Tuesday night the Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers elected new officers who will each serve for two years. Mitchell Charney became President, Melanie Straw-Boone is President-Elect, Martha Rosenberg remains Vice President, Mark Ogle is Secretary, and Louis Waterman is Treasurer.
Mitch entertained us all with his remarks about his inauguration coinciding with President Obama’s. I am surprised he didn’t make us march in a parade to celebrate! All in all, it was a delightful evening with better than an 80% turnout including Fellows from Bowling Green, Northern Kentucky, and many from Lexington.
8:30 a.m. Marlene Eskind Moses, AAML President-Elect, Nashville, TN – “Family Law in Times of Economic Crisis”
9:00 a.m. “Who Used to be a Millionaire” - C.R. Bowles, Jr. and Laurel S. Doheny - Bankruptcy
10:45 a.m. “ Real Estate Pro” - Melanie Straw-Boone and Lin E. Bell – Commercial Real Estate Valuation
12:15-1:00 Lunch with the speakers and judges. 3rd Annual Family Court Judge of
the Year Award and Raising the Bar Award will be presented
1:00 p.m. “Dirty Sexy Money” - Impact of Sour Economy on Family Law Matters
Panel of Judges (Judges Jo Ann Wise, Timothy E. Feeley, Stephen M. George, Margaret Ryan Huddleston and Lisa Osborne Bushelman)
2:00 p.m. “Survivor” - Receivers in Divorce – Suzanne M. Baumgardner and Valerie S. Kershaw
2:15 p.m. “Desperate Housewives” - Moving Money Out of the Marital Estate and Asset
Protection Plans – Mitchell A. Charney and Wayne F. Wilson
2:45 p.m. “Private Practice” - Business Valuation Update – Diana L. Skaggs
3:30 p.m. “Extreme Home Makeover” - Relocation Update – Martha A. Rosenberg
4:00 p.m. “Deal or No Deal” – Banks: Friends or Foe
5:00 p.m. Cocktail Party
Friday, April 24, 2009
8:30 a.m. “Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”: Legal and Ethical Writing for Family Court – Elizabeth Scott Moïse, Charleston, SC
10:15 – 12:00 “ Law & Order” - Electronic Evidence for Family Law Practitioner and Ethical Issues – Sharon D. Nelson and John W. Simek, Fairfax, VA
Laurel S. Doheny, Greenbaum, Doll & McDonald, Louisville, Ky has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Requirements for membership include passing an oral and written examination on wide ranging issues pertaining to matrimonial and family law, at least 10 years legal experience with a 75% minimum concentration in matrimonial law, recommendations from judges and other AAML Fellows and demonstration of significant involvement in the study or improvement of matrimonial law as well as aspiration to the ethical standards set forth in the Bounds of Advocacy. Welcome and congratulations!
One does not have to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers to attend its outstanding CLEs. Here is the lineup from our President, James A. Hennenhoefer: We begin with Thursday’s CLE entitled “Saving the Monkey From the Middle: When fabricated allegations of child abuse become psychological abuse.” This program presented by Allison F. DeFelice, Ph.D. of Columbia, South Carolina, will deal with the disturbing subset of cases in which a child makes an allegation of sexual abuse but fabrication is believed to be an alternative explanation of merit. Pediatric Condition Falsification (PCF) is described as a form of psychological abuse. Valuation options, case examples and legal interventions will be discussed. In the second program, you will be a part of a dynamic program on cross examination of experts and other witnesses with panel moderator, Nicholas Leto, Jr. and panelists, Sandra Morris and Steve Wagner, all of whom are AAML Fellows. The panel will focus on various cross examination techniques, making use of movies and TV as part of the analysis. Discussion will also make use of Roger Dodd’s book on cross examination and Steve Wagner’s article on “Boxing in the Witness.”
Friday’s CLE program will be “Complex Estate Planning and Asset Protection Plans and their Impact on Divorce.” In an interactive, real live fact pattern, the panel, two AAML Fellows and two ACTEC (American College of Trust and Estate Counsel) Fellows, will discuss tax implications, of complex estate planning and asset protection, and the impact on divorce, support and property division. Various strategies to use in negotiating and litigating settlements will be presented. The fact pattern will include installment sales, qualified personal residual trusts, family limited partnerships, asset protection trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts and other wealth transfer strategies commonly used by wealthy couples. AAML Fellows Brian Webb from Dallas, Texas and Philip Schwartz from Fairfax, Virginia will be presenters. Phil has spoken extensively on off-shore trusts and other asset protection plans and Brian has also litigated many of these issues. From ACTEC, the presenters are James “Jim” D. Spratt, Jr. of King & Spalding, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia and John “Jack” A. Terrill II of Heckscher, Teillin, Terrill & Sager, PC in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Both Jim and Jack are frequent lecturers on these topics and have been expert witnesses or co-counsel in divorce litigation to assist counsel in addressing issues of this nature.
Friday’s second session is “Top Ten Mistakes Experienced Lawyers Make With QDROs.” A witty and pointed 30 minute presentation on the common mistakes that are made, even by the experts, when negotiating and drafting language in settlement agreements and orders for the division of retirement benefits. Emily McBurney, one of the foremost QDRO experts in the Southeast, will explain how to avoid these potential errors and protect yourself and your clients. Emily is a partner in the law firm of Davis, Matthews and Quigley, PC in Atlanta, Georgia and frequently lectures on retirement benefits and QDROs across the country.
Ending the day’s session is “Executive Compensation” which will focus on executive compensation packages, including benefits under non-qualified plans (stock options and restricted stock, “top hat” plans, and other deferred compensation), change of control provisions, severance packages, (as golden handcuffs) and other benefits for the highly compensated. You will learn what to look for, and what to do when you find. You will receive suggestions and tips on how to handle such issues in divorce, including what can be done considering securities law. AAML Fellow Brenda Keen and Geoff Poll, CPA from Houston, Texas will be leading the panel discussion. Geoff is a tax partner and shareholder with Ferguson Camp Poll P.C. and a frequent lecturer and expert witness on these issues. Brenda Keen has litigated and spoken on these issues extensively.
Rounding out our three days of CLEs will be a morning filled with custody trial issues. In the first session AAML Fellow Caroline K. Black of Tampa, Florida joined by Deborah O. Day, Psy.D. of Psychological Affiliates of Winter Park, Florida will address “How to Overcome a Bad Custody Evaluation.” The second program finds Deborah O. Day joined by AAML Fellow Richard West of Orlando, Florida enlightening us on “What You Must Know About the Tests Used by Psychologists.” And last, but not least, you won’t want to miss “How to conduct an Effective Cross Examination of a Psychologist in a Custody Case” presented by our former President Gaetano Ferro. Come join us in Chicago!
For registration info email email@example.com.
Timothy B. Theissen, Strauss & Troy, L.P.A. of Covington, KY and Joy D. Denton, Harned Bachert & Denton, LLP of Bowling Green, KY have been elected Fellow of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Requirements for membership include passing an oral and written examination on wide ranging issues pertaining to matrimonial and family law, at least 10 years legal experience with a 75% minimum concentration in matrimonial law, recommendations from judges and other AAML Fellows and demonstration of significant involvement in the study or improvement of matrimonial law as well as aspiration to the ethical standards set forth in the Bounds of Advocacy. Welcome!
We hope to announce another new fellow soon; sometimes the applications are processed at varying speeds.
The Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers presented its 11th Annual Family Law Seminar on April 17 and 18, 2008. We enjoyed the presentations by our national President-Elect, Gary Nickelson, and the provocative and dynamic duo of Lynne Gold-Bikin and Dr. Jonathan Gould. The seminar was well attended and included several of our Family Court Judges. The day long custody piece likely changed the face of custodial evaluations in Kentucky. We were also delighted to have Mel Frumkes return to speak on divorce taxation issues.
Hon. Bruce Petrie of Boyle and Mercer Counties was presented the 2008 Judge of the Year Award.
Steven Kriegshaber, Louisville, (on the right) was honored with the 2008 “Raising the Bar Award.”
This is a photo of some of our members and speakers.
And, finally, a snapshot of some in the crowd taking in Dr. Gould's presentation.
11:45 a.m. Melanie Straw-Boone “QDRO Tips for Lawyers to Put in Agreements and
Courts to Put in Judgments”
12:30 p.m. Adjourn
Lynne Z. Gold-Bikin, Norristown, PA, has authored numerous books in the field of Family Law and has authored and co-authored numerous articles, including The Divorce Practice Handbook, Michie, 1994; and The Divorce Trial Handbook. She was also Assistant Editor of Pennsylvania Family Lawyer, 1980-83. She has been a lecturer in law at various law schools and is an Adjunct Professor at University of Houston, School of Law.
Ms. Gold-Bikin has served on the ABA Board of Governors: she has served as an Advisor to the American Law Institute, Family Law Project; Chairperson of the American Bar Association, Family Law Section (ABA/FLS), 1994 to 1995; ABA House of Delegates, Delegate at Large, 1995 to present; Montgomery County Bar Association Board of Directors, 1992 to 1995; Chairperson of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, Family Law Section, 1988 to 1990; Commissioner, ABA, Commission on Domestic Violence; Pennsylvania Future Commission on Justice in the 21st Century. She is on the Editorial Board of The Matrimonial Lawyer and has served on the Editorial Boards of Family Advocate, FariShare, The Practical Lawyer,
She is a fellow of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers; International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the American Academy of Matrimonial Law Foundation, and American College of Matrimonial Trial Lawyers.
Jonathan W. Gould, PhD, Charlotte, NC, practices forensic psychology with a specialization in issues related to family law, including child custody, and is board certified in forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He performs court-appointed custody evaluations and consults with attorneys and psychologists in the areas of child custody and professional ethics and standards. Dr. Gould also consults with attorneys in the areas of criminal child sexual abuse and other forms of child maltreatment.
His books include Child Custody Evaluations and Child Maltreatment, Guilford Publishers, (under review), Conducting Scientifically Crafted Child Custody Evaluations, 2nd Edition, Professional Resource Press, (in press), Clinicians in Court: A guide to subpoenas, depositions, testifying and everything else you need to know, Guilford Press, (2002), Conducting Scientifically Crafted Child Custody Evaluations, Sage Publications (1998).
Gary L. Nickelson, Ft. Worth, TX, is the president elect of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is a frequent author and lecturer for the AAML, State Bar of Texas, and other organizations.
Melvin Frumkes, Miami, Fl, is a past President of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is past chairman of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. He has been on the faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada for 18 years where he taught Divorce Taxation. He is on the Board of Editors of the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and the Family Advocate (ABA, Family Law Section) and was a contributing Editor to Fair$hare. He is Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar.
Mr. Frumkes was elected to membership in the American Law Institute in 1990 and served as a member of the Consultative Group to its project to develop Principles on the Law of Family Dissolution. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America since its inception in 1983.
His book Frumkes on Divorce Taxation, James Publishing, Inc., is an indispensible resource for every family law library.
Steven Kriegshaber, Louisville, KY, is a past President of the Kentucky AAML Chapter and past Chair of the Louisville Bar Association Family Law Section. He is the author of “Representing Children in Divorce Litigation,” The Advocate, July/August 1997, and for many years was a member of the AAML Special Concerns of Children Committee.
Melanie Straw-Boone, Louisville, KY (a/k/a “QDRO Queen”), is Membership Chair of the AAML Kentucky Chapter. She is past chair of the Lousiville Bar Association Family Law Section and current chair of the LBA Pro Bono Consortium. She is a partner in the Louisville firm of Pregliasco Straw-Boone, which specializes in family law.
Spousal team Sharon D. Nelson and John Simek of Sensei gave a great presentation at the AAML annual meeting in Chicago last week. I had been following Sharon's blog, Ride The Lightning for a few weeks, so I was surprised and delighted to meet her and learn forensic electronic evidence tips from them. If you check out her blog, please note that the colorful and shameful stories about the wayward lawyer disciplined are NOT about one of our members!
Save the dates of April 17-18, 2008 for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Kentucky Chapter 11th Annual Family Law Seminar. We already have Melvin Frumke from Florida to talk about income tax ramifications in divorce cases. Also, Lynne Z. Gold Bicken and Dr. Jonathan Gould are confirmed to present a substantial piece on child custody evaluations. Please mark your calendars now.
CHICAGO, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A majority of the respondents to a
recent poll of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer (AAML) members cited
an increase in divorce cases being settled before trial. In all, 58% of the
attorneys said that they have seen more cases being resolved without trial
during the past five years.
"A growing number of couples are having more success negotiating
settlements with the assistance of their lawyers," said Gaetano "Guy"
Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
"Negotiated settlement gives the spouses more input into their divorce
judgment than does letting a judge decide the issues. It affords the
opportunity for more creative resolutions which can minimize adverse tax
consequences. Settlement is almost always less stressful for the spouses
than trial and, where there are children, makes it more likely that the
parties will be able to effectively co-parent."
The number of attorneys who noted an increase in the number of divorces
being resolved without a trial during the past five years was significantly
greater than those who felt there were fewer negotiated settlements taking
place. Only 12% of the respondents reported fewer cases being settled
Founded in 1962, The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) is
committed to encouraging the study, improving the practice, elevating the
standards, and advancing the cause of matrimonial law, in order to better
protect the welfare of American families.
Comprised of the top 1,600 matrimonial attorneys throughout the nation,
AAML members are recognized experts in the specialized areas of matrimonial
law, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, legal separation, annulment,
child custody, property valuation and division, alimony, support, and the
rights of unmarried couples.
Here is the seminar agenda for the AAML Chicago meeting:
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2007
8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Topic: “IMPAIRMENT AFFECTING THE CLIENT LITIGATOR, Or SELF INCLUDING BIPOLAR DISORDER, DEPRESSION, BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER and SUBSTANCE ABUSE (Prescription Drugs, Designer Drugs, Street Drugs and alcohol)”
Speaker: Barbara Nunneley
9:45 – 10:15 a.m. PANEL DISCUSSION
Topics: “DRUG TESTING INVOLVING URINALYSIS, 5 PANEL HAIR FOLLICLE TESTS and the SWEAT PATCH”
“RECOGNIZING, TREATING and DEALING WITH the IMPAIRED CLIENT
(OR OPPOSING COUNSEL)”
“ISSUES and SOLUTIONS FROM the LAWYER’S PERSPECTIVE, the PSYCHIATRIST'S PERSPECTIVE, and the HEALTH CARE PROVIDER’S PERSPECTIVE”
Speakers: Phyllis Ambile
Buffalo, NY and NYC
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2007
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. “FINDING and ANALYZING ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE”
Speaker: Sharon D. Nelson, Esquire
Seinsei Enterprise, Inc.
10:15 – 11:00 a.m. “ADMISSIBILITY OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE”
Speaker: Professor Kenneth Broun
University of North Carolina
School of Law
Chapel Hill, NC
11:00 – 12:00 noon “IDENTITY THEFT”
Speaker: Detective Bruce Peterson
Fairfield Police Department
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2007
8:30 – 12:00 noon
Topic: “LATEST DEVELOPMENTS in FAMILY LAW TAXATION MATTERS”
Speaker: Melvyn Frumkes
Topic: “COLLABORATIVE LAW vs. TRADITIONAL CLIENT REPRESENTATION –
PROS AND CONS”
PR and Law Firm Marketing was the video clip about blogs that was presented at the March, 2007 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers meeting and seminar at Grand Cayman, Island about which I posted here. President Gaetano Ferro gave me permission to post it, commenting that it was well received and deserved to be disseminated. So, here goes. Download EditedBlogVideo.wmv
Why not post until now? Wouldn't you know, I discovered a small error. My video savvy nephew filmed and edited the original in November, 2006. After the death of Richard Shapero, about which we posted here, I realized my video comment about his famous case was a tad off and I didn't want to post an over-statement on the internet. It is impossible to corner a 17 1/2 year old teenager outside of holidays and now Joey is at an advanced digital film camp at UCLA. So, our IT assistant, Christina Howard, edited the end of the film in-house but told me it was a bit choppy. When I finally had a chance to look at it, I realized it was actually OK, and you can't even tell where she clipped out a piece. So, now you have it. Thanks, Christina.
For the first time, Super Lawyers has published a Kentucky directory, listing who it believes are the top five percent of the state's 14,000 attorneys based on peer recognition and professional achievement. Not surprisingly, ten of the twelve family lawyers selected are Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers: Mitchell A. Charney, Sandra M. Dawahare, Douglas S. Haynes, William L. Hoge, III, Steven J. Kriegshaber, Martha A. Rosenberg, Louis I. Waterman, Natalie S. Wilson, Catesby Woodford, and yours truly. In fact, of the Louisville family lawyers listed, all are AAML members. Moreover, the top 25 women lawyers in the state, from all disciplines, were listed and three of our AAML family lawyers were included, Natalie S. Wilson, Lexington, Martha A. Rosenberg, Lexington and me. They claim impeccable surveying and independent research. There are many, many great lawyers not listed, but I didn't notice any slackers among those picked.
Yet, I can't see what void this publication fills; Martindale Hubbell has offered peer reviews for decades. "Super Lawyers" does offer some ego feeding for a price: $259 plaques to hang and $495 profiles for the website that get you listed at the top. That may be a bargain compared to a paid listing on Martindale-Hubbell. Kentucky's picks are not yet up on the website www.SuperLawyers.com.
Some big firms already have updated their own websites with the news and have sent out press releases. Lawyers in Kentucky are not generally permitted to compare themselves to other lawyers. Past posts about the related ethical issues have appeared on this site here and here. Kentucky Law Review has posts here and here. The Indiana Law Blog has posted about it here and links to a number of its pasts posts on the topic here.
I guess I better submit this post to the KBA Advertising Commission with a check for 50 bucks and see what happens. If it is not approved, I'll take the post down. It's not a bone I want to pick. But, I'll let you know.
UPDATE: Here's the resonse I recieved from the KBA Advertising Commission.
The AAC has reviewed advertisement # 04602, your Superlawyers Blog submission. The Commission does not consider this an advertisement for legal services, pursuant to SCR 3.130(7.02) and has asked that I refund your $50.00 filing fee.
I have requested the Kentucky Bar Association accounting department prepare a check and for $50.00 and send it to you. It should be forthcoming.
The 10th Annual “Kicking Off Our Next Decade of Cutting Edge Topics” presented by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Kentucky Chapter and the Louisville Bar Association received great reviews. The seminar kicked off with a panel of family court judges presenting “Top 10 Tips for Domestic Relations Practitioners.”
Hon. Stephen M. George, Chief Judge, Jefferson Circuit Court, Family Division, was the 2007 recipient of the 1st Annual Family Court Judge of the Year Award. Judge George was honored for his efforts in improving the excellence of Jefferson Family Court, for addressing the needs of pro se litigants, and for fostering open lines of communication between the bench and the family law bar. Steve Kriegshaber, CLE Chair presented the award to Judge George.
The recipient of the 1st Annual Raising the Bar Award was William L. Hoge, III. Mr. Hoge was instrumental in establishing the AAML Kentucky Chapter and initiating its annual statewide family law seminar and bringing in nationally renowned speakers for it each year.
Keeping with tradition, the President-Elect of the AAML, James M. Hennenhoefer, Vista, CA attended. He presented “Representing the Economically Disadvantaged Spouse.”
Barbara Handschu, the first woman President of the AAML, is highlighted in a nice article in the New York Times regional section today. We were blessed by her participation at several Louisville AAML seminars. In family law we know her as a tireless advocate for children. You may be quite interested in her fascinating life before entering family law. Check out the article. If you have met her, read Stepping Back From Anger or the AAML Model Parenting Plan, or appreciated the video, Voices of Children of Divorce, please send a get well wish. Her office address is 155 Summer St. Buffalo, NY 14222
Benjamin Cowgill, Lexington, Kentucky, is the former Chief Bar Counsel for the Kentucky Bar Association, where he was responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all disciplinary cases against members of the bar. He has also taught professional responsibility as an adjunct professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. Since his return to private practice in 2003, he has counseled and represented lawyers in a wide variety of ethical matters and has served as an expert witness and given opinion testimony regarding conflicts of interest, alleged unethical conduct, the unauthorized practice of law, and legal negligence. We are delighted he will speak at the LBA/AAML seminar on April 19 on Top Ten Ethical Risks for Domestic Relations Practitioners.
Those familiar with the blawgosphere know Ben Cowgill's Legal Ethics Newsletter. His latest post, KBA moves Client Assistance Program into Office of Bar Counsel, is of interest to all Kentucky practitioners, but especially to domestic relations attorneys, because they are especially vulnerable to bar complaints. However, much of his site is highly relevant to those interested in legal ethics all over the U.S., in all practice areas. Ben also publishes SoloBlawg, about technology-leveraged solo practice.
On April 19, 2007 the Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers will welcome back James A. Hennenhoefer, Vista, CA, the President-Elect of the AAML. He will speak this year on Representing the Economically Disadvantaged Spouse. Also back by popular demand is Norman D. Levin, an AAML Fellow from Orlando, FL who will teach a session on law practice management. In a prior post we told you about Professor Mary Beck and David H. Levy presenting. A panel of Family Court Judges from Louisville, LaGrange, and Paducah will tell us their 10 Top Tips for Practitioners. We have more topics and speakers to announce soon. If you have not done so already, save the dates of April 19-20, 2007. We will post the registration brochure as soon as it is available. This CLE is likely to sell out quickly.
The Kentucky Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is hosting its 10th annual seminar April 19-April 20, 2007 in Louisville. Highlights this year include: Prof. Mary M. Beck, Missouri University Law School presenting "Fathers' Registries - Why Every State Needs One" and "Putative Fathers or Pop Up Pops" and David H. Levy, "Use and Abuse of Trusts and Other Financial Devices - A Perspective from Both Sides."
Prof. Beck works with legislators in multiple states and Congress to develop state and national adoption laws, and David H. Levy of Berger Schattz in Chicago is a prolific author and speaker in matters of divorce law. His presentation will include what we need to know about off-shore trusts.
Save the date. You'll soon be hearing more about others on this outstanding faculty.
The AAML annual meeting in Chicago was filled with the best yet CLE. I often return from these meetings feeling the material is indispensable; this year was over-the-top fabulous. I am not unaware of the furor in some circles about blogging the content of paid seminars over the internet. Of more concern to me is the possibility that blogging could chill the candid nature of the discourse. From the outset we have decided to post a synopsis of seminar content only with the approval of the speaker.
I did not even ask two of the fine presenters for permission to post about their remarks because it was obvious I would not have time to do their material justice and we may try to land a couple of them in Louisville for our seminar in April. I did ask Robert H. Mnookin, Williston Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Director Harvard Negotiation Research Project, Chair, Steering Committee, Program on Negotiation, for permission to post about his talk, “Negotiation Techniques by the Expert”, Negotiating in the Shadow of the Law. A first for me, he asked me to email a draft to him and he said he'd email me back if OK. Since he is "in residence" in California for a year and is limited in his opportunity to travel, I will email him a draft and hope he OKs it. No point stepping on toes. It is exactly the negotiation and mediation content that we seem to desperately need in these parts.
P.S. If you think you missed a week of posts after this seminar was over on November 10, you are correct. Sick. Out for an entire week. Now swamped. Clients come first and there is catching up to do. In the spirit of this thankful season, though, doing the best you can is almost always good enough, and now I know to add health to the long list of things for which I am thankful.
HOW TO FIND A DIVORCE ARBITRATOR?
Easy. Click here for AAML certified arbitrators across the United States. Once you have a name, you can then check out a possible arbitrator's bio and website by going here.
You need not be an Academy Fellow to attend the outstanding seminars the AAML holds each November in Chicago and each March in some warm paradise. Attached is the registration form and here are some of the topics:
Thursday, November 9, 2006 Professor Robert Mnookin from Harvard will present Negotiation Techniques by the Expert
Friday, November 10, 2006 includes a program on alienation, Children Held Hostage
Saturday, November 11, 2006 will be devoted to tracing of assets and an update on same sex marriage and same sex unions.
The San Francisco Family Law Blog reprints an article from Gannett, Till Debt Do Us Part. "Which financial issues most often cause strife? Spending too much and saving too little, according to couples who responded to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll in March....Making matters worse is that couples don't talk much about money before committing to each other. Nearly two-thirds of married couples who responded to USA TODAY's poll said they talked little or not at all before the wedding about how to combine their finances."
That is part of the reason the AAML has launched its Forcus On Forever initiative. This 43-page workbook is designed for those entering long term, committed relationships, to develop skills needed for success. Created with Academy Fellows, along with two nationally recognized psychologists and a CPA-CFP. it includes vignettes, exercises, budget worksheets and suggested readings. It's available for purchase though the AAML for $11.50.
After many years of study, The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers published a Model Relocation Act, for consideration by state legislatures in 1997. Shame on us for waiting on our courts to adopt on a case by case basis standards for removing children from the locale of a parent. We need to get this into the hands of all our senators and representatives and urge its priority for consideration. While shaping the law on appeal is great fun for advocates, too many interested, good, and willing parents in our mobile society will never be able to raise their children as we flesh this out over decades in the appeals courts. It's time for legislative action.
Steven Kriegshaber, Louisville attorney, and a past president of the Kentucky Chapter of the AAML, serves on the national AAML Special Concerns of Children Committee, and helped author a publication, REPRESENTING CHILDREN: Standards for Attorneys & Guardian Ad Litems in Custody or Visitation Proceedings. Published several years ago, it advocates that GALs not make recommendations to the court. As with all AAML publications and positions, much study and deliberation uas undertaken before it was released. He also wrote "Representing Children in Divorce Litigation,'' The Advocate, July/August 1997 . The AAML publication remains available for purchase online. The cost? $10.
Thuder Over Louisville enchanted 800,000 people last night. There's great coverage in the online edition of the Courier-Journal today. Louis Waterman, President of the Kenctucky Chapter of the AAML is on the Board of Directors of the Derby Festival Committee and after chairing the Pegasus Parade, Thunder is now the focus of his attention. While everyone missed his absence during most of our seminar and social events, the national Executive Committee of the AAML who watched the festivities from Steve Kreigshaber's office will now surely understand. That's the divorce law connection.
Musing, I also think there's a blogging connection. At lunch last week, the Goddess expressed her fear that the public perception of bloggers is that they are people with too much time on their hands. While I retorted that if you want something done, ask a busy person, I have been thinking about her comment. Many of us want to make a difference. Most of us will never touch 800,000 lives as Louis Waterman has, but the best of the best will try and aren't afraid of change or doing something new. There is room for creativity in life and there is room for creativity in how we improve the legal profession. One can only touch so many lives case-by-case. While the practice of law is a great joy, mentoring and shaping the law is also a fine way to protect the family and improve the practice, which is the purpose of the AAML.
James A. Hennenhoefer, Vice-President AAML, San Diego, CA presented at the AAML/LBA Family Law seminar at the LBA on April 21, 2006. Jim has been instrumental in the creation and running of the AICPA/AAML biennial seminar in Las Vegas. His topic at the KY seminar was Pre-Nup/Post-Nup-“Love me forever, but not my Assets”
His opening quote was “Confidence is what you feel before you understand the situation.” In other agreements you are drafting with known facts. During the terms of these pre/post nuptial agreements, facts change. Law also changes. Attitudes change. Pre-Nups deal with the distant future. The potential liability arising from the drafting of these agreements is huge. He urged involving an estate attorney in the drafting and advised always to address choice of laws, as people may move during the marriage. Document every bit of advice you give your client before, during, and after the drafting.
Jim emphasized that charging an hourly rate for the drafting of these agreements is unfair to the drafting attorneys, and a large flat fee may be reasonable because of the attendant liability exposure for the failure to anticipate unforeseeable future events.
He discussed Blue v. Blue, 60 S.W.3d 585 (Ky. 2001) and what he considers the most important Kentucky case, Gentry v. Gentry, 798 S.W. 2d 928 (Ky. 1990), although his opinion of its importance may change depending on what happens with a Kentucky Supreme Court case in which discretionary review is pending.
Jim urges the Kentucky legislature to consider adopting some or all of the Uniform Prenuptial Act. It is always more difficult to draft these agreements when you are depending on case law rather than statutory provisions.
All that being said he presented some tips on the drafting:
Add choice of laws
Accommodate the passage of time
Anticipate birth of children, increase and decrease of wealth
Try to make it fair in the long term. Mitigate the idea that your client doesn’t want to share.
If there is a relinquishment of property or support rights, reflect the consideration so it will appear fair.
Consider a formula that increases with the duration of marriage
Make client comply with full disclosure, but include a waiver of disclosure
Do not attempt to limit child support
Advise client of danger of limiting spousal support
You must cause an attorney to be on the other side
Keep every revision of the agreement and all correspondence; make the correspondence show the negotiation that takes place
The pre-nup is usually the first pleading to be filed in the divorce in a few years. The drafting attorneys will be witnesses and unable to represent the clients in the divorce
Never draft in non-family law related issues; bring in an estate expert and other experts depending on the assets involved such as pensions
Consider videotaping the signing and recitation of understanding of the agreement. He gave us questions to ask the parties during the videotaping (the questions are also a good blueprint for the drafting).
Make sure every page is initialed and the signatures are notarized and give executed copies to both parties and lawyers
Give your client a letter advising he/she must comply with every provision of the agreement because noncompliance may be good reason not to enforce the agreement later
Make agreement language require changes to be only by subsequent written agreement
Advise client to keep written records of compliance with agreement
Also, tell client to still keep separate property separate and to keep tracing records even though they have a prenuptial agreement
Never draft unless it is at least 60 days in advance of the wedding
Procure and use the most thorough interview form you can find
Write your client advising in advance there is no guarantee that the agreement will be enforceable
Make sure the agreement specifically addresses economic disparity
Laura Morgan, www.FamLawConsult.com, VA (the “Goddess” and co-author of the Spousal Support Handbook to be published by the ABA in 2007) and Gaetano(“Guy”) Ferro, CT, President-Elect, AAML, presented Alimony, Spousal Support and Maintenance: A Musical in Six Acts at the AAML/LBA Family Law seminar at the LBA April 21, 2006. Here's the general outline and a few notes. Thanks Laura and Guy for permitting me to post about your great presentation.
“Those Were the Days, My Friend”
!. Introduction “Something’s Gotta Give”
What is Spousal Support and what is it supposed to accomplish?
II Traditional View of Alimony “Bbbbbad to the Bbbbone”
“I Know a Little Bit About a Lot of Things But I Don’t Know Enough About You”
III The First Wave “People Get Ready, There’s A Change A Comin”
Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act
“I am Woman, Hear Me Roar”
“I Will Survive”
“Working Nine to Five”
IV The Second Wave “Will You Still Need Me When I’m Sixty-Four”
“What I’ll Do When You Are Far Away And I Am Blue”
“Yip Yip Yip, Mum Mum Mum…Get a Job”
“What’s Goin On?”
“Take This Job and Shove It”
V Unanswered Questions “Time Keeps Slipping, Slipping Into the Future”
“Get Out of Here, and Give Me Some Money, Too”
VI Current Trends “Money, That’s What I Want”
Compensation Based Method of Support
Fault “Your Cheatin Heart”
“Oh, I Believe in Yesterday”
VII Kentucky Law “The Sun Shines Bright in my Old Kentucky Home, ‘Tis Summer, the People are Gay” (unless you want to adopt children)
“Well, You Can Cry Me a River”
Turns away from UMDA, applies principle of the “equal degradation of standard of living of both parties” (not the legal standard, this is the description of the result as communicated by a KY Fellow at last year's seminar)
VIII Alimony Guidelines
Broad discretion in award of alimony is no longer justifiable and should be discarded in favor of guidelines, if not adopted as an outright rule. Bacon v. Bacon, 819 So2d 950 (Fla 4th DCA 2002)
The New Mexico Experiment 38 Family Law Quarterly 29 (2005)
38 June Md. B.J. 46 (2005)
33 U. Louisville J. Family Law 971,972 (1995)
Victoria Ho has also published on guidelines in the Florida Bar Journal and Divorce Litigation
Some Michigan counties use “Alimony Series” software endorsed by the Family Law Council of the Michigan Bar Association (www.marginsoft.net)
Fairfax VA Bar Association has download of guidelines of pendente lite alimony that has been in use since 1981
Nevada has computer program which gives support result based on historical judicial awards over 30 years with analysis of factors underlying awards.
Johnson County Kansas guidelines distributed. AAML Fellow Ron Nelson is a big supporter of these guidelines. 20% (no children) 25%(with children) of difference in gross income of parties, gross income defined by child support guidelines definition, duration 2 years for first 5 yrs of marriage then 1 year for every 3 yrs, with maximum of 10 years plus 1 month, but there are other factors that may be considered.
There is growing, but guarded support of adoption of guidelines
In short term marriages, support is less problematic. In long term marriages, indeterminate awards are preferred.
IX ALI Principles, Compensating Spousal Payments
Principles of Family Law and Recommendations, 2002, 1100 pages, spousal compensation section, 110 pages. Useful state-by-state statement of the law ; recommendations for spousal support are controversial. They created the policy that spousal support should be compensation to allocate financial losses arising from dissolution that are equitable in application and disregard fault. Compensable loss of earnings include those related to caretaking of children or others to whom moral responsibility arose. The person who earns most of the money should end up with most of it. Comments to the final draft say they are merging concepts of support and property.
X The AAML Response
In response to a survey, most Fellows believed the most important factor should be need, then the length of marriage and earnings and the least important factor is fault. What most Fellows like least about guidelines was the lack of discretion and interestingly, what most Fellows like least about the lack of guidelines is too much discretion resting with the court! A blue ribbon Academy committee is studying the issue and the AAML expects to publish a formal official response
Starnes, Mothers as Suckers: Pity, Partnership and Divorce Discourse, 90 Iowa L. Rev. 1513 (2005),
Kapalla, Some Assembly Required: Why States Should Not Adopt the ALI’s System of Presumptive Alimony Wards in Its Current Form, 2004 Mich. St. L. Review 207
With a huge attendance, nearly standing room only, the Ninth Annual AAML/LBA seminar kicked off today in Louisville. In coming days and weeks we will report on the topics of interest and the news presented. Speakers were so very candid (some even asked first whether the seminar was being taped) that I feel compelled to obtain permission from some of the speakers to publish the commentary. I don't want to say anything in this blog that will diminish the frank and open and invaluable exchanges we have at this type event. Gil Feilbelman from Salem, Oregon also presented today and the national lineup tomorrow is stellar,with a number of speakers being tapped from the AAML Executive Committee whose meeting in Louisville coicides with our seminar. Add Laura Morgan (aka the "goddess') to the mix, and Friday's session should be over the top.
The Exeutive Committee of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers will be hosting a coctail party at the Brown Hotel for propective members Friday, April 21,2006. If you are attending the AAML/LBA seminar you can rsvp when you register. For information on qualifications for membership and more info about the Academy go to www.aaml.org.