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Family Law Section

News from the Section

Court of Appeal provides guidance for trial courts when considering whether to grant a mutual restraining order

The Court of Appeals recently clarified the procedural and substantive standards for the issuance of a mutual restraining order under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA). In Isidora M. v. Silvino M., 190 Cal. Rptr. 3d 502 (7/31/2015), the wife, Isidora, applied for a restraining order pursuant to the DVPA against her husband, Silvino. Although Silvino responded to the request for restraining order, stating that he did not agree to the order requested by Isidora, he did not file a request for restraining order of his own against Isadora. In his response, Silvino attached evidence that showed Isidora had been previously arrested for spousal battery and was subject to a criminal protective order. After a full evidentiary hearing, the trial court, sua sponte, issued a five-year mutual restraining order under Family Code Section 6305. READ MORE

The Family Law Section Executive Committee is accepting applications for appointment

FlexCom is short for the Family Law Executive Committee. We are seeking members who are dedicated to advancing Family Law, and who enjoy hard work in a collegial atmosphere.

The Executive Committee consists of 17 dedicated volunteers along with several advisors who are responsible to carry out the Section's mission of furthering Section members' knowledge in all areas of family law. Throughout the year, the Committee maintains and develop educational opportunities, actively advocates for family law legislation and policy, put together the quarterly Family Law News publication, issue periodic electronic newsletters to keep membership abreast of current family law issues. READ MORE

Essentials 2016 - Save the Dates!

The FlexCom Education team is furiously planning for its 2016 Essentials offerings. This wildly successful all-day education seminar is entering its fourth year. Now a staple of the Executive Committee's commitment to providing family law attorneys with the highest quality continuing education, Essentials looks to become bigger and better than ever. Please stay tuned in the coming months for details on dates and locations for 2016.

The dates for the 2016 are:

  • Monday, April 25, 2016: University of San Diego, San Diego
  • Friday, April 29, 2016: Pepperdine, Malibu
  • Monday, May 2, 2016: State Building, Oakland

The topic for 2016 will be Going Through the Motions - Practical pointers on how to defend and request an RFO. For more information, see Essentials 2016: Going Through the Motions.


Lunch with Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis: Trial of "Date of Separation" after Davis

Thursday, December 3, 2015, 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 attend.

When the court decided IRMO Norveil (2002) 102 Cal.App. 4th 1152 (Norviel), there was an effort to press for legislation correcting the preconception that couples under the same roof could not be separated.  IRMO Davis (2015) 2015 Cal. LEXIS 6469 (Davis) is essentially Norviel redux with a legislative history analysis added.  And like Norviel, it says, some couples under the same roof may be separated just not this couple. With that said, and given the law of the case in Davis, here is the question:

If the Davis family did not qualify for the Footnote 7 exception, what family will qualify?

Certainly Davis gives us plenty to talk about.  The Davis opinion also noted that there was no "legislative fix" when Norviel was decided.  They are right. There was lots of talk, but no legislation- and BTW that was in an era where only a few of us used email- now who doesn't use it.  Time will tell if there is enough traction for legislation; or conversely, maybe Davis is right-bright line test for separation and limited exceptional circumstances based on the "totality of the circumstances." But we still have the question: what circumstances constitute a totality?

In this webinar, Hon. Thomas Trent Lewis, Family Law Judge, State of California, County of Los Angeles, a Certified Family Law Specialist, will examine How the attorneys should advise clients in the post-Davis era; and what is the best way to prove the date of separation. How does fiduciary duty interplay with date of separation?

Appellate Review: What Evidence to Extend A Permanent DVRO

Thursday, December 17, 2015, 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 to attend.

Family Code section 6345 provides that a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) may be renewed for five years of permanently. Section 6345 does not provide a standard for a trial court to apply in deciding whether to grant a renewal request.

However, in Ritchie v. Konrad, the appellate court held that a trial court should renew the protective order if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the protected party entertains a ‘reasonable apprehension’ of future abuse. (Ritchie (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 1275.) Ritchie set forth several factors to consider in renewal proceedings, including the existence of a restraining order, the facts underlying the initial order, and significant changes in circumstances. (Id. at 1292.)

In Cueto v. Dozier, the appellate court held that the appellant had demonstrated a reasonable apprehension of future abuse under the Family Code and the factors set forth in Ritchie v. Konrad. It is the first published case to discuss the improper denial of a DVRO renewal under the abuse of discretion standard. The only other published case to use the abuse of discretion standard, Lister v. Bowen, reviewed the proper granting of a DVRO renewal. (Lister v. Bowen (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 319, 322.) 

In this webinar, Jennafer Dorfman Wagner and Shuray Ghorishi will discuss the facts of Cueto, how FVAP got involved, the evidence a trial court should consider in renewing a DVRO, and how this case differs from Lister.

Alimony Tax, Made Easy

Thursday, January 21, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This program offers 1 participatory MCLE credit, 1 legal specialization in Family Law, and 1 legal specialization in Taxation Law. You must register in advance to attend.

Learn the tax rules regarding spousal support so you can draft spousal support orders and agreements like a pro. Speaker: Christopher C. Melcher.

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.

  • Receipt of the quarterly Family Law Newsletter with articles by leading attorneys and experts throughout California;
  • Timely and cost effective family law substantive education provided by state-wide experts;
  • Receipt of timely family law notifications through E-Blasts and E-News;
  • Free online downloads that you your ethics, elimination of bias, and substance abuse credits at your convenience;
  • Participation in your local regional standing committee commenting on and developing pending family law legislation;
  • CEB discounts: $95.00 discount on either CEB’s Gold CLE Passport or on any single full priced MCLE ticket, as well as 10% discount on selected printed and online materials;
  • Attorney’s Briefcase® discounts: Week in Brief at no charge, as well as unlimited free access to BriefCase OnCall™;, and 20% discount on the initial purchase price of Attorney’s BriefCase® software, regularly $1,200.00; and,
  • The Rutter Group (TRG) and California Family Law Report (CFLR) discounts: $75.00 discounts on all Rutter and CLFR seminars, as well as a 30% discount on all Rutter and CFLR products and publications valid for 30 days after attendance at a TRG/CFLR seminar.

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