Family Law Section
News from the Section
- Message from the Chair from the September 2013 eNews -- Annual Meeting, MCLE, Webinars and Awards
- Webinar Replay: Ethical Risk Management for Attorneys Serving Families Through Change: Dissolution and Death, Thursday, December 12, 2013- Noon – 1:30 p.m.
- Webinar Replay: Bias - The Enemy of Persuasion – 2 Replay Dates, Thursday, December 19, 2013, Noon – 1 p.m. and Thursday, January 23, 2014, Noon – 1 p.m.
- Webinar Replay: Ethical Risk Management for the Family Law Attorney, Thursday, January 16, 2014, Noon – 1:30 p.m.
- Webinar: How to Input Form W-2 and Paystub Data into Support Calculation Software, Thursday, February 6, 2014, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
- Webinar: Love is in the Air – Cutting Edge Premarital Agreement Thursday, February 13, 2014, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
- Essentials of a Family Law Case
- Be A Hero to Your Client by Helping Them Save Taxes
- Minor's Counsel Trainings Available Online
- Soliciting Nominees for 2014 Family Law Awards
- Several Articles from Recent Issues of Family Law News Are now Posted Online
- Reality or Myth? Family Law Section Members Share Some Interesting Tidbits
- (New) Member Benefits for the State Bar Family Law Section
- Other News
Message from the Chair from the September 2013 eNews
Dear Family Law Section Member,
- The 86th Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California in San Jose is right around the corner, October 10 -- 13, 2013. It is not too late to register!
- Earn up to 18.5 hours of MCLE credit at this year’s Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California. This year’s schedule includes 145 seminars of which 8 are being offered by the Family Law Section (see below for details).
- Join with me, other Family Law Executive Committee Members (FLEXCOM) and Family Law Section Members at this year’s Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California to attend the presentation of the 2013 Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year Award (FLJOY) to the Honorable James M. Mize, Judge Sacramento Superior Court and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award to Garrett Dailey, CFLS. The presentation is scheduled for Friday evening, October 11, 2013, from 5:00PM-7:00PM at the Market Terrace at the San Jose Convention Center. There is no cost to attend the presentation; feel free to bring guests.
- Family Law and other sections will host a social-media meet-up in conjunction with this year’s Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California. It will be held at The Loft Bar and Bistro located at 90 South 2nd Street, San Jose, CA 95113 on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:00PM. Attend to network and socialize with members of the CYLA (California Young Lawyers Association) and other sections including Business Law, LPM&T, IP, International Law and Solo & Small Firm. Bring plenty of business cards.
- Speaking of social media and all things mobile, download the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California mobile app for schedules, updates, and to meet others and connect on the go. To preview the app, click here. https://event.crowdcompass.com/sbc2013
- For those who tweet, the 2013 Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California Twitter hash tag is #CalBarAM13.
- With the legislative session winding down, FLEXCOM is completing another successful year of legislative advocacy. No fewer than 41 bills were reviewed of which the Family Law Section supported 23, opposed 2, took a watch position on 11, decided 4 bills were beyond purview and provided technical comment on one bill.
- FLEXCOM sponsored two bills this year, AB 161 (court in a domestic violence proceeding to issue ex parte restraining orders) and AB 522 (exceptions to dismissal for delay in prosecution), both of which were signed into law.
- Read below why Sorrell Trope, CFLS was selected and will receive the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award this October 19, 2013 in Los Angeles.
- Be sure to sign up for three important Family Law Section webinars.
- Evidence in Family Law Trials with Judge Joyce Cram and Justices Mark Simons (“Simons California Evidence Manual”) and Terence Bruiniers. (Thursday, October 24, 2013, 12 noon - 1:30 p.m.)
- Untangling Reimbursement Claims: Analyzing Them, Making Them and Defending Against Them with Dawn Gray, CFLS (Thursday, November 14, 2013, 12 noon - 1 p.m.)
- The Use and Abuse of Psychological Testing in Child Custody Evaluations with Robert A. Simon, Ph.D. (Thursday, November 21, 2013, 12 noon - 1 p.m.).
- Membership in the Family Law Section includes an excellent and growing list of valuable member benefits, detailed for you at the bottom of this e-News.
Webinar Replay: Ethical Risk Management for Attorneys Serving Families Through Change: Dissolution and Death
Thursday, December 12, 2013- Noon – 1:30 p.m.
This program offers 1.5 hours participatory MCLE Credit in Legal Ethics and legal specialization credit in the area of Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.
This webinar explores common risk management issues faced by attorneys serving the needs of families through their significant life changes. Learn how awareness of the Rules of Professional Conduct and other statutes regulating the practice of law help attorneys avoid risk management pitfalls that can lead to claims.With speakers Jennifer Becker, John A. Hartog and John Manoogian.
Webinar Replay: Bias - The Enemy of Persuasion – 2 Replay Dates
Thursday, December 19, 2013, Noon – 1 p.m. and Thursday, January 23, 2014, Noon – 1 p.m.
Register in advance for December 19, 2013 program | Register in Advance for January 23, 2014 program
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE Credit in Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and legal specialization credit in the area of Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.
Snap judgments, preconceived notions, and stereotypes sometimes have a greater effect on the decision-making process than thee evidence of the law. This trial advocacy course will identify the sources of bias which may influence family law judicial officers or child custody evaluators, and how to overcome bias in the courtroom. With speaker Christopher C. Melcher.
Webinar Replay: Ethical Risk Management for the Family Law Attorney
Thursday, January 16, 2014, Noon – 1:30 p.m.
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE Credit in Legal Ethics and legal specialization credit in the area of Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.
This informative hour covers how knowledge of the Rules of Professional Conduct leads to good risk management techniques in practice. Jennifer Becker and Jessica MacGregor are partners at Long & Levit, LLP, emphasizing the defense of attorneys.
Webinar: How to Input Form W-2 and Paystub Data into Support Calculation Software
Thursday, February 6, 2014, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour of legal specialization credit in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.
This webinar will address analyzing, interpreting, and inputting simple and complex W-2 and paystub data for support calculations, including how to input pre-tax items such as deferred compensation plans and IRC §125 (Cafeteria) plan data. The presenter will start by explaining the data contained on W-2 forms and then describe how to input this data into support calculation software. He will discuss changing the settings on the support calculation software to correctly calculate taxes and end with analyzing more complex paystub data.With speaker Ron J. Anfuso.
Webinar: Love is in the Air – Cutting Edge Premarital Agreement
Thursday, February 13, 2014, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour of legal specialization credit in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.
Category: Family Law Tips for negotiating and drafting premarital agreements which protect our clients, foster a strong marriage, and keep us out of trouble. With speaker Christopher Melcher.
The Essentials of A Family Law Case
Presented by: The Family Law Section of the State Bar of California
NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
Available at $35.00 per session for a full hour of MCLE credit including 1-hour of credit in Legal Specialization for Family Law
Total Price: $210
A Family Law Case 1: Basics for New Attorney; Initial Filings; and Jurisdiction
A Family Law Case 2: Custody; and Parenting Planning
A Family Law Case 3: Child Support and Temporary Spousal Support
A Family Law Case 4: Community Property and Fiduciary Duties
A Family Law Case 5: Post Judgment Spousal Support
A Family Law Case 6: Judgment and Post Judgment Modifications
Thinking about taking on a family law case? This one day class will cover the basics of what you will need to know from initial filings through judgment documents and modifications. An esteemed panel of bench officers and attorneys will walk you through the highlights of the substantive law, as well as outline numerous practice pointers to help you navigate your way through each matter. Topics will include basics for new attorneys, initial filings, jurisdiction, temporary orders, parentage, custody, parenting plans, child support, temporary and post judgment spousal support, property, attorney fees, judgment issues, and post judgment modifications.
Be A Hero to Your Client by Helping Them Save Taxes
by Christopher C. Melcher
There isn't much good that comes from a divorce, except for perhaps getting out of a bad relationship -- and sometimes saving money on taxes. Clients may be surprised to learn that they may be able to deduct some of those fees they paid to you last year. Fees incurred by a spouse in attempting to obtain spousal support are deductible per IRC section 212, par. (1). This makes sense because spousal support is taxable as income to the recipient, so there should be a deduction for the expenses paid to produce or collect that income. The deduction is an "itemized deduction" so there are limits on how much, if any, of the fees may be deducted according to the taxpayer's adjusted gross income, etc.
The payor of spousal support cannot deduct the fees paid to resist the support order. Although the payor of spousal support can deduct the support, there is no deduction allowed for expenses paid to obtain a tax deduction.
Other divorce-related fees may not be deductible, but may still provide tax benefits. For example, fees paid to obtain or protect an ownership interest in a capital asset in a divorce may be added to the tax basis of the property. (Gilmore v. US (N.D. Cal. 1965) 245 F.Supp. 383.) This means less capital gains taxes when the property is eventually sold.
Fees may be allocated according to time spent on obtaining spousal support and/or for obtaining/protecting capital assets. This can be done in a statement to the client for the fees paid in 2011. The attorney needs to be able to provide time records supporting the allocation. Please be careful not to give tax advice to the client. It is safest to say that these fees "may be deductible" and suggest that the client get advice from his or her tax preparer. Only the fees which were actually paid in 2011 can be deducted on the client's 2011 tax return.
This information should be provided to clients now, before they file their 2011 tax returns. This will be welcome news to the clients, making a very bad situation a little bit better.
Minor's Counsel Trainings Available Online
Anyone looking to complete the educational requirements for minor’s counsel appointments can now do so from the comfort of their office. The Family Law Section is pleased to present a package of presentations designed to meet both the initial and continuing education mandates. In collaboration with the Sacramento County Bar Association, video was taken from workshops conducted in 2008 and 2011.
Each package is broken down into segments based on subject matter. Please note that the Section is offering a discount to those that buy an entire package. For example, the 2008 package contains 11 separate segments. Purchasing each segment separately would cost viewers $425. If you buy the entire bundle you pay only $300. A similar discount is available for the 2011 package, which is available for $200 if you buy the entire series.
And while you are considering these offerings, please remember to view our archive of webinars available from the Family Law Section.
2014 Family Law Awards
The Executive Committee for the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California (FLEXCOM) is seeking nominations for outstanding contributions to the practice of family law for 2014. The award categories are Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year, Family Law Lifetime Achievement Award, Excellence in Family Law, Court Staff Award, and Barrister of the Year and are described below.
Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year – The award is intended to recognize excellence on the Family Law bench. Particular focus is paid to outstanding service to the practice of Family Law, career achievements, or a distinguishing singular act or performance of the nominee.
Family Law Lifetime Achievement Award – Designed to honor and recognize the most distinguished long-term achievements and sustained substantial contributions to the substance or practice of Family Law in the State of California over the recipient’s career or lifetime.
Excellence in Family Law – The award is to honor and recognize recent notable acts or outstanding service that contributes substantially to the improvement of California Family Law substance or practice. Recipient need not be a lawyer.
Court Staff Award – The award is to honor and recognize sustained superior performance or extraordinary efforts in the recipient’s performance of his or her work with the Family Law courts. Nominations shall be solicited from Family Law bench officers. Nominees shall be deserving court personnel, which may include (but not limited to) clerks, judicial assistants, Family Law Facilitators, DV counselors, court reporters, bailiffs, administrative personnel and Family Court Services employees.
Barrister of the Year Award – The award is to recognize outstanding contributions to the practice of Family Law or outstanding performance in the practice of Family Law for barrister lawyers. The recipient of this award must be a lawyer who practices primarily in the area of Family Law and who has been a member of the State Bar of California for five (5) years or less. The recipient need not be a member of the Family Law Section. Nomination forms can be obtained by sending an email to Sherry Peterson at email@example.com or Mitch Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org The deadline for submissions of nominations is March 1, 2014.
Several Articles from Family Law News Are Now Posted in the Members Only Area
Section members, we have posted several recent articles from Family Law New and Section members can request other recent articles s in our Members Only Area.
The Best Interests of the Child Standard Meets Best Practices in Forensic Mental Health Assessment
By Herbert N. Weissman, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
From Family Law News Issue 3, 2012: Vol. 34 No. 3
Exploring the Best Interest of the Child Standard, Part 1
By Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis
From Family Law News Issue 3, 2012: Vol. 34 No. 3
Exploring the Best Interest of the Child Standard Part 2
By Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis
From Family Law News Issue 3, 2012: Vol. 34 No. 4
- Houston, "We Have a Problem!" No Court Reporter, Perhaps No Appeal, What Can We Do?
By Stephen Temko and Dennis Temko
From Family Law News Issue 3, 2013: Vol. 35 No. 1
- Documents--What We Need and Why We Need Them
By Donald Miod
From Family Law News Issue 1, 2013: Vol. 35 No. 1
Reality or Myth? Family Law Section Members Share Some Interesting Tidbits
FLEXCOM members Mark Ressa and Yasmine Mehmet recently appeared on Chuck Finney’s NPR Radio Show titled “Know Your Legal Rights”. The topic they discussed was urban divorce myths. So as not to keep all the fun to themselves, Mark posted some classic myths on his Twitter account. The responses he received in just a short period of time showed the “creativity” of our practice.
We decided to compile some of the best responses for the benefit of all our Section members. We hope you enjoy this list. And, if you have any other myths to share with your colleagues, you can email them to Andrew Cain at email@example.com.
1. I can get remarried 6 months after I file for divorce.
2. If s/he withholds support, I can retaliate by withholding visitation, and vice versa.
3. If she marries a high earner, my child support payments should go down.
4. If I marry a high earner, my child support payments will go up.
5. If I buy a house with a fat mortgage, I can't afford child support, so it should go down.
6. Child custody is about fairness.
7. You have to be married 10 years to get a part of your ex-spouse's pension rights.
8. If my name is not on the credit card, I don't owe the debt incurred during marriage.
9. I can be reimbursed for paying his/her premarital debts.
10. S/he is the one who moved, so s/he should have to pay the kids' travel costs.
11. If I don't like the judge's decision, I can always appeal.
12. I should not have to pay my lawyer for the time s/he spends on the phone with my unrepresented spouse.
13. Children can make custody decisions at age 12.
14. Child support stops when the child is 18.
15. The court can make the other parent chip in for the kids' college.
16. If we're married more then 10 years, s/he has to pay for me to get a college education.
17. I am "entitled" to: (spousal support)(custody)(attorney fees)(life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).
18. If the court orders me to pay community debts, I can always discharge them in bankruptcy.
19. If I quit my job, I won't have to pay support.
20. And the absolute #1 urban disso myth of all time: marriage will be better the next time around.
21. My friend only had to pay $50 per month child support! (Good. Go hire his lawyer. And give me the lawyer's name so I may worship at his/her feet.)
22. If we have equal custody, there shouldn't be any child support.
23. But I have a license for marijuana! Why should that be a custody factor?
24. My parents beat me, and I turned out okay.
25. FaceBook is a perfectly safe place to slam my ex, talk about my drug deals, post nude photos, and show my kids and me at drunken parties with my young adult friends.
26. But you promised me that initial retainer would cover my whole case!
27. I don't have to disclose joint income tax returns with my new spouse, to my former spouse.
28. S/he is only concerned about the money, not the kids. (Usually coupled with #29 below.)
29. Whaddaya mean, would I accept less child support? (Usually coupled with #28 above.)
30. If my new significant other and I are having sex all the time, then by statutory definition, ours is not a "marriage like relationship".
31. I know we've been married 20 years, but that 15-year-old is not his/my kid.
32. S/he can't be a fit parent! S/he lets the kids a) ride dirt bikes b) watch R-rated movies c) eat junk food d) stay up late e) see his crazy extended family members f) support Republicans g) whatever else irritates me that we used to do together during marriage.
33. S/he should not have custody of the kids. S/he has a drug/alcohol problem. (Usually coupled with #34 below.)
34. Sure we used to do it together, but I've been clean for 3 weeks, since separation. (Usually coupled with #33 above.)
35. I want what's best for my child. (Did you ever notice that by some miracle of God, "what's best for my child" always matches what the client wants for custody? And did you ever stop to think that all your opposing counsel out there are hearing the exact same thing from the other parent?)
36. He would never let me get a job! He wanted a stay-at-home wife!
37. She refused to get a job! She wanted to be a stay-at-home wife!
38. Watch out! S/he is so manipulative!
39. I just want this over with! (At which point I usually pick up the phone, don't dial, and speak into the receiver, "Hello, opposing counsel? Listen - we just want this over with, so go ahead and write up an agreement with any terms you want. We'll sign it.")
40. It isn't fair! (Oh, that's right - this isn't a myth. How 'bout this one instead?) "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday, for major litigation today." (Apologies to Wimpy.)
(New) Member Benefits for the State Bar Family Law Section
The Family Law Section encourages you to continue to take advantage of these and other valuable benefits. If you have any questions concerning the Family Law Section or the benefits available to you with your membership, please feel free to contact the Chair of our Member Services Subcommittee, John Adam Lazor, CFLS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-277-5277. These benefits include:
- NEW! -- $75 OFF every California Family Law Report (CFLR) seminar.
- NEW! -- 30% OFF every CFLR product and publication for 30 days following a CFLR seminar. For example, members can get CFLR DissoMaster™ Suite for only $378 (regularly $540, a $162 savings).
- NEW! -- $75 OFF every Rutter Group (TRG) seminar.
- NEW! -- 30% OFF every TRG Practice Guide and publication for 30 days following a TRG seminar. For instance, get the Family Law Practice Guide for only $406 (regularly $580, a $174 savings).
- NEW! -- 20% OFF the initial purchase price of Attorney’s Briefcase software (regularly $1,200, a $240 savings)
- $75 OFF on either CEB's Gold CLE Passport or any single full-priced MCLE ticket, which if used, entirely offsets the costs of your section dues. Many of these programs are presented in the webinar format where you don't have to leave your desk! You are also eligible for 10% OFF selected CEB print or online books.
- FREE Family Law Toolkit. The Toolkit allows members to obtain 6 MCLE credits in the hard to obtain areas such as ethics, bias and substance abuse. (A $210 value)
- FREE or LOW-COST programs on cutting-edge issues of Family Law, presented as webinars so you don't have to travel to participate.
- FREE subscription to the Family Law News, a quarterly publication containing a variety of articles of practical interest to attorneys at all levels of experience.
- FREE access to Family Law Case Studies, a monthly analysis of published and unpublished Appellate Court Opinions, by Judge Jeffrey Burke of San Luis Obispo.
- FREE access to BriefCase OnCall™, an online updating service from Attorney's BriefCase® legal research software. OnCall™ provides indexed summaries of all cases going back approximately six months relating to California family law, juvenile law, evidence and pretrial adjudication. This also includes FREE weekly “Week in Brief” emails from BriefCase OnCall™.
- FREE access to Family Law ENews bulletins, keeping you abreast of developments statewide.
- FREE Trial Objections Handout for use in court.
- UNLIMITED ACCESS to the members-only portion of the section website, which contains valuable information for family lawyers and provides electronic access to current and past issues of Family Law News, Family Law Case Studies and many other Section publications.
- NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY with family lawyers throughout California through standing committee membership, and section-sponsored events and activities.
- LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, including eligibility to apply for service on FLEXCOM, and to nominate family law attorneys and judicial officers for statewide family law awards and recognition.
The Family Law Section encourages you to continue to take advantage of these and other valuable benefits.
Member Benefit: The Family Law Toolkit
Introducing a new Family Law Section Member Benefit. The Family Law toolkit offers 6 Hours of Self-Study CLE Credit including:
- 4 Hours of Ethics – Self-Study
- 1 Hour of Elimination of Bias – Self-Study
- 1 Hour of Substance Abuse – Self Study
The Family Law Toolkit is now available in the Family Law Members Only area.
Save money with CEB
Continuing 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.
Free Access to Attorney's BriefCase OnCall™
As a membership benefit, State Bar Family Law Section members have free access to BriefCase OnCall™, an online updating service from Attorney’s BriefCase® Legal Research Software. OnCall™ provides the following features:
- Indexed summaries of all cases going back approximately six months relating to California Family Law, Juvenile Law, Evidence and PreTrial Adjudication.
- Full text of all summarized opinions.
- Week in Brief: An at-a-glance summary of all new cases by case name and holding in the four practice areas. (Week in Brief is also available by email as described below.)
For the details of the offer, see Attorney's BriefCase in the Family Law Section's Members Only Area.
"Your Legal Rights"
The Family Law Section is a sponsor of the radio program 'Your Legal Rights' which is hosted by Chuck Finney in the San Francisco Bay Area.
FLEXCOM assists in funding this public service radio program. FLEXCOM members are regular contributors. To listen to some past programs, see Your Legal Rights.Family Law Section members can access back issues of the Family Law News, special discounts for Section members and legislative tracking through My State Bar Profile. You can access this information at any time by signing into your State Bar Profile and clocking on Family Law Section - Members Only Area. Or go directly to the Members Only Home Page.
Consumer 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
View 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.
Family Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639