February 2009

Section News

Enroll in the 23rd Annual Trial Advocacy Institute
There's still time to secure your spot in the ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute this May 16-23, in Denver, CO!

You might be thinking, "Well, I've litigated for years, what could they possibly teach me?" or "I could use the experience, but do I have the time or money?" If you're having these thoughts (and even if you aren't), remember that it's never too late (or too soon) to enhance your skills. And if you have the opportunity to learn from the best during an intensive 7-day Institute, you owe it to yourself (and your clients) to jump on board!

Small groups provide both the beginning and the seasoned attorney with individualized trial training. Videotape review of each day's exercises and immediate feedback from leading national authorities on advocacy and family law allow for extensive participatory experiences. Special workshops are presented on evidence and business valuation.

This course will not only build your confidence, but will teach you how to argue motions effectively; cross examine mental health experts and financial experts; prepare witnesses for trial; and how to try a case to conclusion.

The Institute accepts only 48 students, so be sure to fill out your application today. Section of Family Law members get a discount on tuition. (Tuition covers 7 full days of instruction and/or 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.)

But don't take our word for it, take it from our 2008 Institute Alums:

"The feedback and constructive criticism from each faculty member was invaluable. The level of personal attention was unlike anything I have ever experienced." (Jeffrey Koontz, Dana Point, CA)

"The course improved my knowledge and my confidence. I would recommend it to lawyers at all experience levels." (John Adam Lazor, Los Angeles, CA)

Intrigued? Ready to enroll? Learn more about the ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute and send in your application today.

ABA Adopts Resolution to Safeguard SCRA in Terms of Child Custody
A Recommendation developed by the Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) and co-sponsored by the ABA Section of Family Law, with additional co-sponsorship from the Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defendants; the Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law; General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division; Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division; Judicial Division, and Young Lawyers Division was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates at its Midyear Meeting in February.

The Recommendation urges the U.S. Congress to oppose legislation that would create a federal law of child custody controlling state custody cases involving servicemember-parents because such legislation would dictate court outcomes in child custody cases, even where the child's best interests do not support that outcome; create federal-question jurisdiction over child custody cases, long the province of state courts; impose federally-mandated evidentiary burdens on state courts; co-opt the growing body of state laws that comprehensively and appropriately address domestic relations matters affecting servicemembers; and cast doubt on existing servicemember protections found in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501-596.

Read the Recommendation

Emergency Management in Family Law Task Force Established
Volunteers Needed

Based on emerging priorities of the ABA Executive Committee, the ABA Family Law Section hereby establishes the Emergency Management in Family Law Task Force, which will be chaired by Barbara J. Gislason of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gislason is also serving as both the ABA Family Law Section and the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Liaison to the ABA Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness.

The task force will be addressing questions ranging from: what planning advice you should advise your client to do, what the expected primary disaster and emergency threats in your practice area are, and how to establish parental custody, access, and conditions of access.

If you have expertise in emergency management, experience in problems that arise in a crisis, great research and writing skills, or a deep interest in this subject, please apply for this task force by sending your name, address, email address, and an explanation of why you want to serve and what you can contribute to Task Force Chair Barbara J. Gislason at GislasonBJ@aol.com.

National Healthcare Decisions Day Set for April 16, 2009
Join the American Bar Association and Americans across the country in making future healthcare decisions known to family, friends and healthcare providers. Share your wishes and complete your advance directive, because…*your decisions matter*. Learn more about National Healthcare Decisions Day and get free information at the website linked above.

Law Student Corner

Get a Byline in Family Law Quarterly!
Enter the Schwab Essay Contest

What could be better than being recognized by the Dean of your law school? What about being recognized by thousands of readers of the scholarly journal, Family Law Quarterly?

That's right...if you enter the contest and win, your work could be published in a highly respected and well-known journal. (You'll also receive your Dean's recognition, as well as a nifty certificate and free membership for a year in the ABA Section of Family Law. You'll also be invited to attend our Annual Awards Luncheon in Chicago this summer.)

But before you get published, you need to pick a topic in the expansive field of family law and write about 5,000 words. Oh and you need to get your entry in by April 3, 2009. Before you turn in your essay, though, we need to assign you a number (by March 27th), so don't delay, visit the Schwab website for more information about entering.

Deadline for entry number assignment: March 27, 2009

Deadline for entries: April 3, 2009


The Military Divorce Handbook: A Practical Guide to Representing Military Personnel and Their Families
(includes cd-rom with forms and additional materials)

Mark E. Sullivan

Product Code 5130135

This book covers all aspects of representing servicemembers and their spouses in divorce.

Military personnel are involved in the same domestic situations that affect civilians: divorce, separation, custody, support, and division of property. Yet when a divorce action involves a military client, there are special issues that arise which make these cases more difficult. The Military Divorce Handbook guides you through the complexities of all aspects of representing military personnel or their spouses to help you provide competent and thorough representation for your client. Key chapters explain the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), military tax issues, and the important issue of dividing military retirement benefits. Also, covered are the difficult and increasingly important issues of custody and domestic violence involving servicemembers.

The Military Divorce Handbook also features numerous Practice Tips throughout the text. The handbook includes a glossary, table of cases, and comprehensive index, as well as a cd-rom with forms and additional background material.

More information

To order today, call the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221 and request Product Code 5130135 or order online.

Buy Now!


Best of the List Serve

This month's Best of the FamLawEsq includes issues regarding SSI and child support; UCCJEA dismissal; and military insurance (post divorce). There is also an informational item (tax surprise!) regarding the first-time buyer's credit associated with a home purchase.

Read more 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.

CLE Calendar

Get CLE Credit This Wednesday, March 4 (see below)

March 4, 2009
What Every Family Law Attorney Needs to Know about Personal Financial Planning in Divorce

This teleconference and live audio webcast will detail several financial planning considerations in divorce including: lump sum payouts versus future income streams; the tax issues in divorce; handling the marital residence; managing retirement plans; investment considerations; various insurance challenges regarding health, long term disability; life insurance; and more. Discussion will also include the factors and elements in the cash flow projections that each party should consider to assist in determining the short, mid, and long-term effects of potential settlements.

Register today!

Keep an eye out for these teleconferences:

May 6, 2009
Immigration and Family Law

June 2009
How to Develop an ART Practice

Family Law Spring Conference
April 22-25, 2009
Hilton Baltimore
Baltimore, MD

Don't miss the early-bird deadline! (March 23rd)

Save money by registering today for the Spring CLE Conference in Baltimore, MD. Your conference fee includes access to top-notch CLE programming, a cd-rom of program materials, breakfast each day, our special Welcome Reception, and Thursday and Saturday Chair's Suite Receptions.

Be sure to register for our Friday night social event, An Evening at the Sports Legends Museum, too. Even non-sportsfans--such as your friendly eNewsletter editor--will enjoy the museum for its historical significance. (And it's a nice way to celebrate our Section's Golden Anniversary.)

If you'd like to catch an Orioles game, you can purchase tickets when you register, but only if you register by March 20th. (After that date, you will need to purchase tickets at the stadium.)

For more information about the meeting--CLE topics, events, hotel/airport information, and online registration--please visit the Conference website.

Don't forget to get a discount on your hotel room...reserve by March 23rd! (See website above for more information.)

23rd Annual ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute
May 16-23, 2009
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Denver, CO

Our sellout course promises to make you a better trial lawyer in just one week! Registration is now open, and there's a discount for ABA Family Law Section members. For more information, see column at left, or visit the TAI website.

Fall CLE Conference
October 7-10, 2009
Hilton Montréal Bonaventure
Montréal, Canada

Get your passport ready! The ABA Section of Family Law Fall CLE Meeting will take place in Montréal, Canada, October 7-10, 2009. In addition to the top-notch CLE programming you've come to expect, you'll also have the opportunity to go on a city tour, where stops will include a visit to Fairmount or St-Viateur Bagel for a sampling of the famous hand-rolled Montréal-style bagels! (Even New Yorkers should enjoy trying something different…)

We'll also enjoy a night of dining and dancing, featuring the live music of Blush. With so much to learn, explore, and do in Montréal, you'll want to make this trip a priority. Make sure your passport's up-to-date, and check our website for more information soon.

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

AICPA Corner

A column by members of the AICPA's Forensic and Valuation Services Section
This month's column, "Pre-Divorce Planning to Protect Payees in Post-Divorce Bankruptcies," aims to provide guidance to payees (and their advisors) in determining those measures necessary for their protection, given the possibility of a payor post-divorce bankruptcy filing.

   —This month's contribution is from Barry Mukamal, CPA/PFS/ABV/CFE (Miami, FL) BMukamal@rachlin.com

Read this month's AICPA Corner: Pre-Divorce Planning to Protect Payees in Post-Divorce Bankruptcies (You will need to log in to the ABA website.)

Tech Corner

Directory of Family Law Blogs
With the increasing popularity and awareness of blogs, this month we focus on family law practitioners who blog.

A Blog, short for web log, is an Internet- based journal. "Blawgs" are blogs published by or for lawyers. Blogs are updated frequently by the author(s) with posts or postings. Most blogs have a space for comments by those who visit the blog, thus creating a dialogue between the blogger and the audience. Blogs usually include a Blogroll or listing of blogs that the blog owner likes or mentions. This creates reciprocity among bloggers and expands a blogger's geographic boundaries, which due to our mobile society, can be particularly beneficial to a family lawyer.

My research revealed thirty-seven states with bloggers dedicated to the practice of family law. A number of states including (but not limited to) Alabama, California, Illinois, and Texas have several family law bloggers, while a number of states appear to have no one blogging on family law matters.

For those states in which I was unable to identify a family law blogger (Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming), I included links to state specific divorce law resources provided by Cathy Meyer, Certified Divorce Coach and Legal Investigator.

However, family law covers much more than just divorce, so if you know of a family law blog for the aforementioned states (or would just like to add yours to the list), please let us know.

Please note: This directory is not intended to be exhaustive, and we will update the listing periodically. (We will also periodically send out updates of those blogs that we discover.) This directory will soon be posted in our Online Resource Center, so be sure to check it out.

View Directory of Family Law Blogs

   —Tonya Johnson, ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

Ask Us! Is there a technology question that's been on your mind? Ask us about it! We may 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 glazerh@staff.abanet.org. Keep the Tech Corner working for you!



Early-Bird Discount for Spring CLE Conference
(Ends March 23rd!)

What is it?
It's your chance to save some money while affording you the opportunity to receive CLE credits and network at the Spring CLE Conference in Baltimore (April 22-25).

What's in it for me? Basic economics. Money's tight these days, but the knowledge you'll gain at the CLE Conference--not to mention the contacts for referrals--is worth it. By taking advantage of early-bird registration, you'll even save some money in the process. Who doesn't love saving money?

I want to save $$$, how do I register?
Just visit the
conference website . You'll find links to register online (fast and easy!) as well as a downloadable form you can fax or mail to us with your payment.

Time's a-wasting--so click on the link above (or in the middle column) and get the early-bird discount before it flies away!


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

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