1 PROTECTING AAML THE FAMILY, IMPROVING Calendar THE PRACTICE of Events INSTITUTE FOR FAMILY LAW ASSOCIATES June 22 25, 2006 Renaissance Hotel Chicago, Illinois AAML NEGOTIATION SEMINAR September 29 30, 2006 Charles Hotel Cambridge, Massachusetts ANNUAL MEETING November 8 11, 2006 Renaissance Hotel Chicago, Illinois MIDYEAR MEETING March 6 10, 2007 Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands ANNUAL MEETING November 7 10, 2007 Renaissance Hotel Chicago, Illinois MIDYEAR MEETING March 4 8, 2008 La Costa Resort and Spa Carlsbad, California CHECK OUT OUR WEB SITE S UMMER 2006 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers N E W S A N D I N F O R M A T I O N NOVEMBER 2006 CHICAGO ANNUAL MEETING: CLE Promises to be One of Our Best by Richard S. Victor, CLE Chair Bloomfield Hills, Miami CLE FOR OUR ANNUAL MEETING IN NOVEMBER will cover a diverse range of topics that should have something that will interest every one of our Fellows. This year s program chairs will be Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, NJ, Gary Nickelson, TX, and Alton Abramowitz, NY. On Thursday, November 9, 2006, Madeline will be our Program Chair for her panel, led by nationally known Prof. Robert Mnookin from Harvard University, who will provide a unique presentation on Negotiation Techniques by the Expert. Following Professor Mnookin s insightful discussion, Catherine Kit Petersen, OK, will provide a thought provoking program on Ethical Concerns for the Family Law Attorney. On Friday November 10th, Gary Nickelson will serve as our Program Chair for two somewhat diverse, but extremely interesting topics. First, Bruce Copeland, PhD and Linda Delaney, Esquire from Maryland, along with the Honorable Judith Bartnoff, Washington, DC, assisted by Fellow Brian Webb, Texas, will provide a presentation on a child-related topic entitled Children Held Hostage. This presentation will discuss concerns regarding children caught in the middle of custody disputes, as well as serious concerns relating to child and parent alienation issues. Following this most serious topic, Lana Holstein, MD from Arizona and a former lecturer at Canyon Ranch in Arizona, will provide us with A Candid Talk about Sex for Healthy Couples. On Saturday, November 11th, we will conclude our three-day seminar with Alton Abramowitz, NY serving as Program Chair. Alton will have California Fellow Steve Wagner provide us with necessary information on Tracing Assets in Property Cases, followed by internationally known speaker Martha Maggie McCarthy from Canada. Maggie will fly in to give us all the most recent updates on what is going on around the country with a National Update on Same Sex Union. Continuing the new and innovative way we will be handling our CLE materials for our seminars, it will be our hope to follow the lead that we started at our midwinter conference held in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We intend to have all our materials on CD-Rom, along with a companion book, that will be provided to all Fellows who register at our conference. SEE YOU IN CHICAGO! We intend to have all our materials on CD-Rom, along with a companion book, that will be provided to all Fellows who register at our conference.
2 PRESIDENT S MESSAGE The President s Message Iwas a war baby, born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a small town just southeast of Pittsburgh. My dad was a plaintiff s trial attorney, specializing in personal injury and condemnation law. He was in trial every day, and worked long hours, often litigating cases for other local attorneys who were reluctant to try their own cases. My mother had been a school teacher before my brothers and I were born. We were the recipients of a great deal of love and attention, from our parents, grand-parents and extended family. Before we were born, my dad had a very exciting life. Ironically, he began as a sick child, who did not attend school until he turned eight or nine. However, his parents owned a farm, and the European milk maids who worked on the farm became his teachers. As a result, he knew 29 languages and dialects before starting grade school. Dad received his engineering degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology, and then went on to law school. When he was drafted at age 38, he was assigned some secret, behind-the-scenes work. Although he told us only a few stories, they were fascinating. He cheated death on many occasions. As a demolition expert, and someone who was in enemy territory ahead of the lines, he was hidden by the Monks in the sewers of Paris. His language skills, engineering skills, and the skills that he had developed as a lawyer for many years, helped him through many scrapes. He opened safes in Berlin after the war, and missed going off to fight Japan because of frostbite that nearly caused the loss of a leg. While waiting for the family to come along, Dad had a close friendship with an older bachelor attorney in the Pittsburgh area who owned a farm called The Shalom. Meanwhile, a young researcher, Jonas Salk, had an idea about isolating the polio virus and using it to vaccinate children against the disease that was close to becoming an epidemic. Salk was thought to be crazy and no one was willing to provide him with research facilities. J. Paul Braisley, the owner of The Shalom, offered Salk some space on his farm. The rest is history a history in which, it turned out, I played a small part. In 1952, I came down with polio. There was little to be done for children who suffered the consequences of the disease, if they lived through it. I was admitted to the Municipal Hospital in Pittsburgh, where my parents were only permitted to visit me one hour a week on Sunday afternoons. After the virus ran its course, I suffered from paralysis, but I had the antibodies that Salk needed to develop the vaccine. The match was made Salk needed my blood, and J. Paul Braisley made the contact between Jonas Salk and my dad. Needless to say, I was very fortunate. So was the world. The vaccine worked. Recently, there was a worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of success of the polio vaccine. And, due to the help of a young resident at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ferguson, who took a special interest in me, and called me the girl in the pretty pajamas, I am still walking. CHERYL LYNN HEPFER 2006 AAML President Rockville, Maryland All interesting, you may say, but what does this have to do with the President s Message? Well, that s a little of story of who I am and, perhaps, why I am who I am. Each of us has a story. Many are even much more interesting than mine. How do I know that? Well, I have made it a point, over the years, to meet and mingle with many of you, and I have learned how special each one of you is. You have a rich and wonderful past, and have accomplished a great deal, personally, and professionally. I am constantly amazed by the stories we have to tell. Who we are, and how we have become who we are, is the best part of being in this organization. The Academy does wonderful things. Considering the fact that this is a volunteer organization of only 1600 members with a lot on their plates family, practices, other organizations it s amazing how much good we do. In just the past year, we have put on wonderful meetings, great CLEs, seminars on arbitration and valuation with the AICPA, we have produced the Journal, of which we are all so proud, Focus on Forever, and much, much more. We are leaving our imprint on society, making it better. Considering the fact that this is a volunteer organization of only 1600 members with a lot on their plates family, practices, other organizations it s amazing how much good we do. Without a doubt, the best thing about the Academy is being able to meet with and learn from each other. That s why I hope that you are planning to attend the annual meeting in Chicago to mingle with old friends and meet new ones. Thursday night s President- Elect s Reception will be held at Soldier s Field. Come and 2 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
3 PRESIDENT S MESSAGE celebrate with Guy Ferro and his family. If you are attending the meeting for the first time, plan to join us on Thursday night for the First Timers Dinner. Year after year, we are told that this is a wonderful opportunity to meet members of the Executive Committee and other new Fellows in a cozy setting. We are leaving our imprint on society, making it better. Richard Victor and his committee have put together a fabulous CLE for Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. This year s Friday night event will be very special and exciting. It is black tie, and will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. I hope that you will be able to join us for what promises to be a very special night celebrating with Guy and his family. As I have mentioned before, Guy and I have made every effort to attend as many Chapter meetings as possible this year. We are diligently working to increase our visibility and to promote applications from qualified applicants. If you have any suggestions for making our organization better, please pass them on to me. See you in Chicago! Cheryl Lynn Hepfer AAML President Rockville, Maryland Ellen Yarrell, Barbara Runge, Rusty Howard, Cheryl Hepfer, Susan Myres Fellows and guests enjoy the sunset cruise. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 3
4 AAML NEWS IN BRIEF The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Board of Governors meeting was called to order in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, by President Cheryl Lynn Hepfer. Upon Motion of Nancy Shafer, seconded by Jim Hennenhoefer, the minutes of the November 4, 2005 meeting were approved as presented. Upon Motion of Tom Vick, seconded by Bruce Wagner, the financial report was accepted. Joslin Davis presented the second reading of proposed bylaw revisions to Provisions 10.2 and Upon motion of Seymour Chase, seconded by Marlene Moses, the bylaws were unanimously amended in accordance with the proposals. Joslin Davis presented the report of the Northern California Chapter s request to revise its bylaws. Upon Motion of Brian Webb, seconded by Seymour Chase, the Northern California Chapter s revised bylaws were unanimously approved. Written Committee Reports were presented for the following committees by the Fellows whose names also follow and those reports were received by President Hepfer on behalf of the Board of Governors: Joint Admissions and Membership Committees: Susan Myres Institute for Family Law Associates: Richard Jacobs Law Office Management: James McLaren National Sub-Board of Examiners: Cheryl Hepfer Same Sex Marriage: Suzanne Harris Linda Lea Viken presented an update on the status of the proposed application to the Report from the Board of Governor s Meeting by Alton Abramowitz New York, New York ABA for specialization and the process for becoming a certifying body. President Hepfer thanked Linda Lea Viken and Marlene Moses for their time and efforts. She pointed out to the Board that this project had resulted from a proposal made by Patrick O Reilly at a Chapter Leaders Meeting and that it demonstrated the significance of those meetings. Ken Lester and Tom Vick presented an update on the status of the webcast that is being co-sponsored by the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, which was scheduled to be held on March 22, The State Bar of Texas had made scholarships available for Legal Services Corporation attorneys who wished to participate. In addition, the AAML Foundation had scholarships available. Sandra Morris provided an update on the status of the Focus on Forever project. She reported that the proposed video was almost final (excerpts were made available for viewing by the Board following the conclusion of the meeting) and advised the Board that the project was moving along as expected. She noted that the narrator would be Jack Ford. The feed for the broadcast of the DVD on Public Television would be made available to local PBS stations on April 22, 2006 from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. She also reported on the efforts to make the DVD available to public libraries through Recorded Books. Arnold Rutkin described some of the marketing issues and indicated that approximately $10,000 would be needed to reprint the Focus on Forever workbook. President Hepfer and First Vice President Jim Hennenhoefer expressed the Board s pride and gratitude to the Committee for its work and President Hepfer noted that special thanks should be accorded to former president George Stern who had initiated this project. Jim Hennenhoefer presented an update on the status of the May 11, 2006, AICPA/AAML program at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. He noted that Gary Silverman of Reno, Nevada would be acting as Chair of the Conference. He also thanked President-Elect Guy Ferro for his assistance in putting together the program. In conclusion, he suggested that the program may become a yearly rather than an alternating yearly project. Alton Abramowitz reported on the expressions of gratitude received from Fellows who had been the beneficiaries of the Board s policy waiving their dues for 2005 and 2006 as a result of hurricane disasters in their home states. President Hepfer reported on the arbitration seminar that had been held in Cleveland, Ohio in January of She indicated that there had been an offer to repeat the Seminar at another location should the AAML wish to do so. Marlene Moses reported on the continued work of the ALI Committee, which is reviewing and commenting on the ALI s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations. Guy Ferro reviewed the AAML s amicus policy (noting that the establishment of a written policy was one of the greatest contributions of Immediate Past President Barbara Handschu during her term in office). He then introduced a discussion of the Maryland Chapter s formal request that the national AAML submit an amicus curiae brief on the issue of whether the prohibition of same sex marriages violated the constitution of the State of Maryland in a case that is pending in an intermediate appellate court within that State. The request itself was presented by Maryland Chapter President Deborah Reiser. President Hepfer outlined the options with which the Board was presented. Susan Elgin of the Maryland Chapter, who would be writing the brief, also spoke in favor of the request. There followed an exhaustive discussion within the Board, with virtually every member of the Board participating. Brain Webb moved, seconded by Richard Barry, 4 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
5 that the AAML Amicus Curiae Committee prepare and file one brief in support of the Plaintiffs position in the case. The motion carried by vote of a majority of the Board. Deb Eldrich reported on the progress of the updating and improvement of the AAML s Web site and list serve. President Hepfer expressed her appreciation to Lorraine West and her staff for their assistance in setting up and implementing the Cabo midwinter meeting. She also thanked Gary Nickelson and Barbara Handschu for their help with the meeting. President Hepfer noted that the AAML s publications are indicative of the great things that it does, and advised the Board that Gary Nickelson would be reviewing the AAML s publications and fulfillment costs and procedures. She advised the Board that the AAML would be reviewing its existing policies for attorneys for children by means of a committee to be chaired by Alton Abramowitz. The Board was advised of the upcoming negotiation seminar at Harvard University on September 29 and 30, 2006, and that it was hoped that this would become an annual program of the AAML. She discussed the suggestion of former President Arthur Balbirer that the First Timers dinner at the Annual Meeting in November be offered either free of charge or at a reduced cost to new Fellows. The Board was advised that the Friday night dinner at the November meeting would be black tie. Finally, she noted the public relations accomplishments of the AAML s new PR firm, R.C. Auletta. In other business: Nancy Shafer moved, seconded by Marlene Moses, to amend the Illinois Chapter s bylaws to limit the terms of the Chapter s officers to one year. The motion was unanimously approved. Ken Altshuler requested articles for the next edition of the Newsletter. Patrick O Reilly moved, seconded by Leonard Karp, that the Board appropriate $10,000, as recommended by Arnold Rutkin, for the purpose of reprinting the Focus on Forever Workbook. The motion carried unanimously. Sandra Morris moved, seconded by Jim Hennenhoefer, to authorize President Hepfer to sign contracts with Recorded Books, LLC, and Associated Broadcast Consultants, Inc., once negotiations had been completed by Sandy Ain and Gary Nickelson for the publication of the Focus on Forever DVD. That motion was approved unanimously. The AAML s policies on same sex marriages and legislation are to be provided to Chapter Presidents. Lorraine West thanked the Board and President Hepfer, and expressed her opinion that the AAML s Presidents deserve accolades for their work and accomplishments. There being no further business, upon motion of Jim Hennenhoefer and passed unanimously, the meeting was adjourned by President Hepfer. The next meeting will be in November 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Greetings to Newly Admitted Members as of April 24, 2006 We are always proud to print the names and locations of the attorneys who have recently been admitted to our Fellowship. New members are the life s blood of any organization. We welcome them, and look forward to their future involvement in our goals and activities. Francis Affronti Rochester, NY Meredith Brown San Diego, CA Steven Bunch Portland, OR Richard Campbell Norcross, GA Charla Conner Denton, TX Frank DeVincent Altanta, GA Kathleen Dumais Bethesda, MD Stephen Fried Wakefield, MA Pamela Green Golden Valley, MN Warren Haviland San Diego, CA Brigid Hennessey North Adams, MA Bruce Hunter Cincinnati, OH David Karp Milwaukee, WI Steven Lindamood Houston, TX AAML NEWS IN BRIEF Larry Martin Addison, TX Jeffrey Matthews Portland, OR Anthony Menting Oconomowoc, WI Charles Fox Miller Hollywood, CA Mark Ogle Ft. Mitchell, KY Joseph Paradiso Bethesda, MD Lee Rosenberg Garden City, NY Sharon Sayers Rochester, NY Thomas Sasser West Palm Beach, FL Melanie Straw-Boone Louisville, KY Amanda Trigg Hackensack, NJ J. Mark Weiss Seattle, WA Adam Wolff New York, NY American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 5
6 AAML NEWS IN BRIEF Greetings from Outer Space Memorable Midwinter Meeting Held in Cabo San Lucas We all know (and the Law Office Management committee wants to remind us) that the 21st century has ushered in new frontiers of technology in the law office. However, would anyone expect to get an from outer space? Well, that is exactly what happened to Texas Fellow Susan Myres and her husband, John Uri, while they were attending the Executive Committee meeting in Louisville. John, who works for NASA, ed the two crew members of Expedition 13, docked at the International Space Station 200 miles above the earth, rotating around our planet at 17,000 miles per hour (the two crew members are Pavel Vinogradov (Russian) and Jeff Williams (American). The read: Dear Jeff and Pavel: My wife, daughter and I were in Louisville, KY, this weekend, since my wife was attending a meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). This was also the weekend of the annual Thunder over Louisville, billed as the world s largest fireworks show. By an amazing coincidence, you made an awesome pass right over Louisville just minutes prior to the start of the fireworks. The President of the AAML stated: That was soooo cool, and she wasn t referring to the fireworks. Thanks ever so much for adding an extra light show to the Thunder. Jeff Anderson responded: Very nice. Thank you for the report! We are having a great flight...and having fun. So next time you gaze into the night sky, give a little wave to our friends at the International Space Station! In one of the largest turnouts ever for a midwinter meeting, over 190 Fellows gathered in Cabo to enjoy 85 degree weather, blue skies, spectacular views, and the annual camaraderie of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In short, the Cabo meeting was an unqualified success and left lingering memories that will not soon be forgotten. The Marquis Hotel met its advance billing; Cheryl Hepfer and Lorraine West should be lauded for their selection. With the able assistance of Gary Nickelson negotiating rates and contracts, the setting was not only spectacular, but affordable. Cabo San Lucas had wonderful restaurants, shops, glass factories and fabulous night life. The quaint little town square of San Jose del Cabo was a shopper s delight. The hotel had two bars, three restaurants, and a 27,000 square foot, very impressive, spa. As has become a tradition at the midwinter meetings, children were numerous, and delighted to find playmates and friends alike. The Executive committee met on Tuesday afternoon and the Chapter Leaders committee met the following morning. On Wednesday afternoon, in one of the largest turnouts in recent memory, forty-nine golfers competed at the Jack Nicklaus Cabo del Sol Desert course, where the team of Gary Nickelson, Melissa Nickelson, Paul Nichols, and Walter Lesnovich emerged victorious. In short, the Cabo meeting was an unqualified success and left lingering memories that will not soon be forgotten. The Wednesday evening cocktail party provided a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet old and new friends, and was followed by a sunset cruise on Thursday. The CLEs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday were captivating and informative. The Board of Governors meeting on Friday afternoon addressed and resolved an amicus issue. Sadly, Friday night closed the social functions of the meeting, but dancing into the wee hours of the night insured that we will be talking about this wonderful meeting for years to come. 6 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
7 AAML NEWS IN BRIEF Annual Midwinter Golf Tournament AAML Forty-Niners Fight Fierce Competition With the largest field of competitors in recent memory, forty-nine golfers gathered under spectacularly blue and sunny skies, at the beautiful Cabo del Sol Desert Course in Cabo San Lucas to participate in the annual midwinter AAML Open. As has also been historically true, the competition was friendly, but fierce, with ten shots separating the winning team from the last place team. Emerging victorious from this field was the team of Gary Nickelson, Melissa Nickelson, Paul Nichols, and Walter Lesnovich, with a gross score of six under par, and a net score of Second place net, with a score of 62.4, was Maria Cognetti, Richard Singer, and Thomas Edwards (it should be noted that Ken Lester was originally slated to be the fourth member of this team, but due to airplane difficulties, he did not arrive in Cabo in time to participate in the tournament, thus leading to the second place finish of the team). Third place was Mike Wilson and Cody Hagerman, with an adjusted net score of Individual honors went to the following golfers: Larry Stuber won the men s closest to the pin and Bob Moses won the men s longest drive. Michelle Oyler won both the women s closest to the pin and longest drive although it should be noted that Michelle had to hit within two feet of the pin to beat Cheryl Karp s drive which was only four feet from the pin. The date for the Cayman Golf Tourney is Wednesday, March 7, 2007 so get your swing in shape now! In the casino hole, Leonard Karp was the big winner with the $150 prize, Sandy Ain won $100 in second, and Mike Ostrow, placing third, walked away with $75. The participants received a custom-made AAML imprinted combination club umbrella and ball retriever, as well as an inscribed shoe carrier. In addition, we are in the process of procuring a trophy, which will be inscribed every year with the name of the winning team. This trophy will be kept in Chicago and displayed at the annual November meeting. It is never too late to plan for next year s tournament at the magnificent Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa golf course in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. The date for the Cayman Golf Tourney is Wednesday, March 7, We are hoping to have the largest number of participants ever golfing in 2007, so get your swing in shape now! Gary Nickelson, Melissa Nickelson, Paul Nichols, and Walter Lesnovich American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 7
8 AAML NEWS IN BRIEF Executive Committee Meeting Updates Kentucky Chapter Hosts Executive Committee We have all heard about southern hospitality, but the Kentucky Chapter of the AAML redefined the term when the Executive Committee was welcomed to Louisville on April 21 and 22, Susan Myers, the Chair of the Membership Committee, joined with Reneaux Collins, the primary hostess of the Louisville meeting, to bring together Kentucky judges, Fellows, and prospective new members for the AAML. All met at a welcoming cocktail party at the historic Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville, Friday evening, April 21st. Of course, in April, thoughts of spring turn to horseracing, and the city of Louisville was preparing for the first leg of the Triple Crown, the infamous Kentucky Derby. Festivities blasted off with what is justifiably touted as the largest fireworks display in the world. 800,000 plus Kentuckians gathered on the banks of the Ohio River to begin the two week Kentucky Derby celebration. AAML Fellows were treated to front row seats for the fireworks display from the offices of Steve Kriegshaber, who graciously welcomed the Executive Committee to 8 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers his twentieth floor office. A trip to Louisville is not complete without a visit to Churchill Downs, the site of the Kentucky Derby, the Mohammed Ali museum, and the Louisville Slugger factory and museum. All in all, it was a memorable and productive meeting of the Kentucky Chapter and the Executive Committee. Executive Committee Gathers in La Jolla, California The Executive Committee joined California AAML Fellows at their January seminar and meeting in La Jolla, California, at the beautiful and hospitable Lodge at Torrey Pines. The meeting was held on January 13 and 14, as the Executive Committee joined the California Fellows in welcoming new prospective members, as well as facilitating the educational program presented by the Southern California chapter. The California program was highlighted by the closing dinner at the USS Midway aircraft carrier. The Lodge at Torrey Pines Mark Ogle, William Hoge, Steve Kriegshaber, and Cheryl Hepfer Gil and Ellen Feibleman, Steve Kriegshaber Marlene Moses, Mark Ogle, Dianna Skaggs Executive Committee Visits Southern California Executive Committee Goes To Florida Dee Pregliasco, Melanie Straw-Boone Julie Lee and Douglas Haynes The Green at Torrey Pines
9 AAML NEWS IN BRIEF Focus on Forever by Sandra Morris San Diego, California Report of the Nominating Committee As I write this in mid- March, the Focus on Forever DVD is in its final form, except for some minor adjustments on the audio mix and adding closed-captioning. It is scheduled to be aired through the Public Broadcasting System on April 9, 2006, from 8:00 9:00 p.m. EST, so by the time you read this article, hopefully the first broadcasting will have been a tremendous success. All Fellows and friends have been asked to contact their local PBS stations if it was not aired on April 9 and ask to have the program aired in their community. PBS is very responsive to community interest (and financial support!). Our producer, Associated Broadcast Consultants, Inc. (ABC), is handling the marketing. After their final bill, we have no other funds due under our contract. We can expect an increase in interest in our Focus on Forever workbooks, and will need more of them published and available through our fulfillment house. Sandy Morris At the March midwinter meeting, the Board of Governors approved an additional $10,000 to cover this expense, and for marketing a combination of the DVD of the program to be sold together, and either a reduced-size version of the workbook or a CD of it. Through ABC s contacts with Recorded Books, Inc., we have a potential opportunity to have the packaging and marketing handled by this very large company with offices in New York, Washington and England. They have over 300 employees, and mainly distribute to 9,000 public libraries nationally, the military, and retail stores such as Borders and Barnes & Noble. We would share in Associated Broadcast Consultants, Inc. s percentage of the profits. All Fellows and friends have been asked to contact their local PBS stations if Focus on Forever was not aired on April 9 Arnie Rutkin, of the Focus committee, who coincidentally resides in Connecticut where ABC is located, and our counsel, Sandy Ain, who also coincidentally resides in Washington, D.C. where Recorded Books has an office, will be working on our behalf to negotiate a contract. The Board of Governors has authorized the concept of the contract and, because time is of the essence, the Board has authorized our President, Cheryl Hepfer, to sign a contract once it has been satisfactorily negotiated through Arnie and Sandy. by Guy Ferro, AAML President-Elect New Canaan, CT After careful consideration, the Committee unanimously submits the following slate for the open positions: First Vice President Gary L. Nickelson Vice Presidents: Alton Abramowitz (3 year term) Linda Lea Viken (3 year term) Joslin Davis (1 year unexpired term of Gary Nickelson) Secretary: James McLaren Treasurer: G. Thomas Vick Governor-At-Large: David Levy (3 year term) Samuel Goodman (3 year term) Foundation Directors: Anne Berger George Stern American Idol by Guy (Simon) Ferro AAML President-Elect New Canaan, CT Attention All Academy Fellows: American (Academy) Idol is holding auditions at the upcoming November meeting in Chicago. We are looking for outgoing, bright, well spoken, non-camera shy individuals who would be willing to share a hot tip with other Fellows, for use at a future meeting. Hot tips can be on almost any topic including, but not limited to, trial tactics, law office management, fee collection, computer related issues, discovery, ethics and the like. We would like your tip to be approximately five minutes long and, unless you would like to submit a home video, you will need to be in Chicago to be filmed. If you are interested in participating, contact Maria Cognetti at or with your topic. She will set up your audition time with you. We hope you will all think about sharing your vast experience and knowledge with the entire group. With your help, I believe that this can be a very exciting portion of future CLE s. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 9
10 AAML NEWS IN BRIEF Fellows in the News Meet Vicki West Our New AAML Staff Member Top Divorce Lawyer Helps Unite Parties The Washington Times featured AAML President Cheryl Lynn Hepfer when it published an article by Kara Rowland in its January 23, 2006 edition. The article, Top Divorce Lawyer Helps Unite Parties, began: Cheryl Lynn Hepfer has been through so many divorces, it comes as no surprise that she has a lot to say on the subject. It continued: As the new president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), she will use her 30 years of experience to increase the flow of information among divorce lawyers nationwide. The AAML comprises the nation s top 1,600 matrimonial lawyers, who must have at least five years of experience practicing family law and be recognized by colleagues as experts. Mrs. Hepfer, who practices law in Rockville and Upper Marlboro, was first vice president, then president-elect, of the Chicago-based professional association. One of the group s most important functions is to ensure that couples who are going through divorce understand the process and know their options, Mrs. Hepfer said. Normally, people would prefer to go through it alone as a means of resolving this conflict rather than having their lawyers talk it out. So what we re trying to do is convey information that will assist people as individuals who know their children the best to have significant input into what the post-separation access and communication level will be. Several years ago, she said, the AAML produced a video called Voices of the Children, featuring comments from children who have been through divorce. Quite frequently, the courts require that parents watch that tape before their case starts, and it has impacted parents as it has the court. It s just heart-wrenching. To alleviate the stress of divorce on children, the AAML encourages parents not to involve the youngsters in their anger, she said. It s so obvious to someone who s not going through the trauma of separation, but those who are in the midst of it get so caught up in the pressure of the anger and they do things not realizing that it s having an effect on their children. Actress Thanks Divorce Attorney! It is always nice to be noted and appreciated by a client after a case is over, but being thanked on a national television awards show by a noted actress is extraordinary. But that s exactly what happened when S. Epatha Merkeson thanked her manager, her brother, the writer, her producers, and her divorce attorney Washington DC Fellow Sandy Ain when accepting her Screen Actors Guild award for her performance in Lackawanna Blues on January 29, Ms. Merkeson is best known as Lt. Anita Van Buren on NBC s Law & Order. Now Sandy can be best known as the only divorce attorney ever thanked on an awards show! Recognition Mitchell A. Charney of Louisville, Kentucky, was recognized by Louisville Magazine as a 2006 Top lawyer in Louisville, Kentucky, in Family Law. John Schaefer of Birmingham, Michigan, was named of the the nation s one hundred most exceptional attorneys in Worth Magazine. All three named partners of SHORT JENKINS KAMIN LLP, Lindsey Short, Joan Jenkins, and Lynn Kamin, all members of the AAML, were named as Texas Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly magazine. Now there s a winning team! We re very pleased to welcome Vicki West onto the AAML staff as an administrative assistant. Vicki has been employed in the areas of bookkeeping, marketing, and benefits. She is skilled with many computer programs and has solid secretarial skills. Her wide-ranging talents make her especially wellsuited to work in the AAML office with its eclectic needs. Most recently, Vicki was database coordinator for the New Faith Baptist Church Int l. She has also been office manager of a small accounting firm, benefits secretary at Sealy, Inc., and secretary to the Economic Law liaison of the American Bar Association. We ve asked Vicki to tell us about herself in her own words: I grew up on the south side of Chicago, in Roseland, with my sister and four brothers. I was very fortunate to have a stay-at-home mom and a prince of a dad. It was a great childhood! At Hubbard High School, I enrolled in general studies and business classes. It didn t take long to see that I wanted to work in an office. It seemed only natural to steer toward the ABA where Mom, the Academy s very own Lorraine West, and my sister Michele were working. In 1980, I was brought on as the Legal Economics secretary. With a full work schedule and starting a family, I couldn t make time for a college Vicki West education, although I did take a few valuable classes at Daley Community College. Welcome to the AAML, Vicki! My pride and joy is my daughter, Ashley, who is 18 years old. She plans on attending Indiana University at South Bend, with a major to be decided along the way. It s not uncommon to see me with a camera or sketchbook in my hand. I enjoy photography and scrapbooking. My numerous sketchbooks do not contain art per se, but instead designs of homes, gardens, and business ideas the wheels never stop turning! I am strong in my faith, love time spent with family and friends, and look forward to working with the officers, membership and staff of the Academy. If you call the AAML office and Vicki answers, talk to her. We are sure that you will find her to be friendly and eager to please. Welcome to the AAML, Vicki! 10 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
11 AAML NEWS IN BRIEF Aftermath of Katrina by Edmund Wagner, Jr. New Orleans, Louisiana Quoted In The News Our AAML President is Being Quoted Nationally Shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana/ Mississippi /Alabama Gulf Coast region, Lorraine West asked me to send information to share with the Fellows of the Academy, describing the devastation that the storm had wrought and to demonstrate the impact it had on the people and property. Thanks again to the Academy and the Fellows whose support meant a great deal to us after the storm. Initially, I tried to gather stories from the newspaper and other sources, but I became overwhelmed with what was becoming available on a daily basis soon it became an impossible task to complete. Now scores of books graphically show the Katrina s impact. Although Katrina may not be getting the national headlines that it once did, it is still very fresh in the minds of many, especially those who continue to live in the storm ravaged areas of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Bruce Springsteen, who appeared at last week s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, put it best when he said that he has traveled the world and has never seen such utter destruction as he observed in this region. This story lives on and will continue to live on for a long time to come. My wife picked some web sites that Fellows of the Academy can access to get a better idea of what has happened here. A warning: Some of the photos are pretty graphic, showing scenes of death and overwhelming destruction. As they say on television, Viewer Discretion is Advised. The Babin/Springsteen page. It is his story and about three quarters down the page is the link to the video. Hundreds of pictures personal and professional. Sadness, despair, death and destruction. Our_Home/Our_Home_Louisiana.asp is the rebuilding song that has become so popular. There is a story about the composer/singer on that page. You can download the song or pieces of the ads or the whole ad. On the bottom of the page is a video titled Day of Destruction. Also on that page is other information about how hard Slidell was hit by Katrina. (If the video gives you trouble, right click your mouse on the play symbol and select play from that side menu. It should play with-out any problems or you can press the play until it looks like the pause symbol (ll) and hold the mouse down on that symbol. I prefer the first way.) Thanks again to the Academy and the Fellows whose support meant a great deal to us after the storm. Published in the New York Times, March 19, 2006, in an article entitled Weekends With Dad, written by Lynette Clemetson: I think that most judges understand that children require physical one-on-one contact with the absent parent, said Cheryl Lynn Hepfer, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Published by the Associated Press, February 28, 2006, in an article entitled Virtual Visits Pushed in Several States, written by Ann Sanner: I think that it is an evolution and, unfortunately, a lot of older attorneys aren t even aware that it is an option, said Cheryl Hepfer, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a Rockville, Md., attorney. In my experience, I have found that parents who feel connected to their children are much more invested and much more gracious, Hepfer said. Published in CFO, February, 2006, in an article entitled Under the Covers, written by Alix Nyberg Stuart: Capital Group s success in court is also surprising, since judges tend to prefer redacting small portions of testimony rather than sealing the bulk of a trial, notes attorney Cheryl Lynn Hepfer, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Published in the New York Daily News, January 15, 2006, in an article entitled Two Oscars, But, written by Joe Dziemianowicz: It doesn t surprise me at all, says Cheryl Hepfer, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Rockville, MD. Alpha women leave unhappy marriages because they have the ability to leave, she says, adding that women who are less successful than their spouses often settle for the status quo. They re less likely to take risks. Published in the St. Petersburg Times, December 17, 2005, in an article entitled Battle After the Storm, written by Candace Rondeaux: It s a real tragedy because these people that have been through so much and now have to deal with all these family issues, and the courts really weren t designed to deal with this, said Cheryl Hepfer, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a national organization of family law attorneys. We know that there are thousands of children who are affected in the Louisiana and Mississippi area. Most people resolve these issues on their own, but unfortunately there are some cases that just require that somebody else be it a judge or a mediator has to get involved. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 11
12 MIDWINTER MEETING AT CABO SAN LUCAS Sally Oldham and Arnold Rutkin Linda Lea Viken, Michelle and Edward Winer Michael Wilson and Charles Hardy Alex and Dan Hoffnung Patty and Arthur Balbirer, Cheryl Hepfer Barbara Handschu and Mary Jo McCurley David Levy and Marlene Moses 12 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
13 MIDWINTER MEETING AT CABO SAN LUCAS Alton Abramowitz, Marlene Moses, Guy Ferro, Bob Moses, Richard Barry Diane and Buddy Steiner Faye and Peter Walzer Caroline Black and Dixon Lee Judy and Michael Ostrow, Margie Okun and George Stern Jim Cahn, Barbara Runge, Nancy Berg American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 13
14 FROM THE BENCH Changes in Bankruptcy Law Impacting Family Law Practice by Paul Mannes Rockville, Maryland Judge Mannes has served as a judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland since December 30, Prior to that, he was engaged in the general practice of law in Rockville, Maryland, and became Member No. 827 of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in January The provisions of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (the Act ), Public Law 109-8, enacted April 20, 2005, that are discussed in this article apply only to bankruptcy cases filed on or after October 17, The Act represents the culmination of efforts of a coalition of the credit industry to increase profits by making bankruptcy less available to consumers. It is predicted that the changes made by the new legislation will cause the bankruptcy process to be more expensive and difficult for people seeking to be relieved of the burden of debt. At the same time, attorneys working with consumer debtors will find handling bankruptcy cases more onerous, and some provisions of P.L present a degree of personal financial risk to the debtor s attorney. This liability is beyond the scope of this paper. While the massive changes in Title 11 (the Bankruptcy Code ) affect both individuals and businesses, the scope of this paper is limited to the highlights of the Act that deal with family law. The court is indebted to Judge Margaret Dee McGarity, the co-author of Collier Family Law and the Bankruptcy Code, for her materials upon which this paper is based and for her leadership in the area. Let s start with a defined term now found in 11 U.S.C. 101(14A). That section provides: [T]he term domestic support obligation means a debt that accrues before, on, or after the date of the order for relief in a case under this title, including interest that accrues on that debt as provided under applicable nonbankruptcy law notwithstanding any other provision of this title, that is A. owed to or recoverable by i. a spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor or such child s parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative; or ii. a governmental unit; B. in the nature of alimony, maintenance or support (including assistance provided by a governmental unit) of such spouse, former spouse, or child of the debtor or such child s parent without regard to whether such debt is expressly so designated; C. established or subject to establishment before, on, or after the date of the order for relief in a case under this title, by reason of applicable provisions of i. a separation agreement, divorce decree, or property settlement agreement; ii. an order of a court of record; or iii. a determination made in accordance with applicable nonbankruptcy law by a governmental unit; and D. not assigned to a nongovernmental entity, unless that obligation is assigned voluntarily by the spouse, former spouse, child of the debtor, or such child s parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative for the purpose of collecting the debt. This defined term appears throughout the new legislation. 1. The most notable amendment of the Code for attorneys practicing family law is that made to 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(15). For the purposes of determining dischargeability, this amendment eliminates the distinction between orders providing for division of property and orders providing for support of a spouse or child. The result is that nearly all obligations to a spouse, former spouse or child of a debtor incurred in connection with a divorce or separation agreement or other family law-related order are not discharged in a case under any chapter of the bankruptcy code. The one exception to this rule occurs in a case under Chapter 13 where there has been complete consummation of a confirmed Chapter 13 plan (i.e., where the debtor has made all payments required under the plan). Under prior law, an obligation other than one found to be for support would not be discharged unless the debtor could sustain the substantive burden of proof contained in 11 U.S.C. 523 (a)(15)(a) and (B). Thus, such opinions, as In re Coffman, 52 B.R. 667 (BC Md. 1985), In re Stone, 79 B.R. 633 (BC Md. 1987), In re Hesson, 190 B.R. 229 (BC Md. 1995), In re Dexter, 250 B.R. 222 (BC Md. 2000), and In re Robb, 23 F.3d 895 (CA4 1994) are now obsolete. The jury is out as to the efficacy of In re Blaemire, 229 B.R. 665 (BC Md. 1999) holding that fees payable to attorney on behalf of debtor s minor children were nondischargeable. 14 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
15 FROM THE BENCH Another important modification with respect to 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(15) is that an adversary proceeding is no longer required to achieve a finding as to the dischargeability of family law-related debts. Section 523(c) was amended to delete the reference to 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(15) that required a creditor to seek a ruling that the debt is not dischargeable and thus resulted in the discharge of the property division debt if the creditor did not seek such a determination. 2. There are important revisions in the Act applying to wealthier debtors, that is, those debtors who do not qualify for filing a case under Chapter 13 1 and therefore must file under Chapter 11 in order to retain property that is not exempt. In cases under Chapter 11, the concept of property of the estate of 11 U.S.C. 541(a) is modified by 11 U.S.C. 1115(a)(2). This new section of the Bankruptcy Code provides that property of the estate of an individual debtor includes all property acquired after the filing of the case through the time of closure or conversion. Therefore, as in cases under Chapters 12 and 13, creditors must obtain relief from the stay in order to pursue earned income or other property of the debtor acquired after filing. In order for an individual debtor to have a Chapter 11 plan confirmed, the debtor must have paid all amounts payable under a Domestic Support Obligation after the filing of the bankruptcy case. Finally, under 11 U.S.C. 1129(a)(9)(B), a Domestic Support Obligation creditor has the power to require payment in full on the effective date of the plan. 3. There are likewise modifications of the exceptions to the automatic stay that are found in 11 U.S.C. 362(b). As in the past, paternity may be established without the necessity of relief from the stay. In addition, the Act now provides that the automatic stay does not apply to the establishment or the modification of Domestic Support Obligations, actions for child custody or visitation, domestic violence proceedings, actions for marriage dissolution other than as to issues of property division, income withholding under a Domestic Support Obligation or to interception of a tax refund. Another exception allows the withholding or restriction of a driver s or other professional, occupational or recreational license. As a result of the modifications to 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(2)(D), creditors can assure that a debtor s ability to repay Domestic Support Obligations is hobbled by the withholding, suspension or restriction of a debtor s driver s, professional or occupational license. Go figure. 4. Various provisions of the Act provide for special treatment for Domestic Support Obligations. A Domestic Support Obligation is entitled to first priority under 11 U.S.C. 507(a)(1) so that such an obligation is behind only certain administrative expenses allowed the trustee. Moreover, property exempted by a debtor is not protected from a Domestic Support Obligation. 11 U.S.C. 522(c)(1). Likewise, a pre-filing payment of a Domestic Support Obligation is not subject to recovery by the trustee as a preference. 11 U.S.C. 547(c)(7). This limitation on the trustee s avoidance powers, however, is simply a restatement of prior law. Another restatement of prior law can found in 11 U.S.C. 522(f)(1)(A), pursuant to which a judicial lien of a Domestic Support Obligation may not be avoided. 5. Finally, after completion of a Chapter 13 plan, a debtor must certify that post-filing Domestic Support Obligation payments are current in order to receive a discharge 11 U.S.C. 1328(a). The plan, however, can provide for payment of less than all pre-filing obligations to the Domestic Support Obligation creditor if all of the debtor s projected disposable income is devoted to the plan for a five-year period. 11 U.S.C (a)(4). The unpaid Domestic Support Obligation is not discharged. 6. Finally, as noted above, any Domestic Support Obligation owed to a governmental unit is not discharged. This picks up such obligations as those contained in Section IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 651 et seq. and reaches such obligations as those incurred for the support of a delinquent child. One lesson to be learned by lawyers representing debtors is to make certain that claims are filed by all creditors holding Domestic Support Obligations, and, failing such, that claims are filed on the creditors behalf, pursuant to Fed. Rule of Bankruptcy Proc If claims for those creditors are not filed, the claimant will not share in any distribution from the bankruptcy estate, and 100% of the debt will survive debtor s discharge. The implementation of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 promises interesting times for all lawyers, but perhaps more than any other branch of the bar, matrimonial lawyers will receive a degree of certainty not obtainable today. 1 Chapter 13 is limited to debtors owing less than $307, in unsecured debt. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 15
16 TAX WISE Tax Liabilities: Issues of Distribution by Melvyn B. Frumkes Miami, Florida Mitchell, 2003 Where a court has the authority to distribute or allocate assets, it likewise has the same authority to allocate or assign liabilities. 1 Generally speaking, if both parties benefited from the income generating the income tax obligation, they should equitably share the tax owed, and perhaps also interest and penalties. The mere fact that the parties filed separate returns does not change the result. In Capasso v. Capasso, 129 A.D. 267, 517 N.Y.S.2d 952 (N.Y. App. Div. 1987), the parties were held equally responsible for any taxes, interest and penalties which may be assessed against either or both as to any joint tax returns filed by them. The court reasoned that since the tax savings realized from shelters inured to the parties mutual and equal benefit, so too should any disallowances inure to their mutual and equal detriment. The Wife argued in Capasso that it should be the Husband who should be fully liable for the tax since the Husband was solely responsible for preparing the parties joint tax return. The Husband subsequently pled guilty to tax evasion. Nevertheless, the court reasoned at 293: 16 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Viewing marriage as an economic partnership, we are in agreement with the proposition that spouse should share losses as well as profits, liabilities as well as assets incurred in the pursuit of marital wealth. Upon settling the accounts of the spouses, it should make no difference that wealth was acquired through unlawful means where, as here, the innocent spouse benefits therefrom. Since most, if not all, of the cash generated by the husband prior to the commencement of the action through his tax evasion scheme was apparently used to purchase and renovate 990 Fifth Avenue, and is thus reflected in the valuation assigned to that property, the wife should share in the financial liability arising out of the crime. In Branch v. Branch, 775 So.2d 406 (Fla.1st DCA 2000), the tax liability, including accrued interest and penalties, caused by the husband s failure to pay a tax lien was held to be marital subject to equitable distribution since there was no showing that the funds which were not applied to the tax debt were diverted to some improper use that would justify treating the debt as nonmarital, notwithstanding that the Husband managed the parties finances and the Wife had no control over the nonpayment of the tax lien. Solely Liable The entire tax liability in Carter v. Carter, 626 N.W.2d 576 (Neb.2001), was determined to be nonmarital because the income which generated the tax was spent by the husband on nonmarital pursuits. Likewise, in Pierre- Louis v. Louis, 715 So.2d 1073 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988), the husband was held solely liable for the back taxes, penalties and interest since he unilaterally decided not to file nor pay income taxes and solely benefited by his failure to pay. 2 Separate Returns The mere fact that the parties filed separate returns does not change the result. In Barner v. Barner, 716 So.2d 795 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998), the spouses filed separate returns, but the wife was found equally responsible for the back taxes owed to the IRS by the husband. The court noted that the monies earned by the husband were used for family support and he should not be punished because he is the only one who generates income. 3 In Meints v. Meints,258 Neb. 1017, 608 N.W.2d 564 (2000), the parties filed separate returns; the wife filed timely, the husband filed later, thus incurring a penalty. The husband had an outstanding tax liability. The tax liability was held to be marital, 4 but the penalty for late filing was assessed solely against the husband as a nonmarital debt. The court noted that an innocent spouse 5 who has filed separate tax returns and has paid his or her taxes in a timely fashion should not be forced to share in any statutory penalties for the late filings of a dilatory spouse. Mel Frumkes 1. Mullins v. Mullins, 785 S.W.2d 5 (Tex. App. Fort Worth 1990); Bentley v. Bentley, 538 A.2d 279 (Me. 1988). 2. In dicta in In re Marriage of Charles, 284 Ill. App.3d 339, 672 N.E.2d 57, 1996 (Ill. App. Ct. 4th Dist. 1996), the Court opined that incurring interest and penalties by one party may be deemed dissipation of assets. 3. See also Downy v. Kamka, 189 W.Va. 141, 428 S.E.2d 769 (W. Va. 1993) (Parties equally liable for husband s back state taxes incurred during marriage, and the fact that parties filed separate returns was irrelevant because the tax liability incurred was a marital debt ). 4. In dicta, the Court noted that equity may not demand the same result if credible evidence establishes that the delinquent taxpayer spouse spend significant funds on nonmarital presents. 5. When the court used the term innocent spouse, it was referring to a spouse not at fault and not an innocent Spouse as is defined in I.R.C This is an excerpt from Frumkes on Divorce Taxation, 5th Ed by Melvyn B. Frumkes and published by James Publishing, Inc Cadillac Avenue, Suite H Costa Mesa, California TEL WEB SITE: jamespublishing.com Mr. Frumkes maintains law offices in Miami and Boca Raton, Florida and restricts his practice to marital and family law. He is a Fellow of the AAML and the IAML and a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Attorneys.
17 LAW OFFICE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE HOT TIPS Each issue will now include this new feature: Hot Tips from the Law Office Management Committee Digital Dictation: Banish Tapes Forever! by Charles A. Matison Northfield, New Jersey Law Office Management Committee Member Icame in early to my office in New Jersey on a Saturday morning to dictate a brief. (What was I thinking about when I could have been playing squash or golf?) After several hours of dictation, I left the file and the tapes on my secretary s desk. Much to my chagrin, on Monday morning when I came in to the office, my secretary told me that the tapes were blank. If this has happened to you, I have a solution. Toss your tapes, toss your dictaphone and your transcribers, and consider trying a digital voice recorder. Digital voice recorders are made by several different companies. I am personally familiar with Olympus DS This is how it works: You receive a handheld recorder the size of a small cell phone that stores highly compressed DSS format voice messages in an integrated memory. If that s too much information for you, simply put, your dictation is stored in a chip located in the recorder rather than on tape. You immediately see that you no longer have to purchase tapes or be concerned that tapes twist, wear out, get busted, or otherwise fail to record. (With input from James T. McLaren Columbia, South Carolina Law Office Management Chair) The recorder allows you to record on many different folders, depending on how sophisticated you want to be. What folders mean is that by a push of the button, you can dictate to many different transcribers. Happy dictating!! For example, in my office, I have two secretaries/paralegals. On the same recorder, by a push of a button, I can dictate on different files and different subjects and the information goes to separate folders, i.e., separate secretaries /paralegals for transcription. Since I can get easily confused, I have even assigned the names of my secretaries/ paralegals to the folders. The recorder has a variable controlled voice actuator that starts recording automatically and stops when the volume drops. To record, I just push a button. Recording works in a very similar way to other dictation machines. There are buttons to record, rewind, run forward, play, and stop, as well as other miscellaneous buttons to complete various tasks. The other equipment that comes with your recorder is DSS player software, a foot peddle for transcribing, a USB cradle, and other connections to your PC. By connecting the recorder to your PC, either through the cradle or directly, you may play your recording or attach the voice file with . This downloading process of your recording works in the office as follows: You record the information, put the recorder in your cradle, open up the DSS player software screen, and download your recordings to the various transcribers. If you are out of the office, you download the information to your PC and then it back to your office for transcription. Once downloaded, the transcribers can now select a folder that contains a voice file to play. Downloading your dictation is done by the click of your mouse. You ve now achieved virtual nirvana and the dictation/transcribing process is complete! The setup of the system is easy and straightforward. At Jim McLaren s Columbia, South Carolina office (two attorneys dictating, and five staff transcribing), his computer service installed and set up the system in one hour. In order to get started, I suggest that you go online to w.olympus.com to check out the various options and prices available. This site will also direct you to your local retailers. The AAML Law Office Management Committee has made special arrangements for AAML Fellows to purchase Olympus Digital Dictation Recorders and Transcription Charles Matison Jim McLaren Stations at discounted prices. The DS Digital Dictation Recorder is $ ($ list) and the Transcription Station (headset, peddle and software) is $ ($ list). Contact Mike Russell at Wheeler Business Machines, Inc. toll-free , or at w.whe elermachi, and ask for the AAML Discount. Mike Russell will also walk you through the installation, setup and use of the system. Happy dictating!! The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. WILLIAM JAMES AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST AND PHILOSOPHER American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 17
18 EXTRA-CURRICULARLY SPEAKING When Ken Altshuler asked me to start a wine column for the newsletter, he gave me no directions other than be entertaining and maybe a little educational. Taking that instruction, I add only two premises. One, that you are at least somewhat interested in the topic because you are reading this column and, two, that you like to drink wine and would like to learn more about it. So, let s get started. At its most basic, wine is nothing more than fermented fruit juice. It can be made from any type of fruit, but I am going to limit my discussion to wine made from grapes. There are literally hundreds of grape varieties. However, almost all the wine we consume is made from approximately 15 or 20 different varieties. In Europe, a winery often blends different varieties of grapes to achieve a certain uniform taste from year to year. Depending on the quality of the grapes harvested, the winemaker blends various varieties to achieve the wine s taste, altering the percentage of each grape variety from year to year. Winemakers in the new world (America, Australia, South America, South Africa, etc.), generally craft their wines from a single variety of grape. Indeed, to be called a chardonnay or a cabernet sauvignon, and be allowed to be bottled and sold as that particular varietal, it must contain approximately 80% of that grape variety (the exact percentage depending on individual state law). In the late 70s the California vintners wanted to emulate their European brethren and create a blended 18 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Stop Your Whining and Start Your Wining by David Levy Chicago, Illinois David Levy wine for which they created a new name: Meritage. A bottle of wine from the new world that is not identified by grape variety is by definition a meritage. Opus One, Screaming Eagle, Dominus are all examples of a meritage wine. Obviously, different grapes taste differently. In this column I will concentrate on different white wine grapes. (The next column I will discuss the many red grape varietals.) For a long period of time, the most popular white wine grape was chardonnay. In its most natural state, chardonnay flavors lean towards crisp apple and pear. It is the primary grape of white burgundies such as Chablis, Montrachet and Mersault (all of these being different areas in the Burgundy region of France). Don t be afraid to try new wines. The more you learn about wine, the more you will enjoy it. It is very easy to manipulate its flavor. Generally speaking (unlike its European counterpart), California chardonnays are noticeably oaky in flavor. The oak taste comes from either the wine being fermented in oak barrels or the wine being fermented in huge steel tanks with oak woodchips mixed in with the liquid. Sometimes a chardonnay wine is described as creamy or buttery. This is a result of it undergoing a secondary fermentation process called malolactic fermentation. Food that goes well with chardonnays include mild fish, creamy pasta dishes, crab, shrimp, and chicken. Sauvignon blanc is a native of France, particularly the Loirre Valley. You might have heard of wines such as pouillyfuisse, pouilly-fume or sancerre. All of these wines are made with the sauvignon blanc grape. Their flavor profile can be described as grassy, minerally and bone dry. However, the greatest sauvignon blancs come from the land down under and, particularly, New Zealand. At its best, New Zealand sauvignon blanc tastes like grapefruit or passion fruit. It has a crisp acidity that is great to quaff on a warm summer evening. Sauvignon blancs go very well with a high acid cheese, such as goat cheese or feta, as well as dishes that have a high acid component such as lemon chicken or a simple grilled fish with lemon. It also goes well with many herb based dishes, including those made with oregano, tarragon and thyme. The pinot grigio grape, which is also known as pinot gris in France, is bottled under both names in the new world. It is very similar to the pinot blanc grape. It has a mild flavor profile that reminds one of peaches or light citrus fruits. It has a moderate acidity or crispness. It will not overpower many foods and thus goes well with simple fish or chicken dishes, as well as Mediterranean fare. Generally speaking, the pinot gris from the Alsece (a region in France) can stand up to slightly hardier dishes. (continues on page 24)
19 EXTRA-CURRICULARLY SPEAKING Lock the doors, pull down the shades and put young children out of the room: I am about to describe my travel to the dark side. Ipurchased an Apple computer for my son, and as a result, I purchased an Apple laptop for myself. It all started with my frustration with the continuing maintenance of my 12-year old son s computer. It is a 5-year old Gateway that was previously used by my wife and, thus, perfectly fine for a 12-year old. After six weeks, this computer has lived up to my highest expectations. The problem is with viruses, adware, spam, new software and hardware drivers, updates and the like, I was spending an increasing amount of time being my son s IT department. When I could not figure out why his CD-Rom wasn t working, I threw in the towel. I read that Apple introduced a new model, the Mac Mini and since my son s school uses Macs, we visited the Apple store in the King of Prussia Mall to check things out. The model is intended to entice Windows users to switch, since you purchase only the CPU (i.e., the box) rather than a whole package. You can use your existing monitor, keyboard and mouse. At an average price of $500 for a computer with built-in Wi-Fi, large hard drive and fast processor, this looked promising. The unit measures 2 inches by 6 inches. That is Bits and Bytes of the Apple by Joel Bernbaum Norristown, Pennsylvania it! Imagine a computer the size of a Harry Potter paperback book and you have the Mini. We put the Mini through its paces and within 15 minutes, I bought it and took it home. I was expecting the usual 2 3 hours to set it up, but in only five minutes, my son was on the Internet and ready to rock and roll. I was blown away with the ease of use, pleasing interface and intuitive features. In short, the Apple line of computers, to my surprise, are quiet (no lights flashing, hard drives churning, etc.) and very stable. The CD-ROM tray is replaced with a slot like your car unit. There is no flimsy tray to break. After six weeks, this computer has lived up to my highest expectations. That said, what would it do in my world of business, court, and speaking engagements? I replaced my trusted SONY with a PowerBook G4, 15 inch model. I found the same satisfaction with this unit that my son found with the Mini. I purchased Office for Mac and transferred all my personal and business files, including spreadsheets and Power Point presentations. The whole transfer process took a couple of hours with no problems. My adjustment took minutes. There is absolutely no compatibility problem with Joel Birnbaum any files I had on my SONY Windows laptop. My worked flawlessly and Internet browsing is the same. However, the ease of use and stability are apparent. It connected to my home network without any major configuration issues. This is where the real advantage of the Apple system shines. I have been using my Apple laptop for about three weeks in all types of situations. I am very pleased with the results. Now for the fun part. I have an ipod, digital camera and video. The Apple operating system is made for digital data. The supplied programs worked well and faster than the Windows counter parts. This is where the real advantage of the Apple system shines. I have been using my Apple laptop for about three weeks in all types of situations. I am very pleased with the results. I am surprised that I didn t consider this option before. I think the issues of compatibility and lack of software have been resolved or were not really big issues. This is not to say there are limitations. Although you will find all the major software, the vast amount of programs are written for Windows; it is just the reality. I am able to do everything as before, but some of my software (non-essential) is not available for Mac. It made me realize that I accumulated a lot of junk software over the years. However, since I still have a Windows-based computer at work, these issues are not major. The bottom line: I would look at the Apple line of computers as an alternative option, especially in the home environment. If you work with digital music, pictures or video, there are real advantages. For the average user, it may be a simpler, easier and more pleasing computer experience. Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 19
20 IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT S COLUMN The Intent Behind Our New Amicus Policies by Barbara Ellen Handschu New York City, New York As with new legislation, new policy guidelines sometimes require a little time and tweaking before everyone reaches a level of familiarity and comfort with them. So this column is a good opportunity to discuss the intent behind the AAML Amicus Policies that were enacted at the November 2005 Board of Governors Meeting. It will take some time before we all become conversant with these policies, but it is my fervent hope that in no way will they either impede the involvement of Academy Chapters as amicus, or restrict the appropriate involvement of the Academy on a national level. It was part of the intent that the amicus policies would encourage Chapters to write amicus briefs or to endorse extant briefs. In fact, the only new requirement for Chapters in the policies involves using the disclaimer language, found in Article II (C)(6), indicating that the brief represents views of the Chapter and not the national organization. (The exact language of the Amicus Policies is available from the AAML s national office and should appear on our Web site, shortly. It should be incorporated in any amicus brief.) If a Chapter does not have an amicus committee, the policies require the creation of such a committee if the Chapter wishes to act as amicus. The intent was to encourage 20 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Academy involvement in filing amicus briefs. I strongly support the Academy appearing as amicus. In fact, I just consulted a copy of the only Academy brief ever filed by us in the United States Supreme Court, Troxel v. Granville, and saw that my name appears first on the front cover of the brief. This was simply because I was then the only AAML officer admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court. The new amicus policies appear to have caused confusion I had hoped that the Academy could file an amicus in the Gonzales case that was decided by the United States Supreme Court in The organization coordinating amicus briefs asked us to sign on to a brief prepared by a different organization. The brief we were asked to endorse, however, did not address the issues our Board of Governors had decided we could address. As a result, we did not participate in Gonzales. The new amicus policies appear to have caused confusion and some Chapters think that a Chapter must come to National and ask for approval before a Chapter can file an amicus brief. This is absolutely unnecessary. In fact, the only thing the Chapter s amicus Barbara Handschu committee must do is to follow Article II, and address the factors to be considered. There must be a recommendation from the Chapter s amicus committee. National is not involved in this. Besides the limiting language just referred to, the Chapter is urged to file a copy of the amicus brief with National so that we can create a Brief Bank. We envision that the National Amicus Committee will be asked to participate in limited situations. We primarily imagined that National might file amicus briefs when requested by the Board of Governors or when a majority of the officers agree and the decision cannot be deferred to the next Board meeting. The National Amicus Committee might be asked to write an amicus brief if there were no Chapter in a particular state and if either an AAML Fellow or others had requested the Academy to intervene as amicus. In the event someone other than an Academy Fellow asked for involvement by the Academy nationally, and if there were a Chapter in the state, the request would be referred back to the state Chapter. It was not the intent of the Amicus Policies to have the National Amicus Committee constantly writing briefs. It is my belief that involvement by National would be the exception rather than the rule. It was my understanding that National would be involved where there were significant family law issues in the United States Supreme Court raised in states where there was no Academy Chapter. Another reason for involvement, perhaps, would be where there was federal litigation, sometimes with conflicts between the states utilizing legislation such as the UCCJEA. Chapters or Fellows who are looking for assistance from the National Amicus Committee must proceed with early requests and notification. The specific categories of factors that should be considered when filing (which appear in Article I [B]) should be addressed when making a request. Sufficient advance notification is absolutely necessary. Also, if possible, a copy of the appealed-from court decision and a proposed brief, or at least an outline of issues. As we become more conversant with handling these matters, much of this will just shake out in the mix. Again, it is my fervent hope that the Academy becomes more actively involved as amicus on the Chapter level and throughout the states, wherever appropriate. We should also be more actively involved where our presence as amicus advances the Academy s goals of encouraging study, improving practice, elevating standards and advancing the course of matrimonial law.