ROSALINE L. ZUKERMAN
Since 1981, the Law Offices of Rosaline L. Zukerman APC have assisted celebrities, entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals, and other successful clients with a wide range of Family Law issues that have the potential to disrupt the well-being of families. Areas of concentration include pre and post nuptial and cohabitation agreements, divorce, legal separation, custody, support, post judgment modifications, adoption, domestic violence, and surrogacy contracts or as Roz describes it, whatever people do to enhance or mess up their lives.
Family Law was a logical second career choice for founder Rosaline L. Zukerman (Roz). She has a B.A. in psychology and a M.A. in counseling and was a public schools and community college teacher in her earlier career. Roz has been married to her husband, Jack, for many years. The couple has four children - Marti, Steve, Jeff and Mike. All four are successful professionals and have made them grandparents of twelve amazing grandchildren.
Roz is the poster child for how to successfully reinvent yourself. “I didn’t want to have ‘empty nest syndrome.’ I entered law school when my youngest son, Mike, entered UC Berkeley. I was 47 years old. My husband said, ‘You’ll be 50 when you finish law school.’ I replied, ‘I’ll be 50 anyway,” Roz says with a knowing grin. This willingness to pivot from the known - life in Illinois as a community-minded wife, mother and educator - to life as a student and then attorney in California, has led to a 35+ year love affair with the law.
Her L.A. firm, the Law Offices of Rosaline L. Zukerman APC (RLZ), has earned a reputation for its realistic and pragmatic approach to Family Law matters. Clients rely upon and appreciate the firm’s common-sense approach that is centered on the staff’s many decades of life and courtroom experience. Although her law firm has an impressive 95% Settlement record, RLZ attorneys are ferocious litigators when the parties aren’t reasonable or aren’t willing to engage in serious attempts to resolve their issues without costly litigation. “In those cases, the gloves have to come off,” Roz says. Clients describe Roz as empathetic, fair, knowledgeable and someone who is focused on doing as little damage to the children as possible in cases where there are minors. “Except in cases of domestic violence, drug abuse or alcoholism, I encourage people to try and work it out. I am proud to say that I have been involved in forty successful reconciliations. Over half of these have lasted because the parties were willing to focus on the best interests of the family,” she says.
Roz and her team approach Family Law matters in a very pragmatic way. “America is not a melting pot. It is more like a tossed salad. Each part is tasty by itself but the best taste comes from a cohesive whole. Intermarriage, LGBTQ and sperm donor rights and responsibilities, #MeToo issues, a difference in the laws of different states, and the comparative culture so prevalent today have led to changes in how we define marriage, parentage, parental rights and obligations, etc.,” says Roz.
“In California, there are many different languages and cultural differences, which can lead to misunderstandings. Today, it is even more critical for couples to discuss issues of potential conflict before the marriage, to address premarital agreements that encourage premarital counseling, to communicate about attitudes toward money, child rearing, goals, and religious upbringing, and to focus on the marriage, not just the wedding. Post nuptial agreements can also be used as a tool to settle financial matters when money is the only factor in potentially causing a divorce,” ” Roz explains.
In California, spouses are state mandated to treat each other like business partners and are expected to provide full disclosure about their assets and liabilities as part of the marriage dissolution process. “If the marriage actually dissolves, I encourage people to constructively coparent and to attend counseling so that the children aren’t dragged into the adults’ fight. It is critical for the children to be allowed to love both parents and for parents to avoid parental alienation. Pets are emotional targets as well, and sometimes are the subject of custody battles, even though their legal status is that of property,” Roz emphasizes.
“I’m a big believer in bibliotherapy, because books help children of all ages gain information, insight and coping strategies for their individual issues. Given my counseling background, I’m also a strong proponent of therapy, and will direct a client to co-parenting counseling, anger management counseling, and financial education, where applicable. I also recommend individual therapy so that the client won’t be tempted to make the same mistake next time,” Roz adds.
Both men and women need to be aware of their rights. Clients rely on the firm’s attorneys to know enough about other areas of the law and to provide effective, expert counsel on related matters such as tax implications, intellectual property, entertainment, corporate issues, family-run businesses, estate matters, and real estate law, among other issues.
For example, spousal support used to be tax deductible. This will no longer be the case starting on January 1, 2019. “There is now a rush to complete marital settlement agreements before the end of this year, since agreements signed before January 1, 2019, will be grandfathered in,” Roz explains. As well, home owners used to be able to deduct mortgage interest. In 2019, that will be reduced to a cap of $10K. Early in the settlement process, tax specialists are brought in to help the family preserve the maximum legal amount of assets.
Roz recommends that clients contemplating divorce address estate planning options early in the process. For example, the client may have designated the soon-to-be ex-spouse as his/her health directive in medical crises. That might not be the wisest decision if the parties are getting divorced – should a potential adversary be able to decide when to “pull the plug?” RLZ has both an estate planning/probate specialist and a civil litigation expert of counsel to her firm, both of whom can provide legal advice in these and other related areas of the law.
Firm members represent a wide range of ages, interests and expertise. Some of the attorneys are even multi-lingual. Mediation is encouraged when there is equal bargaining power, and forensic accountants are brought in to assist when necessary. “It is important to be civil and fair with opposing counsel and other parties. When I was teaching, I told my students, ‘I can be as nice as you let me be and as mean as you make me be. It’s up to you.’ I use this same approach when interacting with opposing parties and their counsel,” Roz adds.
Roz describes her large family and her clients as the primary focus of her life. She especially enjoys mentoring young people and participating in several women’s networking groups. She also volunteers and contributes to Jewish Vocational Service, Jewish Family Service, Beverly Hills Rotary, and the L.A. Public Library Council, among other charitable endeavors.
“What makes Family Law so vital as a specialty is that it deals with issues that affect the future of good people who are dealing with life challenges and its potential impact on their future. Family Law is not static, is constantly changing and is varied in its focus. This makes life interesting. I feel incredibly lucky that my profession emphasizes becoming a lifelong learner,” Roz concludes.
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
The Law Offices of Rosaline L. Zukerman
10100 Santa Monica Boulevard
Twenty Third Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067