Family Law Section

News from the Section

Message from the Editor

The close of the Annual State Bar Meeting is accompanied by the winds of change. For the Sections of the State Bar, it means the conclusion of the Executive Committee year. With the conclusion of the year comes a change of leadership. As the now-immediate-past-Chair of FlexCom, I am pleased to have the honor of passing the baton of leadership to Raymond Goldstein of Culver City. Raymond spent the last year serving as Vice-Chair and contributed a great deal to the success of the committee in the 2013-14 term. I look forward to watching and contributing to the dynamic directions in which Raymond plans to take the committee.

One of Raymond's priorities for the upcoming year is to enhance the committee's communication with its membership. At nearly 4000 members strong, the Family Law Section is a vibrant, active cross-section of practitioners across the legal community. To keep up with this activity, FlexCom continues to develop various ways of sharing hot topics, important announcements and events from all over the state. The Family Law News brings readers current educational content on a quarterly basis. The Section has expanded into social media through Facebook (Like us!) and Twitter(Follow us!). And, be on the lookout for monthly editions of the ENews and periodic EBlasts.

I look forward to serving as the ENews editor over the next year. More importantly, I look forward to hearing from the readers. Questions, comments or general feedback can be sent to andrewc@lawfoundation.org. Thank you and enjoy reading!

---Andrew Cain

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!

Webinar: How to Manage Your Relocation Case

Thursday, October 2, 2014, 12 noon - 1:30 p.m.

This program offers 1.5 hour participatory MCLE credits, including 1.5 hour credits in Legal Specialization in Family Law. You must register in advance in order to participate.

This webinar discusses the limited research on how relocation impacts children as well as legal issues and cases, such as In Re Marriage of LaMusga. It will also discuss critical risk and protective factors to consider and how to approach a relocation case, whether you client is the moving or non-moving parent. Finally, this workshop will focus on parenting plan issues and ways to help children when parents live far away from one another. This program will help you approach a case, whether you are representing the party moving or the party resisting the move. With speaker Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic), Director, Forensic Programs

Judge Gary Gibson of Shasta County receives the 2014 Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year Award

Judge Gary Gibson of Shasta CountyThe Family Law Section had the honor at the 2014 State Bar Meeting of presenting Judge Gary Gibson with its Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year Award. The award reception marked the 30th occasion on which the Section presented this award. Surrounded by judicial colleagues, members of the Bar and other supporters, Judge Gibson displayed his characteristic humility in accepting the award. He acknowledged the team effort that makes the success of his courtroom possible, opining that the award is as much a recognition of all the people with which he works.

Outgoing FLEXCOM chair Andrew Cain praised Judge Gibson's fairness, commitment to justice and work ethic during the award presentation. Often the first to arrive and last to leave the courthouse, Judge Gibson sets himself apart by going out of his way to insure everyone walks out of his courtroom with their voices heard and understanding the basis for his decision. "He takes the time to make sure everyone has their voices heard and learns why he reached a certain result," Cain said. "Even if they walk out of his courtroom frustrated in his decision, they know the reasons why he ruled that way."

Judge Gibson joined the bench in 2006 as Shasta County's child support commissioner. Following a six year stint on that calendar he was appointed to the bench by Governor Brown in 2012, at which point he assumed responsibilities as supervising judge of Family Law. He is currently the Assistant Presiding Judge of the local Superior Court, and expects to take over as Presiding Judge in 2016.

The Family Law Section salutes Judge Gibson for his contributions to the judiciary, family law and, most importantly, the ability of families to access the justice system. Congratulations to Judge Gibson on the 2014 Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year Award.

Commissioner Sue Alexander recognized with Benjamin Aranda Access to Justice Award

The Family Law Section congratulates Commissioner Sue Alexander on her recent receipt of the Benjamin Aranda Award for Access to Justice. Commissioner Alexander, a former Family Law Judicial Officer of the Year honoree, was recognized for her continuous efforts to improve access to the courts for family law litigants. Conferred by the State Bar, Commission on Access to Justice, Judicial Council and California Judges Association, the award honors bench officers that work to promote fairness and access to justice for all individuals, particularly those of poor and moderate means. Commissioner Alexander was the first court commissioner to receive the award in its 15 year history. The California Bar Journal shared with readers a great profile of Commissioner Alexander's background. We urge readers to take a look to learn more about her outstanding work and commitment to improving the family law experience for all litigants. Commissioner Sue Alexander

New Online Parenting After Separation Course

The Judicial Council of California's website for families and children has a new, free online course available for parents going through separation or divorce. "Parenting After Separation" is a component of the Families Change website (www.familieschange.ca.gov) providing approximately three hours of content that can be accessed directly at www.parenting.familieschange.ca.gov. The course was developed in response to requests from courts throughout the state for an efficient way of getting parents information they need before or during a child custody matter. The content addresses the emotional aspects of separation and divorce, children's developmental needs, and the court process. The course includes a separately available video on mandatory child custody mediation or child custody recommending counseling.

The course was originally developed by the Justice Education Society (JES), a nonprofit organization that supports the British Columbia justice system. JES and the British Columbia justice system are internationally recognized for their work to provide online public education resources concerning the court system. The online course has been changed to reflect California law and court processes. "Parenting After Separation" is part of project that was initially rolled out last year and demonstrated at the June 28, 2013, meeting of the Judicial Council. Two online resources were launched at that meeting. The first was www.familieschange.ca.gov, which provides related websites aimed at parents, teens, and children and covers child custody and support issues. The second was www.changeville.ca.gov, a highly interactive website for children. These websites make it easier for courts to provide information to families and children about divorce and separation. These sites have been used extensively by Californians in the last year.

Work on "Parenting After Separation" continued over the last year to ensure that the law was accurate for California and that the course was close-captioned to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Various features were added at the request of courts including issuance of a certificate for participants to demonstrate that they have taken the course and passed the provided exam. It is also possible for visitors to the site to browse various sections without signing in and taking the full course.

The course includes:

  • Videos with children's perspectives;
  • Worksheets for parents to consider possible parenting plans prior to or as part of mediation; and
  • An extensive online handbook providing information that elaborates upon the course content.

For more information and materials to let parents and professionals know about the course, please contact Julia F. Weber, JD, MSW, Supervising Attorney, Center for Families, Children & the Courts at julia.weber@jud.ca.gov or 415-865-7693.

Webinars of Essentials Programs now available online

Nearly 400 attorneys attended the Section-sponsored Essentials of a Family Law Trial program offered at four locations across the state earlier this year. This all-day program walked participants through all aspects of a trial, beginning with case preparation and going all the way through closing argument. The well-regarded panel of judges and attorneys brought their combined experience and insights to offer a closer look at how attorneys can have success at trial. Essentials of a Family Law Trial follows the successful Essentials of a Family Law Case program offered in San Francisco in 2013. Both programs are available in the InReach Continuing Education Catalog on the CalBar website. The 2014 Essentials Program is broken out into five videos. The first four videos are each one hour long, followed by the final video of two hours. The 2013 Essentials program is found in six one hour videos.

To access the first hour of each series, please see the following links:

2013: Essentials of a Family Law Case

2014: Essentials of a Family Law Trial

The Family Law Section looks to continue bringing the Essentials to its members with top-notch live education offerings. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for news on the 2015 Essentials program!

Application period for Executive Committee service now open

The State Bar has posted the applications for 2015 commission and committee appointments. While we support any interest our members have in being involved with the Bar, FlexCom specifically is looking for the cream of the attorney crop to join its ranks for a three-year term. Service on FlexCom allows you to be a part of shaping the direction of the Section's efforts in legislation, education, policy, member benefits and so much more.

The application deadline is February 2, 2015. The application can be found in Word and PDF format HERE. If you have any questions about FlexCom service, please contact Chair Raymond Goldstein at goldstein@enforcesupport.com or Vice Chair Vanessa Kirker-Wright at vkw@kirkermoore.com

Other News

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.

Member Benefits for the State Bar Family Law Section

In addition to the discounts from CEB and access to Briefcase OnCall, the Family Law Section encourages you to take advantage of the benefits listed below.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, S. Roger Rombro at Roger.Rombro@rombrolaw.com or 310-545-1900.. These benefits include:

  • 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: $85.00 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;
  • 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.

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
415-538-2238
FAX 415-538-2368