If you keep up with the Kardashian family (i.e. watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians and any other spin-off show they have) and follow along with good ol’ so-called “reality” television, then you might have heard about Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna calling off their wedding plans.  You may also remember that the former couple welcomed a daughter, Dream Renee, last November, and both are likely gearing up for a potential child custody dispute because of the recent break-up.  According to several media outlets, Rob wants “dual custody” or in legal terms, joint physical custody of their daughter.  In contrast, Blac Chyna wants “full custody” of their daughter and to only allow Rob with visitation.  This means that Chyna wants to have primary physical custody and only to allot Rob with visits with the child.  A standard visitation schedule would be alternating weekends and one mid-week visit.  However, because Dream is only about 4 months old, this type of visitation schedule is not standard for an infant.  Indeed, depending whether or not Dream is exclusively breastfeeding, Rob will have a hard time getting a large amount of visitation, let alone joint physical custody.

Courts regularly look to the best interest of the child when deciding who to award custody to.   If one parent wants primary physical custody of the child, its important that the custodial parent give the non-custodial parent frequent and continuing contact with the child.  It is important for the child to see both parents as often as possible. This is very favorable to the courts.  You do not want to be in the position where you block custodial visits or interfere with visits with the other parent.  The courts frown upon these types of bad faith tactics.

Another contentious issue that may arise in the Rob and Chyna split is California child support.  Since Rob and Chyna never married, their case would be considered a paternity matter.  In order to determine a child support amount that the recipient would pay the payee, a few factors need to be considered.  For instance, timeshare the non-custodial parent has withe child is a factor. Timeshare is the percentage each parent has custody of the child.  Other factors include income, tax exemptions, itemized deductions such as mortgage interest and property tax, health insurance deductions, hardship deductions, among other issues.  A hardship deduction would come into play in this scenario because Chyna has another child from her previous relationship with Tyga.  Unless both of the parents waive receipt of child support, both Rob and Chyna would have to complete an Income and Expense Declaration (Form Fl-150) and file it with the court.  A State approved computer program called the Dissomaster or X-Spous (as its used in Orange County, California) is utilized to calculate child support.

MIA the rapper from London, England is involved in an international child custody battler with billionaire Benjamin Bronfman. Their child is 4 years old and named ikhyd.  M.I.A threatened to take the child out of Brooklyn and head to Brooklyn.  The Couple was not married therefore there is no pending divorce in court.

Bronfman in turn had to file Paternity action in New York to restrain M.I.A from taking the child out of the State of New York. After she received a restraining order from the New York family court she immediately expressed her feelings on twitter.  “BEN you cant take my son away from me ‘The mother.”  Just because you have money doesn’t mean you have the[sic] right.”  This explosive tweet was later taken off her twitter accounty.  However, these type of comments on social media can only hurt her case for custody of her four year old child, Ikhyd Edgar Arular Bronfman.  Social media can be a very serious problem for people to use during a custody battle.  It can be seen as an immediate insight into the volatility of one parent and their overreaction to a Court Order and once the Judge gets hold of the public comment it often can be used against that parent.  M.I.A further went on to say on twitter  “WOW. THE BRONFMANS WANT TO TAKE MY CHILD AWAY FROM ME . WHAT KIND OF S**T IS THAT ? THEY NEVER SEE HIM.”

Obviously M.I.A is upset and feels a bit helpless about the court system working against her.  She probably thinks that she is the mother and therefore can dictate where child can live. He twitter has kept tweets up that state ““The mother is way more important for a child than the father imo. He should think about that. I wish u the best. x” said one supporter, “NO MOTHER SHOULD HAVE TO FACE THIS. A CHILD MUST NEVER BE SEPARATED FROM THE MOTHER,” says another.

Vaccinating your child has become a hot button issue lately with all the potential negative side effects some vaccines have upon the nuerological development of the childs brain.  And therefore there have been a group of parents concerned about these effects and decided that it is a greater risk to vaccinate than to not vaccinate the child.

According to the Centers for Disease Control: Vaccines can prevent infectious diseases that once killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. Without vaccines, your child is at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, and even death from diseases like measles and whooping cough. The main risks associated with getting vaccines are side effects, which are almost always mild (redness and swelling at the injection site) and go away within a few days. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare and doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with them. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

The California statutes give joint or sole legal custody rights to the parents who chose not to immunize their child as stated in Health and Safety Code section 120370.

Often during the litigation of the a highly contested child custody case the judicial officer has to make very quick and emotionally charged orders in order to effectuate custody results that are correct and effective to all parties involved.  The main objective for the judge is to achieve the best interest of the child standard.  To achieve this result the judge often hears arguments and evidence from both parents including experts who determine the best interest of the child. When the Judge gets his order of change of custody wrong there is a remedy.  The remedy is called a peremptory writ which can be sought by either parent contesting the Judges descision. A party can use a writ if they feel that the Judge based his legal analysis on faulty law.

A recent case in Georgia labeled Dass v Markle illustrated the usage of the peremptory writ in a child custody family law case.  The dispute between the parties Donald Markle and Katrina Dass arose out of the dispute about where the home state of the minor child was established. When there is an interstate child custody dispute and or a move away dispute that arises in the Family Law Courts an error of law is often likely to occur. In the the case of Das v Markle the father left Georgia for New Mexico leaving behind Dasd, the mother the with the child in Georgia. The mother lived in Georgia for another year until 2011 and then Headed to New Mexico and lived their with the father for another year before returning home to Georgia until 2015.  From 2012 to 2015 the child visited with Markle, the father, in New Mexico during the summers. After 2015 to 2016 the child went back to New Mexico and lived with father.  The father then filed a Paternity action in New Mexico to establish who the father and the mother were legally of the child.  In addtion, the New Mexico Court ordered that in order to move the child from New Mexico both parents needed to consent to the move.

The mother, Dass therein filed the writ of habeous Corpus and an emergency custody motion in Georgia Superior Court asking for immediate removal of the child from New Mexico and declaring that Georgia was the home state. The mother needed to show under the peremtory writ law that the Judges in New Mexico did not use “best Interest” standard but used “changed circumstances” standard to determine the custody order.  The Georgia Superior Court granted her writ of habeus corpus.  The father however, filed an appeal in Georgia appealing the granting of the Writ.  The Georgia appeals Court overturned the Superior Court ruling of the return of the child to Georgia.

Free-Scarlett-Johansson-Picture-300x225As it is has become apparent Scarlet Johansson has filed for divorce. Her husband Romain Dauriac is from France.  He does not appear to want to contest the divorce issue but seems likely to contest the Child custody issue.  He and Scarlet share a daughter who is a Toddler named rose. He states that he is the primary care giver of the child.  He further states that Scarlet is always on a film shoot and he has to make his schedule work for her while she films. Scarlet appears to be taking the high road according her statement to public.  She states that ultimately her daughter will know how her divorce went down.  Clearly Scarlet does not want to make any of her divorce issues public.  However, due to the public nature of her career how can she really argue she wants to make her divorce private when she is such a public figure.  Her statements about having a private divorce may be based on false hope rather than reality.

As far as the child custody issues go there appears to be a big issue with regards to international child custody laws.  As Romain is from france.  If both parties can agree as to a schedule of visitation and custody then the international child custody issue will not be an issue.  However, if Scarlet and Romain cannot agree as to any schedule, then who will become the primary custodian of the child, Rose will be a very important issue. And how that will be determined by the Court will be very factual sensitive.  The Court will have to investigate who partakes in the day to day upbringing of Rose and who can maintain that type of contact with the child going forward.  The law Family Courts use is the “Best Interest” standard.  There are many criteria the Court will assess and then determine what is in the Best Interest of Rose and who should she reside with.  The Court can also make a custody determination giving primary custody to a parent that does not live in the United States such as Romain.  Since France is part of the Hague Convention Treaty Courts in the United States can freely decide that a child can reside outside The United States without much fear of any risk losing jurisdiction.

Secondly, the Johansson divorce will involve some property issues.  As Scarlet is a high profile actress who makes millions of dollars for her movies it is apparent she makes substantially more money than her husband Romain who is a curator of Art shows in New York.  Normally there would be a very big Spousal support issue where Scarlet would be paying her husband Romain thousands of dollars of support for a period of half of the length of the marriage. But both parties signed a prenuptial agreement which probably contracted away any spousal support issues the couple might face during their divorce proceedings.  Therefore Romain probably will be given a much smaller settlement of any assets Scarlet earned during their marriage.

It should not be the point of a prenuptial agreement to avoid all financial responsibility to the other spouse.  As the family law code sections are abundantly clear about is that they do not want the spouse who is not on the receiving end of the prenuptial agreement and stands not to benefit at all from the prenuptial agreement that fairness is the key.  The family law Code is clear that is wants equity and fairness in the protection of marital assets.  Although a party can contract away their assets and debts through the prenuptial agreement it is vital to the integrity of the family law judicial system the one party does not blindside another less fortunate party and take off with all the loot.

California legislature has codified these prenuptial statutes under family code section 1612(c) and section 1615 that unconscionability and independent legal representation are a mandate to making an enforceable prenuptial agreement. One party cannot unduly take advantage of another party through one sided and lopsided contracts that give the other party nothing while the other party hauls away all the money.  If both parties and more importantly the party who has the assets to protect can enter the prenuptial setting with an open mind to make the contract fair and equitable that party will avoid unnecessary litigation down the road.  People, however, often enter these prenuptial agreements with a greedy mindset and try either to outsmart or blatantly take all the assets away from the other party.  This leads to an obvious disparity in the contractual agreement and creates a huge public policy concern.

That is the reason that an independent legal counsel is almost mandatory for the legitimacy of the prenuptial agreement to work.  Without the independent legal counsel for the party not receiving a financial gain at the outcome of the prenuptial agreement would create innumerable unconscionable agreements that would be too easy to enter into and create too many unequally bargained contracts.

Most people who hire criminal defense attorneys are facing jail or some serious caltrans or some penalty that is very egregious that they seek an attorney to get out of the predicament they find themselves.  There are many types of alternative sentencing in criminal courts that offer a somewhat better deal and sentence that going to public jail.  Recently it has become an issue in politics whereby private prison had been being phased out of our communities.  However, now with the new president he wants to privatize prisons and keep them working and functioning in our  society.

private jails in local cities is a great alternative if you have the money to pay for a private jail.  You get your own cell and own clothes and can use the phone.  It provides a safer and more livable environment for those seeking a more appropriate environment for those seeking a safer place to do time.

the other private jails are the ones that get the overflow from prisons who are suffering an overpopulation problem.  Governments have not been able to resolve the issue in house and sought private investors to run the prisons.  These type of private prisons are a profit making machine whereby the owners are making alot of money with little concerns for the safety of the inmates.  This type of private jail is not recommended for the “club fed” type seeking comforts of local pay for stay local jails.

Often in family law cases it is who files first or who fires the first shot over the bow that can gain an immediate advantage when it comes to child custody and visitation issues in family law courts.  Often parties are deceived into convincing themselves that filing any allegation of abuse or neglect or something about the other party they will gain a substantial advantage in the family court battle over custody.  Sometimes this tactic you can prevail and sometimes you can look bad in front of the Family Law Judges.  Domestic violence and child custody are very serious issues that cannot be taken lightly. To determine the truth of the domestic violence assertions often the Judge must investigate further to find who is more credible.  This can entail doing a Court ordered Child custody investigation to determine who is the aggressor and who is the victim.  The Courts are equipped to get to the bottom of the the allegations of violence and harassment.  Since often most litigants in Family law represent themselves they also feel they can get away with filing frivolous documents in hope and belief the Judge will buy their story and they will get what they want.  However, these Family Law judges usually are very savvy and have experienced many allegations of domestic violence and often can discern fact from fiction.

The Domestic Violence laws were enacted to protect victims of domestic violence and give them special and warranted protection from an abusive relationship to which they could not escape or find safety.  It is meant to give these victims a safe haven from a cycle of violence that otherwise they would not be able avoid.  It requires little evidence to show the court in order to gain the relief they seek.  However, now the Courts must often take a step back and decide whether these victims do not just use the Domestic Violence protection laws to their own advantage and file these lawsuits with a little bit of truth and a lot of fiction.

If a child is involved which often it is in the family law cases, a Court investigator can interview the child if they are old enough and determine whether they witnessed arguments between Mom and Dad.  And if they were witnesses what did they see.  They often more times than not are the true purveyors of the facts of each case.

In South Caroline the legislature is going to engage the topic of lifetime Spousal support.  They want to discuss whether the party who must pay for the rest of their live to the other party support is justified.  It has been a long standing law in family law court that a marriage lasting a certain period of duration must allow one party that is not financial equal to the other party lifetime spousal support. In California if the marriage lasts more than 10 years one party is can receive lifetime spousal support.  The lifetime spousal support can only be awarded of course if one party is at a economic disadvantage in earning capacity.

In South Carolina the State Senate will hear arguments from some special interest groups and local attorneys who oppose the lifetime spousal support law. There were many changes that were anticipated in being heard in the South Carolina Senate.  There are several bills being offered to be discussed by the South Caroline Senate. First off to the Senate is that there is no de facto life time spousal support.  That means that any judge reviewing a long term marriage does not have the automatic authority to mandate life time spousal support.

In addition, the South Carolina Senate will consider if they have to consider the party who is paying support’s spouse’s income. This is important, because Judge’s usually address and take into account how the parties are living post separation.  Often a party will remarry or they will have another partner whom they live with.  The most important factor a Judge will look at is if the other party remarries.  That alone can be the sole reason not to award spousal support to a party in need.  However, often a judge will take into account the party who pays support and his or her living conditions.  If that person resides with person who makes substantial income the payor of spousal support can be imputed with his or her income in the Judges decision to award spousal support. South Caroline now wants to rid the Judge considering the payor spouse’s significant others income as well.

criminal-photo-bullets-199x300Often a criminal defendant will hear these words that they are being placed on probation. What does not mean? It sounds ominous but is it? Does it actually help you get out of jail or set you free from the court system.  It does both and can be a peace of mind to the criminal defendant seeking to terminate criminal proceedings and head out of the courtroom free from further court proceedings that have impeded him or her for several months of their lives. Usually there are two types of probation.  One is formal probation whereby you are on a strict supervision by a probation officer representing the court. Or you are on Informal probation whereby the Court takes a less strict approach to watching you after the Court proceedings.

On formal probation the defendant has often found themselves in a serious situation and often has been convicted of a felony.  If not convicted they have negotiated a pleas deal that uses formal probation as a tool supervise and monitor the defendant while they are not in jail or under the watch of the court system like court dates to attend. If a person has been convicted of a felony in the state of California which means they have faced potential prison time or a maximum of a county year in jail.  Once the defendant leaves jail or somehow avoided it all together they must follow the strict formal probation terms set by the court. A probation officer will be assigned to your case.  And yes they carry weapons and act like they are police officers.  And in a way they have a lot of authority like police officers to arrest you and take you back to jail. Formal Probation usually requires that the defendant report to the probation officers office monthly or however, the terms of probation are laid out in the sentencing form.  They must also make sure the officer has their current address. In addition, sometimes there is a restriction on travel which means the defendant cannot leave the state or county sometimes.  It can be very restrictive.  Moreover, there might be a further restriction such as stay a way from the location where the crime occurred or restrain from doing an activity that the defendant was found guilty of in court.

Informal probation on the other hand is less severe as formal probation.  The defendant is not appointed a probation officer to look over him or her.  he may be able to leave the state and travel freely.  The only serious effect is that once on probation if you commit another crime while on informal probation it can be charged as a separate crime.  That means that not only will the defendant be charged with the current crime such as burglary for an example but also violation of probation.  That can enhance the potential penalty for the charges. So although the informal probation seems innocuous for a plea deal, it can bite you in the end if you become careless and think that informal probation really was not that serious.