The time has come for me to become the Immediate Past Chair of the Family Law Section, and to welcome Heather Apicella who, on June 9, will become the Chair of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. I also want to take a moment to recognize Mike Tanner as the President-Elect of the Florida Bar for the 2021-2022 Bar cycle. 
One of the goals of the Family Law Section is to encourage attorneys to become board certified. This year, ten attorneys passed the Board Certification exam and became board-certified in Family Law: Cash Eaton, Russell Frank, Grant Gisondo, Kimberly Hamill, Katherine Johnson, Jennifer Lawson, Stephanie Libbey, Christie Mitchell, Barbara Peters, and Julia Wyda, along with Meghan Clary and Jaclyn Soroka. Congratulations to all who passed the Board Certification exam.
The Family Law Section held its only live event this year which was our In-State Retreat at the Hutchinson Shores Resort and Spa from May 13-16. We had over 65 people come together and enjoy the beauty of Hutchinson Island. I would like to thank the chairs of the In-State Retreat, Aimee Gross and Kimberly Rommel-Enright, for their hard work and dedication to ensure that our Section had a wonderful, live event for 2021. Aimee and Kim, along with Willie Mae Shepherd, made sure that everyone in attendance had a great time. We were also honored to have Dori Foster-Morales, a Family Law Section member and President of the Florida Bar, and her husband Jimmy Morales, as guests of honor.
When I applied to be Secretary of the Family Law Section in February 2017, I imagined my year as Chair being very different. I never predicted navigating the Section through a pandemic. Though this year was not like I had imagined, this past year as Chair was amazing. My theme for the year was integrity. By no surprise, Family Law Section members rose to the challenges this year, we adapted to the tumultuous change, and maintained integrity and generosity in the process. 
“Sometimes not getting what you want is a stroke of luck” - Dalai Lama. This sentiment rings true for me and serving as Chair of the Section this year.   

On a personal note, this year allowed me to grow and learn both personally and professionally. I learned to be more patient and to listen and be present during conversations rather than thinking of how I should or would respond. I also learned that when you listen to your inner voice and do what you know is right, everything will be all right. 
In closing, I want to say thank you to my husband, Steven, for his patience, understanding, and support.

Douglas A. Greenbaum, Chair
Join us virtually for the Family Law Section's Annual Membership Awards and Installation Ceremony, taking place on Wednesday, June 9 promptly at 12 p.m.

Once your registration is approved (click the link above), you will receive a Zoom link - keep this link in your calendar and do not share it, as it is personalized only for you. We look forward to 'seeing' you next week!
Congratulations to the following for becoming board-certified in 2021: Cash Eaton, Russell Frank, Grant Gisondo, Kimberly Hamill, Katherine Johnson, Jennifer Lawson, Stephanie Libbey, Christie Mitchell, Barbara Peters, Julia Wyda, Meghan Clary, and Jaclyn Soroka. Join us on June 9 to recognize each of them during our Annual Membership Awards & Installation Ceremony!
Thurs., June 17, 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
If you're a Family Lawyer interested in becoming Board Certified, register now for the 'Mechanics of Marital & Family Law Board Certification 2021,' taking place on Thursday, June 17, from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

You'll hear from some of Florida's top Board Certified Marital & Family Law attorneys, sharing informative tips about the exam, the process, the benefits, and more.

Learn more about the requirements and benefits of being Board Certified by clicking the link below!
The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization & Education awarded Family Law Section member Eddie Stephens the 2021 Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Board Certification. 

The BLSE will honor Eddie on June 10at the Florida Bar Annual Convention. The Award for Excellence is given to board certified attorneys for “excellence and creativity in advancing the public’s knowledge of and appreciation for legal board certification.” Congratulations Eddie!  
2021 Trial Advocacy Workshop
Thursday, Oct. 7 - Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021
Tampa, FL
Join your colleagues and friends at the 2021 Trial Advocacy Workshop this fall, taking place at the JW Marriott Tampa from Thursday, October 7 through Sunday, October 10. Our Committee (Sonja Jean, Andrea Reid, Elisha Roy, and Laura David Smith) is currently preparing the brochure and registration information - stay tuned for registration information soon!
By Philip J. Schipani, Esq., B.C.S.
C.N. v. I.G.C., 2021 WL 2103632 (Fla. 2021)

Supreme Court case which resolved the conflict between various District Court’s of Appeal regarding whether a final judgment that modifies a preexisting parenting plan must give a parent “concrete steps” to restore lost time-sharing and return to the premodification status quo. The mother asserted that a court commits reversible error if its final judgment modifying timesharing does not provide concrete steps to allow a parent to restore her lost timesharing rights, particularly when a parent is ordered to undergo therapy. The Court disagreed and observed that chapter 61 does not expressly impose such a requirement.

The mother urges that chapter 61 must be understood in light of the common law argued that the longstanding consensus of the courts of appeal is consistent with the statute in requiring that a modification order include concrete steps for regaining time, at least where it mandates therapy or some other affirmative act. The mother suggests that the Legislature has acquiesced in and assumed the validity of this “consensus” by amending chapter 61 without repudiating the district courts’ common law rule.

The Mother’s argument seems to have been based on Hunter v. Hunter, 540 So.2d 235 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989). Hunter dealt with temporarily terminating a parent’s visitation rights, not finally settled rights of parents to visitation. Certain appellate court’s have extended Hunter to justify requiring concrete steps in orders that finally settled visitation rights. However, that has been done without evident consideration of the difference between temporary restrictions and final timesharing schedules and without the analysis of the relationship between common law and chapter 61. Under Florida law, a statute supersedes a common-law rule when it is so repugnant to the common law rule that the two cannot coexist Townsend v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 192 So. 3d 1223, 1231 (Fla. 2016). The Court finds that the concrete steps requirement is incompatible with the text of chapter 61.

This case is interesting because it specifically did not address the conflict certified in Mallick v. Mallick, 311 So.3d 250 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2020). Succinctly, Mallick held that failure to include steps to regain timesharing is not an error and neither is including them, which is in conflict with the Second DCA’s previous opinions and seemingly in conflict with the remaining Districts. The Court certified conflict.

Although the Supreme Court, in this case, did not resolve the conflict in Mallick, the resolution of said conflict should be easy to predict.
By Christopher W. Rumbold, Esq.
June is pride month for members of the LGBTQ+ community, their friends, family, and allies. While PRIDE commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 1969, it encapsulates and exemplifies the LGBTQ+ community. PRIDE is much more than rainbows and parades. It is validation, acceptance, self-acceptance, equal rights, protecting trans-youth/gay-youth, survival, community, value, constitutional rights, and validity.  The Family Law Section has long been on the cusp of the marital and family equality movement, in terms of recognition, validation, and the fight for equal rights. 

Many members of the Section will recall that during the 2008-2009 bar cycle, the Section was allowed to file an amicus brief in support of 11th Circuit Judge Cindi Lederman’s November 25, 2008 decision to declare Fla. Stat., S. 63.042(3) unconstitutional. This was a marked change from the Board of Governors’ vote only three years earlier (2004-2005) – in which it denied the Section’s request to lobby against the “anti-gay adoption law.”  More recently, the Section approved a standing position in favor of marital and family equality, filed amicus briefs in Florida’s same-sex marriage appeals, and it created a committee whose mission was to revise and eliminate all gender-specific pronouns in marital and family law statutes to their gender-neutral counterparts. Section leadership includes openly gay members of the Executive Council and Executive Committee. As to the Nomenclature Committee, more specifically, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell, I, along with 80 other initial members of the committee enthusiastically revised approximately 60 statutes for gender neutrality. The Legislation and Executive Council approved the recommended revised nomenclature.  The committee, caught up in the zeitgeist, completed in weeks, what could have taken years.  

Given the extremely rapid legal and social changes addressed above, it may seem that PRIDE has served its purpose and the “movement” ended victoriously with the Obergefell decision. LGBTQ+ Floridians may marry, may divorce, may adopt, and may avail themselves of the marital presumption. Contrarily, it may surprise members of the Section that constitutional provisions still declare marriage between a man and a woman (only). The Section’s Nomenclature Committee’s gender neutrality revisions have stalled beyond the Section’s approval and affirmation. Notwithstanding, the Section actively supports and proposes policies supporting the LGBTQ+ community. During this legislative year, for instance, the Legislation Committee and Executive Council addressed a gender-marker bill that provides a roadmap for members of the trans-community to secure legal name changes. Further, the Section continues to lobby its Nomenclature revisions. Finally, the Section’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee recently adopted a non-discrimination mission statement inclusive of, among other things, gender, sexual or affectional orientation, and gender identity.       

I am proud to be part of an organization founded on inclusivity, acceptance, and necessary social change as evidenced not just by the Section’s positions and actions, but also by its members. I observe first-hand and, at times, have had the distinct pleasure of being a part of a legal community dedicated to the idea that all Floridians are entitled to certain inalienable rights. Work has been done, there is more work to do, and I take PRIDE in my affiliation with the Section, its rich history, and its future. Moreover, as a Section, we can all take PRIDE in the Section’s achievements and its work on behalf of the betterment of Florida’s families and the LGBTQ+ community. We stand in solidarity with the Section for the work yet to be done.
You Can't Change What You Can't See
By Jeannette M. Gonzalez, Esq.
What is an implicit bias? According to the Oxford Dictionary, implicit bias is the unconscious favoritism toward or the prejudice against people of a particular race, gender, etc., which influences one's actions or perceptions. Implicit bias occurs automatically, it is a reaction to one’s past experiences, stereotypes, and background. The problem with implicit bias is that it can perpetuate discrimination and is of particular concern to our profession.

Our implicit bias can inadvertently affect many of our decisions as lawyers, colleagues, and business owners. The U.S. legal profession as a whole continues to fall behind a number of other professions in terms of gender diversity, racial and ethnic diversity. However, many bar associations, including the Florida Bar and the American Bar Association are taking steps in the right direction to make the legal profession more diverse.

How can we become conscious of our unconscious feelings, attitudes, behaviors, and associations? We can all begin by becoming informed and aware. While researching the topic of implicit bias, I came across an “Implicit Bias Test” on the American Bar Association’s resource webpage.

Psychologists at Harvard, the University of Virginia, and the University of Washington created “Project Implicit” to develop an Implicit Associations Test or IATs. The test was created to educate the public and assist individuals in measuring their implicit biases. In an effort, to combat the unconscious favoritism that we see so often in our profession, I ask that all Family Law Section members take a few moments from their busy schedules to take the Implicit Association Test (  The results of your test may surprise you. I also encourage you to visit the American Bar Associations, diversity and inclusion center webpage, which has informative articles and studies conducted on the topic of implicit bias.

It is important for us as lawyers to understand the current biases which have become the norm in our community and profession. You can’t change what you can’t see. The most important tool we have in combating our implicit bias is our own motivation to make the unconscious, conscious. On behalf of the Family Law Section Ad Hoc Diversity and Inclusion committee, we ask that you email us at regarding the results of the test and your reaction to it.

For Returning To The Office
By Dr. Rachael Silverman, Board Certified Psychologist
Board-Certified in Couple and Family Psychology
Many of us spent the past year learning how to work from home. Now that we are returning to in-person work, fears and worry about safety and health may set in.

Here are some tips and tricks to help ease the transition and cope with the stress:

  • Create a routine and stick to it. This will help you feel more in control.

  • Plan ahead as much as possible especially with healthy habits like daily walks, yoga, etc. Make sure to continue to exercise, eat healthily, and get restful sleep.

  • Identify the positives about working at the office ahead of going back. This will help your mindset be healthy.

  • Acknowledge your fears and worries in a discussion with trusted colleagues and/or family members. This is not the time to keep your concerns to yourself. Express all of your emotions even the ones that are difficult! Validation from others will help.

  • Identify coping skills and positive affirmations to get you through the day ahead of time. For example, “I am calm and confident. I can do this!” Practice deep breathing techniques to calm yourself.

  • Accept change. Your workplace will be different. Ask what to expect when you return. For example, will you have to wear a mask? Will there be screening procedures? Ask whatever questions help you to feel safe, so you can concentrate on your work and be effective at your job!

  • Continue to be social! Gather with friends via Zoom if that makes you comfortable, but make sure you do something! Humans are social beings and interaction with others is important for our mental and emotional health.

  • Understand and establish your boundaries with coworkers. Do not feel obligated to have to justify your need for continuing social distancing or any other safety practices.

  • Communicate calmly and respectfully with one another. We don’t know what others are going through or have overcome. Be kind!

  • Purchase a new wardrobe and/or office supplies. Give yourself something to look forward to besides seeing your colleagues in person.

If you are experiencing anxiety symptoms (e.g., uncontrollable, and excessive worrying, hypervigilance, insomnia/sleep disturbances, racing thoughts) it is important to seek professional help. Recognize the symptoms and remember we are ALL still in this TOGETHER!

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