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It has been encouraging to watch the Family Law Section investing in the next generation over the last month. 

In October, the Section offered two enriching CLEs – Three Men & a Family Law Case Update 2023 and Understanding Greyson’s law. If you weren’t able to catch them live, both are available 24/7 on-demand through the Bar website. Bravo to CLE Committee Chairs Kristin Kirkner and Jamie Epstein for their hard work on scheduling and organizing these first-class events. 

Also in October, the Section was well represented at the 2023 Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies. Philip Schipani, Dr. Deborah Day, and I were among the faculty presenting on Special Needs Children & Family Law while Ronald Kauffman was next door presenting on the Hague and PKPA. There were many active Section members among the attendees. What inspired me most about the experience was seeing so many professionals focused on investing in the next generation by providing the highest quality legal experience for all of Florida’s families. Congratulations to OSCA for organizing such an outstanding event.

Wondering how you can get involved in November? The Section has partnered with OSCA to present 11 all-day workshops throughout the State designed to create and sustain a partnership between the local court, local practitioners, and therapeutic and local resources to create trauma-informed family courts in each circuit. The events are free for court personnel and only $50 for everyone else. CLE and CJE credits applied for. Spend a day with local judges, magistrates, court staff, family law practitioners, and members of the mental health community to explore trauma, its impact on individuals and the legal community, and learn how to constructively address it in family cases. The first two events are in Jacksonville on November 16th and Gainesville on November 17th. Registration links are below. The Orlando and Daytona workshops occur in December. I can’t fathom a better way to invest in the next generation than by creating a court system that is attuned to each family’s unique needs and trained to connect families with resources tailored to promote their life-long health and well-being.

Bravo, Family Law Section. Look how much we’ve accomplished together in the first four months of our bar cycle and how many more great opportunities to invest in the next generation lie ahead. I am grateful for this Section and its many talented members that are dedicated to promoting the highest standards of professionalism and legal advocacy for Florida’s families.

Sarah E. Kay, B.C.S.

Chair, 2023-2024

UPDATES TO FLA. FAM. L. R. P. 12.285

Effective November 1, 2023

By: Jennifer Patti, Esq.

On September 7, 2023, the Florida Supreme Court issued Opinion SC2022-1738, which approved significant changes to Fla. Fam. L. R. P. 12.285. These amendments allow parties to mutually waive the requirement that financial affidavits be filed with the court under certain circumstances.

The opinion removes all references to the specific requirement that financial affidavits MUST be filed with the case within subdivisions (d)(1) and (e)(1).

Subdivision (c)(1) has also been clarified to state that parties are not required to “file or serve” a financial affidavit for simplified dissolutions, cases with no minor children, have filed a settlement agreement disposing of all financial matters, or if the court lacks jurisdiction to determine financial matters.

The opinion creates new subdivision 12.285(c)(2) wherein there are very specific conditions in which the mutual waiver of filing financial affidavits may occur in cases that involve minor children and financial and support issues. Note that the parties are still required to prepare and SERVE the financial affidavit.

Under the new subdivision (c)(2), if the parties choose to mutually waive the filing of the financial affidavit with the Court, the parties must acknowledge in a notice the following:

  1. that evidence of their current or past financial circumstances may be necessary for future court proceedings;
  2. they each have provided the other with a fully executed and sworn financial affidavit in conformity with Florida Family Law Form 12.902(b) or 12.902(c), as applicable;
  3. that the responsibility to retain copies of all affidavits exchanged rests solely with the parties;
  4. that the waiver only applies to the current filing and does not automatically apply to any future filings; and
  5. that the waiver may be revoked by either party at any time.

On October 26, 2023, the Florida Supreme Court issued Opinion SC2023-1388 adopting and approving Family Law Forms 12.902(k) (Notice of Joint Verified Waiver of Filing Financial Affidavits and 12.902(l) (Affidavit of Income for Child Support).

Opinion SC2022-1738 can be located at: https://supremecourt.flcourts.gov/content/download/877367/opinion/sc2022-1738.pdf

Opinion SC2023-1388 and approved forms can be located at:





and FAMILY LAW FORMS 12.902(k) AND 12.902(l)

The Florida Supreme Court issued two new rulings recently that affect Family Law professionals. You can view and download them below:


Download the ruling HERE.


Download the ruling HERE.


January 24-27, 2024 | Loews Royal Pacific Resort Orlando

Hotel rooms are going, going.....going fast, so if you plan to attend the 2024 Marital & Family Law Review Course and Mid-Year Meetings, you might want to book your stay NOW!

To download a PDF of Mid-Year Meeting Committee Schedule, click HERE.

To learn more about hotel reservations and the Review Course, visit the AAML website HERE.



Thursday, Nov. 9, 12pm - 1:00pm EST

The presenters will explain what public policy led to the the new statute as well as how the court can order the support for dependent adult children. This training acts as a road map for judges, attorneys, caregivers and adults with disabilities in how to order support while protecting community supports, public benefits and entitlement program eligibility. 1 CLE Credit.


12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Practical Tips for Requesting Support for the Dependent Adult Child

Kimberly Rommel-Enright, West Palm Beach

Sarah R. Sullivan, Jacksonville



We're honored to kick off our first of its kind partnership with OSCA to present a market-specific, customized 'Trauma-Informed Courts Workshop' series in 11 districts throughout the state.

The purpose of the workshops is to create - and sustain - a partnership between local courts, local practitioners, and therapeutic and local resources to develop trauma-informed family courts in each circuit.

Our first two workshops are LIVE and accepting registrations (limited to 100 for each session to ensure effective interaction):

JACKSONVILLE - Thurs., Nov. 16 at the Duval County Courthouse. Learn more and register → https://familylawfla.org/event/osca-trauma-workshop-jacksonville/

GAINESVILLE - Fri., Nov. 17 at the Alachua County Stephan P. Mickle Criminal Courthouse. Learn more and register → https://familylawfla.org/event/osca-trauma-workshop-gainesville/

The target audience will include judges and magistrates who hear domestic relations cases, family law attorneys, and court staff. The goal is to better serve Florida’s families by cultivating trauma-informed and trauma-responsive domestic relations courts.


Additional locations and corresponding dates are below, with registrations opening soon:


December 13, 2023 – Orlando

December 14, 2023 – Daytona Beach

March 25, 2024 – Fort Walton Beach

March 27, 2024 – Tallahassee

April 16, 2024 – Palm Beach

April 17, 2024 – Fort Lauderdale

April 18, 2024 – Miami

June 5, 2024 – Tampa

June 7, 2024 – Fort Myers


The cost to attend each workshop is $50 for non-judges and magistrates. Judges and court staff who wish to attend the workshop should contact Paola Pana at PanaP@flcourts.org for a special discount code which waives the registration fee.


By: Cash A. Eaton, Esq.

Winrow v. Heider, 2023 WL 3606460 (Fla. 4th DCA 2023).


In a story of renewed love, I present to you Winrow v. Heider, 2023 WL 3606460 (Fla. 4th DCA 2023). The Wife and the Husband originally married in 1993 but divorced six years later. They remarried in January of 2014, but, this time, they decided a premarital agreement is probably a good idea. You know…just in case.


The agreement provided that the Shady Pond Lane property in Boca Raton (“the Shady Pond Property”) would remain Husband's separate property with the accompanying right “to dispose of or encumber” it (emphasis added). The Husband testified that the HELOC debt encumbering the Shady Pond Property was incurred in his name alone in the fall of 2014 to pay for Wife's medical procedure. While the Husband described the HELOC debt as a marital liability, his financial affidavit listed all encumbrances on the property as non-marital.


In the final judgment, the trial court found the parties’ premarital agreement to be binding and enforceable. The trial court ordered that the property be distributed in accordance with its terms. Nevertheless, the trial court classified the HELOC debt as a marital debt and concluded that equity called for it to be split between the parties based on the purpose for which the proceeds of the loan were used. The Wife appealed and argued that the Court’s ruling did not comport with the plain language of the premarital agreement.


The Appellate Court agreed with the Wife. Premarital agreements are interpreted under Florida contract law. The plain language of the parties’ premarital agreement clearly allowed the Husband to dispose and encumber his separate property, the Shady Pond Lane property, while having it remain his separate property. Therefore, the trial court should have considered the entirety of the HELOC debt to be Husband's separate non-marital debt. The fact that the Husband used the funds from the HELOC to pay for marital expenses did not alter or change the terms of the parties’ premarital agreement. Accordingly, the final judgment was overturned.


By: Andrea Perlin, LMHC

Communication is an essential life skill that allows individuals to better understand and connect with one another. Effective communication enables us to resolve differences, make connections, and build trust and respect. These skills are critical in all stages and experiences, but potentially most invaluable when it comes to families and individuals dealing with life transitions, such as divorce.

Individuals that find themselves in challenging life transitions are in a place of needing guidance, support, help or even just a friend to listen to them. Both individuals must be open, assertive and authentic in their communication, for it to have a lasting change or impact on the challenging situation. Following are five key ways to communicate effectively in these situations:


A dialogue that begins with “I feel .....” an “I” statement is the key to assertive communication. Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive. Luckily, being assertive is both a learnable skill and mode of communication. When you are assertive, you can more easily express your thoughts and feelings effectively; you operate from a position of equality and respect; and you respect your own rights, values and beliefs while respecting the rights, values and beliefs of others. Assertive people understand that we can work together for the mutual benefit of everyone involved.


Taking responsibility for your own feelings, will help you improve your communication when you feel angry or upset. One way to achieve this is by being assertive by using "I" statements. “I” statements open dialogue and serve as a technique that will allow you to communicate what is upsetting while minimizing blaming. If our statements feel too blaming, the person we are trying to speak to will often become defensive.


It’s critical that when communicating with someone in a challenging situation, that you do not react suddenly, abruptly or quickly. Instead, listen to what is being said, take a step back and think about the reason behind their words and actions. After you have listened, absorbed and come up with a reasonable and thoughtful response, when you are ready to approach and communicate with the individual. A thoughtful response will also help you avoid a defensive and aggressive situation.


Not all conversations are going to be positive, easy or happy-go-lucky. Conversations can become serious and possibly even angry – especially when it comes to matters in life transitions. When engaged in one of those conversations, it is important for all involved parties to step back and take a look at the bigger picture — meaning, don’t take the words of others personally. Understand that during a more serious conversation, things might get said in ways that they shouldn’t be. Try to address the issue at hand without getting wrapped up in the drama.


You’ve heard it before: You can’t always be right nor get your way. Every conversation is going to be different, and many times you are going to be forced to meet in the middle. Rather than remaining stubborn and digging your feet into the ground, find a way to compromise with the other person so both your needs get met. The ability to compromise with others will help you maintain promising interpersonal relationships with others because you won’t just dismiss their points of view, but rather incorporate them into the end result. Compromising is one of the easiest ways to communicate well!

At the end of the day, good communication skills can be one of the best ways to minimize conflict. Good communication can promote strong relationships that yield successful outcomes in many life transitions.

Andrea Perlin, LMHC is the owner and founder of Boca Family Therapy. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with extensive experience helping children, adolescents, adults and families in both individual, couple and group settings. She specializes in the assessment of children, adolescents and adults, offering insight for behavior management, anxiety, depression, addiction, divorce, infertility and adoption. Some of Andrea’s services are the following: Play Therapy, Parenting Coordination, Social Investigations, Reunification Therapy, and Collaborative Divorce. 


An Infographic by Sarah Sullivan


Attorneys who practice Family Law are invited to participate in a National Institute of Justice-funded study to evaluate a domestic violence training program.

If you participate, you will complete:

1. A virtual SAFeR workshop and training session OR a brief online training module

2. A series of brief online surveys (over a one-year period)

You will be compensated for your time and you will qualify for CLE credits at no cost to you.

Click here or email asap-study@illinois.edu to sign up and a member of our team will contact

you directly.

This study is being conducted by Dr. Jennifer Hardesty and Dr. Brian Ogolsky at the University of

Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The study is approved by the UIUC Institutional Review Board,

Protocol #22599 (irb@illinois.edu).

NOTE: The Family Law Section does not officially endorse this study, but we have confirmed that no confidential or client-specific information will be solicited as a part of the study.


Want to submit an article for our monthly FAMSEG e-news, or our quarterly magazine, The Commentator? We can always use Tech Tips, Case Law Updates, and other relevant family law-related news for our 4,000+ members. Just email publications@familylawfla.org for more information. Thank you for your interest in contributing to our member publications!


Did you know that our Section Sponsorship has grown over the years? We have received 8 times the number of sponsorships that we had 7 years ago! Thank you to all of our past and current sponsors for supporting the mission of the Family Law Section! To learn more about getting involved, click HERE.