Dear AFCC-CA Members and Friends –
We are sending a quick e-blast to seek to inform you about two important pieces of legislative news.
SB 241 – This bill was just signed by the Governor and extends the ability of civil courts, including family law courts, to conduct conferences, hearings, proceedings, and trials through the use of remote technology, through July 1, 2023. Thus, for better or for worse, Zoom court shall continue.
Paraprofessional Program – The California State Bar is working on a new program which would permit paralegals (paraprofessionals) to represent clients in certain areas of the law. While the panel that has researched this program exempted certain practice areas as being overly complex (for example trusts and estates) family law is slated to be included in the current draft proposal.
As currently drafted, the program would permit paralegals to represent family law clients in ALL child custody and visitation matters except those involving the Hague Convention or the UCCJEA; domestic violence cases involving children; and as appointed counsel (minor’s counsel). Thus, as drafted, paralegals could represent parents for most custody and visitation motions and hearings; mediation; evaluations; etc.
Family law attorneys, judges, and mental health professionals have a unique opportunity to comment and weigh in on the proposal before a bill is submitted to the Legislature. Comments are due by January 12th. More details are available here: https://www.calbar.ca.gov/About-Us/Our-Mission/Protecting-the-Public/Public-Comment/Public-Comment-Archives/2022-Public-Comment/California-Paraprofessional-Program-Recommendations
The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) is hosting a Virtual Town Hall Meeting to further discuss this potential program, on November 8, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:30. This is a FREE event open to anyone with interest. Our former President Michele Brown will be one of the presenters. The full list is:
- The Honorable Mark A. Juhas (family law judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court and Chair of the CA Access to Justice Commission);
- The Honorable Monica F. Wiley (supervising family law judge of the San Francisco County Superior Court and member of the Paraprofessional Program Working Group);
- Nicholas Liedtke, Esq. (Assembly Judiciary Committee Staff Counsel);
- Stephen D. Hamilton, Esq., CFLS, AAML (member of the Paraprofessional Program Working Group);
- Avi Levy, Esq., CFLS, AAML, IAFL (Legislative Director, ACFLS); and
- Michele Brown, Esq., CFLS (President, ACFLS) – moderator
You can register for this Town Hall event here:
We hope you can attend this Town Hall to learn more about the proposed paraprofessional program and then weigh in by sending comments to the State Bar.