Rebecca H. Fischer

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Family Law Attorney in Hollywood, FL

Fischer & Feldman, P.A.
 | 450 N Park Rd, Suite 500
Hollywood, FL 33021
Phone: 954-546-7250
Fax: 954-927-4047
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2018
Licensed Since: 1990
Practice Areas:
  • Family Law (50%),
  • Estate Planning & Probate (40%),
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (10%)
    Attorney Profile

    Rebecca practices law with the partnership of Fischer & Feldman, P.A. in Hollywood, Florida. She is a Collaboratively trained attorney in family law matters, is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, and also specializes in estate planning, probate, and guardianship.  Ms. Fischer has presented on families and clients with special needs children in the Collaborative Divorce Process as well as domestic and interpersonal violence.  Ms. Fischer is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, was chosen for inclusion in 2020 by Top Lawyers in South Florida, from 2015 through 2018 by the Miami Herald’s Top Attorneys in Florida, was named by Florida Super Lawyers for five consecutive years, and in 2019 Rebecca was selected for inclusion by Lawyers of Distinction. 

    Rebecca graduated from the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals (FACP) inaugural Leadership Institute, was among the first 24 professionals in Florida to become an accredited Collaborative Professional, and recently joined the Board of Directors of FACP.  She Chairs the Practice Group committee for FACP and serves on the Uniform Collaborative Law Act Advisory Task Force, Fundraising, and Standards and Ethics Committees for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She is the owner of the Family Law Cooperative, a mediation practice dedicated to mediating pro se family law cases in high conflict situations, and a founding member and Chair of the Board of My Collaborative Team.  She graduated Dean's List from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California in 1982 and recently received certification from Loyola Law School in its Negotiating for Success program.  Rebecca is admitted to practice law in California and Florida.  She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology in 1979, With Distinction, from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California.

    * AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished, and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards, and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

     
    Practice Areas
    • 50%Family Law
    • 40%Estate Planning & Probate
    • 10%Alternative Dispute Resolution
    Focus Areas

    Alimony & Spousal Support, Child Support, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Name Change, Paternity, Prenuptial Agreements, Marital Property, Mediation & Collaborative Law, Same Sex Family Law, Father's Rights, Estate Planning, Guardianships & Conservatorships, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate & Estate Administration, Trusts, Wills, Mediation

    Selections

    Selected to Super Lawyers for 5 yearsbottom-image

    Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2018

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    About Rebecca Fischer

    Admitted: 1990, Florida

    Professional Webpage: https://www.fischerfeldmanpa.com/about-us/rebecca-h-fischer/

    Honors/Awards:

    • Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, Rating, Martindale-Hubbell, 2020
    • Florida Super Lawyer, Honoree, Florida Super Lawyers, 2018
    • Annual Scholarship Dinner Honoree, Honoree, Kesher, 2016
    • FIU-Jewish Museum of Florida 20th Anniversary Honoree, Honoree, FIU-Jewish Museum of Florida, 2015
    • President of Broward County Jewish National Fund, 2007 – 2012, President, Broward County Jewish National Fund, 2012
    • National Chair of Makor, the leadership division of the Jewish National Fund, 2007 – 2010, Chair, Jewish National Fund, 2010
    • State of Israel Bonds Women's Division Honoree, Honoree, Israel Bonds, 2003
    • Jewish Federation of Broward County President's Award, President's Award, Jewish Federation of Broward County, 2003
    • Jewish Federation of Broward County President's Awards, President's Award, Jewish Federation of Broward County, 2002
    • Weizmann Institute Woman of Vision Honoree, Honoree, Weizmann Institute, 2001
    • Jewish Federation of Broward County Women's Division Community Service Leadership Award, Community Service Leadership Award, Jewish Federation of Broward County, 2000
    • The Esther Lowenthal Community Service Award, Jewish Family Service of Broward County, Community Service Award, Jewish Family Services, 1999
    • Leukemia Society of South Florida recognition for years of service as President, Honoree, Leukemia Society of South Florida, 1997
    • Jewish Federation of Broward County Young Leadership Award, Young Leadership Award, Jewish Federation of Broward County, 1994
    • Graduated Dean's List Loyola-Marymount University Law School of Los Angeles, Dean's List, Loyola-Marymount University Law School of Los Angeles, 1982

    Special Licenses/Certifications:

    • Broward County Guardian Ad Litem Volunteer, 2016
    • Florida Department of Financial Services Mediator, 2017
    • Trained as a Collaborative Divorce Attorney, 2010
    • Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, 2006

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Collaborative Professionals of South Florida, 2019
    • South Palm Beach County Collaborative Law Group, 2019
    • Collaborative Family Law Institute, 2011
    • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
    • Broward County Bar Association
    • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1983
    • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
    • Florida Bar Elder Law Section
    • California, 1983
    • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
    • Florida Bar Family Law Section
    • Florida, 1990
    • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1993

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Uniform Collaborative Law Act Advisory Panel, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 2019
    • Standards and Ethics Committee, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 2019
    • Credentialing Committee, Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 2019
    • Practice Group Committee, Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals, 2019
    • Jewish National Fund, Chair, Arava Task Force, 2019
    • Kesher Board Chair, 2018
    • Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Organization Children's Ability Center, 2017
    • Kesher, Jewish Day School for Special Needs Children, 2005
    • AIPAC, 2004
    • Jewish Federation of Broward County, 2002
    • UJA, 2002
    • Weizmann Institute of Science, 2001
    • Hillel Community Day School, 2000
    • Leukemia Society of America, 1990

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator
    • Successfully concluded multiple Collaborative Family Law matters, 2019

    Transactions:

    • High net worth individuals in dissolution of marriage matters, 2019
    • Security Pacific National Bank and Security Pacific Corporation, 1983

    Representative Clients:

    • Family of Former President of Venezuela, Carolos Andres Perez in highly contested probate matter, 2010
    • Suncoast Savings & Loan, 1993
    • Capital Bank, 1987

    Other Outstanding Achievements:

    • Chair, JNF Arava Task Force, 2019
    • Chair, Kesher, L.D., 2016
    • President Jewish National Fund of Broward County, 2007
    • National Chair, Jewish National Fund's Leadership Division, Makor, 2007
    • President AIPAC of Broward County, 2004
    • Co-President Women's Division Jewish Federation of Broward County, 2000
    • President Leukemia Society of South Florida, 1995
    • Member, United Jewish Communities National Young Leadership Cabinet, 1994

    Newsletters:

    • In this blog I want to consider four questions raised by Dr. Randy Heller in her recent Advanced Collaborative Training, “Guess Who’s Coming to the Collaborative Table?”  The first question, “Who am I?” was addressed to some degree in my last two blogs as the same relates to what brought me to the Collaborative Process. The Enneagram test Dr. Heller made available articulated some of the way in which I am defined: A reformer/strict perfectionist, a challenger/active controller and a loyalist/loyal sceptic.  I am not a therapist, but I would guess much of these personality traits arose from my childhood; hence, that is the piece I will briefly share with you in this blog. I grew up the oldest child of parents who had three children by the time they were 21 and 23.  Dysfunctional would understate the dynamics of our home. My father grew up in an abusive home until he was removed at the age of 12 and put into foster care.  He repeated his family history and became an abusive father himself. My mother’s family history was replete with bi-polar disorder which played out in what I can only describe as extremely bad parenting skills and a difficult environment in which to grow.  If the Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Organization Children’s Village had existed in Phoenix, Arizona in the 60’s, my sister, brother and I would have been placed in the village. To survive, I vowed at the age of six to educate myself, learn what I could about independence, self-sufficiency and leadership to change my circumstances and not repeat the dysfunctionality.  There is no question but that my history impacts my adult behavior and how I react to my clients’ stories. It impacted the direction a case with allegations of child neglect or abuse and mental illness took in litigated cases. In the Collaborative Process we have the opportunity to analyze the impact these issues have on a family’s goals and best interests.  My mother once said to me, following a particularly bad night, “You don’t know what it’s like to live with this.”  It stunned me.  After some thought I replied, “Of course I know what it is like to live with ‘this.’ I have lived with it my whole life.”  She of course was referring to her illness. I was talking about growing up in a home with an unhealthy mother. I lived it every day.  And where in litigation we might use depression or any number of other issues as weapons to limit a parent’s access to his or her child, in the Collaborative Process we work together, as a team, and with all necessary professionals as part of the team, to help guide a family in the direction best suited for them.  We have the opportunity to work with the family. Not take it apart. The second question in Dr. Heller’s presentation, “How do I show up?” is partially answered through the Enneagram test--a reformer/strict perfectionist, a challenger/active controller and a loyalist/loyal sceptic—and although there is far more to me than these descriptors, I have no doubt those who do not know me well see me as defined by the test.  So how does this play into the Collaborative Process? The histories we bring to the team meeting cannot help but affect how we interact with others at the table be it other professionals or at times, how we respond to our clients and his or her spouse. In litigation, we often behave as our worst selves. Our personalities affect how we practice and how we respond to motions and arguments in court.  We are given virtually free reign to show up as combative, difficult and advocates who care little about the effect of our actions on the other side. In the Collaborative Process it all matters as our goal is not winning but helping families stay intact, remain at peace and put children first. We are team players who put the needs of our clients ahead of the adversarial training we received in school and the courtroom. The third question, “Who am I Collaborating with?” is important because the histories and characteristics of the rest of the team often impact how we respond and conduct ourselves.  Learning to be part of a team means setting aside irritants and traits that might otherwise set us off in the litigation world. I have participated on several teams with Dr. Heller. She reminds me that while I may think I am controlling my body language my facial expressions speak volumes about what I am thinking.  I have considered extensive Botox to freeze my face, but I am not sure I want to show up in the rest of my life without expression. The last question, “What can I do to be my best self?” is the one I ask of you.  How do we assess ourselves and show up as listening, compromising, value added participants on the team? How do we represent our clients and guide them knowing our own reputations for doing “a good job” is on the line?  We are expected as Collaborative professionals to give even where the law may dictate otherwise. How do we take a step back and allow our clients to control the process when we are accustomed to giving advice, advocating, recommending and quoting the law?  I see accountant/team members step into the issue as often as I see lawyers get caught up in a non-Collaborative model. We must constantly read, expose ourselves to other Collaborative Professionals, listen to those who have greater experience in the field, attend conferences and constantly self-assess where we are and how we conduct ourselves.  While a complete facial freeze ala Botox may not be the answer, controlling my eyebrows and the direction the corners of my mouth slide certainly play a role in my own self-assessment.   As I said at the beginning of my first blog titled, “The Sum of Our Histories,” there is no question that we bring our personal experiences to team meetings in the Collaborative Process.  My history dictates I am particularly attuned to families with abuse, mental health issues and myriad other issues that impact the way my clients show up at the table. I have to make certain I am not mirroring their inability to breathe or see where the future may be clear.  The Collaborative Process, unlike litigation, dictates we focus on the family and guide them into their future as best we can with as little destruction as possible. So many of our clients have already lived through destruction and sadness. They do not need the divorce process to further add to their misery., THE SUM OF OUR HISTORIES PART III, DIVORCE PROFESSIONALS
    • One of my colleagues recently wrote a blog for this column about working with our clients as we find them. The same holds true for the professional members of the team. The collective history of the people at a team meeting is vast. We sometimes forget when aggravated by a professional member’s behavior that professionals also come with our own baggage. I ask for your indulgence over the next few blogs as I share a bit of my own.  I am starting in the middle of my story for this first piece. My move to the collaborative process came later in my professional life driven by my personal experience in the divorce arena. I separated from my former husband, “L” in 2005. It took a dear friend and family attorney to push me towards preparing the petition for dissolution and related documents in 2006 on the assumption that L would one day do something to drive me over the edge and I would want the documents filed ASAP. That day came. Fortunately, the documents were ready to go. L was served, and the 14-year drama began. It continues to this day not because I like drama. I am actually drama adverse. We have three children, their father made a very good living, and he wanted no responsibility. In 2007 we mediated. I was extremely physically ill and emotionally spent because of the divorce and the stress of working full time while having 100% responsibility for our three children, including an elementary school son on the autism spectrum. My attorney and I did the best we could in mediation to protect my children’s future, but my attorney’s primary goal was to get me out of the marriage in one piece. The one issue I thought I had locked in was protection for my youngest child’s future. We built in a continuation of child support past age 18 and high school graduation knowing he would need ongoing support. By 2011 L owed me almost $60,000 in reimbursements. As CFO of the company for which he worked, the income deduction order was not working for me because he controlled the issuance of the child support checks. He retained my former partner to file documents claiming I alienated the children from him as an end-run around what he thought would be my pursuit of the moneys he owed me. It did not seem to matter that he had made no effort to see or communicate with our children in years. $65,000 in attorney’s fees and 18-months later we settled. I was in no better position than when I started but it was over. The fact that L had now filed four false financial affidavits was too costly to pursue and our legal system appeared to me—a family attorney—to be indifferent. In 2016 my youngest child was admitted to college early decision. The next day L filed pleadings with the court seeking to terminate child support upon high school graduation claiming my son was no longer on the spectrum as evidenced by his early admission to American University. In a five-minute hearing the judge agreed with him, set the date of termination and advised me my son, then 18 and no longer a minor, could come back in May after graduation and make his own argument before the court as to why he should continue to get child support from his father. While I was trained as a collaborative attorney six years earlier, I continued to represent clients in litigated divorce matters. I made the decision as I left the court room that day, I would never again litigate a family matter. Putting aside the over $100,000 I had spent through the years litigating with L, putting aside what the litigation had put me through emotionally and physically and by extension, my children, it was clear the courtroom was no place for family related matters to be resolved. There actually was no real resolution benefitting anyone other than the attorneys and, in the end, L who by 2016 had filed five false financial affidavits (I was able to prove it by pulling his employer’s tax returns off Charity Navigator). It is now almost 2019, L has been fired for alleged misappropriation of his employer’s assets, my son’s health insurance was terminated (L gave me no notice) and I am back reviewing the last of three MSA’s to see what remedy I have regarding my son’s medical expenses. While mine was not a case for the collaborative process, clearly litigation was not beneficial either. If I have to weigh the two alternatives I would advocate every time for our clients to choose collaborative. Getting caught in the web of litigation is just that—a terrible web from which one may not recover. Clearly, when I sit with a potential client or in a team meeting, this experience is uppermost in my mind as I guide clients through what I believe to be a process that allows families the opportunity to remain intact, maintain dignity and preserve assets for the benefit of their own futures., THE SUM OF OUR HISTORIES PART I, DIVORCE PROFESSIONALS
    • In my last blog I wrote about some of the history I bring to the Collaborative table and the significant role it plays in my perspective on the importance of the Collaborative Process.  I want to share with you another piece of my story that impacts my role as a Collaborative attorney. As the mother of a child on the autism spectrum I learned a tremendous amount both through my own divorce process and through the opportunity of having raised my son as a single mother.   First and foremost, the Collaborative Process is the only place divorcing parents with special needs children belong.  The courts are not equipped to deal with the stress and nuances of what is required to raise a child with special needs nor are the professionals, generally speaking, who are engaged with the litigation process.  While I am going to speak primarily about families with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), I believe what I am writing holds true for most if not all families with special needs children. Today, approximately one in 59 children is diagnosed with ASD.  The divorce rate among these families, according to what I was able to determine from reading material on the web, is close to 80%.  The emotional and financial demands of raising children with ASD are beyond the scope of this blog. Suffice it to say having been through this myself, both are tremendous for the entire family.  The first years following diagnosis can cost upwards of $60,000 per year or more for private school, tutors and therapies. Parents deal with the diagnosis anywhere from facing it head on to outright denial.  In divorce situations mothers and fathers bring all of this anxiety and stress, and often, anger, into the room. The Collaborative Process and an understanding of what is happening to these families can make all the difference as to how they cope and manage when the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is entered. Mental health facilitators in Collaborative cases are essential to allowing the fears, anxieties and complexities of working through parenting plans involving special needs children to alleviate the finger pointing and accusations in a litigated divorce.  The financial neutrals assist in creating a plan that gives parents breathing room to know they can care for their child while living apart and transitioning their special needs child between two homes. The plans must consider the requisite testing I learned is required every three years by special needs programs and the costs associated with the testing must be addressed.  Parents may not agree on the types of therapies their child needs or will need, i.e., language, occupational and perhaps by middle school, behavior. I found music to be a huge factor in my son’s therapeutic needs but was never able to convince his father or my own attorney about the importance of paying for it. I believe a team meeting with engaged professionals might have allowed us to more comprehensively plan for our child’s future. I will never forget the moment when my child, who was nonverbal at age five, sang “Don’t Stop Believing” while accompanying himself on the piano, in front of 200 people at a school program.  I could not find the words that night to express my gratitude to his music teacher. The look of joy on my son’s face said it all. So too did the facial expressions of all his mainstream and special needs teachers who saw his performance as nothing short of a miracle.  His successes became endless from that night forward. It was worth every dime I spent to get him to this point. I wrote my attorney afterwards to reinforce to her the importance of considering the circumstances of children like my son and the importance of listening to experts who know more than attorneys about families with special needs children. I truly believe through the Collaborative Process these issues can be resolved for the benefit of children and parents.  There is little if no room in litigated divorces for such considerations. In my own case, I built into the first of three marital settlement agreements that my son’s father and his significant other had to be trained by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) before my son could stay with them—so vast was their lack of understanding about his needs.  The agreement also said my son with ASD would only go to their home if his older brother was with him. These are examples of the protections I tried to build into my own situation. I believe had we utilized the Collaborative Process with a neutral mental health facilitator and other supporting professionals, the agreement would have been different.  His father may have felt more engaged in an arrangement establishing a more effective parenting plan and setting long range mutually agreed goals for our son. As I said at the beginning of my first blog titled, “The Sum of Our Histories,” there is no question that we bring our personal experiences into team meetings in the Collaborative Process.  My history dictates I am particularly attuned to families with special needs children and listening to how each parent views his or her role in the raising of these children with unique requirements.  I always hope the child’s interests are paramount in the divorce process—I am certain the Collaborative Process guarantees a better outcome than litigation., THE SUM OF OUR HISTORIES PART II, DIVORCE PROFESSIONALS

    Educational Background:

    • Dean's List Loyola Law School, 1982
    • Graduated with Distinction from the University of Redlands, B.A. Psychology, 1979

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    Office Location for Rebecca H. Fischer

    450 N Park Rd
    Suite 500
    Hollywood, FL 33021

    Phone: 954-546-7250

    Fax: 954-927-4047

    Rebecca H. Fischer:

    Last Updated: 9/14/2020

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