Category: Speeches

Speaking at Marital & Family Law Review Course

Honored to be asked to speak to over 1800 divorce lawyers, judges, hearing officers and other professionals at the prestigious Marital & Family Law Review Course in Orlando from January 31st to February 1st. I will be discussing modifications of parenting plans, settlement agreements, alimony and support. The event is co-sponsored by the Florida Bar Family Law Section and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Cert Review Speech

Modifications

Life happens. When it does, we often have to make changes to our parenting plans, agreements, the alimony we pay or receive, and the amount of support being paid. What do you need to modify any aspect of your divorce agreement or order?

In Florida, a substantial change is what must be proven in court when a parent wishes to modify a previous court order or divorce or separation agreement. It may be the person who must pay alimony or support and recently retired, lost their job, or received a significant pay cut.

A change may come from a whose job now allows them to spend more time at home and would like to spend that extra time with their children. Whenever there has been a substantial change in your circumstances you may be able to ask for a modification of your court order or agreement

Certification Review Course

It is a privilege to be invited to speak again at the annual Marital and Family Law Certification Review course again.

The annual seminar is the largest, and most prestigious advanced family law course in the state. Last year’s audience included over 1,800 attorneys and judges from around the state.

The review course is co-presented by the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar, and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Registration information is available here.

Speaking at the Family Courthouse

What an honor to speak at the Family Division Courthouse Lunch & Learn series, co-hosted by Family Court Services and the First Family Law Inn of Court. The discussion, attended by family law attorneys judicial officers, and professionals, was on the new technological changes that impact everyone in family court, in addition to the annual Town Hall presented by the Honorable Judge Scott Bernstein.

Family Law

Family Law Technology

Technology is constantly changing our lives, and may times for the better! The Eleventh Judicial Circuit is rolling out “courtMAP” this month. CourtMap is a new online Management and Access Platform that combines eCourtesy with online scheduling, online notification/confirmation, and allows judges to create and e-File orders. courtMAP also allows parties to self-schedule their case events – motion calendar, special sets, and trials – and attach the documentation previously submitted via eCourtesy.

Family Court Services and Kidside

KidSide, Inc., has been developed to raise and secure funds to provide the best possible services and facilities to the children of Miami-Dade County who have suffered through the conflict of their parents’ divorce or other litigation in the Family and Domestic Violence Courts. By working with Family Court Services, a unit of the Miami-Dade County Eleventh Circuit Court, Family Division, KidSide strives to ensure that the best interests of the children are considered by parents and the Court.

More information about Kidside is available here.

 

Daubert Webinar Available for Download

For anyone who is interested in downloading my Florida Bar Family Law Section sponsored presentation on “The Return of Daubert” from this past Halloween, and could not get the materials, you can download it from the Florida Bar website here – and get CLE. Florida’s changing expert witness rules impact everyone who practices in divorce and family law. The Webinar will explain why the new old law is here to stay.

Divorce Expert

The Frye Pan

People rely on all sorts of expert witnesses in divorce and family law cases, maybe more than most areas of law. Routinely, people will come to trial with accountants, psychologists, and other experts in tow.

Since 1923 courts have relied on the Frye Rule, which states that expert opinion based on a scientific technique is only admissible where the technique is generally accepted as reliable in the scientific community.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted a new standard which requires trial judges to screen expert testimony for relevance and reliability. The “Daubert test” developed in three product liabilities cases. The plaintiffs tried to introduce expert testimony to prove products caused their damages. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately tightened the rules for admitting expert testimony.

Constitutional Problems

In 2013, the Florida Legislature amended the Florida Evidence Code to start following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Daubert standard for the admission of expert testimony and the basis for an expert’s opinion. When the legislature passes a law encroaching on courtroom practice and procedure, the laws are unconstitutional. However, the Legislature can enact substantive laws.

When one branch of government encroaches on another branch, Florida traditionally applies a “strict separation of powers doctrine.” Given that the Evidence Code contains both substantive and procedural provisions, there is a question whether the Legislature violated the separation of powers doctrine.

The Florida Evidence Code contains both substantive and procedural provisions, so there was a suspicion that the Legislature violated the separation of powers doctrine when it amended the code this way. My new article about the way the Constitutional problem was resolved by the Florida Supreme Court is available here.

Return of Daubert

This summer, the Florida Supreme Court weighed in on the new evidence law and found it constitutional. Rejecting the recent complaints about the Daubert standard, the Florida Supreme Court remarked that Daubert has been routinely applied in federal courts since 1993, a majority of states adhere to the Daubert standard, and caselaw after Daubert shows that the rejection of expert testimony is the exception rather than the rule.

Effective immediately, the Florida Supreme Court has adopted the Legislatures’ 2013 amendments to section 90.702 as procedural rules of evidence, and adopted the amendment to section 90.704 to the extent it is procedural.

Florida’s new-ish Daubert standard is the set of factors used to determine the admissibility of expert witness testimony in court. Under the Daubert standard, the trial judge serves as the gatekeeper who determines whether an expert’s evidence is deemed reliable and relevant.

Trial judges in Florida now have to use the Daubert test to assess whether an expert witness’ testimony is 1) based on scientifically valid reasoning and 2) whether it has been properly applied to the facts at issue. Failure to comply with the Daubert standard can result in exclusion of an expert’s testimony.

The Webinar is available here.

 

Speaking on Halloween and Daubert

This Halloween I will be co-presenting a webinar with the Hon. Samantha Ruiz Cohen. The presentation is sponsored by the Florida Bar Family Law Section. The webinar will discuss Florida’s dark, lonely road to a new standard for admitting expert testimony: Daubert Returns.

Daubert

The presentation addresses the changes to §90.702 and §90.704; how the new Daubert standard differs from Florida’s old Frye rule; the Constitutional problem, appellate cases applying the new standard; how the judge’s role has changed; and the new Rules’ impact on the admissibility of expert testimony in family law cases.

The webinar will take place tomorrow, October 31, 2019 beginning at noon.

Did I mention the witches?

There is still time to register by clicking here.

 

Upcoming Webinar

For any interested readers, I will be speaking with the Hon. Samantha Ruiz Cohen at a webinar hosted by the Florida Bar Family Law Section. The webinar will discuss Florida’s twisting road to the current standard for admitting expert testimony in family law and divorce cases.

fla-supreme-ct

The presentation addresses the statutory changes to §90.702 and §90.704; how the new Daubert standard differs from Florida’s old Frye rule; the now-settled Constitutional problem, some appellate cases applying the new standard; how the judge’s role in admitting expert testimony has changed; and the new Rules’ impact on the admissibility of expert testimony in Family Law cases.

You can register by clicking here.

 

Speaking Engagement on Family Law

It was an honor to speak today in front of a ‘standing room only’ audience at the Family Division Courthouse. The presentation was hosted by the 11th Judicial Circuit’s Family Court Services, as part of their Lunch & Learn Series. I co-presented with my colleague Evan Marks, on Florida’s twisting road to the correct standard for admitting expert testimony in family law and divorce cases called: “Daubert Returns.”

Family Law Speech

The presentation was based, in part, on an article to be published this Fall in the Florida Bar Commentator, “Daubert House.” The presentation addressed the statutory changes to §90.702 and §90.704; how the new Daubert standard differs from the old Frye rule; the now-settled Constitutional problem, Florida appellate cases applying the new standard; how the judge’s role in admitting expert testimony has changed; and the new Rules’ impact on the admissibility of expert testimony in Family Law cases.

 

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

I will be speaking at the Family Court Services Lunch & Learn Series with my colleague Evan Marks, on Florida’s twisting road to the correct standard for admitting expert testimony in family law and divorce cases called: “Daubert Returns.”

speaking engagement

The Lunch & Learn Series consists of fantastic presentations hosted monthly by Family Court Services at the Family Division Courthouse, and this one will take place on:

 October 16, 2019, from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at the Family Division Courthouse located at 175 NW 1st Avenue 11th Floor Miami, Florida 33128.

The presentation is based, in part, on an article to be published this Fall in the Florida Bar Commentator, “Daubert House.” The Florida Legislature amended Sections 90.702 and 90.704 of the Florida Statutes to bind Florida courts to the Daubert standard for the admission of expert testimony and the basis for an expert’s opinion. Since then, the Daubert standard has been constantly attacked.

My co-presenter, Evan Marks, Esq. and myself, will answer the questions: What was the Frye Rule? What did the Daubert standard do to change it? And how it impacts experts in your marital and family law cases.

This presentation addresses the statutory changes to §90.702 and §90.704; how the new Daubert standard differs from the old Frye rule; the now-settled Constitutional problem, Florida appellate cases applying the new standard; how the judge’s role in admitting expert testimony has changed; and the new Rules’ impact on the admissibility of expert testimony in Family Division cases.

The event is sponsored by Family Court Services. Family Court Services was developed to assist family law judges and general magistrates with some of the Court’s most difficult family cases, reducing case delays while tending to the unique needs of divorcing parents and their children.

CLE and continuing education credit for judiciary, attorneys, mental health professionals, mediators and professional interpreters are also available.

You can register here.

 

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

I will be speaking at the prestigious Marital & Family Law Review Course in Orlando from January 25th to January 26th. I will be discussing interstate child custody, interstate family support, and The Hague Convention on international child abductions. The event is co-sponsored by the Florida Bar Family Law Section and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Speaking Engagement

Interstate Custody

Parents move from state to state for various reasons. It is a subject matter I have written and spoken about many times. Whether children are moved by parents wrongfully or not, moving your children creates interstate custody and support and problems.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, and The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, can be critical laws to know in those cases.

International Child Abductions

What happens if your children are wrongfully abducted or retained overseas? If that happens, you must become familiar with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, also known as The Hague Convention.

This international treaty exists to protect children from international abductions by requiring the prompt return to their habitual residence.

The Hague Convention applies only in jurisdictions that have signed the convention, and its reach is limited to children ages 16 and under. Essentially, The Hague Convention helps families more quickly revert back to the “status quo” child custody arrangement before an unlawful child abduction.

If your children are wrongfully taken out of the country or wrongfully retained after the time for returning them passed, the Hague Convention can help you get them back.

Interstate Family Support

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act is one of the uniform acts drafted by the Uniform Law Commission. First developed in 1992, the UIFSA resolves interstate jurisdictional disputes about which states can properly establish and modify child support and spousal support orders.

The UIFSA also controls the issue of enforcement of family support obligations within the United States.

In 1996, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which required all U.S. states adopt UIFSA, or face loss of federal funding for child support enforcement.

Every U.S. state has adopted some version of UIFSA to resolve interstate disputes about support.

Certification Review

It is a privilege to be invited to speak on interstate custody and international child abductions at the annual Family Law Board Certification Review Seminar again.

The annual seminar is the largest, and most prestigious advanced family law course in the state. Last year’s audience included over 1,600 attorneys and judges from around the state.

The review course is co-presented by the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar, and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Registration information is available here.

 

Speaking Engagement

I will be speaking at the Family Court Services, Lunch & Learn discussion series in Miami on Wednesday, November 14th. I will be speaking with Judge Jason Dimitris and Dr. Netta Shaked on avoiding and surviving a Florida licensing board, Florida Bar, and Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint.

family law speech

Few things can cause stress to a judge, lawyer, or other professional than receiving a complaint from your licensing board, the Florida Bar or the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Facing a formal complaint can be a daunting experience and may be a “scarlet letter” on your career. When you work in the arena of family law, you need to be especially prepared for the possibility of receiving a complaint, because the stakes are so high and passions run deep.

Speaking on the topic of complaints together with a judge and mental health professional, this presentation will help all mental health professionals, attorneys, and members of the judiciary become familiar with the process of a licensing board, Florida Bar and JQC complaint, from submission through possible hearing and alternative outcomes.

Dr. Netta Shaked, Judge Jason Dimitris, and Ronald Kauffman, Esq. will outline how complaints may impact you, both professionally and personally. In addition, they will highlight ways to cope with and overcome the results of the complaint process, on a professional and personal level. Lastly, they will identify some red flags and tips for avoiding a complaint altogether.

There is still time to register. Register here.

 

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

I will be speaking at the Family Court Services, Lunch & Learn discussion series in Miami on Wednesday, November 14th. I will be discussing how to keep calm and survive a Florida licensing board, Florida Bar or Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint.

Speech

Let’s face it, when your receive a complaint from your licensing board, the Florida Bar or the Judicial Qualifications Commission, it’s scary.

Panic may set in. Facing a formal complaint can be a daunting experience and may be a “scarlet letter” on your career. When you work in the arena of family law, you need to be especially prepared for the possibility of receiving a complaint.

Don’t be spooked. Through this presentation, mental health professionals, attorneys, and the judiciary will become familiar with the process of a licensing board, Florida Bar and JQC complaint, from submission through possible hearing outcomes.

Dr. Netta Shaked, Judge Jason Dimitris, and Ronald Kauffman, Esq. will outline how complaints may impact you, both professionally and personally. In addition, we will highlight ways to cope with and overcome the results of the complaint process, on a professional and personal level. Lastly, we will identify some red flags and tips for avoiding a complaint altogether.

Register here.