The Florida Bar Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter

Nicole L. Goetz
2017-2018 Section Chair
Our section and its committees have been working hard through the summer, and we are preparing now for our annual out-of-state retreat. The event will take place from September 6-10 at the top-rated C Lazy U Ranch, an all-inclusive luxury guest ranch in the Rocky Mountains. Program chairs Carin Porras and Amy Hamlin have put together a fantastic cutting edge CLE on a topic new to Florida but one that we are certain to see in the near future in light of the recent statewide law change legalizing medical marijuana: the interplay between medical marijuana and parenting time.  While we have sold out of our room block, the ranch has indicated that they may have some additional limited space for those who have not yet booked and would like to join us. Check out our brochure to see how truly unbelievable this location is and to see all of our scheduled retreat activities! Please contact Gabrielle Tollok at  if you are interested in attending what should be an unforgettable event!
As a program chair for this year's out-of-state retreat and our current treasurer of the section, Amy Hamlin is the individual appearing in our Executive Committee spotlight this month.  Amy works tirelessly for the section, is a great leader, and most importantly a great person.  Read her spotlight to get to know her better! 
Please also plan to join us at our fall meetings that will take place at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs on October 6. Our room block is filing fast, so make your reservations now.
Finally, I just want to quickly say thank you to those who work hard to advance the purposes of the section; nothing would be accomplished without the tireless dedication of those members who donate their time to this organization.

Nicole L. Goetz, Esq., Naples
Chair, Family Law Section of the Florida Bar
Upcoming Events
  • October 5 - 7.  Fall General Meeting - Bonita Springs (Oct. 6 Committee Meetings; Oct. 7 Executive Council Meeting). Info here.
  • Oct. 19. Parenting Plan: A Judicial Roundtable Discussion - webinar.*
  • Nov. 17. Practice Tips in Domestic Violence Litigation: How to Effectively Represent Clients in Domestic Violence Cases - live (Tampa) and webcast. Approved for 8.0 General / 8.0 Marital & Family Law board certification CLE credits. Info here.
  • Nov. 30. Mechanics of Board Certification - webinar.*
  • Dec. 7. Family Law Case Update - webinar.*
  • Jan. 25. 2018 Midyear Committee Meetings - Orlando.
  • Jan. 26 - 27, 2018. Marital & Family Law Certification Review Course - Orlando (presented in conjunction with the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers).*
* Pending Florida Bar CLE credit approval.

Looking for additional CLE credit? Click  here   for on-demand online CLE courses. 
Family Law Section Sponsors  

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Family Law Section Featured in Florida Bar News

In the Sept. 1 issue of The Florida Bar News, Section Chair Nicole Goetz discusses the section's ambitious agenda and appropriate advocacy theme: "Our committee agendas relate directly to improvement of the practice area and the profession - and most have open membership. The 'appropriate advocacy' theme will be part of our committee work, CLEs, legislative agenda, and the certification review course. Our goal is to further promote mastery of the substantive, procedural, and ethical rules that are unique to family law."

The section's fall committee meetings are Oct. 6 at the  Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs, and any attorney or paralegal who is interested in learning more about the section is welcome to attend.

"If you are not already an active member of the Family Law Section, we encourage you to get involved this year," Goetz said. "We have a lot that we can accomplish together."

The article concludes with a summary of the 2017 Family Law Section awards presented by Immediate Past Chair  Laura Davis Smith during the section's annual luncheon. Read the full article.

2017 Rising Star Awards

Congratulations to the members who received The Florida Bar Family Law Section's 2017 Rising Star Awards! The plaques read, "In recognition of your enthusiasm, initiative and outstanding service to The Florida Bar Family Law Section and its goals; you are a rising star!" This year's recipients are Jamie Isicoff, Matt Lundy, Michelle Klinger Smith and K. Beth Luna.

Click HERE for this month's Squibs Family Law Case Summaries.
Squib of the Mon thWhissell v. Whissell, 42 Fla.L.Weekly D1533 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017).  Trial Court erred terming certain payments as alimony when parties prenuptial agreement waived alimony.

Family Law Section Sponsorship: NOW is the time to be involved.
Your Family Law Section sponsorship this year will result in greater exposure for your company.

The section now has 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.  
Tech Tip from FindLaw® for Legal Professionals: Is Your Computer Still Necessary? Practicing Law with a Tablet

Thinking about incorporating an Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Microsoft Surface into your law practice-or replacing your desktop or laptop altogether? Here are some quick tips that can help you decide.
  • Do you create or review content? If you create a lot of content you'll have to become familiar with the tablet's touch screen input-or add a keyboard. If you're more of a content reviewer, tablets can be good for viewing, commenting on and revising documents.
  • How much data storage do you need? A laptop offers vastly more onboard storage than a tablet so you'll need to store data in the cloud if you exclusively use a tablet.
  • Are you super-attached to your software? Tablets use different operating systems (Android or iOS) than laptops, so you might have to pay for a workaround. Microsoft Office 365, for example, lets you access its software suite through the cloud to view, edit and create Microsoft documents from your tablet.
  • Do you need to connect to a printer or scanner? This may require the use of wireless or Bluetooth.
Still undecided? Check out "tablet PCs," lighter, tablet-size devices that run on the same operating systems as PCs. These may be good solutions for lawyers who want the sleekness and mobility of tablets combined with the computing power of laptops.

Amy Hamlin, Hamlin Family Law, Winter Park
Amy Hamlin with her mom, Andrea Hamlin, and her boyfriend, Ben Rossi.
Who is someone who inspires you? My parents. When we moved to Orlando in the early 70s, my mother had a masters degree in nursing but wasn't happy in her profession. A few years later, my father encouraged her to go back to school to become a physician. At that time, there was no medical school in Central Florida; it wasn't an easy decision, and it wasn't an easy life during those years with mom in another city and dad trying to figure out how to get my pigtails even every morning. I admire their courage and strength to make those tough family choices. 

How do you define success?  Having the respect of my peers and the love and support of my family and friends. 

Why do you practice family law? Whether it's a divorce, paternity, pre/postnuptial agreement or something else, people who come to us are going through an uncertain time. I love helping my clients transform from being scared, nervous and unsure to finding their voices and knowing they will be ok. 

What is something few people know about you?  My overall appearance and demeanor are conservative. People are shocked to find out that I have four tattoos.  

Favorite quote?  "All it takes is all you got." - Kay Yow 

Favorite family law case?  Loving v. Virginia. 

Favorite book and why?  Three of my favorites are Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and War and Peace. They're love stories with happy endings. 

Favorite TV show and why? M  y very favorite TV show has been off the air for years, Homicide Life on the Street. It was set in Baltimore, where I'm from. Plus, Andre Braugher is fantastic.  

Favorite song lyric?  I don't know that I have a favorite song lyric but my favorite album is Ten by Pearl Jam. 

Favorite superhero?  Wonder Woman.

Best place you've traveled?  My grandparents' house in Indian Rocks Beach. 

Proudest accomplishment within the section?  The two years I was chair and co-chair of the Publications Committee. Our meetings were lively and fun and as a result, we produced great publications. 

What benefits do you receive as a result of your section participation?  My involvement in the section makes me a better lawyer because I get to work with some of the smartest and most accomplished family law lawyers in the state forming legislation that impacts Florida's families, creating rules and forms that we use in our everyday practice, and writing publications and putting on CLEs that educate lawyers. 

Coffee or tea?  Iced latte.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what could you not live without?   Ben, my boyfriend of almost 20 years ... I don't think I'd need anything else.  

Benchmarks: Raising the Bar on Civics Education is a Florida Bar program to give adults a refresher course on civics so they can better understand how government works, particularly the judiciary.

A speaker-training seminar during The Florida Bar Fall Meeting will focus on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which is appointed every 20 years to hold public hearings and then put directly on the ballot proposed constitutional amendments for voters to consider. After attending the Benchmarks session, attorneys will be able to take the "Every 20 Years" presentation to civic groups in their communities.

The seminar will be held at The Florida Bar Fall Meeting at the Tampa Airport Marriott on Friday, Oct. 13, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The course offers CLE credit: 2 hours general and .5 ethics. Attorneys who want to attend should email or call (850) 561-5669. Space is limited so early registration is important.

Benchmarks sessions are fun as well as informative. This one will be co-led by nationally recognized civics educator Annette Pitts, executive director of the Florida Law Related Education Association. Attorneys can receive CLE credit for making Benchmarks presentations: 1 ethics credit hour for each presentation for up to three presentations in a three-year reporting period. The seminar is presented by the Constitutional Judiciary Committee.

The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of three publications: The Florida Bar Journal, The Family Law 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 a rticle 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. Art icles 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.
Advertise in FAMSEG!
For information: Contact Gabrielle Tollok at .
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