The Florida Bar Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter

Nicole L. Goetz
2017-2018 Section Chair
Many see this as the season to give thanks. This year, I am certainly thankful for my family and friends. However, I am also thankful for my involvement with the section and that my involvement allows me to make a difference. I am also thankful for everyone I have met along the way who has  inspired me by their dedication and promotion of the goals of the Family Law Section. As an organization, we are lucky to have those individuals who work extremely hard to make the section the success it is.
Speaking of hard work, let me tell you a little about what some of our section volunteers have been doing lately. Our Legislation Committee, through its co-chairs Bonnie Sockel-Stone and Aimee Gross as well as its general members and other volunteers, has been promoting legislation to end underage marriage. It has also been promoting legislation that ensures our property distribution law is applied more consistently, and combating legislation that threatens the continued viability of child support enforcement laws benefiting Florida's children. Similarly, our Constitution Review Commission Committee, led by Family Law Section Chair-Elect Abigail Beebe, has been working to educate lawmakers on proposed constitutional revisions affecting Florida families' rights of privacy.  I'm also proud to report that last month, the section was a platinum-level sponsor for The Florida Bar Diversity & Inclusion Committee's Path to Inclusion Symposium. Section Treasurer Amy Hamlin and our ad hoc Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair Sheena Benjamin-Wise attended the event, which seeks to increase diversity and inclusion in the state's bar. Our long time executive council member Ronald Bornstein, who is presently chair of the section's Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, has been serving in his role as section representative within the Supreme Court's workgroup to consider mediation fees for indigent litigants in Florida. Finally, our Continuing Legal Education Committee, through the leadership of chairs Sarah Kay and Andrea Reid, has been producing courses for our members on a range of topics including parenting plans and domestic violence. Please note that our annual case law update course is presently scheduled. Check our website for more information, and register now.
Speaking of dedicated volunteers, this month's Executive Committee Spotlight features C. Debra Welch. Deb is a super-organized attorney, and has helped the section in numerous ways through her years of service. She is presently a member of our ad hoc Access to Justice Committee, and she is serving simultaneously both as the co-chair to our Rules and Forms Committee as well as our Publications Committee. She and her Publications Committee Co-Chair Lori Caldwell-Carr are presently finalizing the fall edition of the Commentator, the section's quarterly publication. For all of our authors or want-to-be authors, reach out to Deb or Lori with content for one of our upcoming publications. I think that I can speak for everyone when I say that we are all thankful for Deb's hard work, and we are pleased to recognize her this month in our EC spotlight! 
As most of us know, the annual Marital and Family Law Review Course will be held this year at the Loew's Royal Pacific Hotel in Orlando. What you may not realize though, is this year, 12 individuals were selected by the section's Finance Committee to receive scholarships paid for by the Family Law Section to attend the program. The section voted to pay for and provide these scholarships not only to assist attorneys who without financial assistance could not attend, but to pay for scholarships for hearing officers and magistrates unable to attend without financial assistance.  As a section we are excited to offer scholarships to the individuals selected to allow them to attend the program and take away knowledge that will help them benefit the families that they serve, whether they are serving as advocates or as quasi-judicial officers.
In closing, I thought that I would share a quote with you that not only applies to this time of year, but to all of us year-round:
"Not having the best situation, but seeing the best in your situation is the key to happiness."
- Maria Forleo
Thanking you for your work this year on behalf of the section, and wishing each of you good health and happiness as 2017 comes to an end.

Nicole L. Goetz, Esq., Naples
Chair, Family Law Section of The Florida Bar

Upcoming Events & CLEs
  • Dec. 7. Case Law Update *  (audio webcast).
  • Dec. 13. Title IV Parenting Plan Explained*  (audio webcast) - Michelle Klinger Smith and David Manz. (Noon) 1 hour.
  • Jan. 25.  2018 Midyear Committee Meetings - Orlando.
  • Jan. 26 - 27, 2018.  Marital & Family Law Review Course *  - Orlando (presented in conjunction with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers).
  • Feb. 28, 2018.   Enforcement of Equitable Distribution* (audio webcast) - Reuben Doupe and Elisha Roy. (Noon) 1 hour.
  • March 2, 2018. Money Matters: Making it Rain for Your Client* (live, all-day event) location TBD.
  • April 19, 2018. 2018 Family Law Section Legislative Update* (audio webcast) - Bonnie Sockel-Stone and Aimee Gross. (Noon) 2 hours.
* Pending Florida Bar CLE credit approval.

Seeking additional CLE credit? Click  here   for on-demand online CLE courses. 
2017 Case Law Update - Dec. 7

Live Audio Webcast
Dec. 7, 2017
Noon to 2 p.m. Eastern
Section members $125
Non-section members $180

Join attorneys Eddie Stephens and Ralph T. White as they provide an update of published Florida family law since Jan. 1, 2017. This two-hour presentation will include a discussion of recent case law on a wide range of topics, including but not limited to alimony, parenting, relocation, equitable distribution, child support, paternity, enforcement, modification, attorney's fees, contempt, procedure and ethics. Approved by The Florida Bar for 2.0 General, 2.0 Marital & Family Law Certification and 0.5 Ethics CLE credits.

Family Law Section Sponsors  

Platinum Level


Bronze Level

Beware of Holiday Cyber Scams

This may not be at the top of your holiday preparation list, but The Florida Bar's Practice Resource Institute is reminding all Bar members to protect themselves from holiday phishing scams or malware campaigns.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team--- a division of the Department of Homeland Security--- reminds the public to remain vigilant when browsing or shopping online this holiday season. Emails and ecards from unknown senders may contain malicious links. Fake advertisements or shipping notifications may deliver attachments infected with malware. Spoofed email messages and phony posts on social networking sites may request support for fraudulent causes.

How can you protect yourself? Read the full article in The Florida Bar News.

The PRI website's cybersecurity page maintains a list of tips and resources for lawyers and law firms.

November 17 Practice Tips in Domestic Violence Litigation CLE

View more seminar photos on the section's Facebook page.


Click HERE for this month's Squibs family law case summaries.

Squib of the Month Frost v. Frost, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D2141 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017).  Former Wife did not preserve error of court failing to provide steps to regain timesharing because the wife failed to file a rehearing.  Failure for court to adopt parenting plan is not fundamental error.

Deb Welch with her family, all attorneys.
Executive Council Member Profile: C. Debra Welch

Who is someone who inspires you? Many people have inspired me, but none more so than my paternal grandmother. She arrived from Lebanon when she was only nine years old. She left her mother and four siblings behind as she traveled here with just her father. She taught me so much and inspired me to pursue my education, find joy in my work, and to strive to live an authentic, self-reliant life defined by faith, integrity, kindness and gratitude for all of life's gifts. 

How do you define success? I have to borrow from Maya Angelou: "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." 

Why do you practice family law? The practice of family law often allows me to work at unique intersections of education, psychology and the law. It brings together three disciplines I truly enjoy.

What is something few people know about you? I have fierce yo-yo skills. (Ok, maybe that should be past tense.)

Favorite quote? "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this...  I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the things you think you cannot do."  - Eleanor Roosevelt

Favorite Book and why? The Little Prince by Antioine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry because it contains a fundamental truth about life:  "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Favorite TV show and why? Currently, Game of Thrones. The story is captivating and the entire time I watch in amazement of the special effects asking myself, "how do they do that?"

Favorite song lyric? Today it is "Don't believe me? Just watch!" Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars. 

Favorite superhero? Wonder Woman. Did you even have to ask?

Best place you have traveled? My family's home in North Carolina where I spent most of every summer growing up.

What benefits do you receive as a result of your section participation? It is extremely refreshing to get to know wonderful attorneys from across the state and to work cooperatively to promote and achieve the goals of the section.

Something we did not know about you? I used to be an actress.  I played Betsy Ross in my 5th grade play.

Coffee or tea? Coffee.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items could you not live without? Air conditioning, bug spray, and my cell phone (preprogrammed with the Coast Guard phone number.)  I can figure out everything else.
Family Law Section Sponsorship: NOW is the Time to Be Involved

Your Family Law Section sponsorship this year will result in excellent exposure for your company.

The section as active social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter where we regularly will be posting information about our sponsors, including photos and links from section events. We've added sponsorship categories and benefits in each level that include speaking opportunities, inclusion in printed programs for section functions, extra ticketing for events, etc. As in the past, your annual sponsorship includes listings on our section's website; logos, links and ads in our publications; signage at events; and exhibit space at key events.
The section also offers a number of event-based sponsorship opportunities for companies interested in connecting with our near 4,000 attorney members. 
Sponsorship of The Florida Bar Family Law Section is an excellent way to showcase your firm or business. If you are interested in being involved, or have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact Sponsorship Committee Chairs Matt Lundy and Beth Luna, or our section administrator Gabrielle Tollok. We hope to hear from you and look forward to helping you showcase your business and services.  

The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of three publications: The Florida Bar Journal, the Family Law Section's  Commentator and/or FAMSEG. For more information contact C. Debra Welch or  Lori Caldwell-Carr.
Journal : To be considered for publication in The Florida Bar Journal, the article should be scholarly and relate in some manner to family law. It should be 12-15 pages in length, complete with end notes. 
Commentator : The Family Law Section's glossy quarterly magazine. Articles could range from substantive articles to advice about lifestyle and wellness. 
FAMSEG : Have an announcement? Pictures of a section event? Something light and fluffy? FAMSEG is your place! 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." Have a suggestion? Email us!
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