Tampa Civil, Commercial & Family Law Attorneys
Firm news and notes
Allen Dell, P.A. provides its clients with an archive of news and notes about our firm's cases, press releases, recent events within the firm, and awards and accolades received by our attorneys. The archive is separated into two portions — highlighted articles involving the firm, and a year-by-year listing of notable events.
Learn more about our firm and what we do by viewing the articles below:
April 3, 2017 - Legislative Update Regarding Alimony Reform
The Alimony Reform effort for the 2017 Legislative Session has died in committee. This ends another effort at alimony reform that has failed several times in recent years: twice by veto by Governor Rick Scott and once when there was a session shutdown due to a dispute over healthcare.
This year’s bill would have provided set guidelines for calculating alimony, while also providing for criteria to deviate from those guidelines under certain circumstances. Scott vetoed a similar bill in 2016 which included a major impediment: it contained a 50/50 child time-sharing presumption clause, which the governor cited as his reason for the veto.
That presumption was removed from this year’s bill. Allen Dell attorney Philip Wartenberg, the current Co-Chair of the Family Law Section’s Legislation Committee, made the rounds in Tallahassee in February meeting with legislators to garner support for the bill in both Chambers. However, committee inaction on the bill in both Chambers has led to the bill’s failure this session. The future of alimony reform in Florida is now uncertain, but the laws on alimony are likely to remain the same for the foreseeable future. Any questions regarding the current status of Florida’s alimony laws can be directed to Mr. Wartenberg or any of the family law lawyers at Allen Dell at (813) 223-5351.
March 29, 2017 – The “Stand-Alone” Family Law Rules Adopted in Florida on March 16, 2017
After a lengthy notice and debate process, the Florida Supreme Court has finally issued its long-anticipated decision to adopt the “Stand-Alone” Family Law Rules of Procedure. These rules can be found at Rules 12.005 through 12.630, Fla. Fam. L.R.P.
Since the adoption of the initial Family Law Rules of Procedure in the mid-1990’s, the majority of the initial Family Law Rules made specific reference back to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. This resulted in both attorneys and unrepresented litigants having to oftentimes perform cumbersome research into two different sets of procedural rules in order to navigate their way through court proceedings. The project of converting these Family Law Rules, so that those references to the Civil Rules are no longer made by any Family Law Rule, was undertaken many years ago by the Florida Bar’s Family Law Rules Committee. In its decision dated March 16, 2017, the Court ratified all of the recommendations of the Rules Committee, with very limited exceptions. The Court additionally established the new Rules as being effective immediately on that same date.
Accordingly, a new set of procedural rules for family law matters have now become applicable to any person in the State of Florida who is presently involved in a family law dispute.
The six attorneys within Allen Dell’s Family Law Department are ready to assist and advise family law clients, as well as attorneys in other practice areas, with regard to the intricacies of these new “stand-alone” rules and forms. Please contact one of our family law attorneys today to assist you with any questions you may have regarding this significant change in the law.
The Court’s 177-page decision (including the revised Supreme Court-approved Forms) can be found at this link: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2017/sc16-978.pdf
March 15, 2017 - Allen Dell, P.A Announces New Shareholder Robert L. Olsen
Robert L. Olsen joins Allen Dell as a shareholder, where he represents clients in commercial litigation & transactions, and trusts & estates litigation. Mr. Olsen has over twenty-five years of law practice experience, with extensive arbitration, jury, non-jury, and administrative trial experience. Mr. Olsen is admitted to practice in both state and federal courts, and has tried cases in Florida as well as California, Georgia and New York with a focus on complex commercial and trusts & estates matters. Mr. Olsen also provides advice & counsel in commercial transactions, and has prior experience in corporate financial management and commercial banking.
February 16, 2017 - Tallahassee - Daubert vs Frye - Florida Supreme Court nixes Daubert amendment
Is Frye now the standard Florida courts will use to approve expert testimony in civil and criminal cases? The Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-2 decision, declined to adopt the Daubert standard in place of Frye. However, the Court did not expressly reject Daubert either, deciding to wait for a “proper case or controversy” before more formally deciding the issue.
Historically, Florida has been one of the few states that continued to follow the Frye test for the admissibility of certain expert testimony. In a move away from Frye, on July 1, 2013, the Florida legislature enacted the Daubert standard. The legislature’s action was controversial because opponents argued that only the courts, not the legislature, could enact rules of procedure. There continues to be disagreement about whether the standards for admissibility of expert testimony are procedural (and therefore require court approval) or substantive (and can be enacted by the legislature). Despite opposition, a litany of appellate courts in Florida began applying and enforcing the Daubert standard following the legislative enactment.
In October 2015, a Florida Bar committee voted 16-14 in favor of making a recommendation to the Supreme Court of Florida to refuse to adopt the Daubert standard. Opponents argued that enacting Daubert would raise “grave constitutional concerns” -- including undermining the right to a jury trial and denying access to the courts. Proponents of Daubert argued that the federal court system, and a majority of the states, was already following Daubert without these constitutional rights being infringed.
In its decision the Supreme Court did not squarely address whether the legislature’s action was substantive or procedural. Rather, the Court ruled that “to the extent” the action was procedural, the court was declining to adopt Daubert. But the Court also left open the possibility that Daubert could be adopted at a later time, noting that since opponents of Daubert raised constitutional concerns about its application, said concerns “must be left for a proper case or controversy.” So, although the court declined to adopt Daubert today, it is unclear whether Daubert might be adopted at some later time.
The case is In re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code, Case No. SC16-181
January 18, 2017 - Tallahassee - Alimony reform bill
House Bill 283 has been filed regarding alimony reform. It is identical to the last version of the HOUSE bill from 2016 (no 50/50 timesharing). The bill has also been filed in the Senate, in substantially identical form but the Senate has not assigned numbers as of yet.
This bill, in substantially similar terms has made it to the Governor twice to be vetoed because of the 50/50 timesharing issue.
The bill is a complete overhaul to alimony in Florida. It creates a presumption of alimony in all marriages in excess of 2 years as well as creates guidelines for amounts and durations. It creates a presumption against alimony in marriages of 2 years or less, absent clear and convincing evidence of why it should be paid.
A few highlights:
- Temporary alimony requires need and ability and the guidelines do not apply
- The presumptive low end for duration is 25% the length and high end is 75% of the length.
- To determine amount for the low end: (.015 x length of marriage) x difference in gross income of the parties. High end is (.020 x length of marriage) x difference in gross incomes of the parties
- For marriages of greater than 20 years, 20 years is used to determine amount UNLESS the court is ordering alimony for a duration of less than or equal to ½ the length of the marriage, then the court uses the actual length of the marriage or 25 years if the marriage is in excess of 25 years
- 14 factors the court now uses in determining where in the range amount and duration will be, including standard of living, tax consequences, need to stay home with a child, etc.
- Codifies nominal alimony
- Codifies ability for court to make alimony non-taxable, non-deductible
- Clarifies that alimony and child support combined cannot exceed 55% of payors net income and if it does child support is reduced
- Codifies special circumstances for security for alimony award
- Creates requirements for what must be in an alimony award judgement, including a finding of ability to pay by the payor and specifically setting forth amount and duration
- Establishes ability to deviate from guidelines with specific findings
- Creates new ways to modify and codifies Pimm (with some modification)
- If actual income of spouse who was imputed income exceeds imputed income by 10%, that is a substantial change for modification - well unless you are the payor and the Final Judgment says that the payor was underemployed at time alimony award was established and the court did not impute income
- Allows for customary retirement age to be basis to modify - and permits filing within year of customary retirement age and permits finding by court if retired before customary age that it was okay based on various factors and required findings. If this is found, then that is a substantial change and presumption arises that court will modify or terminate alimony unless overcome by meeting specific guidelines in bill. Also permits temporary modification.
- Removes the requirement for cohabitation in supportive relationship
- Does not require the supportive relationship to be in existence at time of trial, so long as it existed within year of filing
- Establishes that 6 months of changed income is a substantial change
- Provides fee award for unnecessarily bringing or defending against a modification of alimony claim
- Applies to all initial and modification actions pending on 10/1/2017
- The statute is not alone a basis to modify.
Here is a link to the PDF of the House version:
January 6, 2017 - Amy D. Singer to Speak at Hillsborough County Bar's Marital and Family Law Section CLE Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Amy D. Singer will be speaking at the Hillsborough County Bar’s Marital and Family Law Section CLE entitled Collection, Enforcement and Modification of Final Judgments: The Standards and Techniques You Need to Know. The continuing education course will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Ms. Singer will speak on the issue of modifying parenting plans, including modification of timesharing and parental responsibility, the burden of proof necessary for modification, and the use of experts in such cases.
December 8, 2016 - Marian McCulloch Has Become a Certified Member of The Lawyers of Distinction
The Lawyers of Distinction is pleased to announce that Marian P. McCulloch of Tampa, was nominated and has been certified as a member.
Membership is limited to the top 10% of attorneys in the United States. Members are accepted based upon objective evaluation of an attorney’s qualifications, license, reputation, experience, and disciplinary history.
Marian McCulloch is Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by the Florida Board of Legal Specialization and Education. She confines her practice exclusively to Marital & Family Law matters.
For more information see website www.lawyersofdistinction.com
December 1, 2016 - Allen Dell, P. A. Announces New Shareholder Miriam E. Mason
Allen Dell announces Miriam E. Mason will be a shareholder in our firm, effective January 1, 2017. Miriam is Board Certified in Marital & Family Law, is listed in The Best Lawyers of America, and is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell.
Miriam has held numerous positions, including leadership positions, in the Florida Bar and national, state, and local professional legal associations.
Miriam served on the Marital & Family Law Board Certification and Marital & Family Law Rules Committee of the Florida Bar. While Chair of the Marital & Family Law Rules Committee, Miriam presented the initial rules to the Florida Supreme Court in oral arguments and, as a result, those rules were promulgated by the Florida Supreme Court. She additionally was a contributing author of the Amicus Curiae Brief on behalf of The Family Law Section to the Florida Supreme Court in the Canakaris v. Canakaris decision which created the concept of Equitable Distribution. In addition to being a Past Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, she has been a member of the Executive Council, was Chair of the Education Committee which was in charge of marital and family law seminars presented around the State and was Editor of The Family Law Commentator.
During her long-time fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Miriam served a term as President, three terms as Vice President, and has been Secretary, Treasurer and a Member of the Board of Directors. Miriam is also a Past President of the Florida Chapter of the AAML.
Miriam is an Emeritus Diplomat of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers.
Locally, Miriam is a Past President of and presently an Emeritus Master in the J. Clifford Cheatwood Inn of Court.
Please join Allen Dell in welcoming Miriam E. Mason as a shareholder in our firm, effective January 1, 2017.
November 15, 2016 - Allen Dell, P.A. ranked in 2017 "Best Law Firms"
U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers, for the seventh consecutive year, announce the "Best Law Firms" rankings.
Allen Dell, P.A. has been ranked in the 2017 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" list regionally in 6 practice areas. The firm achieved a tier 1 listing in 3 practice areas: Family Law, Health Care Law and Trusts & Estates Law.
Firms included in the 2017 "Best Law Firms" list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.
The 2017 Edition of "Best Law Firms" includes rankings in 74 national practice areas and 122 metropolitan-based practice areas. One "Law Firm of the Year" is named in each of the 74 nationally ranked practice areas.
Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.
Allen Dell, P.A. received the following rankings in the 2017 U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms":
Metropolitan (Tampa) Tier 1
Health Care Law
Trusts & Estates Law
Metropolitan (Tampa) Tier 2
Metropolitan (Tampa) Tier 3
Litigation - Construction
August 30, 2016 - BEWARE - Do not use your work email for personal communications - a new case makes clear why
The lines between technology and our lives have become so blurred that, for many employees, work email addresses are indistinguishable to their personal ones. Three things you need to know before your hit “send” (1) Emails between you and your attorney on matters not involving the employer’s business (i.e, your divorce) are not protected by attorney client privilege to the extent they are sent, forwarded, or stored on your employer’s communication system, (2) You have no right of privacy on your employer’s email system and your employer can monitor your emails and check on websites that you visit, and (3) That email will always be there, waiting to be discovered.
Bingham v. Baycare Health Sys., 8:14-CV-73-T-23JSS, 2016 WL 3917513, at *1 (M.D. Fla. 2016)
August 15, 2016 - Nine Allen Dell, P.A. Attorneys Named to 2017 Best Lawyers® List
The Best Lawyers In America© recently announced their 2017 Best Lawyers® and named David D. Ferrentino, Tabatha A. Liebert, Donna L. Longhouse, Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos, Frank J. Rief, III, Joseph W. N. Rugg, Gary Walker and Philip S. Wartenberg as recipients of this outstanding recognition.
For multiple years, Ferrentino, Liebert, Longhouse, McCulloch, Mikos, Rief, Rugg, Walker and Wartenberg have all received this designation. They are recognized in the following areas of law:
David D. Ferrentino, Commercial Litigation
Tabatha A. Liebert, Construction Litigation
Donna L. Longhouse, Trusts and Estates
Marian P. McCulloch, Family Law
Cynthia A. Mikos, Health Care Law
Frank J. Rief III, Non-Profit / Charities Law & Trusts and Estates
Joseph W. N. Rugg, Health Care Law
Gary Walker, Health Care Law
Philip S. Wartenberg, Family Law
Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers® lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers® is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers® "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."
The Allen Dell law firm, with 22 practicing attorneys, provides representation in over 30 areas of the law and serves the Tampa Bay area as well as clients throughout Florida.
July 25, 2016 - Family law attorney, Michelle G. Hutt, featured in Florida Record article 'Nothing in life is impossible' as Rising Star in Super Lawyers
Family law attorney Michelle G. Hutt of Allen Dell, PA in Tampa was recently named to the 2016 list of Rising Stars by Super Lawyers. Ms. Hutt's professional achievement was recently highlighted in an interview with Florida Record.
Here is a link to the full article on the Florida Record website:
July 6, 2016 - Cynthia A. Mikos Recognized as Florida Legal Elite
Cynthia A. Mikos was recently recognized in the 2016 edition of Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite™. Ms. Mikos has been recognized in the practice area of Health Law and is Board Certified in Health Law by The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education. She represents health care facilities and professionals in their dealings with federal and state regulators, Florida licensing agencies and in business transactions. Ms. Mikos is honored to be recognized by Florida Legal Elite repeatedly since 2012.
Actively practicing Florida attorneys were asked to name the attorneys that they hold in highest regard as professionals – lawyers with whom they have personally worked and would recommend to others. Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. notes, “My goal is to engage and utilize the incredible resources of legal leaders throughout the state. For the public and our profession, Florida Legal Elite offers a guide to outstanding attorneys recommended by their peers.”
The Allen Dell law firm, with 23 practicing attorneys, provides representation in over 30 areas of the law and serves clients throughout Florida.
The entire Legal Elite report can be viewed at www.FloridaTrend.com/Legal-Elite.
June 9, 2016
Eight attorneys from the Allen Dell law firm have been named to the 2016 Florida Super Lawyers list. One attorney was named to the 2016 Florida Rising Star list. The attorneys receiving these honors are:
David D. Ferrentino, Business Litigation
Donna L. Longhouse, Estate Planning and Probate
Marian P. McCulloch, Family law
Cynthia A. Mikos, Health Care
Joseph W. N. Rugg, Health Care
Amy D. Singer, Family Law
Gary Walker, Health Care
Philip S. Wartenberg, Family Law
Michelle G. Hutt, Family Law
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys (Superlawyers.com).
May 31, 2016
Homeowner Insurance Rates are on the rise….but not because of hurricanes! Water Intrusion Claims are also on the rise…but not because of hurricanes! What are the causes of these increases? Learn how you can better protect yourself from these increases!
Learn the latest regarding:
- the national flood insurance program and efforts to create a private market in Florida, and
- legislative efforts to limit the post-loss assignment of insurance benefits under homeowner property insurance policies
The Florida Bar is hosting a 1 hour CLE on Upcoming Legislation for Flood Insurance and Assignment of Insurance Benefits Reform Friday, June 3, at 3pm. For our friends and clients you may all attend the FREE CLE from the comfort of your office or home. Call in and find out what legislative changes to flood insurance are being considered before the NFIP expires in September of 2017. The call-in number and passcode are 1-888-376-5050 Pin: 842 548 4201# (# sign is required)
About the Speakers:
Lisa Miller, CPM, has served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Chief of Staff for the Florida Department of Financial Services, and as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Lobbyist for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Ms. Miller was also the Office of Insurance Regulation’s Board Liaison to many quasi-governmental entities including Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, The Florida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association, The Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association and the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association. She is currently the owner of her own firm Lisa Miller & Associates, based out of Tallahassee, Florida. She also regularly serves as an expert witness on a variety of insurance and regulatory matters.
Paul Handerhan is board member, FL Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) and policy director for the FL Association for Insurance Reform (FAIR) which is the consumer group who was the lead advocate for Assignment of Benefits legislative reform.
Frederick R. “Fred” Dudley is a partner with Dudley, Sellers, Healy & Heath, P.L. in Tallahassee, Florida. He is a Board Certified Construction Lawyer with over 46 years of experience in real estate and construction law. He is a member of the Executive Councils of both the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section and the Administrative Law Section, and practices statewide from Tallahassee, Florida, where he located in 1998 after 16 years of legislative service in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, where he served as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Trey Goldman is Legislative Counsel for the Florida Realtors®. He participates in all of their legislative and regulatory efforts, and represents Realtors® before the Florida Legislature, state regulatory agencies, the Governor’s office, and the Cabinet.
May 18, 2016 - My spouse and I are thinking about getting divorced. Shouldn’t I revoke my Power of Attorney?
Florida law provides that a Power of Attorney naming the other spouse as agent: Florida Statute 709.2109 states that a person named as agent under his/her spouse's Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property loses legal authority to act on the spouse's behalf in the event of divorce or annulment, or when an action is filed for divorce or legal separation. The only exception is if the Durable Power of Attorney specifically states otherwise (i.e., that the agent’s powers continue in these circumstances. The law became effective Oct. 1, 2011; however, it applies to every Florida Durable Power of Attorney regardless of the date the document was executed.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on their knowledge of laws affecting our clients. Stay calm and call us.
May 16, 2016 - Last day to vote for Attorney Michelle G Hutt for 2016-2017 HCBA Board of Directors
All eligible Hillsborough County Bar Association members please vote for Michelle Hutt in HCBA’s elections for the 2016-17 Board of Directors – the voting closes today at 5 p.m.
All eligible voters should have received an email from Intelliscaninc.com, a third-party polling service, with instructions for online voting.
If you have any problems or didn’t receive an email, please contact HCBA at email@example.com or (813) 221-7777.
38th Annual Institute for the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Marian P. McCulloch and Philip S. Wartenberg attended the 38th Annual Institute for the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers at The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in beautiful St Petersburg. Speakers from across the state spoke on evidentiary and litigant preparation issues, parenting issues, equitable distribution double dipping problems, business valuations and rate of return on investment issues, in addition to law practice growth advice from Atticus. To see more about the AAML, and to stay updated on next year's Institute and other events, visit the website for the Florida chapter at www.aamlflorida.org.
May 10, 2016 - One week left to vote for Attorney Michelle G Hutt for 2016-2017 HCBA Board of Directors
There are just 6 more days left to vote for the 2016-2017 HCBA Board of Directors! Allen Dell Attorney Michelle G Hutt, would appreciate your support and vote. If you are an eligible voter and have not yet received your on-line balloting instructions, please contact HCBA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Four Allen Dell Women Attorneys Named to Best Lawyers
Noted Tampa lawyer Cynthia A Mikos of Allen Dell has earned recognition in Best Lawyers Business Edition 2016 listing of the Lawyers of the Year Honorees. This is the 2nd time she has been recognized in the annual list based on her expertise in Health Care Law, and the 11th year she has been named in Best Lawyers in America.
Best Lawyers Business Edition Women in the Law also named Allen Dell lawyers Donna L Longhouse, Trusts and Estates; Marian P McCulloch, Family Law; and Tabatha A Liebert, Construction Law, as 2016 Women in the Law. Best Lawyers Business Edition features these peer-nominated Lawyers, naming them once again to this prestigious list. This is the 6th year Ms. Longhouse has been named, the 10th year for Ms. McCulloch, and the 2nd year for Ms. Liebert.
Ms. Mikos is Board Certified in Health Law and Ms. McCulloch is Board Certified in Marital & Family Law.
Best Lawyer’s Business Edition 2016 listing of the nation’s top attorneys was determined through peer nominations submitted by thousands of attorneys throughout the United States. An independent panel of distinguished lawyers helped the editors select the honorees.
5th Annual Tampa Bay Entrepreneurship Gala – May 20, 2016 – Attorney Josef Rosen Will Be Master Of Ceremonies
On Friday, May 20, 2016, the USF Alumni Association will host their 5th Annual Tampa Bay Entrepreneurship Gala benefitting the Michael W. Fountain Scholarship Fund with 2016 Entrepreneur of Year Recipient and Keynote Speaker, Richard Gonzmart. Attorney Josef Rosen will be the Master of Ceremonies for this distinctive event taking place at The Centre Club beginning at 7pm. Attendance, sponsorship and donations have a direct impact on Tampa Bay’s future business leaders as the next scholarship recipient will be announced and previous award winners will be recounted. Please visit the link below for ticket sales, event details and sponsorship information to this special celebration of entrepreneurship and recognition of some of Tampa Bay’s finest business leaders.
April 15, 2016 – TALLAHASSEE – Governor Scott Vetoes the alimony bill – why? The reason may surprise many
Gov. Rick Scott today vetoed a bill which would have ushered in an overhaul of current alimony laws, but would also have created a new legal premise that both parents to a divorce have approximate equal timesharing of their children. “As a husband, father and grandfather, I understand the importance of family and the sensitivity and passion that comes with the subject of family law," Scott said in a veto message. "Family law issues are very personal and nearly every family comes to the court with different circumstances and needs."
He said: "Current law directs a judge to consider the needs and interests of the children first when determining a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule. This bill has the potential to up-end that policy in favor of putting the wants of a parent before the child's best interest by creating a premise of equal time-sharing. Our judges must consider each family's unique situation and abilities and put the best interests of the child above all else."
Read more here:
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Stay calm and call us.
April 12, 2016 – Tallahassee - Governor Scott has one week to decide the fate of the Alimony and Timesharing bill
Emotions ran high at the state Capitol Tuesday as supporters and opponents of a proposed alimony law clashed outside Gov. Rick Scott’s office. Scott has one more week to decide the fate of SB 668, which has stirred more public reaction on both sides than any other bill from the 2016 legislative session.
Read more here:
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Stay calm and call us.
March 24, 2016 - TALLAHASSEE - Governor Scott Signs Collaborative Process Act
The Collaborative Process Act has passed the Florida Legislature and became law after receiving Governor Rick Scott's signature. The Act creates a uniform system of practice for the Collaborative Law Process as it relates to family law matters. It encourages the peaceful resolution of disputes and the early settlement of potential litigation through voluntary settlement procedures.
The Collaborative Process is an alternative to litigation. It utilizes trained legal, financial, and mental health professionals to guide the couple through the difficulties of divorce. According to recent studies, 84% of Collaborative cases are resolved successfully, 60% within six months, and half of the cases were completed for less than $40,000 in fees. It is believed that the Collaborative Process dramatically reduces the caseloads of our overburdened court system, saving taxpayer dollars.
After the Governor signs the Act, it becomes law thirty days after the Florida Supreme Court adopts rules of procedure and professional responsibility for attorneys.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Our family law team, which includes experienced marital and family law trial lawyers, encourages the use of alternative dispute resolutions methods and are trained in both mediation and collaborative divorce to reduce costs and emotional stress in resolving divorce cases.
March 14, 2016
It is with great pleasure that Allen Dell announces Philip S. Wartenberg has joined the firm as a shareholder. Wartenberg is a board certified marital and family lawyer who has practiced exclusively in the area of marital and family law throughout his legal career since 1994. Wartenberg has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers since 2010 and was honored in 2008 as the recipient of the Family Law Inn of Tampa’s Ted S. Millison Professionalism Award. Prior to joining Allen Dell, Wartenberg was owner and sole shareholder of Wartenberg Law Group, P.A., Tampa.
February 3, 2016 - 4th District Court of Appeals - WEST PALM BEACH - Florida court revisits active-passive appreciation issue
The 4th DCA recently addressed an active passive appreciation issue in answering the question does a non-owner spouse have a claim to the increased value of all nonmarital assets without showing marital effort or the use of marital assets to achieve the appreciation?
In this case, the Husband did not own a business. Prior to the marriage, he began working for a privately held international company and bought a large amount of company stock by way of a bank loan. During his tenure at the company he had some supervisory responsibility, but also had a couple of demotions. When he was terminated, his stock was liquidated. The shares sold for substantially more than the outstanding balance on the loan used to buy them.
The trial court determined the stock was separate property, its increase in appreciation was passive so it was not subject to equitable distribution. The Wife appealed asking the 4th DCA to adopt a rule “that all appreciation of the stock of a company for which a spouse works is a marital asset.” The 4th DCA declined the invitation.
Under the existing analytical framework, the court said, the increased value of stock from a company for which the owning spouse works can be a marital asset and subject to distribution, but, it can also be a nonmarital asset. The crux of the matter is "whether the husband exerted the sort of ‘effort’ required to move the appreciation value from the nonmarital category to the marital one,” the court explained.
Cases that have found the appreciation was a marital asset typically involve a family-owned business in which the stock-owning spouse holds a significant position. Here, neither of these key features was present. The company the Husband worked for was not owned or operated by his family. He held no significant managerial position in the company; at most, he was a middle manager. He did not contribute to the appreciation in the value of his stock, and so his Wife had no right to any part of the stock’s increased value.
Read the full case of Witt-Bahls v Bahls here:
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Marital & Family law is an ever changing landscape, affecting all married couples whether the spouses are of the same-sex or opposite sexes.
March 16, 2016 – TALLAHASSEE – Update – Alimony reform ending permanent alimony and creating a premise of 50/50 timesharing not yet in hands of Governor
Senate Bill 668 relating to alimony and “50/50” timesharing has not yet actually been presented to the Governor. However, it is anticipated it will occur in short order. Once the Governor receives the bill, he will have 15 days to act on the bill and decide whether to veto the bill or allow it to become law. The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar continues to provide letters supporting a veto of the bill. It is critical that if you want to be heard in opposition that you call and email the Governor urging him to oppose SB 668 and veto the bill and to inform others you know to do likewise.
Governor Scott’s contact information is as follows:
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Divorce laws affect all couples whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes. This bill, creating a premise for equal timesharing, affects couples with children, whether they are married or not. Keep calm and call us.
March 10, 2016 - TALLAHASSEE - Alimony reform ending permanent alimony now in hands of Governor
Alimony reform is now in the hands of Florida Governor Rick Scott. If passed, the changes would include: ending permanent alimony; a formula for calculating amount and duration; and requiring judges to start with the “premise” that children should spend an “approximately equal” amount of time with each parent. Here are the details:
The current bill on Governor Rick Scott’s desk is one that would end permanent alimony in Florida.
- It provides a mathematical formula to determine a range for the amount and duration of alimony.
- It would determine an amount and duration of alimony payments.
- If passed, the new bill will not apply retroactively. It applies to all initial determinations of alimony and modifications pending as of October 1, 2016, and those brought after.
- The new bill would mandate judges to use alimony guidelines to follow.
- Formula for amount:
- Low End: 0.015 times the number of years married, multiplied by the difference in gross income of the divorcing couple.
- High End:that multiplier number rises to 0.020; however the max multiple is 20 years.
- In marriages of 20 years or more, for purposes of calculating the presumptive alimony amount range, 20 years of marriage shall be used.
- If a judge deviates away from these guidelines he or she must explain why in writing.
- Marriage of 2 years of less, there is a presumption no alimony shall be awarded, unless the judge makes written findings that there is a clear and convincing need for alimony, etc.
- Longer marriages would mean an amount on the higher end or a longer duration of payments.
- Governor Scott has 15 days to sign or veto this bill from the time it was sent to him.
Over objections from Florida's Family Law Section, the bill would also require judges in setting up time-sharing schedules to start with the “premise” that children should spend an “approximately equal” amount of time with each parent.
Stay tuned here for updates.
March 1, 2016 - TALLAHASSEE - Amendments to 50/50 Timesharing Bill
Yesterday, late amendments were made to pending legislation relating to a 50/50 timesharing bill which passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar continues to oppose SB 668 because it contains a presumption that a 50/50 timesharing schedule is in the best interests of every child. The bill also requires detailed findings of fact in every case absent an agreement of the parents and violates the Section’s standing positions and public policy. We have attached a copy of the bill for your reference – please read it. Despite the Section’s efforts to work with sponsors of this bill and provide compromise language, the Section believes the current proposed language (or similar presumptive language) may nevertheless be approved by the House and thereafter proceed to the Governor in short order.
Voice your opinion to the timesharing portion of SB 668 now.
November 18, 2015 - Alimony overhaul bill clears first House panel
A House bill aimed at overhauling and streamlining the state’s alimony rules cleared its first panel Wednesday, despite a retired judge telling lawmakers “bad things are going to happen to nice people” if the measure becomes law.
The Civil Justice Subcommittee OK’d the bill (HB 455), sponsored by Republican state Rep. Colleen Burton of Lakeland, along party lines.
It’s the third time in recent years the Legislature has attempted to change Florida’s alimony law.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Marriage affects all couples whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes, and whether they are addressing a health care crisis, retirement, divorce or death. Keep calm and call us.
Read more here:
November 18, 2015
Marian P McCulloch served on the Thirteenth Circuit Nominating Committee which is responsible for selection of the recipient for the 2016 Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award. The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Awards are presented annually in January to recognize individual service by a Florida Bar member in each of Florida’s judicial circuits and among out-of-state members. In addition, the recipients’ nominations are also given to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida for consideration for The Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award recognizing extraordinary contributions by a Florida lawyer.
November 5, 2015 - TALLAHASSEE - Does Florida need a neutral ‘family law reform’ task force?
According to retired Circuit Court Judge Robert M Evans, another dangerously flawed ‘Family Law Reform’ bill has been once again submitted in the Florida Legislature. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon has introduced Senate Bill 250 which contains “as one of its greatest flaws an equal child timesharing provision” which creates a legal presumption for equal time split between parents. “This legal presumption can only be overcome if the parent challenging the presumption enters into a legal fight and proves with evidence that it is not in the best interests of the child to have equal time with both parents. There is no exception in the proposed statute regarding the age, physical or mental health of the child, or the physical or mental health of the parents.”
“This bill further allows current alimony recipients, who in good faith entered into legal contracts providing for their support; to lose the support they negotiated and agreed upon. If an alimony recipient’s income exceeds a mere 10 percent of that which existed or was assigned to them at the time that the alimony award was made, this fact alone constitutes a “significant change of circumstance” allowing the payor spouse to decrease the amount of support he or she is paying in alimony. Incredibly, this applies even if the recipients’ 10 percent total income increase over time was simply from basic cost of living adjustments made to their minimum wage pay to help them keep up with inflation.”
Judge Evans encourages Floridians to read the bill for themselves and urges us to call our governor’s office to demand legislation that is studied, just and recommended by a neutral, independent expert task force.
The Senate bill can be found here:
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Marital & Family law is an ever changing landscape, affecting all couples in committed relationships whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes, with children and families, or not.
Read more here:
October 27, 2015
Michelle G. Hutt, Esquire attended The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s exclusive Circle of Influence breakfast on October 27, 2015 featuring Jeff Eakins, Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on their involvement in and out of the legal community.
October 21, 2015
Allen Dell would like to congratulate Zachary Bayne and his team for winning the Hillsborough County Bar Associations Young Lawyers Division’s Golf Tournament. Held each fall, the YLD Golf Tournament is a long-standing tradition with the Young Lawyers Division. The event is attended by lawyers, judges, business professionals, and anyone interested in supporting the Hillsborough County Bar Association in its efforts to better serve the community.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
In 1987 the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conceived Domestic Violence Awareness Month, intended to connect advocates who are working to end family violence. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, "nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner."
So what is "domestic violence"? It is best described as "a pattern of abusive behaviors-including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion-used by one intimate partner against another to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship." Domestic violence often leaves physical wounds, but it can also result in invisible scars from verbal abuse, constant humiliation, or relentless intimidation. Two new laws address some of these issues:
On October 1, 2015 new legislation in Florida makes “revenge porn” illegal. The "sexual cyberharassment" bill that takes effect Oct. 1 makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail to transmit nude pictures with identifying information about the subject of the images, without that person's consent for purposes of "causing substantial emotional distress." Repeat offenses would be felonies, carrying penalties up to five years in prison.
This law, while addressing an issue that has been legislated in 17 other states, is not as strong as sponsors initially sought, with it requiring the uploaded information to include "personal identification information," such as the name or other information, of the person depicted.
For more information, see Florida Statute § 784.049
An amendment to Florida Statute § 903.047 makes clear that when a judge imposes a "no contact" condition as part of a person's pretrial release, the order is effective immediately and enforceable for the duration of pretrial release.
The measure, which could help protect domestic-violence victims, also spells out that other than through an attorney, the "no contact" prohibition means contact cannot take place in person, through a telephone, electronically or through a third person.
For more information, see Florida Statute § 903.047
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Domestic violence affects women and men regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or zip-code. Keep calm and call us.
National Estate Planning Awareness Week
This week, Oct. 19th – 25th is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, which was adopted in 2008 to help the public understand what estate planning is and why it’s such a vital component of financial wellness. It's smart to review your estate plan from time to time, and it's more important than ever to ensure that your current plan continues to meet your needs due to recent changes in estate planning law. The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting all of our clients.
September 21, 2015
Michelle G. Hutt has joined the Florida Bar Family Law Ad Hoc Nomenclature Committee. As part of this committee, she will be reviewing F. S. 68.07 for substantive and gender neutrality revisions.
September 16, 2015
TALLAHASSEE- Cohabitation could be legal again in Florida
Shacking up together could finally become legal again in Florida after nearly 15 decades.
In a 10-3 vote the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee approved a bill to repeal the prohibition on cohabitation, on Florida’s books since 1868. Though rarely enforced, violators face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail if a man and woman are living together.
Florida is one of only 3 states that still have a law on the books that makes cohabitation illegal. According to census data, there are more than 500,000 unmarried couples among the state's almost 8 million households. The bill will head to the Judiciary Committee next. A similar bill last year died in committee.
Property and support issues are no less important to couples who choose to stay unmarried in committed relationships. Domestic partnership agreements can protect these couples who decide to remain unmarried, just as premarital agreements do for marrying couples.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients and in drafting premarital and postmarital agreements, resolving complex family law disputes, and estate planning. Marriage and/or cohabitation affects all couples in committed relationships whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes, and whether they are addressing privacy rights, a health care crisis, retirement, shacking-up, breaking-up, divorce or death.
LEGAL LEADERS Presents Tampa’s Top Rated Lawyers of 2015
Tampa’s top rated lawyers by specialty:
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Cynthia A. Mikos
FAMILY LAW - Marian P. McCulloch
HEALTH CARE LAW - Cynthia A. Mikos, Joseph W. N. Rugg, Gary Walker
LITIGATION - David D. Ferrentino, Tabatha A. Liebert
SECURITIES - Matthew J. Foster
M E T H O D O L O G Y
This list of Top Rated Lawyers was created by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®, the company that has long set the standard for peer review ratings, sharing its list of local lawyers who have reached the highest levels of ethical standards and professional excellence.
Generations of lawyers have relied on LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as the authoritative resource for information on the legal profession worldwide. With a history spanning 140 years, the Martindale-Hubbell® database consists of more than 1 million lawyers and law firms in over 160 countries. Thousands of people refer to the database every day to find attorneys across town or across the globe, confirm their credentials based on independent evaluations of their skills and experience, and then select firms and lawyers that are the best fit for their personal and professional legal needs.
To create this list of Top Rated Lawyers, LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® tapped its comprehensive database of Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ to identify lawyers who have been rated by their peers to be AV®Preeminent™—the highest Peer Review Rating available. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are driven by the confidential opinions of lawyers and members of the judiciary who receive invitations from LexisNexis®
Martindale-Hubbell®, via an online survey or by mail, to provide reviews of lawyers of whom they have professional knowledge. Peer Review Rated lawyers are not required to have a paid listing on Lawyers.com or martindale.com®. To learn more about Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, please go to www.martindale.com/ratings. These lawyers can be found online at Lawyers.com and martindale.com®, in the Martindale-Hubbell® Law Directory in print and CD-ROM formats, and online through the LexisNexis® services and at lexis.com®.
The selection of Areas of Practice featured in the listings published here is composed from the top 60 searched Areas of Practice online at Lawyers.com and martindale.com®. To find all additional Areas of Practice please visit these sites.
August 17, 2015
The Best Lawyers In America© recently announced their 2016 Best Lawyers® and named David D. Ferrentino, Tabatha A. Liebert, Donna L. Longhouse, Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos, Frank J. Rief, III, Joseph W. N. Rugg and Gary Walker as recipients of this outstanding recognition.
For multiple years, Ferrentino, Liebert, Longhouse, McCulloch, Mikos, Rief, Rugg and Walker have all received this designation and Mikos was named the Best Lawyers® 2016 Health Care Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Tampa.
Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. For the 2016 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 6.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers® is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers® "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."
The attorneys at Allen Dell congratulate these honorees on this significant achievement.
August 14, 2015
Amy D. Singer, Esquire has received an AV Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating. After an extensive and confidential peer review by members of the Bar and Judiciary, Ms. Singer has joined a select group of lawyers recognized for their legal ability and professional ethical standards.
August 6-9, 2015
Amy D. Singer, Esquire attended The Florida Bar Family Law Section’s 2015 Trial Advocacy Workshop in Key Biscayne featuring a distinguished faculty of Florida Bar Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorneys and Family Law Judges.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on honing their trial skills whenever possible.
August 12, 2015
Divorce Attorney and Life Advisor for the Huffington Post, Karen Covy asked, “What Do Celebrity Divorces Have That We Don't... But Should?”
You might think the answer is money, seemingly unlimited resources, or visibility. Yes, maybe all true but, guess again. A prenup? Yes, probably true, but guess once more. Give up? Divorce statements.
Why don't we do it?
I think the reason that most ordinary people don't issue "divorce statements" is that they don't think of themselves as celebrities. Plus, they think that, because they have never issued "a statement" before, that it would be weird to do it when they divorce. (They are right. It would.) But, even though sending a "divorce announcement" may be socially awkward, there is no reason you can't prepare one anyway and have it ready for when you do need it.
When will you need it? Every time someone says to you, "I haven't seen your spouse in a while. What's up?" or, "I heard you are getting a divorce. Is it true?" You will need it whenever someone wants to talk to you about your divorce, but you would rather not have that conversation with them.
The benefits of having a divorce statement
Answering questions about your divorce is incredibly painful, especially early on, when your emotions are totally raw. Having a simple, standard response that you have made in advance to answer questions you would rather not talk about has many benefits:
- It allows you to control your message, the same way it allows celebrities to control their message;
- It keeps you from having to think on your feet when your brain is in a fog. You have a standard answer. You memorize it. You say it. End of divorce discussion;
- It prevents you from having to go into all of the gory details of your divorce with people who barely know you, but still feel entitled to ask prying questions;
- It gives you something to put on social media (if you choose) so that you and your spouse can "tell" people about your divorce in a unified way, without having to actually say anything to people face to face. (Although, fair warning, posting your divorce on social media is a sure way to bring in a deluge of comments, so don't go there unless you are ready to deal with the attention.); and
- It allows you to convey the basic information, while politely telling people you don't want to talk about it. If they continue to ask questions anyway, they are the ones being rude.
While you may have never thought about preparing a "divorce statement" before, and you may not think of yourself as a celebrity, this is one time in your life when it makes sense to do what the celebrities do.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of trends and changes in laws affecting our clients. Marriage affects all couples whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes, and whether they are addressing a health care crisis, retirement, divorce or death.
Read more here:
July 23, 2015
Marian P. McCulloch and Amy Singer attended the Women and Wealth luncheon at the Centre Club featuring guest speaker Janet Bodnar, Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Bodnar is a nationally recognized expert in the field of children's and family finances and financial literacy.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws and matters affecting our clients.
Grandparent Visitation Rights in Florida
On July 1, 2015, amendments to Florida law became effective granting grandparents the right to seek visitation with their grandchildren under very limited circumstances.
While many millions of grandparent live in Florida, visitation rights for those grandparents have gone virtually unrecognized. Family relationships affect all of us, especially our children’s children. The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients.
Read more here:
Deciding the fate of stored embryos in the case of divorce: Destroy or preserve?
July 12, 2015: A drama is unfolding in a San Francisco courtroom where a judge must decide between one spouse’s wish to have the embryos destroyed against the other spouse’s desire to preserve them as her only way to bear a child.
On the eve of their wedding the Wife was diagnosed with cancer. With aggressive treatment on the horizon, the couple hurried to UCSF’s fertility center, where five of the Wife’s embryos -- fertilized by the Husband -- were cryogenically frozen and preserved for a possible future with offspring.
The couple signed documents at UCSF that included provisions for destroying the embryos under various circumstances, including divorce. Three years later the divorcing couple reached agreement on everything but the embryos which are still stored at UCSF.
How California will deal with conflicts between divorcing spouses John Robertson, a University of Texas law professor and chair of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's ethics committee, said "the overwhelming case law" is to uphold signed agreements to dispose of frozen embryos in divorce.
But Judith Daar, a Whittier law professor, notes that courts have been split on the power of such signed consent agreements, saying of the 46-year-old Lee: "The disputed embryos represent that woman's only clinical opportunity for genetic parentage."
While courts in some states have dealt with this modern dilemma the issue has yet to be squarely addressed by the California courts. The drama is expected to unfold this week in this unprecedented legal battle.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Marriage affects all couples whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes, and whether they are addressing a health care crisis, retirement, divorce or death. Keep calm and call us.
Read more here:
Same-sex couples to get federal marriage benefits announces US attorney general
On July 9, 2015, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that federal marriage benefits will be made available to same-sex couples across the United States after last month's Supreme Court ruling.
Programs aimed at veterans, elderly and disabled Americans will now include same-sex marriages, and include Social Security and veterans benefits programs.
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Marriage affects all couples whether the partners are of the same-sex or opposite sexes, and whether they are addressing a health care crisis, retirement, divorce or death.
Read more here:
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide
On June 26, 2015, in a landmark opinion, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. The U.S. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, including territories. Married same-sex couples will now enjoy the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples nationwide and will be recognized on official documents such as birth and death certificates. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family," Justice Kennedy wrote. "In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were."
The attorneys of Allen Dell pride themselves on staying abreast of changes in laws affecting our clients. Marriage affects all couples upon health care crisis, divorce and death. Premarital agreements and trusts and other estate planning documents require periodic review to ensure that their provisions still apply and that their terms are being followed and taken into account while planning the future.
Read more here:
July 8, 2015
Marian P. McCulloch has been appointed to the Alberto Romero Team Member Award Committee of the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group for 2015-16.
June 15, 2015
Marian P. McCulloch spoke on Opening Statements at the 2015 State Court Trial Seminar put on by the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division.
June 11, 2015
Super Lawyers has selected Donna L. Longhouse, Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos, Joseph W. N. Rugg, Amy D. Singer and Gary Walker for its 2015 designation as Super Lawyers. Michelle G. Hutt was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers.
For multiple years, Longhouse, McCulloch, Mikos, Rugg and Walker have all received this designation. This year marks ten consecutive years in which McCulloch, Rugg and Walker have been recognized.
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement (Superlawyers.com).
Congratulations to these distinguished attorneys.
May 12, 2015
Allen Dell, P.A. hosted a table at the Reach Up Foundation’s 3rd Annual Healthy Mother’s Luncheon. The Reach Up Foundation hosts this annual luncheon to celebrate the great strides made in saving babies and strengthening families in the Tampa Bay area. Attorneys Marian McCulloch, Anna Small and Michelle Hutt attended the event which honored Liz Kennedy, Community Child Advocate, for outstanding contributions to the health and well being of mothers, infants and young children in the Tampa Bay area.
May 5, 2015
Zachary L. Bayne has been elected to serve on the 2015-2018 Executive Council of the Hillsborough County Bar Association Family Law Section.
April 23, 2015
Pro Bono Committee: The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit 2015 Pro Bono Service Award Winners
The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit honored those who are dedicated to giving back to the community during the Eighth Annual Pro Bono Service Awards on April 23 at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center. Congratulations to those who were honored including Marian P. McCulloch, a 2015 Lapel Pin Recipient with 50 or more Pro Bono Hours and Michelle G. Hutt, a 2015 Lapel Pin Recipient with 20 or more Pro Bono Hours.
April 10, 2015
Zachary L. Bayne presented on the topic of Equitable Distribution for the Pro Bono Attorney at the Family Law Training for Pro Bono Attorneys Continuing Legal Education Course.
March 30, 2015
It is with great pleasure that Allen Dell announces Joseph W. N. Rugg has joined the firm as a shareholder. Rugg practices exclusively in representing healthcare providers, licensed professionals, and business clients in their transactional, tax, corporate and organizational, and regulatory matters. Rugg is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers, Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, Chambers & Partners, and The Best Lawyers in America, and was named “The Lawyer of the Year” for Health Care Law in Tampa by The Best Lawyers in America 2014. Prior to joining Allen Dell, Rugg was a shareholder at Akerman LLP, Tampa.
News and notes archive
Trusted Tampa attorneys fighting for your rights
If you need an experienced Tampa attorney to handle your case, call one of our attorneys today at 813.223.5351 to schedule an initial consultation. From its office in Tampa, the firm represents clients throughout Western Florida, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee, Marion and Sarasota counties.
November 17, 2014
Allen Dell proudly welcomes Frank J. “Sandy” Rief, III to the firm as a shareholder. Rief is a member of the American Law Institute, and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estates Counsel and the American College of Tax Counsel. Rief practices in the areas of tax, trusts and estates, business planning and tax-exempt organizations. Rief is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers from 2007 to 2013, named in The Best Lawyers in America since 2009 in Trusts and Estates, and received the University of South Florida 2014 Alumni Award, Class of ’56 Award. Prior to joining Allen Dell, Rief was Of Counsel at Akerman LLP, Tampa.
August 22, 2014
The Best Lawyers In America© recently announced their 2015 Best Lawyers® and named David D. Ferrentino, Tabatha A. Liebert, Donna L. Longhouse, Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos and Gary Walker as recipients of this outstanding recognition.
For multiple years, Ferrentino, Longhouse, McCulloch, Mikos and Walker have all received this designation and Liebert has been selected for the first time to Best Lawyers®.
Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers® is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey. The 21st Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (2015) includes over 52,000 leading attorneys casting more than 5.5 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers® is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers® “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice (Bestlawyers.com).”
The attorneys at Allen Dell congratulate these honorees on this significant achievement.
July 24, 2014
Nationwide, 1,165 attorneys were honored to be included in the 2014 selection. These three Allen Dell attorneys have all been recognized by Legal Elite in previous years, and they practice at Allen Dell in the following areas of law:
Cynthia Mikos, Health care and Administrative Law
Amy Singer, Marital and Family Law
Donna Longhouse, Tax, Trust and Estates
In the press release from Florida Trend, Publisher Andrew P. Corty wrote: “Florida Trend’s 250,000 readers are executives who rely on the legal community for a multitude of corporate assignments. When we first published Florida Legal Elite in 2004, our goal was to provide a valuable resource for our readers.” He continued: “Florida Legal Elite is a guide to selecting a trusted legal partner to handle delicate business concerns.”
Congratulations to these distinguished attorneys.
June 11, 2014
Super Lawyers has selected David D. Ferrentino, Donna L. Longhouse, Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos, Amy D. Singer and Gary Walker for its 2014 designation as Super Lawyers. Michelle G. Hutt was name “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, and McCulloch was named one of the “Top 50 Women Lawyers” in Florida.
For multiple years, Ferrentino, Longhouse, McCulloch, Mikos and Walker have all received this designation. In the past three years, Singer was named as “Rising Star,” and in 2014 was named to Super Lawyers.
Robert Mora, who joined Allen Dell in 1975, commented “I am extremely honored to work with so many highly distinguished partners. It is a pleasure to work daily with these individuals who have achieved recognition for the high degree of confidence from their peers and for their legal expertise.”
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a “patented-multiphase process.” Attorneys are nominated by their peers, subjected to third-party research, and evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement (SuperLawyer.com). In 2013, the selection process received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which demonstrates the credibility of the impartial third-party rating system.
Congratulations to these distinguished attorneys.
December 11, 2013
Allen Dell law firm has been named to FORTUNE Magazine’s 2014 Top Ranked Law Firms. To qualify for this recognition, at least 33% of its attorneys must have achieved a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating, which is one of the most noteworthy accomplishments in the legal profession. Less than 2,500 firms nationwide achieve this ranking.
Cynthia Mikos, Managing Partner, commented: “I am pleased to be associated with so many of my colleagues who have achieved the AV Preeminent rating as this speaks to the high quality of their legal practice, and positions Allen Dell as one of the top ranked firms in the nation.”
November 1, 2013
Allen Dell is pleased to announce that Attorneys David D. Ferrentino, Donna L. Longhouse, Cynthia A. Mikos, Marian P. McCulloch and Gary Walker have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2014 Best Lawyers publication. Congratulations David in the field of Commercial Litigation, Donna in the field of Trusts and Estates, Cynthia in the field of Health Care Law, Marian in the field of Family Law and Gary in the field of Health Care Law. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than three decades, Best Lawyers lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public, as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.
Allen Dell, P.A. is pleased to announce that Gregory A. Richards, Jr. joined the firm as a shareholder on July 1, 2013. Richards practices in the areas of estate planning; probate, guardianship and trust administration; and probate, guardianship and trust litigation. In addition, he advises clients as to gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax issues, fiduciary income tax issues, and the formation and administration of family limited partnerships and tax-exempt organizations.
Allen Dell, P.A. is pleased to announce that Donna L. Longhouse joined the firm as a shareholder on June 26, 2013. Longhouse practices in the areas of tax, trusts and estates, business planning and tax-exempt organizations. Longhouse is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers for 2012 and 2013, named in The Best Lawyers in America since 2010 in Trusts and Estates, and was named in the 2013 edition of The Legal 500 United States in the area Tax, Domestic – East Coast.
On June 24, 2013 Attorney Marian P. McCulloch attended an exclusive Stetson Alumni Luncheon sponsored by Hon. Jim Davis & Benjamin H. Hill which included a presentation by Dean Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz about the future of legal education.
Congratulations to Marian P. McCulloch and Cynthia A. Mikos, chosen as two of the Florida Legal Elite for 2013 by Florida Trend magazine. This prestigious list represents fewer than 2% of all active Florida Bar members. Ms. McCulloch is Board certified in Marital & Family Law and Ms. Mikos is Board certified in Health Law. Both are shareholders of Allen Dell P.A., Tampa.
The firm is pleased to announce that Jonathan E. Lewerenz, Esq. joined Allen Dell, P.A., on April 29, 2013. Mr. Lewerenz has several years of legal experience and will focus his legal knowledge and expertise towards the firm’s business litigation practice area.
The firm is pleased to announce that Jennifer L. Simpson-Oliver, Esq. joined Allen Dell, P.A., on March 18, 2013. Ms. Simpson-Oliver has over seven years of legal experience and was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2010. She will focus her legal knowledge and expertise towards the firm's health law practice area.
Allen Dell, P.A. is proud to announce that Patrick Traber and Kevin Dees have become shareholders in the firm effective as of January 1, 2013. Mr. Traber’s practice includes support of clients’ complex business litigation, including intellectual property matters and securities arbitration. He also assists corporations with corporate, regulatory and operational matters. Mr. Dees focuses his practice on commercial litigation, and has successfully litigated matters involving contracts, real estate, construction law, employment law, corporate governance, and many other issues affecting private entities. Both have contributed to the firm’s success and the firm looks forward to their ongoing efforts in their new roles.
Allen Dell, P.A. has been named as one of the 2013 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firms. The list appeared in Fortune magazine’s December 24th Special 2013 Investor’s Guide, as well as in the January 2013 editions of ALM’s award winning publications Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer.
Allen Dell, P.A. is proud to announce that it has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers as a Tier 1 Law Firm in the Tampa Bay Region for 2013 in the practice fields of Family Law and Health Care Law. Achieving a high ranking is a special distinction that signals a unique combination of excellence and breadth of expertise of its legal team.
Allen Dell, P.A. has been recognized by American Registry as one of the top 25 Law Firms in the Greater Tampa Bay Area. This achievement was made possible through Allen Dell's dedication to business excellence.
Five Allen Dell Lawyers have been named Florida Super Lawyers 2012 with two named in the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Florida: David D. Ferrentino, Business Litigation; Marian P McCulloch, Collaborative & Family Law; Cynthia A. Mikos, Health Care; and Gary Walker, Health Care; and an additional two named to Florida Rising Stars List: Kevin Dees, Business Litigation; and Amy Singer, Collaborative & Family Law.
Florida Association for Women Attorneys (FAWL) News: In 2011, Marian P. McCulloch was named as a Leader in the Law by the Florida Association for Women Attorneys. This designation is awarded annually to a select group of attorneys from around the state who have been nominated by their local FAWL chapters and meet the criteria for the recognition. To be named a Leader in the Law, an attorney must have earned professional respect, made a significant impact in her local community through legal services or volunteer activities, exemplified the qualities of a positive role model, and advanced the cause of women in the community.
Marian P. McCulloch was recognized at The George E. Edgecomb Courthouse on April 13, 2011 by the 2010-2011 Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Oversight Committee for her outstanding pro bono service by a lawyer. Since 1991 she has handled 11 family law cases for the Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program and contributed over 150 pro bono hours. She consistently volunteers for pro bono cases involving complex family law matters.
Marian P. McCulloch has been honored by her peers with the prestigious Ted Millison Professionalism Award in 2011. This award is given by the Family Law Inn of Court to only one attorney each year who exemplifies professionalism in their practice. A plaque was unveiled at a courthouse ceremony in the presence of members of the Bar and judiciary as well as family members. The plaque is currently displayed on the fourth floor of the Hillsborough County Courthouse to inspire others to emulate Mr. Millison’s professionalism and dedication to the practice of family law.
Congratulations to Marian P. McCulloch who was named a Florida Super Lawyer for 2011 by Super Lawyers Magazine and named among the Top 50 Women in the state.
September 6, 2011 - Marian P. McCulloch was awarded the Family Law Inn of Tampa 2011 Professionalism Award. This award is given to one family law attorney each year who exemplifies professionalism in the practice of family law.
Congratulations to Cynthia A. Mikos, who was chosen as one of the Florida Legal Elite for 2011 by Florida Trend magazine.
Congratulations to Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos and Gary Walker who were each named Florida Super Lawyers for 2011 by Super Lawyers magazine. Tabatha A. Liebert and Amy D. Singer were each selected as Rising Stars.
Congratulations to Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos and Gary Walker who were each named Florida Super Lawyers for 2010 by Super Lawyers magazine, with McCulloch named among the Top 50 Women in the state. Tabatha A. Liebert, Elaine I. Probasco and Amy D. Singer were each selected as Rising Stars.
During August 2010, Cynthia A. Mikos, who serves as the practice counsel to the Florida Nurses Association, was interviewed by the Tampa Tribune and WFLA TV News in connection with reports on impaired nurses. Ms. Mikos' subsequent commentary on the topic was also published by the Tampa Tribune on August 12, 2010. Read the article.
Congratulations to Gary Walker who received the 2010 Outstanding Pro Bono Service for Client Intake Award from Bay Area Legal Services (BALS). Mr. Walker is the current Board President of BALS and serves as Treasurer of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. He has participated in Client Intake through the BAVLP since 2005 and has donated approximately 50 pro bono hours providing counsel and advice to indigent clients on various legal matters.
Effective July 1, 2010, Cynthia A. Mikos was elected to serve as the Chair-Elect of The Florida Bar Health Law Section.
Marian P. McCulloch and Cynthia A. Mikos were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2010. Ms. McCulloch in the field of Family Law and Ms. Mikos in the field of Health Law. (Copyright 2009 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.).
Cynthia A. Mikos appeared as amicus curiae on behalf of ARC of Florida, Hillsborough Achievement and Resources Center, Autism Society of America, Autism Society of Greater Florida, Florida’s Voice on Development Disabilities and Parent to Parent of Miami.
Winning on Appeal: In the case of Cox v. Cox, 10 So. 3d 180 (Fla. 2 DCA 2009), appealing a Second Amended Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, the 2nd DCA affirmed the equitable distribution, reversed the alimony award and remanded for a redetermination of the need for and amount of alimony and for the recalculation of child support. Paula Louise Cox was represented in the appeal by Amy D. Singer.
Marian P. McCulloch, Cynthia A. Mikos and Gary Walker were each named Florida Super Lawyers for 2009 by Super Lawyers magazine. Only 5 percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.
Tabatha A. Liebert was selected by Super Lawyers magazine as one of their Florida Rising Stars for 2009. No more than 2.5 percent of the total lawyers in the state are named to the Rising Stars list.
Marian P. McCulloch spoke at the Florida Bar Family Law Section’s 2009 Board Certification Review Course on modifications of alimony and child support at Disney’s Grand Floridian in Orlando. There were 912 attendees.
Congratulations to Marian P. McCulloch on being named by Tampa Bay Magazine as one of Tampa Bay’s Top Lawyers for 2008.
The firm is pleased to announce that Cynthia A. Mikos joined Allen Dell, P.A., on June 30, 2008. Ms. Mikos has been practicing law for fifteen years and is board certified in health law by the Florida Bar. Her extensive legal experience in the area of health care is enhanced by her own clinical and managerial experiences as a former nurse and an executive of a Fortune 100 health care company.
Marian P. McCulloch, Gary Walker and Cynthia A. Mikos were each named Florida Super Lawyers for 2008 by Super Lawyers magazine. Only 5 percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.
Gary Walker was elected Treasurer of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.
Amy D. Singer has been appointed to the 13th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee to promote and maintain the high standards of The Florida Bar. Ms. Singer will be investigating complaints filed with The Florida Bar against attorneys practicing in the Thirteenth Circuit (Hillsborough County).
Marian P. McCulloch has been appointed co chair of the Collaborative Divorce Lawyers of Tampa Bay for the 2007-2008 year. Marian is board certified in Marital & Family Law, and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
October 1, 2007 — Marian P. McCulloch was selected by her peers for inclusion in the 25th anniversary edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of family law.
September 1, 2007 — Gary Walker was recently appointed to the national board of directors of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a Washington, D.C. advocacy organization that has worked for nearly 70 years promoting religious liberty for all and upholding the principle of church-state separation.