Family Law News Executive Editor: Dawn Gray, email@example.com
Family Law News, Assistant Editor: Shauna Chastain, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Law News Monthly Editor, Renee Fairbanks email@example.com
By Avi Levy,
Chairman of the Family Law Executive Committee
Dear Family Law Section Members:
I am excited to announce that the Sections of the State Bar are likely to become a new entity at the beginning of 2018. This change will open a world of possibilities as to what we can do for our profession, increase the number of lawyers we reach, and embrace fully the technological advances now available for our work and our relationships.
The good news is that, after separation, you will continue to receive all of the services and benefits you have come to expect from your Section. The better news is that, without the regulatory limitations and costs that came as part of being in an agency of the State of California, we believe that you will get better service, have much more ability to impact how the Sections function, and be far more satisfied with the new entity that serves you.
Consider, for example, how much more efficient the Sections' committees will be (again) once the limits on electronic communications and meetings among members are lifted. Imagine how a modern, dynamic website and social media on which you, the members, can post directly will improve communications and member interaction. Think about how the freedom of each Section to operate, seek sponsorships, and utilize funds without paying for the costs of the regulatory structure in which we had to operate will free up resources for the Sections' priorities.
The Legislature, with the support of the State Bar and the Sections, determined that the Sections, including their members, intellectual property, and reserves, will be separated from the State Bar -- the regulatory agency of the State of California in which they have operated for decades. Going forward, the Sections will operate as a private, 501(c)(6) non-profit entity. A bill (described below) now making its way through the Legislature will effectuate this change to allow the State Bar to concentrate on its core public protection missions of admissions and discipline.
Senate Bill 36 appears to be very likely to become law and will transfer the 16 Sections (with more than 60,000 members) and the California Young Lawyers Association (with its 48,000 members) into what will become the second largest voluntary association of lawyers in the nation, smaller only than the American Bar Association.
Senate Bill 36 was introduced by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and amended by Assemblyperson Mark Stone, Chairperson of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, with substantial input from the Chief Justice of California, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye. SB 36 provides for the creation of a separate, private, non-profit corporation, governed by a board of directors selected by the individual Sections themselves.
The Sections' $6.4 million in reserves and intellectual property, including CLE materials and member lists, will go to the new entity. The membership in the new organization will be voluntary. It will not be part of the State Bar, and it will receive no funding from State Bar's mandatory membership fees - though the legislation does provide that a membership check-off will continue on dues statements for California attorneys. In August, SB 36 was passed through the Assembly Judiciary Committee in modified form by a unanimous vote, as was the case in the Senate. Assuming a final version is passed by both houses, it is expected to reach the Governor's desk and be signed not later than October 15, 2017.
The Sections are working diligently to develop and put into place a seamless transition plan. Pam Wilson & Associates, headed by the Sections' former senior executive Pam Wilson, has been selected as the primary consultant to head and effectuate the transition to make it successful. If you wish to be part of this historic effort please feel free to contact me, Avi Levy, at firstname.lastname@example.org@tlfamlaw.com>, so that we can put you in touch with the Section leaders in our new entity planning effort and hear your ideas. We need your help! If you are currently active in your Section, we encourage you to continue everything you do to maintain the strength and vitality of your Section throughout this transition.
The 16 Sections and CYLA provide enormously valuable contributions on so many different levels to all lawyers in California. We look forward to making the most of this unique opportunity for evolution and improvement. Please let us know how we can better serve you, and join us as we build a new future for the Sections and for all California lawyers.
We have all come to the practice of family law from different places, and for different reasons. Some of us by choice. Some of us not. Judge Juhas was assigned to family law almost fifteen years ago and from the very start, redefined embracing the assignment.
It did not take long for his strong conviction to surface, that represented or not, family law litigants deserve the due process protections afforded by the Rules of Evidence and the Code of Civil Procedure. It is only by honoring these codes that we truly elevate the practice of family law and afford access to justice for all.
Just having this vision was not enough for Judge Juhas. So, he rolled up his shirt sleeves and actually did something to carry this vision forward. In addition to presiding over his complex litigation department for family law in Los Angeles County, he Co-Chairs the Family Law and Juvenile Advisory Committee, he Chairs the Access and Fairness Committee, is a member of the Judicial Education, Media and Community Outreach Committee for LA Superior Court, was a member of the Elkins Family Law Task Force as well as the Elkins Implementation Committee, a member of the Task Force on Self Represented Litigants to the Judicial Council, a member of the CJER governing committee, Chair of the CJER Family Law Curriculum Committee, member of the CJA Family Law Committee, a member of the drafting team for the Family Law Resource Guideline Project for the AOC’s Center for Families, Children, and the Courts, a participant in a case flow management technical assistant team to Sonoma County, Board Member for AFCC, faculty for the Family Law Institute for CJER for over ten years, faculty at the Statewide Self Represented Litigants Conference for the AOC’s Center for Families, Children, and the Courts, as well as teaching for FLEXCOM, ACFLS, AFCC, local law schools and five years for our very own Essentials program to name but a few.
With everything he does, with everyone he comes in contact with, Judge Juhas reminds everyone two things. First, what we do today makes a difference and effects the practice of family law not only today, but tomorrow as well. Secondly, we have an undeniable obligation to those who come behind us to leave family law better than we found it.
Judge Juhas, never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world. It is with great honor and pride that the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California awards you the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Thank you for everything that you do.
Sperm Donor may be Presumed Parent
COUNTY OF ORANGE v. BRIAN JEFFREY COLE
Fourth District affirmed an Orange County JO's paternity and child support order. "Our opinion addresses the interplay between Family Code section 7611, subdivision (d) (section 7611(d)), which defines a presumed parent, and section 7613, which addresses the legal responsibilities of a sperm donor. For the reasons we explain, a man can be a sperm donor and nevertheless be a presumed parent and responsible for child support under section 7611(d). Based on the evidence in this case, the man was a presumed parent, and we affirm the trial court's order so finding."
Presumed Father under F.C. § 7612
In re L.L.
Fourth District affirmed a juvenile court's finding that a man was Child's presumed father but erred "in interpreting section 7612, subdivision (c), by finding B.S. is a third parent under that statute, and by not conducting the weighing process required under section 7612, subdivision b)."
Nullity of Marriage and Putative Spouse
In re the Marriage of FLORENCIA B. and JUAN J. GARCIA. http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D070493.PDF
In this nullity case, the Fourth District dismissed H's appeal from an ordering holding that W was a putative spouse, holding that it was not a final order, but affirmed a temporary spousal support order entered pending trial. It also held that a prior dismissal of a dissolution action between the parties on the basis that they were never married was not a bar to W's prosecution of the nullity action because they do not involve the same primary right.
Immigrant Spouse has Standing to Enforce Support Obligation
In re the Marriage of ASHLYNE and VIKASH KUMAR.
First District reverses a San Mateo County trial court's ruling that terminated spouses support upon entry of a status judgment. It refused to order H to support W even though he had signed an I-864 affidavit upon her immigration to the US; "(a)s required by the terms of the affidavit of support, her American spouse promised to support her at an income of at least 125 percent of the federal poverty line for 10 years." Holding that "(t)he issues raised in this appeal appear to be matters of first impression in California," it held that "an I-864 affidavit is an enforceable contract, and a sponsored immigrant has standing to bring an action to enforce it in state court. To the extent the trial court denied Ashlyne's contract claim on the ground she lacked standing to enforce the I-864 affidavit, this was incorrect." It held "that an immigrant spouse has standing to enforce the support obligation created by an I-864 affidavit in state court. We further hold that an immigrant spouse bringing such a claim has no duty to mitigate damages. Because the trial court's ruling in this matter conflicts with our holdings, we reverse. We remand to the trial court to consider the immigrant spouse's contract claim in accordance with this decision."
Jurisdiction in Juvenile Case Without Finding of Fault
In re R.T.
FLEXCOM has four questions for you to consider:
If you answered yes to any one of those questions, we seek your nomination for the 2018 Family Law Section 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 2018 in the following categories:
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.
Nominations are due by Friday, March 2, 2018. FLEXCOM members will vote on the nominations at their April meeting. Please submit your nomination to Amber Hayes, CFLS, FLEXCOM Vice-Chair, at email@example.com. Nominations must be submitted on the form located here.