The Florida Bar Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter

Nicole L. Goetz
2017-2018 Section Chair
Best wishes to all of you for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!!
Join us on Jan. 25, 2018, for our mid-year committee meetings. All of our members are welcome, and we hope that you will consider becoming more active in the section in the New Year! Section work is a great way to make a difference in the practice of family law. This year's theme is appropriate advocacy, and we are highlighting the section's commitment to promoting the mastery of substantive, procedural and ethical rules unique to family law. We also are emphasizing the section's mission to encourage, recognize and foster service by our members to improve our practice area and the legal profession. It is critically important that we continue to provide assistance to those unable to afford representation in family law Again, if you are not already an active member I encourage you to join us and get involved this year with the Family Law Section. We have a lot that we can accomplish together!   
One of the most noticeable ways that the Family Law Section promotes the mastery of substantive, procedural and ethical rules unique to family law is through its annual Marital and Family Law Review Course that is co-sponsored with the AAML Florida Chapter. Our Marital and Family Law Review Course Committee, chaired by Philip Wartenberg and assisted by committee members Heather Apicella, Sarah Kay and Bonnie Sockel-Stone, produces the most recognizable family law CLE in the state and one of the largest in the nation. We will have 19 speakers and 20 topics covered in this year's program. The committee members do a herculean amount of work on a volunteer basis to ensure the success of this program. On behalf of the section, thank you! Finally,  Legislation Committee Co-Chair Bonnie Sockel-Stone is our EC spotlight this month. Be sure to check it out!

Nicole L. Goetz, Esq., Naples
Chair, Family Law Section of The Florida Bar

Upcoming Events & CLEs
  • Jan. 26 - 27, 2018.  Marital & Family Law Review Course  - Orlando (presented in conjunction with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers).
  • Feb. 28, 2018.   Enforcement of Equitable Distribution* (audio webcast) - Reuben Doupe and Elisha Roy. (Noon) 1 hour.
  • March 2, 2018. Money Matters: Making it Rain for Your Client* (live, all-day event) location TBD.
  • April 19, 2018. 2018 Family Law Section Legislative Update* (audio webcast) - Bonnie Sockel-Stone and Aimee Gross. (Noon) 2 hours.
* Pending Florida Bar CLE credit approval.

Seeking additional CLE credit? Click  here   for on-demand online CLE courses. 
Audio Webcast: 2017 Tax Reform Bill Explained

Jan. 10, 2018
Noon to 1 p.m.

  Philip J. ShechterCPA/ABV, CVA, and Florida Bar board certified marital and family law attorney  Natalie Lemos  will explain changes made by the 2017 Tax Reform Bill, highlighting changes that will likely have an impact on family law matters--- including but not limited to changes in tax brackets, taxability of alimony, dependency exemptions and others.

Approved by The Florida Bar for 
1.0 General, 1.0 Marital & Family Law and 1 Tax CLE Credits.
Section Members $75
 Non-Section Members $130
Register Now
Special Thanks to Our Tax Reform Bill CLE Sponsors

Child support guidelines depend on accurate tax calculations.
Only Family Law Software has them now.

Family Law Section Sponsors  

Platinum Level


Gold Level

Bronze Level


Click HERE for this month's Squibs family law case summaries.

Squib of the Month Lancaster v. Lancaster, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D2375 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017). Trial court erred adopting parties agreement that neither will be responsible for child support when neither judgment nor agreement addresses needs of child.

Bonnie Sockel-Stone and her family.
Executive Council
Member Profile: 
Bonni e Sockel-Stone
Foster-Morales Sockel-Stone Miami

Who is someone who inspires you?  My late grandmother, Doris, who recently passed away at 103 years old with all of her mental faculties. Doris was a working woman who could balance work/life issues, and carry herself with grace, dignity and a positive attitude regardless of the obstacles in her life. 
How do you define success? Success is being happy. If you cannot find inner happiness, professional success means nothing.
Why do you practice family law? I enjoy helping people transition to a new chapter in their lives and providing advice and guidance so they can make decisions that are in their own best interests and their children's best interests. 
What is something few people know about you?  I am a good bartender and cook a great Thanksgiving Dinner!
Favorite quote?  "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" - Maya Angelou
Favorite family law case?  The cases in which my clients follow my advice. 
Favorite book and why? I enjoy a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction. I highly recommend "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It tells the story of a smart, interesting, funny woman who leaves Nigeria for America.
Favorite TV show and why?  Game of Thrones and The Crown. Both shows keep me entertained. 
Favorite Song Lyric?
"Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me"
    - Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen
Favorite superhero? Kamala Khan.
Best place you have traveled?  The last place I have traveled to is always my favorite until the next vacation. Currently, Paris. 
Proudest accomplishment within the section? Working on legislation that bans underage marriage. 
What benefits do you receive as a result of your section participation?  Developing relationships with attorneys throughout the state, involvement with CLE Programs and working on legislation to improve existing Florida law.
Coffee or tea? Tea.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items could you not live without?  Elliot, drinkable water and my Lush Gorgeous moisturizer.
A Passport to Success ...
14th Annual Kozyak Minority Mentoring Picnic
By Robin J. Scher, Esq.
Read the full article at this link.

For the 8th year in a row, the Family Law Section is proud to be a sponsor of the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Picnic  on Feb. 3, 2018. The section has increased its sponsorship of this worthy cause to bronze level and has donated $2,000 to assist the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation in its efforts to increase diversity in our profession by providing mentors for those who want them. Due to its great success, the picnic will for the first time be held at Zoo Miami from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Key information:
  • This year you must register in advance--- by Jan. 19--- if you want to avoid the $20 admission fee. Register online at this link.
  • We need at least 10 members to help set up, man the table and clean up. As part of its sponsorship, the section mans a table to share information and materials on section membership. We speak with hundreds of minority students and new graduates from across the state and network with numerous other sponsors. If you can work a two-hour shift, please register at the link above before Jan. 19 and email Robin J. Scher your preferred shift and your cell phone number.
E ven if you cannot work the event on behalf of the section, we hope you will plan to attend (bring your family too) and stop by our table to say hello.
Become a Mentor

If you need a mentor or are interested in becoming a mentor, please see the Mentoring Corner on the section's website.  If you have been practicing family law for at least five years, you can volunteer to be a mentor through this excellent program.

If you have questions about program, please email  Robin J. Scher or call her  at (561) 626-5640.
NEW: Semi-Annual
Family Law Section Sponsorships

Take advantage of the Family Law Section's new, half-year sponsorship opportunities to gain  excellent exposure for your firm or business!

The section also offers a number of event-based sponsorship opportunities for companies interested in connecting with our near 4,000 attorney members. 
Sponsorship of The Florida Bar Family Law Section is an excellent way to showcase your firm or business. If you are interested in being involved, or have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact Sponsorship Committee Chairs Matt Lundy and Beth Luna, or our section administrator Gabrielle Tollok.
App for Pro Se Family Law Litigants

The Florida Bar  News video edition recently posted a story about a new Florida legal app that is intended assist pro se litigants dealing with family law matters. The app is a product of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice and is called "Florida Courts Help." It works on Apple and Android devices and offers information for people seeking a divorce, adoption, orders of protection, name change and other family law issues. Read the full story at this link.
Apply by January 16 for The Florida Bar Leadership Academy

Become a part of the 2018-2019  Florida Bar Leadership Academy  and experience the curriculum designed to enhance your professional development, knowledge base and experience.

The Wm. Reece Smith Jr. Leadership Academy is a multi-session training program designed to assist a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers in becoming better leaders within our profession and in their chosen paths while enhancing their leadership skills. Each year a select group of participants is selected from applications submitted to The Florida Bar to become academy fellows.

During the one-year term, academy fellows follow a curriculum tailored to enhance their professional development, knowledge base and experience, including attending Florida Bar events and special educational programs. Academy fellows are given the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the bar and their roles in the legal profession, while enhancing their personal leadership skills. 

The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of three publications: The Florida Bar Journal, the Family Law Section's  Commentator and/or FAMSEG. For more information contact C. Debra Welch or  Lori Caldwell-Carr.
Journal : To be considered for publication in The Florida Bar Journal, the article should be scholarly and relate in some manner to family law. It should be 12-15 pages in length, complete with end notes. 
Commentator : The Family Law Section's glossy quarterly magazine. Articles could range from substantive articles to advice about lifestyle and wellness. 
FAMSEG : Have an announcement? Pictures of a section event? Something light and fluffy? FAMSEG is your place! If you have any of the above or suggestions to improve the look and feel of FAMSEG, please contact Editor Ron Kauffman.
  Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn