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Three decades of family court in Florida


Shaped by decrees from the Florida Bar, the Florida Legislature, the Florida Supreme Court, and various multi-disciplinary committees:

JUNE 1987

Bench/Bar Committee of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar publishes Results of a Survey About the Role of the Judiciary and Lawyers in Family Law Matters: A Two-Part Analysis

SEPTEMBER 1988

Florida Governor’s Constituency for Children publishes A Family Court for Florida
•    suggests the need for development of family law divisions

JUNE 1990

Florida Legislature passes Chapter 90-273, Laws of Florida
•    creates the Commission on Family Courts charged with making recommendations for implementing a family law division within each circuit
•    mandates that family law divisions shall operate with as much consistency as possible throughout the state

SEPTEMBER 1991

Supreme Court of Florida issues an opinion in In Re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 588 So. 2d 586 (Fla. 1991)
•    considers the recommendations of the Commission on Family Courts
•    requires each circuit to adopt a local rule establishing family court

MARCH 1994

Supreme Court of Florida issues an opinion in In Re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 633 So. 2d 14 (Fla. 1994)
•    considers input from the participants in the statewide Family Court Workshop, convened by the chief justice and attended by a delegation from each circuit
•    mandates continued efforts toward the development of a holistic response to family-related litigation
•    creates the Family Court Steering Committee

OCTOBER 1994

Supreme Court of Florida issues an opinion in In Re: Report of the Commission on Family Courts, 646 So. 2d 178 (Fla. 1994)

MAY 2001

Supreme Court of Florida issues an opinion in In Re: Report of the Family Court Steering Committee, 794 So. 2d 518 (Fla. 2001)
•    considers recommendations from the Family Court Steering Committee
•    endorses the family court guiding principles, jurisdiction, and essential elements

SEPTEMBER 2002

Supreme Court of Florida issues an administrative order
•    establishes the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court, merging the Children’s Court Improvement Committee and the Family Court Steering Committee

NOVEMBER 2006

Florida Senate publishes the Interim Project Report 2007-133: Implementation of the Unified Family Court Model
•    notes partial implementation
•    finds implementation of case management, increased use of alternative dispute resolution, and use of hearing officers and magistrates

JANUARY 2014

Supreme Court of Florida issues an opinion in In Re: Amendments to the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, 132 So. 3d 1114 (Fla. 2014)
•    adopts five new rules regarding coordination of hearings and cases; judicial access to files; filing court orders; party access to related family files; and confidentiality
•    amends Rule of Judicial Administration 2.545 regarding the Notice of Related Cases