2017: A Year to Forget or Remember?

#metoo
The #metoo movement has spurred a lot of women (and some men) to come forward to “out” their abusers, both on social media and via the traditional media. This, in turn, has dashed many marriages on the rocks due to the lack of fidelity, once the cheating was made public. Were the spouses of the abusers oblivious of their mate’s dalliances or, did they know about it but now that it was made public, did it require a day of reckoning? Will there be a plethora of celebrity divorces? Will this spill over to the not-so-famous?  The experienced Family Law Attorneys at Walzer Melcher LLP believe that the #metoo movement is likely to have widespread changes on our society giving people the courage to stop putting up with abuse and cheating.

Cannabis
The quasi – legal status of cannabis in California has now entered the divorce and custody world. Not so long ago, the use of marijuana (not to mention selling it) was enough for a parent to lose custody. However, over the last couple of years, if a parent presented a license to use medical marijuana, it was permitted. Now, in 2018, due to the legalization of recreational cannabis, no license is even required.
The legality of cannabis opens up a much wider discussion starting with. “Does being a pot-head make you an unfit parent? How much pot use is acceptable? Can you smoke in front of your kids? Can you drive and smoke? Can you share it with your children? How your smoking affects those around you, ie., secondhand pot smoke? How does it affect the development of babies and toddlers? Does cannabis lead to harder drugs or at-risk behavior? And if pot is not so bad, what about ecstasy, acid or mescaline?

There seems to be a contradictory message out there where, it’s not okay to smoke tobacco but it is okay to smoke pot. Court mediators, forensic psychologists, and judges are all hastily trying to catch up with the general use of, otherwise, prohibited drugs. We predict this topic will open up a lively discussion that will continue for some time as our laws continue to change regarding formerly controlled substances.


Domestic Violence
Domestic violence allegations continue to be a major part of our Family Law practice. Domestic violence covers the spectrum from serious acts of violence to angry texts that amount to harassment. Once a case of domestic violence is proven it then becomes a factor in establishing custody orders and parenting plans, as well as in setting up financial support. These matters are not easy to settle out of court and often require extensive trial time.
In reviewing the year we just left, these trends impact our Family Law clients as the world that we live in continues to change – some would say for the better, some would say for the worse. We will continue to keep you in informed of how the laws and social movements impact the lives of those who we strive to help, every day, at Walzer Melcher LLP.
William Shatner