Attorney General Seeks to Prevent Tampa Same Sex Spouses’ Divorce

Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi has filed a motion to intervene in my client’s same sex divorce matter.  The parties married in Massachusetts, moved to Florida, came to a full settlement agreement via the Collaborative Divorce Process, and asked a Hillsborough Judge to dissolve their marriage.  Their request was denied and their case dismissed.  The case is now in the Second District Court of Appeals.

The Tampa Tribune has reported the development as follows:

Attorney General Pam Bondi may be fighting to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in Florida, but she is also taking a legal position that has the effect of forcing gay couples who married elsewhere to stay married, lawyers in a Tampa case say.

***

Continue reading

Posted in Family Law News, Family Law Explanation, Case Law Update, LGBT Family Law Matters, The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tampa Same Sex Divorce Case First DOMA Challenge Certified to Florida Supreme Court

Can two women who were married in Massachusetts but now are residents of Florida divorce in Florida?  That is the question that my Tampa client and her wife were looking to have answered in the affirmative.  The trial judge determined that she did not have the power to dissolve a marriage that the State of Florida did not recognize.  

When we appealed, we asked a panel of judges to skip the normal appellate process and go straight to the Florida Supreme Court.  Our argument was that this case involves issues of such public importance, and that determining whether married couples of the same sex can divorce affects the administration of justice throughout the state.  Our request for the expedited process was denied.

And then we got word yesterday.  The judges of the Second District Court of Appeals decided en banc (with the input of all of the judges of the Court, excluding a judge who had recused himself) that this case should go straight to the Florida Supreme Court.  

Below are portions of the brand new ruling:

Continue reading

Posted in Case Law Update, Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation, Family Law News, Florida Statutes, LGBT Family Law Matters, P.A., The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Florida Family Law: Mandatory Disclosure

When you file and serve a petition in a Florida family law case that involves financial issues such as child support, alimony, or the division of property in debts, a clock starts ticking.  Within 45 days of the initial pleadings being served on the respondent, each party is required to provide the other party with a whole host of financial documents and information.  

This is what is known as Mandatory Disclosure, and it is governed by Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.

The following are a list of documents that are required to be exchanged:

(1) A financial affidavit in substantial conformity with Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(b) if the party’s gross annual income is less than $50,000, or Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(c) if the party’s gross annual income is equal to or more than $50,000, which requirement cannot be waived by the parties. The financial affidavits must also be filed with the court. A party may request, by using the Standard Family Law Interrogatories, or the court on its own motion may order, a party whose gross annual income is less than $50,000 to complete Florida Family Law Rules of
Procedure Form 12.902(c).

(2) All federal and state income tax returns, gift tax returns, and intangible personal property tax returns filed by the party or on the party’s behalf for the past 3 years.

(3) IRS forms W-2, 1099, and K-1 for the past year, if the income tax return for that year has not been prepared. Continue reading

Posted in Family Law Explanation, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Florida Bar Family Law Section Moves To File Brief In Same Sex Divorce Appeal

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, representing over 4,000 attorneys and affiliate members, has decided to file a brief in a divorce appeal in favor of the right of same sex spouses in Florida to divorce.  The Family Law Section is joined by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”) in what is believed to be the first same sex divorce case in Florida to challenge the state’s Defense of Marriage Act and constitutional amendment banning “gay marriage.”

As an attorney for one of the spouses – who were married in Massachusetts, moved to Florida, and filed for divorce in Hillsborough County – I welcome the support of the Family Law Section and AAML.

In their motion requesting permission to file an amicus brief, the Family Law Section and the AAML write the following:

Continue reading

Posted in Case Law Update, Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation, Family Law News, LGBT Family Law Matters, P.A., The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Collaborative Divorce Brochure from the IACP

CP LOGOThe International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families work through divorce and other issues privately and respectfully, recently put out a new electronic brochure that explains the collaborative divorce process.  To view the brochure, click on the link below, then click on the bottom right hand-corner of the brochure and drag to the left to flip through the pages:

http://collaborativepractice.com/media/41538/e_brochure_ENGLISH.swf

You can also find out about collaborative practice in the Greater Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas by going to the website of Next Generation Divorce, a local network of caring collaborative professionals.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tampa Tribune: Florida Gay Marriage and Gay Divorce Cases

As I wrote in a previous post, a Florida Circuit Court judge in Monroe County (in the Florida Keys) declared that Florida’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.  Though that ruling was stayed (not put into effect) pending appeal, a Miami-Dade judge made a similar ruling this past week, which was also stayed.

A few days before the Miami ruling came out, I was interviewed by Elaine Silvestrini of the Tampa Tribune about my Tampa same sex divorce case now under appeal in the Second District Court of Appeals and how the Florida Keys ruling may or may not affect the divorce case.  Below are some excerpts of the Tampa Tribune article:

Although the decision [to permit same sex marriages] has no force of law in the rest of the state, lawyers [in the same sex divorce case] say it may help their case for divorce equality.

“It’s not authoritative, but it provides a little bit more persuasion,” said Adam Cordover, who represents [one of the divorcing spouses]. “It shows that yet another court has ruled in favor of marriage equality. The currents of history are in favor of marriage and divorce equality.”

Continue reading

Posted in Case Law Update, Collaborative Divorce, Family Law News, Florida Statutes, LGBT Family Law Matters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Radio Interview: Collaborative Divorce and Christian Values

Collaborative attorney Joryn Jenkins and I recently appeared on Spirit FM 90.5’s Legally Speaking to talk about Collaborative Divorce.  Spirit FM is a Christian radio network that broadcasts out of Christ the King Church in the heart of Tampa, Florida.

As I mentioned during the interview, we do not advocate divorce:  anyone with marital troubles should consult with their priest, pastor, rabbi, marital therapist, or other clergy or professional and do all that they can to repair their relationship, especially if there are children involved.  No matter what process is chosen, divorce is a painful ordeal, and the spouses are not the only ones affected.

However, there are times when a marriage is truly irretrievably broken.  It is in those cases that we urge parties to consider collaborative divorce, which is a private, respectful family law process that helps spouses dissolve their marriage while keeping their dignity intact.  This is in stark contrast to traditional divorce, where the adversarial court system pits husband versus wife, mother versus father, ultimately to be judged by a stranger appointed or elected to a government position.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation, Family Law Video, The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BREAKING NEWS – Florida Judge Permits Same Sex Marriage Licenses in Florida Keys

Yet another judge has declared a ban on same sex marriages to be unconstitutional, and this one occurred right here in Florida.  The Honorable Luis M. Garcia found the law preventing the Clerk of Monroe County from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples invokes a fundamental right and has no rational basis and, accordingly,  violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

The order reads, in part, as follows:

Due Process Clause

***

There is no dispute by the parties that the right to marry is a fundamental right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.  The parting-of-the-ways occurs on whether the right to marry belongs to the individual and that individual’s choice of spouse or whether the state has the authority to dictate one’s choice in spouse to the opposite sex.

***

This court concludes that a citizen’s right to marry is a fundamental right that belongs to the individual.  The right these plaintiffs seek is not a new right, but a right that these individuals have always been guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  Societal norms and traditions have kept same-sex couples from marrying, like it kept women from voting until 1920 and forbid interracial marriage until 1967.

Continue reading

Posted in Case Law Update, Family Law Explanation, Family Law News, Florida Statutes, LGBT Family Law Matters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Next Generation Divorce” Takes On A New Meaning At St. Pete Pride

Last Sunday, I met a lot of people who had a lot of questions regarding their parental and family law rights.  My law firm sponsored a booth at the St. Pete Pride festival in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I discussed topics such as adoptions, name changes, and LGBT child custody rights.  I also had the chance to talk about collaborative family law, a private form of dispute resolution which I have used to help same sex partners amicably separate.

20140706-153645-56205458.jpgAt the pride festival, I was wearing a metal name tag that I received from my collaborative family law practice group, Next Generation Divorce.  Next Generation Divorce is comprised of over 100 caring attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals dedicated to helping parents and divorcing spouses handle difficult issues amicably and with their dignity intact.  I happen to be Next Generation Divorce’s current president and, needless to say, I strongly support the organization’s drive to help folks resolve disputes respectfully through the collaborative process.

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation, LGBT Family Law Matters, The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Your Florida Divorce Lawyer May Not Be Telling You

The vast majority of divorce attorneys in Tampa Bay and around Florida are good, hardworking people with their clients’ best interests always at mind.  However, there is one divorce option that more and more financial and mental health professionals agree is the best way to handle a family law matter, and yet many attorneys will not tell their clients about it:  collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is a private form of dispute resolution where each spouse hires their own attorney only for the purposes of helping to negotiate a marital settlement agreement. Collaborative attorneys are contractually prohibited from going to trial or bringing any contested issues to be decided by a judge.

Trial Divorce = Big $$ for Attorneys

This is one reason why there are a lot of divorce trial lawyers who are against collaborative divorce:  attorneys make a lot of money billing time for trial-related activities such as depositions, interrogatories, witness preparation, exhibit analysis and selection, and trial itself.  Trial attorneys bill this time even though they know that 95% of all divorce cases end in settlement, even sometimes after trial but right before a judge issues a ruling.   Continue reading

Posted in Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment