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Volume II, Number 1 • August 2011 • Archives of Past Issues
Family Law Home Page

Message from the Chair

Dear Members of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section:

Welcome to the 2011-2012 term of the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. This year will no doubt involve a number of significant developments as a result of the passage of Family Code 217 and the implementation of Elkins-related procedural and due process changes, both of which promise to significantly affect our clients and our duties as Family Law practitioners.

The Family Law Section and its Executive Committee intend to do all that we can to promote the successful and meaningful practice of Family Law. The Section will be cognizant of its purposes which, as per the Bylaws of the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, include the following:

1. Arranging and conducting Section activities;
2. Disseminating knowledge and information to Section members with respect to all facets of the Family Law practice and procedure;
3. Considering and making recommendations on legislation and proposed legislation relative to Family Law;
4. Encouraging ethical conduct in all matters pertaining to the Family Law practice;
5. Developing and improving standards of practice in the Family Law areas;
6. Otherwise furthering the best interests of the community and the general public, as well as the legal profession as a whole and the Los Angeles County Bar Association and in particular, with respect to all areas of Family Law.

I want to publicly acknowledge Debra Frank, our Immediate Past Chair, for not only her leadership during a year of extensive legislative and rule changes, a successful year of continuing education, but also for her commitment with Mediation and Settlement Co-Chairs Cari Pines, Heidi Tuffias and Past Section Chair Dvorah Markman, to ensuring the continued success of our critically important settlement conference and mediation panels.

The Executive Committee of our Family Law Section will be busy this year with respect to various tasks and is fortunate that Barbara Hammers will chair the Continuing Legal Education Subcommittee. This year's CLE Subcommittee promises to offer a number of programs throughout the term, each concerned with issues and developments affecting family law.

This term, our finances will be overseen by our Treasurer, Ron Brot, who will also be chairing our Section's Donations subcommittee. Charles Wake has accepted the often difficult responsibility of chairing our Legislation subcommittee and, based on his supporting role in that subcommittee last year, I have no doubt that Charles and his subcommittee will have another productive year. Judy Bogen chairs our Forms and Local Rules subcommittee, who, with the continued support of her committee including Commissioner John Chemeleski, will continue their review and recommendations to improve these important elements affecting our daily practice. Joe Spirito continues to chair our Judicial Profiles subcommittee which has done a tremendous job of interviewing judicial officers new to our Family Law bench and sharing their views and procedures - a very useful resource which I encourage all members to utilize.

The Annual Child Custody Colloquium will take place this year on October 29, 2011 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. Glen Schwartz, one of the foremost authorities on custody and paternity, will once again chair this panel. This year's panel will include distinguished Family Law practitioners, experienced judicial officers, and seasoned professionals in the mental health field.

On October 22, 2011 the Annual Family Law Installation and Dinner Dance will take place at the Century City Intercontinental Hotel. We look forward to great entertainment, interaction between the judiciary and the Bar, and the awarding of the prestigious Spencer Brandeis Award, appropriately awarded this year to Glen Schwartz for his exemplary service to our Family Law community throughout his career. We especially encourage those of you who have not attended our Installation and Dinner Dance in the past to attend this year's event as it consistently proves to be one of the most enjoyable activities presented each year.

On December 14, 2011 the Section will present its Post-Elkins Seminar at the downtown Marriott. This seminar should be of particular importance given the procedural changes and new statutory rules in effect. Our Section Secretary, Peter Walzer, a noted and excellent lecturer and educator, will moderate this panel program of distinguished judicial officers and other professionals.

The Annual Family Law Symposium presented by our Section along with the Los Angeles Superior Court will take place on May 12, 2012 at the Hilton Universal Hotel. This seminal educational event will be chaired this year by the Vice-Chair of the Section, Seth Kramer, and it will be another exciting and educational experience in which noted practitioners, judicial officers, and other professionals who work with us on a daily basis will present insightful and learned views on effective case strategies, substantive legal issues as well as new developments.

Our Minor's Counsel subcommittee continues to be chaired, with my sincere thanks, by Rose Marie Gallegos whose goal is to act as a liaison with the Family Law Court and other Professionals regarding issues that Impact the Appointment, Payment and Practice of Minor's Counsel.

Throughout the year, with the leadership of Raymond Goldstein of our Section Membership and E-News Committees, we will provide you with updates to the law and other events which affect our Family Law Section.Additionally, our ListServ will continue to provide an ongoing, non-stop opportunity for lawyers to share their thoughts and opinions on a myriad of family law topics. I want to thank Ellin Palmer on behalf of our Section for the considerable effort and time she expends in moderating the ListServ in order to maintain its integrity and ensure its beneficial and positive use in our community.

Finally, I wish to express my deep appreciation to Lynette Robe, Chair Elect. Not only does Lynette assist me on our court liaison subcommittee, helping to address administrative and procedural issues between the bench and the bar, but she is also a trusted advisor helping me in exercising my duties as your Section Chair.

I look forward to serving as your Section Chair and I wish all of you a very productive year.

Best regards,

Robert C. Brandt
Chair, Family Law Section

Message from the Editor

I'll be brief because we have a lot in this first edition. I'd like to express my sincere thanks to Peter Walzer (the founder of Family Law eNews) for his transitional support of me into this role; I only hope that our new committee can facilitate timely, informative and quality eNews publications as well as Peter has since inception. Thank you, Peter, for a job well done!

Second, please remember that this is your publication. In each issue, we will dedicate space for your articles and announcements appropriately related to the practice of family law. If you have contributions, ideas, suggestions or comments about improving this publication, I want to hear from you. You may send an e-mail to me at Goldstein@EnforceSupport.com with the word 'eNews' in the subject line.

Remember that as a section member, you are entitled to participation in what many believe is the single most important member benefit, our Family Law ListServ. You may choose either real time updates or a daily digest, but either way, you will remain abreast of hot-topics, substantive and procedure legal discussions, and, will you'll always be only a 'click' away from seeking input from other ListServ members.

Finally, please be sure to visit our Family Law Section website.

Sincerely,

Raymond R. Goldstein, Esq.
Editor, eNews

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Upcoming Events
(Click on any heading for more information)

Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center's 30th Anniversary Awards Dinner
September 24, 2011
In addition to celebrating 30 years of providing affordable family law legal services to low-income and working-poor families; Levitt & Quinn will be honoring the Hon. Lee Smalley Edmon, Presiding Judge of Los Angeles County Superior Court, and the highly regarded and Past Chair of the Family Law Section, Harold J. Cohn Esq.

Family Law Inn's of Court
October 4 thru June 5

The Southern California Family Law American Inn of Court is about to begin its fifth year of programs. The Inns of Court is a fast growing national legal organization with programs designed to increase advocacy skills, collegiality, and professionalism among its members, which is comprised of judicial officers and attorneys of varying experience. This year, the Inn's meetings are scheduled on the first Tuesday of the month, commencing on October 4, 2011, and running through June 5, 2012. Reception starts at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and a program at 6:30 p.m. The program ends at 7:30 p.m. The remainder of the evening until 8:30 p.m. is spent interacting with colleagues and judicial officers. Membership is limited. Don't miss out on this opportunity to educate, to learn, and to socialize with your colleagues.

LACBA Domestic Violence Project Volunteer Training
October 5, 2011

Join LACBA's Domestic Violence Project (DVP) for its upcoming volunteer training and earn 3 hours of CLE credit while helping others. DVP volunteers provide a valuable service to a vulnerable population, and gain expertise in the area of Family Law. No previous experience is required. Attorneys, legal professionals, and law students can volunteer for two 3-hour sessions per month for 6 months. This training provides a comfortable learning atmosphere with a great opportunity for open dialogue with the presenters. Program attendees will receive substantial materials, and both dinner and parking are included.

Family Law Dinner Dance and Installation of Officers
Ocotber 22, 2011

The Family Law Dinner Dance and Installation of Officers is an elegant social event with a reception followed by dinner and dancing to a live band. The event provides an excellent opportunity to network with family law judicial officers and family law practitioners from Southern California.

Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law presents - 12th Annual Buhai Brunch – Salsa!
October 23, 2011

The Harriett Buhai Center has made some fresh changes to its annual brunch. This year the Center will sponsor a Brunch, Salsa Style, at the Conga Room, LA Live downtown. The Sunday Salsa Brunch will offer the same great family friendly event with live Latin music, dancing and entertainment for the kids. The event is a wonderful opportunity for mixing and mingling with Buhai friends and supporters! This event helps raise crucial funds to support the Center in its mission to protect victims of domestic violence and improve the well-being of children living in poverty.

33rd Annual Child Custody Colloquium
October 29, 2011

Those practicing Family Law continue to face enormous challenges. With the budget cuts affecting the court system, the economic crisis facing families, and the changing legal landscape, it is crucial that legal and mental health professionals have the most up-to-date information on the cutting-edge issues impacting their practices.

Shopping Extravaganza at TORY BURCH to benefit Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center
October 30, 2011

For the third year, designer Tory Burch will open her boutique in Malibu to Levitt & Quinn and its supports. Twenty (20) percent of all sales generated will be donated to Levitt & Quinn. It's shopping for a good cause.

CLE Program to benefit Levitt & Quinn Family Law at Loyola Law School.
November 5, 2011

Sponsored by Brot & Gross, LLP, the program "Properly Introducing & Preparing Financial Declaration Into Evidence" will present ways of working with, completing, understanding and introducing into evidence the I&E and FL150 Form. Also to be discussed are what to fill in and leave out, what to attach, disclosure issues and other related topics.

Beyond Elkins - Save the Date - Save the Date - Save the Date
December 14, 2011

New Laws, New Forms, New Year, Marriott Hotel, Downtown LA, December 14, 2011, Judge Michael Convey, Peter M. Walzer, and a Judge from Central to be named later.

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Conference, Santa Monica.
February 10-12, 2012

AFCC-California presents high quality interdisciplinary educational programs, linked to cutting-edge academic and clinical research related to family issues. The 2012 conference has 13 family law judges, many eminent mental health professionals, as well as numerous well-known family law attorneys, participating in the institutes, plenaries, and workshops addressing such topics as preparation for a domestic violence hearing, the latest research on the effectiveness of various parenting plans and deconstructing a child custody evaluation.
This rich and intensive three-day Conference will be held at the Sheraton Del Fina Hotel and is being co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

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Recent 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. The summaries below are an incomplete listing of only certain selected cases.

In a marital dissolution proceeding to divide community property, where the non-managing spouse has prima facie evidence that community assets of a certain value have disappeared while in the control of the managing spouse post-separation, the managing spouse has the burden of proof to account for the missing assets.
In re Margulis
filed August 11, 2011, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 4437
Full text click here

A "material" change in circumstances is the same as a "substantial" change in circumstances for the purpose of modifying child support. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding no substantial change in the primary source of husband's income since 2007 judgment absent any evidence, job loss or job change, or decrease in his standard of living.
In re Marriage of Bodo
filed August 12, 2011, Sixth District
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 44450
Full text click here

Wife was an indispensible party to husband's motion for an order vacating a family law attorney's real property lien, and thus joinder was required before her rights under the lien could be adjudicated.
In re Marriage of Ramirez
filed July 19, 2011, publication ordered August 11, 2011, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 4422
Full text click here

Presumed fatherhood based on a voluntary declaration of paternity is not to be weighed against other Family Code Sec. 7611 presumptions.
In re Levi H.
filed July 8, 2011, publication ordered August 1, 2011, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 4238
Full text click here

Evidence that child experienced severe anxiety and emotional damage--as demonstrated by her nightmares about mother taking her away from father, her fear of mother, and her belief mother was "crazy"--supported dependency court jurisdictional findings even if child was not actually suffering serious emotional damage at the time of the hearing.
In re A. J.
filed June 30, 2011, publication ordered July 22, 2011, Fourth District, Div. Three
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 4121
Full text click here

Where minute order and reporter's transcript indicated that juvenile court intended that the parents agree on a monitor to supervise visitation, or if they were unable to do so, the father would choose the monitor, said order and transcript took precedence over conflicting provision of form order impermissibly providing that visitation was "to be determined by the parents"; on remand, form would be corrected to conform to the oral order.
In re A.C.
filed July 20, 2011, Second District, Div. Four
Cite as B226481
Full text click here

Family court erred in allocating husband's severance pay to a single month for purposes of a provision in stipulated support order requiring him to pay a percentage of his monthly compensation in excess of $25,000 since this percentage-based component of the stipulated order was intended to apply to husband's variable monthly income from commissions, not to a one-time lump-sum severance payment.
In re Marriage of Tong & Samson
filed July 5, 2011, Second District, Div. Four
Cite as B224899
Full text click here

Upon finding that renewal of a protective order is warranted, trial court may renew the order under Family Code Sec. 6345 for either five years or permanently; plain language of the statute does not authorize renewal for only two years. Plaintiff's failure to object to this shortened extension did not forfeit her claim.
Avalos v. Perez
filed May 25, 2011, publication ordered June 15, 2011, First District, Div. Three
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 3226
Full text click here

French kissing between an adult and a 12-year-old child who describe themselves as "in love" is inherently sexual and gives rise to an inference that the kiss was done "with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires" of either participant within the meaning of Penal Code Sec. 288.
In re R.C.
filed June 14, 2011, Second District, Div. Seven
Cite as B228373
Full text click here

Amendments to Family Code Sec. 1612 in 2002--invalidating any provision in a premarital agreement regarding spousal support in certain situations--do not have retroactive effect. Even though wife did not have independent counsel at the time she executed premarital agreement, substantial evidence indicated that she knowingly and voluntarily waived her right to spousal support in that agreement.
In re Marriage of Howell
filed May 24, 2011, Fourth District, Div. One
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 2732
Full text click here

Jurisdictional finding that mother subjected child to an act of cruelty under Welfare and Institutions Code Sec. 300(i) does not require a finding that mother actually intended to harm child.
In re D.C.
filed May 23, 2011, Sixth District
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 2686
Full text click here

Family Code Sec. 9102 applies to any action or proceeding to set aside an adoption order on any grounds, including extrinsic fraud. A statute of limitations that cuts off birth mother's right to set aside an adoption does not violate due process where mother was not given notice of the adoption proceeding but had actual knowledge there was some kind of legal proceeding ongoing involving custody of the child.
Adoption of B.C.
filed May 19, 2011, Fourth District, Div. Two
Cite as 2011 S.O.S. 2689
Full text click here

Note: Juvenile and Dependency Court Cases are not included

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ADR Report

The Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section is committed to assisting the Bench with its resolution of family law disputes. Toward that end, the Family Law Section works with the ADR office of the LA Superior Court to provide assistance with settlement panels, and works with the Court to provide a mediator and retired judicial officer to assist with Mandatory and/or Voluntary Settlement Conferences set on the last Thursday of each month. Each of these programs has had a significant impact on the number of settlements achieved and the availability of the courts to hear additional matters. The Family Law Section would like to enhance each of these programs and have more of our members volunteer to assist the courts and urges that you become actively involved in such assistance. If you are not already a member of these panels and are eligible, we urge you to volunteer.

The Family Law Settlement Conference Panel (FLSC Panel) provides two daily settlement officers to assist the judicial officers to settle matters in their courtrooms. The requirements for service on the Family Law Settlement Conference Panel (the FLSC Panel) are to be a member in good standing with the California State Bar and to have been an attorney for a minimum of seven (7) years, the last five (5) of which have been predominantly in the area of family law. In addition on Wednesdays our CPA liaison member, Noel Applebaum, has been instrumental in providing weekly Certified Public Accountants to volunteer their services on Wednesdays to attempt to resolve financial issues. The Bar also is instrumental in obtaining Spanish speaking settlement officers specifically for Thursdays.

Assignments for the FLSC Panel have been set by the ADR office for the May 2011-October 2011 period. The next scheduled assignment period from November 2011 through April 2012 will be generated in September and distributed in October 2011. Any individuals approved for acceptance to the panel before September will be included in that and future schedules as officers with assigned dates and/or as backup officers, per their request. Click here for the ADR Application. Click Here to view the ADR Schedule.

The FLSC Panel members serve a very important function for the Court. The Court appreciates our services and assistance in resolving cases. The Court also needs to know that panel members will reliably be present to serve in this capacity. If you are unable to serve on your selected day for service, please find a backup at least one day prior to your scheduled date and notify ADR as to your replacement.

In addition, the Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section works with the ADR office of the LA Superior Court to provide a 3 hour free mediation panel as well as a party pay panel where the litigants can choose their mediator from the panel and pay themediator $150/hour for the first 3 hours and thereafter at the attorney's hourly rate. The requirements for these panels can be found here.

We need panel members for each of these panels and urge you to review the requirements for qualification.

If you are an experienced mediator or retired judicial officer interested in participating in the Fourth Thursday Joint Mediation Program please e-mail Dvorah Markman or call her at (310) 556-0131. Your participation will be welcomed.

The ADR Committee is co-chaired by Debra Frank, Dvorah Markman, Cari Pines, and Heidi Tuffias. You can e-mail any of us by clicking our respective names.

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Kudos (and Thanks!) to Abby Friedman

Abby B. Friedman, of Friedman & Friedman Lawyers, is the LACBA Board liaison for the Domestic Violence Project. She has held the position for the past two years. In addition, Abby's hard work on the Project's 25th Anniversary Celebration led to the most successful fundraising event ever held to benefit the Project. Abby was recently honored at the Installation Dinner when she received the Hon. Benjamin Aranda III Outstanding Public Service Award.

Abby Friedman

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Los Angeles County Bar Association
2011-2012 Family Law Section Newsletter
FAMILY LAW SECTION eNEWS
Raymond R. Goldstein, Editor


SECTION OFFICERS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Chair
Robert C. Brandt
Feinberg Mindel Brandt & Klein, LLP

Chair-Elect
Lynette Berg Robe
Law Offices of Lynette Berg Robe, APC

Vice Chair
Seth Kramer
Law Office of Seth D. Kramer

Treasurer
Ronald F. Brot
Brot & Gross, LLP

Secretary
Peter M. Walzer
Walzer & Melcher LLP

Immediate Past Chair
Debra S. Frank
Debra S. Frank, APLC

Section Administrator
Gail Coleman

Andrea Balian
Judy L. Bogen
Ram Cogan
Rose Marie Gallegos
Raymond R. Goldstein
Christiaan Gordon
Richard F. Gould-Saltman
Abbas Hadjian
Barbara K. Hammers
Paula Kane
David S. Karton
Marci Levine
Randy W. Medina
Doreen Marie Olson

Doreen Marie Olson
Parima Pandkhou
Cari M. Pines
Lucia A. Reyes
Claudia N. Ribet
David Shebby
Roslyn Soudry
Joseph P. Spirito
Jeff M. Sturman
Sorrell Trope
Heidi S. Tuffias
Charles Wake
Marshall Waller
David K. Yamamoto
JUDICIAL OFFICERS PAST CHAIRS PARTICIPATING ON THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Hon. Marjorie S. Steinberg,
   Supervising Judge, Family Law
    Departments
Hon. Scott M. Gordon
   Assistant Supervising Judge, Family Law    Departments
Hon. John Chemeleski
Hon. Mark A Juhas
Hon. B. Scott Silverman

Roberta Bennett
Harold J. Cohn
James R. Eliaser
Debra S. Frank
Ira M. Friedman
William J. Glucksman
Lawrence E. Leone
Dvorah Markman
Leonard J. Meyberg Jr.
Glen Schwartz

LIAISONS

Noel H. Applebaum, CPA
Tracy Katz, CPA/CFF
David Kuroda, LCSW
Margaret A. Little, Ph.D.
Mary Lund, Ph.D
Paul J. White, CPA