Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter
Guest Chair's Message

Eddie Stephens & Laura Davis Smith

Due to life obligations and a busier than normal schedule, our fearless section chair needed a break this month and asked me to fill in and write the "Chair's Message".   Laura Davis Smith has done so much for our section, I welcomed the opportunity.

First; major development in Family Law Procedure. On March 16, 2017, Florida's Supreme Court adopted a set of stand alone rules of procedure for family law EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. The days of civil rules applying to family law matters except as set forth in the family law rules are now over. There are tweaks and changes to all rules and forms. If you have not read them, I suggest you click here to download them right now.

Secondly; the In-State Retreat in Islamorada is right around the corner; May 18 - 21, at the Cheeca Lodge and Spa. In addition to the executive Council Meeting, there will be a snorkeling excursion and a great CLE on parenting plans for children with emotional and education issues. Click here for more information.

Finally, if you have not heard, it appears the Alimony Reform effort has died in the legislation. While I am not sure of the particulars of how these politics works, I am sure we will have a better understanding of how this important piece of legislation  failed to move this session in the near future.

Hope everyone has a great April!

Eddie Stephens, Esquire
Co-Editor, FAMSEG
Upcoming Events:

May 18 - 21, 2017 - In-State Retreat.  Islamorada, FL. Info here
June 21, 2017 - Section Committee Meetings,  Info here.

June 22, 2017 - Executive Council Meeting. Info Here.

July 20 - 23, 2017 - Trial Advocacy Workshop.   Info here.

September 6 - 10, 2017 - 2017 Out-of-State Retreat. Info here.
Looking for additional CLE credit?   Click here to order Audio CDs and DVDs
E.C. Spotlight: Beth Luna

Who is someone who inspires you?  
My dad.  I wish I were more like him.

How do you define success?  Happiness and great shoes.

Why do you practice Family Law?  I enjoy people and I like the interactions with people I get to know through this work.

What is something few people know about you?  I sketch clothing designs in my spare time. I have books of them but very few designs make it to production.

Favorite quote? Luck favors the prepared.  I think the real quote is "Fortune favors the prepared" by Louis Pasteur.

Favorite Family Law Case? I represented a domestic violence victim who afterwards spoke at national seminars on domestic violence.  I knew she was doing this but I heard a speaker at a CLE I was at talk about hearing her and what an inspiration her story was and how attorneys can make a difference.  She will always stand out in my mind for a lot of reasons.  Our paralegal begged me to take it because no one else would touch it.  It ended up being one of the best cases of my life in terms of feeling like what I do matters.

Favorite book and why? The Pearl by John Steinbeck.  I like it because it is a nice reminder of what really is important in life.

Favorite TV show and why? Game of Thrones. I cannot get enough and I am currently reading the books.

Favorite Song Lyric?  "She is like a cat in the dark, and then she is the darkness, She rules her life like a fine skylark." Rhiannon, written by Stevie Nicks and recorded by Fleetwood Mac.

Favorite superhero? Does Jyn Erso from Star Wars count as a superhero? (I doubt it.  Maybe Wonder Woman?)

Best place you have traveled to?  Yosemite National Park. 

Proudest accomplishment within the section?  Being on Legislation and Executive Council.  I was surprised to get on and honored to be selected.

What benefits do you receive as a result of your Section participation?  The connections and friendships with other attorneys from all over the state.

Something we did not know about you?  I taught ballet and horseback riding lessons through college and law school. If I could have a second career it would be to teach horseback riding lessons to kids.

Coffee or tea?  Coffee.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items could you not live without?   My husband.  I would have company, someone to fish, cook for me and keep me safe from critters at night.  I'd also take a good book and sun tan lotion.
Anything else....  My household is ruled by two minor schnauzers, Fritz and Gustav.  I'm pretty sure they think my husband and I are on this planet to do their bidding.
Section News:

In-State Retreat Registration open!

Congratulations Family Section Member 
Luz Nieto on the birth of her baby girl Catalina!

2017 Out of State Retreat

Come join us at the C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado from September 6 through 10, 2017 for the Section's Fall Retreat! C Lazy U was recently awarded the 3rd best resort in Colorado and the 9th best resort in the U.S. by Cond√© Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, the third consecutive year the ranch has been ranked within the top 3 in Colorado and top 10 in the U.S. Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year because the ranch is nestled at the foot of the majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains. The leaves turn a vibrant gold, the air is crisp, and there is always plenty to do! In addition to the 8,500 acres, you can make arrangements for other fun activities in the area such as golfing, hot air ballooning, and white water rafting. Watch for more information about the Retreat and please do not hesitate to contact the Co-Chairs of the event, Carin Porras  or Amy Hamlin with any questions.

Health Benefits of Having Children Moms & Dads Can Enjoy
By: Osman Lopez, Esq.
If you talk to virtually any given parent, he or she will tell you that raising a child is no easy task. You will probably be told that there are stressful, unanticipated moments, or that  they have lost more hours of sleep than they can count. All in all, it will probably sound like your health is going to take a dive after having kids. But in reality, the exact opposite is often true, even if parents don't quite realize it.
Health Benefits of Having Children.  Although much of the studies regarding health improvement in parents after having a child is not scientific, it is intriguing enough to warrant attention, and probably more studies.   General health improvements that many parents report include:
  • Improved lifestyle: Many parents, but especially fathers, claim to improve their habits and lifestyle after having a child. This means better dieting, routine exercise, cutting back on smoking and drinking, and being more careful to avoid unnecessary danger.
  • Heart health: A Stanford University School of Medicine study evaluated the heart health of 135,000 men. It was found that the more children a man had, the less likely he would be to die or suffer from a heart disease. The connection is not clear but it certainly caught the researchers' attention.
  • Longevity: Both men and women tend to live noticeably longer lives after having children, as opposed to those who were married with no kids or single through most of adulthood. This could be attributed to gaining a connection to a family that helped fight depression, stress, and other day-to-day minor problems that can add up fast.
Health Benefits for Pregnant Mothers. Not surprisingly, mothers do experience health benefits unique to motherhood and being pregnant:
  • Better healing: It sounds somewhat sci-fi but mothers, specifically those who give birth to sons, may actually be better at healing and fighting off diseases than women who never have children. This is believed to be due to a process known as microchimerism, in which a mother absorbs a minute amount of Y-chromosomes into her blood from the placenta during pregnancy. Researchers believe this slight presence of Y-chromosomes circulating in a woman's body from then on, but not modifying her DNA, improves her body's natural ability to recognize and attack harmful pathogens and viruses.
  • Reduced cancerous growths: Women who have given birth or were pregnant develop breast cancer and gynecological cancers at a markedly lower rate than other women. Like many of the health benefits mentioned, the exact reasoning is not fully understood but the repetition of evidence to suggest it is true is too strong to ignore.
More tolerant periods: After giving birth, some women who once experienced extremely painful periods report a noticeable lessening of pain, cramps, and general discomfort.
D ownload New Stand Alone Rules of  F lorida Family Law Procedure Effective Immediately

Supreme Court Resolves Conflict Regarding Burden of Proof on Inter-Spousal Gifts:

Squib of the mon th:  

Washburn v. Washburn , 42 Fla.L.Weekly D243 (Fla. 4 th  DCA 2007).  Bank records which were hearsay and without certificate of declaration, did not meet business records exception contained in F.S. 90.803(6)(c).  Fact that document disclosed pursuant to mandatory discovery does not render it immune from standard rules of evidence, including having to demonstrate a proper exception to hearsay if evidence is, in fact, hearsay.
Family Law Section Sponsors

Platinum Level:

Gold Level:
Call for Articles:

The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of its three publications: The Florida Bar Journal, The Family Law Commentator, and/or FAMSEG.

The Journal: To be considered for publication in The Florida Bar Journal, the a rticle should be scholarly and relate in some manner to family law. It should be twelve to fifteen pages in length, complete with end notes. For more information contact C. Debra Welch or Belinda Lazzara.

The Commentator: The Family Law Sections Glossy Quarterly magazine. Art icles could range from substantive articles to advice about lifestyle and wellness. For more information contact Tenesia Hall or Heather Apicella.

FAMSEG: Got an announcement? Pictures of a section event? Something light and fluffy? FAMSEG is your place! You might have noticed something different in this edition of FAMSEG. So if you have any of the above, or suggestions to improve the look and feel of FAMSEG, contact Eddie Stephens.

We are also having a contest to rename "FAMSEG".  Got a suggestion?  Email us!

Advertise in FAMSEG!
For information: Contact Gabrielle Tollok at