Message from the Editor
Message from the Chair
Upcoming Events
What Good is a Cup of Coffee?
By Honorable Maren E. Nelson
By The Numbers
A Day in the Life of Los Angeles County Bar Association Domestic Violence Project
By Debbie Kelly
A Closer Look at In re Marriage of Lafkas
By Leena Hingnikar, CFLS
LACBA Family Law Section Executive Committee
Legis & Amicus Brief Subcommittee Report—March 15, 2016
By Charles K. Wake, Paula Teske, and Eve Lopez
Married or Unmarried... it Depends
By Lynda R. Schauer, CPA, CVA, CGMA
Is the Pending Anti-Davis Legislation—SB1255—Really a Good Idea?
By Charles K. Wake, Esq.
Psychological Testing in Child Custody Evaluations: An Ethically Informed Approach
By Robert A. Simon, Ph.D.
Conscious Uncoupling and Collaborative Divorce
By Jon Kramer LCSW
South Bay Bar Association's 2016 MacFaden Award Winner
By Joseph P. Spirito, Jr. Esq.
Spousal Support for Payee Beyond Supporting Party's Death
By David K. Yamamoto, CFLS
Recent Case Summaries
Listserve Hot Topics


The Family Law E-News
is published quarterly by the Family Law Section


David K. Yamamoto, Editor
Charles K. Wake, Vice-Editor

Message from the Editors

David K. Yamamoto

This edition of the E-News includes 11 articles. We would like to acknowledge and thank each of the following contributors for their hard work, time and effort: Ronald F. Brot Esq. (Chair of the Family Law Executive Committee), Judge Maren E. Nelson (Supervising Judge of the Family Law Department), Raymond R. Goldstein Esq., Debbie Kelly Esq., Leena Hingnikar CFLS, Charles K. Wake Esq., Paula Teske CFLS, Eve Lopez, Lynda R. Schauer, CPA, CVA, CGMA, Robert A. Simon, Ph.D., Jon Kramer, LCSW, Joseph P. Spirito, Jr. Esq., and David K. Yamamoto CFLS.

An index of the articles are listed to the left. Click the article of interest and you will be linked to the article. We would also like to thank the members of the E-News Committee for their ideas and contributions.

As always, announcements, case summaries, hot listserve threads and summaries of recent legislation are included.

Sign up to attend the Family Law Symposium "Family Law in the 21st Century" set for May 14, 2016. You can register by CLICKING HERE.

The original content presented below has been published after submission from members of the family law section. Any member may submit a piece for publication, and I would encourage submissions from any member with original material they would like to share with the other members. As always, do not hesitate to contact me with your comments or suggestions.

Editor of the E-News
David K. Yamamoto

Vice Editor of the E-News
Charles K. Wake

Message from the Chair

Ronald F. Brot

How could it be? Two-thirds of my term as Chair of the Family Law Section has already passed, and only four months from now our Chair-Elect, Judy Bogen, will take my place.

In this year candidates for national office are telling us of their grand plans for reform and progress. They orate with such fierce conviction that we trust their sincerity, even though history has taught us to be wary of campaign rhetoric, even if well intentioned.

As I approach the final third of my tenure, I think back to my intentions for our Family Law Section this year. I sought to re-energize our Section and its Executive Committee, to invigorate the desire for services by our Section members, and to re-examine the purpose of the Section in the present context. I wanted to explore a new paradigm as to who we are, what we do, and where we are going. While pursuing this self-examination, I hoped to continue our service to the Court and to our community by actively assisting in providing access to justice for all in need of family law services—regardless of situation or means.

My young children recently brought their report cards home for us to see. Viewed as progress reports, I could see their prior marks and their current grades, and assess the progress they are making.

As I apply the same analysis to my term in office thus far, I must confess that all is not what I had hoped. The grades I would give are not failing, but neither are they superior. Viewed as a progress report, some areas are promising, while others need far more attention.

Our Executive Committee represents a cross-section of our members throughout the county, from large to solo practices, specialized and general, litigators and mediators, private and public. Our past Chairs have remained actively involved, while our newer members have impressed us with their energy and enthusiasm.

Executive Committee meetings have become a lively forum where we have debated many important issues, from anti-Davis legislation to proposed changes to the State and Local Rules, and the role the Family Law Section and other Sections should take relative to LACBA as a whole.

We have begun to tackle the tough questions of who we are and what we should do for our members, for the Court, and for the administration of justice for family law clients. We have begun to explore how to build bridges with other Family Law associations who often share common goals and may offer additional resources for our mutual endeavors. These are only beginnings—a good start—but we have a long way to go toward re-defining our mission and determining how to fulfill it.

Our Daily Settlement Officer Program at Mosk and Compton are vital to the delivery of Family Law Services. I am proud of the work done by Cari Pines and her committee, and by all our members who volunteer their time and expertise. We continue to receive the highest recognition from Judge Nelson and Judge Kuhl. However, we have not expanded those services to other branch Courts. Likewise, we have not made much progress toward institutionalizing this program.

Our CLE efforts continue to result in first-class programming, despite the current environment in which CLE programs are continuously offered by so many Bar and other providers, both live and via the Internet. We must face the challenges of what role our CLE, long a mainstay of what we do, is to play in the future.

Our annual Child Custody Colloquium was presented with excellence despite losing Family Court Services after decades of co-sponsorship. I expect the same will be true of our Family Law Symposium which the Court will no longer co-sponsor. I am confident that these and other programs will continue to receive the full support of our local Family Law Judges whose generous participation has contributed to our programming successes.

Our Section has taken a strong stand with LACBA for at least partial autonomy in Section activities and for participation in deciding how our dues and other revenues are disbursed. We have joined the Council of Sections so that LACBA's many Sections can speak with a united voice. We continue to engage in a dialogue with LACBA leadership in an effort to find mutually acceptable solutions to our need for self-governance and LACBA's need for uniformity and fiscal reform.

We continue to engage our membership through our Section Website, Listserve, and our E-News, which produces timely articles of broad interests to us all. We have not yet regularized a more efficient and immediate means of communicating with our Section Membership via the Internet, but we are still trying.

While we have certainly not been idle, much of what has been accomplished are like seeds newly planted. We know they are there, and we carefully tend to them to help them grow, even though they have not yet emerged into the daylight.

Again I reach out to you, our able and generous Family Law Community. Today I ask not for your funds of which you already give generously. Instead, I call for your passion to join in service by becoming more active in the Family Law Section. We do make a difference, and will continue to do so. We need you to help us meet the challenges before us today and tomorrow. If you like what we do, join us to ensure continuing success. If you do not like what we do—join us with a voice for change to make us more relevant. Regardless of your motivation, join us. Rise to the challenge.

Upcoming Events
Save the Date

48th Annual Family Law Symposium
"Family Law in the 21st Century"
May 14, 2016- Universal Hilton
Chairperson: Raymond R. Goldstein, Esq.

We are very proud to announce our 48th Annual Family Law Symposium set for May 14, 2016:

This is truly a can't-miss opportunity for all family law practitioners, whether novice or seasoned! This year's distinguished speakers span the spectrum, including leading attorneys, sitting and retired judicial officers and financial professionals. What's more, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn about several hot-button topics that every practitioner needs to know, and that's never been truer than with this year's theme, Family Law in the 21st Century.

To name a few, topics will include: the impact of landmark cases such as Davis and Valli, from our very own Supreme Court, not to mention the far reaching impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell; the use of modern technology as a vital presentation tool in the courtroom; cutting-edge developments in consensual dispute resolution processes; and advances in electronic communication that are redefining "abuse" in the eyes of the law.

While roaming and searching the internet is one way to locate businesses that provide products and services necessary for your law office, the Symposium brings you a multitude of just such exhibitors, all demonstrating their wares and making themselves available to answer your questions and address your case or practice-specific needs. (Bring some business cards - drawings galore!)

Increasing in popularity with each year, a hosted reception with soda, beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres follows the day's educational programming where you can just relax, meet and mingle with old friends and colleagues, or make new connections - it's a wonderful ending to a day of learning.
Registration includes all educational panels, lunch, access to the exhibitor hall, entrance and drink tickets to the Reception, and, of course, your own electronic copy of the 2016 revised edition of the highly acclaimed Symposium Reference Book. 6.25 hours of CLE credits, also approved for specialization.

CLICK HERE to SIGN UP NOW to register and ensure yourself a spot at the educational (and networking) event of the year! (This program regularly sells out.)


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