Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter

Chair's Message

October! October has always been my favorite month, especially when I lived in Massachusetts.  Despite the fact that I have lived in Florida now for 19 years, I still find it hard to adjust to the lack of leaves changing, the scent of wood smoke from freshly lit fireplaces, and apple picking.  Nonetheless, October provides some wonderful reasons for my family, pictured, to celebrate.  October 9th is my wedding anniversary - 23 years this year - and my oldest turns 14 this month.  
I am so grateful that I was able to share Seattle with my family, and with so many of you!  Douglas Greenbaum and Gabrielle Tollok (assisted by Nicole Goetz, in absentia) just knocked it out of the park with the planning, and I can attest that everybody who attended had only rave reviews.  The joint venture with the AAML, Natalie Lemos and Susan Stafford was a tremendous success.  From the cocktails atop the Space Needle to the Section dinner at Tulio, everything was amazing. What a spectacular retreat - the weather alone was worth the trip, since the sun smiled on us every day. 
The next opportunity for all of us to get together will be in January when we have our Mid-Year meetings in Orlando at the Loews Royal Pacific.  The meetings will be held in conjunction with the Marital and Family Law Review Course, as usual.  Registration is now open for the seminar, and hotel reservations can now be made, as well. 
The Section has approved the addition of up to ten scholarships specifically for General Magistrates and Hearing Officers so they can attend the Family Law Review Course, which is such great news.  I encourage all of you who may qualify for one of the $1,000 scholarships to apply.  To be clear, there are ten scholarships available for Section members at large, and up to ten for qualifying General Magistrates and Hearing Officers.   The Scholarship Application can be located on the Family Law Section website.
So, in closing, I encourage everybody to attend the upcoming CLE programs, write a Bar Journal Article, register for the Marital and Family Law Review Course, and stay involved!  You make the Section strong, and I am grateful.
Happy October everyone!  

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

CLE Requirements amended:

"We amend subdivision (b) (Minimum Hourly Continuing Legal Education Requirements) to change the required number of continuing legal education credit hours over a three-year period from 30 to 33, with three hours in an approved technology program."

Florida is now the first mandatory membership bar in the United States to require TECH CLE training!
Upcoming CLE

November 10, 2017  
2016 Case Law Update 
with Eddie Stephens & R.T. White

Upcoming WEBINAR

November 16, 2017
Mechanics of the Marital Law Certification Exam

Note:  This seminar is not eligible for CLE credit.

Section  Out of State Retreat -  Seattle, Washington   September 7-11, 2016
by Anthony & Jeannette Genova  

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar held its 2016 Out of State Retreat in beautiful Seattle, Washington this year.  Having never been to Seattle, and my wife being a big fan of the classic movie, "Sleepless in Seattle," we were more than happy to sign up.  For a few of us, our trip to Seattle began with a cross-country flight with NBA's all-time leading scorer and six-time NBA champion, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  We spotted him in our terminal before boarding the plane and later passed him in first class on our way to our seats.  Good start thus far!
Upon arrival late Wednesday night, we took a cab ride to our final destination.  With windows partly open, we enjoyed fresh air and cool breezes on our ride as we drove through the scenic downtown Seattle area.  The cab ride ended at the site of the historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel, where we later checked in.  Built on what was originally the site of the first campus of the University of Washington, the Fairmont Olympic opened in the midst of the Roaring Twenties. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of Historic Hotels of America.  Walking through the majestic lobby made us feel like royalty as we made our way up the stairs and to the front desk where we were greeted by a very friendly and welcoming staff.

Because of our long flight and late arrival, we were relieved that the event planners had no activities scheduled until 4:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) the next day.  Whether it was coincidence or if it was planned that way, it was nice being able to sleep in a little the next morning and have a leisurely first part of the day.  Our retreat was really beginning to feel like a retreat. 
Later that day, a short one-stop monorail ride away, the group met at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum for a beautiful tour with a knowledgeable and informative guide by the name of Allison. The tour culminated with a walk through a magnificent atrium where you could see the Space Needle as a backdrop through the wide glass open windows that looked into the bright blue skies and white cotton like clouds and spilled out into a breathtaking glass garden exhibition.  We could not have asked for a better day for this event. 
As if this wasn't enough, that tour was immediately followed by a private, VIP welcome reception at The Space Needle. The reception area welcomed us with an open bar, hors d'oeuvres , great fellowship and an astonishing view of Seattle. Following the reception, we were invited up to the Space Needle Observation deck for even greater views from the outdoor observatory.
Friday morning began with a delicious breakfast which included homemade granola, eggs Benedict and pork belly (uncured, un-smoked and un-sliced bacon) followed by a very informative CLE on "International Abduction: The Hague Convention and Alternatives" presented by a Seattle local attorney by the name of David Starks.
Immediately following the CLE was a walk to Pike Place Market for a "Savor Seattle Food Tour." Our cheery guide, Leroy, shared funny and informative stories as we walked through the historic Pike Place Market sampling locally grown fresh fruits, yogurts, handmade cheeses, and an award-winning New England clam chowder, among other delicacies.
Later that afternoon, the group met at Pier 55 where we took a picturesque boat ride with Argosy Harbor Cruise Line and enjoyed a wide assortment of foods, drinks and fellowship. Beside the beautiful waterways and Mount Rainier as a backdrop, one of the highlights of the cruise was when we spotted two Californian Sea Lions leisurely sunning themselves on a mooring in the middle of the water.
The cruise was followed by a delicious Section dinner at Tulio Ristorante, which was named in the list of Best Italian Restaurants in the U.S. in the 2012, Travel + Leisure Magazine.  At the dinner, Family Law Section Chair, Laura Davis Smith, took a moment to thank the various section committee members and members of the highly esteemed AAML who helped organize this wonderful retreat, including Natalie Lemos, Susan D. Stafford, Doug Greenbaum, David Starks, and our section Program Administrator, Gabrielle Tollok.
Saturday began with another outstanding breakfast in the Garden Room which was sponsored by Divorce Marketing Group. The Academy held a meeting after breakfast, as followed by the FLS Executive Council Meeting. During the meeting we had very timely presentation about modern trends in family law marketing by Peter Smith, Senior Account Director of the Divorce Marketing Group.
Throughout the day, there were several tours arranged for us.  One was an all-day Woodlinville Wine Tasting Tour with Bonvivant which started at the beautiful Chateau St. Michelle winery and lunch was served a la carte at The Purple CafĂ©.  Another tour was an afternoon at the Seattle Brewery with the Road Dogs.  We joined another group at the "Conduit Coffee Tour" where we toured a small, eco-friendly coffee roaster on the outskirts of Seattle. As we approached the building, my wife, Jeannette, thought she recognized the street from one of the scenes in Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan's character sees Tom Hanks' character with his son at the boat dock and his sister runs up to them to greet them but she thinks the sister is really a love interest and she just stands there and almost gets hit by a car.   Jeannette didn't say anything about it but our Uber driver volunteered and confirmed the information.  Needless to say, Jeannette was elated!
Having concluded the coffee tour, those of us who attended the coffee tour found ourselves with a free afternoon and so Jeannette and I headed back to the Pike Market Place to find something to eat.  We stumbled upon another Sleepless in Seattle landmark when we coincidentally ended up at the Athenian Seafood Restaurant.  While we were waiting for a table we spotted an autographed framed picture of the scene in the movie where Rob Reiner is giving Tom Hanks dating advice in the movie. It was shot in that very same restaurant.  The picture was beside a huge framed autographed poster of the movie.  That, my friends, was the icing on the cake for my sweet bride.
That evening, the festivities continued with a cocktail reception at our hotel which included delectable delights such as fresh local oysters and an open bar.  The reception gave everyone who had branched out on the various tours throughout the day the opportunity to reconvene before heading home that night or the next day and share their experiences respectively as they said their goodbyes. 
Jeannette and I were heading out first thing the next (Sunday) morning and regrettably missed the Farewell Brunch at the Palisade Restaurant but we are sure that, like everything else throughout the retreat, it was a first class experience.  Thanks to everyone who played a part in the success of this retreat, including those of us who simply signed up and participated in the festivities.  The retreat cannot not be a success without you.  If you have never been to a Family Law Section Retreat, we encourage you to sign up for the next one and experience firsthand a wonderfully delightful and remarkable experience!

Executive Council Spotlight - Tenesia C. Hall - Orlando

Favorite quote
Be the change that you wish to see in the world." By Mahatma Gandhi

Something we did not know about you?
  I love to travel.  

Favorite Family Law Case?  
My most memorable family law case was one of my first cases.  My client, who lived out of state, sent her child to Orlando for a summer visit. During that time, my client filed for a child support modification.  Upon receipt of the child support paperwork, the father fabricated child abuse charges and gained a temporary custody order through our court system.  After two hearings and one threat of appeal, we were able to send our client home with her child.  I still have the family's thank you note hanging in my office - 15 years later.

Favorite book and why?  
My favorite book is the Bible.  It provides a foundation as well as inspiration and guidance.


Favorite TV show and why?  

Currently, I watch anything on Disney Jr., Nick Jr., and Cartoon Network.


Why you practice family law?  

I practice Family Law and primarily focus on domestic violence victims.  I love being a part of the process that empowers survivors and stabilizes their families.  I've always wanted to help and I am doing exactly what I've always wanted to do!


Favorite superhero?  

Wonder Woman


Best place you have traveled to? 

The Sandals Resort in Jamaica.


Proudest accomplishment within the section? 

My proudest accomplishment within the Section is being the original drafter of the Domestic Violence pamphlet.  It was a long process and; thankfully, it was approved at the June meetings.


Anything else?

I've been married to Andre for 12 years and we have four beautiful daughters: Aaliyah (21), Alexus (20), Ebony (7), and, Tiana (5). 

Other Committee Updates:
Sponsorship Committee:
The Family Law Section is starting an initiative to reach out to its members to increase our sponsorship base. Our objectives are to i) raise money for the innumerable and invaluable functions of the section, and in doing so, ii) invite members to take as active of a role as possible in helping the section carry out its mission.  While, we understand that not everyone has the time to attend meetings, or to write an amicus brief for the Supreme Court, or advocate in Tallahassee to the state legislature, or to mentor a young lawyer. So, sponsorship is an excellent opportunity for busy attorneys to get involved and make a significant contribution to family law in Florida. If you are, or anyone you may know is interested in sponsoring, or getting sponsorship information, please contact Beth Luna or Matt Lundy.
Litigation Support Committee:
The litigation support committee is actively seeking members from all walks.  The committee is focused on attracting professionals who are not otherwise members of the family law section, such as CPAs, financial professionals, mental health professionals, guardians ad litem, paralegals, and non-family law attorneys.  Participation in the committee is an excellent opportunity to actively engage with the section, to stay up to date on the latest family law news and events, and to network with the 3800 members of the family law section.  If someone you know may be interested, please have them contact Cash Eaton or Matt Lundy.
Welcome New Committee Members:
Welcome Deaina Brown who has been added as a committee member to CLE, Publications, Children's Issues and Support Issues and Trudy Browne who has been added to the Children's Issues committee for this fiscal year.
Committee News!
Congratulations to Michelle Klinger who is getting married and Julia Wyda who is expecting!!!!

Squib of the mon th:  

Hall v. Lopez, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1763 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016).  Trial court erred when it concluded 57.105 fees were prohibited in an injunction case by 784.066.  Conflicts with  Ratigan , 947 So.2d 607 (Fla. 2nd  DCA 2007),  Cisners , 831 So.2d 256 (Fla. 3rd  DCA 2002) and  Dudley,  936 So.2d 297 (Fla. 5th  DCA 2007).  Conflict certified.
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