FL. Fam. Law. R. P. 12.200
1995 Adoption. This rule addresses issues raised by decisions such as Dralus v. Dralus, 627 So.2d 505 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993 ); Wrona v. Wrona, 592 So.2d 694 (Fla. 2d DCA 1991 ); and Katz v. Katz, 505 So.2d 25 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987 ), regarding the cost of marital litigation. This rule provides an orderly method for the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of issues and promotes amicable resolution of disputes.
This rule replaces and substantially expands Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.200 as it pertained to family law matters. Under this rule, a court may convene a case management conference at any time and a party may request a case management conference 30 days after service of a petition or complaint. The court may consider the following additional items at the conference: motions related to admission or exclusion of evidence, referral of issues to a master if consent is obtained pursuant to the rules, referral of the parties to mediation, referral of the parties to counseling, coordination of voluntary binding arbitration, appointment of court experts, referral of the cause for a home study psychological evaluation, and appointment of an attorney or guardian ad litem for a minor child.
1997 Amendment. In In re Adoption of Baby E.A.W., 658 So.2d 961 (Fla. 1995), and other cases involving protracted adoption litigation, it becomes clear that the earlier the issue of notice is decided by the court, the earlier the balance of the issues can be litigated. Because both parents' constitutional standing and guarantees of due process require notice and an opportunity to be heard, this rule amendment will help solve the problems of adoption litigation lasting until a child's third, fourth, or even fifth birthday. Furthermore, this rule will encourage both parents to be more candid with intermediaries and attorneys involved in the adoption process.
In E.A.W., 658 So.2d at 979, Justice Kogan, concurring in part and dissenting in part, stated: "I personally urge the Family Law Rules Committee . . . to study possible methods of expediting review of disputes between biological and adoptive parents." This rule expedites resolution of preliminary matters concerning due process in difficult adoption disputes. This rule also mandates early consideration of the child's rights to due process at early stages of adoption litigation.
Noncompliance with subdivision (a)(2) of this rule shall not invalidate an otherwise valid adoption.