Roger J. Lewis, Esq.

Profile

After 40 years of traditional family law practice, Mr. Lewis now limits his practice to family law mediation and private dispute resolution.  He has conducted numerous mediations and privately adjudicated many family law matters.  Mr. Lewis has been certified as a specialist in family law by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization since 1995.  Mr. Lewis has extensive practice experience in all facets of family law, including business valuation and  apportionment, tracing, complicated real estate and property division issues, transmutation, premarital and marital agreements, child and spousal support disputes, post-trial matters, modification of support, and parenting issues.

AVAILABILITY

Mr. Lewis is available to conduct mediations, settlement conferences, and pro tem assignments out of his office in Napa, or any location deemed convenient for the parties. He is also available to hear cases in any of ADR Services, Inc.’s seven statewide offices, including San Francisco, Oakland, Silicon Valley, Century City, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.

FAMILY LAW EXPERTISE

  • Business Valuation
  • Business Apportionment
  • Tracing
  • Complicated Property Division
  • Transmutation
  • Premarital and Marital Agreements
  • Child and Spousal Support Issues
  • Post-Trial Disputes
  • Modification of Support
  • Parenting Issues

EDUCATION

  • Loyola Law School. Los Angeles – Juris Doctor.    1976
  • University of Washington. Seattle – Bachelor of Arts (cum laude)    1973

PRIVATE PRACTICE EXPERIENCE

  • Lewis Family Law, PC (Napa) – Sole Practitioner and Principal        2010 – Present
  • Lewis & Blevans, LLP (Napa) – Partner          1995 – 2010
  • Fershko & Lewis (Napa) – Partner      1990 – 1995
  • Zukor & Lewis (Beverly Hills) – Partner          1984 – 1990
  • Law Office of Roger Lewis (Beverly Hills) – Sole Practitioner           1982 – 1984

PRIVATE PRACTICE EXPERIENCE (cont.)

  • Thaler & Lewis (Beverly Hills) – Partner         1979 – 1982
  • Howard Thaler and Bradley Marcus (Beverly Hills) – Associate        1976 – 1978

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Mr. Lewis has been a frequent lecturer on family law issues throughout California for many years.  This has included seminars for Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) and with Garrett Dailey of Attorney’s Briefcase, and multiple presentations to bar groups over the years, including recent presentations concerning family law real estate issues; retirement of the Baby Boomers and resulting spousal support modification; and best practices in alternative dispute resolution.

Mr. Lewis participates in extensive continuing education programs, including the 42-hour program Mediating the Litigated Case at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law; 18-hour program co-sponsored by the Straus Institute and the Vermont School of Law in Advanced Family Mediation; the 2016 2-day CEB Family Law Conference, which emphasized mediation and private judging; the annual CALCPA Family Law Conference; and the annual Attorney’s Briefcase family law review.

PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Mr. Lewis has been rated AV Preeminent in the 2016 Judicial Edition of Martindale Hubbell, a ranking by peers and the judiciary at the highest level of professional excellence, and has carried an AV rating for over 30 years.  He has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer since its inception in 2004.  He is regularly listed as a Best Lawyer in America in the specialty of family law.  The Ten Leaders Cooperative has listed Mr. Lewis as a top-ten family law attorney in the Bay Area for many years.

Representative Cases

BUSINESS VALUATION

  • Mediated dispute involving primary issues related to division of real estate owned by the parties, valuation and division of two businesses, allocation of community debt, child custody, child support and spousal support. The parties reached an agreement and entered into a written Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Mediated case involving issues of division of real estate, division of investment and retirement accounts, valuation and division of the family business. Business issue resolved with a long term payout tied to future gross receipts. Parties entered into Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Contested issues regarding the character of a corporation formed during the marriage to which premarital business assets were contributed; business valuation; real estate valuation, child custody, child support and structure for long term equalizing payment. The matter resulted in settlement.
  • This matter involved characterization and division of stock options; a dispute regarding the community business which increased significantly in value after separation, resulting in an apportionment dispute, including date of valuation. The parties also disputed the value of several real estate holdings. The case resulted in trial on child support, spousal support, asset division, debts, reimbursement and attorney fees (including substantial sanctions awarded to client under FC 271 for over litigation by the opposing party).
  • A matter involving a premarital business which substantially increased in value during marriage, requiring apportionment of increased value, valuation and division of real estate assets, and characterization of future royalty income. The matter was resolved by agreement.
  • A case involving the premarital value of a business which grew significantly in value during the marriage (apportionment). The case was tried to a private judge.
  • A case involving the character and value of business interests; value of real estate; child support, spousal support. After a Marital Settlement Agreement, an omitted asset was discovered, resulting in post-judgment proceedings for breach of fiduciary duty, perjury in the Final Declaration of Disclosure, sanctions and attorney fees. The matter was determined at the trial court level, which was appealed unsuccessfully.
  • This matter involved division of assets, including valuation of a professional practice, child custody, child support, spousal support, real estate valuation and post-separation accounting and related breach of fiduciary duty issues. The matter was resolved by agreement in mediation.
  • The matter included business valuation; real estate valuation; apportion of retirement accounts, allocation of parental student loan commitments, spousal support and fees. The matter was resulted in a negotiated settlement.
  • Matter involving business valuation, apportionment and management and control of the business pending trial. The parties reached a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Business valuation and apportionment case. The business was separate property with significant value at the date of marriage. The parties contested the marital contribution to the growth of the business during the marriage. The parties reached a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Business characterization, valuation and division. Both parties worked in the business and each proposed to buy the other out. Ultimately involved an order for sale of the business, requiring ongoing oversight over the sale process and resolution of disputes between the parties concerning sale issues, and interim management and control.
  • Principal issue was extent of community interest in business started before marriage (Pereira). Although the business grew significantly during the marriage, the case questioned whether the growth was a result of the management, effort and skill of the spouses contributed during the marriage or rather market drive by factors external to the management efforts. Parties were also highly compensated by the business during the marriage.
  • Valuation of professional practice, businesses owned and operated independently of the practice; child custody, child support, spousal support and fees. Support issue involved determination of future earning capacity of the supported party.
  • Appointed as Judge Pro tem to conduct a Settlement Conference. The case involved complicated and unique issues, which included valuation of a professional practice, including date of valuation and possible (premarital) separate property interest; date of separation and characterization of post-separation earnings and distributions, claims of misappropriation of community property, breach of fiduciary duty, and spousal support. Parties entered into a Settlement Agreement on all issues.

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TRACING

  • Community property dispute involving stock purchases during marriage titled solely to one spouse. The case required extensive tracing of premarital and post marital cash and investment accounts. The matter was settled by agreement.
  • Primarily a property case with several tracing issues including: 1) multiple real estate transactions with Family Code 2640 implications; 2) stocks and bonds accumulated over a 30 year period, both before and after marriage; and 3) retirement accounts complicated by conversion of the accounts to a ROTH IRA and allocation of the tax liability between the separate and community estates. The parties reached an agreement following mediation.
  • A complicated tracing case involving multiple accounts at various institutions over long period. Tracing also related to FC2640 claims. The parties reached a negotiated settlement.
  • High value asset case and significant income producing separate property. Complicated tracing of commingled accounts led to resolution of a 2640 claim. Also involved spousal support involving marital standard of living and the reasonable needs of both parties. The parties reached settlement in mediation.

APPORTIONMENT

  • Apportionment of business interest, and allocation of proceeds from the sale of the business. Also, involved characterization of stock options and deferred compensation benefits. Child and spousal support were disputed; the recipient spouse claimed disability and the other side sought to prove she was able, with good job opportunities. The matter was settled in mediation.
  • Apportionment and characterization of stock options, employee benefit plans, employee stock plan and deferred compensation accounts. The case also involved tracing of funds invested in jointly-acquired assets and commingled investment accounts. The parties reached a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Property case involving characterization of literary rights to a book first written before marriage, which was edited and revised during the marriage. Parties disputed apportionment of past and future royalties. The matter was resolved by Stipulation.
  • Characterization and apportionment of retirement accounts; post-retirement spousal support issue. The matter was resolved with a negotiated settlement.

CHARACTER, VALUE, AND DIVISION OF PROPERTY

  • Mediation with parties and counsel. Negotiated buy-out of family residence, division of retirement accounts and defined benefit pension, and spousal support with limited term, non-modifiable provisions. The parties entered into a comprehensive Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Mediated dispute involving sale of family residence, division of defined benefit pension; apportionment of deferred compensation accounts, division of employee stock plan, allocation of debts, long-term spousal support including earning capacity, post-separation credits and charges, and fees. Parties entered into a written Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel. Matter involved disputed interspousal deed signed during marriage and presumption of undue influence, valuation of real estate, long-term spousal support and fees. The parties also sought to resolve pending enforcement actions concerning purported non-compliance with temporary orders and requests for sanctions. The parties reached a Stipulated Judgment.
  • A matter regarding division of assets and permanent spousal support. Matter proceeded to trial on these issues, and resulted in a division of assets but not spousal support, as the Court found that the requested party was financially independent under FC 4322.
  • Mostly a property division case, with a dispute regarding the character and division of non-qualified deferred compensation accounts, spousal support and fees. The matter was settled in mediation.
  • This was a litigated matter involving the character of several business interests, allegations of undisclosed assets and income, child custody, child support, spousal support and attorney fees and costs. The parties reached a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Transmutation dispute; apportionment and real property valuation; breach of fiduciary duty and asset mismanagement. The case was tried and the judgment was unsuccessfully appealed.
  • A substantial property case, involving multiple real estate investments. Issues included potential partition of large parcels. The death of party while the matter was pending led to jurisdictional and procedural disputes and a subsequent probate court proceeding.
  • Case involved stock and options obtained by a spouse before and during marriage. Parties disputed the character and value of the interests. One spouse sought a buy-out of the community interest while the other sought to divide the community shares in kind. Included a substantial spousal and child support obligation. The parties entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Property dispute, required joinder of a parent who owned land upon which the community had made significant improvements. Involved cross-over legal issues such as partition and easements. Also, involved issues regarding child support, spousal support, management and control of family business, earning capacity, and post-separation accounting claims. The matter proceeded to trial and was resolved by post-trial agreement.
  • Complicated property issues, including tracing of contributions to the purchase and improvement of high value real estate assets. Valuation of two on-going businesses, valuation and partition of real estate. Division of family business which both spouses sought to own.
  • Protracted mediation with parties and counsel involving multiple real estate assets, issues regarding separate property and claims for reimbursement, tracing of retirement account accumulations, division of community interest in employer-sponsored plans, including a defined benefit plan, characterization and value of closely held business, and satisfaction of community debts, charges and offsets. The parties entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel. Parties first mediated temporary issues, including child custody, child support, spousal support, extracurricular expenses and attorney fees and costs. Parties returned to mediation to pursue settlement of all property issues and permanent support. Issues included valuation of business interests, characterization and division of community interest in retirement accounts, calculation and terms of equalizing payment, co-parenting plan, child support, spousal support and attorney fees and costs. The parties entered into a MSA.
  • Mediation of heavily litigated matter, parties participated with counsel. Parties reached a Marital Settlement Agreement resolving all issues which included sale of residence and resolution of multiple claims for credit and reimbursement, value of professional practice, personal property, apportionment of retirement accounts, custody, child support, spousal support (included fixed term, non-modifiable spousal support) and fees.
  • Mediation involving buy-out of family residence and defined benefit pension, allocation of debts and tax obligations, and waiver of spousal support. Parties participated with counsel and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel. Parties owned real estate, with other family members, and disagreed regarding the extent and value of the community interest. Involved potential partition of the real estate. Parties also had disputes about separate property reimbursement rights and disposition of other community assets by sale or division in kind. The parties entered into a comprehensive Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Mediation of dispute related to sale of former community business, allocation of the sale proceeds, permanent spousal support and a security deposit to secure future spousal support. The parties reached a Stipulation and Order resolving all issues.
  • Mediation which began directly with the parties, but ultimately included counsel for both. Parties disputed the ownership interests in valuable real estate holdings. Parties reached an agreement, which provided for the sale of real estate, allocation of prospective sale proceeds, and a lump sum buyout of permanent spousal support.

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HIGH INCOME SUPPORT CASES

  • The parties disputed the character of the business; spousal support, including imputation of income; child custody involving a move-away and child support. The matter resulted in settlement after mediation.
  • Spousal support matter involving a retiree with considerable retirement income and assets with a younger spouse. The retirement assets were mostly separate property. Involved consideration of the younger spouse’s earning capacity and the retiree spouse’s rate of return and income available for support. The parties settled the matter in mediation.
  • Division of assets after long marriage, both parties of retirement age. One spouse continued to work raising a spousal support issue despite their age, as well as rate of return and spendable income from investment and retirement portfolio. The parties entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • A property case where the principal real estate asset was underwater, and total debts exceeded assets. The issues included spousal support and attorney fees. The parties reached an agreement.
  • Paternity case, mostly involving child support. Payor spouse was a high-earning public figure. Dispute included imputed rated of return from investments and earning capacity. The parties reached an agreement.
  • High asset and income case. Allegations of hidden income and assets and dispute regarding the adequacy of the disclosures, which led to a contested Feldman sanctions motion. The matter ultimately settled at a judicially supervised settlement conference.
  • In what was primarily a spousal support matter, one party had substantial separate property trust income allowing for retirement at young age. The other party was employed but needed support to maintain the standard living. The parties contested issues of income available for support, earning capacity and reasonable needs.
  • One spouse became severely disabled during the marriage. Issues included custody of the children, requested move-away, child support, spousal support and sale of the family residence. Support issues were complicated by pass through income from a family owned business (phantom income issue).
  • Contentious matter started with the issuance of a criminal court protective order following domestic violence incident, which then became a spousal support issue. Division of community property, tracing, stock options, characterization of assets, spousal support, child custody and fees were all contested. The matter was ultimately settled in a judicially supervised settlement conference.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel. Issues included child custody, child support, spousal support, post-separation accounting claims, division of community property and calculation of equalizing payment; characterization and division of retirement accounts, completion of tax returns and allocation of tax liability. The parties entered into a MSA.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel. Matter involved business valuation, income available for support, earning capacity, division of debts, child support, spousal support, post-separation accounting and fees. The parties did settle in mediation.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel regarding spousal support. All other issues had been resolved. Parties entered into comprehensive Stipulation and Order regarding support, including a step-down order, limitations on modifiability and an irrevocable termination date.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel in litigated case with disputes regarding child custody, child support, long-term spousal support and attorney fees and costs. The parties reached an oral, tentative settlement of all issues and a Marital Settlement Agreement was prepared. The parties refused to complete the agreement and terminated the mediation.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel. The matter involved modification of permanent spousal support, including imputation of earned and unearned income, enforcement of judgment, modification of child custody, and attorney’s fees. The parties entered into a Stipulation and Order resolving all issues.
  • Case involving a retired couple living on fixed income after a long marriage. Before separation one spouse began receiving significant trust income. The income was separate property but raised a spousal support issue, complicated by income exceeding the marital standard of living. Also, involved enforceability of deeds by which jointly-owned real estate was transmuted. The matter was resolved by agreement.
  • Mediated a case wherein the parties reached an interim agreement for support, management and control of the business, and a framework for settlement. Ultimately the parties entered into a comprehensive Memorandum of Agreement dividing community property, which included complicated security provisions for future equalizing payments and settlement of spousal support.

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CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION

  • What started as a garden variety support and property division case became a litigated child custody matter involving allegations of substance dependency, alienation of the children, ongoing substance abuse testing and court-ordered treatment.
  • A matter involving child custody, child support, spousal support and fees. The parties had a dispute concerning the enforcement of a premarital agreement relating to property rights and the limits the agreement imposed upon spousal support. The matter resulted in settlement.
  • The parties litigated child custody involving serious safety issues arising from substance abuse. The parties reached a Stipulation which included substance abuse testing and supervised visitation.
  • The parties contested child custody, including a DVO and visitation restrictions. The matter also dealt with business valuation; division of other assets, child support and fees. The matter was litigated with a private judge.
  • Child custody, which included one parent’s move to a foreign country. The matter was resolved by agreement.
  • Child custody dispute, including a move-away. Child support and fees were in issue. The case also involved a dispute over child’s surname. The parties reached a mediated settlement.
  • Matter involved asset division, child and spousal support, but the primary issue was child custody, with allegations of substance abuse and parental unfitness. Dealt with the issue of ongoing substance abuse testing. Contested proceedings.
  • Issues included property division, child and spousal support. The child custody issue related mostly to allegations of parental alienation. Resulted in custody evaluation and therapeutic intervention, and ongoing litigation between the parents.
  • Child custody issues, involving a move-away and substance abuse concerns. Division of property, valuation of professional practice, child support and spousal support. The matter resulted in ongoing contested proceedings.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel concerning modification of joint legal and physical custody. There were accusations of parental misconduct and unfitness. The parties reached an agreement for a modified custody arrangement, psychological assessment of a minor child, co-parent counseling and resolved conflicting fee claims, including compensation of minor’s counsel.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel concerning legal and physical custody, with allegations concerning child safety and welfare, substance abuse, and child. The parties reached a Stipulated Judgment.

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VALIDITY AND ENFORCEABILITY OF PRE- AND POST-MARITAL AGREEMENTS

  • The parties disputed validity of a premarital agreement, interpretation of the agreement, spousal support, division of substantial jointly-owned assets and fees. Spousal support required determination and consideration of marital standard of living.
  • Pursued a post-trial challenge to trial court’s decision and motion for new trial. Issues included enforcement and interpretation of premarital agreement, transmutation, valuation of real estate holdings and breach of fiduciary duty. Resulted in a second trial on these issues.
  • Enforcement of a premarital agreement, which included a waiver of spousal support. Tracing related to jointly-owned residence and disputed Epstein and Watts issues. Case also involved a misappropriation claim arising from embezzlement by a party employed in the other party’s separate property business. The matter was resolved by trial.
  • Appointed as Judge Pro Tem to determine issues reserved under prior Agreement of the parties. The parties requested a Settlement Conference. Although somewhat protracted, the parties entered into a Stipulation to resolve the reserved issues, which included co-parenting plan, court-ordered counseling, child support, health insurance and non-covered expense provisions, spousal support, attorney fees and various provisions related to future spousal support modification.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel of issues reserved under the previously executed MSA. Issues included matters related to child custody, child support (including add-ons for health care and extracurricular activities), modification of spousal support, security for support, outstanding claims for reimbursement and credits and accounting of post-separation income, attorney fees and costs. Parties entered into a Memorandum of Agreement resolving all issues.
  • Mediation with parties and counsel. Parties had a premarital agreement which included a spousal support waiver, the enforcement of which was contested. Parties had a dispute regarding a transmutation related to a marital agreement. There were also contested personal property issues, allocation of tax liability regarding proposed joint tax return and fees and costs. The parties entered into a Marital Settlement Agreement.

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