Tag: board certified family law

Speaking at the 2020 Case Law Update

For anyone interested who hasn’t already registered, I will be speaking at the 2020 Case Law Update on December 10, 2020. Join me and fellow board certified Marital & Family Law attorney, Reuben Doupé, for an interactive discussion on some of the major Florida family law decisions that helped make 2020 a memorable year.

case law

Sponsored by the Florida Bar Family Law Section, attendees will be eligible for 2 CLE credits – 0.5 of which may be applied towards Ethics.

Topics will include the latest decisions from Florida appellate courts on modifications, parenting plans, alimony, equitable distribution, child support, relocation, enforcement, contempt, paternity, attorney’s fees, and disciplinary and ethical considerations.

Registration is here.

The Constitutional Right to “Divorce” and An Interesting Coronavirus Thought: World 2.0

There are a lot of intersections between the Constitution and family law. Two law professors offer one constitutional right not considered much: the right to unmarry. Some would refer to it as the right to bifurcate your divorce case. And as an interesting thought on the coronavirus, are we in World 2.0?

Constitutional Right Divorce

It’s a Constitution We’re Expounding

Reason discusses two law school professors, Brian L. Frye and Maybell Romero, want to marry. But they have a problem. They can’t marry each other because they’re both currently married to other people.

They want to end their existing marriages, and their spouses have even agreed to divorce. But the government will not allow them to re-marry until it decides to dissolve their current marriages.

The Constitution protects the fundamental right to marry the person of your choice, so long as the choice is mutual. But the government can and does regulate the dissolution of marriages.

While people can divorce, they need the government’s permission. A marriage isn’t over until a government official says it is. And a person cannot remarry until their divorce is final.

During the quarantine brought on by the coronavirus, the professors believe that people should be able to end a marriage immediately, and start a new one whenever they want as a matter of constitutional right.

Florida Bifurcation of Divorce

I’ve written about various family law issues before. Sometimes, people need a divorce, and like law professors, need one fast. Can you get an immediate divorce?

Put another way, when can a family law judge enter a dissolution of marriage final judgment, but reserve jurisdiction to determine all of the other issues in a divorce relating to custody, support, and property rights for later?

In a highly unusual procedure, there’s also a trifurcated dissolution. The family law court first dissolves the marriage. Then separates the remainder of the financial issues, and reserves on timesharing and child support for the children.

The real issue is bifurcation, and it is a split procedure of entering a final judgment to divorce and keep power over the case to determine all the other issues. The practice is rare and limited to special cases.

In general, family law judges try to avoid this kind of split procedure. The law is designed for one final judgment and one appeal of divorce. Splitting the process can cause a lot of legal and procedural problems which result in delay and additional expense to people.

So, in Florida this split procedure is really only used when it is clearly necessary for the best interests of the parties or their children. The convenience of two law professors to remarry would not justify its use.

The Constitutional Right to Divorce

Because of the quarantine, Professors Frye and Romero hit on a timely and recurring problem in family law: people are stuck in marriages they want out of, but cannot remarry until a government official has permitted it.

State law determines who can marry, when they can marry, and how they can marry, subject to constitutional limitations. Different states have regulated marriage differently, some more liberally than others.

Historically, the regulation of marriage and divorce has been very unjust. In Pace v. Alabama (1883), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a state law prohibiting interracial sexual conduct did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) held that state laws prohibiting interracial marriage were constitutional. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) ended the ban. We just went through a similar tortured history with same sex marriage.

In part because of the history of unjust state laws, the professors believe people should be able to end a marriage whenever they want. In fact, they believe it is a constitutional right.

If marriage is a fundamental right, then unmarriage must also be a fundamental right. After all, the Supreme Court held in Obergefell that marriage is a fundamental right because it expresses individual autonomy and honors the mutual desire of two people to be joined in perpetual union.

When you file a marriage certificate, you are married (ed. Florida has a 3-day waiting period after issuance of the license before you can get married). But when you file a divorce petition, you aren’t divorced.

The fundamental right to marry recognizes that the Constitution prohibits the government from telling people who they have a right to love, and requires the government to make the economic and social benefits of marriage available to everyone who wants to exercise them.

Interesting Coronavirus Thoughts: World 2.0

Interesting thoughts from the website Marginal Revolution. We are living in a new age. But is it World 2.0?

World 1.0 World 2.0
Physical Digital
Suit, tie, wristwatch, office Good lighting, microphone, webcam
Commute + traffic jams Home + family
Cities Internet
$100k for college Not paying $100k for a webinar
Too much technology Too little technology
Assume some government competence Assume zero government competence
WHO Who?
20th century 21st century

The abstract on the “Right to Unmarry” is 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.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

The divorce and family law offices of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. will close at 1PM on Wednesday, November 21 for the Thanksgiving holiday. We will re-open at 9AM on Monday, November 26. We wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving timesharing

Before Thanksgiving’s arrival is the time to resolve child custody and timesharing problems so you can enjoy your turkey dinner with minimum stress for you and your children.

Below are suggestions to make your Thanksgiving visitation issues a little easier:

Alternate. Some families alternate Thanksgiving every other year. If you get the kids for Thanksgiving this year, next year will be the other parent’s turn. Having a regular plan to fall back on can eliminate the potential for what is fair.

Be flexible. An easy Thanksgiving schedule for everyone may require some changes from the normal visitation schedule.

Be respectful. You may not want to be friends anymore, but you need to figure out how to communicate with your ex without all the emotional baggage.

Don’t mix issues. Do not bring up unrelated issues which could make a problem free Thanksgiving dinner impossible. Set aside your differences until after the holiday season.

Pick your battles. Thanksgiving may be more important to you than Easter is to your ex-spouse. Don’t fight just for the sake of fighting.

Protect the children. Your children’s memories of Thanksgiving should be about great food and family fun. They should not be forced to witness you and another parent arguing.

Plan. Start talking about the holiday visitation schedule sooner rather than later, the longer you wait the harder it can be.

Thanksgiving can be stressful. But the weather has cooled and the kids are on vacation. Try to make the holidays the best time of year.

 

Family Court Services Lunch and Learn

I wanted to thank Family Court Services for hosting their Lunch and Learn series yesterday at the Family Division court located in the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center. A special thanks to Judge Jason Emilios Dimitris and Dr. Netta Shaked for inviting me to speak with them on how to “Keep Calm and Survive a Licensing Board, Florida Bar, or JQC complaint.”

family law

Family Court Services

Where do parents turn to when they are unable to focus on their children’s needs due to their own turmoil in divorce and family law proceedings? Where can children find people to talk to who know what they are going through? The answer is Family Court Services.

Miami-Dade County is fortunate to have Family Court Services, which has been providing unique and crucial services to children and families for more than 20 years.

Family Court Services also assists all the judges and general magistrates in the family division with some of the Court’s most difficult family cases by providing solution-focused and brief therapeutic interventions.

KidSide

The mission of Family Court Services is helped through KidSide, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that supports Family Court Services in its mission to help high-conflict families heal. Gifts and donations to KidSide, Inc. are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Information on helping KidSide is here.

 

Family Law Super Lawyers

I am very pleased to announce that I have been selected to the 2018 Super Lawyers list in the area of Family Law. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Family Law Superlawyer

Superlawyers

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

The annual selections are made using a patented multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

Florida Board Certification

“Board Certification” in Florida, mean certification from The Florida Bar, and recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice.

Board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Certification is the Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 26 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

In addition to being named in Superlawyers, I am also board certified in marital and family law, currently serve on the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, and I am a member of both the California and Florida Bars. One of my recent article “To Catch a Time-sharing Deviation” was published in The Florida Bar Journal.

The article, “To Catch a Time-sharing Deviation”, is also cited as a reference in the Florida Benchbook – which is published by the Office of the State Courts Administrator. I am also a frequent speaker, and have lectured to different professional organizations including, the Florida Bar, the Florida Chapter of the AFCC; Miami-Dade County Family Court Services; and The First Family Law American Inns of Court.

For more on Family Law Super Lawyers visit Superlawyers.

 

Family Law is Moving!

We’re pleased to announce that, beginning Monday, May 7, 2018, one of Florida’s premier marital and family law firms, the Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A., will be starting the workday in our new offices at One Biscayne Tower.

One Biscayne Tower

That’s right, we’re moving around the corner, across the street from Bayfront Park and Biscayne Bay. The new office building is named One Biscayne Tower and the address is:

2 South Biscayne Boulevard

Suite 3400

Miami, FL 33131

One Biscayne Tower is an iconic skyscraper on Biscayne Boulevard across from Bayfront Park. It comprises “Class A” office space and has been a long-standing symbol of the City of Miami.

The building often appears on postcards of the Miami skyline and is a signature building of Miami. Our new offices provide sweeping views of beautiful Biscayne Bay, the park, and bustling downtown Miami.

One Biscayne Tower has won five Office Building of the Year (TOBY) Awards, including the 2007 Miami-Dade TOBY Award and the 2007 BOMA Southern Regional TOBY.

Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A

Specializing in all family law matters both domestically and abroad, our lawyers are experienced in sophisticated marital and family law cases and led by a lawyer who is board-certified in marital and family law by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education.

A “Super Lawyer”, accomplished writer and speaker, Executive Council of the Florida Bar’s Family Law Section, our attorneys and firm have been professionally admired for serving our clients with the utmost skill, discretion and confidentiality in divorces, alimony, child custody and relocation cases, as well as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

Our firm website is here.

 

Inns of Court Award

It is with tremendous pride that I get to announce our Inn of Court, the First Family Law American Inn of Court, was awarded Silver Level Status in the American Inns of Court Achieving Excellence Program for the 2016-2017 Inn year.

The First Family Law American Inn of Court in Miami is a group consisting of lawyers, judges, magistrates, and judicial officers dedicated to professionalism, ethics, civility and excellence in the area of divorce, family law, child custody and related matters.

The award from the national organization was due in large part to the incredible work and leadership efforts of our Board of Directors, including: the Hon. Sandy Karlan, Bette Ellen Quiat, Elizabeth Baker, Cecilia Armenteros, Patricia Young, Daniel Silver and myself as president.

In upcoming Inns news, our Inns will once again be sponsoring the Town Hall meeting involving family law with the Hon. Scott Bernstein, Administrative Judge of the Family Division.

Sponsorship of Town Hall meetings helps our Inns of Court fulfill its mission to inspire the legal community, and to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education and mentoring.

 

Super Lawyers

I am pleased to announce that I have been selected to the 2017 Super Lawyers list in the area of Family Law.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

I am also board certified in marital and family law, currently serve on the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, and I am a member of both the California and Florida Bars. My most recent articleTo Catch a Time-sharing Deviation” was published in The Florida Bar Journal, and is cited as a reference in the Florida Benchbook – which is published by the Office of the State Courts Administrator. I am also a frequent speaker, and have lectured to different professional organizations including, the Florida Bar, the Florida Chapter of the AFCC; Miami-Dade County Family Court Services; and The First Family Law American Inns of Court.

Board certification is certification from The Florida Bar, and recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism, and tested for expertise. Certification is The Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 26 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

For more information visit superlawyers and rhkauffman