MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
Summer has come to an end and now we are moving into the Fall season, which means cooler weather and plans for the holidays. The Section’s out of state retreat at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City in November promised to be a unique and wonderful event. However, we postponed it until April 2021 based on international travel restrictions and concerns about traveling safely. The adage that the only constant in life is change is truer than ever.

The Family Law Section, wanting to provide the high-quality Certification Review Course that everyone has come to know and enjoy, will continue the event in a virtual format, as we wanted to be mindful that many would not be comfortable being in close proximity to 1,700 people plus hotel staff inside a conference center during a pandemic. The Executive Council, together with the Florida Chapter of the AAML, voted to postpone the $150 per-registration fee increase we were going to implement this year and also reduce the cost of registration from last year’s prices in many categories so that this year’s event will be even more affordable. The virtual format will also help attendees save on the usual cost of lodging, food, and other incidentals associated with travel. In 2021, you can participate in the course from the comfort of your office, home, or wherever you may be. Though we will miss seeing each other and the personal interactions, we know that this is only a temporary situation and our goal and hope is to return to the as a live event at the Gaylord Palms, Orlando in 2022.

One thing is certain: 2020 will be remembered by many of us as a year where we all had to make changes in our daily lives. Change sometimes makes one nostalgic for the good old days but it also has given us time to reflect on what is important in life and to appreciate every day. 

Many of our clients get caught up in the pattern of anger and blame as to how they arrived at this point in life. We can assist them by reminding them that every day we have new experiences, which give us a chance to grow and change. I want to close this message with the following thought:

Don’t let the past dictate who you are, but guide you on who you will become.

Douglas A. Greenbaum, Chair
ATTENTION
GENERAL MAGISTRATES & HEARING OFFICERS:
Scholarships for Marital & Family Law Review Course Still Available
We still have a few scholarships available in the General Magistrates & Hearing Officers category for the Marital & Family Law Review Course, taking place virtually in January.

Applications are due Friday, Oct. 9 by midnight, and should be emailed to treasurer@familylawfla.org.

Thank you and good luck!
BANKRUPTCY & DIVORCE: WHAT EVERY FAMILY LAW PRACTITIONER SHOULD KNOW
CLE - Thursday, Oct. 8, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
As bankruptcy filings continue to increase, and often interrupt domestic relations cases, this webinar is designed to provide family lawyers with the basic information that they need to proceed with their family cases and learn about Domestic Support Obligations, the difference between the bankruptcy chapters and how that affects family law, when the automatic stay applies, and which court determines what debts are dischargeable (and how.) 1 CLE Credit.
12:00pm - 12:05pm
Opening Remarks and Introductions
Lindsay Gunia, Miami, FL

12:05pm - 12:55pm
Intersection of Family Law and Bankruptcy
Honorable Sandy E. Karlan, Miami, FL

12:55pm - 1:00pm
Closing Remarks and Questions
Lindsay Gunia, Miami, FL

FAMILY LAW BUSINESS VALUATIONS:
A TWO-PART INTERACTIVE SERIES
CLE WEBINAR - Thursdays, Oct. 13 & 20, 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Part I: What Family Law Attorneys Must Know
Thursday, Oct. 13, 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Speakers: Elliot Zisser, Esq., Jacksonville, FL; Josh Shilts, CPA/ABV/CFF/CGMA, CFE, Jacksonville, FL; and Katherine Johnson, Esq., Jacksonville, FL

Part I will go over the key fundamentals that attorneys must know about business valuations in family law cases. Part I is a great “refresher” on the standards and components that all valuators use in performing business valuation work. The presentation will focus on premise of value, standard of value, and the importance of valuation dates along with an overview of the three commonly used valuation approaches and the methods regularly used for each. Presenters will also discuss the common types of methods used to assess enterprise and personal goodwill. Attendees will receive materials that include helpful discovery requests. Attendees will be able to ask the presenters questions in real time. 
 
Part II: Business Valuations During Uncertain Times
Thursday, Oct. 20, 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Speakers: Elliot Zisser, Esq., Jacksonville, FL; Josh Shilts, CPA/ABV/CFF/CGMA, CFE, Jacksonville, FL; and Katherine Johnson, Esq., Jacksonville, FL
 
Part II of the series will address the impacts COVID 19 has had on valuation approaches and what adjustments are being employed by the profession. This part will also address the concept of “Uncertainty” which will educate family law practitioners not only on how to assess the impact of COVID, but may also be used to account for SIDS (Sudden Income Deficiency Syndrome). Attendees will be able to ask questions in real time. Attendee materials include a COVID/Uncertainty Valuation Checklist.
 
CLE Credits: Pending approval 1.5 Marital and Family Law for each

MARITAL & FAMILY LAW REVIEW COURSE
January 28-29, 2021
In collaboration with the Florida Chapter of the AAML, we are truly excited to present another outstanding Marital & Family Law Review Course (virtually) in January.

Our premier lineup of Family Law experts will provide participants with critical information in an engaging format. For details on our speakers and topics, visit 2021 Marital and Family Law Review Course.

The 2021 Course has been awarded 15.0 General CLE hours with 2.0 Ethics hours. The 15.0 CLE hours all count towards the Marital & Family Law Certification requirements.

Registrations prior to December 14 receive a discounted price-per-credit-hour, so sign up today!
CASE LAW UPDATES
From Recent Notable Cases
By PHILIP J. SCHIPANI, ESQ., B.S.C.
Walker v. Harley-Anderson, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D2116a (Fla. 4th DCA 2020)

This matter was an appeal of a Final Judgment of Injunction for Protection Against Stalking, which resulted in an opinion that contains a highly informative discussion of admissibility of text messages.

The Appellant argued that the trial court erred by admitting text messages showing threats made against the appellee and that they were the sole evidence to support the entry of the injunction. The Court held that the messages were not properly authenticated and should not have been considered by the trial court. As such, the Final Judgment of Injunction for Protection Against Stalking was reversed.

In the underlying matter, Harley-Anderson filed a Petition for an Injunction for Protection Against Stalking alleging that Walker had sent multiple text messages threatening her and her family. The trial court entered an ex-parte temporary injunction. Walker then filed a counter petition for an injunction against stalking also alleging stalking through multiple text messages.

At the final hearing, Harley-Anderson admitted that she did not personally know Walker, but knew Walker had a relationship with a family member. Harley-Anderson presented multiple text messages and sought to have them admitted into evidence. Walker objected contending that she did not recognize the phone numbers from where the messages were sent. Over objection, the messages were admitted. Harley-Anderson stated she knew they were from Walker because of the content. Walker testified that she did not send those text messages and introduced her phone records to which the numbers did not match.

Walker then presented threatening the text messages that she had received. Walker also did not specifically know that the text messages were from Harley-Anderson, but concluded they were from Harley-Anderson based on their content.

As to Walker’s counter-petition, the Court found that Appellant candidly acknowledged that she did not know specifically who sent the messages and, therefore, did not enter a Final Judgment against Harley-Anderson based on the counter petition.

As to Harley-Anderson’s Petition, the Court found that the texts most likely came from Walker “because there’s no alternative that’s been provided.” The trial court then entered the Final Judgment against Walker. The District Court reversed its holding and found that:
“As the proponent of admission of the evidence, it was the appellee's burden to prove the authenticity of the text messages as being sent by appellant. Thus, the trial court's rationale that no other explanation for the messages was offered placed on appellant the obligation of disproving their authenticity. This was error.”

Review of a trial court's determination regarding the authentication of evidence is for an abuse of discretion. Mullens v. State, 197 So.3d 16, 25 (Fla. 2016). However, a trial court's discretion is limited by the rules of evidence. Nardone v. State, 798 So.2d 870, 874 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001). Section 90.901, Florida Statutes (2019) provides: “[a]uthentication or identification of evidence is required as a condition precedent to its admissibility. The requirements of this section are satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”

In this case, there was no direct evidence that the messages were sent by Appellant. No one saw or heard Appellant send the messages. The messages appear to be from different phone numbers, and none of the origination numbers match the phone number of Appellant, according to her phone bill placed into evidence. The trial court did not analyze the content of the messages, but simply found no other explanation as to who sent them. This evidence is insufficient, particularly after our review of the messages themselves.

Philip J. Schipani is a Board Certified Specialist in Matrimonial & Family Law and Partner with Schipani & Norman, P.A., based in Sarasota. Schipani serves on the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, and has served as Chair of a number of Committees, including Domestic Violence, Rules & Forms and the Ad Hoc Special Needs Children Committee.
TECH TIPS
Tech Safety for Domestic Violence Victims
By TENESIA C. HALL, ESQ.
As part of a domestic violence victim’s safety planning, we discuss tech safety. Abusers can use technology as another means of controlling their victim. This article focuses on ways to prevent the abusers from accessing the victim’s accounts, tracking the victim’s location, and monitoring the victim’s devices. This article is not all-inclusive. However, it is a good starting point for domestic violence victims who have recently separated from their abuser. 

Computers
You should do all of this from a new computer because the abuser is able to track the keystrokes on your current computer. I have my clients use their family or friend’s computers to make these changes. If they do not have a family or friend that can help them, I have them use the computer at the local public library. Then, I have them back up the files on their old computer. Once those files are backed up, I have them reset their computer. Some clients require the assistance of a computer technician with this step. It is strongly recommended for anyone who suspects that their computer activity is being monitored to take their device to a local technician and have it reviewed.

Passwords
Change your passwords on all of your accounts including your Wi-Fi account. It is helpful to have multiple passwords instead of using the same password for all of your accounts. There are apps available to help you choose and save your passwords. Regardless of the number of passwords that you use, never reuse an old password or any variation of the old password. For my clients, I chose a random phrase out of the nearest book and then that phrase becomes my client’s new password. I also have them use numbers and special characters in place of the vowels.

PINs
For the same reason above, I have clients use new PINs. The PINs should not include any variation of previous PINs nor should they include anyone’s date of birth. Pick four or more random numbers and make that your new PIN.

Security Questions
Depending on the length of the relationship, the abuser might know the answers to all of your standard security questions. Since the security questions are pretty standard, the best way to protect against your abuser accessing your accounts would be to create random answers. For instance, if the security question asks for your childhood best friend. Instead of putting your childhood best friend’s name, you should list the name of your favorite band. Then, when it asks for the name of your favorite band, you could list the name of your childhood best friend. Some clients change the answers altogether and use the characters from their favorite movies.

Email Accounts
It is strongly advised that you create two new email accounts. The first account should be for all law-related purposes (i.e. emails with your attorney and service of court documents). The second account should be for all non-law-related purposes (i.e. financial, education, medical, and personal matters). If, for some reason, you are unable to create new email accounts, make sure that you have (1) signed out of all devices, (2) changed your password, and, (3) changed your security questions.

Cell Phones, Tablets, Mobile Devices
Whether we are dealing with the victim’s personal cell phone or the child’s cell phone, iPad, tablet, smartwatch, Alexa, Amazon Echo, etc., the ability to track the user is inherent in the device. 
  • If the victim is on a shared account with the abuser, it is strongly recommended that abuser obtains an individual account. For as long as the abuser is paying for the victim’s service, the abuser can access the victim’s call log and text messages.
  • If the abuser has purchased this device for the victim of the child(ren), the abuser can track the user. Unless necessary, turn off your location services.
  • If your device is backing up to the Cloud, change your password and security question. Best practice would be to change your cloud account username and email address.
  • If you have not already, change your email account associated with this account.
  • Lastly, delete any apps that you are not familiar with.

Financial Accounts
I have my clients pull each of their credit reports, for free, from annualcreditreport.com.  Then, I have them notify their financial institutions and creditors that they are going through a separation and that their abuser is no longer authorized to use their account. If the victim has a joint account with the abuser, I ask them to stop all automatic deposits and withdrawals in anticipation of opening a new account. They should speak with their bank about freezing or closing their joint account.
                                                  
Toys 
Be mindful that cameras, audio devices, and trackers can be added to everyday toys. For this reason, I advise my clients not to accept toys from their abusers. If they do, I ask them to thoroughly check the toys for any electronic devices.

These tips also work for a victim who plans to separate from their abuser; however, taking some of these actions might tip off the abuser and place the victim in imminent danger. If your client is in the process of leaving the abuser, please note that this is the most dangerous time. It is strongly suggested that the victim contact the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-500-1119) to speak with an advocate about safety planning and other available resources to assist with leaving the abuser.

Tenesia C. Hall is Litigation Director/Attorney-Family Law for the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. She serves on the Technology Committee of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar, and is actively involved with a number of organizations, including Orange County Bar Association Family Law Committee, Florida Bar Grievance Committee 9D Florida Bar Legal Needs of Children Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Orange County Bar Association, among others. 

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
By LAURA DAVIS SMITH, ESQ., B.C.S.
The Ides of March, at its origin, signified the beginning of a new year and came with great celebration and rejoicing. How fitting then that Joan Ruth Bader made her way into the world on March 15, 1933, destined to pave a new, more equitable path for all of us women lawyers, wives, daughters, and mothers. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an inspiration to me well before that October day in 1996 when, as a new lawyer, I had the opportunity to witness, firsthand, her incredible brilliance as a sitting Supreme Court Justice for the United States. I remember vividly waking up before dawn in our room at the Highlander Motel[1] in Arlington, Virginia, too excited to stay asleep. The day had arrived. I was going to view an oral argument at the United States Supreme Court! 

My husband, a non-lawyer, demonstrated his true devotion to me, standing in line patiently on the steps of the High Court in the drizzling autumn rain, waiting to make our way in. His commitment was cemented when at the conclusion of the first argument of the day, I begged him and he agreed to stay for the second. I did not want the moment to end. Witnessing Justice Ginsburg’s everything – her demeanor, her poise, her timing, and her thoughtful questions — was simply glorious.

Fast forward nearly two decades to November 2015. Thanks to then-Chair Maria Gonzalez, whose out-of-state retreat took place in Washington, D.C., I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to be sworn in as a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. Once again, I had the privilege to witness oral argument in the presence of the one and only Notorious R.B.G. It was all of the things I had experienced in 1996: awe-inspiring, magical, mesmerizing. It was all the more meaningful after 20 years of practice as a lawyer, having myself become a mother, and more deeply having understood the struggle of being a woman in a man’s world. 

Seeing the mini but mighty Justice Ginsburg — a woman, a lawyer, a mother, a wife — sitting proudly in one of those nine seats, asking the most thoughtful questions,  made hope sing. RBG gave a voice to all of us women lawyers, she gave us credibility, and she gave us validation. 

In the many dissenting opinions she crafted in her twenty-seven years on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg’s belief was that “Dissents speak to a future age. It's not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time, their views become the dominant view. So that's the dissenter's hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”[2] 

That is my hope[3], too. That all of the good work The Honorable Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg did while walking this planet leads us to a future of true equality of all persons. Thank you, Justice Ginsburg.

[1] It was highly rated by Mr. Cheap’s Washington, DC
[2] Interview of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by NPR’s Nina Totenberg (May 5, 2002).
[3] To me, Justice Ginsburg is the embodiment of hope. The Emily Dickinson poem “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” is a favorite of mine and, to me, describes the very soul of RBG. I think it befitting that Emily Dickinson, like Justice Ginsburg, was tiny yet mighty, and I hope in turn, RBG’s words, like Dickinson’s, will live on.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Can Lawyers Avoid Becoming Victims
of a Mental Health Tsunami?
By JOHN LESKO
After six months into the pandemic, that has wrought so much havoc into everyday lives and business practices, one lesson has emerged clearly: focusing on the basics can be critical. Amidst so much uncertainty and isolation becoming a way of life for adults and children alike, ensuring some level of predictability and emotional connections can make the difference between thriving, simply surviving, or suffering during this difficult period.

The phrase “mental health tsunami” is a term that mental health experts are using to describe the result of the sustained stress that the pandemic has delivered. Indeed, the non-stop reporting on COVID-19 infection and death counts, as well as the collateral threats to our family, social, and economic systems, amounts to nothing less than repetitive trauma that we are all experiencing. Additionally, while many see the systemic isolation caused by the pandemic as merely a tiresome inconvenience, few recognize the empirical studies highlighting the essential role of physical, social contact and emotional, social connection in human survival (Harlow & Zimmermann, 1959). Further, health data shows that Americans are being deeply affected.

In a Kaiser Family Foundation (“KFF”) Tracking Poll conducted in mid-July, 53% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus, as opposed to 32% in March. Many adults are also reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being due to worry and stress over the coronavirus, such as: difficulty sleeping (36%); difficulty eating (32%); increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%); and worsening chronic conditions (12%). 

Fortunately, for lawyers, multi-aspect guidance is available to achieve the critical objective of serving client needs while minimizing additional stress on any person. Experts encourage that lawyers take specific steps to minimize the potential for negative effects by maximizing beneficial, healthful behavior. As set forth to address the critical duties of legal practice, experts suggest the following key practices:

With clients, the first recommendation is ramping up communication. The best way to calm and retain clients is to communicate regularly and intentionallyIncreased frequency of “personal” correspondence, either by phone or by video, should consider that clients want to speak with real live humans and receive empathic assurance that collective support is being attentively provided, despite any disruptions their legal team may be experiencing. Managing client expectations is another critical part of this communication process and every effort should be taken to avoid surprising any client (unpleasantly) on a future date. Meaning, be sure to advise clients if timelines are likely to be extended, if cooperative efforts among legal staff are being affected, if necessary third parties are not available as normal, or of any other complications that may cause the client to become upset if discovered at a later date. Legal representatives must be prepared for all types of clients – some fearing ruin, some struggling, and some conducting business as usual. And remember, clients are experiencing the same COVID-related issues that you are and any certainty you can provide via clear communication will be appreciated.

With caseloads, prioritizing becomes a primary concern, and while so many legal practitioners (or their team members) are working among the distractions of a busy home or in a drastically altered office environment, it is paramount to focus on those tasks that meet the “importance and urgency” criteria. (See, Eisenhower’s Matrix). We are encouraged to recognize that difficulties exist, and yet, are nobody’s fault. Conscientiously including wellness measures in planning, and being a bit more attentive to details, can go a long way in maximizing productivity. Creating a comfortable, private place to work, incorporating physical movement and social interaction into your schedule, and carefully separating your work time from your leisure activity can allow you to be more productive and to sustain the effort for as long as the pandemic requires. Remember, the work never sleeps—nor does it have a family that requires attention, emotional needs, or stress responses—so for you, a HUMAN legal practitioner, boundaries are critical.

With colleagues, a top priority is the need to maintain relationships with co-workers and managers, as this can greatly affect performance and mental wellness. It is most beneficial to work on “real” relationships and interactions supportive to ongoing health and wellness, rather than short-term crisis responses, as the former are most helpful to colleagues. To this end, team leaders can positively affect colleagues’ performance by acknowledging that the difficulty is shared, and that feeling additional pressure is normal. Particularly for professionals, such as lawyers and legal support staff, the stigma of weakness associated with mental health problems may cause reluctance to seek support for both COVID-19 and mental health conditions. Thus, it is essential to make any possible efforts so as to impart to all team members that stress and the feelings associated COVID-19 are no reflection of one’s ability to do his or her job, or an indication that he or she is weak. Finally, in addition to being supportive to those who admit to – or appear to be – having difficulty, workplace leaders must also be courageous in turning to colleagues for help dealing with the pressures of the pandemic.

Finally, remember that self is the foundation for all other wellness and success measures and simplicity is the key. Take care of your body with a mindful approach to physical health. Get enough sleep by retiring and waking at the same time each day; get regular physical activity; eat healthfully by limiting junk food and refined sugar; limit caffeine to avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety; avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs as they may reduce healthy coping abilities; and set aside time to relax and recharge with a bath, a book, yoga, meditation, tai chi, or any other of a host of restorative activities. Also, take care of your mind by making special efforts to reduce stress triggers. Limit exposure to news media, especially if you notice that it aggravates you; stay busy, as a distraction from a hobby or project can limit rumination and the sense of lost control; focus on positive thoughts and consider a regular “positivity” practice such as writing a gratitude list, having a pointed conversation about something appreciated, or reviewing a favorite photo album or journal; set achievable goals each day and recognize some days will be better than others; and if you draw strength from a belief system, use your moral compass or spiritual life for comfort and support. 

Of course, the suggestions provided herein are by no means exhaustive or intended to provide dispositive answers to all lawyers’ pandemic-related difficulties—but they are a start! 

For more information, as well as individualized, personal help form a trained professional, call the Florida Lawyers Assistance hotline at (800)282-8981

John Lesko, a former litigation attorney who transitioned to a career as credentialed addictions clinician, has worked almost exclusively with lawyers and other professionals since 2008. As a trusted clinician and advocate, John has helped hundreds of individuals, in Florida and nationally, to achieve personal recovery and re-establish successful careers. 

FACES OF FAMILY LAW
In our "Faces of Family Law" video series, we introduce you to various members of the Executive Council and Executive Committee, to help you learn more - and feel connected to - your fellow Section colleagues. This month, we welcome Attorney Shannon McLin Carlyle of Florida Appeals in Orlando, and long-time member of the Section.

Click the video to learn more about Shannon and some of the benefits she's enjoyed by being involved with the Section.
COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT
Legislation
COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRS
Jack Moring, Esq., B.C.S., Moring and Moring, P.A., Crystal River
 Sheena Benjamin-Wise, Esq., Sheena Benjamin-Wise, P.A., Fort Lauderdale 
Mission of the Committee:
The Legislation Committee’s (LC’s) mission is to advance family law legislation that best serves Florida’s families and to oppose legislation that is harmful to Florida’s families.

What the Committee does:
The LC is one of the busiest operational committees in the Florida Bar Family Law Section. This Committee requires a one-year commitment. Generally, applicants apply for membership in March prior to commencement of the Committee meetings in June. The membership applications are reviewed and approved by the incoming Chair of the Section. The LC consists of thirty members, two co-chairs, two co-vice chairs, two co-secretaries, and a liaison from the Executive Committee. The LC meets regularly, and, as the annual legislative session approaches, generally meets no less than weekly as needed. The LC works in conjunction with the Section’s lobbyists so as to secure legislative sponsors for the Section initiatives, which promote and secure the passage of any legislation that is filed. The LC monitors all pending bills tangentially related to family law during the session. For any bills that are deemed potentially harmful, the LC will first attempt to work with bill sponsors to “fix” problematic portions of the legislation. Should said attempt fail, then the LC will work against it to “kill” the bill. Such work generally requires travel to Tallahassee, meetings with legislators, testifying on bills at committee hearings, and participation in letter writing campaigns and telephone calls to either legislators or the governor.

Goals of the Committee this bar cycle:
The LC has recently approved five legislative priorities for the upcoming 2021 legislative session:
  • Certain revisions to §§61.08 and 61.14;
  • A draft “parentage” bill dealing with quasi-marital children and the “two-dads” phenomenon (examples of the need for such legislation are set forth in D.M.T. v. T.M.H., 129 So. 3d 320 (Fla. 2013) and Simmonds v. Perkins, 247 So. 3d 397 (Fla. 2018);
  • A “fix” bill for Senate Bill 124 regarding revisions to Chapter 751 (Temporary/Concurrent Custody by Extended Family Members) so as to provide safeguards by requiring “fictive kin” to undergo a criminal history, abuse background check, and a successful home study;
  • Nomenclature fixes to various statutes to render them gender-neutral; and
  • A draft bill to codify existing case law on the issue of support for incapacitated adult children.

How the Committee’s work supports its members, the Section and/or Florida’s Families:
The LC has worked tirelessly over the years to advocate against detrimental alimony “reform” and presumptive equal time-sharing bills because both negatively affect Florida’s families. The LC was instrumental in the 2008 changes that did away with archaic terminology such as “custody” and “visitation,” “primary” and “secondary,” and introduced the concepts of parents as parents and equal in importance regardless of the amount of “time-sharing” each may have. The LC anticipates the need to fight these same battles in the upcoming session, and it is committed to doing so.

COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT
Ad Hoc Parentage
COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRS
John Foster, Esq., Family Complex Litigation & Collaborative Group, Orlando
 Matthew Lundy, Esq., Matthew Lundy Law, P.L., Coral Springs
Mission of the Committee:
The Ad Hoc Parentage Committee seeks to establish legislation for addressing matters involving quasi-marital children, who are children born during a marriage where the biological father is not the mother's husband.

What the Committee does:
Through exhaustive legal research and a lot of hard work, the Committee has drafted proposed legislation called the Parentage Bill that will adequately address matters involving Florida's quasi-marital children.

Goals of the Committee this bar cycle:
The primary goal of the Ad Hoc Parentage Committee for the 2020-2021 bar cycle is to work with the Section and its representatives to present the Parentage Bill to the Florida Legislature for passage into law as Section 742.19, Florida Statutes.

How the Committee’s work supports its members, the Section and/or Florida’s Families:
As has been recognized by the Florida Supreme Court and other Florida appellate courts, there is currently a huge gap in the paternity statute (Chapter 742, Florida Statutes) because matters involving quasi-marital children are not legislatively addressed. Florida courts, legal scholars, and Florida's Families have called for the Florida Legislature to fill this gap and the Committee's proposed Parentage Bill fills this gap in an adequate and effective way.

One thing you did not know about the Committee until you joined:
I, John Foster, have been the Chair or Co-Chair of the Committee since its creation several years ago, and the one thing that my service on this Committee has reinforced is the progress that the Family Law Section can make on developing principles of law, societal, and family concepts through the combined dedication and hard work of its members. 


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We truly appreciate each and every one of our sponsors! Thank you for helping our committed volunteers as we work on supporting the FLS mission!