November 27, 2017 – New Associate Joins Allen Dell

Allen Dell is pleased to announce that Christopher P. Arnold, Esq. has joined the firm as an associate. Mr. Arnold will focus his legal knowledge and expertise towards the firm’s Family Law practice group.

November 7, 2017 – Attorneys Sandy Rief and Donna Longhouse Give Presentation at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Allen Dell attorneys Sandy Rief and Donna Longhouse gave a presentation at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.  Those in attendance were given a Special Presentation on Charitable Giving – “How and What to Give to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation”.

Best Lawyers®

November 7, 2017 – Allen Dell Recognized as 2018 Best Law Firms by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

Allen Dell, P.A. is regionally ranked in 4 practice areas. The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process.

Regional rankings (Tampa):

Tier 1 in Family Law

Tier 1 in Trusts & Estates Law

Tier 2 in Non-Profit / Charities Law

Tier 3 in Commercial Litigation

See all rankings for this firm »

Since its inception in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 54,463 leading attorneys cast almost 7.3 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Best Lawyers can be found at

Matthew P. Schnitzlein

New Associate Joins Allen Dell

Allen Dell is pleased to announce that Matthew P. Schnitzlein, Esq. has joined the firm as an associate. Mr. Schnitzlein will focus his legal knowledge and expertise towards the firm’s Tax, Trusts and Estates practice group.

Florida Supreme Court Promulgates Collaborative Procedure and Professional Responsibility Rules

The Florida Supreme Court has approved and promulgated the Collaborative Law Process Act’s implementing rules of procedure and professional responsibility. The statute will be effective in 30 days. Florida Approves Collaborative Family Law Amendments

See the Fla. Sup. Ct Rule here:

Marian McCulloch has become a member of the Athena Society

Congratulations to Marian P McCulloch, a 2017 inductee into the Athena Society, an organization of Tampa professionals who have demonstrated leadership in the community and committed themselves to promoting equality and opportunity for women.

Started in 1976 to support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, Athena Society continues to promote equality through the removal of artificial boundaries to success and by fostering leadership through collaboration and education. Athena remains true to its shared purpose today.

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.

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:

Robert L. Olsen

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.

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