Your case has recently been referred to Family Court Services. What does that mean?By DADvocacy™ | October 27, 2014
The Family Court Services Unit (FCS) was developed to assist judges and general magistrates with some of the Court’s most difficult family cases, reducing case delays while tending to the unique needs of divorcing and separating parents and their children. Through short-term interventions and services that focus upon solutions rather than conflicts, the Family Court Services team helps parents reach understandings, resolve issues together, and develop a support system to assist them in the future.
We are very lucky to have this program in Miami, it is the only one in the state. Ordinarily, this type of coordination of private resources costs thousands of dollars in attorney time. However, FCS streamlines the monitoring and reporting that the Court requires in emotionally charged cases, so you should consider it a major money saver if nothing else. While many of the services offered through FCS are free, there may be a fee for some services, or if you are referred out to community resources by FCS. As you begin the program keep in mind that the counselors within the program know very little about your case, and that they will remain neutral throughout the program, with some possibility that they will favor one parent or another’s position in a written report created only after several sessions. It is important that you respect their role, and their time, as this program is in very high demand and is understaffed as it is.
Many of the issues that you are experiencing will be addressed in Family Court Services, and your lawyer may take a backseat role and let the FCS process do its work. In some instances, parenting coordinators in FCS may even help families resolve temporary timesharing and shared parental responsibility issues. The contact information for FCS is below. You must register with FCS within five (5) days of the order referring you to the service, so you should do so immediately upon receiving the referral. Make sure that you keep the FCS staff updated of any changes to your contact information and you keep all of your appointments. FCS will quickly report to the Judge any issues with regard to your compliance with the appointments and paperwork, and that will serve to hurt your legal position and delay your case.
Family Court Services
Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center
175 N.W. 1st Avenue Suite 1503
Miami, Florida 33128
Telephone: (305) 349-5508
Fax: (305) 349-5634
Family Court Services operates during normal business hours, 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM, and includes extended hours for Supervised Visitation/Monitored Exchanges on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 4:00 PM until 8 PM, and Saturdays, 10 AM until 4 PM.