Family Law Section

News from the Section

Message from the Editor of the April 2015 eNews

Our faithful readers that have kept up with the 2014-15 eNews have undoubtedly seen our Chair, Raymond Goldstein, issue calls to action or requests for feedback. As you'll see below, this month is no different. In reading his message and thinking about his outreach to members, I was struck by the thought that it is long past time I do the same. Therefore, consider this message to be my first official effort to reach out to our readers.

Unlike Raymond, who has to focus on every aspect of the Section's inner working, I can hone in solely on the eNews. In that vein, I want to hear from our members about how they would like to see the eNews structured in the coming months. We have toyed with different ideas this year, including recurring features with tips from attorneys and judges. We have included the occasional brief article on a substantive legal issue. The traditional inclusion of event announcements has remained a staple. And, we providers reminders on upcoming webinars and member benefits.

What I'd like to hear from the membership is whether the eNews is working or lacking. Are we focused on the right types of articles and information? If not, what's lacking? We want to make the eNews something that is valued by all of our readers. Your feedback is vital if we are going to reach that goal. I look forward to hearing from you at Thank you and enjoy this issue of the eNews.

--Andrew Cain

Message from the Chair - April 2015 eNews

Ever notice how very messy life can become when you let something slip? And then, there are those times that life just 'works' - in spite of your actions or inactions.

At the moment, and as to the work of our Family Law Section, I find myself present to the later - life working. Don't get me wrong, I don't credit myself; rather, it's become pretty clear to me that when this phenomenon of 'life working' occurs, even in spite of our own shortcomings, there's probably a pretty efficient team somewhere close by. From David Lederman, our Chair of Legislation, whose team has reviewed hundreds of pending bills and has led days of analysis and discussion, to our Vice-Chair, Vanessa Kirker Wright, who led a focused team in a shortened and time sensitive project, to provide Section input to Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson regarding her Family Law Stakeholder's project, to our Family Law News editorial team championed by Naghmeh Bashar with superb quality and content quarter after quarter, to Minouche Kandel who has tirelessly led discussion, review, amendments and ultimately, secured legislative sponsorship, for affirmative legislation developed or inspired by Section attorneys across the state - near and far.

Now, we on FLEXCOM have our own opinions, but, it's the ideas and efforts of members on Standing Committees, North to South, that really move our work - for that, Kendall Evans gets the credit as Chair of Chairs, in her coordination of each and every standing committee within California. Ji-Lan Zang spearheads our Awards Committee in the difficult task of choosing whom to recognize this year, amongst so many well qualified nominees in a variety of categories.

Without even having to refer to the meticulously well-maintained minutes kept by our Secretary, Paul Bonnar, I can tell you that Roger Rombro, our Chair of Membership, shares my commitment that the value and benefit of our Section is, at the cost of $95, better described with the memorable credit card theme, 'priceless.'

Don't get me started on Education. I mean, seriously, like the others I've just referenced, we're talking about volunteers, busy and successful attorneys like Ronald Granberg who Chairs Education and, month after month, brings us quality Webinars on family law topics as diverse as the issues we face in court.

If you have a thesaurus handy, you'll notice that the entry for Sherry Peterson is, quite simply, synonymous with selfless service and dedication. Sherry was instrumental not just in the development, but in the following three years of producing our Section's increasingly popular live CLE programming, Essentials. I've had a glimpse into what Sherry does in order to ensure the quality and success of Essentials; written out, that glimpse wouldfill volumes. These few sentences are about as much public recognition that Sherry ever receives for her efforts; quite obviously, something else drives her. Like having insight into Picasso through a study of his art, I encourage you to get a sense as to who Sherry is, simply by attending one of her masterly produced Essentials courses; there are only two left - it's even worth a plane ticket to get there.

Would you be surprised if I told you that I could acknowledge about 20 more individuals for their service to the Family Law Section? I won't, at least not for now, though it would certainly be well-deserved. You get it; a lot of good people, taking time from their practices, their families, their hobbies and recreation - all in service of you, and, for the betterment of family law within California.

As for me? While everyone else is hard at work, I'm the guy that just keeps asking questions: What's missing? What else? What's next? That's where you come in - send me an e-mail; share your thoughts. Let's talk about the future. As always, thanks for your Section membership, and participation.

-- Raymond Goldstein

Essentials Live Education for 2015: A Review and Reminder

Essential of a Family Law TrialThe Family Law Section has hosted two successful sessions of "Essentials: Discovering the Theory of Your Case and Proving it at Trial. The Interplay between Discovery and Admitted Evidence." On March 2 in San Diego and March 23 in Los Angeles, the esteemed panel of judges and bench officers delivered six hours of practical content that should not be missed. Michele Brown of San Diego provides the following account of her impressions from the San Diego session.

"As a Certified Family Law Specialist in practice for over 20 years, I still took pages of notes from the tips, practice pointers and recommendations of over 200 years of family law experience from this all-star, state-wide panel of judicial officers and family law specialists. Spending an entire day gaining valuable insight and practical tips from four of the most respected family law judicial officers across the state was worth its weight in gold. As one can imagine, having the Hon. Mark Juhas (Los Angeles County), the Hon. Sue Alexander (Alameda County), the Hon. Maureen Hallahan (San Diego County) and moderator Hon. James Mize (Sacramento County) on the panel provided a us with a myriad of practical and insightful viewpoints on such things as Family Code section 271 hearings, motions to compel, sanctions, attorney fees, the use of deposition testimony at trial, expert versus opinion testimony and when, or whether, to bring a Sargon motion.

Add to this judicial breadth of experience, the advice, tips, and nuts to bolts discovery know-how, from two phenomenal trial attorneys, Certified Family Law Specialist Barbara Hammers (Santa Monica/Newport Beach) and Certified Family Law Specialist and AAML Fellow John Hodson (Solano County), and the information this all-star cast provided was unparalleled. The written materials, which include sample discovery, motions, authorities and charts, are a great resource for all experience levels."

Sessions remain in Oakland on April 17 and Fresno on May 18. Don't miss out on this opportunity to receive this invaluable content. Please register today, as seats could fill up fast. For detailed program and registration information, please visit the State Bar website.

State Building
Friday, April 17, 2015
REGISTER - Oakland

San Joaquin College of Law
Monday, May 18, 2015

For the full program schedule, see Family Law Essential 2015.

Benefits of an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust as Security for Support

by Kira Masteller & Anthony Storm

Divorce or separation agreements often require one spouse to maintain life insurance as security for their support obligation. Attorneys often do not address the tax implications if the insured spouse owns the policy. Often life insurance will create an estate tax that would NOT otherwise exist by adding a windfall to the insured's estate upon death. The death benefit of a life insurance policy owned by the insured spouse will be included in his or her estate for estate tax purposes. When the insured owns his or her life insurance policy, he or she has "incidents of ownership", such as withdrawing cash value, assigning the cash value as collateral, or changing the beneficiary during his or her lifetime.

In order to keep the death benefit OUT of the insured's estate for estate tax purposes, the insured can create an irrevocable life insurance trust, commonly referred to as an ILIT. Once created, the Trustee of the ILIT will own the life insurance policy, NOT the insured. As a result of having the ILIT own the policy, the insured avoids incidents of ownership and the tax implications associated therewith. The ILIT will also be the beneficiary of the life insurance policy resulting with the death benefit being held for the ex-spouse, children or other beneficiaries until certain ages, and can provide liquidity to an insured's taxable estate, without having the death benefit itself be exposed to estate tax. Should the insured pass away before a support obligation is complete, the death benefit related to the support for the benefit of the ex-spouse would be administered by the Trustee of the ILIT pursuant to the terms of the Marital Settlement Agreement/Judgment. The residue of the death benefit, if any, would pass to the other named beneficiaries via the ILIT with no Court proceeding.

Attorney Tip of the Month

Try starting your case off with a meet and confer letter rather than taking on the pressure of a global settlement offer. The meet and confer letter can cover such areas as an agreement to email service and/or fax service acceptance, setting some deposition dates or a timeframe for same, and agreeing to informal discovery and information sharing without having to propound lengthy demands or interrogatories. An agreed to structure opens many pathways to expeditious settlement.

Webinar: California Surrogacy Law Basics

Thursday, May 28, 2015, 12 noon - 1:00 p.m.

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

This webinar will cover California cases and statutes regarding surrogacy, and give practice pointers on drafting gestational carrier agreements.

Speaker: Elidia C. Dostal

Webinar: Moore/Marsden and Related Real Property Apportionment Calculations

Thursday, June 4, 2015, 12 noon - 1:00 p.m.

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

This Webinar will provide the attendee with the apportionment formulae for several of the most common real property allocations in family law and related probate cases.

Speaker: Ron J. Anfuso, Certified Public Accountant, Accredited in Business Valuation, Certified in Financial Forensics, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Fellow of the American Board of Forensic Accountants.

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

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.

Other News

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.

4 Hours of Self-Study CLE in Legal Ethics -- Complimentary for Members of the Family Law Section!

As a 2014 benefit of Section membership, we are pleased to offer four hours of MCLE credit in the field of Legal Ethics. That's enough to fulfill the Ethics requirement.

The Section thanks you for your membership!If you were purchasing these courses individually in our Online Catalog, they would cost $140 -- 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:

  • Avoiding the State Bar Disciplinary System
  • Client Trust Accounting Fundamentals
  • Ethical Implications for Lawyers in Cyberspace and Social Media
  • Ethics and Civility: Want an Extension? Forget about It!

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.

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"Your Legal Rights"

The next Flexcom-sponsored radio show for Your Legal Rights will be on Wednesday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m. The topic of the show will be:

Divorce without Court: Reduce the Pain

Working together, an attorney and a mental health professional can help you get through your divorce in a kinder, more cooperative way.

Presenters will be Stacey Shuster, PhD and Paula Lawhon, CFLS, both of San Francisco. They will be discussing a process they are using to work with divorcing couples, whereby Dr. Shusger provides co-parenting counseling and family mediation with Ms. Lawhon as the legal back-up. Please help advertise this program – and tune in if you are within the broadcast area

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 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.

Contact Us

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