Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Emergency Hearings in Florida

When a couple decides that they are going to get divorced, some immediate issues always arise. Who is going to have temporary residential responisbility for the children? Who is going to pay certain bills? What amount of child support is allowable? Will there be any form of temporary spousal support? Florida is a mandatory mediation State which means that parties to a divorce must attend mediation prior to obtaining any court hearing including a court hearing on temporary matters. The only way that a party can get before a Judge on any temporary matters prior to going to mediation are under those circumstances that qualify as an emergency. Often times, clients are confused by this and wonder what constitutes an emergency in the eyes of our Judges. What one person may consider an emergency may not constitute an emergency for a Judge, and you will be forced to deal with the problem without the help of the Court. The Fourth District here in Florida defines an emergency circumstance as " in which there is imminent danger, a crisis situation requiring immediate and extraordinary action." Shaw v. Shaw, 696 So.2d 391 (Fla 4th DCA 1997). Some districts go even further and define an emergency through an administrative order as one in which death or manifest injury will occur if immediate relief is not afforded. Unless there are extraordinary circumstances which would justify an emergency hearing, the parties will be forced to work out their immediate issues without the assistance of the Court. Therefore, it is important for the parties to work together to come up with temporary solutions for immediate problems.

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