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●   Volume I Number 2   ●   September 2009  ●    Archives of Past Issues   

Message from the Chair

     This year will prove to be a challenge for us all because of the budget crisis. However, even in adversity, there is triumph. One of our successes is the revived eNews and return of our News and Review in hard copy thanks to Peter Walzer. If you have articles you would like to see published, e-mail them to him at

     Sign up for the Child Custody Colloquium, October 24, 2009. Glen Schwartz chairs our program and promises that this will be one of our best.

     I look forward to seeing you all at our Family Law Dinner Dance on October 17, 2009, at the Luxe Summit Hotel where we will honor Steven Kolodny with our Spencer Brandeis Award and Linda Lees, secretary to the Family Law Branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

     Please join us for these events.
               Roberta B. Bennett, Esq.
               Section Chair, Family Law
Editor's Message

     Tell your friends that if they become members of the LACBA Family Law Section, they automatically participate in the Family Law List Serve, a very active online forum where you can exchange all sorts of practice tips among the community of Family Law practitioners. Members share ideas on the law, ask for advice, make requests for services, and generally chat about what is going on in the family law community. As a participant, you can choose to receive the e-mails either as they arrive in your inbox or as a tidy, one-time daily digest. Don’t be left outa lot is going onand you win by being a part of it!
Please be sure to visit our new Section Web site.
               Peter Walzer, Esq.
               Editor, eNews

In This Issue

--  View All Family Law Events -- 

  • October 17, 2009: Family Law Dinner Dance. 
    Register Now
  • October 24, 2009: Child Custody Colloquium.
    2nd Annual Family Law Trial Advocacy Program: The Support Trial (4:15 PM)
    Sign up now.

    2010 Save the Dates
  • April 10, 2010: Trial Skills Program.
  • May 8, 2010: Family Law Symposium.

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Special Event

Southern California Family Law American Inn of Court

What: The Southern California Family Law American Inn of Court is about to begin its third year of programs.
Time: 6:00 p.m. (reception)
         6:30 p.m. (program & dinner).
Where: Porterhouse Bistro, Beverly Hills  (no-host bar). 

When: First Tuesday of each month, commencing on October 6, 2009, and running through June 2010 (no meetings in January or April).
     Membership dues for the Inn of Court are $495 (discount to $395 for lawyers up to their 5th year in practice) for the seven programs, including the dinners, wine with dinner, and hors d'oeuvres during the reception.
Judge Richard Denner (ret.)'s team will discuss:

  • Find the Flaw - Business Valuation in an Economic Downturn. 
  • Minor's Counsel - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol for the MCLE Challenged.
  • Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Imputation of Income, Effective Use of Discovery Tools.
  • Un-Real Estate.
  • Meet the Judges Night The Unique Inn of Court Way. 
    See the American Inns of Court Web site for the history of the Inn and to reserve your seat,

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The 1040 Handbook, 5th ed.: A Guide to Income and Asset Discovery, by Jack Zuckerman.

The Divorce Trial Manual: From Initial Interview to Closing Argument, by Lynn Gold-Bikin and Stephen A. Kolodny. This step-by-step manual is designed to help the practicing family lawyer effectively and successfully navigate through the complexities of domestic litigation.

For fun: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. A book about a boy's struggle for sanity during his parent’s divorce. A different and unusual take on a familiar topic. Mystery, intrigue, and ennui–who could ask for more. 

A Mistress of the Revolution, by Catherine D’Lors. Romance, revolution, and revelationit's all here. There is a way out. Catherine formerly practiced law (including some family law) in Los Angeles. She gave it all up to live in Paris as an author.

Volunteer Opportunities
At the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law

Mission Statement:
We protect victims of domestic violence and improve the well-being of children living in poverty.
With the help of volunteers, the Center provides free family law assistance and legal education to the poor. We strive to empower people in need and assure them meaningful access to the courts.
Volunteer attorneys provide tangible legal assistance to families. The volunteer opportunities may include:
  • Representing clients for limited scope or full representation;
  • Act as a mentor and provide strategy and advice to less
    experienced lawyers.
Pro Per Program:
  • Work directly with clients on all aspects of family law cases.
    Experience may involve a wide variety of pleading preparation including petitions, declaration writing, and judgments. 
  • Gain hands-on experience with interviewing and assessments,
    whilst providing brief counsel and advice through the Center's Case Orientation and Assessment System (COAS).
Flexible schedule and time commitment.  
Contact Information:
Nicola Kennedy, Volunteer Coordinator
Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 710
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Telephone: (213) 388-7505 ext. 319
Fax: (213) 388-7503 

Case Summaries
Selected Cases from Summer, 2009

-Spousal Support-

-Spousal Support-

Find more case summaries in LACBA's eBriefs.
To review only Family Law cases, 
first go to
LACBA's eBriefs
and then go to:
Search by Key Word/Subject Area 
and select "Family Law."

-Spousal Support-
Where stipulated judgment in marital dissolution action provided for spousal support payments to wife and stated that husband and wife were each entitled to a 50 percent share of retirement plans accumulated during marriage and any increase in value to those plans, wife's attainment of an age at which she could access those assets without penalty, without more, did not constitute a material change of circumstances sufficient to justify a reduction in spousal support.
     In re Marriage of Dietz -  filed August 3, 2009, Fourth District, Div. Three    
     Cite as 2009 SOS 4749
     Full text

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-Spousal Support-
In calculating husband’s income for support purposes, trial court’s finding--that business in which husband and wife held a community property interest needed to diversify, and that funds spent for that purpose were reasonable expenses properly chargeable to the business, not to husband--was supported by substantial evidence, including testimony of husband and his expert that changes in business environment and company’s dependence on a small number of major clients made diversification essential. In considering the earned and unearned income and the assets of the supporting party, as required by Family Code Sec. 4320(c), trial court acted within its discretion in attributing reinvested funds to the business instead of husband. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in projecting wife’s future investment income based on testimony of accounting experts where there was no evidence that accountants failed to identify any asset and where tax consequences were considered. Trial court did not permit wife to "double dip" into business assets by treating business’s goodwill value in the property division--and also calculating husband’s earnings from business as income for support purposes--where husband did not appeal the valuation decision, and trial court expressly considered whether support award was just and equitable in light of double-dipping claim. In setting spousal support, there is no basis in law for treating supporting party’s earnings from his or her ongoing business differently from income generated by other assets divided at dissolution.
In re Marriage of Blazer - filed August 25, 2009, Sixth District
     Cite as 2009 SOS 5164
Full text

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Los Angeles County Bar Association
2009 to 2010 Family Law Section Newsletter
Peter Walzer, Editor

Roberta B. Bennett

Melvyn J. Ross

Debra S. Frank

Lynette Berg Robe

Robert C. Brandt

Immediate Past-Chair
William J. Glucksman

Section Administrator
Gail Coleman


Andrea Balian
Judy L. Bogen
Ronald F. Brot
Gary Fishbein
David H. Friedman
Raymond R. Goldstein
Christian J. Gordon
Barbara K. Hammers
Paula Kane
David S. Karton
Seth Kramer
Hon. Susan L. Lopez-Giss

Connolly Oyler
Cari M. Pines
Lucia A. Reyes
Claudia N. Ribet
Rachel K. Rothbart
Glen H. Schwartz
Roslyn S. Soudry
Joseph P. Spirito
Jeff M. Sturman
Jon S. Summers
Evan T. Sussman
Sorrell Trope
Heidi S. Tuffias
Charles K. Wake
Peter M. Walzer
David K. Yamamoto


Judicial Liaison, Commr. John Chemeleski
Judicial Liaison, Commr. Scott M. Gordon
Judicial Liaison, Hon. Mark A Juhas
Judicial Liaison, Hon. Maren E. Nelson 
Judicial Liaison, Hon. Marjorie S. Steinberg

Liaison, Noel H. Appelbaum, CPA
Liaison, Tracy F. Katz Esq., CPA
Liaison, David Kuroda
Liaison, Margaret A. Little, Ph.D.
Liaison, Mary Lund Ph.D.
Liaison, Susan V. Thrall, LMFT
Barrister Liaison, Kelley Finan
Past Chair, Harold J. Cohn 
Past Chair, James R. Eliaser 
Past Chair, Ira M. Friedman
Past Chair, Dianna J. Gould-Saltman 
Past Chair, Dvorah Markman 
Past Chair, Leonard J. Meyberg Jr.  



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