Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter
Chair's Message

Two March birthday girls-Margaret Veronica Lyons Nordberg (March 25th) and Laura Lee Davis Smith (March 31st).
March is here! The old adage that if March comes in like a lion it leaves like a lamb, and vice versa, does not really apply here in South Florida, but March certainly brings with it the signs of a Florida Spring.  The Snowbirds begin their northern treks, Baseball's Spring training is well underway, the days get longer, and kids start wishing for Summer.    For the Family Law Section, March is the time of year when we want to know what YOU want to do in the next Bar year!  Leadership Applications have been posted to the Family Law Section Website, as have Committee Preference Forms.  Please take the time to go to and download and complete the forms and submit them if you are interested in becoming or staying involved in the Section's many activities.   Without you, we could not possibly accomplish the wonderful things we do.
March is also the month during which qualified fellow Marital and Family Law practitioners sit for the Certification Exam; we wish all of you who are sitting for the exam this year the best of luck, and we know that YOU CAN DO IT! Board Certification is no easy accomplishment, but the education gained in its pursuit is invaluable.  The rewards of attaining Board Certification are well worth the commitment and hard work; I encourage all of you to set that as a goal for yourselves!
Wishing you a March full of success, and the well-deserved feeling of satisfaction in your work and life, I remain,

Laura Davis Smith, Esquire
Chair, Family Law Section of the Florida Bar
Upcoming Events

May 18 - 21, 2017 - In-State Retreat.  Islamorada, FL. Info here .

June 21, 2017 - Section Committee Meetings, Boca Raton Resort   Info here.

June 22, 2017 - Executive Council Meeting. Info Here.

July 20 - 23, 2017 - Trial Advocacy Workshop.   Info here.

September 6 - 10, 2017 - 2017 Out-of-State Retreat. Info here.

Executive Committee Spotlight: Kathryn Beamer

Why do I practice family law? I majored in psychology and sociology in college. When I started at my first firm it was a civil litigation firm and the bosses gave me all of the family law cases because the partners did not want them! I found that I liked family law and felt I could make more of a difference for more people than in the personal injury work that was the lion's share of the work at the firm. Gradually I limited my practice to family law.

How do I define success? Helping a client navigate through the dissolution and successfully moving on to the next chapter in their life. It is even better when I get a thank you from them later.

Coffee or tea?  Iced tea all of the way. Believe it or not I have never had a cup of coffee - even to get through law school.

Best place I have traveled to? Although I have traveled internationally a number of times and seen amazing things, the most awesome place I have ever traveled to is a day long hike I did in Colorado to the top of a 14,000 foot Mountain. The panoramic view was breathtaking - I was on top of the world. The silence and the sense of peace was all consuming.

Proudest accomplishment in the section: Believe it or not, planning retreats - my favorite one was the one at Gasparilla.

Favorite superhero?  Call me old fashioned, Superman.

Benefits I receive from section participation: The benefits have been numerous. I have met and become friends with people I would never have known but for section work. Membership has resulted in case referrals. Committee membership has increased my knowledge of the history of existing laws and the way in which the Section can affect family law in the best interests of families. Not to be forgotten, I have truly enjoyed the in state and out of state retreats over the past 12 years when we get the benefit of excellent planning and enjoying social time with friends in the section

Something few people know? I spend several evenings a week learning ballroom dance. The lessons take my mind off the stress of the day. You have to focus on making your body do what you want it to do and you don't think of work while so engaged. I have taken it further participating in dance competitions as far away as New Zealand, Austria and Italy.

Favorite TV show?  Lately, Downton Abbey and The Crown.

Favorite Author? Steve Berry. I love his combination of historical facts with a fictional story

What would I bring to a desert island? Fresh water, a knife and a companion.

Favorite lyric?  " You get what you put in, and people get what they deserve." - Kid Rock

Someone who inspired me: My mother. In 1930, she attended college against the wishes of her father who was a traditionalist. She was the only woman in the college of chemistry commerce at the University of Wisconsin, graduated first in her class and was recruited by Exxon in the height of the depression. Her memory was so incredible she knew the periodic chart by heart 30 years after graduating when I was in chemistry class.

Section News:

Winter Commentator available for download:

In-State Retreat Registration open!

Successful effort to add LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections to Jacksonville Law

Jimmy Midyette, of Jacksonville, lead a successful effort to add LGBT nondiscrimination protections to Jacksonville law. Midyette, of The Luna Law Firm, has long advocated for the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to existing laws that bar discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. By an overwhelming supermajority vote of the City Council, equality became the law of Jacksonville at 7:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day thanks in part to Jimmy's efforts.

Congratulations EC Member Julia Wyda on the birth of her daughter, Olivia

Family Section Member to Give National Keynot e Address

Eddie Stephens has been asked to kick off Delta Sigma Pi's Grand Chapter Congress as the National Keynote Speaker  talking about the extraordinary leader . Eddie will  describe how certain life decisions and concepts such as "Sacred Geometry" and understanding the "Hero's Journey" has led him to find significant success in business, personal  relations, and philanthropic service. These experiences also had a deeper influence and ultimately led Stephens to a profound understanding of humanity and our life journeys prompting him to do something that matters. 

Family Law Section of The Florida Bar represented at The 13th Annual Minority Mentoring Picnic

Save the Date:  2017 Out of State Retreat
Come join us at the C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colorado from September 6 through 10, 2017 for the Section's Fall Retreat! C Lazy U was recently awarded the 3rd best resort in Colorado and the 9th best resort in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, the third consecutive year the ranch has been ranked within the top 3 in Colorado and top 10 in the U.S. Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year because the ranch is nestled at the foot of the majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains. The leaves turn a vibrant gold, the air is crisp, and there is always plenty to do! In addition to the 8,500 acres, you can make arrangements for other fun activities in the area such as golfing, hot air ballooning, and white water rafting. Watch for more information about the Retreat and please do not hesitate to contact the Co-Chairs of the event, Carin Porras  or Amy Hamlin with any questions.

Squib of the mon th:  

Viscito v. Viscito,  42 Fla.L.Weekly D43 (Fla. 3rd  DCA 2016).  Trial court affirmed for denying alimony to Husband in a 22 year marriage, because even though Wife had ability, Husband was employable but voluntarily remained unemployed. Husband's gambling debts and misapplication of marital funds adversely affected family's financial position and lifestyle.  Because the Husband did not request any other alimony other than permanent, he is now out of luck.
Family Law Section Sponsors

Platinum Level:

Gold Level:
Call for Articles

The Family Law Section WANTS YOU to write for one of its three publications: The Florida Bar Journal, The Family Law Commentator, and/or FAMSEG.

The 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 twelve to fifteen pages in length, complete with end notes. For more information contact C. Debra Welch or Belinda Lazzara.

The Commentator: The Family Law Sections Glossy Quarterly magazine. Art icles could range from substantive articles to advice about lifestyle and wellness. For more information contact Tenesia Hall or Heather Apicella.

FAMSEG: Got an announcement? Pictures of a section event? Something light and fluffy? FAMSEG is your place! You might have noticed something different in this edition of FAMSEG. So 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".  Got a suggestion?  Email us!

A  D  V  E  R  T  I  S  E  M  E  N  T  S 
Advertise in FAMSEG!
For information: Contact Gabrielle Tollok at