Archive for May 2018

San Diego City Council Honors Jennifer Lee and Pan Asian Lawyers

Jennifer Lee, associate attorney with Weber Dispute Resolution, joined her colleagues from the Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego (PALSD) at the San Diego City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 15. San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate presented the group’s representatives with a proclamation declaring May 2018 as ‘Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”

Lee is currently serving on the Board of Directors of PALSD as treasurer.

View video from the presentation here.

Jennifer Lee receives congratulations from San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate.

Jennifer Lee receives congratulations from San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate.

Jennifer Lee has been a part of the Weber Dispute Resolution team since October 2015. She practices the “Dolphin Lawyering” philosophy. Jennifer strives to help clients reach a settlement out of court, but she is a capable litigator when necessary. She specializes in providing clients with the practical knowledge they need to make the right decisions for their family.

Jennifer understands every family is unique, using her skills to reach creative solutions and provide pragmatic representation for her clients. She brings patience, kindness, reason, and humility to every interaction. As a result, clients can trust they will be seen, heard, understood, and supported.

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Jennifer speaks Mandarin Chinese and in addition to her role with the Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego, she is an active member of the San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Family Law Bar Association, and San Diego Chinese Attorneys Association.

 

I Have An Alimony Order in California – What is a ‘Gavron Warning’?

What is a Gavron Warning?

Paper family split between broken dollar heart with Alimony text

What is a Gavron Warning?

The idea of the “Gavron Warning” came from the case In Re Marriage of Gavron, (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 705, 250 Cal.Rptr. 148. In this case, the parties separated in 1976 after a 25 year marriage. Subsequently, the court ordered the husband to pay $1,100 per month of alimony. He did so until 1981, when he asked the court to reduce support to $550 and then terminate entirely after one year. This initial request was denied.

However, the husband tried again in 1986. This time the court ordered that support would continue for five months and then terminate. The wife appealed and reversed the trial court’s order. The appellate court held that because the wife was not warned in prior orders to become self-sufficient, she could not be penalized years later because the court did not tell her to make efforts. In essence, as the court argued, the failure to focus her on the expectation to become self-sufficient meant that the court could not cut her support now.

Because of this case, the courts will frequently issue a warning to the supported spouse. Here is an example of a Gavron Warning:

“NOTICE: It is the goal of this state that each party will make reasonable good faith efforts to become self-supporting as provided for in Family Code section 4320. The failure to make reasonable good faith efforts may be one of the factors considered by the court as a basis for modifying or terminating spousal or partner support.”

Supporting Spouses will want the Gavron Warning included

So, the lesson for support payers is to make sure that the court includes such language in the spousal support order. If it is not, it may be harder to reduce income later if the supported spouse refuses to make good faith efforts to become self-sufficient. When I am representing a support payer, I always ask the judge for a Gavron Warning and I almost always include it in written stipulations. I will also sometimes simply file and serve a written Gavron Warning to the supported party myself at the beginning of the case so that there is no question that the supported party has been warned.

The supported spouse will likely rather not have the Gavron Warning included, but it is hard to oppose it

When I am representing a supported spouse, naturally I will not bring the Gavron Warning up. However, if opposing counsel wants it in an order, there is no legal basis to resist it. The moral for the supported spouse is not to count on the alimony as a permanent means of support.

I frequently refer the supported spouse for vocational counseling to assist with re-entering a career. I get as much alimony as I can, but encourage the prudence of planning for self-reliance. After all, no one knows for sure what the future holds. Not only could the support payer try to reduce alimony, it could simply terminate by means of death. Any changed circumstance such as unemployment or disability could force a reduction or termination in support too. The best advice is to use the support as a life preserver to stay afloat in the short run, but take steps immediately to be ready for when the support may no longer be available.

Further reading:

How California Spousal Support Works

What does California Child Support Cover?