The Florida Bar Family Law Section Monthly Newsletter
Co-editors: Ron Kauffman and Eddie Stephens

Nicole L. Goetz
Nicole L. Goetz, P.L., Naples
It is hard to believe, but spring is here. We just finished a very busy Legislative Session, and Governor Scott just signed both the child marriage ban and Kaaa fix bills into law. This month, Legislation Committee Co-chairs Aimee Gross and Bonnie Sockel-Stone will review 2018 statutory changes that will impact your family law practice, so plan to join us April 19 for our 2018 Family Law Legislative Update via audio webcast.
Speaking of spring, I hope that you will join us at our annual in-state retreat. This year on Memorial Day weekend we will be at the beautiful and newly renovated JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, the only JW on the beach. Find more information and register today on our our website's retreat page.
I would like to call your attention to a very meaningful interview that is included in this publication and posted on the section website. Immediate Past Chair Laura Davis Smith chairs the ad hoc  Health & Wellness Committee and recently discussed addiction and recovery with two members of our executive council. Here are Laura's thoughts about the the interview: "I am delighted to present this very important and compelling conversation with Mr. John Foster and Mr. Anthony Genova, who respectively share their very personal experiences with the serious problem of addiction. Mr. Foster speaks openly about his son's struggle with addiction, while Mr. Genova opens up in a raw and honest explanation of his despair and recovery. I am so proud of this committee, and especially of these strong and courageous colleagues of ours."

Heather Apicella is this month's EC Spotlight. Heather is a long-term executive council member who is a partner in the law firm of Gladstone and Weissman. Heather has served the section in numerous leadership roles.  She is presently a member of the Marital & Family Law Review Course Committee, which did an unbelievable job in putting together this year's course! She is also a member of our Legislation and Long Range Planning committees and she is a vice-chair of Publications, Bar Journal, this year.  Learn more about Heather Apicella in this month's EC Spotlight!

Nicole L. Goetz, Naples
Chair, Family Law Section of The Florida Bar
2018 Family Law Section
Legislative Update

April 19, 2018
 ---  Noon to 2 p.m.
Audio Webcast

Legislation Committee Co-chairs Aimee Gross and  Bonnie Sockel-Stone will discuss significant 2018 statutory changes that will impact your family law practice. Get up to speed on the status of alimony and other hot issues from Florida Bar members who have been actively involved in the legislative process.
CLE Credits: 2.0 General, 2.0 Marital & Family Law
Section Members $125
 Non-Section Members $180
2018 In-State Retreat

Register now for the May 25-28  in-state retreat

Please join your Family Law Section colleagues for networking, CLE and fun during the annual in-state retreat and executive council meeting at the newly renovated  JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort . Bring your family and enjoy the resort's private, three-mile, pristine white sand beach nestled along the sparkling blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The resort features South-Pacific culture décor an d furnishings, the luxurious Spa by JW®, two private 18-hole championship golf courses and a new Balinese-inspired Kane Tiki Bar and Grill overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

You'll earn 2.0 credits during Saturday's CLE ---   Bias: Not That There is Anything Wrong With It! Understanding the Role of Cognitive Bias in Case Resolution ---   by Jill Kelderman , PhD ABPP and John F. Schutz .

Options on the schedule include a 10,000-island wave runner tour, a trolley trip to Naples, a dolphin watch and shelling tour, and a day at the beach. Additional registration is required for some of the outings. Register online and book your hotel room today.  We hope to see you there!
NEW: In-State Retreat Sponsorships

Be a sponsor for the upcoming Family Law Section In-State RetreatPromote your company or firm to retreat attendees ---  a unique opportunity to present your business and product to a number of elite family law attorneys and ancillary professionals. Each sponsorship below is limited to one company, and is being offered on a first come, first served basis.

Weekend Platinum Sponsor

Weekend Gold Sponsor

$500 Sponsorships
Welcome Reception
Saturday Breakfast
Saturday CLE Sponsor
Sunday Reception

Your sponsorship package includes:
  • Recognition with signage displayed throughout the weekend for platinum and gold sponsors, and at the specific event that you sponsor during the weekend.
  • Acknowledgement as a sponsor at the event that you sponsor.
  • Ability to distribute information about your company at the event that you sponsor.
  • Gold and platinum weekend sponsors will have the opportunity to include marketing material in our gift bag given to all attendees.
Interested? Please contact Sponsorship Committee Co-chairs Matt Lundy and Beth Luna or Section Administrator Gabrielle Tollok at or (850) 561-5650.
Certification Review Course Book Available for Purchase

The three-volume course book set from the January 2018 review course in Orlando is available for purchase. Please be advised that the delivery time is two to three weeks via USPS for the course book and via email for the electronic materials PDF. 

CLE credit is not awarded for the purchase of aftermarket materials. 

Please contact Gabrielle Tollok at or (850) 561-5650 with questions regarding the 2018 Marital & Family Law Review Course.

Thank You to Our Family Law Section Sponsors  

Platinum Level


Gold Level

Bronze Level

Stephens' Squibs

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

Squib of the Month: Ispass v. Ispass, 43 Fla.L.Weekly D278 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018). Trial court has jurisdiction to extend agreed upon duration of alimony based upon change of circumstances.
Heather Apicella and her husband, Rob, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Executive Council  Member Profile: 
Heather Apicella
Gladstone & Weissman P.A., Boca Raton
Who is someone who inspires you?  I have two amazing daughters who inspire me to be the best person that I can be, and do the best at whatever I am doing.

How do you define success? Success depends on what it applies to. For family, success is the ultimate feeling of true happiness. For my career, success is setting a goal, liking the person that you are while attempting to achieve that goal, and ultimately accomplishing the goal.  
Why do you practice family law? As family law attorneys, we help our clients navigate through the most difficult time in their lives. I take a lot of pride in what I do, and one of the best feelings is helping someone get to a place where they know they will be happy again. 
What is something few people know about you?  I am a complete germaphobe (true to the definition). Also, I  was born in Colorado, and put on my first set of snow skis at the age of three.  
Favorite quote? "You may see me struggle but you will never see me quit."  
Favorite family law case? Hooker v. Hooker. The opinion was released when I was studying for the board certification exam, so I read it many (many) times. I believe that the facts, coupled with the District Court and Supreme Court opinions, not only make the case fascinating, but one that will be discussed and quoted by family lawyers for years to come. 
Favorite book and why? "Little Tree." It's a story about a young tree who holds onto its leaves, even when all other trees are letting their leaves drop through the seasons. The little tree takes on the trials/tribulations of growing up and letting go. The book delivers an amazing message while also providing heartfelt lessons of life for children and parents. 
Favorite TV show and why? " This is Us." I really love the dynamics of the family and the realistic issues that the program portrays. 
Favorite song? " Empire State of Mind."
Favorite superhero? Wonder Woman.  
Best place you have traveled?  Maui, Hawaii. It is absolutely beautiful and truly tranquil.
Proudest accomplishment within the section?  Being one of four committee members that help host the Marital & Family Law Review Course.
What benefits do you receive as a result of your section participation?  The friendships I have made with attorneys, psychologists and accountants from all over the State that I would otherwise have never met.

Coffee or tea? Definitely coffee.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items could you not live without? Water, sunscreen and lip gloss. 
Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award

Please submit nominations by May 31, 2018, for the  Family Law Section of The Florida Bar's 2018 Alberto Romero Making a Difference Award. The award recognizes the work of section members and affiliates who provide outstanding pro bono services, engage in significant volunteer community activities that improve the lives of Florida's children and families ---  and encourage other section members to volunteer. Magistrate Diane Kirigin, a former section chair, founded the award.  Eddie Stephens received the award in 2017.

The Alberto Romero Making a Difference Awards will be presented at the Family Law Section's Annual Luncheon in June. The section will select one member and one affiliate member to honor for their service and commitment to their communities. If you have questions, please contact  Robin Scher at (561) 626-5640 or Details are at this link.

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, please contact Editor Ron Kauffman.
The Florida Bar Family Law Section

How did you become involved with Addiction and Recovery?


John: My son, John Wayne, Jr., became addicted to drugs and alcohol when in his teens. After several years of in-patient facilities, out-patient services, counseling and other efforts, my son finally became serious about his recovery in December 2011. I supported his recovery. For instance, I attended his Narcotics Anonymous ("NA") meetings and was fortunate to become friends with many of his friends in recovery and to observe first-hand the unbelievably strong network and support-group that NA has to offer folks wanting to recapture their lives from the Beast of Addiction. It was at my son's NA meeting in December 2012 that I, as a proud father, was honored to give my son his one-year medallion for having been clean for one year; however, I learned the hard way that, although an addict may find his or her way to recovery, the Beast of Addiction lies in wait for some momentary resurfacing of the addict's powerlessness over his or her addiction. Indeed, in July 2013, my son relapsed from his recovery, he overdosed and he died. The Beast of Addiction had taken my son from his family and friends.


Anthony: Like John's son, I became addicted to drugs at an early age. I began practicing criminal defense in Miami in March 1987. While I was incredibly successful in my trial practice, it had the opposite effect on my addiction.

In March 1997 I signed a contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance at the insistence of an astute Circuit Court judge I was practicing before at the time. I would be on contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance for 13 years. However, through no fault of FLA, my recovery did not begin until December 21, 2001 in Federal prison. On that date, in a friend's jail cell, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. That was the last time I thought about using cocaine, where prior to that date, that's all I thought about.

You each took different paths to Addiction & Recovery; why or how do you maintain your passion for recovery?


John: I have been asked this a few times. Usually, the question is, "Well, you had a son who had made his way to recovery but who relapsed and did not make it through his recovery-how can you still have a passion for recovery?" The answer is easy. My family, my son's young daughter and I had lost my son to the Beast of Addiction and recovery gave our son (and gave my young granddaughter's father) back to us for a year and seven months. While in recovery, my son was instrumental in leading several young friends to recovery.

I have kept track of those friends and I even surf with a few of them, and I can say without equivocation that these young men and women have found successes and a life that could not have been (and would not have been) achievable without recovery. I have learned and seen first-hand that, while addiction is death, Recovery is Life.

Anthony: On December 21, 2001, God not only healed me from my addiction, but at that moment I was healed from numerous physical and emotional diseases, including but not limited to, asthma, obesity, anxiety and panic attacks, just to name a few. I was released from prison in early 2003. Within a few weeks I was awarded sole custody of my son who was in first grade at the time. The IRS accepted an offer in compromise on a tax liability which exceeded one half million dollars, despite the fact I had just been released from prison. I was able to pay pennies on the dollar over the course of two years in order to have that enormous debt lifted off my shoulders.

I gave God all the credit and all the glory for these incredible miracles. My son and I immediately joined a local church called Central Christian Church in Coral Gables. I was asked to begin teaching the adult Sunday school class in December 2003. I delivered my first sermon on Father's Day 2004. In 2005 I delivered a sermon from a verse in John 14 where Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do." I preached about the man in federal prison that brought me to the Lord, and I invited him to the church that morning. He did not know I was preaching about him. It was wonderful for congregation to get to meet this man!
In 2005 I launched a Christian recovery program in this church which is still going strong today. I have been an Elder in this church since 2006, I preached numerous times, and I still teach the adult Sunday school class every other Sunday.
I met my beautiful wife in 2009 and married her on Valentine's Day 2010. On November 1, 2010, the Florida Bar reinstated my law license unconditionally. My gratitude to God, and the overflow of love that he lavishes on me every day, is what maintains my recovery.
What are your current connections with Recovery?


John: I channel my passion for Recovery by remaining involved with in the recovery world. Recovery is indeed a way of life. I am fortunate to sit as Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Turning Point of Central Florida, Inc., a 501(c)(3) entity that provides out-patient services to persons suffering with substance abuse and to the families impacted by that Beast. I am one of the founders of Mind, Body & Soul Recovery, LLC, through which we own and operate four (4) sober-living homes in the Orlando area for men who wish to reside in a clean and sober environment with like-minded and supportive men while committing themselves to a recovery way of life. I and others founded The Mind, Body & Soul Recovery Foundation, a 501(c)(3) entity that will be committed to raising funds for Recovery. For instance, this Foundation will likely assume responsibility for promoting and managing the annual 5K/10K Recovery Run (in Orlando) and the annual Surf-for-Recovery Retreat (in Costa Rica) that have historically been promoted by another company that I helped create called The Mind, Body & Soul Surfing Club. I also serve as Vice-Chair of the Health & Wellness Committee of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar; a committee designed to promote the health and wellness of members who passionately serve Florida's families in their family-law matters.

And, last but not least, I frequently speak on the topic of Addiction & Recovery, and I always remain free to talk with parents or family members of loved ones who are struggling with (or have been taken by) the Beast of Addiction, who just need to talk with someone who has walked down that path and who may have some information about some available resources. I know that, when I first started down this path many years ago with my teenage son, I was a stunned father who had to embark upon a search for resources and answers-answers that ultimately fell into God's hands.

Anthony: My "current connection with recovery" is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It manifests itself in many ways. For instance, beginning September 2003, I have been a monthly guardian and speaker at St. Luke's Addiction and Recovery Center in North Miami. After being released from prison, while still under contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, I volunteered my time as an FLA monitor for young lawyers struggling with addiction. I'm on the Board of Directors of Lawyers to the Rescue which provides, free legal services to the homeless community through Camillus House in Miami. Once a month, we spend a Saturday morning speaking with these clients, in a suit and tie, helping them with their very serious issues. I handle all of the family, dependency and domestic violence issues that arise within this program. I have numerous pro bono cases through this program which I've been handling for several years. I rarely miss an opportunity to speak to groups about addiction and recovery, in recent years I have been asked to preach at three churches outside of my home church.

I am honored to be on the Executive Council of the Family Law Section, and I am honored to be on a Florida Bar Grievance committee as well. This past Friday I received notification that I may sit for the upcoming Marital and Family Law Board Certification exam. I'm extremely honored and humbled to sit for this exam.
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