Co-editors: Ron Kauffman and Eddie Stephens
CHAIR'S MESSAGE - JUNE 2018
It is hard to believe how fast the year has passed, but this is my last chair's message for FAMSEG. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve as chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar for the 2017-2018 bar year, and I am very proud of the section and its accomplishments. This year, as a section, we continued to aggressively promote substantive and procedural mastery of family law, ethics and professionalism and access to justice. I want to recap a few of our accomplishments.
We started the year with our biannual Trial Advocacy Workshop at the beautiful Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg. The program was put together through the help of more than 60 volunteers. The workshop provided attendees a trial necessary for board certification, and gave lawyers of all skill levels a chance to hone their trial skills in small group settings with feedback from attorneys who are board certified in marital and family law.
Next, we spent time at our annual out-of-state retreat, traveling to the C Lazy U guest ranch in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In October, we held our fall meetings in Bonita Springs
--- an area hard hit by hurricane Irma
--- and in January, we had our mid-year committee meetings at the Loew's Royal Pacific Hotel in Orlando. We then celebrated the close of the year at our in-state retreat on Memorial Day weekend at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. During those meetings, we heard from our hardworking substantive, organizational and ad hoc committees on their accomplishments.
This year, as in every other, we produced our Marital and Family Law Review Course, a comprehensive survey review course that is co-presented with the AAML, Florida Chapter. The course sold out this year with more than 1,600 attendees thanks to the help of our many talented speakers. The section generously offered 12 scholarships for selected individuals to attend the program. These scholarships assisted attorneys
--- who without financial assistance could not attend
--- and also paid for the education of our hearing officers and magistrates.
We had a very busy and productive legislative session in Tallahassee. Our Legislative Committee, as well as its general members and other volunteers, worked tirelessly to promote legislation ending underage marriage, and defeat bills that would harm Florida's families. Committee members and our supporters ensured that the "Kaaa Fix bill" became law. While our Legislative Committee worked to address law changes, our Continuing Legal Education Committee produced courses throughout the year for our members on a range of topics including parenting plans, domestic violence, tax, enforcement of equitable distribution and a family law legislative update.
The section was a proud platinum-level sponsor for The Florida Bar Diversity & Inclusion Committee's Path to Inclusion Symposium. We also sponsored the FLAFCC organization, as well as doubled our funding for the Koziak Mentoring Picnic. The section once again made a charitable donation to The Florida Bar Foundation of $75,000 for continued support of the Children's Legal Services Grant Program.
Finally, our ad hoc Bounds of Advocacy Committee completed a full-scale revision of the "Bounds of Advocacy." The "Bounds" originally was adapted from the AAML and published by the section in 2004. This year, the Bounds of Advocacy was updated to reflect changes in the law, ethics and technology. I am excited to announce that the section generously underwrote the cost of printing the publication for our members, and the electronic version of the Bounds of Advocacy is available on our
I was very blessed this year to have worked with some incredibly dedicated individuals who worked tirelessly to promote this year's theme of appropriate advocacy. At the annual awards and installation luncheon on June 13 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, we will get to thank the many supporters and talented volunteers whose hard work made this year a success. I hope that you will join us to learn more about those individuals who made a difference. During the annual luncheon, which is held in conjunction with The Florida Bar Annual Convention, I also look forward to recognizing and congratulating the new board certified attorneys in the area of Marital and Family law, and swearing in our new and returning Executive Council and Executive Committee members.
I am sincerely thankful for having had the opportunity to serve as chair, and I am so very grateful to all of those who assisted with the section this year
--- trustees, Executive Council, Executive Committee, the AAML, Florida Chapter, committee leadership, bar staff, including our talented and enthusiastic program administrator, as well as many at-large members. I am equally grateful to my family and my staff who graciously helped me take on this responsibility. It has been an incredible experience for which I will be forever grateful. With enthusiasm, I look forward to passing the gavel to Abigail Beebe as chair for the 2018-2019 bar year. I have no doubt that the section will be well served by her leadership and efforts in the coming year.
2017-2018 Chair, Family Law Section of The Florida Bar
Family Law Section Events and Meetings During The
Florida Bar Annual Convention
Sign up for the Membership Awards & Installation Luncheon through Florida Bar Annual Convention
Wednesday, June 13
- 8-9:30 a.m. Membership Breakfast (Flagler/Gilchrist)
- 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Committee Meetings (schedule)
- 12-2 p.m. Membership Awards & Installation Luncheon (Bonnet Creek Ballroom XI)
- 6-8 p.m. Membership Reception (Manatee)
Thursday, June 14
- 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Executive Council Meeting (Broadway/Carnegie)
You can find all schedule information for Annual Convention at
. We hope to see you there!
It is with great pleasure that the Family Law Section's Nominating Committee presents the following slate for leadership for the 2018-2019 bar year, to be presented for installation by acclamation at our annual luncheon on June 13 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.
Chair, Abigail Beebe
Chair-Elect, Amy Hamlin
Treasurer, Douglas Greenbaum
Secretary, Heather Apicella
Immediate Past Chair, Nicole L. Goetz
(terms ending June 2022*)
C. Debra Welch
*Shannon Carlyle has been nominated to fill
Heather Apicella's term ending 2020 in light of Ms. Apicella's nomination as Secretary.
Please join us at the Family Law Section's June 13 luncheon
--- held in conjunction with The Florida Bar Annual Convention
--- to see the presentation of the slate, to vote and to congratulate all of the worthy candidates!
Please congratulate Amanda Colón, Christin Gonzalez, Amber Kornreich, Donna Marshall, Tamara Nicola, Kayla Richmond and Sarah Sullivan
--- Family Law Section members who have been named 2018 Florida Association for Women Lawyers Leaders in the Law.
Nominated by their respective FAWL chapters, Leaders in the Law have made significant and meaningful impacts in their communities. These outstanding women have given back through legal service or volunteer activities and have been positive role models for other FAWL members.
The Family Law Section's annual in-state retreat took place last weekend at the beautiful
JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
. Guests enjoyed a CLE seminar, networking, meetings and fun! Special thanks to Trisha Armstrong for taking these wonderful photos. Check out more great pictures from the weekend on the section's Facebook page.
Special Thanks to Our Retreat Platinum Sponsor
Click HERE for this month's Squibs family law case summaries
Squib of the Month: Greene v. Greene, 43 Fla.L.Weekly D815 (Fla. 1st DCA 2018). Trial court erred using "inherent authority" to award attorneys' fees to former husband when former wife's interpretation of a provision was deemed incorrect and unreasonable. Inherent authority only applies "the equitable conduct doctrine" when a party has acted with egregious conduct or bad faith. Such an award is reserved for those extreme cases where a party acts in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly and for oppressive reasons.
If you missed the live presentations of Family Law Section CLEs, many are available for purchase in CD or DVD formats. Visit
on The Florida Bar website, and filter your search by Family Law in the "Sponsored By" menu on the left. The options include recent CLE courses such as
Parenting Plans: A Judicial Roundtable Discussion, and the Family Law Section Legislative Update 2018.
Need other options? Click here for on-demand family law CLE courses.
Leadership Retreat & Fall Meeting: Scholarships Available
Mark your calendars for the Aug. 22-25 Family Law Section
and Fall Meeting at
The Colony Hotel
in Palm Beach.
The section offers five, $500
to attend the retreat. The section will waive the retreat registration fee and reimburse each scholarship recipient up to $500 after receipt of proof of payment for travel and hotel expenses. Other expenses over and above $500 are the participant's responsibility, and each participant must attend all retreat meetings and functions.
To apply, you must:
a] be a member in good standing of The Florida Bar.
b] be an active member of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar.
c] affirm under oath that without the scholarship, you cannot attend the course.
Please email your completed application to Family Law Section Treasurer Amy Hamlin at
no later than Friday, June 15, 2018.
Family Law Section Annual and Semi-Annual Sponsors
Member Profile: Joe Hunt
Harris, Hunt & Derr, P.A., Tampa
||Joe Hunt and his wife, Dawn.
Who is someone who inspires you? My mother has been the biggest inspiration for me. Even though she has passed, the lessons she taught me continue to inspire me in how to live my life and treat others. My mother inspired me to be anything I wanted to be. She taught me how to be empathetic, and to not judge people, but instead ask questions to find out their circumstances and what is impacting them in bad moments as most people are good at their core. These lessons have served me well in my professional and personal life.
How do you define success?
Success is so
mething that is greatly impacted by what you are measuring. However, whether I am measuring my success as a parent, as a professional, as a friend or anything else I should strive to make each day a success
. I consider a day to be a success if I know I have treated each person I encounter with respect; I have worked hard to achieve the goals I have set for myself
; I have laughed and made other people laugh; I have made other people feel good about themselves and have let other people make me feel good about myself;
and I am a smarter and better person than when I woke up.
If I am able to do all those things, pay my bills, feed my family, and stay true to my core beliefs and values, then life will be a success.
Why do you practice family law?
It took me a while to realize it, but my experience with my own parent's divorce when I was a pre-teen
as what led me to family law
. The way my parents were able to successfully co-parent made me empathic and gave me the desire to help people navigate their divorce in a non-destructive manner.
What is something few people know about you?
I was voted the shyest guy in my high school graduating class.
"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need."
Favorite family law case?
Woodward v. Berkery 714 So.2d 1027. Woodward is the famous entertainer Tom Jones, and the Judge started the opinion with "It's not unusual...".
There is a lesson in that opinion in that it is always important to maintain your sense of humor.
Favorite book and why?
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This is a close call between this book and Richard Wright's Native Son. Both books had a tremendous impact on how I see the world and the ability to see it through another person's eyes.
I read The Grapes of Wrath at a point of my life when I was in high school and highly curious about other people's circumstances, and it led me to a lot of other literature that greatly influenced me and which I made not have read. For that I am greatly in debt to the novels of John Steinbeck.
Favorite TV show and why?
The Wire. The writing and gritty realism are second to none, and I love how the city of Baltimore is also a character in the show.
Favorite song lyric?
"God have mercy on the man who doubts what he's sure of" - The Boss
Batman. Actually it is Batman along with all the villains. The theme
s of Justice and Order vs. Chaos (with the Joker) are relatable themes in everyday life and society.
Best place you have traveled?
Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior. It is a 3½-hour ferry ride just to get to the island, but it is well worth it.
It is the one place we have traveled to which my kids ask to return.
Proudest accomplishment within the section?
Getting involved in the section, which has led me to develop get to know some outstanding people and develop wonderful relationships.
What benefits do you receive as a result of your section participation?
The relationships I have developed with other attorneys throughout the state
, and the ability to be at the forefront of changes in the law and help the families of Florida
Something we did not know about you?
One of the things I most like to do is go to see live music, whether it be local or a festival to which I have to travel. I once saw three Springsteen show in three cities in four nights, and my wife and I even had Bruce play our song request in Atlanta.
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items could you not live without?
An iPhone with thousands of songs saved, and access to Spotify. A Kindle loaded with books. My guitar because then I would finally have plenty of time to learn to play it.
The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of three publications:
- 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! Please contact Editor Ron Kauffman.