Notice of Annual Meeting

Dear FLAFCC Members:

It is that time of year again where we focus on the future of our organization and transition to new leadership.

Please attend the Annual Membership meeting, this year virtually only. Attached is the Notice for the Annual Membership meeting, Agendas for the Annual meeting and Board meeting and the Nominated Slate of Officers and Directors. We look forward to seeing you virtually on December 2, 2023.

Best Regards,

Yueh-Mei K Nutter

Yuen-Mei Kim Nutter, President of the FLAFCC


Invitation From The FLAFCC President

Dear Members and Friends of FLAFCC:

It has been an exciting year for the FLAFCC and we have more excitement to come with our 19th Annual Education Program, in partnership with the Office of the State Courts Administrator. Please join your colleagues at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando on October 4 – 6, 2023 for a thorough exploration of the ever-evolving realm of family law. Our 2023 theme is: “Who Are You Gonna Call? Roles, Responsibilities, Resources.” 

With the multitude of challenges that lie ahead, from Addictions and Mental Illness to Domestic Violence and the intriguing world of Artificial Intelligence, we’ve got you covered! I encourage you to be part of a remarkable professional conference that will equip you with invaluable insights and practical strategies.

This year, we will uncover the research-backed principles behind successful shared parenting and gain expert tips on minimizing conflict from the highly acclaimed keynote speaker, Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett. And for those eager to demystify the mysteries of ChatGPT, don’t miss the enlightening presentation on artificial intelligence by the knowledgeable Ketan Soni. Our comprehensive education program addresses the evolving topics that directly impact your courtroom proceedings and everyday practice.

After reviewing the attached Education Program brochure, I am sure you will want to register right away! Here are the shortcut links so that you can register easily.

Registration:  Conference Registration

Hotel: The Florida Hotel Registration


Please also check our website at for more information, to update your membership, to register for the Education Program, or to contact a board member. I’ll see you at the Program and looking forward to getting to know you better at our Welcome Reception on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Best Regards,

Yueh-Mei K Nutter

Yuen-Mei Kim Nutter, President of the FLAFCC


You Should Know About Eldercaring Coordination!

Written by Linda Fieldstone, Judge Michelle Morley and Sue Bronson

ACR/FLAFCC Elder Justice Initiative Co-Chairs

Do you know any families embroiled in conflict about the care and safety of an aging loved one? Do you have clients where family conflict is jeopardizing the care or safety the older adult that they say they are protecting?  Have you heard about eldercaring coordination?

Sol lies still in his bed, wanting desperately to fall asleep.  It is after midnight and he is so tired.  A tear trickles from the corner of his eye into his ear.  His brain is still active, doing its best to process what happened at dinner tonight.  Another explosion between his children. Sol tried to interrupt; they will not listen, continuing to yell about him as if he wasn’t even there. Sol knows that they love him and don’t understand how they are breaking his heart – when was the last time he saw all his grandchildren, their visits halted by all the in-fighting. Some paper arrives that says that Sol must go to court, that some people were appointed by the Court to examine Sol’s capacity and report back to the court on what they find.  Sol is so confused and now he is scared.  What does all this mean?  Why does an 84-year-old man have to go to court when he has never done anything wrong? 

Eldercaring coordination is a solution.  

We traditionally think of young parents raising children when someone talks about Family Court, but families include every one of every age from “cradle to grave.”  FLAFCC strives to make family experiences in court positive, to put families in better shape after litigation than they were in when it started. That’s why FLAFCC supported, encouraged, sponsored, and helped launch the development of Eldercaring Coordination, an alternative dispute resolution process court ordered for aging families experiencing conflict to address nonlegal issues, particularly regarding the care and safety of an aging loved one. In 2021 Florida enacted Florida Statute s. 44.407, the first state statute in the nation on eldercaring coordination. The Florida Dispute Resolution Center, substantiating Florida as a leader in dispute resolution processes, has posted an Eldercaring Coordination Almanac which will be updated with more information as available.

Eldercaring coordination is based on the same premise as parenting coordination: that families in higher conflict need a dispute resolution process catered to their specific needs and characteristics. These are the minority of families that take a majority of the court time and resources, often hammering each other with nonlegal issues to battle out in court. Eldercaring coordination addresses these nonlegal concerns in a timely fashion and private forum, helping family members:

·   reduce conflict so they can work together more productively and focus on the aging person’s care;

·   Support the aging person’s self-determination to the extent possible;

·   Promote safety by monitoring at-risk situations; and

·   Develop a support system for the aging person and family.

Eldercaring coordination is a process, not an event like mediation, and requires a distinct skill set because of the degree of family conflict involved. Mediation is for parties that are functional and recognize that their issues are resolvable.  Eldercaring coordination is for parties whose emotional conflict is crippling their ability to focus on the real issues.  When they attempt to bring up historic disputes, the family is directed to re-focus on and use their personal strengths to meet the needs of their aging loved one. Appointing the eldercaring coordinator (EC) for a two-year term is recommended in order to respond to the transitions of the aging person and avoid adversarial actions that ramp up family discord.  As you can imagine, it takes the EC significant time to peel back the layers of conflict within the family and develop a trusting relationship with the family members. Multiple sessions of eldercaring coordination are needed to help the family members learn how to communicate and negotiate with one another without going off track into historic family turmoil.  You can identify a family who would benefit from eldercaring coordination when:

  • The elder is isolated, with a family member(s) or guardian restricting access to and information about elder.
  • The family is arguing about elder’s care, safety, capacity, guardianship, or use of elder’s assets.
  • There are report(s) to Adult Protective Services involving family conflict or miscare.
  • Mediation is ineffective as family members use it as another opportunity to attack each other.

The Court can ONLY appoint Eldercaring Coordinators (ECs) meeting the statutory qualifications. Florida Judicial Circuits qualify eldercaring coordinators (ECs) and can place them on a roster similar to parenting coordination.  Most ECs will work remotely, as it is common for family members to reside outside the elder’s jurisdiction. In an independent preliminary study by Pamela Teaster and Meagan Dolbin MacNab, both prestigious researchers from Virginia Tech, 100% of judges responding to a survey of cases initially referred to eldercaring coordination as being “very effective.” In addition, ECs often identified numerous safety issues per family, protecting the older adult from various risks and continued exploitation and abuse. The order of referral to eldercaring coordination enables the referring judge to specify non-legal issues for the EC to address and any protective measures the judge wants implemented in a case that involves elder abuse or domestic violence. The parties can save time and money as the EC’s fees are shared according to the allocation on the court order. Most ECs work on a sliding scale fee when affordability is an issue, which is rare since the court order specifies the allocation of fees shared by family members. In addition, Sunshine Health has formally recognized high conflict in families as a health issue for older adults and will provide 10 hours of eldercaring coordination statewide to its Medicaid members, reducing the cost to just $25 per hour split according to the court’s allocation.

Why is eldercaring coordination relevant to FLAFCC and its members? Just like in Sol’s family, children are the by-product of the alliances formed, sometimes even restricted from seeing their grand or great grandparent. Children hear and then model the explosive rhetoric in families engaged in conflict. Multigenerational conflict poses negative outcomes for future generations, reducing effective coping skills and decreasing their social capital and support systems. Eldercaring coordination can protect those most vulnerable, young and old alike, from being in the middle of the conflict. When family members learn to work together for the sake of their loved ones, future generations can embrace a legacy of peace.The values promoted in eldercaring coordination uphold the values of FLAFCC – your values.  Please check out the website, contact us with questions you may have, and talk amongst yourselves about cases that may benefit from a process that: focuses on individual and family strengths rather than the win-lose mentality of an adversarial process; effectuates more timely responses and avoiding crowded dockets; saves time and money. Attorneys have acknowledged that legal issues flow more productively through the court when the emotionality of the family members is deflated. Guardians have reported better informed decision-making occurs with the input of family members focused on the elder, rather than past unresolved issues. Perhaps you are interested in becoming an eldercaring coordinator.  You would see that as family members begin to apply skills they have learned in the process, they are able to build a more constructive support system and utilize mediation other services related to older adults. Change is hard and change is slow; meanwhile older adults in the middle of conflict are suffering, and so are the younger generations witnessing dysfunctional conflict.  The Eldercaring Coordination Initiative extends appreciation to FLAFCC for its ongoing support. Help us spread the word that eldercaring coordination is here, statutorily recognized in Florida and ready to help.


Factors in Relocation Cases

Written by Dr. Peggie Ward

As a family law professional it is essential to consider a number of factors in relocation cases.  These factors are: the Best Interests of the Child, the Existing Time-Sharing Plan and the impact of the proposed relocation on the Time Sharing agreement, the reason for relocation as well as the distance of the relocation.  The best interests standard is the court’s primary consideration.  The  impact on the child’s education, social life, and relationship with the non-relocating parent are several of these factors. The child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent is crucial to address including how that relationship will be maintained despite the distance, such as through extended visitation during school breaks, holidays, or summers, and the use of technology for regular communication. The co-parenting relationship is crucial and the court will want assess the parent’s ability to maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship despite the proposed relocation.  If the relocation is granted, the existing parent plan may need to be modified.  It is helpful if attorney for the relocating parent to take into account: how to prepare for the move, including making necessary arrangements for school enrollment, healthcare, and support systems in the new location. It is also important to address the challenges if relocation is granted including: changes in timesharing, adjustment issues for the child and the relocating parent, and the need for professional intervention in case of emotional or psychological difficulties.

Additionally there are specific legal requirements in Florida for parental relocation cases, which include providing formal notice to the other parent and obtaining court approval for the relocation.  The notice must comply with statutory requirements and include specific information, such as the new address, phone number, and proposed relocation date. Failure to provide proper notice may have legal consequences. It is important to ensure that all legal requirements are met and followed meticulously to avoid any negative repercussions in court. In relocation cases, the parent seeking to relocate has the burden of proving that the proposed relocation is in the best interests of the child. This means that the parent must present evidence and persuade the court that the relocation is in the child’s best interests based on the relevant factors under Florida law.

It is also important to consider the age of the child. In Florida, if the child is 16 years old or older, their preference regarding the proposed relocation may be given more weight by the court. The court may take into consideration the child’s wishes and preferences, although it is not the sole determining factor. The court will still consider the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration however, the child’s age and maturity level may affect how much weight the court gives to their preferences. If the child is 16 or older and expresses a strong preference to either support or oppose the proposed relocation, the court may take their preference into account when evaluating the overall best interests of the child.

There is a role for other professionals in relocation cases. Collaboration with other professionals, such as counselors, psychologists, and financial experts, may help provide comprehensive support to the parents and address various aspects of the relocation case effectively. Working as a team can provide valuable insights and support for the parents and help them make informed decisions.

Relocation cases can be emotionally charged, and parents may have differing opinions and strong emotions about the proposed relocation. Professionals working with these families can help with using of conflict resolution and mediation skills. Therapists can provide emotional support to family members by creating a safe and non-judgmental space for them to express their feelings, fears, and concerns related to the relocation. Therapists can help family members process their emotions, manage stress, and develop coping strategies to navigate the changes associated with the proposed relocation. Therapists can also provide co-parenting counseling to help parents improve their communication and problem solving skills.  Therapists can provide therapy specifically for children to help them cope with the changes associated with the proposed relocation.


Congrats Florida Bar “Visionary Award” Recipient

“I am honored and humbled to receive this year’s Visionary Award from the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar during the Marital and Family Law Review Course in Orlando. A heartfelt thank you to Magistrate Philip Wartenberg, current Chair of the Family Law Section for this recognition. The surprise was genuine and I was extremely grateful that much effort (behind the scenes) took place to arrange for my husband, daughter and son to be present as I received this Award. My family has always been so supportive of my volunteer work and it was wonderful for them to share this special moment together with me.”

Thank you!

-Maria Gonzalez, Esq.