Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Welcome Catherine and C.J.

Gevurtz Menashe is pleased to welcome two new attorneys to the firm – Catherine Barker and C.J. Graves.

Catherine Barker has been practicing law for the last 11 years and has successfully resolved hundreds of marital dissolutions and family law battles using traditional litigation and collaborative law principles. Catherine recently relocated from Kansas where she's spent the past 7 years practicing law and raising her two children with her husband. If Catherine wasn't a family law attorney she would have gone to graduate school to get her PhD in ichthyology (branch of zoology that deals with fish) – which would have made her days at work a little different than they are now. Catherine's passions are her children, traveling and fixing old houses. If Catherine weren't living in Portland she'd prefer to be living on a warm beach – wouldn't we all?

C.J. Graves recently received his Juris Doctor from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark, where he earned academic honors. Prior to that, C.J. received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Portland, with a double major in English and Psychology. C.J. clerked at Gevurtz Menashe during law school and is excited about starting his career in family law with the firm. When he's not working, you'll find C.J. running trails throughout Portland, working out at the gym or exploring new restaurants. If C.J. wasn't an attorney he would be writing travel guides, which might be a little more entertaining than the legal memos he's writing now.

Read more about Catherine Barker HERE and C.J. Graves HERE.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gevurtz Menashe 'Oregon’s Most Admired Companies' by the Portland Business Journal

Gevurtz Menashe is honored to be selected as one of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies by the Portland Business Journal.  The firm ranked in the top 20 in the professional services category this year.   Companies on this list are chosen annually by more than 500 executives in a range of industries from across the state.  These executives are asked to complete a survey indicating which organizations they believe are the most admired in Oregon. This recognition is truly an honor.

We continue to be proud of the service we provide our clients and thank the business community for their continued support.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

End of Year Gift Giving and Estate Planning

Besides the personal fulfillment that comes along with making a gift, there are also various tax benefits associated with gift-giving. As 2013 draws to a close, take a moment to consider how you can utilize gifts to further your estate planning goals.

Gifts to Friends and Family

In 2013 and 2014, you may give up to $14,000 per recipient per year without affecting your gift or estate taxes. These "annual exclusion" gifts may be made to an unlimited number of recipients, and spouses can combine exclusions to transfer up to $28,000 per recipient per year. Gifts in excess of the annual exclusion must be reported to the IRS on a gift tax return, and the amount in excess of $14,000 reduces your lifetime federal gift and estate tax exemption.

Gifts can take many forms, including transfers of cash and real or personal property, provision of goods and services, and payment of another's obligations. The IRS also characterizes certain transactions as gifts, such as loans between family members with below-market interest rates and asset sales for bargain prices. For example, if you loan your son money but don't charge him any interest, you've made a gift to him. Or, if you take your daughter and son-in-law on an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii, you've made gifts to them in the amount of the plane tickets, hotel, etc. So, before writing a $14,000 check on December 31st, consider all other possible gifts you have made, and check with your tax advisor to determine whether a gift tax return should be filed.

Gifts to Charity

The end of each year brings with it a flurry of charitable giving activity. As people rush to make donations to squeeze in last-minute income tax deductions, don't overlook how charitable giving can benefit your estate. Like gifts to friends and family, all amounts you give to a charity during your lifetime are removed from your taxable estate. If your estate is subject to estate tax, every dollar gifted can save you approximately $.40 in estate tax.

Like gifts to individuals, charitable gifts can take many forms. From direct contributions of cash or property, to charitable trusts and annuities that allow donors to reserve an income stream, donors have options in structuring donations.

When making year-end gifts, remember that your estate planning attorney can help you navigate the complex and ever-changing gift and estate tax rules.

*This is general information only and not meant to apply to specific situations without consulting with a tax professional*

Written by John Christianson, Of Counsel.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Agreements to Modify Child Support: The Matar Case

In April, the Oregon Supreme Court gave its opinion in a case called Matar and Harake. The court denied modification of a child support award because the mother and father had previously agreed in their divorce judgment that the child support would not be modifiable. Generally speaking, when financial circumstances change, the support provisions of a divorce judgment can be changed to fit the new circumstances. What the Matar parents did was to waive their rights to seek modification, even if circumstances changed in the future.

Agreements in contemplation of divorce have a long history of being honored in Oregon. The Supreme Court announced the modern formulation of the rule in its 1982 decision in McDonnall and McDonnall: "Agreements made in anticipation of a dissolution are generally enforceable given the circumstances of the case." Today, marital settlement agreements are a key component of any divorce lawyer's toolkit. Precise figures are unavailable, but most attorneys estimate that 85 or 90 percent of all domestic relations cases are resolved by agreement. Even the Oregon Legislature has gotten in on the action, passing statutes in 2001 that made explicit Oregon's favorable treatment of marital agreements.

However, agreements that intrude on the court's authority are forbidden. Thus, in Heinonen and Heinonen (2000), the Oregon Court of Appeals invalidated an agreement by the mother and father to delegate decision-making authority concerning their children's custody status to a person other than a judge. But for the most part, Oregon courts have been remarkably willing to let the parties strike their own compromises, even in circumstances where an agreement effectively limits the court's involvement in other decisions about the dissolution. Matar represents perhaps the furthest reach of this principle to date.

The decision in Matar was anticipated by the Court of Appeals' McInnis and McInnis decision in 2005. There, the parties agreed that the husband's spousal support obligation would not be modifiable in the future, even if circumstances changed. The court decided the case based upon the principle of waiver. The court's power to modify was not changed by the agreement; the parties simply agreed never to file a motion to modify. That waiver of the right to petition the court is what the Court of Appeals upheld.

McInnis settled after the Court of Appeals' decision, so the Supreme Court never got a chance to weigh in on the question. Matar provided that chance, and the Supreme Court adopted the Court of Appeals' McInnis rationale completely. Matar was the more surprising result because it dealt with child support and not spousal support. Much like child custody questions, child support has long been regarded as the exclusive province of the court. But the Matar court had no trouble reaching the conclusion that the father and mother had waived their right to petition the court and thus that the agreement was enforceable.

These decisions raise the question of what happens if the support, for example, becomes not payable because of the disability of the support obligor; or, conversely, if it becomes absolutely insufficient because of a medical condition of the recipient or child, requiring expensive treatment. The legislature has provided a "public policy" exception that should apply to allow relief in such specific circumstances. But the courts have so far been unwilling to find a public policy violation based on the possibility that such circumstances might arise.

Finally, it is important to note that, in the case of child support, the District Attorney and the child him- or herself retain independent rights to seek child support that are not affected by any agreement the parents may make between themselves. In most circumstances, though, agreements to waive support modifications appear here to stay.

Written by Mark Johnson Roberts, Of Counsel.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gevurtz Menashe Selected as a 2014 “Best Law Firm”

Bestlawyers.com, a recognized online attorney directory, has listed Gevurtz Menashe in their 2014 Oregon “Best Law Firms” ranking. Firms included in the 2014 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.  According to a recent statement released by Best Lawyers, “achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.” Ten Gevurtz Menashe attorneys made the 2014 Best Lawyers list: Shawn Menashe, Albert Menashe, Eric Larson, William Howe, Julia Hagan, Robin Wright, Zach Fruchtengarten, Dylan Cernitz, Craig Cowley and Marshal Spector.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Albert A. Menashe and CJ Graves featured in Lewis & Clark Law School publication "The Advocate"

Albert A. Menashe and CJ Graves featured in Lewis & Clark Law School publication "The Advocate".  You can view the article on the Lewis & Clark Law School web site HERE, or download the PDF HERE.  You can read more about Albert A. Menashe HERE, and CJ Graves HERE.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Welcome Back Marshal Spector!

Welcome Back Marshal!

Question: How did you get into family law?

Answer: I moved to Oregon in 1990 after practicing law on the east coast for a few years. I was introduced to many lawyers around town, and had lunch with Ron Gevurtz and Albert Menashe. Albert liked my tie and hired me.

Question: What's the best part about being a family law lawyer?

Answer: The best part of being a family law lawyer is being able to combine my skills, experience and personality in helping clients through a difficult time in their lives. I believe that being a good family law lawyer combines technical proficiency, common sense, and caring about people.

Question: What's the worst part?

Answer: The worst part of being a family law lawyer is that I can't change facts and can't change the past – I am challenged to help my clients with difficult situations as they exist. Also, we can't change people (i.e., my client, the other party, or their attorney) and can only do our best to work in a productive manner toward resolution..

Question: What do you bring to Gevurtz Menashe?

Answer: I learned to practice family law at Gevurtz Menashe beginning in 1990. I "grew up" here and was fortunate to learn how to practice family law "the right way" from Gevurtz Menashe lawyers. I believe in giving back and, after being a family law lawyer for 23 years, I am able to handle all types of divorce cases, complex financial matters, custody disputes, etc. and am dedicated to devoting time to assisting and mentoring other lawyers in the firm. I received a lot of help along the way and believe in giving back.

Question: What does Gevurtz Menashe bring to you??

Answer: Gevurtz Menashe brings me a sense of family and the ability to consult and collaborate with 24 other lawyers as part of the finest family law firm to best assist our clients.

Question: If you could enact, change, or remove any law, what would it be?

Answer: I would try to provide more certainty in the law about the range of spousal support that people would pay or receive.

Question: What's a typical weekend like in the Spector home?

Answer: I have three children, ages 22, 20 and 18 and my wife has 20-year-old twins, so our weekends vary greatly if any (and depending on how many) of them are home from college. When they are here, we spend time with them. When they are not, we enjoy having dinner with friends, going to Blazer games and the theater, exercising together and falling asleep while trying to get through an entire movie at home. My wife and I are both involved in various charitable and community activities, and often attend related events over the weekend.

Read more about Marshal Spector HERE.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gevurtz Menashe is excited to announce our Super Lawyers for 2013!

Gevurtz Menashe is excited to announce our Super Lawyers for 2013! This year we welcome new faces and new honors.

Top 10 Oregon Lawyer (#2 Super Lawyer in Oregon): Albert A. Menashe

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

Top 50 Oregon Lawyer: Eric C. Larson

Oregon Super Lawyers also honored these Gevurtz Menashe attorneys for 2013: Dylan Cernitz, Associate, Craig Cowley, Associate, Robert Demary, Shareholder, Saville Easley, Shareholder, Zach Fruchtengarten, Shareholder, Bill Howe, Shareholder, Mark Johnson Roberts, Of Counsel, Shawn Menashe, Managing Shareholder, Kathryn Root, Of Counsel, Alex Sutton, Shareholder. New faces to the firm are also honored this year by Super Lawyers: Marshal Spector, Of Counsel and Steven Zipper, Shareholder.

And last, but not least, we are excited to announce our newest "Rising Stars", John Christianson, Of Counsel, and Tiffany Jensen, Associate!

Congratulations to everyone! 75% of our attorneys made a peer-endorsed list of "bests" in their practice area. Feel confident that at Gevurtz Menashe your family law challenge is in the hands of a group of true professionals.

Read more on the Super Lawyers website HERE.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shareholder News: Alex P. Sutton

Shareholder News: Alex P. Sutton

This year Alex P. Sutton became a Gevurtz Menashe shareholder. Alex has been with the firm since 2004. His practice focuses on a broad range of family law issues, including divorce, custody and parenting time, domestic violence, military divorce, third party rights and same-sex marriage issues. He has been named a Super Lawyer Magazine Rising Star since 2009. Recently he became a 2013 Oregon Super Lawyer. Sutton received his Bachelor of Arts from Oregon State University and his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University School of Law. Congratulations Alex!

Read more about Alex Sutton HERE.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oregon's Revised Child Support Guidelines - What You Need to Know

For anyone paying or receiving child support in Oregon, be aware that significant changes to the Child Support Guidelines became effective July 1, 2013. These guidelines are used to determine how much money parents should contribute as child support for their children's care. By federal law, every four years each state must conduct a review to ensure their child support formula results in appropriate orders. This time around one of our own attorneys, Kelly Evans, served on the Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Committee was tasked with making recommendations for the new guidelines. It included twenty representatives of the bench, bar, academia, partner agencies, and the Child Support Program. GMLH is proud of the hard work and long hours put in by Kelly and the Committee. Here are a few highlights of the new guideline changes:

(1) Medical Coverage: The guidelines now allow the parent who has more parenting time to choose which health plan will be used if healthcare coverage is available to both parents. If the parents have equal parenting time but cannot agree on a policy, the policy with the lowest out of pocket premium will be chosen. An order for cash medical support is no longer required as long as one parent is providing healthcare coverage for the children at the time of the order. Cash medical support will only be ordered when neither parent has healthcare coverage available. The monthly cost for the health insurance premium is now shared between the parents proportionate to their incomes as part of the child support calculation.

(2) New Parenting Time Credit: The old guidelines required that a parent have 92 overnights per year with their child (a 25% threshold) before they were given any credit under the financial support calculation. The new guidelines do not require a threshold number of overnights. A percentage of the credit is awarded beginning from the first overnight, using a graduated curve. This creates low credit amounts for lower numbers of overnights and closer to equal credits toward 50% overnights. It is hoped that eliminating a threshold number of overnights before the parenting time credit kicks in will reduce the number of heated arguments over adding or deleting "just one more" overnight.

(3) Child Attending School: The new guidelines specify that a "child attending school" (essentially an 18 – 21 year old who is still successfully in school) is not included in the calculation used to determine the parenting time credit. Under the previous guideline rules, the child attending school was treated similarly to his minor-aged siblings for parenting time credit calculation purposes. The new rule applies unless the child is 18-years old, attending high school, and still living with a parent. The final support amount is still divided between all the parties' children, including any who qualify as a child attending school.

(4) New Income: The previous guidelines presumed that for child support calculation purposes a parent was capable of earning full time minimum wage if unemployed, employed less than full-time, or when there was no evidence of any income. The new guidelines start with actual income and then add potential income where the parents' earning's history and present ability support it, based on opportunities available in the community. There is a default to minimum wage only when there is no information about the parent's wage history.

We at Gevurtz Menashe are expert at traversing the Oregon child support guidelines. We welcome the opportunity to help your family navigate through the stress of establishing or modifying child support.

Written by Paige De Muniz, Associate.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Firm Update from the Managing Shareholder

Firm Update from the Managing Shareholder

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It’s been an exciting summer for our firm! Six months ago we settled into our new Portland office space in Old Town, as well as a new location in downtown Vancouver. At both offices, we continue to collaborate as a team and deliver positive results for our clients. After a few celebratory open houses and a little time to settle in, we have experienced exceptional growth these past months and are quickly filling our space with new attorneys and staff.

In July, we welcomed back Marshal Spector as Of Counsel. Marshal began his Oregon legal career with the firm in 1990 and brings 23 years of experience in Oregon family law cases. We’re very pleased to have him back. We also greeted Lewis and Clark undergraduate, Haley Flora as our new summer intern.

In August, as an added benefit to our clients, we welcomed new Shareholder, Steven Zipper and Of Counsel, John Christianson to represent our new estate planning, probate and trust administration practice. It is our intention to provide estate planning services to our current clients or those who do not already have estate planning representation.

We rounded out September with the addition of two new family law Associates: Catherine Barker and upon admittance to the Oregon State Bar, C.J. Graves. Catherine is an Oregon native, recently relocated from Kansas and C.J. is a new graduate from Lewis & Clark Law School. We’re thrilled to welcome them to our team!

It’s been a pleasure working with you and your clients this year, and we look forward to a wonderful fall season. Please give us a call or stop by our new office in Old Town anytime!

Shawn Menashe, Managing Shareholder

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gevurtz Attorneys Selected as Best Lawyers 2014!

Bestlawyers.com, an esteemed online attorney directory, has chosen it’s 'best lawyers' for 2014. This year ten of our attorneys are honored as "Best Lawyers". This number 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.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. The Best Lawyers designation is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 36,000 leading attorneys cast almost 4.4 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed. For these reason, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."

This honor affirms community recognition of our talented attorneys! Well done!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Paige De Muniz featured in Spot Magazine, "Divorce Who Gets the Dog?"

Paige De Muniz featured in 'Spot Magazine' article, "Divorce: Who Gets the Dog?".  You can view the article HERE, or on the Spot Magazine website HERE.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mom and Pop’s Shop During Times of Divorce

This month, The Portland Daily Journal of Commerce featured a great article authored by Managing Shareholder, Shawn Menashe, in its annual Legal Edition. With the headline of “The Separation of  Mom’s and Pop’s Shop,” the piece outlined the top factors small business owners should consider when filing for divorce. Shawn began the article by explaining, “When it comes to property division in divorce, for better or worse, Oregon is an equitable division state.” The article provided an excellent outline along with the many reasons why in family law cases involving small and family-owned businesses, it is essential to hire a lawyer with experience in business valuation issues to accurately determine the appropriate method for business valuation and creative solutions during times of divorce.  View the article HERE.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Technology and Divorce

For the July issue of Portland Family Magazine, Associate Attorney, Jessica Flint shared some great “dos and donts for managing technology during times of divorce.” In the article, Jessica reminded readers  that, “any kind of information stored in electronic form – for example, on mobile phones, laptops, internet sites – can be potentially harmful and accessible during a divorce.” The piece also added suggestions for managing the process such as “avoiding inflammatory messages via social networks, text messages and email.” Check out Jessica’s suggestions here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mark Johnson Roberts comments on DOMA Ruling in Portland Business Journal

In late June, following the Supreme Court ruling over DOMA, our own, Mark Johnson Roberts boasted the front page of the Portland Business Journal as a primary advocate for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and  Transgender rights.” PBJ Editor, Suzanne Stevens, interviewed Mark the day of the ruling adding great insight for the front-page feature article. Suzanne began the Q&A by sharing, “Johnson Roberts specializes in family law at Gevurtz Menashe and is a past president of the Oregon State Bar and the Oregon Gay and Lesbian Law Association.” She then continues the piece by asking Mark about the “challenges ahead and implications for businesses.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Our newest attorney, Marshal P. Spector in Portland Business Journal "People on the Move"

Gevurtz Menashe welcomes home attorney, Marshal Spector as an “Of Counsel” attorney. Spector began his Oregon family law practice with the firm in 1990. He brings twenty-three years of experience and will continue his family law practice of divorce, custody, support, and modification cases, as well as premarital agreements and other family law matters.  Portland Business Article HERE.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Even Billionaire Media Titans Need Family Law Expertise

Divorce is a fact of life for folks of all walks of life, even billionaire Rupert Murdoch. Attorneys at Gevurtz Menashe use their expertise every day to advise family members on divorce issues such as , child custody, spousal support and property division.

Whether you are a billionaire or an average wage-earner, finding the right expertize for your family’s situation is worth it.  Gevurtz Menashe lawyers are here to help your family achieve results and obtain resolutions.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kathy Root, Kelly Evans, Tiffany Jensen – Big winners at the MBA Golf Tournament!

The annual MBA Golf Tournament was held on June 19th, 2013 at the Riverside Golf and Country Club.  Hats off to the 1st Place Low Net team of Kathy Root, Kelly Evans, Tiffany Jensen and Mark Birge!  To get this good, golf must be your bread and ‘putter’!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Russia President Vladimir Putin and wife announce divorce

This week, the Russian public received news of President Vladimir Putin's divorce. According to TIME and The Associated Press, the scripted statement, which Putin made alongside his former wife Lyudmila of 30 years, was broadcast on the Kremlin’s mouthpiece television channel, Rossiya 24. The public announcement was made to a lone reporter who acted as though she just happened to catch them walking out of a performance of the ballet Esmeralda at the Kremlin’s private theater. The reporter rattled off a few questions about recent speculations in the media, “you show up in public so rarely, and there are rumors that you don’t live together. Is that true or not?” The couple exchanged a knowing glance before Putin stated. “Well, it is so.”

The recent events between President Putin and his wife continue to prove that the dissolution of marriage is a fact no matter what country or societal status... and will continue to shape today's modern families. Here in Portland and Vancouver, Gevurtz Menashe has an exclusive emphasis on family law with key experts who can provide legal advice for any family and situation. Are you currently searching for a great Family Law attorney? Meet our all-star attorney line-up here.

Photo Source: NBC News