Wednesday, January 20th
Divorce Taxation:
5 Must-Know Topics for Divorce Attorneys

   December 2009

Section News

Call for CLE Proposals
Have an idea for a family law CLE program? We'd like to hear from you!

Our CLE Committee is currently accepting proposals for 2010-2011 CLE programming; the deadline is January 15, 2010.

Programs will be considered for our Fall CLE Conference (October 20-23, 2010, Ft. Worth, TX); Annual 2010 (August 6-8, 2010, San Francisco, CA), and our Spring CLE Conference (April 6-9, 2011, Amelia Island, FL).

We're also accepting proposals for our teleconference series. These programs last approximately 90 minutes.

If you have an idea for a CLE program (one-hour session or 2.5 hour plenary) or teleconference, just fill out the appropriate form linked below and return it to us via facsimile at 312-988-6800.

CLE Proposal Form

Teleconference Proposal Form

Not sure where to begin? Take a look at some of our previous CLE programs ( one-hour; plenaries) to get an idea of what we've done in the past. You can also browse our Fall 2009 CLE Conference brochure.

All proposals must be submitted by January 15, 2010 in order to be considered.

Hone Your Trial Skills
Register for the 2010 ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute

Looking to improve your trial skills? Ready to immerse yourself in a weeklong experience learning from highly experienced and well respected family law professionals? Apply for a spot in the 2010 Trial Advocacy Institute (TAI), the nation's premier trial training program sponsored by the ABA Section of Family Law!

The Institute will take place May 22-29, 2010, at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in Denver, Colorado, and enrollment is limited to 48 attorneys.

Tuition for the program is $3600, with a special discounted rate of $3400 for ABA Section of Family Law members, and is payable in full at the time of your application. This fee includes 7 full days of instruction including simulated trial practice, special workshops, course materials, textbooks, videotaping, daily lunches and refreshment breaks, transportation between the hotel and program site, and a closing luncheon. (Travel, lodging, and other meals are not included.)

Are you a TAI Alum?
If you've already attended an ABA Trial Advocacy Institute, take the next step and enroll in the Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute. The Advanced program is an intensive four-day course (May 26-29, 2010) that goes even more in-depth and builds on the skills you acquired from the weeklong program. This year's focus is: Mental Health Experts & Psychological Testing. Space is limited to 12 attorneys. For more information, visit the website linked below.

If you'd like to enroll with a friend or colleague, take advantage of our special discounted group registration.

Ready to enroll? Need more information? Visit the ABA TAI website.

Spotlight On...
Ron Nelson

Ron Nelson

The December spotlight is on Ron Nelson. You will often see his name on the (ESQ) listserv, responding to questions that other attorneys have posed. His answers are invariably thorough, thoughtful and to the point. Ron is a lawyer's lawyer: he is active in his local and state bars, as well as the ABA, and he is a Fellow in both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He regularly writes articles for regional and national legal publications, and he is a much sought-after speaker for legal seminars directed at judges as well as lawyers on a national scope. Through his efforts, Kansas statutory family law has been revised, improving all aspects of family law, custody issues and court procedures. In addition, he has successfully appealed many family court decisions. He has revised and improved the family law practice and procedure through both legislative means and case law.

But wait...there is far more than that to Ron Nelson. He is a man with a great big heart. A father of special needs children, he has devoted much of his attention to the needs of families, which include children with special needs. His passion is improving the way the court system interacts with families of developmentally delayed children. He is on the Section's Families Matter Committee, which is planning a special symposium.

Recently married in 2005 to Betsy (now his Office Manager/Paralegal/and "Peanut Gallery"), they continue to raise Ron's two daughters (the older attending Kansas University and the younger still at home) along with a rescued Beagle, "Magic," and a cat named "Clouseau," because of his clumsy--yet refined--manner. As you can imagine, Ron has precious little time for hobbies, but he has managed to integrate biking into his schedule. He commutes to work EVERY day by bike. His biking blog is at In this month of giving, Ron is a perfect focus for our spotlight.

-- Do you know any ABA Section of Family Law members who deserve to be recognized for their contributions to family law? E-mail Jean Crowe your nominations for a future "Spotlight On..." feature.

LEI 27th National CLE Conference
Time to register for the 27th National CLE Conference in Vail, Colorado, where you will combine top-notch Family Law Education taught by nationally recognized family law practitioners with Invaluable Networking Opportunities, all while enjoying World-Class Skiing and Luxurious Resort Accommodations, January 6-10, 2010! Don’t wait...the snow is deep and the adventure of a lifetime awaits YOU!

This conference is co-sponsored by the ABA Section of Family Law. To register for the conference, visit the LEI website.


Confronting Mental Health Evidence: A Practical Guide to Reliability and Experts in Family Law

John A. Zervopoulos, Ph.D., J.D.

Product Code 5130156

Confronting mental health issues and materials in family law cases is often confusing, and, at times, daunting. But this analytical and thoughtful book will provide lawyers a practical guide by which to address the key question to mental health professionals, "How do you know what you say you know?" and effectively challenge these experts' work and opinions.

More information

To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130156 or order online.

Buy Now!


CLE Calendar

January 20, 2010

Divorce Taxation:
5 Must-Know Topics for Divorce Attorneys

If you're doing divorce work, there are several "MUST KNOW" tax topics that can have a significant impact on your practice. Get educated regarding five of the most common tax issues that crop up in divorce cases, including: alimony; head of household filing status and the dependency exemption; expenses and disposition of the family home; redemption of stock in closely held corporations; and relief under IRC § 6015 from joint and several liability on joint tax returns filed during marriage.

Register today!

ABA Family Law Spring CLE Conference
April 14-17, 2010
New Orleans, LA

Jambalaya, crawfish pie, and CLE gumbo are on the table at our spring conference in New Orleans!

Reserve your hotel room at the Hotel Monteleone now; we have negotiated a special discount rate of $205. Rate expires March 16, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. Central, so don't delay. Call the hotel at 866-338-4684 to make your reservations. Remember to mention that you'll be attending the ABA Family Law Spring CLE Conference.

Our website has been updated and now includes a preliminary (tentative) schedule so you can begin making your travel arrangements. (Note that the Saturday afternoon committee meetings run until 1:45 p.m., so stick around to attend them. The Friday & Saturday afternoon committee meetings focus on topical areas of family law, and are open to all registrants.)

We've also added directions to the hotel, a map, and a special "New Orleans Lagniappe" (lexicon). The glossary includes everything from pronunciation of street names to types of food and phrases you might hear in the Crescent City.

Registration will be opening soon!

Visit the Spring Conference Website

Stay up-to-date on CLE offerings with our CLE Calendar.

Unable to attend a teleconference or a Section CLE conference? Not to worry, you can learn on your own time when you purchase the CLE materials.
See a listing of available CLE materials

Best of the List Serve

This month's Best of the FamLawEsq remembers Bill Hilton and includes an informational item about the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act. It also looks at child custody; U.S. Supreme Court family law cases; military spousal rights and military housing; and more. Read about this month's topics. (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)

Not on the list? All of our lawyer members are encouraged to join this popular discussion list. Read more about How to Join FamLawEsq in the Members Only section of our website.

AICPA Corner

A column by members of the AICPA's Forensic and Valuation Services Section
This month's column is by Michelle F. Gallagher, CPA/ABV/CFF.

Read this month's AICPA Corner: Family Law Hot Tip: Using Retirement Assets in a Bad Economy (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)

Tech Corner

Windows 7 Primer: Time to Upgrade?

Few would argue that Windows Vista was anything other than a disaster. Released on January 30, 2007, Vista was hampered by a series of problems including high technical requirements, complicated security features, and software incompatibility. PC World rated it as the biggest tech disappointment of 2007 and InfoWorld ranked it #2 in its list of 25 all-time technology flops.

Vista's numerous problems contributed to its poor adoption among law firms. According to the 2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, two years after Vista hit the market just 9% of respondents reported using it as the operating system on their primary computer.

Looking to right the ship, Microsoft moved forward with a new operating system and on October 22, 2009, released Windows 7. The new OS includes an improved interface, better security, enhanced searching, easier networking, and much more. Critical reception to Windows 7 has been far more favorable than Vista, and early reports suggest that Windows 7 adoption is easily outpacing Vista.

But is Windows 7 right for your law firm? Here are a few factors to consider:

* System requirements remain high. The system requirements for Windows 7 are similar to those of Windows Vista. The difference, however, is that nearly three years have passed since Windows Vista was released. In that time, many users have either upgraded their machines or have reached a point where they're ready to upgrade.

* Software incompatibility. Older software may not be able to run natively on Windows 7. Microsoft has included a "XP mode" that allows older software to run through emulation, but the performance may be poor or the usability frustrating. If your firm relies on incompatible software, that should be a factor in your decision.

* Do you want to rock the boat? Stable, reliable computers are essential to most functioning law practices. If you have a system in place that's meeting your needs, you may not find the Windows 7 improvements compelling enough to justify an immediate switch. Some firms may wait for the first Windows 7 service pack to be released, or may delay upgrading until they're ready for new machines. Firms using Windows Vista, given its problems, may be more inclined to upgrade to Windows 7 immediately.

Think you're ready to upgrade, or just want a better idea of what's involved? Try out Microsoft's Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, a simple application that'll scan your current computer for potential hardware and software issues that need to be addressed before upgrading.

   —Joshua Poje, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Ask Us! Have you found a great technology deal somewhere? Is there a technology question that's been on your mind? Tell us or ask us about it! We may feature your info or answer your question in a future edition of the eNewsletter. If there's some other technology you would like us to investigate, just e-mail Keep the Tech Corner working for you!

Also of Interest

ABA Standing Committee on Specialization to Propose Recommendation at Midyear

The ABA Standing Committee on Specialization examines the impact of lawyer specialization on the profession, and operates, on behalf of the Association, the only national program for accrediting organizations that certify lawyers as specialists.

The objective of the ABA accreditation program is to insure uniformity and quality of certifying organizations, and to facilitate public understanding of the meaning of the term "certified specialist."

The Committee will submit a recommendation to the ABA House of Delegates to extend the current accreditation of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification's program in Social Security Disability Law. The recommendation with report is linked below.

If you have comments or questions regarding the recommendation, please contact Tori Jo Wible at

Read the Recommendation & Report

Keep Your Stock Rising!

As a member of the ABA Section of Family Law, that is.

At the end of the year, people often take stock of their lives and make resolutions. The ABA Section of Family Law is no different: we value each and every one of you as a member, and we're resolved to helping you improve not only your practice of family law, but family law in general.

Here are just a few of the (many) ways your ABA Family Law membership enhances your professional life.

1. You get Family Advocate and Family Law Quarterly delivered right to your door. Whether you're looking for news about legal trends and cutting edge-practices, or want to delve more in-depth on a particular family law topic, you get the best of both worlds from these publications.

2. You stay informed about family law decisions around the country courtesy of the monthly email digest Case Update .

3. You're offered great networking opportunities with other family law experts via our list serves, committees, and live meetings (Fall, Spring, and Annual).

4. You cater to your clients' needs by providing them with practical and professional handouts from Family Advocate.

5. You help other family law professionals by presenting CLE programs in your area of expertise.

6. You're fiscally responsible--you save money on ABA Family Law books and CLE courses.

This year, as you take stock, make sure you have renewed your membership in the ABA Section of Family Law. Renew online with the link above or call the ABA Service Center at 1-800-285-2221.

Happy Holidays!




What is it?
A technology resource and discount website: . Now you can receive discounts on legal technology from more than a dozen companies, including LexisNexis, Abacus, and Westlaw.

What's in it for me?
ABA TechEZ is a resource that allows you to learn more about the latest legal technology products and services, discover how to use them to your best advantage and make smart choices that will help you get the best return on your technology investments.

A directory is provided, and is even organized by hardware, software, and services. Very helpful!

(ABA TechEZ is a cooperative effort between the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center and ABA Member Benefits.)

Now I'm curious. Where do I find this?
Just visit the ABA TechEZ site.


Hilary Glazer
Please send proposals for future content submissions to the editor.

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