•   Volume I, Number 5   •   October 2010   •   Archives of Past Issues   •

Message from the Editor

Dear Members,

Thank you to  Roberta Bennett -- now past chair of the section.  Roberta was an excellent leader. She played a major behind-the-scenes role in averting a court crisis and securing funding for our courts.  She formed a Budget Crisis Committee headed by ex-chair William Glucksman, who along with Roberta, met with Presiding Judge McCoy and Supervising Judge Marjorie Steinberg.  By working with the leadership in the courts and making key introductions, she built up the reputation of the Family Law Section in the eyes of the court.

We welcome incoming chair Debra Frank. Debra is a prodigious worker. In addition to her duties on the Board of the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section, she recently finished a three-year term as a commissioner for the Family Law Advisory Commission, Board of Legal Specialization. She has served as the chair of the Financial Issues - L.A. Standing Committee, State Bar Family Law Executive Committee and currently serves as its Vice Chair. She is a member of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) Board, and recently completed her term as the Newsletter Editor. She is also a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association Board of Governors and serves on the Executive Committee of its Family Law section. She also serves on the Board of Governors of the Century City Bar Association and is Chair of its Family Law section.



Peter M. Walzer, editor of Family Law eNews and Family Law News and Review.

In This Issue

Events Coming Soon

View All Family Law Events 

October 15, 2010
Minor's Counsel in 2010:
Our Role and Responsibilities
The program will provide the annual education and training requirements for minor's counsel to remain eligible for appointment. Topics include rights and responsibilities, new attitude toward involvement, practice pointers from the bench, child interview do's and don'ts, security considerations, and input from well-respected litigants' attorneys.
For more information

October 30, 2010
Dinner Dance -- Save the Date -- October 30, 2010
The LACBA Family Law Dinner Dance is October 30, 2010. This year the event will be at the Sofitel Los Angeles, 8555 Beverly Blvd. (at the corner of La Cienega and Beverly Blvd). At the event the following section officers for the 2010-2011 term will be installed:
Debra S. Frank, Chair
Robert C. Brandt, Chair-Elect
Lynette Berg Robe, Vice Chair
Seth D. Kramer, Secretary
Peter M. Walzer, Treasurer
In addition, the evening will include the presentation of the Spencer Brandeis Award posthumously to Melvyn Jay Ross, recognizing his contribution to the practice of family law and his dedicated service to the Family Law Section's Executive Committee. While serving as chair-elect of the Executive Committee, Mel passed away on September 20, 2009. As always, members of the Los Angeles County Family Law Bench will be there. This truly is the standout event of the year for the family law community.
Click here for more information. 

December 3, 2010
Transborder Divorce:  Tax and Immigration Consequences
Qiang Bjornbak, Albert S. Golbert and Peter M. Walzer
LACBA Offices
Co sponsored with the International Law Section

Click here for more information

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Elkins is Coming to a Court Near You Soon

The governor signed AB 939 into law on September 27, 2010.  This bill sponsored by Assemblymember Mike Feuer and the Assembly Judiciary Committee enacts many of the Elkins Task Force recommendations and will make sweeping changes in family law procedures.  It affects a number of existing family law statutes and creates other new ones.  You can read it here.

Another bill sponsored by Assemblymember Fiona Ma was signed into law in late August, AB 1050.  It relates to the testimony of children in family law cases and also implements Elkins Task Force recommendations.

Both bills will require new rules of court.  AB 1050 will not go into effect until January 1, 2012 for that reason.

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Special Note

News and Review

We are seeking articles from attorneys/judges for our News and Review.  If you would like to write an article about family law to include new laws, enlightening cases, or other relevant updates to a specific area of law, please contact Peter M. Walzer as soon as possible with your idea. Deadline to submit completed articles is Tuesday, October 19 by noon; early submissions are encouraged.   The important thing to remember is that the article must be written in the third person, and article length is approximately 1,000-1,500 words. You must also provide a brief bio blurb about yourself and a separate JPEG photo.

Thank you,

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Case Summaries

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."
The case summaries and published opinions are archived from the past 90 days.

Family Law

Denial of a request for pendente lite attorney fees is appealable. Trial court abused its discretion in declining to spend the necessary time to review and consider attorney's time records and billings in a case the family court had deemed complex before summarily denying the request for fees. Failure to make a needs-based analysis was also an abuse of discretion. Finding that wife engaged in prolonged and protracted discovery efforts that were "far removed from the facts" before the trial court was an abuse of discretion where wife's discovery efforts were taken pursuant to the case management plan; court had granted wife's motions; and court-appointed discovery referee found that wife's efforts had aided referee and that husband's tactics to avoid discovery were without good cause. Husband's efforts in thwarting discovery and the numerous motions to compel discovery that wife was therefore forced to bring against husband warranted an award of attorney fees as a sanction. Plain language of Family Code Sec. 2107(c) required trial court to award wife attorney fees by way of sanctions in light of overwhelming evidence that husband had breached his fiduciary obligation to report income, assets, and obligations fully and accurately. Trial judge created doubt as to his ability to be impartial on remand by failing to review and allot time for a hearing on wife's request for attorney fees, then claiming that he was being "attacked" by wife for failing to do so; finding "no evidence" that husband had employed dilatory tactics; being involved in wife's claim of a conflict with the counselor recommended by him; changing custody and visitation before a scheduled hearing was held; continuing the questioned counselor as the therapist for child custody and visitation issues after all mental health professionals who reviewed the matter recommended against it; threatening to reduce wife's spousal support if she pursued an appeal of his rulings on attorney fees; and by his tone and remarks when addressing wife and her attorney after wife raised concerns about the counselor.

In re Marriage of Tharp - filed October 1, 2010, Fifth District
     Cite as F057696

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children does not apply to an out-of-state placement with a parent, regardless of whether that parent is nonoffending.

In re C.B.
     filed September 27, 2010, Fourth District, Div. Two
     Cite as 2010 S.O.S. 5576

Criminal negligence need not be shown to sustain an allegation that parent caused the death of a child through neglect under Welfare and Institutions Code Sec. 300(f). Effects of domestic violence in the home form a sufficient basis for jurisdiction under Sec. 300(b), even if a child is not physically harmed. Sufficient evidence supported juvenile court's findings sustaining allegations of a risk of harm to minors based on the history of domestic violence between their parents, even though parents were living apart at the time of the hearing, and mother's cognitive limitations. Juvenile court erred in dismissing allegations under Sec. 300(b) which referred to father's neglect of daughter, resulting in her death, which were a necessary predicate to sustain identical allegations under Sec. 300(j).

In re Ethan C.
     filed September 24, 2010, Second District, Div. One
     Cite as 2010 S.O.S. 5555

Juvenile court's finding that reasonable reunification services had been provided to father at the six-month review hearing was adverse to his parental interest in reunification and therefore was appealable. Social worker provided adequate assistance to father--even though worker did not investigate services available to father in prison and did not offer any information as to whether these programs satisfied any case plan goals--where father did not take advantage of the services and programs offered under plan prepared by worker prior to father's incarceration, and father failed to inform worker of his incarceration after it occurred.

In re T.G.
     filed August 31, 2010; publication ordered September 20, 2010, Fourth District, Div. Two
     Cite as E049801

Substantial evidence supported juvenile court's finding that father had failed to make substantive progress in court-ordered treatment programs and that there was no substantial probability that child could be reunited with father within six months where child had been out of father's custody for the entire 18 months of the child's life and father had been incarcerated for 14 months of that time, father inconsistently visited with child prior to his incarceration, father did not send any cards to the child while incarcerated, father did not participate in all of the programs available to him while incarcerated, father did not consistently attend those programs that he did participate in, and child had bonded with her foster family.

V.C. v. Superior Court (Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children's Services)
     filed August 8, 2010, publication ordered September 15, 2010, Sixth District
     Cite as H035602

Parent-child relationship exception to termination of parental rights was applicable where child maintained a close relationship with mother, possessed an emotional makeup rendering him unlikely to be able to endure interruption of his longtime frequent visits with mother, repeatedly indicated his preference of living with mother, and demonstrated a lack of understanding that adoption could cut off his contact with mother.
In re Scott B.
     filed September 10, 2010, Second District, Div. Three
     Cite as B220526A

Belated submission of an expert's opinion, based on evidence that was available at the jurisdiction hearing, does not constitute "new evidence" within the meaning of Welfare and Institutions Code Sec. 388(a), which allows an order of the juvenile court to be modified or set aside "upon grounds of change of circumstances or new evidence."
In re H.S.
     filed September 2, 2010, Third District
     Cite as 2010 S.O.S. 5258

Los Angeles County Bar Association
2010 to 2011 Family Law Section Newsletter
Peter M. Walzer, Editor


Debra S. Frank

Robert C. Brandt

Vice Chair 
Lynette Berg Robe

Peter M. Walzer

Seth Kramer

Immediate Past Chair
Roberta B. Bennett

Section Administrator
Gail Coleman

Andrea Balian
Judy L. Bogen
Ronald F. Brot
Gary Fishbein
David H. Friedman
Rosemarie Gallegos
Raymond R. Goldstein
Christiaan J. Gordon
Richard F. Gould-Saltman
Barbara K. Hammers
Paula Kane
David S. Karton
Connolly Oyler

Cari M. Pines
Lucia A. Reyes
Claudia N. Ribet
Glen H. Schwartz
Roslyn S. Soudry
Joseph P. Spirito
Jeff M. Sturman
Evan T. Sussman
Sorrell Trope
Heidi S. Tuffias
Charles Wake
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, David Kuroda
Liaison, Margaret A. Little, Ph.D.
Liaison, Mary Lund Ph.D.

Liaison, Paul J. White, CPA
Barrister Liaison, Kelley Finan
Past Chair, William J. Glucksman
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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