The 3rd Annual Seminar on Cultural Competency in Family Practice (CCFP) was held on Saturday, July 26, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. Nearly 100 participants, including family law judges, attorneys, psychologists and financial experts participated in the daylong program. A joint project of the IALA and Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), it was hosted by School of Law, the University of West Los Angeles (UWLA), LAX campus. This years’s Seminar was focused on interaction between the family law in California and other nations. The Seminar, including 8 Panels started at 8:30 a.m., until 5:15 p.m. Breakfast, lunch and tea was served.

Panels & Topics:

PANEL I: Subjective Objective: Making Putative Spouse out of a Foreign Defective Marriage.

Hon. Mark A. Juhas (Family Law Judge, Los Angeles), and Abbas Hadjian (Certified Family Law Specialist) began the seminar by reviewing the history and development of family law and marriage requirements in California. The panel pointed out the similarities between marriages around the world with different stages of development of family law in California.

PANEL II: No Right to Remain Silent: Foreign Assets in California Litigation.

Hon. Shelley Kaufman (Family Law Judge, Los Angeles), Paul White (forensic accounting analyst), and Steve Zand (Certified Family Law Specialist) in the second section of the seminar considered treatment of foreign assets under the Federal and California law and consequence of failure to disclose. The panel discussed legal and investigative means to locate and discover hidden in other countries.

PANEL III: Domestic Violence With Cause: Proving and Opposing Cultural Violence.

Hon. Cynthia Loo (Family Law Commissioner, Mariposa), Dr. Foojan Zeine (Clinical psychologist), and Naghmeh Bashar (Certified Family Law Specialist) in reviewing the links between culture and domestic violence highlighted causes for (and appearance of ) domestic violence among the California multi-cultural immigrants. The panel found necessity to understand cultural backgrounds, education for the family, enforcement of orders to reduce further victimization by the perpetrators and adjusting to the California marital laws.

PANEL IV: Yes, Without Your Daughter: Applying UCCJEA to Foreign Custody Orders.

Hon B. Scott Silverman (Family Law Judge, Los Angeles), Rober B. Brandt (Certified Family Law Specialist), and F. Faye Nia, (Certified Family Law Specialist) reviewed application of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to the foreign child custody orders. The panel raised scope of Comity in international litigation and necessity of finding common grounds between foreign and California child custody orders.

PANEL V: Unpacking Cultural Backpack: Spirits, Tigers and Health, Education, and Welfare of Children.

Hon. Amy Pellman (Children’s Court Judge, Los Angeles), Dr. Linda Bortell (Psychologist), and Dr. Gitu Bhatia (Psychologist) in a program titled "Unpacking the cultural backpack of children", highlighted significance of examining cultural upbringing of children from various cultural backgrounds. More spcefically, the panel examined cultural history and ways of understanding children in Native American and biracial families and their similarities with other children from families of ethnic minorities and immigrant families.

PANEL VI: Take My Child Back: Handling your First Hague Petition.

Hon. Fredick C. Shaller (Family Law Judge, Los Angeles), Leslie E. Shear (Certified Family Law Specialist) and Warren Shiell (Certified Family Law Specialist), explained the process of return of abducted children to their home countries under the Hague Convention. The panel compared differences between the process in California and the Federal courts.

PANEL VII: Broken Promises: Dealing with Unconventional Foreign Marital Agreements.

Hon. Bruce G. Iwasaki (Family Law Judge, Los Angeles), Peter M. Walzer (Certified Family Law Specialist) and David Yamamoto (Certified Family Law Specialist) described differences between California and major international premarital agreements. The panel noticed that the California law is changing and public policy tolerates many cultural differences.

PANEL VIII: Long Arm of Foreign Courts: Applying UIFSA to Foreign Support Judgments.

Hon. Harvey A. Silverman (Family Law Judge, Los Angeles), Raymond Goldestein (Family Law Attorney) and Randy M. Medina (Certified Family Law Specialist) reviewed the process of registering and enforcing foreign support orders under the California law. The panel acknowledged necessity of modifying the foreign child support orders if not consistent with the California law or ordering the spousal supports were not provided for.