Winter 2017, Issue 1

Editor’s Column

As the Specialist goes to press in early December for the first issue of 2017, I am writing my last “Editor’s Column.” It has been an honor to serve the organization as Editor of our acclaimed Journal. I have “termed out” and am stepping down as Editor. However, I’m not going too far because Christine Gille, our current Associate Editor, will swap positions with me, and I will remain closely involved with the Specialist as the Associate Editor. We both welcome your articles, suggestions for articles, and/or comments on articles.

Welcome to Seth Kramer, our incoming President. Read Seth’s President’s column to review his exciting organizational and personal goals for ACFLS.

Thank you to Jill Barr, our outgoing President, for an outstanding job leading our organization. Jill will serve as Immediate Past President.

Our new 2017 ACFLS Board of Directors can be viewed in the Specialist or on our website. Welcome to our new Board members and thank you to our departing members for your service.

Our articles in this issue of the Specialist include in-depth discussions of several significant topics for the certified family law specialist. In our lead article, Judge Thomas Trent Lewis and Dawn Gray analyze the retroactivity of FC 70, effective on January 1, 2017, which abrogated the decisions in In re Marriage of Davis, 61 Cal. 4th 846 (2015) and In re Marriage of Norviel, 102 Cal. App. 4th 1152 (2002), requiring the parties to have physically separated to be separated (the bright line test), in favor of a factual determination of separation based upon the totality of the circumstances. As enacted, FC section 70’s legislative history leaves the issue of retroactive application to the trial court under section FC 4(h). Whether this legislative intent will survive a constitutionality challenge is the subject of this article. They raise significant issues and leave us with the comment “How the courts apply the new section remains to be seen, but it will surely be interesting to watch.”

In Mediation Practice Twenty Years Later: A Cautionary Story and Proposed Reforms, by Gregory W. Herring, CFLS, and Cassandra T. Glanville, Esq., the authors acknowledge the current interest in a proposal to create an attorney-client exception to the doctrine of mediation confidentiality, and then examine some other aspects of mediation that are due for review, especially in consideration of the evolution and increased popularity of mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) in general. They seek the implementation of various proposals against mediator bias and for written disclosures, notifications, and waivers that would serve the interests of justice, while still maintaining public policy favoring mediation.

Hon. Jeri Hamlin, the President of the California Court Commissioners Association and the AB1058 Commissioner for the counties of Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, and Plumas, and Hon. Rebecca Wightman, the AB1058 Commissioner for San Francisco County, provide Part II of their two-part article on the statewide child support program and its recent budget woes. The first part of this two-part series discussed the creation of the statewide child support system with specialized child support courts (aka AB1058 courts or Title IV-D courts). The truly unique aspects of this program and why funding allocation issues are so important to all courts, as well as to the success of the entire program statewide, are addressed here.

In “Litigator’s Log—Quarterly Case Exam,” by Christine Gille, CFLS, N. Lloyd Kaye, Esq., and yours truly—our new column in lieu of Dawn Gray’s “Hot Off the Press” column which will be published in the Family Law News—we analyze recent cases from the litigator’s perspective. In addition to providing a brief summary of the case, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation of the case focusing on trial fundamentals. This is intended to provide a unique look at good litigation techniques, drawing from recent case law.

Any of you interested in providing articles, suggestions, comments, etc., can reach me at or Christine Gille at I look forward to continuing to work with all of you.

The views and opinions expressed in our journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ACFLS.