The Florida Bar Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter
Editor: Ron Kauffman

Abigail M. Beebe
Before I share my November  Chair's message, let us pause for a moment, take time to think of and continue to pray for the families and those in the Panhandle, i.e. Mexico Beach, who continue to pick up the pieces of the absolutely devastating results left by Hurricane Michael in October.  This, of course, hits close to home; our very own Florida Bar missed by a mere slant one way. Then, to learn of the horrific Pittsburgh murders, the Kentucky couple murdered at the grocery store and the terrifying bomb threats tainting our front pages and headlines as we enter into this week. Don't lose sight of the terrible news spreading throughout the country and take a simple pause to just hope for better, less terror and destruction. Less hate and terror.  Thank you. 

In an effort to shift gears from that, not so easy, I would like to ask you, step back. Breathe and let's try and recall what it is that is really important. This November, I challenge you to give thanks; it actually can make you a happier person. 

November kicks off the holiday season each year, with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. Yet, with so much sadness and terror around us, can we really feel grateful and thankful? Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it's built right into the holiday - expressing gratitude.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. It is in that process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. Thus, gratitude inevitably helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals - whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past, the present and the future. Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Most of the studies published on this topic support an association between gratitude and an individual's well-being.

Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

Managers who remember to say "thank you" to people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder.

How can you cultivate gratitude?

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
As we go into November 2018, try and remind yourself to think of and share your gratitude on a regular basis, both for yourself and those surrounding you. Here are some of my tips to do so: 

Write a thank-you note. For me, writing a note to someone special to let them know that I am grateful for them always puts a smile on my face.  It is true that you can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or even possibly, deliver it in person. 

Thank someone mentally. There are often times when you know you want to thank someone, and you've written yourself thousands of post-its or emails to do so, but you simply find NO time to actually write it. It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual. Although it may not impact that specific person, it still will make you feel good.  

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with another, thoughts about what you are grateful for each day.

Don't take good things for granted. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your accomplishments, achievements, goals or simply the good things around you - reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for helps remind us of those good things, which also comes in handy when things may not go so smooth or so well. Sometimes it helps to pick a number - such as three to five things - that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.  This task is sure to help you get through a few bumps in the road should they appear.  

As we all know, at times, it seems, there is just no time. But, it is imperative, that you stop, take a moment and look around.  Look at yourself, your life, your home and take a moment, on occasion, to remind yourself that what you have around you, in your office, with your team or staff, your immediate family or extended, close friends and even acquaintances are YOURS. This month, please remind yourself not to take any of that for granted.  Don't let your hard work or THIS life pass-by and not remember to appreciate it. Do not take any of it for granted.  Nurture it, appreciate it and take the time to care and make sure to show your gratitude.  Even just a small token, goes a long way. 

On another note, in October, the Family Law Section enjoyed Nashville, Tennessee, and the wonderful Thompson Hotel. We kicked off with a "bourbon and boots" welcome reception, we enjoyed a tour of the Ryman theater and a concert there that evening, sponsored by Foster Morales, Sockel Stone, LLC. We were honored to welcome Chris Mercer, Mercer Capital, who presented on Business Valuation, good will and shared some wonderful insight to our group about divorce litigation and experts in this arena. In closing, we enjoyed the most wonderful section dinner at Kayne Prime to close out the weekend. Overall, the retreat was a HUGE success in enjoying Nashville, getting to know each other and sharing knowledge, expertise and wearing our cowboy boots, of course!! Take a look at the Family Law Section website for information about the In-State Retreat coming up in April 2019 at the exclusive Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, Florida. We hope to see you all there.  

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy November!

Abigail M. Beebe, West Palm Beach
2018-2019 Chair, Family Law Section of The Florida Bar
Willie Mae Shepherd is the Family Law Section's new Program Administrator, the section's liaison to The Florida Bar. Contact her at or (850) 561-5624.
Certification Review Course Registration Now Open
SAVE THE DATE! January 25-26, 2019

The Florida Bar Family Law Section and Florida AAML's Marital and Family Law Review Course is one of the largest CLE events in the Southeast. Don't miss your opportunity to hear a comprehensive annual review of Florida family law and to network with other family law practitioners from around the state. View the event schedule  and register online.

Registration discounts are available for Family Law Section members, attorneys practicing fewer than five years, Florida registered paralegals, full-time law college faculty and law students and persons attending under the policy of fee waivers ( Supreme Court, DCA, Circuit and County Judges, Magistrates, Judges of Compensation Claims, Administrative Law Judges, and full-time legal aid attorneys if directly related to their client practices).
Upcoming CLE Opportunities
Mechanics of Board Certification - Nov. 29
Live Audio Webcast (Noon - 2 p.m.)

Gain insights into why you should become board certified. Learn about the application process, exam format and administration, grading, studying and exam-taking tips.  This seminar* is intended to assist both those who have applied to take the certification exam and those who are thinking about taking the exam in the future.

Panelists include  Reuben A. DoupĂ© David L. Hirschberg Michelle Klinger SmithBelinda B. Lazzara and Elisha D. Roy. Section members $75; non-members $130. Course #3108. REGISTER

*Not approved for Florida Bar CLE credit.
Gifting in Family Law Cases Unwrapped
Dec. 6  Live Audio Webcast (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Joe Hunt , Esq., BCS and  Anthony Phillips , CPA, CFF, ABV unwrap the concept of gifting in family law cases and discuss all issues a family law practitioner should consider when gifts arise such as: using gifts as income for child support and alimony, taxation on gifts, marital and non-marital treatment of gifts, and more.  Section members $75; non-section-members $130. Course #3110 CLE Credits: 1.0 General; 1.0 Marital & Family Law.  REGISTER
Best Practices for Use of Guardians ad Litem and Attorneys ad Litem
 Dec. 13 Live Audio Webcast (Noon - 1:30 p.m.)

Kim Nutter, Esq. and C. Debra Welch, Esq. discuss best practices for uses of guardians ad litem and attorneys ad litem in family law matters. Topics include when to use them, how to address hearsay issues with GALs, examples of effective orders of appointment and the differences between GALs and AALs. paragraphs. Section members $95; non-section members $150. Course #2964. CLE credits: 1.5 General, 1.5 Juvenile Law, 1.5 Marital & Family Law. REGISTER
Squib of the Month:  Fry v. Fry, 43 Fla.L.Weekly D2127 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). Trial court properly denied request for continuance due to hired expert's repeated failures to meet pretrial deadlines, which reached level of "dilatory conduct."
Florida Bar News: Amendments to Family Law Forms

Amendments to Family Law Forms 12.905(d) and 12.993(d). The Florida Supreme Court recently adopted amendments to the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms, on its own motion. See In re: Amendments to the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms-12.905(d) and 12.993(d), No. SC18-1087 (Fla. Sept. 27, 2018). The amendments deleted forms 12.905(d) and 12.993(d) in their entirety because their underlying statutory authority, section 61.13002, Florida Statutes, was repealed by chapter 2018-69, section 2, Laws of Florida, effective July 1, 2018.

Amendments to Family Law Form 12.961 . The Florida Supreme Court recently adopted amendments to the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms, on its own motion. See In re: Amendments to the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Forms-12.961, No. SC18-984 (Fla. Sept. 27, 2018). The amendments replaced "should" with "must" to more accurately reflect a party's obligation to coordinate with the presiding judge or hearing officer and the opposing party to set a date and time for a hearing using form 12.961. They also amended the language in the instructions to the form regarding service of process, following the Fourth District Court of Appeal's opinion in Department of Revenue ex rel. Baker v. Baker, 232 So. 3d 1045 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017). The amendments also removed language from the instructions requiring that the notice of hearing be personally served on the alleged contemnor, and indicate that service by mail is allowed. The amendments retained language advising litigants that in some circumstances a court may not consider service by mail to be adequate.
John Foster and his granddaughters after last year's Recovery Run
Health & Wellness: November 3 Annual Recovery Run 

Thank you to the Family Law Section's Health & Wellness Committee and Co-Chairs Laura Davis Smith and John Foster for providing this wellness content for FAMSEG.
The Mind, Body & Soul Surfing Club will host its 4th Annual Recovery Run 5K and 10K run/walk on Nov. 3 at Harbor Park in Baldwin Park. Proceeds benefit  Turning Point of Central Florida Inc., a nonprofit that is instrumental in providing substance abuse treatment options in Central Florida.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there were more than 5,700 opioid-related deaths in Florida in 2016. In 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported approximately 19.7 million Americans had a substance use disorder in the past year.
Section Executive Council member John Foster  is an active proponent of substance abuse awareness and trea tment initiatives because his son relapsed, overdosed on drugs and died after a year and a half in recovery. "Addiction is a matter of life or death and it doesn't discriminate," said Foster, one of the Mind, Body & Soul Surfing Club founders. "Just about everyone is affected or knows of someone affected by drug or alcohol addiction. While death is the reality of addiction, life is the reality of recovery. We can make a difference one person at a time."
Healthy Selfies

The Family Law Section supports healthy lifestyles! If you're running in a 5K, playing in a golf tournament or even just enjoying a family bike ride, take a selfie and send it to us! We want to spotlight section members and their families, friends and colleagues who are making wellness a priority. Email photos to Section Consultant Lisa Tipton so we can post them on Facebook and Twitter. Ideas for Health & Wellness tips or articles? Please email Laura Davis Smith or John Foster.

The Family Law Section's out-of-state retreat in Nashville was a huge success, thanks to excellent planning by Section Chair Abby Beebe and Retreat Co-Chairs Amy Hickman and Bonnie Sockel-Stone. Special thank you to retreat sponsor Foster-Morales Sockel-Stone. View more photos on Facebook from the Bourbon & Boots reception (where the guests were joined by music legend Lee Greenwood and his wife) and the retreat weekend. (Photo credits: Bonnie Sockel-Stone and Willie Mae Shepherd.)


Signature Annual Sponsor

Platinum Level

Gold Level

The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of three publications: 
  • JournalTo 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? FAMSEG is your place! Please contact Editor Ron Kauffman.
For more information about section publications, please contact Publications Committee Co-chairs Laura Davis Smith or Sonja Jean.
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