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Word Cloud: Mandatory Disclosure

In my continued quest to literally visualize statutes and rules related to Florida family law, I created the following word cloud of Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285 (Mandatory Disclosure) using Wordle:

Mandatory Disclosure Word CloudThough this word cloud makes Mandatory Disclosure seem like it belongs in discussion held at a TexMex-themed cocktail party, the fact is that the exchange of certain financial information is crucial to move along most family law matters (including divorce, paternity, child support, alimony, support unconnected with divorce, and modification of financial issues).  To that point, a court will not grant a final judgment in most cases unless financial affidavits have been exchanged and each party has filed and exchanged a certificate of compliance with mandatory disclosure.

What do you think of the mandatory disclosure word cloud?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Otherwise, if you would like to schedule a consultation with a Florida Family Law Lawyer, call The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form at http://www.familydiplomacy.com/contact-us.

Hillsborough County – New Child Custody Proceedings Administrative Order

Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr., of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) recently entered a new administrative order that pertains to child custody proceedings.  Below is a summary of AO S-2011-014:

  1. For Chapter 751 Proceedings (Temporary Custody of Minor Children by Extended Family):
    1. Uncontested and Contested Proceedings:  Petitions for temporary custody of a minor child by an extended family member (i.e., grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc.) must be written and signed under oath, and filed with the clerk of the court.  The case will be assigned to the Family Law/Domestic Relations Division.  An executed Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement (“UCCJEA”) Affidavit must be included with the petition.  If the petition is being filed with the parents’ permission, written, signed, and notarized consents must be provided, unless the parents provide their consents in open court.  If a petitioner is alleging that a parent has abandoned a child, the petitioner must have evidence of abandonment.
    2. Pending Dependency Proceedings:  If a dependency case is pending when a petition for temporary custody has been filed, the Family Law judge may transfer the petition to the Juvenile Dependency Division. Read more

A Lesson in Incivility

As family law litigants should always treat the opposing party with respect, so should attorneys treat opposing counsel.  In fact, under Florida Bar Rule 4-8.4(d), attorneys are prohibited from “disparag[ing]…litigants, jurors, witnesses, court personnel, or other lawyers on any basis.”  However, some attorneys are just not keen on getting along.

Recently, two attorneys were reprimanded by the Florida Bar for hostile and unprofessional behavior.  Below are excerpts from emails they exchanged (as published in the January newsletter of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Family Law Section):

“I do not think I deserve the jerk comment.  I was actually on the internet trying to find out what type of retardism you have by checking your symptoms, e.g. closely spaced eyes, dull blank stare, bulbous head, lying and inability to tell fiction from reality, so I could donate money for research for a cure.  However, apparently those symptoms are indicative of numerous types of retardism and so my search was unsuccessful.  Have a great day Corky.  I mean; Mr. Mooney.”

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Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

Under certain circumstances, spouses may jointly file for divorce and schedule their case for a final hearing within thirty days or less.  Pursuant to Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.105, this is known as a simplified dissolution of marriage.

Eligibility for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

To be eligible for a simplified dissolution of marriage in Florida, the following must be true:

  • The parties have no minor or dependent children;
  • The wife is not pregnant;

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Anger in Harmony: Do Not Interrupt A Judge

As I wrote in a previous post, it is important that parties in a family law matter (or any matter) act in a civil manner while in a courtroom.  Please do not follow the example of the wife in this Divorce Court clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpBD97Cq_tk

You should never interrupt an opposing party–and you should especially not interrupt a presiding judge–even if that interruption comes in the form of song.

Mandatory Disclosure (Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure)

MANDATORY DISCLOSURE

(a) Application.

(1) Scope. This rule shall apply to all proceedings within the scope of these rules except proceedings involving adoption, simplified dissolution, enforcement, contempt, injunctions for domestic, repeat, dating, or sexual violence, and uncontested dissolutions when the respondent is served by publication and does not file an answer. Additionally, no financial affidavit or other documents shall be required under this rule from a party seeking attorneys’ fees, suit money, or costs, if the basis for the request is solely under section 57.105, Florida Statutes, or any successor statute. Except for the provisions as to financial affidavits and child support guidelines worksheets, any portion of this rule may be modified by order of the court or agreement of the parties.

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Courtroom Civility

It is always a good rule of thumb to be respectful when entering a courtroom.  I often find myself taken aback by the appearance and behavior of people as they are asking a judge to make a major decision on serious issues–such as divorce, child support, alimony, or time-sharing–in their lives.  Many people come in shorts, chew gum, and treat the courtroom like their living room.  Such behavior leaves a poor impression on the judge and may impact the outcome of their matter.

The Family Law Division of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County), like many courts around Florida, has a code of conduct: The Twelve Rules of Courtroom Civility.  Most of these rules are simply about common courtesy, and include the following instructions:

  • Other than to make appropriate objections, do not interrupt anyone when he or she is speaking;
  • Do not make faces or gestures at the opposing party or his or her attorney;
  • Dress appropriately and wear clean clothes.  Specifically, you should not enter a courtroom in shorts, jeans, a t-shirt, or sneakers; and
  • Do not bring any food or beverages in the courtroom, and do not chew gum.

To maximize the chances of a successful outcome in your matter, become familiar with the rules and procedures of both your circuit and your specific judge.