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Family Law Section

News from the Section

Message from the Chair - Vanessa Kirker Wright

The State Bar staff calls us the "volunteers".  We refer to ourselves, variously, as FLEXCOMers or Committee members.  We serve to enhance the level of practice in the state.  And the best part is that we have a blast working together on the most cutting edge issues in Family Law.

One of my favorite sayings is "all law is family law."   When I utter those words amongst my non-family law colleagues, I get one of two reactions: 1) pregnant pause and sudden subject change, or 2) odd look, small chuckle and sudden subject change. READ MORE

Message from the Editor of the E-News - Renee Fairbanks

I am excited to start my tenure as the Editor of FLEXCOM’s eNews.  In the year ahead, my hope is that eNews will continue to provide useful and up-to-date information to our family law section members. I am fortunate to have inherited eNews from Andrew Cain, last year’s eNews Editor. He has laid the groundwork for an easy transition. I can only hope to bring the same level of professionalism to my work as Editor as Andrew did in 2015. READ MORE

Family Law Essentials 2016: Going Through the Motions–Family Law RFO and Motion Practice

Family Law Essentials 2016: Going Through the MotionsThis one day class will cover the essentials of a Family Law Request For Order and other types of Motion Practice. An esteemed panel of bench officers and attorneys will provide exclusive practice pointers for your Request For Order and Motion practice.

We're pleased to announce that we've added Redding to the schedule, as well as a 25% discount for members of the California Young Lawyers Association!

The dates for the 2016 are:


  • Honorable Mark Albert Juhas
  • Honorable Sue Alexander
  • Honorable Maureen Francis Hallahan
  • Honorable Dale Wells
  • John Daniel Hodson, CFLS, AAML
  • Barbara K. Hammers, CFLS

Earn 6 hours participatory MCLE credit, including 1 hour in Legal Ethics, and 6 hours legal specialization credit in Family Law

Four Locations | Program Schedule | Essential Information |
Printable Brochure | Mail / Fax Registration Form

For more information, see Essentials 2016: Going Through the Motions.


Electronic Data - The Future of Evidence

Thursday, February 11, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour legal specialization credit in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

The recent State Bare Ethics Opinion requires all practitioners to know and comply with ESI rules, duties, and obligations.  In essence, ESI applies in almost every case in your office.  The opinion states we are obligated as follows:

  1. Obtain personally the necessary training to master all ESI requirements.
  2. Bring into the case by association a qualified ESI expert to assist counsel.
  3. Decline the case. 

You cannot now ignore ESI or agree with the other side to ignore it.  Your ESI duties to the court are not waiveable.

Command of ESI is a necessity if you expect to practice as a California trial lawyer.

Moderator: Abbas Hadjian

Speakers: Gordon Cruse and James A. Hennenhoefer

Appellate Review: Noergaard v. Noergaard (2016), Allegation of DV vs. Automatic Return of Abducted Child Under Hague Convention

Thursday, March 17, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This programs 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour legal specialization in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

What if the Petitioner for return of an abducted child under the Hague Convention has history of Domestic Violence against the child? May the returning court hear the evidence of parental abuse as part of the return process? In Noergaard v. Noergaard, the 4th District, Division III, determined that the trial court did not allow the objecting mother to present evidence that the child’s home state did not adequately protect the child.

Article 13 defenses to the return of a child under the Hague Convention are “narrowly construed” to avoid a determination of the Best Interests of a Child, which would be inappropriate given the Convention’s agreement among member states, to allow the child’s Home State to determine custody.

The court used Federal cases and relied on the denial of procedural due process, and the discussion is an important synthesis of many fairly recent cases regarding domestic violence and the Hague Convention.

Moderators: Abbas Hajian and Melinda Sammis

Speaker: Merritt McKeon

Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year Nominations
Deadline: March 1, 2016

  1. WHO MAY NOMINATE? Any member in good standing of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California, and any California bench officer, is eligible (and encouraged) to nominate a judicial officer for this award.

  2. WHO MAY BE NOMINATED? Any California judicial officer, active or on assignment, including those recently retired from a family law assignment or career.

  3. TO WHOM ARE NOMINATIONS SUBMITTED: Nominations may be submitted via e-mail to chastainlaw-shauna@sbcglobal.net


Member Benefits

Are you a Section member who wants to be reminded of all the benefits? Do you have a colleague on the fence about joining the Section? Being a Family Law Section member offers a number of great benefits.READ MORE

Other News

Know Your Legal Rights – Podcasts Now Available

The Family Law Section is a sponsor of the radio program “Know Your Legal Rights” hosted in the Bay Area by San Mateo Deputy District Attorney Chuck Finney. Mr. Finney welcomes attorneys and other professionals to talk about hot legal topics on a weekly basis. He routinely hosts members of FlexCom and other family law attorneys to educate the public on burgeoning issues important to our practice. FlexCom thanks Mr. Finney for providing our Section with this forum over the years.

If you are interested in listening to prior broadcasts focused on family law issues, the State Bar website now has a list that dates all the way back to when the Section first started sponsoring the program. Visit the Family Law Section page for additional details. For an entire list of podcasts hosted by Mr. Finney, please see HERE.

6 Hours of Self-Study CLE in Legal Ethics, Elimination of Bias and Competency Issues -- Complimentary for Members of the Family Law Section!

As a 2015 benefit of Section membership, we are pleased to offer four hours of self-study MCLE credit in the field of Legal Ethics, 1 hour in Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession, and 1 hour in Competency Issues.

The Section thanks you for your membership!If you were purchasing these courses individually in our Online Catalog, they would cost more than $150 -- so that's your Section membership more than paid for, and then some!

Just watch these programs, and keep a record of having done so in the event you're audited for MCLE compliance.

You can access these programs and the accompanying written materials any time this year in the Members Only Area.

The programs are:

  • Understanding the Role of the Interpreter – One More Way to Eliminate Bias in the Courtroom (Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession)
  • Staying Healthy and Mentally Competent Throughout a Long Legal Career (Competency Issues)
  • Advertising Your Expertise and Experience: What Can You Do to Build Your Practice While Meeting Your Ethical Obligations? (Legal Ethics)
  • Conflicts of Interest and Disqualification Arising from Prior Client Representation: What are the Rules? (Legal Ethics)
  • Ethics Update 2014: Significant Development in the Law of Lawyering (Legal Ethics)
  • Lawyering on the Outside: Electronic Communications & Social Networking vs. Ethics & Professional Responsibility (Legal Ethics)

Save Money with CEB

CEB Discount Program for Section MembersContinuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending some special discount offers to our section. As a member of the Family Law Section, you're eligible for:

  • 10% off selected CEB print or online books
  • A rebate on your section dues that can be applied to the cost of a CEB Gold CLE Passport or a CLE program ticket

A complete list of the products eligible for a discount is available on a CEB web page accessible through our Members Only Area. Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site.

Consumer Education PamphletsConsumer Education Pamphlets Available for Purchase

The State Bar of California's "Get the Legal Facts of Life" Pamphlets are available for purchase from the State Bar. These pamphlets are both educational and informative for your clients.

For more information, see Consumer Education Pamphlets or call the Education Pamphlet Hotline: 888-875-LAWS (888-875-5297).

Online and Self-Study CLE from the Family Law Section

Online AudioView Family Law Section programs over the internet for participatory MCLE credit . Choose from hundreds of hours of official State Bar of California MCLE programs. For more information, see streaming audio and video, and select Family Law Be sure to check out CLEtoGo , downloadable podcasts you can listen to on the BART, or on the drive in or from the office.

Making the Connection: The Family Law Section is on Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/calbarfamily http://www.twitter.com/calbarfamily

Who said family law lawyers weren’t social? A reminder, our Family Law Section is on Facebook and Twitter - join us! The Section sees social media as another way to connect our members with information as it develops. Stay in touch with us to learn about the great work being done by Section members across the state. You can Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter at the links below.

Contact Us

Family Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368