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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.

british-pound-300x200The British divorce court sided with a English lady who was a stock market whiz person who made $13 million dollars during her marriage.  Originally the Divorce Court had sided with the ex spouse husband and gave him a cut of all her stock earnings thus making him quite wealthy upon a short term marriage. Julie Sharp a stock trader by profession in England reduced significantly her husbands share to only $2 million dollars rather than the traditional split down the middle. Why did the family law court in England do so? Well the time honored scenario of the equal split down the middle for spouses did not seem to sit well with them. In California family law Court Spousal support is used to determine the standard of living scenario to make the ex spouses live according to the standard they had while married.  This situation usually has more impact upon lengthy marriages.  In California a long term marriage would be considered 10 years or more.

Mrs. Sharp was an energy trade on the British stock exchange.  In 2015 the British family law Court made a ruling giving her ex 2.74 million pounds.  Later the London appeals Court lowered it to 2 million pounds. The London appeals court has been on a recent trend of not equally splitting the assets as it had done in the past to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of a divorced couples assets. Now they have changed and seem to be permitting the ex spouse whom may be the bread winner to keep more of their earnings and shortchanging the less wealthy ex spouse with less money.  Thus it appears the London appellate court is deviating from fairness to a more of who makes more money prevails attitude.

They further state that nonworking spouses will be awarded “special contributions” for their time in the marriage. What exactly is a special contribution is uncertain.  It seems to be a new trend that certainly favors the spouse who makes more money and takes away from the spouse who does not work. The idea that there is a financial partnership among married people is starting to be thing of the past and is a disturbing trend on the idea of marriage in the United Kingdom.  The benefits of marriage seem to be seem to be on the downside in British culture.  Nothing like this has arrived in California or United States just yet.  However, if ever this type of ruling did appear I assume it will be fought with great zeal in the Family Law Court system.

Often juvenile immigrants to the United States cannot stay hear legally without going through the special immigration process to get a visa or ultimately US citizenship.  A program was developed by the United States which would facilitate juveniles getting their visa and status in the United States sped up.  The program is called the special immigrant juvenile status program.
This legislation is fairly unique in that it requires the state Court to get involved and examine the eligibility of the these foreign juveniles before they can apply to the federal program. To petition for SIJ you must have a state court order that contains certain findings, USCIS uses to determine your status. The state court may be called “juvenile court”, “family court”, “orphan’s court”, or some other name, depending on which state it is in. The court must have the authority under state law to decide on the custody and care of children.

A state court in the United States must decide that you are a dependent of the court or to legally place you with a state agency, a private agency, or a private person and It is not in your best interests to return to your home country (or the country you last lived in) and you cannot be reunited with a parent because of ANY of the following: Abuse, Abandonment, Neglect, Similar reason under state law. 

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.

Getting married for a second time is fairly common. But the financial and estate planning issues that result from remarriage often pose a different set of problems than that of the first marriage.  For one, in the first marriage you have no prior issues to deal with such as children, support payments and an ex spouse to contend with.

The major problem with a second marriage deals with the issue of children. When you remarry with a different partner they too may have children and therein lies the issue of a new blended family. Child custody issues may arise not that there are new siblings and new stepparents involved in raising the children. If you have left over issues involving child custody then there might be difficult times ahead. The prior spouse may have issues with the new spouse their children. Who is making the rules now with the new family? is it the new spouse? Does their parenting of their children influence your parenting and effect your prior spouses concerns about their own children and what is happening to them.

If you and your new spouse keep a joint bank account to pay common bills therein lies another big problem.  If you have unresolved issues regarding money with the prior spouse then the second spouse might get involved in that dispute unknowingly and innocently.  If Creditors are after you from the prior marriage then they may continue the pursuit of your money including the bank accounts you have with the current spouse. Creditors are not going to divide the bank account they can attach and levy that holds your money.  Therefore you new spouse may jeopardize their own money by commingling in your bank account.  The best advise is the keep separate bank accounts from your new spouse knowing that the prior divorce is still pending and or many unresolved issues linger over for many years to come.

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 the recent case of Haskell v Haskell the Court ordered a spousal support order and issued a divorce judgment when one of the spouses did not attend the hearing.  Can the Court enter a final order for spousal support when a party does not appear? And can the order be set aside for failure of the due process requirement?  These are the issues the Court dealt with on appeal from Mr Haskell.

Pamela Haskell had filed for temporary order of spousal support.  Notice was given to Dusty Haskell via mail which was a proper method of notice accepted by the Court.  At that time both parties lived together in the same residence and the mail for Dusty was placed on a table that was available to him and was known to him to have his mail. After the temporary spousal support hearing was held by the Court they issued temporary orders giving Dusty Haskell temporary Spousal support in the amount of $4,000 per month.  Thereafter, Pamela Haskell gave notice of the result of the hearing by placing notice on a box in the house visible to Dusty Haskell when he would come home.

A final Spousal Support Hearing was held and Dusty Haskell did not attend after it was determined by the Trial Court that he had been given proper notice. The Financial declaration of the wife Pamela Haskell was used to determine final amount of Spousal support.

A recent Florida Supreme Court case has been published that reviewed a case regarding Hooker v Hooker.  The issue of Donative Intent became an issue of the parties.  The Supreme Court of Florida did not decide the fate of the issue of donative intent of the spouses but rather the appellate standard of review of the trial courts decision on donative intent.

The Florida Supreme Court said in its opinion that the trial court was correct in using “competent and substantial evidence.” “So instead of just determining whether or not there was competent evidence to support the trial court’s decision, the 4th (District) erred by actually reweighing the evidence and substituting their own judgment,”

In California if an order is appealed, the appellate court must use a standard of review of determining if there is substantial evidence that will support the family law courts orders. The appellate court cannot retry the case they are only to make inferences to make sure the trial court did not error on the use of the law.

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.