Visionary Award

About the Visionary Award

Each year during the Marital and Family Law Review Course, the Chair of the Family Law Section presents an individual with the Visionary Award for outstanding service and invaluable contributions. This award was created in 2005 by Evan Marks, then Chair of the Family Law Section. He and Tom Sasser thought the Section should give an award to those people who had made major contributions to the advancement of family law in Florida regardless of whether they were lawyers, judges, experts, legislators etc.. Mr. Marks came up with the name “Visionary Award.” The purpose was to recognize someone who had the vision and the drive to push for and/or implement changes or improvements to family law in ways that benefited some or all of those involved in the system.

2024 Visionary Award Winner

The Hon. Jack Helinger, Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, Florida

The Hon. Jack Helinger of St. Petersburg is the recipient of The Family Law Section’s 2024 Visionary Award.

Judge Helinger had the unprecedented vision of The Family Law Section partnering with the Office of State Courts Administrator (“OSCA”) to present, during the 2023-2024 bar cycle, eleven day-long workshops throughout the State of Florida designed to create and sustain partnerships between the local court, local family law practitioners, and local resources and stakeholders to form trauma-informed and trauma responsive family courts in each circuit.  The workshops addressed the role of trauma in family law cases, adverse childhood experiences, the impact of toxic stress, resiliency, self-care, and trauma responsiveness.  Judge Helinger liaised between the Family Law Section and OSCA, helped develop the curriculum, recruited and trained local volunteers to serve as workshop leaders, and supported the presentation of the workshop at all eleven locations.  Without Judge Helinger’s dedication, enthusiasm, tenacity, passion, and vision, this unprecedented partnership between The Family Law Section and OSCA would not have been possible.  The workshop series has created a movement of positive change throughout Florida’s court systems which will benefit countless practitioners, stakeholders, families, and generations to come.


2023 Visionary Award Winner

Maria C. Gonzalez, Law Offices of Maria C. Gonzalez, P.A., Miami, FL

Maria C. Gonzalez of Miami, is the recipient of The Family Law Section’s 2023 Visionary Award.

Maria has been one of the most active Members of the Section since she began her involvement with the Section. Her involvement culminated with her having the distinction of serving as Chair of the Section for the 2015-16 Bar Year, becoming the first Hispanic female attorney to chair the Section up to that point.

And, as many within the Section already know, Maria’s Section involvement did not end after her time as Chair ended.  Indeed, Maria has remained a very active Member of several committees, most notably her longstanding role as a senior member of the Section’s Legislation Committee. Maria has continued to lend her time and talents as a speaker and presenter at the Section’s signature Review Course CLE and at its biennial Trial Advocacy program, and is a staunch advocate of the Board Certification program in marital & family law. She has also continued to be a constant and engaged presence in her Trustee role at the Section’s Executive Council meeting.  At any Section gathering, Maria continues to be one of the friendliest and most approachable Section “elders”, seemingly always available and always willing to talk to newer members about how they can become more involved.

Maria continues to exemplify great leadership through her active roles in other legal organizations. Most notably, Maria was appointed as a Director of the Florida Bar Foundation in 2018, and this past year was appointed as an Officer of the Foundation. This involvement has resulted in Maria serving unofficially in recent years as a liaison and advocate for the Foundation with the Family Law Section. Her time on the Foundation’s Board of Directors has corresponded with a rapid increase in the Section’s lifetime giving to the Foundation.  At present time that total stands at $650,000, far surpassing the contributions of any other Florida Bar Section. Maria remains steadfast in her efforts to have those funds from the Section go towards the most deserving organizations and causes throughout the State of Florida.

For her continued leadership within the Section and beyond, and for continuing to serve as an example of what truly visionary leadership is, Maria is the 2023 Visionary Award recipient.

Maria was presented with the Visionary Award during the January 2023 Review Course in Orlando, where she accepted the award alongside her very supportive family, husband Frank, daughter Katherine, and son Frankie.

West Palm Beach, FL

2022 Visionary Award Winner

Elisha D. Roy, Sasser Cestero & Roy PA, West Palm Beach, FL

Elisha D. Roy, of West Palm Beach, is the recipient of The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar’s 2022 Visionary Award. Every year the Chair of the Section has the distinct honor and privilege to present an individual with the Visionary Award for outstanding service and invaluable contributions. The purpose of the award is to recognize the individual who has made major contributions to the advancement of family law in Florida and also has the vision and the drive to push for and/or implement changes or improvements to family law in ways that benefited some or all of those involved in the system.

Elisha truly embodies every purpose and intention of this Award.

She started her journey at Nova Southeastern University, where she earned her law degree.

Elisha has been actively involved in her local community legal organizations, including the County Bar Association, the Inns of Court and Early Learning Coalition.

She was very active in the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar, and she also sat on the Florida Bar Grievance Committee.

Elisha is a longstanding Member of the Family Law Section. In 2006 she gained her seat on Executive Council where she remained until she moved up to Executive Committee and ultimately became the Chair of the Family Law Section.

Elisha chaired the Marital & Family Law Review Course and she sat on the Marital & Family Law Certification Committee from 2011 to 2017, ultimately Chairing that Committee during the 2016/2017 Bar Year. Of course, not stopping there, she is currently on the Executive Committee for the Board of Legal Specialization and Education.

Elisha has been and continues to be instrumental in the Legislation Process, in the past as a member of the Legislation Committee, then through leadership and ultimately Chair of the Legislation Committee. Now as a Trustee, she is continually tasked with a wide range of legislative priorities which the Section seeks to advance.   Elisha is always willing to assist the Section in every way possible and promote any avenue of helping Florida’s families.

She is a Fellow and current President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Florida Chapter. Elisha Chaired the examining Committee for the AAML, Florida Chapter. At a national level, she is the current Co-Chair of the National Test Committee, she is the current Co-Chair of the National Legislation Committee.

Elisha is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Law Lawyers.

Elisha has dedicated endless hours toward advancing the practice of family law. She has absolutely had a significant impact, made major contributions and implemented changes to Family Law as a whole.

On a personal note, above and beyond all of her accolades – Elisha has two beautiful children. She is an incredible Mother an anyone who knows her knows that she lights up when she talks about her daughter and son.

Jacksonville, FL
Term Expiring 2027

2021 Visionary Award Winner

Sarah Sullivan, The Arc Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL

Sarah began her legal career as a Staff Attorney with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. from 1997-2001. In 2001, she and her military spouse left Florida, moving to Charleston, South Carolina. While there, Sarah represented the South Carolina Department of Social Services in abuse and neglect cases before the Charleston County Family Court. In that role, she collaborated with the judiciary, pro bono lawyers, and social service agencies to create South Carolina’s first family recovery court for drug-dependent parents and their children. The program provided a meaningful chance for recovery to parents while teaching the necessary tools for a drug-free, functional lifestyle for the best interests of their children. Sarah practiced family law with the Clekis Law Firm, Inc. and with her own firm, Sarah R. Sullivan, LLC prior to relocating back to her hometown of Jacksonville in 2005.

Back in Florida, Sarah returned to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid as a Senior Staff Attorney from 2005-2009. She led a regional legal services project serving individuals with developmental disabilities. The project defended disabled individuals against denials, terminations, or reductions of their essential services. Sarah was a true innovator because, at that time, this program was the only one of its kind in Florida.

Sarah taught at Florida Coastal School of Law and led the Disability and Public Benefits Clinic which assisted law students in representing pro bono clients. Sarah also directed the Veteran’s Legal Collaborative which took a comprehensive community approach with local organizations to train law students, provide pro bono opportunities and coordinate legal services for veterans. She served on the Outreach Committee for Inns of Court helping to organize clinics for self-represented individuals through the Inn and other outreach projects which have included setting up clinics at the local domestic violence shelter. In 2017, She started Jericho Road Legal Service Ministry, Inc., a faith-based non-profit that provides free legal advice, often coordinated through local churches.  She hopes to one day expand the ministry into a full-service public interest law firm serving individuals that otherwise would not qualify for legal services.

Sarah has been a long-time member of the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar and is a Past Chair of the Florida Bar Public Interest Section.  From 2018-2021, Sarah directed the Pro Bono program at Three Rivers Legal Services-Jacksonville Office. Like so many, Sarah adapted to COVID limitations. She organized virtual clinics to provide free legal advice to domestic violence victims, veterans, and local homeless shelters and consistently provided access to justice even when advice could not be provided in person.

Sarah Sullivan exemplifies vision because her acts, small and large, have a ripple effect in helping restore families in Florida.

Coral Springs, FL
Term Expiring 2025

2020 Visionary Award Winner

Matthew L. Lundy, Esq, Matthew Lundy Law, P.L., Coral Springs, FL

The Florida Bar has 21 Sections and the Family Law Section is a sizable body, with approximately 3700 members; we may be the third or fourth largest Section of the Bar. Those of us who are involved with the Section’s committees do our best to provide opportunities to educate and mentor.

Over the years, we have been fortunate to donate significant funds to such groups as the Florida Bar Foundation, to help legal aid organizations throughout the state and we donated money to the One Orlando Fund after the attack on the Pulse nightclub. We also provide scholarships for various Section programs – we gave 21 scholarships of up to $1000 each, for this CLE. We do these things to help our not just certain individuals, but for our communities, and Florida’s families.

We raise revenue primarily through membership dues, CLE registration, and sponsorships.

It’s not easy asking people for money. But it’s a necessary part of what we do so we can continue to provide excellent programs to our members which has a ripple effect of helping so many in the 67 counties and 20 judicial circuits in Florida.

Matt Lundy is so deserving of the Visionary Award because he doesn’t settle for the same way of doing things year after year but boldly steps into unchartered waters with the goal of trying something new and is undeterred when first attempts don’t go as planned.

Matt always thinks about new ideas and how we can improve what we do, for the bigger picture of helping lawyers, judiciary, other professionals connected to family law, and the families.

The Section’s sponsorship revenue has increased dramatically since Matt has been an active member of that committee. His contributions to the Section have been invaluable and his service has absolutely been outstanding.

On a personal note, Matt has an upbeat personality; he’s so full of energy and always smiling. He is someone you can count on when you need help. Most important, Matt is a husband, a father, and a really good person.

For all those reasons, Matthew L. Lundy is the recipient of the 2020 Visionary Award.

Melinda Gamot
Palm Beach Gardens
The Gamot Law Firm

2019 Visionary Award Winner

Melinda Gamot, The Gamot Law Firm, Palm Beach Gardens

Melinda Gamot of Palm Beach Gardens is the recipient of the 2019 Family Law Section of The Florida Bar’s Visionary Award for “outstanding service and invaluable contributions to the practice of family law throughout the State of Florida.” Section Chair Abigail Beebe presented the award in January during the 2019 Marital and Family Law Review Course.


Melinda is an AV-rated attorney who practices marital and family law exclusively, focusing on cases involving complex marital estates and unique issues concerning children and property. Her prior experience as a commercial litigator provide her the skills necessary to try complex litigation disputes successfully, and to resolve a myriad of other issues that arise in the practice of family law.


Born and raised in Palm Beach County, Florida, Melinda graduated with high honors from the University of Florida. She earned her J.D. with honors at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.  Melinda was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1978 and to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States in 2007. She also is a member of The Colorado Bar.


Melinda has been board certified by The Florida Bar in marital and family law since 1992. She is a fellow with the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML) as well as the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), where she is a past president of the Florida Chapter. She also is active in The Florida Bar. She chaired and served on The Florida Bar Marital and Family Law Certification Committee for several years and has served in numerous leadership roles for the Family Law Section. Melinda was part of the original committee that compiled The Bounds of Advocacy, guidelines for professional and ethical conduct in the practice of Florida family law. She served as a co-chair of the Family Law Section’s ad hoc Bounds of Advocacy Committee, which in 2018 revised the original 2004 Florida publication to capture not only changes in marital and family law, but in ethics, professionalism, social media and technology. Melinda is a past co-chair of the section’s Marital & Family Law Review Course Committee, and she also spent several years on the Legislation Committee.

David Manz
Marathon, FL
Manz Law Firm

2018 Visionary Award Winner

DAVID MANZ of the Manz Law Firm in Marathon is the recipient of the 2018 Family Law Section of The Florida Bar’s Visionary Award for “outstanding service and invaluable contributions to the practice of family law throughout the State of Florida.”

Section Chair Nicole Goetz presented the award in January during the annual American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – AAML – Florida Chapter/Family Law Section Marital and Family Law Review Course. She said: “Through the years, David has made incredible contributions to the practice by chairing the Marital and Family Law Board Certification Committee, leading the AAML Florida Chapter, and after working his way through leading numerous committees, chairing the Family Law Section. In addition to his leadership roles, David has worked diligently to address legislation affecting Florida’s families, has written numerous articles and has lectured extensively on family law. Not surprisingly, access to justice is David’s passion. He actively takes cases through Dade Legal Aid & Put Something Back and handles local cases on a pro bono basis. After Hurricane Irma, David selflessly gave his time to assist dispossessed residents in Monroe County—his home county and an area hardest hit by the hurricane. Presently serving as a member of the board of directors for The Florida Bar Foundation, and previously recognized as the 2017 Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award winner for the 16th Circuit, David demonstrates what each of us should aspire to as practitioners.”

In accepting the award, David said, “It has been my honor to serve the Family Law Section and the Florida Chapter of the AAML for some twenty-five years. During that service I have committed to the enhanced professionalism of family law in Florida, have made innumerable friends statewide, and have become a far better lawyer because of that service. During my career in the section and chapter, I have realized that access to justice is the cornerstone to our legal system, and that the lack of access to justice in Florida is endemic and pervasive. As Abraham Lincoln said, as lawyers we have a superior opportunity to do good. We need to do that. To paraphrase Cervantes, it is our responsibility not to discover whether the oppressed and the poor are reduced to these circumstances and suffer this distress for their vices, or for their virtues: Our sole responsibility is to see them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds.”

Douglas A. Greenbaum
2014-15 Award Winner
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Douglas A. Greenbaum, P.A.

2017 Visionary Award Winner

DOUGLAS GREENBAUM has been an attorney in private practice in Fort Lauderdale since 1992. He handles all areas of family law as well as probate and guardianship. Mr. Greenbaum is also outside counsel to the Department of Children and Families Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Program. He is a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator for family law, County, and Circuit Civil cases and has actively mediated since opening his own practice. Mr. Greenbaum is a parenting coordinator, an arbitrator, and a Guardian Ad Litem, volunteering his time in all three areas. He has also volunteered time by serving on The Florida Bar Grievance Committee and arbitrating fee disputes for The Florida Bar.

Mr. Greenbaum was Secretary of the Family Law Section when he received the award. He became a member of the Executive Council in 2006. He has chaired numerous committees including Continuing Legal Education, General Magistrate and Hearing Officers, Nomenclature and Membership while actively serving on other committees. He has won numerous awards and received several accolades for his service to the Family Law Section including the 2015 Raymond McNeal Professionalism Award.

General Magistrate Susan Roux Keith
Ocala, FL
Fifth Judicial Circuit, Marion County, FL

2016 Visionary Award Winner

GENERAL MAGISTRATE SUSAN ROUX KEITH is a General Magistrate with the Fifth Judicial Circuit, in and for Marion County, Florida. She was previously a Child Support Hearing Officer and Staff Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Magistrate Keith obtained her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree from Florida State University, and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Florida, College of Law.  For the past twenty-three years, she has served the citizens of the Fifth Judicial Circuit and the State of Florida. For over seventeen years, she has presided over cases as a General Magistrate and Hearing Officer. She is a very active member of The Florida Bar, Family Law Section’s General Magistrate and Hearing Officer, Nomenclature and Support Committee.  Magistrate Keith is a past Chair of the Section’s Rules and Forms Committee.  She has been a faculty member of the Florida Judicial College since 2012 and was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court Family Law Forms Advisory Workgroup since 2007, having also served as Chair of that Committee.   She is a member of her local Marion County Bench and Bar Committee and has been active in the Families and Children in the Courts Steering Committee: 2009-2014; the Florida Supreme Court Self Help Work Group; the Florida Supreme Court TIMS Project and the Fifth Judicial Circuit Professionalism Committee.  In addition, Magistrate Keith is a past member of the D.R. Smith American Inn of Court; the Florida Association of  Women Lawyers Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, including the Florida Chapter.  She has lectured extensively throughout the State on behalf of The Florida Bar, Family Law Section, and various other local Bar Associations.

General Magistrate Diane M. Kirigin
Delray Beach, FL
15th Judicial Circuit

2015 Visionary Award Winner

GENERAL MAGISTRATE DIANE M. KIRIGIN is a General Magistrate with the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, in and for Palm Beach County, Florida. She is currently the Chief General Magistrate of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit and serves at the South County Judicial Complex in Delray Beach, Florida, presiding primarily over Family Division cases. She also handles Baker (mental health) and Marchman Act (substance abuse) proceedings; as well as guardianship enforcement matters.  General Magistrate Kirigin has a B.A. in History from Florida Atlantic University; and  a J.D. from Nova University. General Magistrate Kirigin has been board certified in Marital and Family Law since June 1st, 1995. She was in private practice with the Law Offices of Bosso, Bosso &  Pardo, P.A. for over 10 years prior to becoming a General Magistrate in 1995. General Magistrate Kirigin became a member of the Faculty of the Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies (General Magistrate track) in 1998. She is a very active member of The Florida Bar, Family Law Section and is a past Chair of the Section’s Ad Hoc Adoption Committee where she co-authored the Putative Father Registry; has been a member of The Florida Bar, Marital and Family Law Certification Committee {which is responsible for reviewing and testing all initial applicants seeking the designation of Board Certification in that practice area; and also for reviewing all recertification applications} since from 2002 – 2008, serving as Vice Chair from 2003 – 2006,  as Chair in 2007; is a member of the Executive Council of The Florida Bar, Family Law Section since 2003, and is currently a member of the Section’s Executive Committee, serving as Chair. She served as Chair of the Section’s Legislation Committee back-to-back during bar cycles 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 and helped draft the Putative Father Registry as well as revisions to Florida’s relocation statute. In 2008 the National Association of Social Workers, Palm Beach Unit honored General Magistrate Kirigin as “Public Citizen of the Year” for her work with those individuals involved in the court system through Marchman Act and Mental Health Court; in 2007 General Magistrate Kirigin was honored  by the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers with its Gavin Letts Award as “Jurist of the Year”; and is the 2006 recipient of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.” General Magistrate Kirigin delivered a marital and family law legislative updates at the 2007, 2008 and 2010 Florida Circuit Judges Conference. She has lectured extensively throughout the State on behalf of The Florida Bar, Family Law Section, various other local Bar Associations and conducted numerous in-house trainings and seminars at the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit on marital and family, guardianship and mental health law.

Thomas J. Sasser
West Palm Beach, FL
Sasser, Cestero & Sasser, P.A.

2014 Visionary Award Winner

THOMAS J. SASSER is currently a partner at Sasser, Cestero & Sasser, PA in West Palm Beach, FL. He received his undergraduate degree from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA in 1992 and his law degree with honors from the University of Florida, College of Law in Gainesville, FL in 1995. Mr. Sasser was admitted to The Florida Bar and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 1995. He became Board Certified as a Marital and Family Law Specialist in 2002. Since then, he has received designations from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Mr. Sasser has been actively involved in The Florida Bar through his involvement in the Family Law Section as Chair (2006-2007), Executive Council member for a number of committees including Support Issues, Commentator, Continuing Legal Education, Chair of the Board Certified Review Course, Legislation and FAMSEG. He has also served on the Associates Institute Committee for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and the U.S. Chapter Executive Council for the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. On the local level, Mr. Sasser has served on the Family Law Practice Committee for the Palm Beach County Bar Association.

During the course of his career, Mr. Sasser has received many awards including the Florida Bar Family Law Section Chair’s Outstanding Service Award five times from 1999 – 2005, Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite four times from 2004-2007 and Florida Super Lawyers two times from 2006-2007.

Mr. Sasser has lectured extensively throughout the State on behalf of The Florida Bar Family Law Section, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Palm Beach County Bar Association. He has also authored many articles for the Family Law Section Commentator and FAMSEG publications, as well as The Florida Bar Journal.

Scott L. Rubin
2016-2017 Award Winner
Miami, FL
Fogel Rubin & Fogel

2013 Visionary Award Winner

SCOTT L. RUBIN practices marital and family law, family mediation and a small amount of commercial litigation with the AV rated law firm of Fogel Rubin & Fogel throughout South Florida and, occasionally, other parts of the state. Mr. Rubin has been a principal of that firm, which has represented community leaders in hundreds of complex matrimonial matters, for nearly twenty-five years.

Mr. Rubin has been certified by The Florida Bar as a Specialist in Marital and Family Law since 1992 and currently serves on the Board of Legal Specialization and Education. He is a past member and Chair of the Florida Bar’s Marital and Family Law Certification Committee and was its Examination Consultant for three years. He also has served The Florida Bar as a member of the Family Law Rules Committee, The Florida Bar’s Special Committee to Study Paralegal Regulation, the Family Law Section’s Executive Council (for over 15 years), its Legislation Committee and as Chair of the Family Law Section’s Rules and Forms Committee.

He currently serves on several committees for the Family Law Section. He is a Past Chair of the Family Law Section (2008 – 2009) and Past Chair of The Florida Bar’s Florida Registered Paralegal Program Committee. He has received recognition and numerous awards for his outstanding service to The Florida Bar and the Family Law Section.

Mr. Rubin has been published and lectured frequently in the area of marital and family law and has been interviewed by CNBC, The Miami Herald, the Daily Business Review and other members of the press. He presented and served as a Workshop Leader at the Family Law Section’s 2007 and 2011 Trial Advocacy Program. He is active in several local and national legal organizations. He has been selected as one of Florida’s “Super Lawyers” for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Mr. Rubin was a Founding Member of the First Family Law American Inn of Court and a Founder of Kid’Side, Inc., a not for profit organization established to maintain and expand services focused on helping children whose parents are engaged in litigation in the family, domestic violence and unified family court divisions of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. He has also managed judicial campaigns.

Barbara M. Beilly
Fort Lauderdale, FL

2012 Visionary Award Winner

BARBARA M. BEILLY is a General Magistrate in the family division of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida.  Prior to her accepting this position, she had a private family law practice and mediation practice. She graduated from NSU Law School in 1980. Barbara is a past President of the Florida Association of General Magistrates and Child Support Hearing Officers. She is also a past President of the Association of South Florida Mediators and Arbitrators, a past President of the Broward County Women Lawyers Association, past chair of the Family Law Section of the Broward County Bar Association, past chair and present co-chair of the General Magistrate Committee of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, and past chair of the Support Issues Committee of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. Barbara  is a frequent lecturer and author in the area of Florida Family Law and Mediation.

Deborah O. Day
Winter Park, FL

2011 Visionary Award Winner

DEBORAH O. DAY received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology and is a Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and

Certified Family Mediator. Dr. Day is in private practice with Psychological Affiliates, Inc., of Winter Park, Florida. Her practice specialties include forensic psychology including divorce/parenting plan evaluations, collaborative law practice, Factitious Disorders (Munchausen By Proxy), child abuse, and criminal matters. She has testified regarding numerous psychological issues and presents professional workshops and seminars throughout the country.

Dr. Day is the co-editor of the book, Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome: Misunderstood Child Abuse. Her most recent publications, Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome and Child Custody Evaluations are Essential appear in the Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice. She completed a three-year appointment to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the Florida Supreme Court and seven-year appointment with the Mediation Ethics Advisory Commission. She is active in the Florida Bar’s Family Law Section, previously Vice-Chair of the Domestic Violence Committee and Co-chair of the Litigation Support Committee. Currently, she is Special Advisor to the Section Chair on Children’s Issues, Domestic Violence, and Legislation. Dr. Day is a member of the American Psychological Association, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Florida Psychological Association, and an affiliate member of The Florida Bar. Dr. Day is the past President of the Florida Psychological Association, Central Florida Chapter and current Ethics Chair. She is a founding board member of the Central Florida Collaborative Law Group. She completed two terms as a founding board member of the Florida Association of Family and Conciliation Court (FLAFCC).

In 2010, Dr. Day received the Family Law Section “Making a Difference” award, recognizing her commitment to volunteerism during her career. Dr. Day has extensive television and news experience. She has provided commentary for Court TV, American Health Network, CNN, and all the major network news broadcasts.

Judge Amy Karan

2010 Visionary Award Winner

JUDGE AMY KARAN was the Administrative Judge of the dedicated Domestic Violence Court in Miami, Florida from 1997 until March 2009.  The Court hears civil injunctions for protection and criminal misdemeanors involving domestic violence. Judge Karan taught legal and judicial education at the National Judicial College, the County and Circuit Court Conferences of Florida, the Advanced Judicial College of Florida and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Judge Karan was also an Adjunct Professor of Law at St. Thomas University where she taught Evidence, Family Law and Florida Practice, and was Co-Coach of the Mock Trial Team.

Judge Karan chaired the Miami Dade County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council from 1997 until March 2009, The Florida Bar Family Law Section Domestic Violence Sub-Committee from 1998 until March 2009, The Florida Bar Code and Rules of Evidence Committee from 2007 until 2009, Family Law Section Executive Committee from 2004 to 2008, and the Advisory Panel of the Miami-Dade County Fatality Review Team from inception until 2009.

Between 1997 and 2008 Judge Karan was recognized with the And Justice for All Award; the In the Company of Women Award; the Governor’s Peace at Home Award: the Stopping Domestic Violence and the Unsung Heroes of Domestic Violence Award and the Chairs Award of Merit, Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, Family Law Section Chairs Award, Chair’s Visionary Award.  In October 2010 she will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Judicial College.  Judge Karan has been featured on television both in the United Sates and in Europe.

Judge Karan is the author/co-author of several articles on Family Violence and Evidence including: “Domestic Violence Courts: What Are They and How Should We Manage Them?”, Karan, Keilitz and Denaro, Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Spring 1999; Florida’s Four Orders of Protection: Distinguishing the Difference, Judge Amy Karan and Lauren Lazarus, Fla. Bar J., December 2003 and reprinted December 2008, Office of State Court Administrator Newsletter;  “A Lawyer’s Guide to Assessing Dangerousness for Domestic Violence,” Judge Amy Karan and Lauren Lazarus, Fla. Bar J.,  March 2004.  Judge Amy Karan is considered one of the preeminent authorities on the issue of Firearms and Domestic Violence and has co-authored “Domestic Violence and Firearms: A Deadly Combination The Juxtaposition of Federal and Florida Laws”, Judge Amy Karan and Helen Stampalia, Fla. Bar J., October 2005.

Judge Amy Karan resigned from the bench on January 31, 2010 due to illness and has since passed away.

Past Visionary Award Winners

2009Cynthia GreeneMiami, FloridaChair Scott Rubin
2008Debby BeckTallahassee, FloridaChair Allyson Hughes
2007Amy HickmanBoynton Beach, FloridaChair Thomas Sasser
2006Senator Walter G. “Skip” CampbellFort Lauderdale, FloridaChair Jorge Cestero
2005Honorable Raymond T. McNealOcala, FloridaChair Evan Marks