Articles Posted in Court System

adele-parenting-trick-t-300x180News of Adele’s impending divorce from her husband Simon Konecki was a surprise to many, and many more were surprised that the star and her husband had not signed a pre-nuptial agreement. Under California law, Konecki may be entitled to up to half of the singer’s earnings from the time they were married. If they choose to file in California, where they own significant property and Konecki has an office for his company, the pair might have to split everything evenly. Adele has already gifted Konecki a property worth over $600,000, which some see as an indication that the split may be amicable. Adele herself said in a Vanity Fair interview that money is “not that important a part of my life.”

The lack of a pre-nup may seem unusual in the cynical climate of Hollywood’s almost contractual atmosphere surrounding relationships and even marriage. There is a perception that pre-nups are a fact of life, and that all wealthy people have them. In fact, only around 5% of married couples have pre-nups, and only 15% of divorcees say they regret not having had one. There are obvious caveats – Steven Spielberg found out the hard way that pre-nuptial agreements need to be an actual legal document, a literal back-of-the-napkin mistake that cost him a $100 million settlement. Both sides need appropriate counsel and a thorough accounting of their assets, which can make the cost of a pre-nup financially impractical for some.

The other side of the debate over pre-nups is emotional, grounded in a perception that such a document, or even the desire to sign one, is inviting the relationship to fail, tempting fate, or making it easier to get out of. It can even be seen as an indication that there is no trust in the relationship. The reality is, a pre-nup is an important legal tool, one which can be used to protect family assets, ease transitions, and hold individuals accountable. In a climate where up to 50% of marriages end in divorce, a pre-nup can be invaluable.

facebook-and-instagram-imageSocial media influences everything these days, from pop-culture to even divorce. To elucidate this point, simply try to find one person in your family, or among your friends, or peers at work that does not have a Facebook account. It is everywhere, unavoidable, and ineluctable. The courtroom is not immune to its presence either. When divorce is involved, the question of electronic evidence, and social media evidence, in particular, comes into play in various ways. Modern relationships fall hazard to the sometimes illicit goings-on of spouses that end up publicized for all the world to see.

Attorneys have to account for these modern times and the Facebook or Instagram posts.  Instagram has become the new forerunner of posts into the personal lives of parties.  People must become aware that once a divorce opens up on Court the social media accounts become public record.  That is to say that they provide an instant insight into happenings of the parties real personal lives and their true feelings about one another and what they are hiding from the divorce proceedings and the court.

The numbers don’t lie here. Social media is affecting relationships and being brought to bear on divorce litigation in serious and important ways. For a lawyer to effectively use (or defend against) social media evidence in a divorce case, he or she needs to understand both the ramifications of admitting such evidence and the legal precedent therein.

In June, Kentucky will become the first state to require a presumption of equally shared parenting in child-custody cases even when one or more parents is opposed. While it’s common for states to prefer joint custody when both parents are amenable, Kentucky’s presumption will apply even without divorcing parents on board. This is a major breakthrough in developing a parenting plan that is often difficult and expensive to come by in family law Courts in California and across the United  States.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed the measure in April, declaring that judges must presume “that joint custody and equally shared parenting time is in the best interest of the child” in almost all divorce cases. Last year, Kentucky required the same presumption for temporary child-custody cases while divorce is pending. Again, for a state to implement such a broad and powerful message to family law courts across America and Kentucky is quite outstanding.  Custody is often so tumultuous to fight in court that to add a presumption of 50/50 without any fighting in court is really setting a different type of  family law custody standard now.

Exceptions exist for situations “involving an incident of domestic violence within the preceding three years” or where “there has been a domestic violence order entered” or being entered. Obviously when there is violence the joint  custody presumption must be sidelined in order to keep the child safe from any potential violence or abuse.

A Michigan judge has reduced the child custody rights of a woman who was jailed for five days for not following through on an agreement to vaccinate her 9-year-old son. The family law issues are  twofold here.  violation of a court order and whether vaccination of the children is lawful and a parental decision without the  court involvement. Often the right to vaccinate your child can be a decision left to the parents individually.  However, if the court deems the safety of the children are at risk the Judge can step in  and order a vaccination.  The Family court judges top priority is the health safety and welfare of the children. Ultimately, the determination is the best interest standard of review for the family law court judge. So when the Michigan court judge ordered vaccination to be given the child against the mother’s wishes the Judge must have considered the pros and cons about the vaccination and determined that the health of the child outweighed any religious views the mother might have held
Oakland County Judge Karen McDonald ruled Wednesday that Rebecca Bredow will no longer have primary custody of the boy, but will have joint custody with her ex-husband, James Horne. Since the mother violated the Judges court order the judge probably held her in contempt of Court.  As a result the judge can penalize the mother in many different ways.  One of the ways is by taking her custodial  time away.  In this case the famiy law court judge decided  that  it was in the best interest to limit the amount of custodial time the mother  would recieve.
Horne wanted the boy vaccinated and Bredow agreed to do so last November but didn’t. She says vaccinations go against her religious beliefs. Religious beliefs cannot overtake the health safety and welfare of the child’s interest.  The best interest are always at the top of the Judges agenda when making any ruling regarding custody. When determining the best interest of the child the court must assess the health safety and welfare of the child first before looking at other issues that might lead to where the child should reside primarily.

A couple in Canada who decided to divorce after 35 years of marriage had to go to court to settle one of the more important aspects of their separation: Who gets their Edmonton Oilers season tickets? Often during the divorce there are issues regarding the division of property.  Usually the house is the main issue.  In others people have to divide personal property such as jewelry, cars, dogs and cats and other belongings people acquire over there long term marriage.

Often people have to deal with other financial issues such as spousal support and in long term marriages that can be a huge issue.

Beverly and Donald McLeod separated in 2015, with Donald agreeing to pay Beverly $15,000 per month in spousal support. But they needed a court order to decide what to do with the hockey tickets they had shared for the past 11 years.

Jon and Noel started talking about having a family not long after they married in 2013.

An author and a professor who have been together more than a decade, the couple considered adoption, but settled on surrogacy out of a strong desire to have a biological child.

That plan was derailed last year when a southern Utah judge denied their petition to enter a surrogacy agreement with a woman who wanted to help make their family complete.

Religious liberty did not grant three rabbis leeway to abduct Jewish husbands to force divorces from their wives, the Third Circuit ruled, upholding their kidnapping convictions. This case seems rather odd and appears to have nothing to do with divorces but more about extortion, robbery and burglary.  I dont understand how the only convictions on these violent men were not more than kidnapping. Normally a divorce can happen without proving anything to the court.  So these Rabbi’s thought it an easy target to threaten innocent men to get a divorce from their wives.

The 38-page amended ruling released Monday rejected a number of challenges by the three rabbis, including that the underlying FBI sting operation constituted “outrageous government conduct” and that their religion gave them the right to kidnap uncooperative husbands in the pursuit of a gittin, or religious divorce.

Mendel Epstein, Binyamin Stimler, and Jay Goldstein were all convicted in 2015 of operating a ring of rabbis and “tough guys” to help multiple Orthodox Jewish women kidnap their husbands to obtain a get, or divorce contract.

In Gutierrez v Gutierrez a Mississippi Supreme Court Case the supreme Court of Mississippi evaluated and ruled upon a very complicated spousal support and property debt and asset division family law case. The first major issue the trial court had to undertake was 2nd mortgage that was taken out soley during the marriage under Clayton Frank Gutierrez’s name.  The trial court laid out three questions it determined. Clay was the sole person who signed for the 2nd mortgage.  Trisha Guterriez did not sign for the 2nd mortgage.  In addtion the trial court ruled that the creditor did not make a claim for the enforcement of the 2nd mortgage.  The chancellor in Mississippi which would be the trial Court in California made each party responsible for the equal payment of the debt thus each spouse would assume joint responsibility for the 2nd mortgage.

Each party on appeal to the Mississippi Supreme court made a different argument based on the 2nd mortgage.  Mr. Gutierrez claimed that since he was soley liable for the note and signed for the 2nd mortgage he should be soley paying for the mortgage and not Mrs. Gutierrez. Mrs. Gutierrez appealed claiming she wanted a lump sum spousal support payment rather than monthly payments.  Each of their argument strongly relied on the outcome of how the debt and payments on the 2nd mortgage would be handled by the Mississippi Supreme court.

Mrs Gutierrez wanted that the 2nd mortgage remained community debt and jointly responsible to the both parties. If so she would gain much more ability to claim more spousal support.  Mr. Gutierrez wanted to claim it as his sole responsibility because then he would have more community debt to claim and thus less income to provide more spousal support to Mrs. Gutierrez.

Often parties to a marriage buy a home and eventually when the divorce comes are trying to split the marital equities and debts.  One of the hardest assets to divide is the marital residence.  Why is it hard to divide? Often there is a dispute as to how to get the highest value for the marital residence after the parties have separated.  herein lies the case of Easley v Easley a Case out of Alaska Supreme Court.  It involves the divorce of the husband and wife who owned a marital home in Alaska.  The parties were divorce in 2008 and had divided all marital assets including the sale of the marital home.  Or so it seemed. As the husband Easley claimed although the sale of the marital home was ordered by the Trial Court the Husband did not sell the home and divide the proceeds.

Why you might ask did he not sell the home back in 2008 when the judge ordered him to do so? The husband sat on his hands for 7 years claiming he was denied his due process rights in the order to sell the family home.  The husband Kevin claimed the legal defense of mutual mistake as to why he did not sell the marital home.  The home had declined in value and of course he did not want to sell the valuable asset at the time it was ordered.  He also claimed that he was denied his due process rights.

Now the argument for Due process violations has as far as I have ever seen in Family Law Cases showed up on appeal claiming that Mr. Easley was denied his notice and opportunity to sell the family home. Mr. Easley claimed there was actual prejudice, However, the Alaska supreme denied the actual prejudice.