Family Law News Monthly, Editor: Jillian E. Atuegbu, email@example.com
Family Law News Monthly, Assistant Editor: Craig Pedersen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Law News, Executive Editor: Nathan Gabbard, email@example.com
Family Law News, Assistant Editor: Alexandra O'Neill Muller, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rule of Three
Most of you are aware of the rule of three, or “Omne Trium Perfectum” in Latin. Loosely translated, it means everything that comes in three is perfect. In litigation, it embodies the principle that when we communicate information to the Court, we should not give 57 examples in support of our request for a particular order. Instead, limit your presentation to the three facts or pieces of evidence that most convincingly support the position you are to make. As I explain to my clients, we dilute their message and the import of the three most impressive points by throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. So in the spirit of practice what you preach, I will endeavor in my FLNM chair messages to hold myself to the rule of three. This exposition being one.
Second up, I would like to encourage everyone to listen to the FLEXCOM Webinar “10 Things Your Family Law Bench Officer Wish You Knew,” featuring the Honorable Erin Childs of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court. It is being presented on Thursday, October 25, 2018, as part of our Lunch with Your Honor. And while I acknowledge I am completely biased, the preview I looked at was fantastic. Commissioner Childs is a skilled communicator and presenter, who undertook the laborious task of reaching out to all family law judicial officers statewide. She has compiled an incredible list of pointers that would benefit practitioners in all jurisdictions. So whether you listen in with others or by yourself, I am confident in stating it will be the best $55 you spend this month. You can register for the webinar here
And finally, I want to ask all of you who are interested in representing minors in family court, or who are just interested in hearing some excellent speakers on matters affecting children in the practice of family law, to save February 16 and 17, 2019, for a trip to Pismo Beach, California. That is the date for the Third Annual San Luis Obispo County Minor's Counsel Training Symposium, which is being hosted by FLEXCOM. The presenters will be the Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis, childhood trauma expert Mary Kelly Persyn, Cheryl Scott from Fresno County Family Court Services and the local San Luis Obispo County presentation team. One review from last years Symposium captured the collective opinions of the 101 attendees from 28 counties who participated last year:
I have attended other conferences for minor’s counsel and this one is the crown jewel of conferences. Excellent speakers, topics and materials. Thank you!!!
Yes, the symposium is really that good. So please save the date and join us in Pismo Beach on February 16 and 17, 2019, to get the annual training mandated in order to represent children in family court.
Stephen D. Hamilton
Chair, Family Law Executive Committee of the
California Lawyers Association
The Court Staff Award is to honor and recognize sustained superior performance and extraordinary efforts in the recipient's performance of his or her work with the Family Law courts. A nominee can only be considered upon nomination by a judicial officer. This term we are please to confer this prestigious award on 2 nominees: Cathy Green, nominated by Contra Costa Supervising Family Law, Honorable Judge Terri Mockler and Emina Abrams, nominated by Supervising Judge of the Unified Family Court of San Francisco, Honorable Judge Monica F. Wiley.
Cathy Green’s reception will be:
Date: November 1, 2018
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: Superior Court of Contra Costa County, Spinetta Family Law Courthouse, 751 Pine Street, Martinez, CA
Cathy Green, Honorable Judge Mockler’s Clerk, will be recognized by the California Lawyers Association, Family Law Section at a reception hosted by the Contra Costa County Family Law section. Cathy Green is one of those rare court clerks that helps make life a little easier for all of the people she interacts with. She is appreciated by all of the denizens of the Contra Costa Courthouse, lawyers, judges, and self-represented individuals for her hard work, and selfless devotion to the community. Being a clerk of Cathy’s caliber requires mot just hard work, but a compassion for people. Please join us to honor Cathy’s example.
Court Staff Award 2018 – Recipient Emina Abrams
FLEXCOM is pleased to announce a winner of the prestigious Court Staff Award of the Family Law Section to the San Francisco Unified Family Court Manager, Emina Abrams.
The Court Staff Award is to honor and recognize sustained superior performance and extraordinary efforts in the recipient's performance of his or her work with the Family Law courts. Ms. Abrams was enthusiastically nominated by Hon. Judge Monica F. Wiley, Supervising Judge of the Unified Family Court of San Francisco, with glowing recommendations provided by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo, Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribal Court, and San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner Rebecca Wightman.
Ms. Abrams has spent almost 30 years serving the San Francisco Superior Court and has made an exceptional long lasting impact in the family, dependency and delinquency departments. She is recognized for her tireless work in not only supporting the bench and other court staff, but in deftly handling matters affecting the public, including working with family law attorneys, court appointed dependency attorneys, and many other justice partners. She has been instrumental in implementing ways to better serve the public and ensuring access to the courts and has not only overseen a number of grants but has helped write grants in her never-ending efforts to maintain quality services for the families and children whose matters come before the court.
Ms. Abrams was presented with the award at the annual Bar Association of San Francisco’s “View from the Bench” dinner at the Sir Francis Drake hotel on September 25th by Hon. Judge Monica F. Wiley, Supervising Judge of the Unified Family Court of San Francisco, Kelly Robbins, a Member of FLEXCOM, and Melinda Sammis, an Advisor of FLEXCOM.
FLEXCOM is pleased and honored to recognize Ms. Abrams for her outstanding dedication and service to the family law justice system.
Board Member, Family Law Executive Committee of the
California Lawyers Association
Thursday, October 25, 2018, 12 noon - 1 p.m.
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour legal specialization in Family Law. You must register in advance to participate.
Don’t you think it would be great to pick up a few pieces of information that might make your experience in the courtroom better? Are you committing ‘faux pas’ and don’t even know it? Well, come find out what judges up and down the state wish you knew and improve your courtroom performance.
Speaker: Hon. Erin Childs
Moderator: Stephen Hamilton
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 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.
Divorce is often a long and complicated process even between couples of the same nationality, but the problems grow exponentially when couples have connections to different countries. With divorce rates still hovering at 50% globally, and increasing numbers of people with spouses from another country, Global Family Wealth Strategist Joan Crain explores the issues when, inevitably, some cross-border marriages breakdown. Key issues include:
Moderator: Kelly Robbins
Speaker: Joan Crain
Thursday, November 15, 2018, 12 noon - 1 p.m.
What do lawyers who work with children need to know about child trauma and toxic stress? This webinar discusses the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the impact on lawyering in education, juvenile justice, child dependency, more.
Speaker: Mary Kelly Persyn
Moderator: Roz Bateman Smith
Thursday, December 6, 2018, 12 noon - 1 p.m.
A discussion about successful and unsuccessful strategies for attacking expert opinions will be reviewed. Current research on Daubert challenges to financial experts will be discussed. Attendees will learn about the objective and subjective decisions experts make when valuing a business interest and how these decisions effect value. The mathematics of the double‐dip of business income and its corresponding effect on support calculations and business value will be explained.
Speaker: Frank Wisehart
Recent 2018 Family Law Case Law (current through 10/16/18)
[Opinions available at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions-slip.htm]
Chair’s note from Stephen D. Hamilton: I have the unenviable task of following in the daunting footsteps of former FLEXCOM member Dawn Gray in preparing these summaries. Any constructive criticism would be appreciated to help improve the summaries in future editions. The formatting is from my personal case database and uses shorthand for brevity.
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton v. J-M Manufacturing
8/30/18, SC: 6 Cal.5th 59,
Conflict of Interest, Attorney Fees
Failure to disclose known conflict with current client renders a retainer agreement, including arbitration clause, unenforceable as against public policy. This occurs even if retainer contains a non-specific conflicts waiver. However this "ethical violation does not categorically disentitle the law firm from recovering the value of the services it rendered..." and some measure of compensation may be appropriate under equitable principles.
Bridgepoint Construction Services v. Newton
9/4/18, CA 2/6: 26 Cal.App.5th 966
Attorney was disqualified from representing corporation and business associate, where corporation and associate were both seeking damages from same pool of money controlled by another party, and there may not have been enough money to satisfy each client's claim.
In Re EH
9/7/18, CA 4/1: 26 Cal.App.5th 1058
Mother appeals termination of parental rights. Sole basis of appeal was alleged failure to full comply with inquiry and notice requirements of ICWA Reversed. Agency’s failure to contact the Tohono O'odham Nation was error based on information provided by maternal great-grandmother.
In Re KL
9/18/18, CA 3: 27 Cal.App.5th 332
CtA affirms removal of child from mother of biological father and placement with presumed father based on determination that the provisions of ICWA did not apply and therefore could not be a basis for reversal. Ct.A agreed with juvenile court that minor was not placed in “foster care” and the proceeding was not a “child custody proceeding” within the meaning of the ICWA.
Melissa G. v. Raymond M.
9/20/18, CA 2/5: 27 Cal.App.5th 360
Mother and father sought domestic violence restraining orders against one another. Both granted by trial court without making findings of fact regarding whether parties acted as a primary aggressor or acted primarily in self-defense. Held:
Marriage of Kushesh & Kushesh-Kaviani
9/21/18, CA 4/3: 27 Cal.App.5th 449
Interspousal transfer deed is sufficient writing to meet the requirements for transmutation under FC 852.
Turner v. Seterus, Inc.
9/24/2018, CA 3: 27 Cal.App.5th 516
Trustor of deed of trust and her husband commenced action against loan servicer and other defendants for claims including wrongful foreclosure, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract. After demurrer sustained without leave to amend, CtA reversed. Trustor's husband had standing, as member of community with interest in property, to bring causes of action against servicer.
Marriage of Morton
9/26/18, CA 5: F073687
Child Support, Attorney Fees
Trial court’s calculation of child support was in error as it excluded from payor’s net income available for child support income tax refunds and voluntary contributions to 401(k) account. When attorney fees requested, court must make explicit findings on the issues listed in FC 2030(a)(2). When the record demonstrates a “disparity in access and ability to pay,” award of attorney fees and costs is mandatory.
Estate of Obata
9/26/18, CA 1/3: A150284
The Japanese practice of yoshi-engumi was recognized as an adoption within the meaning of the probate code, thus severing the relationship between the Petitioners and their biological paternal grandparents.
In Re ER
10/10/18, CA 2/6: B288376
Trial court order terminating parental rights conditionally reversed and remanded based on failure to complete ICWA investigation. However trial court properly exercised jurisdiction over children under UCCJEA after Nevada juvenile court declined to exercise jurisdiction.
R.B. v. D.R.
10/11/18, CA4/2: E068760
Child custody proceeding was initiated by father after mother moved with child to India. Proceeding stayed by trial court on grounds India was more appropriate forum under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Father appealed. CtA held that India could be considered more appropriate forum, even if it did not have concurrent jurisdiction under UCCJEA.
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. Read More.
View 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 while commuting.
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.
Family Law Section
California Lawyers Association
180 Howard Street, Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639