Renee Goldenberg, Esq., Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Florida

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Best Practices for Family Law Attorneys

I. Changing Society and Changing Practice

a. Paternity: Expect 50% of your cases to be a paternity: 48% Florida children born out of wedlock

b. Same sex issues: partnerships and children

c. Adults over age 50: 25% to 50%

d. Rise of Women: 2/3 initiated by women

e. Lower Income and Self Represented: Expect a self-represented party on 50% of your cases

f. Social Media and Electronics: Impact on the practice and Impact on professionalism

II. 17th Judicial Circuit

a. Unified Family Administrative Orders on website:

b. Local Rules on website:

c. Division Practices on Website:

d. Family Court as the Emergency Room: A.O. 2008-60-UFC Administrative Order Establishing Procedures for Family Division Emergency Matters on website:

e. Family Law Forms public/family/forms rules/

III. Family Court:

a. "In Criminal Court we see bad people at their best and in Family Court we see good people at their worst."

b. Jurisdiction: dissolution of marriage, domestic violence, name change, adoption, paternity

c. Complex area of the law: involves contracts, immigration, tax, real property, corporations, agency, torts, and everything else you learn in law school: need at least three mentors

d. Self-representation (pro se)

i. 65% self-represented both sides

ii. 15% lawyer on one side of the case

iii. 20% lawyer on both sides of the case

e. KNOW YOUR JUDGE. "I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law"

IV. Lawyer as Counselor

a. Rule 4-2.1 Advisor: "In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice, a lawyer may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social, and political factors that may be relevant to the client's situation."

b. Emotional Dissolution of Marriage and Lawyer Selection

c. Lawyer Assessment of Case: REALITY and cost/benefit analysis


V. Procedure Before Substance

a. Lawyer as Advocate; Attorney's Fees


c. Domestic Violence

d. Paternity: Many statutes public policy driven

e. Statutes, Case law, Rules

VI. List of Attachments

a. Reprint permission*

i. Emotional Stages of Divorce

ii. Administrative Order 2008-60-UFC (Establishing Procedures for Family Division Emergency Matters)

iii. Judge's Checklist for Child Emergencies

iv. Order Denying Verified Ex Parte Motion for Temporary Injunction to Prevent Removal of Minor Child Or Pick Up Order

v. Order Declining to Schedule Emergency/Urgent Hearing

vi. Judge's Checklist for Emergencies Not Involving a Child

vii. Domestic Violence Seminar Summary

viii. Domestic Violence Flow Chart

ix. Judge's Checklist for Domestic Violence

x. Uncontested Final Hearing Checklist

xi. Questions to Be Asked At Uncontested Final Hearing

xii. Default Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage (Imputation)

xiii. Paternity Top Ten (Now Eleven)

*The use of the reprinted materials is for educational purposes. The reprinted materials are primarily from Florida Family Law and Practice, by Judge Renee Goldenberg. Permission to reprint has been provided by JAMES PUBLISHING 866-72-JAMES


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Law Center Plus February 2015 Family Law Booklet.pdf (569 kB)
Best Practices for Family Law Attorneys Booklet

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