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

Attorney Cordover Breaks 5K Record

Okay, so I broke a personal record and not a Guinness Book World Record, but nonetheless I’m proud of myself.  This weekend I ran the 2011 Hillsborough County Bar Association Judicial Pig Roast and 5K, and I finished in 26:50.

I also have to congratulate my nephew, Jake, who completed the 5K in less than 25 minutes.

The HCBA Judicial Pig Roast and 5K supports pro bono services in Hillsborough County, Florida.


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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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 Hillsborough County

For most types of family law actions, a party needs to pay a fee to the clerk of the court when he or she files a petition.  Current filing fees for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) for common family law matters are as follows:

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Hillsborough County’s East Division

When filing a family law case in Hillsborough County, one thing to keep in mind is that there are two courthouse divisions in which your case may be heard:  (i) the Tampa Division, located at the Edgecomb Courthouse in Downtown Tampa; and (ii)  the East Division, located at the Plant City Courthouse. So how do you know to which division your case will be assigned?

Edgecomb Courthouse

Plant City Courthouse

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Local Judge Recipient of “Making A Difference” Award

The Honorable Emily A. Peacock

The Honorable Emily A. Peacock of Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) has been selected by The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section to receive its “Making a Difference” Award for January 2011:

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar is pleased to congratulate Judge Peacock, and it thanks her for her past and continued efforts on behalf of the children and families of Florida.

Emily A. Peacock has been admitted to practice law in Florida for approximately 30 years. Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Judge Peacock attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the school in 1978.  While she was a student at the University, in addition to her various student activities and employment, she volunteered at the Nashville Veterans Administration Hospital.  She then went on to receive her Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law in 1980.

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Can’t Find Your Spouse? Check For Mug Shots.

One of the first steps in initiating a divorce or other proceeding is to have a petition and other papers served on the other party (the “Respondent”).  Sometimes the Respondent does not want to be found.  Other times, the Respondent is, well, in the slammer.  So how do you find out whether he or she is behind bars?

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Two New Additions to Hillsborough County’s Family Law Bench

Two judges have recently joined Hillsborough County’s Family Law/Domestic Relations Division.  Below you will find brief profiles:

The Honorable Cheryl K. Thomas

The Honorable Cheryl K. Thomas joined the Family Law Division in January 2011.  Judge Thomas was initially appointed to the bench in December of 2000 and then elected in September 2002.  Judge Thomas has also served in the county criminal and county civil courts.

Judge Thomas has been involved in the following organizations:

  • Progress Village Little League;
  • Coalition of 100 Black Women;
  • Greater Friendship M.B. Church; and
  • Women’s Army Corps.

The Honorable Thomas P. Barber

The Honorable Thomas P. Barber joined the Family Law Division in January 2011.  Judge Barber was initially appointed to the bench in 2004 and then elected in 2006.  Judge Barber has also served in the circuit criminal and county criminal courts, as well as the Election Canvassing Board.

Judge Barber has authored numerous articles and taught complex litigation and trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at Stetson Law School.  Further, Judge Thomas has been involved in the following organizations:

  • Meals on Wheels;
  • Tampa Crossroads;
  • Bay Area Legal Services; and
  • Cub Scouts.

Local Family Law Judge Appointed Chair of Florida Supreme Court Committee

Judge Samantha L. Ward of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) was recently appointed as chair of the Florida Supreme Court’s Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases.  Prior to joining the family law bench in 2009, Judge Ward served as an assistant state attorney and a public defender.