July 2019 FAMSEG
Editors  Lindsay B. Haber, Lindsay A. Gunia and Amanda P. Tackenberg

Amy Hamlin and Norman Levin
Happy July! I am thrilled and honored to be the next Chair of the Family Law Section. To give you a little bit of background about myself, I have been an attorney for almost 20 years, practicing solely in the area of family law in the Central Florida area.
I started my career as a legal services attorney in 2000 working with the incredibly patient Wilson Arnes, Jr. Even when Wilson was rushing out the door, he always had time to help. That same year, I started working at Seminole County Legal Aid. The Executive Director, Silvia McLain, made sure we had everything we needed to do our jobs, including having Palm Pilots. Remember those? Silvia was so appreciative of the attorneys who volunteered their time and made sure they felt valued. She taught me that it doesn't cost anything to say "thank you" and even the smallest gestures have large impact and leave a lasting impression.
After a few years in legal services, I made the switch to private practice and began working for Norman Levin, a past Chair of this Section. I had so many opportunities, including becoming involved with the Family Law Section and working with Norman on the Zold case. Matt Capstraw was the other associate at Norman's office (and we worked together at Legal Aid, too), and to this day, I still call Matt for help.
After nine years with Norman, I began working for Wendy Aikin. She and Brenda London taught me that you can get great results for your client without going down the litigation road and that collaborative law is not as easy as people think. Our attorney meetings included discussions not only about cases but also all kinds of office matters. She put me on the path of thinking that I just might be able to fly solo.
With all the skills I learned from all those amazing mentors, I started my own practice in mid-2017 and have huge appreciation for everyone who has made that same leap. It is not easy running a practice. Everyone said the first year would be the hardest, and they were right. Without Jessica Kendrick, Amanda Jacobson, Melissa Parker, Chris Sprysenski, Mark Skipper, and Lori Caldwell-Carr, I may not have made it.
I never would have made it to where I am today if my parents had not sent me to private school. Thank goodness for Trinity Prep. I was an outwardly motivated student when I started there in the 7th grade and by the time I graduated, much to my parents' relief, I had become inwardly motivated and goal oriented.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to Ben Rossi, my boyfriend of 20 years, and one of the best contract attorneys in the state. He has been there for all the highs and lows. Every time I have a bad experience in court, I call Ben and he cheers me up with his own litigation stories.
One of my goals for this year is to highlight mentoring. We mentor in so many ways. I have been fortunate to have met great people in my personal and professional life. I have learned so much from my employers, Section members, family, and friends.
Thank you for allowing me to be your Chair of the Family Law Section. I look forward to the journey.
Amy Hamlin, Altamonte Springs
2019-2020 Chair, Family Law Section of The Florida Bar
More than 3,500 bills were proposed during the 2019 legislative session and about 200 bills made it through both the House and Senate. View the entire list at this link. Here's a quick recap of some key laws that took effect July 1, including a law that now makes texting while driving a primary offense .

Of particular interest to family lawyers,  House Bill 409 amends Florida's notary provisions and establishes requirements for conducting electronic and remote notarization in Florida.  The bill's electronic and remote notarization provisions go into effect on Jan, 1, 2020.
2019 Awards & Installation Luncheon
Please join us in congratulating the members of the 2019-2020 Family Law Section Executive Committee and Executive Council, who were installed on June 26 during the Section's annual Awards & Installation Luncheon. 2018-2019 Section Chair Abby Beebe presented her awards to members for their outstanding committee service and leadership and passed the gavel to this year's Chair, Amy Hamlin. Chair-Elect Doug Greenbaum, Treasurer Heather Apicella, Secretary Philip Wartenberg and Immediate Past Chair Abby Beebe were sworn in as the Section's 2019-2020 officers. Thank you to Norman Levin for conducting the swearing-in ceremonies. We will be featuring this year's award recipients on social media and in upcoming FAMSEG issues.

Photos from the ceremony will be posted to the Section website and available online for purchase. Details coming soon!
Kudos to Abby Beebe, 2018-19 Section Chair, for selecting Center for Child Counseling, Inc. as the recipient of her $5,000 Chair's honorarium. Center for Child Counseling is a childhood mental health nonprofit that supports the healing process for children and families experiencing trauma. 

Abby said, "I wanted to select an organization that was getting to the root of what causes so many of our families' issues in the first place. Center for Child Counseling addresses adversity in individual homes and families interacting with the court system as well as social inequity in the community at large. They bring a special kind of compassion and commitment to their work and really advocate for the best interests of our children." 

Chief Program Officer Lauren Scirrotto, LMHC and board member and Family Law Section member Eddie Stephens accepted the check on behalf of the center. Learn more about the Center for Child Counseling at centerforchildcounseling.org.
Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award

Congratulations to Harriet Williams of Williams Law Group in Tallahassee, who has been honored with the 2019 Family Law Section Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award. The 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 encourage other Section members to volunteer. 

Harriet has donated more than 1,000 pro bono hours. The majority of her pro bono cases are family law, which includes custody, child support and dissolution of marriage. Through the Making a Difference Award, the Section publicly acknowledges those individuals who have made a difference in the lives of the underserved or disadvantaged residents of our state.
Newly Board Certified in Marital & Family Law

Congratulations to these Family Law Section members, who recently earned Florida Bar board certification in Marital and Family Law: Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Christin Foster Gonzalez, Matthew C. Hunt, Denise Martinez Scanziani, Jennifer E. Reisler, Jerry Rumph, Jr. and Molly Lewis Sasso

The members were honored during the Section's Membership Awards & Installation Luncheon on June 26. Ben Hodas, Chair-Elect of the Marital & Family Law Certification Committee and a former Family Law Section Executive Council member, recognized each of the attorneys and shared information about certification. Board certification evaluates attorneys' special knowledge, skills, and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice.

If you wish to be placed on the waiting list for Trial Advocacy Workshop registration, please email Section Administrator Willie Mae Shepherd at wshepherd@floridabar.org . If there are any cancellations, you will be contacted in the order that your email was received.  View the event brochure .

Course No. 3186. General CLE: 29.5 hours; Ethics: 2.0 hours; Technology: 1.0 hours. Certification Program (max credit 29.5 hours): Marital and Family Law: 29.5 hours. Family Law Section members $940. Non-Section members $995.
Special Needs Children and Family Law CLE (Live and Webcast)
Oct. 11, 2019, 9 AM - 5 PM
Tampa Marriott Water Street

This is a day focused on helping Florida's families who have unique members.  Speakers will include a special education attorney, education and family advocate, mental health professional, medical professional, guardianship attorney, Florida Bar board certified specialists in Family Law, parents of children with special needs, and others experienced in working with the differently-abled. The day is designed to educate Family Lawyers on the issues.

The chairs of the event are  Dr. Deborah Day,  Phil Schipani, Esq., BCS and  Sarah E. Kay, Esq., BCS. 7.5 CLE credits are pending Florida Bar approval. Registration details will be available soon.
Renew Your Family Law Section Membership
The Florida Bar's 2019-20 annual fee renewal is open and you can pay your dues online. Don't forget to include your Family Law Section dues so you can continue to enjoy the many great benefits the Section offers!
  • Excellent monthly CLEs at discounted pricing for Section members.
  • Leadership and statewide networking through our numerous committees and the Executive Council.
  • Publication opportunities in the quarterly Commentator magazine for scholarly articles related to family law.
  • Camaraderie and networking during the Section's in-state, out-of-state and leadership retreats.
  • Numerous annual awards that recognize our members for exceptional pro bono and Section service.
  • Mentoring and mentorship opportunities.
  • Invaluable contributions by the Section and its Legislation Committee to protect Florida's families.
Renew today through your Florida Bar Member Portal.
Stephens' Squibs by Eddie Stephens
Squib of the Month:
Jooste v. Jooste , 44 Fla.L.Weekly D1242 (Fla. 4 th  DCA 2019).  Trial court abused discretion for denying temporary attorneys fees on sole basis requesting party had spent twice as much on fees.
Jeannette D. Genova
Hello everyone! I trust and hope everyone's summer is off to a great start! I just wanted to introduce myself as the new Florida Bar cycle begins. I have the pleasure and honor of being the 2019 - 2020 Chair of the Ad Hoc Health and Wellness Committee for The Florida Bar Family Law Section. I've never chaired anything in my life and it was with a little trepidation but mostly excitement that I accepted this opportunity. 

Although I'm not an expert on health and wellness, I do have some experience. Way back when, many moons ago, I used to be a program director for Jack La Lane's fitness centers, which later went on to become Bally Total Fitness. During that time I was certified by NDEITA, a nationally recognized group fitness certification organization. My responsibilities included, among other things, teaching aerobics classes as well as developing and implementing personal training plans for our members. 

Within health and fitness, I find that there is a mind/body component and I developed an interest in and read many motivational self-help books. I hope to use this Ad Hoc committee to pass on some helpful tips that have helped me along the way. Having said that, I welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have. This is your health and wellness community and we are in this together. Let's share our wisdom and knowledge to support one another. We don't have to do this alone. Thank you! 

Jeannette is a Florida Registered Paralegal and the Firm Manager for Genova Family Law in Miami. She is married to attorney Anthony Meehan Genova. They met on eHarmony 11 years ago. They live in Weston with their two small pooches, a MalteePoo named Bentley and a Havanese named Rocky. Contact her at jdg@genovafamilylaw.com or (305) 379-6000
"Out, d-ned metadata! out, I say!"  
Doubtless you've read in Section 2.9 of the Bounds of Advocacy, "A lawyer should take precaution to protect the confidentiality of all information in electronic documents and electronic communications, including metadata."
It's not difficult to remove personal data from a document. Here are instructions for Microsoft's Office products for Windows (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Visio).
In Word for Mac, go to  Tools> Protect Document . In the  Password Protect window that pops up, under  Privacy , click  "Remove personal information from this file on save" and then click  "OK." For visual learners, here  is how it looks.

Thank you to the Technology Committee for providing this content.

Signature Annual Sponsor

Platinum Level

Gold Level

Law Firm Sponsor

  Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn