Articles Posted in Custody & Visitation

Janet Jackson is going through a child custody battle and a divorce battle with Wissam Al Mana who is from Qatar and is a Billionaire who invests internationally in all sorts of things.  Recently they were seen in the Royal Courts in London after a court hearing on Custody.  It would seem she is involved in a hotly contested international child custody dispute. The couple had split in April after Janet had given birth to their daughter in January, Elissa.

In the Divorce proceedings word has gotten out that Janet will receive a sizable settlement payment from Al Mana around $200,000.  And she will remain in London to raise the child.  Janet is worth $150,000 so already has a lot of money and now will seek to increase her already wealthy amount of money.  This turn out to be an interstate child custody dispute and also an international divorce.  However, it appears the couple have settled on the London Courts to serve as the jurisdiction to hear the Divorce and custody matters.  The child Elissa was born in London so England would be her home country.  However, since Janet is also a US citizen she could also one day decide to head back to the US to live.  Likewise Al Mana is from Qatar and could also want at some time to take his child to visit or live in Qatar.  But for right now it seems that the parents have somewhat resided to the fact that London will be Elissa’s home.

Janet is talks to be part of a netflix 10 part documentaries about her life after her divorce from Al Mana.  This could net her a significant some of money which might effect the settlement of the divorce.  In California the courts look to the standard of living for the spouses post separation.  So the London Courts will probably do the same.

Actor Kevin Dillon of the famed series entourage has settled his divorce finally.  The funny think is that noon new he was getting divorced, that is how under the radar his divorce was. His now ex wife was Jane stuart who filed for divorce last July.  The couple was married for over 10 years.  The key battle that the couple had was over the date of separation of the divorce.  This can be a very hot item issue of a divorce as it nears the 10 year number of the length of the marriage.  The key benefit of the 10 year time rule is that the other party after 10 years can get lifetime spousal support from the other party. Jan stuart claimed that the couple separated May 29, 2016 which would have made the marriage ten years.  Kevin Dillon claimed the couple had separated in October of 2008.  Apparently the major squabble of the couple was over the residual payments the actor was to receive from his entourage show.

As with most of these cases … it settled before going to trial. Last month Kevin agreed to pay Jane $3,174 a month in child support for their 11-year-old daughter, and she gets $7,214 in monthly spousal support. Dillon is best known for playing a character on Entourage called Johnny Drama.

Kevin Dillon’s net worth is approximated to be $10 million dollars.  He earned most of his money from his role on entourage where he earned $16 million dollars.  That is why the date of separation was so important since they married in 2004 she would get a portion of his royalties from his show.  He was seen getting cozy with a blond lady last may which would imply that his wife might be correct in her assertion of the date of separation to be in May of last year.  Stuart claimed that Kevin Dillon under reported his income.  Therefore, this issue probably undermined the divorce process and she and her attorneys needed to do further discovery on Dillon to get an accurate assessment of his true income.

Recently Tiger Woods was arrested in Juniper, Florida for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.  Mr Woods has a child with his ex wife Elin Nordegren.  At the time of their divorce Mr. Woods was also involved in a drug related incident whereby he crashed his car into a tree and claimed he was high on ambien.  He was not charged with a crime at that time. After the incident he divorced his ex wife and achieved a amicable outcome with regards to his divorce and child custody arrangement. He is the father of two children, Sam, 9 and Charlie, 7.  In a recent interview Tiger Woods opened up about how he parents his children.  Although his golfing career has hit a slump his parenting life appears to be of a very caring and thoughtful father.  In the interview he did recently he talks how his father Earl Woods would communicate to him at his eye level.  He stated that because his father would get down to his eye level when talking to him it creating a strong father son bond. This type of behavior is something he has passed on to his kids to develop that similar bond.

As a result of the recent DUI Mr. Woods might not suffer a disastrous custody battle as if he did not have this strong bond with his two children.  In addition, Tiger states that after the divorce he has developed a strong friendship with Ms. Nordegren and can talk to her about his relationship with his children openly.  Thus, because of this tight bond with his ex wife he might not suffer a big break in his relationship with his minor children.  Drugs and alcohol are a very bad combination when dealing with a custody battle among ex spouses or partners.  Getting behind the wheel of a car and driving drunk shows poor judgment which can transfer over to how you parent your children.

The police spotted Mr. Woods late at night driving down a road in Jupiter, Florida near his home weaving in and out of the lanes.  The local police noticed the erratic behavior and made a traffic stop.  Upon approaching Mr. Woods after the traffic stop the police noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Tiger’s breath.  A Police officer can make a stop based on a reasonable suspicion that the person was driving while under the influence.  In addition, once the stop is made and the officer notices that the person smells of alcohol they can administer what is called field sobriety tests.  The Juniper police office approached Mr. Woods after the stop and asked him to breathe into a breathalyzer.  Tiger refused to do it.  Thereafter, Mr. Woods was placed under arrest.  I a person does not give a breath test then they will lose there license for a year and will be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Huma Abedin the long time adviser/confident of Hillary Rodham Clinton the ex presidential candidate, ex secretary of state, ex senator and ex first lady.  And now Huma has finally cut the cord to her long time husband the ex United State House representative, and filed for Divorce.  Mr. Weiner plead guitly to texting obscene pictures to a minor.  This of course was not his first run in with exposing his self to others via text.  Huma gave Mr. Weiner a second chance after his prior criminal activity of exposure via text.  However, finally she decided enough was enough and a divorce was the only solution after his second exposure incident with minor children.

As stated on Cnn “”Weiner accepted responsibility for his conduct. “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” he said through pauses and bouts of tears in an emotional statement. “I entered intensive treatment, found the courage to take a moral inventory of my defects, and began a program of recovery and mental health treatment that I continue to follow every day.'”

Obviously this person has a sickness and a Divorce had to be on the horizon after his first bout of exposure to others. Mr. Weiner accepted a plea deal with the federal prosecutor where he could face 21 to 27 months in federal prison.

In Vakharwala v Vakharwala, a Supreme Court of Georgia case came up upon appeal. The issues that the husband appealed were orders of attorney fees, child custody modification and spousal support.  In addition, there was a prenuptial agreement the parties entered into prior to marriage. Mr. Vakharwala disputed the amount of attorney fees that were to be awarded to the wife.  He disputed the reason they were awarded and if they were the proper amount. In the prenuptial agreement the parties entered into prior to the marriage it stated that the parties waived any financial aid from the other party for spousal support. Therefore, Mr. Vakharwala appealed the attorney fee award to his wife during the divorce proceedings.  The appellate Court ruled in his favor as a result.  However, interestingly their ruling was based on the prenuptial agreement which waived spousal support.  A Georgia statute made it clear that attorney fees were often used as spousal support and were “intrinsic” to it function.  Normally, according to Georgia Code sections attorney fees are part of Spousal support.  Therefore any award to to a party of attorney fees was in fact spousal support.  So Mr. Vakharwala prevailed on appeal based on this Georgia statute. The wife should not have received the $60,000 in attorney fees because she had already received a temporary order for spousal support.

In California family Court besides awarding attorney fees as a sanction the attorney fees can be awarded as a way to help a divorce litigant hire an attorney when the other party is also represented by counsel during the divorce. This is a common practice in divorce proceedings to create a level playing field for all divorce parties.

The Court also did at the same time award wife sanctions for the husbands conduct that abused the discovery process and delayed the divorce proceedings.  Thus the wife prevailed in getting attorney fees through the other Georgia statute enabling a party to be awarded monetarily for the abuse of the court system by the other party.  Any prenuptial agreement that stated that there was a a waive of attorney fees under a normal setting would be ignored in this scenario.

Jesse Jackson Jr.  has been going through a bitter divorce with his ex wife, Ald Sandi Jackson. They were married for 25 years and continue their courtroom drama.  He was a former U.S. House of Represenative.  His ex is trying through legal means and her lawyer to find out very personal information from Jesse Jackson, Jr. such as all his girlfriends he had during their 25 year marriage.  The lawyer is using the process of Discovery to further investigate these lurid details.  The divorce proceedings are currently being heard in Washington D.C. Jesse Jackson, Jr. through his lawyers has objected to the questions stating that they are irrelevant.  Sandi Jackson is tyring to get spousal support and attorney fees.

The change of Venue has been a hotly contested issue of the Divorce proceedings.  Jesse Jackson Jr. filed for Divorce initially in Cook County Illinois first.  Later Sandi Jackson filed for divorce in Washington D.C. where she lives.  There usually is a first in time rule dealing with which state or county will hear the divorce proceedings.  However, often the Judges of each Court will contact each other and decide based on all the evidence, witnesses and other issues which jurisdiction is better suited to maintain jurisdiction of the Divorce case.  Apparently, the issue of venue was a big problem for Jesse Jacksion Jr. as his children who are 13 and 17 were he alleged being harmed unnecessarily by his Sandi Jackson’s harmful public comments.  Rather than fight the venue of the case he conceded that Washinton D.C. would be the appropriate forum to litigate their divorce.

Jesse Jackson Jr. had to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives because he had missappropriated $750,000 from his campaign treasury.  He ended up going to prison for this crime.  In addition, Sandi Jackson as well went to prison for her involvement in the crime.  Interestingly, both parents had to do their prison time separately and at different times because they needed to take care of their minor children.

Alex Jones a right wing talk show host in Austin Texas is currently embroiled in a child custody battle.  Apparently he is quite outspoken and his on show persona is now in question.  The child custody battle with his wife Kelly Jones is using his outlandish character on air he demonstrates and bringing it to Court.   She is using his work persona and claiming that it reflects his parenting skills.  This accusation is quite effective in modern Child Custody battles where public figures or public comments or social media statements are used against a parent in a Child Custody battle.

Interestingly Kelly Jones the mother is not the primary custodian of the her three children. Alex Jones has been the primary custodian of the three minor children.  Recently the mother Kelly Jones has launched a change in custody bid against Alex Jones the sensational talk show host.  The Rollingstone Magazine has labeled him “the most paranoid man in America.”  In addition, he has questioned the landing on the Moon.   He has falsely accused high ranking members of the Democratic party of being involved in a Satanic Child Porn ring.  He did later apologize for the false accusations.  His outlandish behavior will and should be brought to the attention of the Child custody Judge.

Apparently the Judge has taken notice of his erratic and absurd behavior and has let Kelly Jones offer and bring evidence of Alex Jones use of marijuana with Joe Rogan on a podcast. Often Child Custody judges will defer to the children and have a child custody investigation begun to further investigate if the behavior of Alex Jones has influenced his parenting skills.

It finally has happened.   I guess some would say the inevitable.  But Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have finally called it quits after what appeared to be an on again off again relationship.  Jennifer Garner filed a Petition for Divorce.  She did not put an attorney on the Petition for Divorce which is unusual for a high profile couple.  Jennifer Garner and Ben affleck filed a Joint Petition for Divorce and both are seeking joint physical and legal custody of the three minor children. The couple separated June 30, 2015 almost two years ago.  It appeared from the public’s eye that the couple was trying to work things out for the children’s sake.

There is a big issue yet to be determined and that is spousal support.  Apparently Ben Affleck made much more money during the marriage than Jennifer Garner.  Therefore he will be obligated to pay Jennifer Garner either a lumps sum spousal support payment or monthly payments for a period of time yet to be determined.  In California a marriage over 10 years will garner life time spousal support payable by one spouse to the other.  In the case of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck there marriage was over 10 years so Jennifer Garner might be in for a substantial financial reward depending how she negotiates the divorce.

It also has been stated that she and Ben filed as their own lawyers which often takes away alot of animosity and litigation that having lawyers might cause. However, in the case of Ben and Jennifer they have approached the Divorce amicably and by filing as their own lawyers they are keeping up this amicable and calm approach to their divorce.  In addition, what is important to them has always been their children.  By both requesting joint legal and joint physical custody they both are invested in the best interest of their children.

In the recent case of Dennis O v Stephanie O. the Alaskan Superior Court heard the case of Dennis O who claimed that because his ex wife had an attorney during their child custody hearing his due process rights and self incrimination rights were violated.  Dennis alleged that his wife was able to afford an attorney.  He argued that because of his indigence that he should be appointed an attorney.  He alleged that prior Alaskan decisions had awarded counsel to parties who were indigent.  He further argued that because the ex wife alleged potentially criminal allegations against him he should be appointed free counsel.

On appeal the Alaskan appellate Court noted that in prior Alaskan cases involving child custody the courts had appointed indigent counsel for the parties because the parents were facing termination of parental rights not just a custody dispute. The appellate court further added that Due Process is a result of notice and a failure to be heard.  They compared the termination of parental rights to a custody dispute and stated that when a parent has the chance to lose their parental rights they face a much more egregious outcome if they are not appointed counsel.  In a normal custody proceeding although contentious and involves high emotions there is at no time the potential to lose your rights to your child.

The Alaskan Court further added that although fairness is a key issue that the Due Process rights of the Constitution adhere to when appointing a lawyer to a family setting not all cases fall into that parameter where appointment is necessary.  The Family law courts have many avenues for a litigant who represents themselves to avail themselves of.  There are self help centers and alternative dispute centers for the parties.  In addition, the Court can appoint a Guardian Ad litum, an attorney for the minor child and can order a child custody investigation.

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.