Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gevurtz Attorneys Selected as Best Lawyers 2015!



Bestlawyers.com, an esteemed online attorney directory, has published it’s annual 'best lawyers' for 2015. This year ten of our attorneys are honored as "Best Lawyers". A number that has doubled since 2012. 

This year’s list includes: Shawn Menashe, Albert Menashe, Eric Larson, William Howe, Julia Hagan, Robin Wright, Zach Fruchtengarten, Dylan Cernitz, Craig Cowley and Marshal Spector. The Best Lawyers designation is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which attorneys are divided by geographic region and recognized for professional excellence in their practice area(s).

“I am extremely proud of the quality of law being practiced by all of our lawyers. The accolades our lawyers continue to receive are a reflection of the pride we have in what we are doing,” said Shawn Menashe, Managing Shareholder. “Since the beginning, our firm’s greatest asset has always been our people. We are proud of all of our lawyers and the quality of legal service we provide to our family law and estate planning clients throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho.”
  

Congratulations to each of you on this well-deserved honor!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Staff Spotlight: Kimberly Lyons



This quarter we are pleased to recognize our estate planning legal assistant, Kimberly Lyons, for her volunteer work with The Aperture Project. The Aperture Project is an organization that connects children through photography and writing; broadening their world view while promoting tolerance and understanding. The mission of The Aperture Project is to create positive community connections among young people with diverse backgrounds.

As a hobby photographer, Kim is passionate about Aperture’s mission, showing children how photography can be used as a vehicle of communication with the potential to expand world views and help celebrate our differences as people, while also discovering ways in which we share common ground. Using her organizational skills, passion for photography, and experience in non-profit grant writing, Kim serves as the Director of Fund Development for The Aperture Project.

This summer, The Aperture Project will host a scavenger hunt to encourage North Portland youth to explore and connect with the rich history of their community in St Johns. The event will be held on August 9th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Visit www.apertureproject.org to learn more.

Way to go, Kim! Thank you for all you do to make our firm and the Portland arts community a better place for our youth!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

GMLH Rocks the Race for Justice!




On June 14th Team Gevurtz Menashe joined dozens of other members of the Oregon legal community to support St. Andrew Legal Clinic. This year’s 14th annual Race For Justice raised more than $125,000 to help meet the legal needs of low and moderate income people with family law concerns. SALC helps bridge the gap for families who do not qualify for Legal Aid and cannot afford to hire a private attorney. Over the course of four weeks, the GM team raised over $1,300 in pledges among our personal networks. Way to go, team!

For more information, visit SALC at http://www.salcgroup.org/. To donate to SALC, call 503-281-1500 or click here for more information.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Multnomah County eCourt Transition Attorney-Assisted Mediation Program

A big shout out to our Multnomah County Circuit Court volunteer attorney-assisted mediators, Julia Hagan, Saville Easley, Bill Howe, and Craig Cowley for their participation in and commitment to the success of the Multnomah County eCourt transition Attorney-assisted Mediation Program. This spring, in preparation for Multnomah County Circuit Court’s eCourt filing transition, several of our family law attorneys partnered with Multnomah County as volunteer trial assignment mediators. The transition to eCourt required extensive staff training sessions which reduced the number of slots available on the trial assignment docket. The goal of this temporary program was to reduce the number of matters actually needing judge time by triaging cases on the docket and requiring participation in attorney-mediated discussions.

Parties to divorces, custody actions, or support modifications who are unable to settle their dispute and have come to the end of the legal action are typically scheduled to be assigned to a judge for trial. Instead, during this 10 week experimental program, they were diverted to meet first with an assigned neutral attorney-mediator. In each case, the parties met at the courthouse at the scheduled time with the attorney-mediator. The attorney-mediator  listened to each side, provided them with information, and offered them guidance toward reaching an agreement. Not every case settled using the attorney-mediator but most did, making the program very efficient. Thank you to everyone who helped make this program a success.

To the Multnomah County Court Staff — A special thank you for your hard work and dedication implementing our new eCourt system. Your efforts make a big difference in our legal community. Thank you for your time and energy this year to get the new system in place. We truly appreciate you!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Travel Tips: Your Parenting and Estate Plan Checklist


Traveling has become one of the most difficult challenges facing today’s “modern family” particularly when it comes to families of divorce. Summer continues to be high travel season for vacations, and whether you’re gearing up for a fun-filled beach retreat, annual summer camp, or a quick visit to grandma’s house, it’s important to know the legal procedures required for divorced parents with traveling children…including considering updating your estate plan.


Parental Consent to Children’s Travel
If a planned trip by one parent with children infringes in any way on the other parent’s legally specified parenting time, the parent who wants to travel must obtain authorization, preferably in writing, from the non-traveling parent.  Even if the trip takes place only during the traveling parent’s allocated parenting time, it is good practice to obtain a signed consent from the other parent.  The consent should confirm relevant logistical details, such as the dates of travel and specific locations of travel.  If the agreement is for “make-up parenting time,” that should also be confirmed in writing.  If problems are anticipated in obtaining a signed consent from the other parent, the parent who wants to travel should consult with an attorney as soon as possible, preferably well in advance of the travel date.  If problems actually occur, it may be appropriate to contact an experienced family law mediator and seek assistance from the mediator to work out a solution.

Passport Issues
For a child under age 16, it is generally required that the child’s passport application be made in person with both parents or legal guardians present, unless one parent has been granted sole legal authority to apply for the child’s passport or the second parent has provided a notarized statement of consent on the U.S. State Department’s approved form.  Documents supporting the child’s passport application must also be provided at the time of the application.  The application form should be completed but not signed until the passport agent so advises.  To make it through the process without problems, a parent or other legal guardian who needs to acquire a child’s passport should start early and be well prepared—in some cases it can take a few months.

The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) allows parents to register their U.S. citizen children under age 18 in the U.S. State Department’s Passport Lookout System.  The Passport Lookout System then gives all U.S. passport agencies, as well as U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, an alert on a child’s name if a parent or guardian registers an objection to passport issuance for his or her child.  If a child’s information is registered, the registering parent should then receive advanced notice of the other parent’s attempt to obtain a passport for the child.  This notice may help prevent unauthorized international travel with the child. See link to the CPIAP website HERE.

Airline Requirements for Unaccompanied Minors
It is fairly common for children to travel by airplane for parenting time with their long-distance parent.  According to the US Department of Transportation, most airlines will permit children who have reached their fifth birthday to travel unaccompanied under certain circumstances.  Children ages 5 through 11 who are flying alone must follow special “unaccompanied minor” procedures. On some airlines, these procedures are required for unaccompanied children as old as 14.  On many airlines children ages 5 through 7 will only be accepted on direct or nonstop flights and an “unaccompanied minor” fee is often charged.  Airlines generally do not permit children younger than age 5 to fly alone.  Check the website for the airline the child will be flying for specific requirements.

Resolving Travel Disputes
If one parent wants to take a child on a trip outside the U.S. and the other parent will not agree to sign a travel authorization document, the parent who wishes to travel overseas should consult an attorney. The the most likely action will be to petition the court to order the other parent to provide the needed authorization.  Mediation with an experienced family law mediator might also help resolve the conflict.  Sometimes the other parent will agree to authorize the travel if the parent who wants to travel provides all the pertinent details about the trip, including the date when the children will return, and if that parent also offers to provide the other parent with a reasonable amount of contact with the children during the trip, including phone calls and Skype, if at all possible.

Unless the applicable court order says otherwise, the travelling parent is not required to “check-in” with the other parent during their trip.  However, given today’s technology, such  communication is often quite easy to acomplish and is highly recommended.   By facilitating  brief check-ins with the other parent, challenges down the road may be prevented thereby allowing for more future family travel fun.

Estate Planning Considerations
Traveling carries with it the risks of illness, injury and other unexpected conditions.  Before heading out of town, summer vacationers should review their estate plans to make sure they have properly planned for these risks.  Wills and revocable trusts should be reviewed and updated so that proper fiduciaries are appointed and distribution plans reflect current wishes.  Travelers should also consider who they have named under their durable powers of attorney and health care directives.  Depending on the trip, it might make sense to name a different (or alternate) person to serve under these documents.  If traveling without minor children (or if minor children are traveling alone), parents should ensure that non-parent caretakers are properly authorized to consent to medical treatment on behalf of the children.


Kathy Root is a nationally recognized expert on interstate and international divorce and child custody disputes.  She often becomes involved in cases where a parent and child travel or relocate to another state or foreign country.  John Christianson is rising star among estate planning attorneys in Portland. He helps clients plan for the future by ensuring that their assets are distributed in accordance with their wishes and in a tax-efficient manner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Congratulations to our 2014 Oregon Super Lawyers & Rising Stars





Gevurtz Menashe is excited to announce fifteen Oregon Super Lawyers for 2014—and two rising stars!

Top 10 Oregon Lawyer (#3 Super Lawyer in Oregon): Albert A. Menashe

Top 25 Oregon Women Lawyers: Julia Hagan and Robin Wright.

Top 50 Oregon Lawyer: Dylan M. Cernitz, Julia Hagan, Eric C. Larson,  Albert A. MenasheShawn N.  Menashe, and Robin Wright.

Oregon Super Lawyers also honored these Gevurtz Menashe attorneys for 2014:  Craig Cowley, Of Counsel, Robert Demary, Shareholder, Saville Easley, Shareholder, Kelly Evans, Associate, Zach Fruchtengarten, Shareholder, Bill Howe, Shareholder, Mark Johnson Roberts, Of Counsel, Kathryn Root, Shareholder, Marshal Spector, Of Counsel, Alex Sutton, Shareholder and Steven Zipper, Shareholder.

We are also excited to announce our "Oregon Rising Stars", John Christianson, Of Counsel, and Tiffany Jensen, Associate!

Congratulations to everyone! 70% of our attorneys made a peer-endorsed list of "bests" in their practice areas of family law and estate planning.

Read more on the Super Lawyers website HERE.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shareholder News: Kathryn Smith Root


We are pleased to announce that Kathryn Smith Root has been named a Shareholder of Gevurtz Menashe. Kathryn received her Juris Doctorate from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in 1984. She became Of Counsel with the firm in April of 2012. Kathryn focuses her family law practice on divorce and post-divorce cases involving complex property and financial issues, interstate and international child custody disputes, Hague child abduction matters, and relocation. She is a leading authority on interstate and international custody in the US, having handled more than 100 contested interstate custody cases. Kathryn also litigated the first petition filed in the United States District Court for Oregon under the Hague Convention in 1997, and she is highly knowledgeable about international divorce and child custody disputes. Congratulations Kathryn!

Read more about Kathryn Smith Root HERE.