California Divorce Law 101 (2021 Edition)

Ashley Andrews
Lauren Bass
Ethan M. Weisinger
Melissa Wheeler Hoff
Fahi Takesh Hallin
Andrew J. Botros
David C. Carr
Ashley Andrews | Ashley A. Andrews, APC
Lauren Bass | McGaughey & Spirito
Ethan M. Weisinger | Bay Area Family Law Center, Inc.
Melissa Wheeler Hoff | Johnson Family Law Group
Fahi Takesh Hallin | Harris Ginsberg LLP
Andrew J. Botros | Bickford Blado & Botros
David C. Carr | Ethics LawyerLaw Office of David C. Carr

On-Demand: November 5, 2021

California Divorce Law 101 (2021 Edition)
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Program Summary

Session I - Optimizing Family Law Intakes for Efficient and Effective Representation- Ashley Andrews

Procedures, processes, and tips from the initial call from a potential family law client through to the first meeting after the retainer agreement is signed. Of course, all steps in the middle.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • The initial call from a potential client
  • The initial meeting with a potential client
  • The retainer agreement: who prepares it, who sends it, how is it sent
  • The second meeting: getting the case started

Session II – Child Custody & Support – Lauren Bass

This program will be a basic introduction to California law and practice in the areas of child custody and child support. It will be geared especially for attorneys who do not regularly practice family law but who would like to learn more. We will cover the types of custody orders a court can make and the factors the court may consider. In addition, we will discuss how the court calculates child support.

  • Child custody mediation
  • Legal custody
  • Physical custody
  • Child support

Session III - Alternative Dispute Resolution - Ethan M. Weisinger

This presentation will provide an understanding of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the family law context. The presentation will describe the different types of family law ADR. We shall explore the benefits and drawbacks of the various types of family law ADR. We shall discuss the types of clients that are a good fit for ADR. We shall conclude with recommendations for conducting ADR.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Common Types of Family Law ADR
  • Mediation and Family Law
  • Clients one on one with attorneys
  • Clients with attorneys and a mediator
  • Family Court Services/ Child Custody Recommending Counseling (custody/visitation)
  • Coparenting Counselors (custody/visitation)
  • Special Masters (custody and visitation)
  • Parenting Coordinators (custody and visitation)
  • Benefits of ADR
  • What Clients are right for ADR
  • Conducting ADR and Tips for Success

Session IV – Prenuptial Agreements – Melissa Wheeler Hoff

This course will provide general information on what a prenuptial agreement is, what it can cover, and how to ensure it is enforceable in California.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Why prenuptial agreements are great in most cases
  • Current laws regarding prenuptial agreements in California
  • Four areas of focus for an enforceable prenuptial agreement
  • Best practices for drafting and executing prenuptial agreements

Session V – Advanced Issues in California Community Property Law – Fahi Takesh Hallin

We all know that community property is divided 50-50 in California, but the details are far from simple. As they say, the devil is in the details and this course will attempt to tame some of that devil. In this course, we will explore some of the more advanced concepts of community property division, including dividing community interests and reimbursements in one spouses’ education, real estate, business, as well as personal injury recoveries.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Apportioning business interests
  • Dividing real property
  • Allocating education costs
  • Who keeps the compensation for personal injuries?

Session VI – Filings, pleadings, and Disclosure - Andrew Botros

This presentation will go over some of the basic pleadings used in family law cases, including all the typical forms needed to commence a case and bring it to judgment. This presentation will also discuss the sua sponte duties of disclosure imposed on parties in a dissolution and the perils of breaching those duties.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • How to initiate a dissolution case
  • How to file various requests for order (custody, support, attorney fees)
  • Disclosure

Session VII - Ethics Issues for Family Law Lawyers - David C. Carr

Family law by its nature creates many potential conflicts of interests as both spouses need to obtain counsel. Movement by lawyers and staff between firms creates the potential for imputed disqualification if the new hire worked for a firm representing an opposing party.

California's new Rule of Professional Conduct 1.18 codifies duties of confidentiality owed to prospective clients who never become your clients. Violation of these duties creates the potential for disqualification and professional discipline.

New Rule of Professional Conduct 1.7(b) adopts the ABA "material limitation" standard for conflicts, a significant change in California law. This and the disclosure obligations in Rule 1.7(c) can create ethical issues with other professionals a lawyer regularly works with on family law cases.

Non-refundable fee provisions and "true retainers" still appear in many attorney client fee agreements. Family law lawyers often struggle to get paid and fee disputes are very common, and often result in State Bar complaints.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Conflict of Interest: Lateral Hires
  • Conflict of Interest: Prospective Clients
  • Conflicts of Interest: Relationships with Other Professionals
  • Fee Agreements: Non-refundable Fee Provisions

This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.

Date / Time: November 5, 2021

  • 1:00 pm – 7:50 pm Eastern
  • 12:00 pm – 6:50 pm Central
  • 11:00 am – 5:50 pm Mountain
  • 10:00 am – 4:50 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program "live" in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for "live" CLE credit.

On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 5 business days after the original recording date and are viewable for up to one year.

Closed-captioning available

Speakers

Ashley Andrews_Ashley A. Andrews, APC_myLawCLEAshley Andrews | Ashley A. Andrews, APC

Ashley A. Andrews, A Professional Corporation is a sophisticated and tenacious law firm providing personalized legal services of the highest quality. This is founded upon Ms. Andrews’s work ethic and pursuit of the best practices in California family law. Ms. Andrews was awarded recognition by Pasadena Magazine as a Top Attorney for 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2021, Rising Star for 2019-2020 and a Super Lawyer for 2021 – 2022. Ms. Andrews prides herself on being a well-reasoned and researched advocate for her clients while always striving to protect her integrity and reputation for professionalism in the community.

 

Lauren Bass_McGaughey & Spirito_myLawCLELauren Bass | McGaughey & Spirito

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Lauren received a B.A. in Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007 and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law in 2010. Lauren started her career as an attorney as associate at McGaughey & Spirito, and she became a partner with the firm in 2019. She litigates diverse family law matters, including complex custody and financial issues. Lauren is also highly adept at settling intricate and difficult cases. She completed collaborative law training Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association and 40-hour intensive mediation training with Forrest S. Mosten.

In 2019, the California Board of Legal Specialization designated Lauren as a Certified Family Law Specialist. In 2020, Lauren was one of five family law attorneys in the state to be appointed to the California Board of Legal Specialization Working Group. In 2021 Lauren was named a Super Lawyer Rising Star, a distinction provided to the top 2.5% of attorneys in Southern California.

In her free time, Lauren fosters and rehabilitates dogs pulled from shelters in Southern California.

 

Ethan M. Weisinger_Bay Area Family Law Center, Inc._myLawCLEEthan M. Weisinger | Bay Area Family Law Center, Inc.

Ethan M. Weisinger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist working in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and Solano Counties. From 2010 through 2016, Ethan was a managing partner at Walnut Creek Family Law Center, Inc.. In 2017, Ethan started the Law Offices of Ethan M. Weisinger which later was incorporated as Bay Area Family Law Center, Inc., located in Walnut Creek, CA. Ethan’s practice consists of Divorce, Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, Child Custody and Child Visitation, Child Support, Spousal Support, Family Law Mediation, and Dissolution of Same Sex Marriages. Ethan has conducted over 200 family law trials and has successfully mediated over 100 family law matters. Ethan has served as a board member for the Contra Costa Family Law Bar Association for three years. Ethan is a contributing member of numerous podcasts, blogs, and radio programs.

 

Melissa Wheeler Hoff_Johnson Family Law Group_myLawCLEMelissa Wheeler Hoff | Johnson Family Law Group

Melissa Wheeler Hoff is a Newport Beach, California attorney who practices in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. She has practiced family law exclusively for seven years and focuses on complex family law matters, including prenuptial agreements, high-asset divorce, and cases involving business owners. Melissa received her Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law and obtained her Bachelor of Arts from University of California at Berkeley.

 

Fahi Takesh Hallin_Harris Ginsberg LLP_myLawCLEFahi Takesh Hallin | Harris Ginsberg LLP

Ms. Hallin is a partner at Harris Ginsberg LLP, which specializes in all aspects of family law, including Dissolution of Marriage, child custody and domestic violence matters, international family law, and Marital Agreements. Since being admitted to practice law in 1996, Ms. Hallin’s practice has focused exclusively in the area of Family Law, including international family law. Ms. Hallin is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. She is on the list of attorney referrals from the U.S. State Department with regard to Hague Convention abduction matters and often receives referrals from them.

Ms. Hallin has served as a Judge Pro Tem in family law matters for the Los Angeles Superior Court. She has also served as a mediator in family law cases for the Los Angeles Superior Court (DSO), Central Branch and also conducts mediations in her private practice.

Ms. Hallin has been named as a Rising Star by Superlawyers Magazine for 2006 through 2009 and a Superlawyer each year since 2010. She has been named as one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California since 2012, and a Best Lawyer in America since 2005. Ms. Hallin has served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, a non-profit provider of family law legal services in Los Angeles County, and often handles pro bono Hague Convention matters referred by the U.S. Department of State. Ms. Hallin holds her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles (1996), after having obtained two Bachelor of Arts degrees from UCLA, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1992. Ms. Hallin is a member of the Family Law Section of the California State Bar and a member of the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She is also a member of the American Bar Association.

Since being admitted to the practice of law, Ms. Hallin has lectured on various family law topics, both to attorneys and other professionals. She regularly contributes to legal publications and appears on television as a family law analyst. She has worked as an expert witness regarding California family law abroad in both the U.K. and in France. Her expert witness work includes lecturing in April 2018 regarding child relocation, jurisdiction and custody as between the U.K. and California at the Annual National Resolution (formerly Solicitors Family Law association) Conference, preparing a summary of California family law for the French legal Journal, Actualite Juridique Famille: “Divorce Dans Le Monde” (2015) and (2017), co-writing the California Chapter of the book, Family Law: A Global Guide from Practical Law, Thomson Reuters (2017), and co-authoring the book, Inside the Minds: Strategies for Family Law in California: Leading Lawyers on Developments in California Family Law, Thomson-Reuters (2013 ed.).

 

Andrew J. Botros_Bickford Blado & Botros_myLawCLEAndrew J. Botros | Bickford Blado & Botros

Andrew J. Botros is a trial and appellate attorney experienced in handling complex family law matters. He has been practicing family law since 2010. He has served on the San Diego Family Law Bar Association as a board member and President. His published appellate cases include Lief v. Superior Court (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 868, In re Marriage of Kent (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 487, Menezes v. McDaniel (2019) 44 Cal.App.5th 340, and A.M. v. Superior Court (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 343. Andrew is a Fellow ofthe American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

 

David C. Carr_Ethics LawyerLaw Office of David C. Carr_myLawCLEDavid C. Carr | Ethics LawyerLaw Office of David C. Carr

David C. Carr, an attorney in private practice in San Diego, California, specializes in ethics advice to lawyers, California State Bar discipline defense, and attorney licensing. Mr. Carr is a 1986 graduate of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Following several years of practice in commercial law and business litigation, Mr. Carr joined the State Bar of California as a staff attorney in 1989, where he served as a staff attorney, a discipline prosecutor and a manager in discipline enforcement office before returning to private practice in 2001.

Mr. Carr is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, where he is active on the Legal Ethics Committee. He is a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL), the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, and the Association of Discipline Defense Counsel (ADDC), where he served as president from 2008 through 2011. He is also a member of the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) for the 2018-2021 term. Mr. Carr is an adjunct faculty member at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he has taught professional responsibility.

Agenda

Session I – Optimizing Family Law Intakes for Efficient and Effective Representation | 1:00pm – 2:00pm

1. The initial call from a potential client | 1:00pm – 1:15pm
2. The initial meeting with a potential client | 1:15pm – 1:30pm
3. The retainer agreement: who prepares it, who sends it, how is it sent | 1:30pm – 1:45pm
4. The second meeting: getting the case started | 1:45pm – 2:00pm

Break | 2:00pm – 2:10pm

Session II – Child Custody & Support | 2:10pm – 2:50pm

1. Custody | 2:10pm – 2:15pm

a. Overarching framework: best interest of the child and shared responsibility for parenting, except when it contradicts the child’s best interest. See Family Code section 3020
b. Legal custody

i. What is legal custody?

2. Relevant law: Family Code sections 3003, 3006, and 3083 | 2:15pm – 2:19pm
3. Independent from physical custody | 2:19pm – 2:23pm

a. What’s included in legal custody?

4. Educational decisions | 2:23pm – 2:27pm
5. Healthcare decisions | 2:27pm – 2:31pm
6. Extracurricular activities | 2:31pm – 2:35pm
7. Passports | 2:35pm – 2:39am
8. Drivers’ licenses | 2:39pm – 2:45pm

a. The difference between sole legal custody, joint legal custody, and joint legal custody with tie-breaking authority

9. Physical custody

a. Preference for frequent and continuing contact: Family Code 3020(b)
b. Impact of child’s age
c. Impact of domestic violence: Family Code section 3044 iv.Friendly parent doctrine: Family Code 3040(a)(1)

10. Court ordered child custody mediation

a. Required prior to the court deciding a custody dispute: Family Code section 3180et seq.
b. Reporting versus non-reporting counties

11. Child support | 2:45pm – 2:50pm

a. Monthly child support

i. Child support by agreement
ii. Guideline: Family Code 4055
iii. Deviations from guideline: Family Code 4057

b. Child support add-ons

i. Mandatory add-ons: Family Code 4062(a) ii. Discretionary add-ons: FamilyCode 4062(b)

Session III – Alternative Dispute Resolution | 2:50pm – 4:05pm

1. Common Types of Family Law ADR | 2:50pm – 3:00pm

a. Mediation and Family Law

2. Clients one on one with attorneys | 3:00pm – 3:10pm

Lunch Break | 3:10pm – 3:40pm

3. Clients with attorneys and a mediator | 3:40pm – 3:50pm

a. Family Court Services/ Child Custody Recommending Counseling (custody/visitation)
b. Coparenting Counselors (custody/visitation)
c. Special Masters (custody and visitation)
d. Parenting Coordinators (custody and visitation)

4. Benefits of ADR | 3:50pm – 3:55pm
5. What Clients are right for ADR | 3:55pm – 4:00pm
6. Conducting ADR and Tips for Success | 4:00pm – 4:05pm

Session lV – Prenuptial Agreements | 4:05pm – 4:40pm

1. What a prenuptial agreement is and why it is useful | 4:05pm – 4:10pm
2. Things to consider during the drafting process to ensure enforceability | 4:10pm – 4:20pm
3. Keys to enforceability, including: (1) timing, (2) representation, (3) disclosures, and (4) review of current statutory and case law relating to prenuptial and marital agreements | 4:20pm – 4:25pm
4. Review of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act and its requirements | 4:25pm – 4:30pm
5. Topics that cannot be included in prenuptial agreements in California | 4:30pm – 4:40pm

Break | 4:40pm – 4:50pm

Session V – Advanced Issues in California Community Property Law | 4:50pm – 5:50pm

1. Apportioning business interests | 4:50pm – 5:05pm
2. Dividing real property | 5:05pm – 5:20pm
3. Allocating education costs | 5:20pm – 5:35pm
4. Who keeps the compensation for personal injuries? | 5:35pm – 5:50pm

Break | 5:50pm – 6:00pm

Session Vl – Filings, pleadings, and disclosure | 6:00pm – 6:40pm

1. How to initiate a dissolution case | 6:00pm – 6:15pm
2. How to file various requests for order (custody, support, attorney fees) | 6:15pm – 6:25pm
3. Disclosure | 6:25pm – 6:40pm

Session Vll – Ethics Issues for Family Law Lawyers | 6:40pm – 7:50pm

1. Conflict of Interest: Lateral Hires | 6:40pm – 7:00pm

Break | 7:00pm – 7:10pm

2. Conflict of Interest: Prospective Clients | 7:10pm – 7:20pm
3. Conflicts of Interest: Relationships with Other Professionals | 7:20pm – 7:35pm
4. Fee Agreements: Non-refundable Fee Provisions | 7:35pm – 7:50pm