Family Law Section

News from the Section

Message from the Editor of the January 2015 eNews

Last September the eNews introduced a new segment titled “Attorney Tip of the Month.” The purpose of this recurring segment is to offer a forum through which practitioners from across the state can share helpful tips with their colleagues in an effort to improve the practice of family law across the state. As insightful as colleague tips may be, we’ve never known a lawyer that did not welcome and embrace wisdom, explanation and helpful suggestions offered by the bench. Therefore, we are pleased to introduce the first entry in a soon-to-be regular series titled “Judicial Perspective”. As such, it is our pleasure to bring some judicial guidance on orders after hearings. While every aspect of this article, penned by Judge Christine Byrd of the Los Angeles Superior Court, may not apply to all jurisdictions, it is my belief that every practitioner should take heed of her helpful words. We greatly appreciate Judge Byrd’s time, effort and dedication to our Family Law community. Thank you!

As we begin a new year, the editorial team at the eNews will continue to provide our readers with a mix of practical tips, hot topics and information about upcoming events. We encourage contributions in all areas from our readers. Do you have a tip to share with the Section? Are you interested in writing a short summary of the latest appellate opinion of note? Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in getting your name into print as a contributing author to the eNews. I can be reached at Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

-- Andrew Cain

Message from the Chair - January 2015 eNews

On behalf of the entire Family Law Executive Committee, I extend our heartfelt hopes and best wishes that 2015 be a year filled with personal and professional satisfaction, growth and happiness.

I also want to thank those that, in response to my eNews article of last month, shared their experience and ideas as to the present state of mentoring, and how, as a Section, we may be able to contribute. As a result, I have formed an exploratory committee on mentoring, and have appointed Executive Committee member, B J Fadem, CFLS, of San Jose, to Chair. If you would like to participate either generally, or, would simply be willing to share your knowledge and views about mentoring, it would be most appreciated; please send an email to B J, to begin the conversation. 

As to Education, and because we’ve not included dedicated articles this month, I want to ensure you are aware that registration will soon be open for the 2015 Essentials Live Course: Discovering the Theory of Your Case and Proving It at Trial: The Interplay between Discovery and Admitted Evidence. We had more than a few unhappy members, because they were unable to attend some of last year’s sold-out locations. So, if you don’t register early, you know the saying, you’ve got no one to blame but....CLICK HERE to learn more about the program, including the amazing panel of both bench officers and seasoned attorneys. Can’t get out of the office? Earn and Learn in comfort -- that is, Earn CLE, Learn something you didn’t know, and do it all from the comfort of your home or office.

(Pictured above: Family Law Executive Committee Meeting on January 16, 2015. From Right to Left, Vanessa Kirker Wright, Deborah Wald, John Hodson, Steve Hittleman, Roger Rombro & Amber Hayes.)

Take a glance at the picture above, and, I’d like remind you that we, the executive committee, cannot do what we do, without you. That’s because, we are you. Every person on the Family Law Executive Committee is a volunteer, and a member of the family law section, just like you. The contributions you’ll make to the practice of family law, the behind-the-scenes look at our legislative process and the newly formed relationships with colleagues from across the state, will stay with you forever. (It’s also a nice entry on your CV, and, while not a paid position, don’t worry, you won’t be out of pocket - we’ll cover travel and lodging.) So, the deadline for applying to the Family Law Executive Committee is quickly approaching. If you would like to apply, we would most certainly welcome your application. CLICK HERE.

In closing, I remain an open invitation to each and every one of you, for you to share with me your ideas as to how our Section can better serve the Family Law Community. Please e-mail me at

-- Raymond Goldstein

Family Law Essentials Program -- Four Locations

Essential of a Family Law TrialDiscovering the Theory of Your Case and Proving It at Trial: The Interplay Between Discovery and Admitted Evidence

Registration includes Full day program and networking luncheon and 6 hours of participatory MCLE credit and 6 hours of legal specialization credit in the area of Family Law.

With presenters:

  • Honorable Mark Albert Juhas
  • Honorable Sue Alexander
  • Honorable James Mitchell Mize
  • Honorable Maureen Frances Hallahan
  • Barbara K. Hammers, ACFLS
  • John Daniel Hodson, ACFLS, AAML

Online Registration is Now Available! Locations & Dates:

San Diego
Monday, March 2, 2015
University of San Diego
REGISTER - San Diego

State Building
Friday, April 17, 2015
REGISTER - Oakland

Los Angeles
The State Bar of California
Monday, March 23, 2015
REGISTER - Los Angeles

San Joaquin College of Law
Monday, May 18, 2015

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

Webinar: No Right to Remain Silent

Thursday, February 26, 2015, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

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

A Certified Family Law Specialist (C.F.L.S.), and experienced family law attorney and law professor raises awareness as to necessity of disclosure and danger of practicing family law when a client owns assets overseas and negligently or purposefully fails to disclose them to the court. This CFLS believes that practicing foreign assets is no less dangerous than walking on the well disguised mine fields.

In this webinar, a CPA, CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst), ABV (Accredited in Business Valuation), and CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics) presenter will share over 50 years of experience in formal and informal discovery of foreign hidden assets. With speakers Paul White, Steve Zand, and Abbas Hadjian, Moderator.

Webinar: Power Prenups

Thursday, March 26, 2015, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

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

Negotiate and draft premarital agreements that protect your client and foster a strong marriage.

Speaker: Christopher Melcher

Send us your Nominations for the 2015 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. For more information, see the 2015 Family Law Awards Nomination Form.

Judicial Perspective: Processing an Order After Hearing

The following article was authored by Judge Christine Byrd of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The views expressed are the individual views of the author and not of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Have you ever wondered why it took so long for the judge to sign your Order After Hearing? The reason is not the judge. The reason is the process itself.  Here is an explanation of the process in the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

Week 1:

The first step is for the Proposed Order to get to the clerk in the department. If your attorney service delivered the Proposed Order to the main filing window, then you can expect that it will take about 3 to 5 days for it to actually reach the clerk. If you deliver it directly to the courtroom, it will be received (logged in) by the courtroom assistant and usually given to the clerk the same day.

Weeks 2 and 3:

Once the Proposed Order reaches the clerk, the case file is requested.  Getting the case file to the courtroom generally takes 2 to 3 weeks. If the case file is in the archives, it will take significantly longer. In downtown Los Angeles, the newer case files are kept in a central file room and the older ones are in archives storage in the Hall of Records. Case files are not stored in the departments or courtrooms to which they are assigned because the courtrooms simply do not have that kind of storage space. The time it takes to retrieve the case file will be eliminated once the court converts to electronic files but, meanwhile, this step involves a lengthy delay.

The other cause of delay arises from the California Rules of Court, Rule 5.125, which requires that the other side have the opportunity to review and to object to the Proposed Order. As a result, unless you have obtained a signature “approved as to form” from the other side, the clerk will hold the Proposed Order automatically for two weeks (10 days plus 5 for mailing) to allow the other side time to assert objections. Electronic files will not eliminate this waiting period.

Week 4:

When the case file and the Proposed Order have met up in the court room, and any applicable waiting period has ended, then it is a question of the clerk finding the time (on top of the current day’s minute orders and notices and judgments) to review the Proposed Order against the Minute Order and any other relevant items in the case file. Then, and only then, is it ready to be given to the judge.  By this time, at least 4 weeks will have passed.

Week 5:

It should come as no surprise to learn that your Proposed Order does not get signed the minute that the clerk hands it over to the judge.  It goes into a stack with other orders awaiting review and signature. They range from stipulated QDROs to judgments to requests for service by publication, and, of course, other Proposed Orders After Hearing. It takes hours to review them every week and, if objections have been filed, even longer. On a typical week, I have a stack 1 to 2 feet tall of items requiring my signature. If it is a heavy week with ex parte applications every morning, full calendars, and evidentiary hearings, your Proposed Order will wait until the end of the week.

Week 6:

Once signed, the clerk will then file and serve (by mail) the Order After Hearing.  All in all, at least 6 weeks and possibly more will have passed before you receive the Order After Hearing.

Aligning the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars:

How can you avoid the lengthy processing time?

The answer is simple -- prepare the order and submit it on the same day as the hearing. On the day of the hearing, the case file, both sides, the clerk, and the judge are all together in the same time and place. Think of it as the equivalent of the sun, the moon, and the stars all being aligned. They stay aligned only for that one day and then they all scatter, i.e., the case file is returned to the file room for re-shelving, opposing counsel returns to his/her office and can be reached only by “telephone tag,” and the clerk and the judge become immersed in other cases. When a Proposed Order is submitted on any other day, whether it is the next day or the next week or the next month, the process described above will be followed and the time involved will be the same.

To take advantage of the fact that on the day of the hearing, the sun, the moon, and the stars are all aligned for you, come to court with a draft order in hand. You can have Judicial Council forms partially filled out, or type up a draft order in advance, with blank lines ready to be filled in, or you can use the printed forms available in the court room. Of course, some cases will involve sufficient complexity that you will want to obtain the transcript for purposes of detailed findings, but there are many other cases where orders are straightforward enough to be prepared on the spot.  If you take advantage of the opportunity, then you can walk out of court with a signed Order after Hearing.

Sign Up Now! The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists Hosts its Spring Seminar

The ACFLS is pleased to announce its 23rd Annual Spring Seminar.  “SUBMITTED: Mastering Rulings, Orders & Judgments” will take place March 20-22, 2015 at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage. Garrett C. Dailey, CFLS will serve as Moderator for the event.  A distinguished faculty of bench and bar members will present over three half-days on a variety of hot legal topics.  Up to 11 hours of MCLE and Family Law Specialization credit is available.

Faculty (Bench): Justice Dennis Cornell, Hon. John Chemeleski, Hon. Dianna Gould-Saltman,  Hon. Erick Larsh, Hon. Mark S. Millard, Hon. Thomas Trent Lewis, Hon. Marjorie A. Slabach, Ret., and Hon. Alice Vilardi.

Faculty (Bar):  Robert C. Brandt, CFLS; Ronald S. Granberg, CFLS; Barbara K. Hammers, CFLS; John D. Hodson, CFLS; Sherry Peterson, CFLS; Leslie Ellen Shear, CALS, IAML, CFLS; Stephen Temko, CALS, CFLS; and California Deputy A.G. Elaine F. Tumonis, Statewide Abduction Unit Coordinator.

The cost of registration includes a reception on Friday and breakfast.  Additional guests for the Friday night reception are $25 each. A room code allowing seminar attendees to register at the resort with the seminar rate will be provided upon completion of seminar registration.  If registering online, the room code will appear on the screen at the completion of the registration process.  ACFLS will provide the room code to seminar attendees who mail their registration form and payment.  Please see the Seminar Brochure or visit for additional information. 

The United States Supreme Court Grants Review in Same-Sex Marriages Cases. What Do You Need to Know?

On Friday, 1/16/2015, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in four cases stemming from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision upholding bans on marriages between same-sex couples in the states of Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Prior to the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, same-sex marriage bans had been found unconstitutional by the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal.  A decision is pending in the Fifth Circuit, with oral arguments heard on 1/9/2015 in cases originating in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. To date, the Sixth Circuit is the only federal Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a marriage ban since the United States Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari:

CASES UNDER REVIEW:  The cases for which the Court granted certiorari are: Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio), Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky).

SCOPE OF REVIEW:  The Supreme Court limited its grant of certiorari to two specific questions: 

(1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

(2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

Briefing Schedule:  Petitioners’ briefs are due on February 27, 2015; Respondents’ briefs are due on March 27, 2015; and Petitioners’ reply briefs are due on April 17, 2015.

While it is impossible to predict how the United States Supreme Court will rule, momentum on the side of allowing same-sex couples to marry continues to build.  As of the date on which this article is written (1/18/2015), same-sex couples are allowed to marry in 37 states plus the District of Columbia – accounting for approximately 70% of all same-sex couples residing in the United States.  The most recent states to allow marriages by same-sex couples are Florida (1/5/2015) and North Dakota (1/12/2015). 

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.

Working with a Young Lawyer Deserving of Recognition? Nominations Are Currently Being Accepted for the Jack Berman Award

Each year, the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA), a Committee of the California State Bar Association, recognizes a young or new lawyer for distinguished service to the public sector, the judiciary, or the public with the Jack Berman Award of Achievement.

The California State Bar established this prestigious award in 1992 to recognize the individual achievements of a lawyer who is either in his/her first five years of practice or age 36 and under. The award is named in memory of Jack Berman, a young lawyer who demonstrated outstanding service to the profession and the public, and who was tragically killed in a San Francisco shooting. This annual award honors his dedicated service to issues of concern to the profession, especially its young lawyers.

Selection criteria are as follows:

  • Any active member of The State Bar of California who is either in his/her first five years of practice or age 36 and under is eligible for nomination.
  • Award applications should be based on a project or service to the public, the judiciary, or the profession. The project/service need not be pro bono.
  • The project/service may include work performed in prior years, but should highlight the achievements accomplished in 2014.
  • The award recognizes one individual for his/her individual achievements.

More information on the award can be found by visiting the CYLA page on the State Bar Website.  Nominations are due by February 20, 2015 at 11:59 PM.

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 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