statutes, section 61.13(2)(c).

A parenting plan is a document developed and agreed to by the parents of a minor child, and approved by the court, or if the parents cannot agree, established by the court, which governs the relationship between the parents regarding the child (encompassing “custody”, “parental responsibility”, and “visitation”). A parenting plan may address issues such as the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being, and must include a time-sharing schedule. The parenting plan must take into account the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction when addressing jurisdictional issues.

For purposes of establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which governs each parent’s relationship with his or her minor child and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration.

Any parenting plan approved by a court must address the following issues:

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Appellate Judges Discuss Collaborative Divorce in Meeting of Hillsborough and Pinellas Family Law Attorneys and Judges

I recently had the opportunity to attend a joint meeting of the Tampa Bay Family Law Inn of Court and Pinellas County’s Canakaris Inn of Court.  The guest speakers were three judges from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals:  Chris Altenbernd, Edward C. LaRose, and Robert Morris.  I had the opportunity to discuss collaborative divorce with the appellate judges.  The following excerpt of a Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay article describes a portion of the meeting and my discussions:

 Judge Chris Altenbernd (who served as chief judge from 2003-2005) observed that, by the time divorce and paternity cases reach the appellate level, both parties have almost invariably already lost:

“You have families that are being torn apart, and the parties are arguing often for the sake of arguing, not putting children’s issues and the families’ financial future first.”

Judges Edward C. LaRose and Robert Morris agreed.

The Second D.C.A.'s Judge Chris Altenbernd and CDITB Membership Chair Adam B. Cordover Discuss Collaborative Divorce (April 4, 2012)

The Second D.C.A.’s Judge Chris Altenbernd and CDITB Membership Chair Adam B. Cordover Discuss Collaborative Divorce (April 4, 2012)

Judge LaRose then asked the attorneys in the audience whether collaborative practice was being utilized in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay membership chair Adam B. Cordover answered their question. “The practice of collaborative family law is growing in Tampa Bay. Last year, the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay provided training to instruct more attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial experts on how to handle collaborative divorce cases in a way that is private, individually-tailored, respectful, and takes into account the best interests of any children involved.  In short, we collaborative professionals are carrying out the ideal of ‘therapeutic jurisprudence.’”

Judge Altenbernd later relayed to Mr. Cordover that he supports the collaborative process, especially in divorce cases where issues of child custody and parenting plans are involved.  ”I just think more people need to seriously consider the family-focused process of collaborative divorce rather than fight it out in the court system.”

Attorney Adam B. Cordover has completed advanced training in interdisciplinary collaborative family law.  He is on the Board of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

If you have questions regarding collaborative divorce and you wish to speak with a Tampa Bay collaborative attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or by completing our online form.

Pinellas County and Pasco County Post Court Holiday Schedule

The Pasco County, Florida, Clerk of the Court has posted Administrative Order 2011-032 PA/PI-CIR, which describes the holiday schedule for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pasco and Pinellas Counties:

RE: COURT HOLIDAYS – 2012

In accordance with the State Courts System Personnel Regulations, the following will be official court holidays for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in 2012.

NEW YEAR’S HOLIDAY Monday, January 2
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY Monday, January 16
GOOD FRIDAY Friday, April 6
MEMORIAL DAY Monday, May 28

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Keep Your Contact Information Current with the Clerk of the Court, Even After Your Family Law Case is Closed

Let’s start with a simple proposition:  Each party involved in a family law case should make sure that the clerk of the court has updated contact information for that party.  It seems easy, but taking this small step could prevent big headaches in the future.

I have heard of cases where a party has moved in the middle of the case, did not inform anyone, then complained afterwards that he had not received notice of an important hearing.  I also have seen cases where a petitioner (the party initiating the case) provides the clerk with the wrong address for the respondent (the party responding to the petition), and the clerk sends information to the incorrect address for the entire duration of the case.

I have even encountered this scenario:  Parties get divorced.  In the final judgment, Husband is required to pay Wife alimony.  After the divorce, Wife moves to a different apartment in the same apartment complex.  Husband sends alimony payments to Wife’s old address, but they get delivered to the new addressed because Postal Worker knows and likes Wife (and especially the gift certificates to Best Buy that Wife gives to Postal Worker each Christmas).

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Procedures for Mediation in Pasco and Pinellas Counties

The Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas Counties) recently released Administrative Order 2011-006 PA/PI-CIR which sets out the following procedures for mediation in family law matters:

Family Mediation:

a. When ordered by the presiding judge, or when automatically referred to mediation in accordance with this Administrative Order, parties must participate in mediation of family cases. Read more

Name Change: Where do I petition?

If you are looking to legally change your name you may be wondering:  Where do I file a petition?  Do I have to go to Tallahassee?  Do I file in the circuit court of the county where I was born?  Can I request that a circuit court in the county where I live change my name?

Section 68.07, Florida Statutes, and relevant case law, provides an answer…

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Filing Fees in Pasco County

I previous wrote about filing fees in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County.  In this post I review current filing fees in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pasco County, for common family law matters.  A person who initiates a family law case (the “Petitioner”) will pay the following:

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Many Local Courts Will Be Closed In Observance of Presidents’ Day

Most of the local courthouses will be closed on February 21, 2011, in observance of Presidents’ Day.  Closed courthouses include those located in the following judicial circuits:

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Filing Fees in Pinellas County

I previous wrote about filing fees in Hillsborough County.  In this post I review current filing fees in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, for common family law matters.  A person who initiates a family law case (the “Petitioner”) will pay the following:

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