RESOURCES

FLORIDA BAR BOARD CERTIFICATION

Attorney Sarah E. Kay is Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar. What does that mean?
Fewer than 1% of Florida attorneys are board certified specialists by the Florida Bar.

Why Should I Care About Board Certification?

Because it takes a lot to become board certified. A heavily vetted and experienced committee of attorneys, all appointed by a Florida Bar President, evaluate board certification applicants for professionalism and test them to verify their expertise in the area of certification. This means that a board certified attorney has special knowledge, skill, and proficiency in the area of law in which they hold a certification and are professional and ethical in their practice of law.

When And How Did Board Certification Come Into Existence?

The Florida Supreme Court established board certification in 1982. It was intended to clearly identify attorneys of the the highest level of achievement for legal competence, experience and ethics.

What Does It Take To Become Board Certified In Marital & Family Law?

As of 2019, an attorney wishing to obtain board certification in marital and family law must, during the five (5) years immediately preceding his/her application, at a minimum, have:

  • Practiced law for five (5) years;
  • Had “substantial involvement” in the specialty of marital & family law [that means that it constituted 50% or more of the attorney’s practice];
  • handled at least 25 contested marital & family law cases – at least 7 of which must be trials lasting 3 hours or longer; and
  • completed 75 hours of approved marital & family law certification continuing legal education.

But that is not all! Upon submitting an application, The Florida Bar Marital & Certification Committee will perform a thorough background check and peer review of the applicant. The peer review will include soliciting feedback on the applicant from his/her opposing counsels, other Board Certified marital and family law attorneys, and the judges before whom the applicant has practiced.

Then, presuming the applicant has met all other criteria, he/she must then pass a six-hour written examination consisting of short answer, multiple choice, and essay questions. The Marital & Family Law Certification Committee, all of whom are board certified, will then grade the test, which historically has had a very low pass rate.

What Does It Mean To Have An Attorney Board Certified In Marital And Family Law Handle Your Case?

Selecting an attorney to assist or represent you is a very important decisions. When you are considering an attorney, selecting an attorney who is Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar can give you peace of mind because you know that the attorney has extensive experience and has been thoroughly vetted by his/her peers.

What Does It Mean To Have “Substantial Involvement” In A Case?

Substantial Involvement In A Case May Include The Following:

  • Interviewing & Counseling Clients
  • Investigating And Analyzing Cases
  • Argument And Trial Of Cases That Involve Florida Marital And Family Law
  • Drafting Documents Filed With The Court [Such As: Petitions, Answers, Counter-petitions, Affirmative Defenses, Motions To Dismiss, Other Motions, And Memoranda Of Law, Etc.]
  • Engaging In Discovery [Such As: Interrogatories, Requests To Produce, Requests For Admissions, Depositions, Issuing Subpoenas, Etc.]
  • Attending Evidentiary And And Non-evidentiary Hearings
  • Admitting Or Defending Against Admission Of Evidence In Court
  • Direct And Cross-examination Of Witnesses
  • Attending Mediation
  • Negotiating, Drafting, And Revising Settlement Agreements

What Do You Mean By “Marital And Family Law” Cases?

The term “marital and family law” refers to civil matters arising from the family relationships of spouses or parent-child. This can be any number of issues including, but not limited to: dissolution of marriage (aka “divorce”), child support, parental responsibility (aka “custody”), time-sharing (aka “visitation”), alimony (aka “spousal support” or “maintenance”)

“Marital and family law” is the practice of law dealing with legal problems arising from the family relationship of husband and wife and parent and child, including civil controversies arising from those relationships. In addition to actual pretrial and trial process, ‘marital and family law’ includes evaluating, handling, and resolving such controversies prior to and during the institution of suit and post-judgment proceedings. The practice of marital and family law in the state of Florida is generally unique in that decisional, statutory, and procedural laws are specific to this state.

Click here to find out what types of marital and family law cases Kay Family Law PLLC handles.

FAMILY LAW RESOURCES

Free and Reduced Rate Legal Services Organizations & Information

BAY AREA LEGAL SERVICES

Bay Area Legal Services (BALS) is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that provides civil legal assistance to low-income residents in the Tampa Bay region including Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties.

GULFCOAST LEGAL SERVICES

Gulfcoast Legal Services (GLS) is a non-profit corporation providing free legal assistance to income eligible residents of the greater Tampa Bay area. GLS has offices in Pinellas Manatee, Sarasota, and Hillsborough counties.

FLORIDA COURTS HELP

Florida Courts Help is a guide prepared by the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice which is intended to guide civil litigants (including Family Law litigants) who are not represented by an attorney (also called “pro se“) through the court system.

ARE YOU SAFE

Are You Safe is a nonprofit organization that helps victims of domestic violence. It provides legal assistance such as help obtaining restraining orders and injunctions. For information, call (813) 514-1058.

THE FAMILY FORMS CLINIC

Is a free program offered by Bay Area Legal Services that uses volunteer attorneys to help people complete the paperwork involved in family law cases. For information, call (813) 864-2280.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNT COURT FORMS

These are forms published by the 13th Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) court for various matters including Guardianship Matters.

ST. MICHAEL’S LEGAL CENTER FOR WOMEN & CHILDREN, INC.

St. Michael’s Legal Center is a free legal service helping low-income individuals desiring legal assistance. The Center does not discriminate as to gender, race, creed or any church or non-church membership.

FLORIDA COURTS HELP GUARDIANSHIP FORMS

This is a listing of all Florida counties with links to counties that have guardianship forms posted on their court websites.

FLORIDA COURT GUARDIANSHIP INFORMATION

A page published by the Florida courts system with general information regarding guardianship and a link to additional resources.
SPECIAL NEEDS RESOURCES

Legal, Educational, and Support Organizations & Information

DISABILITY RIGHTS FLORIDA

Offers free and confidential services to Floridians with disabilities. The page also provides links to additional resources.

SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER

Focuses its litigation resources on “impact litigation” – cases which will have the greatest impact in, among other practice areas.

DREDF (DISABILITY RIGHTS EDUCATION AND DEFENSE FUND)

The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), founded in 1979, is a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities.

COPAA (COUNCIL OF PARENT ATTORNEYS AND ADVOCATES)

COPAA’s mission is to protect and enforce the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families. COPAA's primary goal is to secure high quality educational services and to promote excellence in advocacy.

YO! DISABLED AND PROUD

YO! connects, organizes and educates youth with disabilities! YO! gives youth leadership opportunities, social networks, resources and more. YO! is for youth with disabilities to be PROUD of who we are and what we can achieve!

DRA (DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATES)

DRA's mission is to advance equal rights for people with all types of disabilities nationwide.

HEARD (HELPING EDUCATE TO ADVANCE THE RIGHTS OF DEAF COMMUNITIES)

HEARD is an all-volunteer nonprofit organziation that was incorporated in the District of Columbia on February 18, 2011. HEARD has volunteers nationwide who conduct deaf prisoner/defendant research, assist deaf incarcerated individuals with access issues, investigate possible wrongful conviction cases, and educate the Deaf community about the law and current legal issues, and educate attorneys, among other things.

ASAN (AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCACY NETWORK)

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities.

THE NYLE DIMARCO FOUNDATION

Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) endorses the Nyle DiMarco Foundation. Nyle is the LEAD-K celebrity spokesperson, helping to further the initiative promoting language equality and acquisition to ensure that Deaf Kids are Kindergarten-Ready. The Nyle DiMarco Foundation’s mission is to empower positive Deaf Identities in all aspect of life, and we wholeheartedly support its goal for accurate resources to share with families, professionals and communities.

SDA (SENIOR & DISABILITY ACTION)

SDA mobilizes and educates seniors and people with disabilities to fight for individual rights and social justice. Through individual support and collective action, SDA works together to create a city and world in which seniors and people with disabilities can live well and safely.

BOOKSHARE

Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.

LEARNING ALLY

Learning Ally is a leading nonprofit education solutions organization that transforms the lives of struggling learners by delivering proven solutions that help students reach their potential.

NFB (NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND)

Through NFB's network of blind members, NFB coordinates many programs, services, and resources to defend the rights of blind Americans, provide information and support to blind children and adults, and build a community that creates a future full of opportunities.

WID (WORLD INSTITUTE ON DISABILITY)

Based in Berkeley, California, the World Institute on Disability (WID) is a nonprofit that works to fully integrate people with disabilities into the communities around them via research, policy, and consulting efforts.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Through the Looking Glass (TLG) is a nationally recognized center that has pioneered research, training, and services for families in which a child, parent or grandparent has a disability or medical issue. TLG is a disability community based nonprofit organization, which emerged from the independent living movement, and was founded in 1982 in Berkeley, California.

MIUSA (MOBILITY INTERNATIONAL USA)

MIUSA provides travel/disability/exchange/education information.

COMMUNICATION FIRST

CommunicationFIRST is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of the more than 5 million people of all ages in the United States who, due to disability or other condition, are unable to rely on speech alone to communicate.

CENTER FOR PARENT INFORMATION & RESOURCES

This organization serves families of children with disabilities in every US state and territory.

NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INDEPENDENT LIVING

NCIL advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities. NCIL envisions a worldl in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully. NICL is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities.

ROOTED IN RIGHTS

Rooted in Rights tells authentic, accessible stories to challenge stigma and redefine narratives around disability, mental health, and chronic illness.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Interested in finding out how Kay Family Law PLLC can help you?

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