CHAIR'S MESSAGE
Welcome to our June edition of FAMSEG! 

Our Section’s Annual Meetings and our Annual Awards & Installation Luncheon are fast approaching. I am excited for our incoming Chair, Sarah Kay, and the events that she has already lined up during her year as Section Chair. Our committee meetings will occur on Wednesday (June 21) followed by our Executive Council meeting the very next day (June 22.) These meetings will all be taking place at the newly renovated The Boca Raton resort. I encourage all Section members to join us for the meetings. Even if you are not officially on a committee roster, you are welcome to show up and sit in on our meetings.
 
Also quickly approaching is the Trial Advocacy Seminar in Orlando from July 13-16. Registration remains open for this event. Sarah and her Trial Ad committee have planned a fantastic program! This event only happens every other year, and space is limited to 80 registrants, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible if you intend to go. 
 
Also on the horizon are Sarah’s Fall Meetings in Naples (and the Section’s 50th Anniversary) in August; her Out-of-State Retreat in September; and her In-State Retreat at Disney World next Spring. Be on the lookout for more information in our monthly FAMSEG and on our social media channels on how to sign up for these wonderful events.
 
As we begin this month, we await the full outcome of this year’s Legislative Session. As previously reported, this Session was a very active one for us, as we shepherded multiple pieces of legislation through “The Process.” According to the count I have received, nine bills have headed to, or will be heading to the Governor’s office. Four of those bills have been signed into law, and five remain to be sent to the Governor. Among those that still await action are bills that will greatly affect our practice in the areas of alimony, timesharing, and paternity. Stay tuned! Legislation Committee Co-Chairs Magistrate K. Beth Luna and Andrea Reid will present this year’s Legislative Update on July 20. This is a CLE you do not want to miss!
 
As part of my final message, I want to express how much of an absolute honor and privilege it has been for me to serve as Chair of this great Section. I very much look forward to next year where, as Immediate Past Chair, I will continue to work with Sarah and the other great leaders on the Executive Committee – Christopher RumboldAimee Gross and (upon her swearing-in as Section Secretary on June 21) Tenesia Hall. I can say with great confidence that our Section is in very good hands for years to come with these future leaders. 
 
Lastly, and as always, I hope to see you all at an upcoming Section event!

Magistrate Philip S. Wartenberg
Chair, 2022-2023
GREYSON'S LAW SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS
After unanimous passage of ‘Greyson’s Law’ by the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, the measure was officially signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
 
The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar applauds Representative Hillary Cassel and State Senator Lori Berman for their unwavering support of this critical initiative and congratulates the Section’s Legislative Committee for their years of collaboration with the bill sponsors to ensure the passage of ‘Greyson’s Law.’
 
“Sen. Berman and Rep. Cassel have been true champions for Greyson Kessler and his mother, Ali, said Philip S. Wartenberg, Magistrate of the 13th Circuit and Chair of The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. “The court will now have much-needed guidance on what factors to take into account to alter parental responsibility given threat of danger or detriment to a child. This law is a huge step forward in helping to protect Florida’s children.”
 
‘Greyson’s Law’ will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

WELL DONE, FAMILY LAW LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE!
NEW CLE!
The DOR Administrative Process:
A Choose Your Own Adventure Explanation
Thurs., June 15, 12PM - 1PM EST
The course will educate attorneys about the Department of Revenue Title IV-D administrative process; and, alternatively, what happens when the case proceeds in the Circuit Court.

12:00 PM - 12:05 PM
Opening Remarks and Introductions
Amanda Tackenberg, Miami, FL

12:05 PM - 12:50 PM
Presentation on Administrative Child Support 
Hearing Officer Matthew Tannenbaum, Broward County, Florida
Rotem Adar, Asst. Attorney General - Child Support Enforcement Bureau, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

12:50 PM - 1:00 PM
Closing Remarks
Amanda Tackenberg, Miami 
READY. SET. CONNECT!
The Florida Bar Annual Convention & Section Annual Meetings
June 21-24, 2023 in Boca Raton
We look forward to seeing you at The Florida Bar Annual Convention June 21-24 at the spectacular The Boca Raton resort. Click below to register with the Bar, and be sure to mark your calendars for the Family Law Section's committee meetings and Annual Awards & Installation Luncheon (Wed., June 21), and Executive Council meeting (Thurs., June 22).

The Family Law Section Committee Meeting schedule can be downloaded below.
ALMOST SOLD OUT!
TRIAL ADVOCACY WORKSHOP IS JULY 13-16, 2023
We are nearing another sold out Trial Advocacy Workshop, but there are still a few slots left. Register TODAY for this incredibly informative, bi-annual seminar, taking place at the JW Marriott Grand Lakes Hotel in Orlando, Thursday, July 13 - Sunday, July 16, 2023.

Sharpen your trial skills with hands-on practice and expertise from a stellar lineup of judges, magistrates, board-certified attorneys, and professional experts!
SAVE THE DATE
Legislative Update CLE - Thurs., July 20, 12PM - 2PM EST
Mark your calendars now (registration will open soon!) for our annual Legislative Update CLE, taking place on Thursday, July 20, from 12PM - 2PM EST. Get insightful updates from our co-presenters, Andrea Reid, Esq. and General Magistrate Beth Luna, with Q&A moderated by William 'Trace' Norvill, Esq.

Bookmark the link below and we'll share on our social pages when registration opens!
CASE LAW UPDATE
By: Cash A. Eaton, Esq.

Blew v. Blew, 358 So. 3d 1232 (Fla. 4th DCA 2023)
 
The Blew opinion is an interesting case out of the Fourth District addressing the limits of relief in a partition action that is part of a dissolution action. This opinion shows us how trial courts are limited as to when they can grant relief in a partition action. Moreover, a forced sale cannot be granted during the pendency of the dissolution.
 
The Wife petitioned for dissolution of marriage, asserting a count for partition of the marital residence, which the parties owned as tenants by the entireties. The Husband answered and counter-petitioned for dissolution of marriage, also asserting a count for partition. While other aspects of the dissolution action were still being litigated, the Husband moved for summary judgment, seeking partition prior to the final dissolution hearing. The trial court held a hearing on the Husband’s motion for summary judgment. At the hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment, and ordered the property be immediately listed for sale. Moreover, the trial court further ordered counsel to retain the sale proceeds in an escrow account until further order.
 
The Appellate Court overturned the trial court’s ruling as it determined that a party does not have a right to partition under § 64.031, Fla. Stat., until the subject marriage is dissolved. § 64.031, Fla. Stat., states: “The action may be filed by any one or more of several joint tenants, tenants in common, or coparceners, against their cotenants, coparceners, or others interested in the lands to be divided.” The Appellate Court found that nothing in Chapter 64 authorizes a tenant by the entireties to seek a partition of property jointly owned by his or her spouse. Therefore, until the parties’ marriage is dissolved, the Court cannot grant partition. Therefore, the trial court’s order was overturned.
 
Also, there is another important take away from this opinion. In Blew, the Appellate Court held that, “In dissolution of marriage actions, ‘[t]o justify partition one of the parties must plead a right thereto in accordance with Chapter 64[.] A [general] prayer for a division of the property of the parties is insufficient.’” (Citations omitted). This holding reaffirms the need to specifically plead for partition. However, the Second District Court held differently in the case of Ortiz v. Ortiz, 315 So. 3d 149 (Fla. 2d DCA 2021), which stated,
 
“The trial courts' conclusion that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the request for partition is erroneous because the trial court has the power to divide and distribute the marital home under the equitable distribution statute, regardless of whether the party specifically pled for partition.”
FROM THE ADR COMMITTEE:
MEAC Opinion Number: 2021-005
By: Kelly B. St. Clair, Esq.

A Florida Circuit Certified Mediator requested an opinion on whether he could provide information obtained from a mediation to a judge in MEAC Opinion Number: 2021-005 issued June 29, 2021.

Facts as presented: The mediator, certified in Florida, was selected to mediate a dispute filed in Michigan. The mediation took place in Florida with some participants appearing via Zoom from Michigan and locations outside the U.S. After the mediation concluded, a post mediation status conference was held in Michigan. The Federal Judge presiding over the matter stated that, “the parties gave irreconcilably different accounts of what occurred at the mediation. Defense counsel stated that the Plaintiff refused to make any demand and the Defendants were therefore unable to make any counteroffer; Plaintiff’s counsel represented it made a demand, but Defendant refused to make any counteroffers in response.” The Court then contacted the mediator in order to determine what had actually occurred. The mediator refused to provide the information on the basis of the mediation privilege, and the Court then ordered him to “answer the question of whether Plaintiff made a demand and whether the Defendants made any counteroffer during the mediation, but that [he] need not disclose any specific statements of the parties or the substance of their positions.”

Opinion: While this was not a Florida case and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the MEAC, it reaffirmed prior positions taken in MQAP Opinions 96-005 and 99-012. A mediator is not to testify voluntarily about information obtained during mediation unless the parties waive confidentiality regarding the issue, or the statements fall within the exceptions/exemptions of Florida Statutes 44.405. If the Court orders the disclosure, the mediator should seek a protective order and advise the Court that they are required by statute to maintain the confidentiality. If the Court further orders the testimony, MEAC opined that the mediator should follow the Court Order.
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