Welcome to our February edition of FAMSEG! I write this message after a very successful week of Section meetings that bookended our Annual Family Law Review Course at the Gaylord Palms Conference Center in Orlando. I am happy to report that we had a record number of 1,900 attendees this year! We had our usual outstanding speakers, and I cannot thank them all enough for their hard work in delivering such an excellent seminar. This year’s diverse slate of speakers highlighted some non-attorney professionals that we rely on in many of our cases. I want to particularly thank accountants Kristin Dimeo and Briggs Stahl; psychologist Dr. Deborah Day; and child specialist and collaborative law neutral facilitator Kim Costello, in joining us and being part of our program. I also want to specially thank the members of the judiciary who provided their expertise to this year's program: the Honorable Jessica Costello of the 13th Circuit; the Honorable Frederick Pollack of the 6th Circuit; and General Magistrate Jon Johnson of the 13th Circuit.
I would be remiss in not also giving special thanks to a fantastic committee that helped to make it all happen. A huge “THANK YOU!” goes to Kristin Kirkner, Michelle Klinger Smith, Julia Wyda, and Jack Moring. Among many other great things, this committee very calmly handled our first-ever emergency evacuation that occurred on the Saturday morning of the seminar. I believe the photo below of Julia leading our on-stage talent to a secure, undisclosed location behind the stage, says it all!!! (I understand rumors are circulating as to which Family Law Section member tripped the fire alarm; but I can assure you, those rumors are purely speculative.)
Our next major event as a Section will occur on Friday, February 24. On that day, we will return to the Florida Panhandle for an all-day live CLE on financial issues at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST (And let me emphasize the bold CST --- please remember, this CLE is taking place in the Central Time Zone!)
We are already close to surpassing the attendance numbers from our last live CLE that was held in the Panhandle in February 2020. This event is one aspect of the Section’s push towards more geographic diversity within the Section; and I, for one, am greatly looking forward to seeing our Section friends from the Panhandle region (and hopefully beyond!) More information can be found in this edition below and also on our Section’s website.
In March, the Section heads out of state once again! Hotel registration is now open for our Out-of-State Retreat in Austin, Texas, at the Driskill Hotel in Downtown Austin. The dates of this Retreat are Wednesday, March 22 through Saturday, March 25, when we have our “end-of-retreat dinner” at Bob’s Steak & Chop House. Our CLE program will be on the differences between Texas and Florida law with regard to property distribution and alimony. Go to for more information regarding this outstanding Retreat! 
Lastly, the planning for next year’s Bar year commencing on July 1 is already underway! Chair-Elect Sarah Kay is already collecting Committee Preference Forms – as well as Executive Council applications; Legislation Committee applications; and Section Secretary applications. These forms can be found on the Section’s website ( and are DUE by Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time, not Central time….)
See you soon at one of our upcoming Section events!
Magistrate Philip S. Wartenberg
Chair, 2022-2023
Pictured in their undisclosed backstage bunker (L-R): Joseph Hunt, Julia Wyda (on phone), and Briggs Stahl. (Photo courtesy of Dawn Hunt.)
Hot Topics in Mediation: Virtual Conferencing, Opening Statements, and Third-Party Participation
Join the Family Law Section and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of The Florida Bar for “Hot Topics in Mediation: Virtual Conferencing, Opening Statements, and Third-Party Participation,” a live GoToWebinar.

Course number 6866 is approved for 1.0 General CLE credit; 1.0 Family Law certification credit. Registration $135 for both sections' members, with 90-day, on-demand access.

Information and registration HERE.

This program is a discussion of changing views on traditional mediation processes. A panel of experienced mediators will discuss hot topics that are frequently debated with the reasons for following traditional methods or adapting to new approaches.

Panelists are Chris Magee, Brevard Mediation Services; Douglas Greenbaum, Douglas A. Greenbaum P.A.; and former family law General Magistrate Judge Robert Segal, 18th Judicial Circuit. Moderator: Kim Torres, Torres Mediation Services.
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 12PM
We are so honored to present a Q&A with The Florida Bar President, Gary S. Lesser in this month's Family Law LIVE Series! Hosted by Section member Amber Kornreich, Gary will share his tips on the importance of mentorship, how to position yourself in a leadership role within the local and state Bar associations, and so much more!

Follow the Section on Facebook @familylawfla.

Mark you calendars then join the conversation HERE.
9AM - 5PM (CST); Live Webcast 10AM - 6PM (EST)
Show Me The Money! Litigating Financial Issues
in Family Law Cases
This course will provide an overview of how to litigate financial issues in your family law cases. Topics include, alimony, child support, attorneys fees, equitable distribution, evidence, contempt/enforcement, professionalism/ethics and military issues. 8 CLE Credits.

NOTE: All times below are Central Standard Time. The Live Webcast version will begin at 10AM Eastern Standard Time. This Live CLE will take place as the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, FL.

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
Welcome Remarks
Jamie Epstein, Esq.
William Norvell, Esq.

9:05 AM – 9:50 AM
Military Issues
Kristin Kirkner, Esq.

9:50 AM – 10:35 AM
Child Support
Magistrate Keith A. McIver

10:35 AM – 11:25 AM
Judge David Oberliesen
Anthony Bisordi, Esq.

11:25 AM – 12:10 PM
Equitable Distribution
Travis Johnson, Esq.

12:10 PM – 1:10 PM

1:10 PM – 1:55 PM
Preparing Your Financial Expert for Trial
Anthony S. Phillips, C.P.A.

1:55 PM – 2:35 PM
Judge Stephen A. Pitre

2:35 PM – 3:10 PM
Attorney’s Fees
Autumn Beck Blackledge, Esq.

3:10 PM – 3:20 PM

3:20 PM – 4:00 PM
Contempt and Enforcement
Judge Gary L. Bergosh

4:00 PM – 4:55 PM
Professionalism and Ethics: A View From the Bench
Judge Gary L. Bergosh
Judge Stephen A. Pitre
Judge David Oberliesen
Retired Judge Ross Goodman
We are incredibly grateful to all of our Section members who volunteer their time and expertise to serve in various operational, substantive and ad hoc committees, as well as those who serve, and have served, on our Executive Council. We have made enormous progress over the years in support of our mission to serve Florida families through professional legal advocacy, much of which is due to the dedication of each one of our valued committee members.

If you are currently serving, we thank you for offering your time and expertise, and hope you will join us again for the 2023-2024 Bar cycle! If you have not yet served, we strongly encourage you to consider doing so!

Below you'll find links to download these forms:

  • Committee Preference Form
  • Legislation Committee Application
  • Secretary Application
  • Executive Council Application

Instructions on how to submit your application(s) are at the bottom of each form. (NOTE: When opening the form it will automatically default to your Gmail-affiliated e-mail address; these are Google Docs.)

We can personally attest that active participation in the Section will greatly benefit you personally and professionally. We look forward to working with you during this upcoming year! Please make sure you submit your preference form and applications by the March 15, 2023 deadline!

Thank you, and we look forward to working with you all!

Philip S. Wartenberg

Sarah E. Kay
March 22-26, 2023
Hotel reservations are no open! Bookmark this page for the latest updates on our upcoming Annual Out-of-State Retreat taking place in Austin, Texas from March 22-26. Our Co-Chairs Aimee Gross and Cash Eaton have coordinated a super fun series of activities, so you won't want to miss it! We'll be staying at The Driskill, a gorgeous, historic hotel in the heart of downtown Austin.

For sponsorship info, click HERE.

Reserve your hotel room HERE.
Mid-Year Meetings & Board Certification Review
Orlando, FL - January 2023
Children's Issues
By: Alex Bottone, Esq., Committee Co-Secretary

The Children’s Issues Committee met at the Family Law Section’s Mid-Year meeting on January 26, 2023 with a record turnout of Committee members and other practitioners interested in joining the Children’s Issues Committee.
The Children’s Issues Committee is exploring the possibility of proposing language for future legislation regarding: Florida’s adoption of the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA), which would allow family law practitioners in Florida to arbitrate issues related to children; contingency provision(s) to be added to Florida Family Law Form 12.995(a), Parenting Plan, for issues related to unprecedented and unexpected interruptions to timesharing orders; extending the reach of Chapter 63, Florida Statutes, as it relates to stepparent adoptions; the possibility of creating of an Adoption Committee to be part of the Family Law Section; and the monitoring of legislation related to parents being charged with abuse / neglect of children as it relates to their child(ren)’s involvement in the LGBTQ+ community.
The Children’s Issues Committee also discussed the current Support for Adult Dependent Children bill recently filed in the Florida Senate, potential legislation related to “Greyson’s Law”, and potential legislation to change section 744.301, Florida Statutes, to grant unwed-biological fathers certain rights as it relates to their children.
The high attendance of members at the Children’s Issues Committee meeting was encouraging and exciting, and the chairs of the Children’s Issues Committee, Tenesia Hall and Kim Enright, encourage anyone interested to please email the Committee at  
By: Vanessa Vasquez de Lara, Esq., Founding Attorney and Amanda Cruz, 3L Law Clerk

Whether it’s a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic or a natural reaction to the technological age of the 21st century, the practice of family law, along with the rest of the legal profession, has become inextricably tethered to the internet and to technology. Similar to most family firms today, the team at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group works on a hybrid basis making our success as a business and as advocates for our clients, highly dependent on our technology stack. This technology centers around three major types of software: Case Management System, Contact Relationship Management System, and Document Management Software.

A Case Management System is the tool which law firms use to manage their active client’s cases. This includes management of the communication with the client and other parties such as opposing counsels and the court, management of the calendar for the case, including deadlines, statute of limitations, and hearings, management of the case billing including client balances in the trust account, and management of all ongoing tasks in the case. Our firm utilizes Clio Manage which is a cloud-based case management software that does everything mentioned here. Other options for Case Management Software are MyCase, Practice Panther, and Smokeball. Although there are hundreds of these softwares, those mentioned here are the most commonly used in family law.

A Client or Contact Relationship Management System is the software that assists attorneys in keeping track and managing their contacts, including potential clients, current clients, and former clients. This type of software is a comprehensive legal client relationship manager which enables communication between client and attorney by streamlining the client intake process and collecting contact information. Additionally, it can handle potential client contact through email, newsletters, texts, and more. Our firm uses LawMatics. Other common software for Client Relationship Management are Clio Grow, Law Ruler, Hubspot, and Interaction.

A Document Assembly Software is a software that allows you to quickly build legal documents based on individual inputs. These types of software come pre-loaded with standard Supreme Court approved Family Law forms, as well as many lawyer created forms. These types of software can easily allow for the automation of standard document creation and save billable substantial time. Our firm uses Westlaw Form Builder, formerly ProDoc. Other Document Assembly Softwares are The Form Tool and FormsPass.

A typical day at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group sees us using all three types of software regularly and by multiple employees. We always begin on Clio Manage: prior to our morning meeting where we review the firm’s daily objectives, Clio Manage’s calendar function is at the forefront keeping our staff organized and updated on hearings, deadlines, and potential client interviews taking place. Our firm’s intake and administrative team generally operates on LawMatics throughout the day where they update potential and current client profiles for intraoffice use. For purposes of potential clients, these profiles keep our attorneys’ well-informed on who they’re meeting and the matter type at issue. Once a client hires, our administrative staff sends retainer agreements and welcome packages through LawMatics. As for current clients, Clio Manage provides our staff the means of scheduling consults with their respective attorneys on any issues or concerns that may be arising in their cases. Our billable staff utilizes Westlaw’s Form Builder throughout the day preparing initial drafts of any pleadings necessary to push our cases forward; anything from case conception at the petition phase to its conclusion at the final judgment phase is available to our staff on Westlaw Form Builder. Simultaneously, our attorneys, paralegals, and law clerks keep track of their billable work by tracking their progress and billing their completed work on Clio Manage.

Similar to many firms, big or small, the day-to-day tasks of a family law firm can be overwhelming without the support of a dependable technology stack. These programs can help to save time, effort, and sanity. Usually all three. It’s important to make sure to research all available programs and choose one that will work for you based on needs, staffing, and budget. Technology is not helpful if you won’t use it.

SPONSORS WANTED! If your business would like to reach nearly 4,000 Family Law professionals through our various communications platforms and in-person and virtual events, we invite you to consider Section sponsorship. To learn more about benefits and levels, email or click HERE to learn more.
WRITERS WANTED! Want to submit an article for our monthly FAMSEG e-news, or our quarterly magazine, The Commentator? We can always use Tech Tips, Case Law Updates, and other relevant news for our 4,000+ members. Just email for more information. Thank you for your interest in contributing to our member publications!