Commending the late Justice Ben F. Overton for his “unfailing professionalism” and contributions to family law, The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers passed a joint resolution in tribute to Overton’s accomplishments.
Justice Overton died December 29, in Gainesville, of complications from heart surgery. He was 86 and was Florida’s 62nd justice since statehood.
The resolution recognized Overton for his 1981 opinion in Canakaris v. Canakaris, that “engrafted the doctrine of equitable distribution into Florida case law; thereby eliminating Florida’s unfair and archaic practice of unequal and unfair marital property distribution between spouses in dissolution of marriage cases.”
The resolution also noted Overton chaired the Supreme Court’s Matrimonial Commission from 1981-86, that made recommendations to the Legislature to improve the law of mediation, arbitration, and equitable distribution, which were adopted and are now statutory law in Florida.
“The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers mourn the death of Justice Ben Overton and applaud, recognize, and wish to honor Justice Overton for his protection of the integrity of the legal system, for his dedication to justice for all, and for his significant contributions to family law in the state of Florida,” the resolution reads.