Family law attorney sees bigger picture as stakeholder in the firm

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Originally published in Sun Sentinel. Family law attorney sees bigger picture as stakeholder in the firm   Who: Eddie Stephens, a marital and family law attorney with Ward Damon PL since April 2013, was named an Equity Partner earlier this year in West Palm Beach. Becoming a steakholder in the firm has expanded his role greatly, says Stephens. Not only does he continue to serve clients, but now he is a part of a team of decision-makers that help formulate policy that guides the firm of sixty-plusemployees. Resume Experience: I have been practicing family law for my entire 18-year career. I had my own firm in the past and managed a staff of five. Education: Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg (J.D., 1997); University of Miami, Miami (B.B.A. Computer Information Systems, 1994) Myth-busting  What don't people know about this job: It's hard. Pick your battles, and how to fight them: People who hire aggressive divorce attorneys typically do not fare as well as … [Read more...]

Eddie Stephens gives advice about Authenticity to LeadershipGROW Class of 2017

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Recently,  I had the privilege of addressing 44 of the highest achieving 11th graders in Palm Beach County.  These 11th graders are  participants of Leadership Grow Class of 2017. Leadership Grow, formerly known as Youth Leadership, enables High School Juniors to understand the critical issues facing Palm Beach County while encouraging them to expand their leadership roles and build a foundation for always being involved in their community. These students spend nine months gaining real-life experience by having unparalleled access to leaders from businesses, government agencies, and civic organizations.  The program coordinators encourage students to interact, learn and reflect on their future as community leaders, and build necessary skills, including public speaking and resume-writing to prepare them for future education and employment.  Only 48 high school juniors who represent the diversity of Palm Beach County’s school system are accepted.  By completing the program, students … [Read more...]

This Morning’s Adventure…

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September 10, 2016 Eddie:  It was a quiet Saturday morning.  But for a few errands, the major agenda item for the weekend was relaxation.  Jacquie was getting excited for the first real weekend of pro football.  We were finishing our morning coffee in our living room when something caught my attention. Jacquie:  Eddie is serious that but for some laundry, maybe a yoga class and foooooootballllllllll we had nothing on the agenda.  Go Eagles!  #bleedgreen Eddie:  We redid the interior of the house when I moved in back in late 2009/early 2010.  I ripped down the walls between the kitchen, living room and dining room so it’s all one large room.  From the sofa / T.V. area you can see what is going on in the kitchen.  I was surprised to see smoke out of the corner of my eye over our counter top range.   We had turned off the range hours before and there was no good reason smoke should be now streaming out from under the glass top through the 4 nobs that control the burner. Jacquie:  At … [Read more...]

Stephens’ Squibs – August 2016

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Agreements: Richardson v. Knight, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1735 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Generally, an agreement announced in open court is an enforceable agreement.  However, Judge must obtain clear and unequivocal assent to agreement by sworn testimony. Alimony: Dickson v. Dickson, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1807 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court erred as a matter of law by awarding Wife bridge-the-gap as opposed to permanent alimony in a 19 year marriage because the Wife was 42 years old.  There is a rebuttable presumption in favor of permanent alimony in a long term marriage.  Neither age or a spouse’s ability to earn some income alone rebuts that presumption.  A spouse’s age is not a valid basis to deny permanent alimony absent evidence that the spouse’s youth would allow her to earn income sufficient to support a life style consistent with that enjoyed during the marriage. Jordan v. Jordan, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1792 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court erred by awarding permanent alimony but failing to … [Read more...]

Why do Hurricanes Chase After the Stephens Family?

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Originally published by the Palm Beach Post. … [Read more...]

Stephens’ Squibs – July 2016

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July Squibs: Alimony: Sherlock v. Sherlock, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1601 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Trial court affirmed for denying permanent alimony in long term marriage to 63 year old husband who could not work because he had a broken back from working during marriage.  Husband was receiving 1.3 million in marital assets and 980k in non-marital assets.  While a court should not require a spouse in need to deplete or invade capital assets to maintain standard of living, a court may consider income generated by any asset held by that party. Dunkel v. Daly, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1538, (Fla. 2nd DCA 2016).  Error to require temporary alimony to continue past final judgment until house is sold when no such relief requested. Annulment: Smith v. Smith, 41 Fla.L.Weekly D1514 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Certifies question of great public importance:  Where fundamental right to marry has not been removed from a ward under section 744.3215(2)(a), Florida Statues, is court approval required for a ward to … [Read more...]

Proposed Collaborative Law Rules

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Below are the proposed Collaborative Rules of Procedure and Rule of Conduct.  They have been recently approved by the Board of Governor's of the Florida Bar and are awaiting approval by the Supreme Court and will be published for commentary in the Florida Bar News next week. Coral Gables attorney and champion of the Collaborative Process in Florida, Robert Merlin, recently stated: "The rules are an important step in standardizing the use of the Collaborative Process in Florida. I believe that more clients are going to be asking their attorneys to use the Collaborative Process. Family attorneys should learn about the Collaborative Process so they are qualified to provide that service to their clients. The next Collaborative training in South Florida will be on November 11-12 in Miami. People can contact me for details." RULE 12.745.     COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS (a)     Application. This rule governs all proceedings under Chapter 61, part III, Florida Statutes. (b)     Collaborative … [Read more...]