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Bill would require transcriptions in some family law cases

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Rep. Emily Slosberg

Rep. Emily Slosberg

HB 339 and SB 558 would also require free copies of the recordings or transcripts be made available to indigent parties if they appeal a ruling.

“The bills put a stop to gamesmanship and provides dignity and fairness to parents and their children,” said Slosberg.

“It’s incredibly important to have a record,” she added. “A record of the proceedings will deter frivolous post-judgment motions and appeals. . . This will allow for [legitimate] appeals. Without a transcript, you can’t really have an appeal.”

Slosberg said she worked with a local group, Families Against Court Travesties, and a local chapter of the National Organization of Women in developing the legislation. She said it was based on experience of some parties using family courts in abusive ways.

“That’s a form of control driving the other spouse to court as often as possible,” said Slosberg, adding having an electronic or written record will make those attempts harder to do and easier to refute.

“This legislation represents positive changes for family courts and makes all courts play by the same rules,” said Adele Guadalupe, a co-founder and former president of Families Against Court Travesties, Inc., and a member of the Palm Beach County National Organization for Women Chapter.

Slosberg is hopeful the bill will find support in the Legislature with perhaps the biggest issue an expected $5 million price tag, the projected cost of providing electronic copies or written transcripts to indigent parties.

“That’s the only limitation I see, but there is room in the budget. I think we can make room in the budget,” Slosberg said.

Kristi Luna, co-chair of the Family Law Section’s Legislation Committee, said the section is aware of the bill and is reviewing it as part of its legislative activities.

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