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of the Trustor (the person who created the Trust). In both instances, the Trust remained open for an unreasonable length of time and funds which were supposed to have been distributed have not been. Avery’s job is to determine whether any improprieties have occurred and to compel the distribution that the Client is entitled to pursuant to the terms of the Trust.

Recent Case Law and Legislation

T h e r e h a v e n o t b e e n t o o m a n y c u t t i n g e d g e f a m i l y l a w c a s e s i n t h e l a t t e r p a r t o f 2 0 0 6 . R e c e n t l y , however, there was another move- away case, Niko v. Foreman, decided Oct. 30-06, in which the Fourth District Court of Appeal decided that the trial court did not err by applying the best interests standard and ordering a de novo review where a prior order gave the parents joint legal and physical custody of their child with a 50-50 time share. The dissent in this case was very strong with regard to the finality of family law judgments. Most family law attorneys are aware that in custody matters, “finality” means something else entirely from a final judgment in a simple civil case with a money judgment. Finality in custody decisions simply affects the standard of proof. Family Code Section 3087 requires a court to apply a best- interests test whenever considering a motion to modify a joint custody order. To call a move away a simple change in the existing parenting plan instead

of a change in the joint physical custody order, to many family law attorneys is a distinction without a difference. This may not be the first case to find a move away to simply be a change in the existing parenting plan, rather than a modification of a joint custody order. However, the practical effect of a move away order is a de facto custody change, given the detrimental effect that the move will have on the time share. Nevertheless, such a change we believe the courts would permit only where there is a very strong showing that the change is in the best interests of the child and will not be too detrimental to his or her relationship with the left-behind parent.

T h e l e g i s l a t u r e p a s s e d w h a t i s k n o w n a s t h e C o l l a b o r a t i v e F a m i l y L a w A c t e n a c t i n g F a m . Code §2013 which authorizes Parties to a dissolution to use a collaborative law process to resolve their disputes, as long as they have signed a written agreement to do so. The new statute defines such a process as one in which the Parties, along any professionals whom they hire to help them, agree in writing “to use their best efforts and to make a good faith attempt” to resolve family law disputes “without resorting to adversary judicial intervention.” Another statute permits state tax filing status for domestic partners. The same rules are to be applied to domestic partners and spouses for purposes of state income taxes and by recognizing earned income of

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