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Florida attorney gets results in family law cases

Lawrence S. Katz is a Fellow in The International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL)[1]. He focuses his practice on family law, complex jurisdictional issues, interstate and international cross border family law as well as child abduction. He has practiced law for five decades.

In 2010, the U.S. Chapter of the IAFL established the Bill Hilton Memorial Award for Exceptional Contributions to International Family Law. A Fellow cannot apply, and it is not an annual award. The first time it was given was in June 2014 and Mr. Katz was a recipient. This is the highest and only such award given by the U.S.
Chapter of the IAFL.

He has been counsel of record, mentored or consulted in about 400 Hague Convention and child abduction cases. Mr. Katz was the first and in the majority of cases, the only U.S. attorney to recover children from: Turkey, (non-Hague) Iran, Saudi Arabia and Japan (using “Special Family Circumstances”) as well as to return children to Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Russia and Trinidad. Mr. Katz also conducted the first mediation in a Hague case in a pilot program for NCMEC and the U.S. Dept. of State in November 2005. He continues to mediate only child abduction cases.

Mr. Katz has lectured and published on international relocation for the ABA, a portion of the article was quoted by the Georgia S. Ct. in Sahibzada v. Sahibzada, 2014 Ga. LEXIS 219 (S.Ct. Ga. 2014). He has successfully represented clients in international relocation cases and responsible for drafting the relevant portions of the agreement and final decrees with respect to relocation, jurisdiction, homologation and enforcement. He has litigated international relocation cases: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. In 2012 he testified as an expert and prepared provisions of the final judgment (7 pages) permitting a mother to relocate to Argentina with her two minor children. In 2013, he was co-counsel in relocation from the U.K. to Florida. He has often drafted proposed language and given written opinions that has been utilized by foreign courts for custody, residency, relocation and Hague orders.

Mr. Katz has testified on numerous occasions as an expert witness in international matters especially concerning The Hague Abduction Convention, relocation, abduction factors/profiles, preventive measures, drafting and enforcement of court orders. In July 2013-present, his testimony resulted in orders that prevented travel of children to Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Japan and Russia. Likewise, he has testified that has permitted cross border travel of children. The last case in 2023 permitted the child to travel to Chile. He has been requested by various courts to draft provisions of orders or decrees. In addition, he is retained as counsel, consultant, co-counsel or an expert for: complex jurisdictional cases; drafting provisions of agreements, court orders, judgments; international abduction cases, preventive measures, travel, and international or interstate relocations.

[1]“The IAFL is a worldwide association of practicing lawyers who are recognized by their peers as the most experienced and expert family law specialists in their respective countries”

Practice areas
Awards and Recognitions
Reported Family Law and Abduction Cases
Activties and Lectures

Bar admissions
  • Florida, 1968
  • Florida Supreme Court, 1971
  • U.S. District Court, 1971
  • Southern District of Florida, 1968
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 1971
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1980
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 1981
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 1996
  • U.S Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 2014
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Fellow, International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers which is now known as International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL)
  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in America
  • Named among the Top Attorneys in Florida by Super Lawyers, 2010–2018
  • Selected for Florida Legal Elite, 2009–2018
  • Received The First Family Law American Inn of Court award for service, 2008–2010
  • Received awards of merit from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the U.S. Department of State Certificate of Appreciation for Extraordinary Assistance to Hague Abduction Convention Applicants
  • Received Certificate of Recognition from the American Bar Association, Section of Family Law for service as chair of the International Law Committee
  • International Academy of Family Lawyers, U.S. Chapter, June 2014, Bill Hilton Memorial Award for Exceptional Contributions to International Family Law.
  • J.D., University of Miami, 1968
    • Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity
  • B.B.A., University of Miami, 1965
    • Phi Epsilon Pi Fraternity, President
  • Fellow, International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), Board of Managers and Chairman of Committee on Hague Conventions (2010-2016): U.S. Chapter of the IAFL, Member of the Board of Managers (2017-2023), Chairman of the Committee on Hague Conventions (2010-2016) member of the Admissions Committee (2010-2016), presently Member of Committee on Hague Conventions and Nomination Committee: First Family Law American Inn of Court, President (2009-10): American Bar Association: Family Law Section, International Law Committee, Chairman (2007-9) and Immediate Past Chairman (2009-2011), Domestic Violence Committee, Vice Chairman (2009-2011); International Law Section, Family Law Committee, member of Steering Committee; Florida Bar Association: former member; Continuing Legal Education, Children's Issues Committees, Legislation, Mental Health in Litigation, and Domestic Violence Committees; Mentor, International Child Abduction Attorney's Network (ICAAN), the U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues Attorney Network, and Federal Bar Association. Mentor, International Child Abduction Attorney's Network (ICAAN) and the U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues Attorney Network
Reported Family and Hague cases
  • Carlwig v. Carlwig, 16 F. Supp. 3d 1075 (C.D. Ca. 2014) (Case of first impression on habitual residence by returning infant born in California to Sween along with older brother where parties had shared intent to do so).
  • Carlwig v. Carlwig, U.S. App. LEXIS, 6353 (9th Cir. 2015) (Infant was not habitual residence of either U.S. or Sweden. Both children shall remain in Sweden).
  • Hanley v. Roy, 485 F.3rd 641 (11th Cir. 2007) (return to Ireland and held that district court made a “mockery” of Hague Abduction Convention by refusing to order the return of children to grandparents or guardians)
  • Dallemagne v. Dallemagne, 440 F. Supp. 2d 1283 (M.D. Fla. 2006) (return to France and provides an excellent analysis of burden of proof and defenses)
  • Angulo Garcia v. Fernandez Angarita, 440 F. Supp. 2d 1364 (S.D. Fla. 2006) (return to Colombia and held, in part, that consent to travel is invalid if procured by fraud)
  • Leslie v. Noble, 377 F.Supp. 2d 1232 (S.D. Fla. 2005) (held that father had rights of custody before, during and after paternity court proceedings in Belize)
  • In Re Cabrera, 323 F.Supp.2d 1303 (S.D. Fla. 2004) (return to Argentina and the court found equitable tolling and held that a child should be returned rather than threatened with possible deportation)
  • In Re Arison-Dorsman, U.S. Dist. Lexis 9861, 32 Media L. Rep. 1699 (S.D. Fla. 2004) (return ordered to Israel: record should not be sealed)
  • Marcos v. Haecker, 915 So.2d 703 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2005) (international paternity case involving Spain, Mexico and Florida where a motion to quash service of process was affirmed on appeal)
  • Dyce v. Christie, 17 So.3rd 892 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) (expedited enforcement of final decree from Jamaica, child abduction, collateral attack of foreign judgment and due process of law)
  • Abdo v. Ichai, 34 So.3rd 13 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (PCA affirmed order permitting mother to relocate to France, retaining habitual residence in the United States and transferring jurisdiction to California)
  • Sarpel v. Eflanli, 65 So.3rd 1080 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (temporary absence and the establishment of “home state” subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the UCCJEA and anti-suit injunction preventing the former wife from attempting to modify the final judgment from Florida and “mirror orders” entered in Turkey)
Articles Published
  • “When the Question Involves an International Move, The Answer May Lie in Retaining U.S. Jurisdiction,” ABA Family Law Section, Family Advocate, Spring 2006. A portion of whih was quoted by the Goergia S. Ct. in Sahibzada v. Sahibzada, 2014 Ga. LEXIS 219 (S.Ct. Ga. 2014).