I am so humbled to be leading the Section this year. When I began the journey to becoming chair, I never anticipated I would take over during a worldwide pandemic or America facing a social and cultural reckoning. I am lucky to follow Amy Hamlin who had the forethought to change our live luncheon and award ceremony to a virtual event.  The virtual awards ceremony was a great success.

Amy continued our tradition of recognizing those members going above and beyond in doing work for the Section. Those she recognized included Dr. Deborah Day the recipient of the Jorge M. Cestero Distinguished Member Service Award; Jack A. Moring, recipient of the Raymond T. McNeal Professionalism award; David L. Hirschberg, recipient of the Chairs Award Of Extraordinary Service; Kim Rommel-Enright  recipient of the Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award; and Magistrate K. Beth Luna and William “Trace” Norvell, recipients of the Above and Beyond Award. We were all honored to have past-chair, Carin Porras, swearing in the newest members of our executive council, William Novell and Amanda Tackenberg along with returning members Shannon McLin Carlyle, John Foster, Anthony Genova, Belinda Lazarra, K. Beth Luna, Jack Moring and Michelle Klinger Smith. 

I also want to acknowledge and congratulate our newest Board Certified Attorneys Kelly Albanese, Christie Guerrero, Andrew Lieberman, and Peter Trombadore. I also want to congratulate Section member, former Board of Governors liaison, and friend, Dori Foster-Morales on her swearing-in as the next Florida Bar President.  
Because of the pandemic the Section’s Leadership retreat is postponed, but Fall Meetings will take place at the same date and time as previously scheduled, albeit in a virtual format on August 21, 2020. Our executive council meeting will also take place on August 22, 2020 as previously scheduled via the Zoom platform. The committee meetings schedule will be posted towards the end of July on the Section website.  Everyone is invited to attend any committee meetings, which interest you. Committee membership is open for most committees, even if you did not apply prior to the annual meetings. If you have ever considered bar involvement, now is a great time to hit the ground running by joining a committee.

My theme for this year is INTEGRITY, which I define as doing the right thing even when no one is watching. I know this pandemic and social issues in the news impact each and every one of us. Though our individual experiences differ, it is important to remember it is our reaction to these events that will define us and have a long-lasting impact. Attorneys are taught to see things from all angles. The Section membership has worked together because of our diverse views and beliefs and we are stronger for it.  Continuing our tolerance and professionalism during this time of social change is essential to our continued success.  

My pledge is to lead with integrity, and, in learning more, to do better. I encourage all of us to take the pledge to learn, and to do better. 

Again, it is my honor to lead the Family Law Section. Thank you.

Douglas A. Greenbaum, Chair

The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar’s Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award recognizes the work of Section members and affiliates who provide outstanding pro bono services, engage in significant volunteer community activities that improve the lives of Florida’s children and families, and inspire other Section members to undertake pro bono or other volunteer activities.

In 2015, the Award was renamed to honor the memory and unwavering generosity of the beloved Section Executive Council member, Alberto Romero, Jr., a Tampa-based Florida Bar Board Certified Marital & Family Law attorney. Alberto embodied what the Award stands for and adding his name to the award was an honor befitting him as a lawyer and a humanitarian.

The 2020 recipient, Kimberly Rommel-Enright, is the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. There she oversees the agency’s efforts at securing private attorneys’ participation in providing pro bono legal assistance to hundreds of clients each year. 

Kim has been a member of the Family Law Section Executive Council for the last 3 years and has served on and chaired many committees within the Section over the course of her Section career. Inspired by her own adult disabled children with whom she shares with her husband, Steve, and the struggles of other parents not as fortunate, Kim currently serves as the Chair of the Ad Hoc Probate and Family Jurisdictional Committee. Under her leadership, the Committee created legislation designed to assist persons with disabled adult children to obtain support for said children in a manner appropriate to meet their needs, which are markedly different from those of non-disabled children. The current Guardianship statute provides no such guidance. 

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session found Kim spending countless hours in Tallahassee or on the phone garnering legislative support for the Support for Incapacitated Adult Children bill, educating anyone who was even remotely involved in the process, or interested in this legislation. And while it did not pass this year, there are high hopes for continued legislative support and passage during next Session.

In addition, Kim was honored for her public service engagement, and volunteerism in the HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ communities. Kim's volunteer work includes sitting on a number of County and State boards and committees. She has served on the Care Council of Palm Beach County, the advisory body charged with making HIV/AIDS funding recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners, for over 20 years, and chaired this Council in 2018-2019. She also currently serves as the chair of the County's LGBTQ Health Equity Committee.

Kim has been a frequent lecturer on HIV/AIDS issues, permanency planning, family law and pro bono work. She is the co-editor of the publication “Someone to Watch Over Me: A Parent's Planning Guide”. She recently began to provide name change clinics and legal counseling for transgender individuals and their family members, and to provide pro bono representation to clients in court hearings to legalize name changes based on a person's gender self-identity. 

Kim's volunteer schedule also involves active participation in the arts. Currently Kim is the Artistic Director of the not-for-profit theater company, Maplewood Playhouse, which produces dramatic, comedic and musical productions (often with an LGBTQ theme) utilizing local talent and venues. An important aspect of Maplewood is its attention to children's theater through Maplewood's Young Arts Conservatory, which promotes theatrical opportunities for young people in Palm Beach County.

When the Covid-19 crisis began, Kim used her free time to sew masks and donate them to individuals and organizations such as Compass and the Care Council. To date she has made and given away over 400 masks. The Palm Beach County Bar Association recently featured Kim in its Bulletin for her gracious work.
Here are the Bills of interest that have passed during the 2020 Legislative Session. All have an effective date of July 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted.


A.  CS/CS/HB 61 (Laws of Florida Chapter 2020-22 ) : extends adoption benefits for special needs children adopted from the child welfare system to veterans and servicemembers (up to $10,000.00 benefit per child).

B.   CS/HB 89 (Laws of Florida Chapter 2020-42 ): amends §63.162, Fla. Stat. to provide what can be disclosed without a court order, such as names/identities of birth parents, adoptees, adoptive parents, if the affected persons have consented in writing to release of such information.


A.   CS/HB 197 (Laws of Florida Chapter 2020-65 ): amends “abandoned” in Chapter 39 to make clear that the term does not apply to the absence of a parent/caregiver who is a service member by reason of deployment or anticipated deployment; Chapter 39 does not supersede Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), and Department of Children and Families is to ensure that SCRA is observed in cases where a parent/caregiver, by virtue of his/her military service is unable to take custody of a child or appear before the court in person.

B.   CS/HB 43 (Laws of Florida Chapter 2020-40 ): also known as “Jordan’s Law;” requires judicial education regarding recognition of and responding to head trauma and brain injury in children under age 6; similar training requirements for all other stakeholders (child protective investigators, guardians ad litem, caregivers, third-party credentialing agencies, etc.); lower threshold for reporting “concerns” to abuse hotline about parents/caregivers who are already subject of a child protective investigation or has had a child allowed to remain in home or returned to home after an adjudication of dependency.

C.    CS/SB 1326 (Laws of Florida Chapter 2020-153 (signed by Governor DeSantis on June 30; hyperlink not available at press time)): various amendments and new sections regarding internal operating mechanisms of DCF, aimed at preventing burnout among CPI staff; creating an Office of Quality to ensure high levels of performance; having all lead agencies to liaise with community alliances and faith-based organizations; implementing standards and metrics for measuring performance among various entities, providing updated standards for contract attorneys providing services; and requiring DCF to develop a statewide accountability system based on measurable quality standards and implement same by 07/01/2021; creating Florida Institute for Child Welfare to work with FSU’s College of Social Work to develop a curriculum for enhancing knowledge/skills for child welfare practice.

D.  CS/CS/HB 1105 : Early Childhood Court Programs now authorized and funded (assuming the funding survives the Governor’s line-item veto process); Florida Court Educational Council to establish standards for judges in dependency courts to have instruction/education regarding the benefits of secure attachment of a child with a primary caregiver, the importance of a stable placement, and the impact of trauma on child development; amendments to standards for change of custody/placement; case plan content to now include how parents/caregivers are to work together to successfully implement any case plan; other changes


A.   CS/CS/HB 1087 (Laws of Florida, Chapter 2020-6 ): Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence stripped of all responsibility for providing d/v services in the state; DCF will now operate the statewide d/v program, certify all d/v centers, contract with entitles to provide d/v programs and administer all grants; DCF is to report annually to the Legislature on the status of d/v in the state. This bill became law on March 5, 2020, when signed by Governor DeSantis.

B.  CS/SB 1082 (Laws of Florida, Chapter 2020-37 ): court can award a petitioner temporary exclusive care, possession or control of an animal that is owned, possessed, harbored, kept or held by petitioner, respondent or a minor child residing in the residence of petitioner or respondent; does not apply to animals used for agricultural purposes or to service animals if respondent is handler of the service animal.

IV.    CS/CS/SB 124 (Laws of Florida, Chapter 2020-147(signed by Governor DeSantis on June 30; hyperlink not available at press time)): Temporary Custody by Extended Family; provides for transitions of custody that consider each child’s developmental state and psychological needs; the term extended family member expanded to include “fictive kin” (a person unrelated by birth, marriage or adoption who has an emotionally significant relationship, which possesses characteristics of a family relationship, with a child); court can order parties to comply with any provisions agreed to in a court order for concurrent or temporary custody; if child with extended family a significant period of time and based on a finding of parental unfitness, court can establish conditions for transitioning child back to care of parent.
My background as a former mental health professional has afforded me insight into how perspective can improve your mental health, mood, and even your physical reactions to stimuli. That being said, the stimulus of COIVD-19 is unprecedented. Therefore, our mental and physical reactions are unprecedented. On days when we may have extra energy to work long hours, we may find that our brains are a little foggy or that we are just more fatigued in general.

Here, I provide several tips that have served my fellow colleagues, friends, and myself well during this time of unpredictable change.

“Radical Self-Acceptance” is the notion that we must unconditionally accept that we are flawed and our bodies are limited because we are physically and neurologically processing so much change every day – change that is completely beyond our control. This mantra is more powerful than “I can do it” or “no pain, no gain.” The above-mentioned mantras embody the idea that you are conquering factors within your internal locus of control, such as your workspace or the treadmill. But, Radical Self-Acceptance acknowledges that you cannot push through the COVID-19 change because you have absolutely no control over it. The only aspect within your control is healthily responding to the daily stress fatigue. This mantra reminds you to give yourself permission to rest and allow your body to recharge every day. Attorneys, being the perfectionists we are, do not like admitting to weakness or mistakes. This is the perfect time to admit to weakness and mistakes because we are more susceptible to them, unless we acknowledge them and prepare to combat that weakness and fatigue, ironically, through Radical Self-Acceptance.

The next time you feel guilty for not billing more this week, remember: “Radical Self-Acceptance.”

Apart from external change of circumstances (ie, COVID-19), internal change is a wonderful way to reset the brain and mind. Positive change has been found to be one of the most therapeutic factors in getting out of a depressive cycle. You can change your diet, exercise routine, or work schedule, which is a great option for solo practitioners. Changing the work schedule to meet your physical needs (read: Radical Self-Acceptance) will relieve stress and provide temporary relief. If waking up late and working late for a couple of days helps “reset” your brain, then do it.

Attorneys are very analytical creatures who tend to use the parts of the brain related to analysis, language, and deconstruction of concepts. But, remaining in one “mode” does not help if one is also trying to change his or her frame of mind, such as during COVID-19. Picking up a hobby in which your brain is constructing elements and not deconstructing concepts will force you to change your perspective in a unique way. Pick up cooking, art, music, anything in which you are making something from nothing. You will notice that you are using a part of your brain that you haven’t since, probably, grade school during arts and crafts. 

Everyone is having it rough. Meditate or pray, whichever resonates with you. Positivity outward generates positivity inward. Some days will be harder than others, but always remember: Radical Self-Acceptance. 
In the age of COVID-19, family lawyers have quickly adapted to practicing law virtually. From client meetings, depositions, mediations, to full virtual court proceedings, Zoom is the “new normal.” But once you’ve mastered the basics, how do you effectively marshal your notes, client, co-counsel, and expert communications, and maintain your calm professional appearance all at the same time? The most effective way to navigate your virtual endeavors with ease is to engage three (or more) screens.

 The first screen -- your desktop computer, laptop, iPad, or tablet -- will serve as your main home screen and will be the center of the virtual meeting or proceeding. If while working remotely you mainly use an iPad or tablet as your home screen, consider purchasing a stand to keep the tablet propped up in place and to avoid constantly needing to readjust the camera angle while you are speaking. Use this home screen device to log into your virtual meeting or proceeding. Make sure to view in “full screen” to have the clearest look at the other participants. Set up directly in front of this screen taking care to look your best on camera, including: dressing professionally, ensuring you are centered, and thoughtfully choosing an appropriate clutter-free background.

Your second screen can be a second laptop, iPad, tablet, or a second monitor [1] . This second screen will serve as your “virtual yellow pad” and will be devoted to your notes, order of proof, or documents in queue. Keep this second screen on the side of your home screen within view so that you can easily review your notes. You can also use this second screen to view your exhibits prior to sharing and to verify the document you are about to share is the document you intend to show. If you are using a second monitor to extend your screen, you can use easily drag and drop items directly into your Zoom chat from your second screen to your home screen.

Stay close to a power outlet so both your home screen and second screen can stay charged during your meeting. If you use an iPad or tablet, purchase a portable battery charger or power bank to help maintain extra charge and give yourself more flexibility to move around your workspace. Expect that your devices will lose charge at the exact moment you need them and plan ahead.

The third screen will be your cell phone. Your cell phone will be your communications center and allows for “virtual note passing.” It is important to guard your attorney-client and work-product privileged communications at all costs. Keeping your cell phone close allows you to receive messages from your client, co-counsel, or experts during your virtual meetings or proceedings. Avoid using the in-Zoom chat, or a separate chat window on the same device hosting your meeting because your communication could accidentally be intercepted or pop up unexpectedly when you share your screen. Set your phone to vibrate or silent so that it doesn’t cause an interruption.

Of course, a lawyer should never use their cell phone to communicate with their client or a witness while he or she is testifying. Professionalism, ethics, and the Rules of Professional Conduct still apply in the virtual world.

The three-screen method will help you step up your game at your next virtual event. Some ambitious lawyers will love using multiple screens so much that they will seek to add a fourth, fifth, or even sixth screen. Others may experiment with connecting their devices to their smart televisions for an even larger viewing experience. The possibilities in this brave new virtual world are endless.

[1] Note: A second monitor allows two screens to be operated from a single computer. You can connect a second monitor easily to your laptop or desktop computer using an HDMI cable. You may want to speak with your firm’s IT person to determine if your specific device requires any additional adaptors to connect to a second monitor. Apple users with newer devices can extend their screens to a second apple device wirelessly using the “Airplay” or “Sidecar” features.

Amber Kornreich is a family lawyer in Miami at Kornreich & Associates and a member of The Florida Bar Family Law Section Technology Committee. Kornreich is the President of The First Family Law American Inn of Court. If you have any questions about the three-screen method, she be reached at .
I first learned of Bryan Stevenson in 2015 at a legal aid gala where he was the keynote speaker. I was riveted and emotional after his speech, as was everyone else in the audience. It was the end of a long evening, but no one left their chair. You could hear a pin drop as we were listening so intently to his message. I had to know more about this extraordinary lawyer and the cause for which he so passionately and eloquently advocated. I knew about poverty, race, and the disproportionate affects these two factors had on conviction and incarceration, but having it served to me with personal accounts in such a graceful manner really tugged at my heart. I couldn’t get enough. 

So, I watched Mr. Stevenson’s TED talk next, and then read his book, Just Mercy, which, I ordered later on audible, and return to it frequently to listen to when I am traveling in my car. It has stuck with me that much. The book’s primary theme is the story of Walter McMillan, a man wrongly accused of murder in Alabama and sent to death row. Through McMillan’s story, Bryan exposed pervasive prejudice; conspiracy to convict and keep McMillan on death row; and the political manipulations of a community rocked by a notorious murder. Within McMillan’s story, Stevenson also weaves heart wrenching accounts of other clients and acquaintances, some of them children, and their wrongful condemnation to a justice system stacked against poor and minority citizens. It is raw, shocking, and tragic, yet, Bryan Stevenson artfully leaves the reader with hope, focusing on the need for mercy and justice. I personally recommend the written word, but if you are busy, or you just can’t read another word at the end of a long work day, start with the TED Talk, audible book, or checkout the movie, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. I guarantee you will want to read more, know more, and do more once you are introduced to Bryan Stevenson.  
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