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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.

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