Family Law Case Summaries

Family Law Case Summaries

[11/20] Grucci v. Grucci
In plaintiff’s suit against his ex-wife for malicious prosecution, trial court’s dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict that the ex-wife did not initiate the contempt proceeding.

[11/09] In re M.L.
In juvenile court’s jurisdictional and dispositional hearing regarding two minor children, juvenile court’s judgment ordering the release of all the children’s mother’s previously existing psychiatric records to the County Children and Family Services is reversed and remanded where: 1) to the extent the court disclosed and ordered the privileged documents admissible at trial, it erred without first conducting an in camera hearing to determine the issue first; 2) the psychiatric records were neither disclosable nor admissible at trial pursuant to section 5328; and 3) the mother did not tender her mental health status as an issue such that she waived the confidentiality of her privileged psychotherapist-patient records.

[10/31] In re Destiny S.
Juvenile court’s orders declaring petitioner’s 11-year-old daughter a dependent of the court, and placing her with her maternal grandmother, are reversed where there is no evidence that the child is under a current risk of serious physical harm.

[10/30] In re R.C.
Juvenile court’s jurisdictional and dispositional orders finding petitioner’s three children dependents of the court under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300(b), is affirmed where sufficient evidence supports the allegation the father engaged in domestic violence such that there was a substantial risk the children would suffer serious physical harm.

[10/25] In re Maricela H.
Juvenile court’s decision declaring a minor a dependent of the court after finding the minor was at risk of suffering serious physical harm “as a result of the failure or inability of his or her parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child” under the first jurisdictional prong of Welfare and Institutions Code section 300(b), is affirmed where the parental conduct to which the jurisdictional provision refers does not require parental neglect and substantial evidence supports the finding.

[10/25] In re K.L.
Juvenile court’s order issued after a 12-month permanency hearing, placing a nonminor dependent in a planned permanent living arrangement and terminating reunification services with the mother is affirmed where: 1) the dependent child in this case did not meet the definition of a nonminor dependent and even though she had turned 18, and as such, the juvenile court did not err in holding the 12-month permanency review hearing; and 2) the statutory framework does not allow a parent to reunify with a dependent child who has turned 18 because a parent cannot have physical custody of an adult.

[10/24] In re D.M.
In dependency proceedings of an infant, who was taken into protective custody directly from the hospital where he was born, the juvenile court’s finding that the mother’s boyfriend, who cannot satisfy the statutory presumptions of paternity set forth in Family Code section 7611, is nevertheless the presumed father entitled to reunification services, is reversed and remanded where the record does not support the essential element of demonstrating that the boyfriend has an existing familial bond with the child sufficient to warrant giving him rights equal to those afforded to a biological father.

[10/23] Holland v. Jones
In plaintiff’s libel suit against his ex-wife, claiming that she maliciously made false statements about him in a declaration she had filed in their marital dissolution proceeding, the appellate division’s reversal of the trial court’s order of dismissal is reversed and remanded where exception to the litigation privilege on which the appellate division relied may apply only to statements made in a martial dissolution proceeding by or against a third party, not under the circumstances of this case when the statements are made against a party to the action.

[10/22] In re Marriage of Barth
In a marital dissolution proceedings, trial court’s grant of wife’s request for child support retroactive to the date husband had originally filed his California divorce action, with credit given for the amounts husband paid under the now-void Ohio order, is affirmed where: 1) the husband’s equal protection argument with respect to the retroactive child support payment order is without merit; 2) trial court did not abuse its discretion in applying section 4009 where the order was in line with exactly what the husband had sought since the inception of this case — jurisdiction in California, application of California law, and treatment of the Ohio orders as void; 3) there was no abuse of discretion in imputing income to the husband for the purpose of establishing child support, which the court did so in a fair manner that was supported by the evidence.

[10/17] Christopher D. v. Superior Court of San Diego County
A father’s petition for writ review of a juvenile court terminating reunification services as to his minor daughter, and setting aside a hearing under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 is granted where substantial evidence supports the juvenile court’s finding that the father was provided reasonable visitation while incarcerated, but there is no substantial evidence that he received reasonable visitation services during the three-month period in which he was confined in the residential drug rehabiliation facility.

[10/16] In re Marriage of Adams
Trial court’s postjudgment order awarding sole legal custody to the mother of the parents’ child is reversed and remanded where: 1) the court erred by refusing to remove an Evidence Code section 730 evaluator for bias and then relying on the evaluator’s biased report in awarding the mother sole legal custody of the child; and 2) the court erred by denying father’s motion for the appointment of a special master and father’s request for a determination of the reasonableness of the 730 evaluator’s fees.

[10/09] In re Roberto C.
Juvenile court’s dismissal of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 petition, seeking to have a nine-month old removed from his parents, is affirmed where: 1) the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in excluding a witness as an expert on shaken baby syndrome; and 2) the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion under section 350(c); and 3) the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the DCFS failed to meet its burden of proof.

[10/03] In re Marriage of Freitas
In marital dissolution proceedings, trial court’s pendente lite orders are: 1) affirmed as to an order terminating spousal support award in favor of the husband where the changed circumstances rule did not prevent the trial court from terminating the temporary spousal suppport based on the court’s application of section 4325 to the husband’s domestic violence conviction; but 2) reversed and remanded as to the court’s order concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to amend the pendente lite child support award for the months at dispute because the court erred in its determination that In re Marriage of Gruen precluded amendment of the original support awards.

[10/02] Kern County Dep’t of Child Support Services v. Camacho
Trial court’s orders concerning petitioner’s child support arrears are affirmed where: 1) petitioner’s motion concerning child support arrears was properly ruled on by the commissioner, who had the authority to act as a temporary judge in regard to that matter; and 2) the commissioner did not err in hearing the motion to set aside the order.

[10/01] Lozano v. Alvarez
In an appeal from a district court order denying Lozano

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