Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter

Chair's Message

Wow!  November is here already.  There is so much to be thankful for, not the least of which is the soon-to-be end of this election season! The temperatures are finally dropping here in Miami, the scent of pumpkin spice is everywhere, and the stores are gearing up for the holidays.  I. Love. Thanksgiving.  For me, listing all of my blessings is a necessary exercise to keep my mind healthy and in touch with my heart.  At Thanksgiving, the counting of blessings is required!  So, here are just a few of my counted blessings:

1.  i  am grateful for all of you who read this message each month. I am exceedingly thankful for Eddie StephensLori Caldwell-Carr and Julia Wyda who put this electronic newsletter together for us.  I think it is a great product and knowing it will be in my inbox on the first of each month makes me feel connected to all of you; I hope you feel the same way.

2.  I am grateful for friends who are family.

3. I am grateful for the Section's newest sponsors, Roderick Moe, CPA, PA, and Kravit Estate Appraisals. Accountant Roderick Moe's forensic accounting firm in Lake Worth has been assisting clients for more than a quarter century, and doing a rather fine job of it! Mr. Moe and the folks at Roderick C. Moe, CPA, PA were involved in the 4th DCA's 2015 Hooker v. Hooker case, and would love for you to call and chat about the role they played. Kravit Estate Appraisals located in Boca Raton has a team of skilled appraisers and certified estate liquidation specialists available to assist in determining the value of all types of assets. Mr. Andrew Kravit, like the five generations before him, began in the art and jewelry business, and decided to venture out on his own in 2012.

4.  I am grateful for all of the clients who entrust me with their legal matters, and who are in turn thankful for the help I am able to provide.

5. I am grateful for silly internet videos that my sons think are hysterical and make me watch over and over again with them.  (I suggest you all find the Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen video online.  Right. Now.  But please don't hate me when you can't get it out of your head.)

6. Most importantly, I am grateful for my family (which includes item 2, above).    If it were not for them, I would not be here today writing this message to you, inspired by them to be grateful. 
In closing, I share with you these words from one of my favorite fellow Bay Staters, Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude."                    
i wish each and every one of you a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving, and will see you back here on December 1st.  

Laura Davis Smith, Esquire
Chair, Family Law Section of the Florida Bar
Upcoming CLE

November 10, 2016  
2016 Case Law Update 
with Eddie Stephens & R.T. White

Upcoming WEBINAR

November 16, 2016
Mechanics of the Marital Law Certification Exam

Note:  This seminar is not eligible for CLE credit.

Upcoming CLE

December 7, 2016
Debunking the Myths About Collaborative Law

Executive Council Spotlight - REUBEN DOUPE

Favorite quote? Plenty, unfortunately, all from movies. We can go comedy, "Stop looking at me swan," or "Oh, I can barely lift my right arm 'cause I did so many. I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand." Legal Thriller "You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall." Action, "He chose... poorly."

Something we did not know about you? There is a lot here. I don't think anyone who reads FAMSEG really wants to get involved in the rats nest of issues I have going on, which I've been fortunate to be able to keep to myself. So let's go with Not Applicable.

Favorite Family Law Case? Parry v. Parry. As a young associate, I was fortunate enough to assist on the appeal of this case. Many of the issues addressed in the opinion were issues that I spent hours and hours researching and grasping to understand. I was then able to see how my work and research was utilized to persuade the District Court of the law and to rule in our client's favor, on at least a couple issues, was very exciting. I also enjoyed being part of a case that provided the District Court with the opportunity to write an opinion that extended the law further into an undeveloped area of the law.

Favorite book and why? The Millennium triology novels by Steig Larsson. These books are action packed and were very hard to put down. All three novels provided me with a very good change of pace from my daily law practice.

Favorite TV show and why? Right now, Modern Family. First, it is very funny. Second, watching this show, even from its inception, made me realize that I have begun to connect and sympathize with the father figures of the show, as opposed to the children or young adults. 

Why you practice family law? In law school I swore I would never practice criminal law, bankruptcy or family law. Yet, here I am. I am not sure if I was more foolish then or now.

Favorite superhero? Batman

Best place you have travelled to? Family Law Section Committee Meetings (all of them tie), because Laura Davis Smith is there.

Proudest accomplishment within the section? In October 2013 I was fortunate enough to be allowed to argue to the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of the Section concerning a proposed rule change. For five whole minutes, I was able to stand in front of the Supreme Court and try my best not to make a fool of myself. Attending oral argument in front of the Florida Supreme Court was a humbling experience and really made me proud to be a lawyer, especially in contrast to the average dialing trappings of a family law practice.

Section News:

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar
is pleased to announce that Section Chair
has been name the Best Lawyers 2017
Family "Lawyer of the Year" in Miami!

Executive Council member David L. Hirschberg, E sq. recently served as the Chairperson for the 2016 March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction for Broward County, Florida.  The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  The Signature Chefs Auction is annually the second largest fundraiser for the March of Dimes of Broward County.  This year's event was held on October 13, 2016 at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was attended by 150 guests, and featured cocktails and food sampling from some of the trendiest restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, a silent auction, a live auction, and the Fund the Mission program. 

One in ten babies are born premature, with prematurity being the number one killer for babies.  As a father of two young children, Mr. Hirschberg gravitated towards the March of Dimes charity as a way to give back to the community and promote the health of future babies.  Mr. Hirschberg is pleased to announce that this year's Signature Chef's Auction event raised approximately $100,000.00 for the March of Dimes.

Mr. Hirschberg is the founding member of the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A. in Boca Raton, Florida, the Co-Chair for the Continuing Legal Education Committee, and Co-Vice-Chair of the Legislation Committee. Mr. Hirschberg is Florida Bar Certified in Marital and Family Law, and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator.  Mr. Hirschberg is also one of the founding members of United Way of Broward County's Envision United, a group that recognizes philanthropic leaders who are focused on improving the quality of life in the community

NorthEast Florida Membership Reception:


Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.
Located in the Belgium Room of Kickbacks Gastropub
910 King Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32204
This event is open to members and non-members in Northeast Florida.  Please join us to learn more about the benefits of membership and involvement in the Florida Bar Family Law Section.  For more information, please email or

Squib of the mon

Shufelt v. Shufelt,  41 Fla.L.Weekly D201997 (Fla. 2nd  DCA 2016).  Even though judge signed Wife's proposed judgment without providing Husband opportunity to comment, review or object to the proposed judgment, this did not rise to reversible error as the Husband did not meet his burden to establish there was an inconsistency in oral pronouncement or judgment was not supported by competent evidence.  Further, issue of unequal distribution was not preserved when Husband did not seek rehearing.
Family Law Section Sponsors

Platinum Level:

Gold Level:
Call for Articles

The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of its three publications: The Florida Bar Journal, The Family Law Commentator, and/or FAMSEG.

The Journal: To be considered for publication in The Florida Bar Journal, the a rticle should be scholarly and relate in some manner to family law. It should be twelve to fifteen pages in length, complete with end notes. For more information contact C. Debra Welch or Belinda Lazzara.

The Commentator: The Family Law Sections Glossy Quarterly magazine. Art icles could range from substantive articles to advice about lifestyle and wellness. For more information contact Tenesia Hall or Heather Apicella.

FAMSEG: Got an announcement? Pictures of a section event? Something light and fluffy? FAMSEG is your place! You might have noticed something different in this edition of FAMSEG. So if you have any of the above, or suggestions to improve the look and feel of FAMSEG, contact Eddie Stephens.

We are also having a contest to rename "FAMSEG".  Got a suggestion?  Email us!

Advertise in FAMSEG!
For information: Contact Gabrielle Tollok at