KidSide Newsletter July 2023

How to be “S.A.F.E.:” Ensuring Efficient and Effective Evidentiary Hearings

Written by Judge Abby Cynamon |

It is a real privilege to be asked by KidSide to address this topic.  Since being elected to the Circuit Court in 2008, I have served in the Civil, Family and Juvenile divisions of the Circuit Court.  Currently it is my honor to serve in the Family Division, where every decision made by a judge must not only follow the law, but also must be in the best interest of the children who are affected by that decision.

Whether you are a seasoned family litigant or just getting started, I would like to share some tips that I wish I would have known as a young lawyer.  Some of the tips I am going to share apply more to remote hearings, while others apply more to in-person hearings.  I hope you will find some of them useful.

First a word about in-person versus remote hearings:  in my division, we are setting all Final Hearings, Domestic Violence Final Hearings and other evidentiary hearings, in person.  We are also setting some Case Management Conferences in person.  As many of us have learned, while Zoom is a great platform for Motion Calendar, it is not ideal for evidentiary hearings.

To ensure that your evidentiary hearing goes as smoothly as possible for you and your client, whether your hearing is in-person or remote, remember these four things, which are easy to remember with the “S.A.F.E” abbreviation:

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MAKING THE INTRODUCTION: Evidence in Family Court

Written by Jacquelin M. Valdespino, Esq. |

“Yes, Virginia, the Rules of Evidence apply to Family Law Cases just like they do in other legal proceedings.” Unfortunately, practitioners often fail to recognize the impact of the Evidence Code on family law cases. In contested family and matrimonial matters evidence is necessary to assist the judge/trier of fact to make decisions on key divorce issues. Evidence is necessary to support a claim or defense, or to discredit the other side’s evidence; that evidence is subject to the restrictions imposed by the rules of evidence. For example, the judge will need evidence as to the value and division of marital assets and liabilities as well as for the need for and ability to pay support/alimony. Parents will also need to present evidence regarding a child’s best interest, timesharing and parental responsibility for a Parenting Plan.

Evidence is introduced through witnesses which may include expert witnesses, such as forensic accountants, appraisers, investigators, evaluators, psychologists, and physicians and lay or fact witnesses such as family members, co-workers, teachers pediatricians, etc. In family cases we also need documentary evidence such as diaries, journals, calendars, bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, ledgers, spreadsheets, QuickBooks, letters, emails, etc. In some cases evidence stored in social media accounts such as posts, photos, and videos are relevant to the disputed issues. In cases involving a child’s best interest school and/or medical records are relevant and need to be properly introduced.

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Honoring Andrea Steinacker

Get your tickets to our Havana Nights Nostalgia celebration before prices increase on August 1. This event will sell out so secure your spot before it is too late.

Judge Maxine Cohen Lando, a prior KidSide Inc. Board member, dedicated herself to protecting the rights of those in the Court system. She served as a Dade County Public Defender and as a respected judge serving for twenty years in the Domestic Violence, Criminal, Civil and Family Divisions. Judge Lando is fondly remembered for her fiery spirit, tempered by her kind heart and noble dedication to the highest standards of professionalism and ethics.

In her loving memory, we have instituted the Honorable Judge Maxine Cohen Lando Award to recognize and honor those who follow her example of serving the children who are in the Court system with excellence, passion and dedication.

Join us for Havana Nights Nostalgia on Tuesday, September 26th from 5:30-7:30pm at 601 Miami (Kaseya Center).

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    Parent Testimonial

The testimonial below is from an anonymous patient who received therapy sessions paid for by KidSide: 

I would like to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for the transformative experience I have had through therapy with my therapist. It was very accommodating to my work schedule and scheduling my sessions with my therapist.

Therapy has not only impacted my individual growth, but I have also become more understanding, empathetic, and compassionate towards myself and those around me. Therapy requires commitment, patience, and a willingness to delve into uncomfortable areas. However, the rewards outweigh the challenges.

Thank you to all the therapists out there who dedicate their lives to helping others. Your work is invaluable, and you have the power to change lives for the better. I am forever grateful for the transformative impact therapy has had on my life, and I will carry the lessons I have learned with me always. 

   Your Donations At Work


Expanding Funded Services

KidSide has reached an agreement with the 11th Judicial Circuit to fund Social Investigations for families in need referred to Family Court Services. We are excited to expand the court ordered services we are able to fund and we look forward to increasing the impact KidSide can have in our community.

     KidSide Volunteers In The News

 Congratulations to KidSide board members and volunteers for their recent honors in the community. KidSide Advisory Board Members, Laura Davis Smith and Bonnie Sockel-Stone, along with KidSide Partner Dori Foster-Morales for being named Top 50 Women in Law by Florida Super Lawyer. KidSide Board Member, Marisol Cruz, was recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Stars. In addition, KidSide volunteer, Karen Sanchez, was named 2023 National Association of Social Work, Social Worker of the Year for Miami-Dade. We are so proud of the impact you all are making in our community.

 Welcome To Our Newest Partner

Welcome to our newest partner, Aspire Group, who has joined the KidSide team as a Bronze Partner. KidSide appreciates your support.


 Thank You KidSide Partner


Looking to make a splash in the community to start the new year? Join KidSide as a partner and get recognized in the KidSide newsletter and on social media, plus other fantastic benefits. Thank you to all of our existing partners for their continued support of KidSide.


Support the work of Family Court Services by donating to KidSide!


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KidSide, Inc.


14261 SW 120 Street #103-552
Miami, FL 33186
Telephone: (305) 908.1126