Family Law News Executive Editor: Dawn Gray, email@example.comFamily Law News, Assistant Editor: Shauna Chastain, firstname.lastname@example.orgFamily Law News Monthly Editor, Renee Fairbanks email@example.com
By Avi Levy,
Chair of the Family Law Executive Committee
Senate Bill 36, the bill effectuating the separation of the Sections from the State Bar -- the regulatory agency of the State of California, has been signed by the Governor. As such, the 16 Sections (with more than 60,000 members) and the California Young Lawyers Association (with its 48,000 members) will operate as a private, 501(c)(6) non-profit entity, as of January 1, 2018.
The Family Law Section’s mission has been to advance family law and its practice in California by providing content to our members to improve the quality and practice of family law in California, and most importantly, to observe, develop, and support the highest quality of standards in the provision of legal services for the benefit of the public. Our mission will not change once we separate from the State Bar. We pride ourselves on keeping our members up-to-date on cutting-edge legal issues affecting your practice, presenting educational programs, publishing definitive legal reports, opinions and practice guides, and perhaps most notably, analyzing and interpreting, as well as developing and refining new and existing California law through our robust legislative efforts.
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In this case, the Second District affirmed a Los Angeles County trial court's denial of a motion to modify spousal support after H retired at age 65 and transferred his business to his current wife by way of a transmutation agreement, for no consideration. The trial court held a hearing in which it “expressed doubt that the law permitted Kevin to divest himself of an income-producing asset and thereby terminate spousal support obligations.” “Here, the court found that the 'material change' of the business transfer was a sham and therefore could not justify further modification of the spousal support order. "
Full text: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B272324.PDF
In this case, the Sixth District reversed trial court's granting of W's motion in limine preventing H from challenging the validity of her prior divorce. It held that because H had not participated in any way in obtaining the prior divorce and had no knowledge of how it was procured, and believed that it was valid when he married W, he had standing to challenge its validity in the divorce action from W, and could not be estopped to do so.
Full text: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H040921.PDF
In this case, the Second District discussed the CAMPAL and dealt with an issue that"courts have long grappled with-when an elderly person with a joint bank account dies, do the funds belong to the decedent's estate or do they belong to the additional signer as a co-owner of the account? Under California law, '[s]ums remaining on deposit at the death of a party to a joint account belong to the surviving party . . . as against the estate of the decedent unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent.' The trial court held that because there was no clear and conclusive evidence of a contrary intent, the accounts passed as a matter of law to Kelli upon her mother's death. Because the trial court's finding is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm."
Full text: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B272085.PDF
In this case, the Second District reversed a juvenile court that refused to consider the UCCJEA when terminating parental rights, holding that "(i)t is the responsibility of the juvenile court in the first instance to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether any basis exists under the UCCJEA for it to exercise jurisdiction and to make child custody orders beyond the temporary emergency orders authorized by section 3424." It remanded "for the juvenile court to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether it properly exercised subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA and thereafter to proceed in conformity with the procedural requirements of the UCCJEA."
Read it here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B277445.PDF
In this case, the Second District affirmed a Los Angeles County trial court's denial of H's motion to reduce his child support, ordering H to pay the children's orthodontic expenses and giving W "sole authority to make decisions regarding the children's orthodontic care." Describing the parties "tortuous postjudgment legal history," and noting that "Father's in propria persona status relaxes the restrictions neither on our discretion nor on the permissible scope of our review," the panel held that that "the appropriate standard for ordering a modification in parenting authority that does not rise to the level of a change in legal custody-as with physical custody-is the best interests of the child standard, regardless of any alleged change in circumstances. Orthodontic care clearly falls into the best interests of the child standard." It also held that the determination that H was in control of an irrevocable Trust (in which he is the sole settlor and the sole beneficiary) was within its discretion in a child support modification proceeds because "(a)fter father requested a child support modification alleging changed circumstances, the trial court was required to determine what resources were available to father to satisfy his child support obligations." It further held that the trust's spendthrift provisions do not put it off limits to his children for support purposes.
Full text: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B269972.PDF
In this case, the Third District vacated a Sacramento County trial court's order granting nonresident H's motion to quash W's DVPA restraining order request on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction. It first held that because H denied W's allegations of physical abuse in California, to which the trial court "never adverted." It said that "(u)nder these circumstances, we must presume that the trial court made an implicit resolution in favor of defendant, whose denial under penalty of perjury is substantial evidence in support." It also held that threatening emails to W from out-of-state H did not give the court jurisdiction over him.
However, it held that the DVPA |bespeaks California's concern with an exceptional type of conduct that it subjects to special regulation," which would authorize jurisdiction in cases "in which a defendant acting elsewhere causes effects in California of a nature that are " 'exceptional' " and subject to " 'special regulation' " in this state." It held that “(t)he act of purposefully sending a video of a mock suicide to plaintiff in California (particularly in the context of alleged domestic violence taking place in Georgia) is indisputably conduct that would disturb plaintiff's peace of mind within the meaning of the act and be the basis for granting a restraining order. (In re Marriage of Nadkarni (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1483, 1498-1499; accord, Sabato v. Brooks (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 715, 725 [sufficient that contacts are unwanted even in absence of threats of violence against the plaintiff].) As a result, this was sufficient to vest personal jurisdiction in the courts of this state over defendant to enjoin any further such conduct. (Cf. Pavlovich, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 274 [merely passively posting information on Web site accessible from this state is insufficient contact].)
The record is devoid of any evidence that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over defendant would be unreasonable. He did not have any apparent difficulty in engaging the services of counsel to appear in opposition to the request for a restraining order (Hall v. LaRonde (1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 1342, 1348), nor would it seem to be an injustice to grant a restraining order against a party eschewing any further contact with this state. We thus vacate the order quashing service on defendant and remand for further proceedings on the merits.”
Full text: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C083285.PDF
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 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 participate.
A supervising judge in Los Angeles county, will provide an overview of views on the Sanchez decisions and the impact on family law trials.
Moderator: Abbas Hadjian
Speakers: Hon. Thomas Trent Lewis
6 hours of MCLE and Legal Specialization credit in Family Law
With presenters the Honorable Mark Juhas; the
Honorable Sue Alexander; the
Honorable Dale Wells;
Barbara Hammers, CFLS, and; David Lederman, CFLS.
This program includes lively discussion and real world analysis between prominent family law bench officers and two family law certified specialists as they address the paramount custody issues of today. Topics will include factors influencing a Court’s decision when fashioning parenting plans, the effective use of custody evaluations, how the family law court system is integrating the changing views, attitudes, and law towards substance abuse with families today, approaches and strategies related to move away requests, practical approaches to child support related issues, and the nuances and hard facts of dealing with domestic violence issues when children are involved.
Panel 1: Parenting Plans
Panel 2: Custody Evaluations and Relocation
Panel 3: Substance Abuse and DV
Panel 4: Child Support Presenters:
Cost: $350 members
$445 non-members/$475 on-site