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Hillsborough County Announces New Judicial Assignments

Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr., of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida, recently entered Administrative Order A-2012-24, which outlines new judicial assignments for Hillsborough County.  Below are the assignments for the Family Law Division, effective June 25, 2012:

  • Division A – The Honorable Cheryl K. Thomas;
  • Division B – The Honorable Paul L. Huey;
  • Division C – The Honorable Catherine M. Catlin;
  • Division D – The Honorable Daniel H. Sleet;
  • Division E – The Honorable Nick Nazaretian;
  • Division F – The Honorable Caroline J. Tesche; and
  • Division Y (Title IV-D Child Support Enforcement) – The Honorable Herbert M. Berkowitz.
We welcome Judge Nazaretian and Judge Berkowitz to the Family Law community.

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Team Cordover Runs the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Race to the Courthouse

On March 24, 2012, I was joined by friends and family to run Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Race to the Courthouse 5K as “Team Cordover.”  The race began at Stetson University’s Tampa campus and benefitted pro bono services throughout Hillsborough County.

Team Cordover at the HCBA 5K Race

Front Row, L to R:  Jake Biller, Marcy Biller, Jamie Gomez, Kasey Biller, Laurie Strauss, Jenn Ryerson, and Mike Biller

Back Row, L to R:  T.J. Reese, George Melendez, Adam B. Cordover, Troy Finney, Nikki Finney, and Jacob Finney

I am especially proud of T.J. Reese, Jake Biller, and Jacob Finney.  These Team Cordover members swept the category of males age 15-19, placing in first, second, and third place, respectively.

L to R:   Jake Biller, T.J. Reese, and Jacob Finney

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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.

Hillsborough Clerk Provides Update to e-Filing Status

I’ve recently been writing about e-Filing in Tampa Bay Family Law cases.  Many attorneys, like myself, are pushing for swift and comprehensive implementation of e-Filing (the option of filing documents electronically through the internet rather than sending a paper copy to the physical location of the clerk of the court) because, as I wrote in a previous post regarding the related concept of a “paperless office,”

money is saved on paper and postage; space is saved from bulky file cabinets; trees are saved from being cut down; and time is saved by quick transmittal of documents via e-mail.  This usually also translates to savings for the customer or client.

It looks like Hillsborough County is targeting July 2012 to implement e-Filing for family law cases.  From the Hillsborough Clerk of the Court:

 In 2009, the Florida Legislature enacted Chapter 2009-61, Laws of Florida, mandating that the Supreme Court of Florida create statewide standards for electronic filing of court documents.  Governor Charlie Crist signed the bill into law.  On July 1 of that year, the Florida Supreme Court responded with Supreme Court Administrative Order 09-30, which outlined the first set of statewide standards for electronic filing of court documents.  One of the standards required that a portal be created through which electronically filed court documents could be sent.  The standards are outlined for all 67 Clerks of Court in the State of Florida to follow to implement electronic filing of court documents.

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Hillsborough County Posts Administrative Order on “Parental Notice of Abortion Act” Cases

Hillsborough County has posted Administrative Order S-2011-046 on “Parental Notice of Abortion Act” (Florida Statutes Section 390.01114) Cases.  The administrative order, which provides a basic explanation of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, reads as follows:

The Parental Notice of Abortion Act (hereinafter “Act”), section 390.01114, Florida Statutes, provides that a termination of pregnancy may not be performed or induced upon a minor unless the physician performing or inducing the termination of pregnancy has given at least 48 hours actual notice to one parent or to the legal guardian of the pregnant minor of his or her intention to perform or induce the termination of pregnancy. The Act further provides for judicial waiver of notice to the parents or legal guardian. The court is required to give these proceedings precedence over other pending matters to the extent necessary to ensure that the court reaches a decision within three (3) business days after a petition is filed.

It is necessary for the prompt and efficient administration of justice to update the procedures for handling parental notice of abortion act cases to ensure that proceedings under this Act are handled in an expeditious manner. By the power vested in the chief judge under article V, section 2(d), Florida Constitution; section 43.26, Florida Statutes; and Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215(b )(2), it is therefore ORDERED:

1. Filing of Petition

All petitions seeking a judicial waiver of the notice requirements of section 390.01114, Florida Statutes, will be filed in the Juvenile Dependency Division.

2. Assignment of Case

Immediately upon filing, the Clerk of the Circuit Court (hereinafter “clerk”) will assign the petition to one of the Unified Family Court divisions by using a random equitable distribution system. For purposes of this administrative order only, a Unified Family Court division is a division within any of the following subject matter divisions: Domestic Relations/Family Law, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Dependency, Juvenile Dependency Crossover and Juvenile Dependency Specialty.

Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay Unveils New Website

The Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay (“CDITB”) recently unveiled its brand new website to promote the dynamic and growing practice of collaborative law.  The new website address is http://CollaborativeDivorceTampaBay.com.

Collaborative Practice

Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay Unveils New Website

As a member of the CDITB Website Steering Committee, I am proud of the work we accomplished in bringing the website public.  You can find articles and videos exploring various topics in collaborative family law practice.   You can review answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about collaborative divorce.  And now you can find collaboratively trained communication coaches/mental health professionals, financial professionals, and attorneys in your area by simply entering your zip code into our Collaborative Professional Directory.

Attorney Adam B. Cordover has completed advanced training in interdisciplinary  collaborative law and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the CDITB.

To learn more about collaborative law, call The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.

Hillsborough County Family Law Judges Begin Utilizing Skype

As a family law attorney, I often have clients in a Florida matter that reside outside of the state.  I recommend that clients attend their hearings in person, as it gives the judge a face to match with a voice (humanizing the client) and it allows the client to see non-verbal cues from the judge, opposing counsel, or myself.  However, there are times when an out-of-state client cannot make it to a hearing; for these times I often request that the client appear by telephone, and the judge usually grants the request.

Some of the family law judges of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (covering Hillsborough County) have announced that they are now equipped and prepared to use Skype in the Courtroom for those clients who cannot appear in person.  This program allows the client to participate in a hearing via webcam.  Though I still recommend that clients appear in person whenever possible, this technology gives a great alternative.

The following family law judges have posted procedures for Skype:

Below is an announcement for the technology posted on Judge Ward’s profile:

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Press Release: The Family Law Inn of Court of Tampa Receives National Recognition at the Supreme Court of the United States

Press Release from the Administrative Office of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Hillsborough County, Florida.

Released November 7, 2011.

Front Row, Seated L - R: Associate Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, and Judge Caroline Tesche; Standing L- R: Julia Best Chase, Judge Paul Glenn, Russell Blaine, Susan Whitaker, Judge Bernard Silver

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recognized the Family Law Inn of Court of Tampa on November 5, 2011, at an annual event that celebrated the accomplishments of several giants in the legal professions whose achievements epitomize the ideals of the American Inns of Court.  This was no small feat as the Inn launched a campaign to become a Platinum Inn within a single year.

Judge Caroline Tesche, President of the Family Law Inn of Court of Tampa, 2010, perceives this achievement as one that is of great benefit to the parties who appear before her on the bench, asserting that “family law is a contentious area of the law so anytime you have lawyers and judge participating in Inns of Court, it’s of great benefit because it raises the level of the practice of law;” adding, “we apply what we learn.”  Monthly programs generally focus on practical legal skills with an emphasis on ethics, civility and professionalism in the practice of law.  They may include demonstrations, presentations of principles, techniques, as well as relationships involved in the practice of law.  According to the judge, she can often see a difference in lawyers who have participated in Inns of Court because they are not just focused on results for their client but the family, which is contrary to what an attorney would be focused on in a civil proceeding.

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New Location for Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court in Plant City

The Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court in Plant City – formerly located at 302 North Michigan Avenue, Plant City, Florida 33563 – will open up its doors at a new location on November 14, 2011.  The address of the new office is as follows:

301 North Michigan Avenue
Room 1071
Plant City, Florida 33563
 

You can view the announcement flier here.

Hillsborough County Intends to Implement e-Filing by March 2012

Members of the Florida Bar have long been making the case for e-filing, or the ability to file documents through the internet rather than filing a physical copy with the clerk of the court.  E-filing holds the promise of reducing the time and costs associated with interacting with the clerk.  The Florida Supreme Court authorized e-filing through the Florida Court’s e-filing portal, which became active for some counties on January 1, 2011.

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