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The Supreme Court has amended family law procedural rules to include the summary judgment standard it recently adopted as part of the civil procedure rules.

The court, acting July 8 on its own motion, amended Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.510 to conform with the recent changes to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510.

The opinion noted in 2017, the court adopted civil procedure rules into the family law rules so the rules could stand alone, and that pro se parties and others would not have to refer between multiple rule sets for guidance.

The court cited its recent amendment of civil Rule 1.510 “to adopt almost all the text of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and to align Florida’s summary judgment standard with the federal standard….

“In keeping with our decision in 2017 to have a stand-alone set of family law rules, we now adopt amendments to Florida Family Law Rule 12.510 to incorporate the recent changes to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510,” the court wrote.

As he did in the civil rules case, Justice Jorge Labarga dissented from the decision, citing the earlier opinion. In that case, Labarga said the new rule will have judges weighing evidence in a case instead of evaluating whether there is a material factual dispute.

The court issued its initial opinion amending Rule 1.510 in December and after comments, modified the change to substantially pick up the text of federal Rule 56. (See story here.)

Those changes were effective May 1. The new family law Rule 12.510 is effective immediately, and interested parties have 75 days to file comments.

The court acted in In re: Amendments to Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.510, Case No. SC21-966.

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