Say hello to Fall and goodbye to Summer! September 22 marks the first day of Fall! I am looking forward to a wonderful Fall season full of a lot of amazing things! 

We welcomed the new season with our Fall Meetings hosted at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. The meetings went exceptionally well. Each Committee convened (with all social distancing measures in place and the recommendations of the CDC followed.) I cannot thank the officers of each Committee, our members, and the Executive Council enough – your dedication to Florida’s families is truly remarkable. Great work with fabulous outcomes will be happening this year because of all of the voluntary contributions of our leaders, Section members, and, of course, our tireless Section Administrator, Willie Mae Shepherd. 

As we just celebrated Labor Day, we must acknowledge the contributions and achievements of ALL American workers, which means that each and every one of you must be celebrated for everything you do each and every single day.  Additionally, since Labor Day was born out of the struggle for humane work conditions, we must also celebrate self-care and work/life balance. For all of our fellow Section members who celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, L'Shana Tovah tikatevu and I wish you a tzom kal.  As we embark on this new season, we have many wonderful events occurring within our Section. 

In October, the Family Law Section will host our incredible Trial Ad Workshop (which is nearly sold out) and we will start November in Marco Island relaxing on the beach for our In-State Retreat (which is also nearly on a waitlist)! As each day passes, it is very important that we remember that every single day is precious! We must be kind to one another, understand that no one really knows what may be happening in someone else’s life, and be sensitive to the circumstances that a person may be facing. 

I leave you with this quote by Alice Morse Earle “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

Heather L. Apicella, Chair, 2021-2022
Alphabet Soup:
LGBTQ+ Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI)
for the Family Law Practitioner

Increase your DEI acumen by learning what diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are all about. You’ll learn common language and explore key concepts to help you begin to see how you can take meaningful action to support DEI. There will also be a discussion of potential legislative changes. 1.5 CLE, Bias Elimination.

Register HERE!
If you're interested in attending the Section's Biennial Trial Advocacy Workshop October 7-10 at the new JW Marriott Waterstreet in Tampa, please REGISTER TODAY, as we are nearly sold out (just 80 spaces total, and we have fewer than 10 left!) 24 CLE Credits.

Hone your trial skills as you prepare and present a family law case from beginning to end.
  • Choose between a “Children’s Issues” track or a “Financial Issues” track (preferences will be considered but are not guaranteed).
  • You will be paired with an opposing counsel and will be part of a small group where you will receive individualized attention and critique from your workshop leaders, all of whom are either Board-Certified Marital and Family Law attorneys, judges or general magistrates.
  • You will meet with mental health experts (“Children’s Issues” track) or financial experts (“Financial Issues” track) and will have an opportunity to ask questions and engage in open discussions.

NOTE: All CDC recommendations and host venue policies will be strictly adhered to during in-person meetings.
Join your fellow Section members and Family Law peers (in person!) for our signature programs and events in 2021-2022. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Thurs., September 9, 12:00PM - 1:30PM: CLE Webinar - Alphabet Soup: LGBTQ+ Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) For The Family Law Practitioner. Register HERE.


Thurs., October 7 - Sun., Oct 10: Trial Advocacy Seminar at the JW Marriott Tampa Waterstreet. Register HERE.

Thurs., November 4 - Sun., November 7: In-State Retreat at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa. Learn more HERE.

Fri., January 21 - Sat., January 22: Annual Marital and Family Law Review Course, in partnership with AAML, at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Orlando. Register HERE.

Wed., April 20 - Sun., April 24, 2022: Out-of-State Retreat at the Vintage House at The Estate Yountville, CA. Learn more HERE.

More than 75 Family Law Section members attended our Fall Meetings in Sanibel last month, and it was fantastic to see everyone in person, even with masks, fist pumps and safe distancing protocols. Thanks to all of the amazing Committees for your hard work and planning for the upcoming year - we can't wait to see what's on the docket!

Hope to see many of you at Trial Ad in October, and again at our In-State Retreat in November on Marco Island!

Here are a few photos from the Fall Meetings, but CLICK HERE to view the entire Gallery on our website!
The Family Law Section has had a mentoring program for nearly a decade, and while it has served the needs of many law students, young lawyers, and even experienced lawyers, in the coming year, the program will expand its reach by making more mentors available, facilitating the connections between mentors and mentees, and creating opportunity for Section members to become better lawyers.
The Mentoring Corner, located at the Family Law Section’s website, will introduce you to all those gracious Section members, listed alphabetically, that have volunteered to serve as mentors.  Soon, a potential mentee will be able to request a specific mentor, and if no specific request is made, the mentee will receive a list of available mentors. Prior to the change, mentees needed to individually contact potential mentors to determine availability. Stay tuned for future updates on more changes being made to better serve our members. 
If you are a Section member interested in serving as a mentor and have been practicing family law for at least 5 years, or if you are a Section member interested in obtaining a mentor, please email
The Family Law Section’s Membership Committee is Co-Chaired by Tenesia Hall, Esq. and Robin J. Scher, Esq., also members of the Section’s Executive Council. 
Murkerson v. Murkerson, 2021 WL 3627636 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021), August 17, 2021. Murkerson involves the discussion of two issues, permanent periodic alimony in a moderate term marriage and the award of exclusive use and possession of the marital home for the benefit of the minor children after dissolution of marriage. The parties were married for 14 years and have three minor children. The parties stipulated that Wife would be designated as the majority timesharing parent.
At trial, the Wife was awarded exclusive use of the marital home until 2023 at which time the children would be fifteen, twelve and six years of age.  The Wife was additionally awarded rehabilitative alimony. The Wife challenged the length of exclusive use and possession arguing for an award until the youngest child reached the age of majority. The Wife also challenged the amount and type of alimony arguing insufficient findings and entitlement to permanent periodic alimony.
As a general rule, a trial court may award the primary residential parent exclusive use and possession of the marital residence until the youngest child reaches majority or the primary residential parent remarries, unless there are special circumstances.” Martin v. Martin, 959 So. 2d 803, 805 (Fla. 1st DCA 2007) (citing Martinez v. Martinez, 573 So. 2d 37, 43 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990)). The Murkerson, court identified two main reasons to affirm the trial court’s award of exclusive use and possession: (1) the Husband could not purchase a home for himself and the children while he remained responsible for the mortgage on the marital home, and (2) by the youngest child’s sixth birthday, the Wife would have sufficient income and equity needed to refinance the marital home. 
In regard to alimony, a court may only award permanent alimony in a moderate term marriage if such award is based upon clear and convincing evidence taking into consideration all the factors set forth in section 61.08(2). Pricher v. Pricher, 300 So. 3d 1258, 1260 (Fla. 5th DCA 2020). A “simple disparity in income will not support an award of permanent periodic alimony.” Walker v. Walker, 85 So. 3d 553, 554 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012). Although the final order made specific findings as to the Wife’s need for alimony and the Husband’s ability to pay, the appellate court was without sufficient findings to determine how the trial court arrived at its alimony amount and reversed and remanded the matter.
As professionals, and generally, we need to take all reasonable steps to ensure the security of our online accounts. The days of using a simple password are long behind us. Even if you utilize different unique complex passwords and a password manager for each of your accounts (including your office network login, e-mail, banking and even social media), that may not be enough if that password becomes compromised. It is for this reason that you should consider using two factor authentication.

Two factor authentication, otherwise known as 2FA, provides a secondary layer of security in addition to the account password. 2FA limits access to your accounts to “trusted” devices and web browsers. When you log into the account for the first time from that device or web browser, you will be prompted and required to satisfy the secondary layer of security to proceed, even if the account name and password were input correctly. The additional information can include a secondary password, a one-time authorization code sent to your phone, or a push notification sent to a personal device that you assign for this purpose. The objective being to ensure that it is really you, and not someone else who is accessing your accounts. Also, through the push notifications you can be alerted if someone other than you accessed your accounts without authorization.

There are a multitude of options available for you to implement 2FA. Many online banking, utility, credit card and even gaming platforms provide for 2FA if selected as part of the account settings. 2FA is available for use with your Apple ID to access your apple account. 2FA is also available through apps that can be installed on your phone or on your computer that will protect your e-mail and work accounts. These applications providing 2FA security include but are not limited to Microsoft Authenticator and Google Authenticator. 

The benefits of 2FA arise from how you use it. Some platforms like Microsoft Authenticator permit you to require re-authentication after a designated period of time so that you are not regularly inconvenienced, but periodically you have to re-confirm your access. Other platforms will prompt you as to whether to recognize the device or web browser as a trusted device. Depending upon the importance of the information in the account (such as access to online banking) you may elect to always require verification for each login even though it comes from the same device. 
Practicing Collaborative Law during COVID-19 has created many challenges. Technology, such as Zoom, has helped to overcome these new challenges. Additionally, revised forms intended to organize virtual communications have become necessary. The mental health facilitator is ideally poised to take on the organizational role for the team. To assist, the following Checklist was developed to keep all players in the process, including the lawyers and clients, on track.  
Increased team communication, in addition to maintaining a working checklist, has been challenging but necessary during the pandemic. The mental health facilitator is the team member that is best positioned to remind team members and clients about their “homework,” check in to make sure the “homework” is completed, and meet with the clients to manage obstacles that develop between meetings. 

Since the unexpected switch to virtual practice, the importance of including an additional wrap-up meeting after the agreement has been signed has become necessary. The post-signing management meeting has been an effective method to ensure the teams' members have completed the tasks associated with the filing of the agreement and the team has effectuated the transfer of titles, monies, and deeds. This methodology should continue after in-person meetings resume. At the post-signing management meeting, do not forget to ask clients about their experiences. Future families would benefit from learning what the clients believe went well and what the team could improve upon. 

Organization and timely, effective follow-through will increase client satisfaction and increase positive discussion about the collaborative process among their friends and family members in the community.
We are so grateful to our Section sponsors! Thank you for your ongoing support of our members and mission.

If your business would like to reach nearly 4,000 Family Law professionals through our various communications platforms and in-person and virtual events, we invite you to consider Section sponsorship. To learn more about benefits and levels, email or click HERE to learn more.
If you have a topic of interest regarding Family Law and you'd like to submit an article for our monthly e-Newsletter, FAMSEG, or our quarterly publication, The Commentator, email for more information. Thank you for your interest in contributing to our member publications!