Family Law

Family Law News 2015, Issue 3, Volume 37, No. 3

Marriage of Davis

Honorable Thomas Trent Lewis

Judge Lewis serves in a long cause family law trial department in Los Angeles; he served as the Assistant Supervising Judge of the Family Law Division from 2011 to 2014. Judge Lewis practiced family law for over 28 years; and was designated a Certified Family Law Specialist in 1985; in 1987 he was inducted into the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In 2015, Judge Lewis was awarded the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s highest award through the family law section, the Spencer Brandies Award, for outstanding contribution to the field of family law.

The California Supreme Court resolved the question of whether living separate and apart requires that parties no longer live under the same roof by its decision In Re Marriage of Davis (2016) 2015 WL 4394006 ((Cal.)) (Davis). The Davis court adopted a bright line test derived from the analysis of the legislative history concerning Family Code Section 771(a) dating back to the 1870s.

No doubt, the court granted review in part because of the differences between the Davis District Court of Appeal and the holding of In re Marriage of Norviel (2002) 102 Cal. App. 4th 1152 (Norviel). Indeed, the holding in Davis carries forward the underlying rationale from Norviel, including references to what could be called an exceptional circumstances exception to the bright line test enunciated in Davis.

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