If you have decided to hire an attorney to represent you through the divorce process, you should make sure that you select the right attorney for your specific needs and that you understand how to work with your attorney. Attorney selection can be a huge part of whether your case is “successful” or not, and this is one of the times where it is necessary for you to do your homework.
If you represent yourself during your divorce or family law matter, then you are considered a pro se party. If you choose to proceed without an attorney, the court, generally, will hold you to the same rules as an attorney, including applicable evidence rules at any hearings or trial. Additionally, as a pro se party, the court in general will hold you to any agreements that you enter into in your case. That means if you do not like what happened in your case, you usually cannot claim later that because you did not have the benefit of an attorney you did not know what you were signing or agreeing to, or that you made a mistake in how you handled something. The court cannot give you legal advice, so you will be held to your mistakes. Further, if you act as your own attorney, you will have to continue to deal with your spouse and his or her attorney on all of the issues in your case. This can cause further stress and strain on an already broken marriage or relationship, and it can cause additional stress on you.
Nicole L. Goetz, P.L. is pleased that FL AFCC—the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts—published an article by Nicole Goetz in the March 2019 FLAFCC eNews. The article recaps the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar‘s recent revisions to the “Bounds of Advocacy,” a guide for Florida lawyers on the professional and ethical dilemmas that are unique to the practice of family law. Nicole appointed the Family Law Section’s ad hoc Bounds of Advocacy Committee to oversee the revisions during her term as section chair. FLAFCC is an organization of judicial, legal, mental health, financial and related professionals utilizing education, research and advocacy to improve the lives of children and families through the collaborative resolution of family conflict.
Nicole L. Goetz recently presented on “Bounds of Advocacy: Goals for Family Lawyers in Florida” at a Lee County Bar Association luncheon sponsored by the judges of the Lee County Family and Uniform Family Court divisions. Ms. Goetz is the Immediate Past Chair of The Florida Bar Family Law Section, which last year published a newly revised version of the Bounds of Advocacy. The publication offers guidelines for family lawyers related to professional cooperation, competence and advice, conflict of interest, fees and children and is an update from the original 2004 version. The Family Law Section Ad Hoc Bounds of Advocacy Committee—a group of Florida’s most experienced family lawyers—revised the guide to capture changes in marital and family law, ethics, professionalism, social media and technology.
Donate a toy and help brighten a child’s day. The attorneys and staff at Nicole L. Goetz, P.L. in Naples are teaming up to collect donations for the Golisano Children’s Hospital Child Life Wish List program. Donations to the program help hospitalized children and siblings and are used in activity rooms and for birthdays to keep patients happy, engaged and feeling good about their treatments. The Child Life Wish List contains items for infants and toddlers, preschool and school-age children and teens as well as sensory items and travel-size toiletries. You also can choose a toy that means something to you or that will bring meaning to a child’s life. You may drop off donations at the Nicole L. Goetz, P.L. office at 4933 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 201, in Naples, or call (239) 325-5030 for more information. If you would like to donate directly to the hospital, take donations to 9981 S. Healthpark Drive in Fort Myers and leave them at the front desk. Please donate to help show children who are receiving treatment at Golisano Children’s Hospital that they do not have to face their burdens by themselves.
During her tenure as 2017-2018 Chair of The Florida Bar Family Law Section, attorney Nicole L. Goetz created the ad hoc Bounds of Advocacy Committee and appointed members from throughout Florida to update the “Bounds of Advocacy” practice guide to reflect recent and significant changes that impact the practice of Florida family law. The “Bounds of Advocacy” outlines goals for family lawyers in Florida, and guides Florida lawyers through the quagmire of professional and ethical dilemmas that are unique to the practice of family law. The publication offers goals for professional cooperation, competence and advice, conflict of interest, fees and children. It suggests a higher level of practice than the minimum baseline of conduct required by The Florida Bar rules—and spells out guidelines for situations that often arise in family law where the rules don’t provide sufficient guidance.
Attorney Nicole L. Goetz of Nicole L. Goetz, P.L., as 2017-2018 Chair of The Florida Bar Family Law Section, presented numerous awards during the section’s Annual Awards & Installation Luncheon in June. The awards honored members’ dedication, hard work, enthusiasm and service in leadership roles and on section committees during the 2017-2018 Florida Bar year. As Immediate Past Chair, Nicole remains active in the Family Law Section as a member of its Executive Committee.
In Barlow v. Barlow, Case No. 2D16–1837, attorney Nicole L. Goetz represented former husband Matthew Barlow in an appeal that challenged provisions in a final judgment of dissolution of marriage related to the calculation of alimony and child support, the award of the marital home to the former wife and a special provision requiring the parties to share the costs of major repairs to the former marital home. The appellate court found that the trial court erred in the manner in which it included bonus income in the former husband’s gross and available net income. The appellate court reversed and remanded the judgment of dissolution of marriage for recalculation of the alimony and child support awards and for reconsideration of the feasibility of maintaining the marital residence. The court affirmed the final judgment of dissolution of marriage in all other respects.