Surrogate Mother Seeks Custody of Triplets She Gave Birth To

Biological Father in Georgia hires Surrogate Mother in California to carry a baby (or babies?) throughout pregnancy.

At some point during the pregnancy, Father learns that Surrogate is actually carrying triplets.

This apparently is at least one more than Father bargained for.

According to Surrogate, Father requests that Surrogate abort one of the fetuses, allegedly because he cannot afford a third child.

Surrogate refuses.

And because of Father’s request, Surrogate reportedly believes Father cannot and will not care for third child and wants to care for that child herself.

A temporary stay there initially kept the Triplets in California, but that stay was lifted and all three Triplets were released to Father’s care and returned to Georgia to live there with Father.

Both state and federal courts in California declined to strike down California’s surrogacy laws as unconstitutional, as requested by Surrogate.

Father, who is reportedly fifty years old, is being assisted by relatives and paid caregivers.

He is reportedly on the radar of Georgia’s child welfare agency.

Surrogate insists she has not given up her child custody case.

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Divorced with Two Kids … and One Home

Husband and Wife have Children together.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Husband and Wife do NOT argue about what happens to the marital residence.

Because …

The Children still live in the residence.

With whom?

Wife. And Husband. Just probably not Husband and Wife at the same time, or together.

Instead of the Children packing their overnight bags and traveling from Wife’s place to Husband’s place and back and forth, over and over again …

The Children stay put in their home (the marital residence). And Husband and Wife each travel with their overnight bags between the marital residence and their respective new residences.

Less disruption for the Children. That’s certainly good.

But more contact and, therefore, potentially, more conflict between Husband and Wife.

Still, birdnesting clearly does have its good points, and is worth considering.

It presupposes though that neither Husband or Wife is pressing for a third party sale or spousal buyout of the marital residence.

Read more in this New York Post article: Is ‘birdnesting’ the stupidest — or smartest — divorce trend yet?

Husband Awarded Custody of Five Children Later Allegedly Murders Every One of Them

South Carolina Husband and Wife marry young. Husband and Wife have five Children together.

Husband has a history of substance abuse and has served time in prison.

The child welfare agency makes numerous visits to Husband and Wife’s home, not due to abuse or neglect, but due to the reportedly unsafe condition of their home.

Husband and Wife are able to bring home into compliance before Children are taken into protective custody.

Wife claims to be a victim of domestic violence. Husband and Wife separate.

Husband keeps Children.

Wife seeks to get Children back from Husband and his family.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Husband receives custody of Children from court.

Child welfare agency resumes investigations, now based on recurring allegations of abuse.

Husband appears to investigators to be overwhelmed keeping up their home and caring for the Children.

Husband is charged with incident of neglect.

Children go missing.

Mother reports Children as missing.

Authorities begin search.

Husband is arrested on DUI and possession of drugs. Incriminating materials are found in his car.

Husband is charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.

Husband confesses and leads authorities to Children’s bodies.

Husband is charged with five counts of murder.

Wife sues the child welfare agency for dropping the ball. Badly.

Read more in

  1. this Daily Beast article: He Got Custody, Allegedly Killed 5 Kids and
  2. this WYFF4 TV Greenville article: Timeline of Jones family before deaths of 5 children .

Woman Sues Sperm Bank That Provided Sperm from the Wrong Donor, Of the Wrong Race

Mother had Daughter using a sperm donor provided through a sperm bank.

Mother selected Donor A as her sperm donor. However, the sperm bank actually provided the sperm of Donor B.

Mother and Donor A are both white. Donor B is black.

As a result, Daughter is biracial, and that is reportedly apparent.

Mother loves Daughter.

However, Mother lived in a very small town in Ohio, with a population of under 3,500 … only 10 of whom were African American.

The surprise of Daughter’s heritage and the need to relocate to a larger, more compatible community allegedly caused Mother stress and actual damages. The lawsuit seeks compensation for those as well as punitive damages.

So Mother sued the sperm bank. For wrongful birth and breach of warranty.

That didn’t fly. A state court dismissed that lawsuit.

But Mother was not barred from refiling her case in federal court, premised this time on the sperm bank’s negligence.

Mother’s claims are apparently predicated entirely on the racial differences between Donor A and Donor B. But there are undoubtedly many differences between the two men.

Whatever one’s opinion about the practice, would-be mothers who use sperm banks pore over donor profiles in search of the perfect donor.

Not only racial heritage but also height, weight, attractiveness, intelligence, creativity, sense of humor, skills, talents, interests, education, religion, politics, you name it, are all carefully assessed.

Not all are as objective or quantifiable as race, so perhaps they are not as well-suited for calculation of damages.

But it is perhaps surprising that no other characteristics seem to have found their way into the lawsuit.

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Court-Appointed Counsel Required in Adoption Challenges and Termination of Parental Rights Cases

New Jersey Mother has special needs Daughter.

Mother is indigent and opts to put Daughter up for adoption.

Daughter goes to live with adoptive parents.

And somewhere along the way Mother has a change of heart about putting Daughter up for adoption.

At trial on the termination of Mother’s parental rights and Daughter’s adoption, Mother has no legal representation and does her best to represent herself.

But falls short. Mother’s parental rights are terminated.

On appeal, the appellate court holds that Mother should have been assigned court-appointed counsel. Parental rights are fundamental constitutional rights.

The perhaps thornier issue: how will free legal representation be funded?

Possibilities include:

  • the state of New Jersey
  • attorneys practicing in New Jersey or
  • existing legal services providers to the indigent, such as the public defenders office or legal aid.

Read more in this Law.com article: Justices Mull Counsel for Indigent Parents Challenging Adoptions.

Is Something Wrong With This Picture? NonViolent Punishment Subjects Mother to Criminal Charges and Family to Child Welfare Investigation

Suburban to exurban Tennessee Husband and Wife have two teen-aged Daughters.

One day (and possibly many others before it), Daughters miss their school bus.

Wife decides it is time to punish Daughters.

Their punishment is having to walk to school instead of ride.

The distance is roughly 3.5 miles.

Daughters are both normal, healthy kids.

Wife drives the route, with Daughters walking along the side of the road.

A couple of county Sheriffs happen to observe this.

In their opinion, it is too cold, the distance too great and the punishment too dangerous.

So, Sheriffs arrest Wife for child neglect.

And it doesn’t end there.

It is Wife’s misfortune that her driver’s license is invalid. Add driving without a valid license to the charges against Wife.

And as a result, Sheriffs seek alternative transportation to school for Daughters.

When Husband and Father-in-Law arrive, Father-in-law flies off the handle and he too is subjected to criminal charges by Sheriffs.

At this point, it should come as no surprise that Tennessee’s child welfare agency is into the act and Daughters potentially face removal from Husband and Wife’s home.

One editorialist comments on life in the Nanny State and hypothesizs that some children who are not being punished may walk this distance to school daily.

Read more in

  1. this New York Daily News article: Tenn mom made daughters walk on highway as punishment and
  2. this Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial : The crime of walking .

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who’s Most Likely to Divorce of All?

Some people spend weeks, months, years debating when and/or whether to go ahead on a divorce.

Perhaps the wisdom of the universe – or at least their answers to their question – lies in the data and statistics that have been collected and compiled by the people who do that sort of thing.

Now, the data repository within the 2014 American Community Survey is at our fingertips.

Even more amazing, with the click of your mouse, you can view divorce statistics graphically, instantly adjusted based upon your selections for each of the variables of employment status, education and race / national origin.

Probably a better predictor / guide for decision-making than the proverbial dart and dart board. Especially where any decision beats paralysis by analysis or permanent limbo.

Read more in

  1. this Flowing Data article: Divorce Rates for Different Groups and
  2. this Gizmodo article: Fun Tool Tells You When You’ll Get Divorced .

Florida Divorce Has Unusual New York Enforcement Type Proceeding Attempted

Husband, a CEO of an oil company, and Wife, a socialite, divorced, apparently here in Florida.

Husband has since remarried the proverbial younger woman, Second Wife.

Although Husband is in his late forties, Second Wife is trying to get pregnant, in New York.

Husband reportedly paid Wife $130 million in the division of their marital property.

But Husband allegedly dragged his heels in transferring some stock to Wife, as a result of which Wife suffered a loss of $34 million. Accordingly, the Florida family court ordered Husband to pay Wife $34 million more as compensation for that loss.

Only Husband hasn’t paid. And is appealing the order requiring him to do so. And contending that he doesn’t have the money to do so.

Only Husband does reportedly have tens of thousands of dollars to pay for fertility treatments for Second Wife, a Bentley auto for Second Wife and a romantic $9,000 stop at a Paris hotel. Oops.

Wife, clearly a determined litigant, took the bull by the horns and formally advised Second Wife’s fertility doctor not to accept any further payments from Husband.

The Manhattan judge presiding over this divorce subplot apparently was not impressed by Husband’s resistance to paying, and “ordered” the former couple to “work out” the conflict.

That may not happen, at least not in New York.

Florida is really the proper venue for post-divorce enforcement proceedings of the usual variety. It was only because of Wife’s attempt at drawing the New York fertility doctor into the Florida divorce enforcement fray that this matter landed,, if only temporarily, in a New York courtroom.

Read more in this New York Post article: “My ex is using my money to get his new wife pregnant’ .

Prenups: They’re Just for Rich People, Aren’t They? No Way

Antenuptial agreements, or prenuptial agreements have gone mainstream. And with good reason.

So many more people these days are marrying later, often much later, sometimes after already raising a family, or successfully pursuing a career or business. They aren’t a couple of penniless kids … but they may each have some of those to consider.

It should also be kept in mind that prenups may come into play not only in the event of a divorce but also in the event of a spouse’s death.

And, believe it or not, a will may not be completely effective at disinheriting a spouse. But a prenup can be.

So, even ordinary people who aren’t wealthy may want to consider a prenup under any of the following circumstances (among others; this really isn’t an exhaustive list):

1. Either intended has built up – or even just started – a business. Even if a divorce or death doesn’t come into play, lack of documentation to protect the business could adversely impact financing and growth of the business.

2. Either intended is going to put their career on hold. Whether to care for common children, either intended’s children with previous partners, parents or in-laws. It’s a sacrifice that could have lasting consequences to the spouse who makes it.

3. Either intended has children with a former partner. It is naive to trust that the other intended (or their children) will take care of all the children of either intended. Without proper documentation, this can prove to be too much temptation – and stress – for the person(s) who may end up in the hotseat faced with the prospect of saying no to (other) needy kids and stepkids.

4. Either intended is in line for a significant inheritance. If there isn’t a prenup, inheritances have to be handled just so in order to protect them. Ironically, a prenup can be liberating, and promote sharing and contribution – with security to the heir.

5. The intendeds are compatible in most ways, but not in how they deal with money. A prenup can save a more conservative intended a world of anxiety.

Read more in this Cheat Sheet article: Marriage: 5 Signs You Need a Prenuptial Agreement .

Indian Child Welfare Act Tears Six Year Old From Only Home She Has Known Since She Was Seventeen Months Old

Child is removed from her parents and taken into child protective custody when Child is seventeen months old.

Child is placed with California Husband and Wife as her foster parents. Child lives with them, and their other children, for more than four years.

Genealogically, Child is one-sixty-fourth part Choctaw Indian; sixty-three sixty-fourths part not.

The federal Indian Child Welfare Act subjects Child, now six years old, to the the jurisdiction of the Choctaw Nation.

Because Child’s biological parents are unfit to care for her, the tribe wishes to place Child with relatives of her biological father, in Utah, who are not Indian. But Child’s nominal half-sister resides with them.

Husband and Wife, who wish to adopt Child, have been vigorously opposing tribal jurisdiction.

Because Child has been with Husband and Wife for so long during the extensive litigation, Child underwent a psychological evaluation and a child custody evaluation was performed by a therapist.

Their conclusion was that it would not be harmful to Child to remove her from the only home she has known for more than four years starting when she was seventeen months old.

Child’s foster parents plan to continue their fight through the courts until all of their legal options are exhausted.

Read more in

  1. this Los Angeles Times article: State Supreme Court will not hear Santa Clarita family’s appeal in tribal custody case and
  2. this Denver Post article: Custody case of Native American girl appealed to high court .