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March 2011 Archives

McCourts continue to negotiate property division

In what seems like the property division settlement that will never end, Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt have postponed a hearing scheduled for April 11 regarding the former couple's ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers opened their season on Thursday against the San Francisco Giants. This will be the second baseball season where ownership of the team is unsettled at its opening.

Divorced families travel together for the kids

Not everyone can do it, be amicable with your ex-spouse. But, those that can and have children can reap further benefits from their good natured, post-divorce relationships; they can go on a family vacation together for the sake of the children. Obviously, not all divorced couples with children can go on vacation together or should go on vacation together, but for the parents that are able it creates plenty of good family memories without the worry of child custody and visitation issues. The name of this growing phenomenon is a divorce-cation.

Child support, indigent parents and jail

Do you think a low-income parent who has failed to pay his or her child support should be given representation by the state at civil contempt hearings? That issue is the issue that the United States Supreme Court will soon have to decide. At the root of the issue is an indigent parent's ability to pay and how best to incentivize the parent to pay child support. But, a question remains. Can you incentivize an indigent parent to pay child support with the threat of jail time if they genuinely do not have the ability to pay?

Higher property division stakes for people over 50

The financial stakes for younger couples who divorce are much lower than older couples who divorce simply because younger couples have more time to correct any financial mistakes or obstacles they encounter during the property division of their divorce. The greater stakes however have not persuaded baby-boomers against their decision to divorce. Even though the divorce rate over the last twenty years has decreased slightly, divorces among those over 50 have doubled.

Division of assets and pets: Shared custody

Usually when people get divorced their main concerns are child custody, parental rights, visitation, alimony and property division, but sometimes a central part of a family is the family pet. The issue of who gets the family dog or cat can easily be overlooked when so many other important concerns are being addressed. If a family cannot agree on where the family pet goes, a court may help with the decision.

Most wanted Texas child support evader sentenced

The most wanted child support evader in Texas history has been sentenced to serve 12 months in state jail. The man kept Texas law enforcement officials on the run for 13 years before an agent for the FBI recognized the man in the country of Jordan. Before his run from the law in 1997, the 56-year-old father racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in back child support. The former father on the run pleaded guilty to criminal non-support in court last week.

The story of mothers who gave up child custody - Part 2

During our last post we talked about a mother who gave up physical custody of her three children to accomplish her life's goal of writing a best-selling book. The woman exceeded her goal, and her book has been translated into 14 languages. While segments of society may look down on her decision to be the secondary parent, the mother believes her success has enabled her to provide her children a wider range of experiences and has brought more joy to her life. In this post, we will look at the experience of one 30-year-old mother who now lives in New York City.

The story of mothers who gave up child custody - Part 1

Often, we hear of fathers losing child custody when a divorce occurs and society generally accepts the result as commonplace. While around 70 percent of divorces end with women getting child custody, progress is being made in fathers' rights. At the same time that fathers fight for greater parental rights, there is a small segment of women who challenge traditional notions of motherhood and child custody. The small group of women purposefully give up their child custody rights to pursue a different life. In this post and the next we will examine two mothers who chose to be the non-primary parent in the lives of their children.

Unmarried couples who cohabitate look to protect their property rights

Today, unmarried couples who cohabitate are common place and one of the many reasons unmarried couples decide to live together is to share the burden of living costs. Consequently, as more unmarried couples live together, more couples are deciding to protect their property rights through pre-nuptial like agreements called cohabitation agreements. Like pre-nuptial agreements for married folks, cohabitation agreements protect individuals and decide property division when an unmarried couple's relationship sours.

Update on fathers' rights expansion

Last week we talked about how fathers' rights may be expanded in one more state, South Dakota. The majority of states decide the issue of primary child custody according to what parent will be the child's primary caregiver. Often under the primary caregiver perspective the parental rights of fathers is often overlooked. Recently a bill that would change the primary child custody law to a presumption of shared custody was introduced and passed by the South Dakota House of Representatives. Advocates of the bill say it will provide greater rights for divorced fathers.