The International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers By Stephen Kolodny

 

International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyerspic

International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Image: iaml.org

A professional organization designed to meet the needs of matrimonial attorneys across the globe, the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML) currently represents legal professionals from more than 44 countries. Founded in 1986 in the wake of the successes experienced by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, IAML consists of some of the most accomplished legal professionals in their respective countries. Today, IAML divides its operations among three regional groups: the United States chapter, the European chapter, and the Canadian chapter. In addition to the numerous fellows participating in the 3 primary chapters, more than 80 fellows carry out IAML’s mission in Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, Brazil, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic.

IAML sets out to improve the standards of the family law profession throughout the world by promoting legal reform, providing valuable advice and assistance to members of the public, and establishing international networks to support developments in family law. IAML members enjoy access to a number of benefits, including top-quality legal resources and scholarly publications. In recent years, IAML has emerged as a leading reference for individual seeking prominent matrimony lawyers. Similarly, many government officials use IAML membership listings to locate family law specialists in their countries.

One of the most valuable resources offered by the IAML, the Journal of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers includes timely articles and keeps family law practitioners abreast of the latest advances in the field. The Journal’s articles discuss a wide range of family law topics. For example, financial dispute resolution in England, the California mediation privilege, alternative dispute resolution in the Dominican Republic, and the state of family law in India are some of the subjects recently included. IAML members also benefit from annual meetings of individual chapters and the organization as a whole, which include diverse educational programming and noteworthy guest speakers. During the meetings, members have opportunities to meet fellow family law attorneys and augment their professional networks.

To become members of IAML, candidates must satisfy the membership criteria and submit information for review by the Board of Admissions. The admissions process is a decidedly rigorous one, designed to maintain strong expertise among the group’s members. To learn more about the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, visit the website at www.iaml.org.

About the Author

A longtime member of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Stephen Kolodny currently works as a Founding Partner of Kolodny & Anteau, a family law firm in Beverly Hills, California. Mr. Kolodny possesses a wealth of experience with a variety of family law topics, primarily focusing on custody litigation issues and complex property characterization.

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Stephen Kolodny on Lamp Community’s Unique Solutions to Problem of Homelessness

The Lamp Community pic

The Lamp Community
Image: lampcommunity.org

Attorney Stephen Kolodny, of Kolodny & Anteau in Los Angeles, enthusiastically supports the work of Lamp Community, a charity that reaches out to some of California’s most vulnerable people without homes.

The Lamp Community takes a unique approach to the problem of homelessness. Many of those who remain homeless for many years have underlying mental health problems that keep them from getting and keeping a home. However, most programs demand that people who have a mental illness or struggle with addiction fix their problems before they receive shelter. Lamp Community believes that it is unrealistic to expect a person to successfully treat larger problems if his basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing go unmet. As a result, Lamp pioneered the Housing First method for aiding adults in need.

Lamp offers its clients a safe, warm, home. The group does not require participation in rehabilitation or mental health services. However, after a person enters Lamp Community, he has easy access to programs for rehabilitation, counseling, job training, and life skills. He is also surrounded by other people in various life stages. Lamp believes in the importance of individual choice. The program’s method produces astounding results. More than 85 percent of Lamp clients remain off the streets for at least a year. Kolodny & Anteau is proud to support this worthy group.

Stephen Kolodny on the International and American Academies of Matrimonial Lawyers

Throughout four decades as a practicing lawyer, I have had the privilege of helping to shape family law into the field that it has become today. In addition to holding certification as a family law specialist since a California program for this area was first introduced in 1980, I played a key role in establishing professional bodies like the American College of Family Trial Lawyers and the Los Angeles Superior Court Family Law Mediation Panel.

Family law has evolved into a complex and multidisciplinary specialty, and I always endeavor to stay up-to-date on scientific developments through my affiliations with groups such as the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML).

When I received my Juris Doctor at Boston University School of Law in 1965, AAML was only in its third year of existence. By the time I joined the organization in 1981, AAML had grown to become one of the leading professional associations in family law. Because the rigorous membership process considers depth of experience, range of knowledge, and professional participation, AAML Fellows enjoy a reputation as leaders in the field.

The success of AAML inspired the creation of a similar organization to serve the needs of practitioners worldwide, and IAML launched in 1986 with a mission to advance the field of international family law. The two groups promote the highest standards of competence, professionalism, and integrity, and I have gladly contributed my time to both AAML and IAML over the years.

Within AAML, which currently boasts 1,600 members across the United States, I have served as Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Program, member of the Admissions and Attorney’s Fee Committees, and Vice President and President of the Southern California Chapter, among other positions. As a member of IAML, which includes members from 43 countries around the world, I published the organization’s newsletter for several years before serving as President of the USA Chapter and member of the Board of Governors. I have lectured frequently before both organizations on various topics in the field, particularly in my main focus area of complex family law matters, and I look forward to doing so in the future as well.

About the Author:

Recognized as one of the Top 10 Divorce Lawyers in the United States by Town & Country Magazine, Stephen Kolodny currently serves as founding partner of the Los Angeles family law firm, Kolodny & Anteau.

Visitation Rights for Grandparents, Presented by Stephen Kolodny

A leading family attorney, Stephen Kolodny has earned extensive recognition for his work in the field, including being named one of the top 10 divorce lawyers in the United States by Town & Country and Worth magazines. A founding Partner at Kolodny & Anteau, Stephen Kolodny advises clients on a wide range of areas within matrimonial and family law. In the following article, Mr. Kolodny delves into the area of grandparents’ rights.

In the last 40 years, states around the country have changed laws to reflect greater rights for grandparents in the realms of custody and visitation. Though some federal laws might affect the rights of grandparents in child-custody cases, such issues are primarily handled at the state level.

In cases where custody is being determined, such as a divorce, an instance of child abuse, or when a child has been orphaned, grandparents might qualify for court-granted visitation or custody, depending on the circumstances. Family courts generally proceed with the best interests of the child in mind. In some states, the factors determining best interest are set out explicitly, while in others, the courts have more leeway to decide what should contribute to the decision. Some commonly considered factors include the physical and emotional needs of the child, the safety of the child, the wishes of the parents and grandparents, the strength of the relationship between the child and grandparents, and the wishes of the child.

Most states do allow grandparents to seek visitation even if the parents are both alive or still married, though some restrict court-ordered visitation to instances of divorce or parent death. The rules about grandparent visitation and custody were designed to allow grandparents to stay connected with their grandchildren when the court deems such a relationship to be positive.

Contempt Enforcement

By Stephen Kolodny

The parties subject to a court-ordered resolution in a divorce, child support, custody, or visitation dispute generally understand that they must comply with the terms mandated by the judge or face charges of being in contempt of court. While the discussions leading to a legal settlement between the parties involved in such cases are often acrimonious, upholding the provisions of these resolutions sometimes leads to just as much resentment. When it comes to matters of the heart or a person’s beliefs regarding his or her parental rights, many people try to veer from the path ordered by the law, usually in an effort to “get back” at the former spouse or to reclaim something he or she has lost.

By ignoring or even defying a court order, an individual places him or herself in danger of heavier sanctions, penalties, or even arrest and jail time. Some people fail to comply with a court order, such as child support, because of a change in employment status or another often unavoidable situation. In such instances, however, people must inform the court about their change of circumstances; if the court has to come to them, they may find that the judge is not as amenable to their excuses. For those who simply refuse to comply with a court order, courts more often than not utilize penalties, sanctions, jail sentences, and other tools to ensure that such lack of compliance does not recur.

The legal definitions of contempt include a clear delineation between civil contempt and criminal contempt. Civil contempt involves remediation for the victim or the community, while the charge of criminal contempt asserts the authority of the court with a punitive sentence. While in some cases family law judgments and orders may not be punishable by contempt, most fall under the umbrella of contempt. Some parties attempt to circumvent the orders handed down by the court by claiming that such factors as division of property or proceeds from property jointly owned, child support payments, and other similar instructions actually qualify as debts because they require monetary payment. In fact, neither a judgment nor an order constitutes a debt. Instead, these decrees stem from an obligation of marriage or parentage and are thus imposed by the law. As such, contempt serves as a legally permissible mechanism to uphold the power of the court.

The orders that a court may enforce by contempt include those related to property division; court costs and legal fees; support for family, spouse, or child; visitation and child custody rights; protection and restraint; and information about marital property or other requests of the court.

Common-Law Marriage By Stephen Kolodny

In family law, common-law marriage describes a legally recognized relationship between two people in the absence of formal marriage commitments, such as signing a marriage contract or registering in a civil registry. However, individuals engaged in a common-law marriage enjoy many of the same rights as people who have entered into a formal marriage. The treatment and recognition of common-law marriages vary substantially from country to country, with each jurisdiction setting its own requirements and conferring its own set of rights and privileges.

In the United States, the 1877 U.S. Supreme Court case Meister v. Moore established that individuals had the right to marry according to the common law precedents of the state in question. As such, the right to marry existed through common law until the state passed a law that explicitly changed it. Simply put, the Supreme Court allowed states to determine their respective common law contracts for marriage. Although common-law marriage requirements still vary among states, as long as the state recognizes the marriage as valid, the parties involved enjoy all the federal tax benefits associated with traditional marriage.

 

In the majority of U.S. states that allow the practice, a couple qualifies for a common-law marriage as long as the individuals fulfill three requirements: living together, presenting themselves as a married couple, and establishing an intent to become married. In terms of cohabitation, some states, such as New Hampshire, require couples to live together for a certain number of years before they qualify for common-law marriage. However, New Hampshire allows common-law marriage only for probate purposes, ensuring that surviving spouses can inherit without any undue difficulty. To present themselves to others as a married couple, individuals can take the same last name, file a joint tax return, or refer to one another as husband and wife.

 

In English-speaking countries, the term common-law marriage is often colloquially used to refer to a man and a woman who have lived together for an extended period of time. However, cohabitation satisfies only one of the conditions of common-law marriage, and, as such, is insufficient to guarantee a couple the rights enjoyed by traditional spouses. In recent decades, many states and countries have outlawed common-law marriages, claiming the institution promoted fraud and debased the conventional notion of marriage.

 

About the Author:

 

An experienced family law attorney in the Southern California area, Stephen Kolodny specializes in custody litigation issues and complex property characterization. Mr. Kolodny currently serves as a Founding Partner of Kolodny & Anteau in Beverly Hills, a position he has held for more than 15 years.

The International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers By Stephen Kolodny

A professional organization designed to meet the needs of matrimonial attorneys across the globe, the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML) currently represents legal professionals from more than 44 countries. Founded in 1986 in the wake of the successes experienced by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, IAML consists of some of the most accomplished legal professionals in their respective countries. Today, IAML divides its operations among three regional groups: the United States chapter, the European chapter, and the Canadian chapter. In addition to the numerous fellows participating in the 3 primary chapters, more than 80 fellows carry out IAML’s mission in Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, India, Hong Kong, Brazil, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic.

 

IAML sets out to improve the standards of the family law profession throughout the world by promoting legal reform, providing valuable advice and assistance to members of the public, and establishing international networks to support developments in family law. IAML members enjoy access to a number of benefits, including top-quality legal resources and scholarly publications. In recent years, IAML has emerged as a leading reference for individual seeking prominent matrimony lawyers. Similarly, many government officials use IAML membership listings to locate family law specialists in their countries.

 

One of the most valuable resources offered by the IAML, the Journal of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers includes timely articles and keeps family law practitioners abreast of the latest advances in the field. The Journal’s articles discuss a wide range of family law topics. For example, financial dispute resolution in England, the California mediation privilege, alternative dispute resolution in the Dominican Republic, and the state of family law in India are some of the subjects recently included. IAML members also benefit from annual meetings of individual chapters and the organization as a whole, which include diverse educational programming and noteworthy guest speakers. During the meetings, members have opportunities to meet fellow family law attorneys and augment their professional networks.

 

To become members of IAML, candidates must satisfy the membership criteria and submit information for review by the Board of Admissions. The admissions process is a decidedly rigorous one, designed to maintain strong expertise among the group’s members. To learn more about the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, visit the website at www.iaml.org.

 

About the Author

 

A longtime member of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Stephen Kolodny currently works as a Founding Partner of Kolodny & Anteau, a family law firm in Beverly Hills, California. Mr. Kolodny possesses a wealth of experience with a variety of family law topics, primarily focusing on custody litigation issues and complex property characterization.