Establishing the Price for a Buyout of the Marital Home

In some divorces, one spouse “buys out” the other spouse’s equity position in the marital home.

How is the dollar amount of the buyout determined?

Very often the buyout is accomplished with a refinancing of the mortgage on the home, which removes the bought out spouse’s name from the mortgage, as the buyout removes the bought out spouse’s name from the deed.

As part of the refinancing of the mortgage, the lender will typically require a current appraisal. The appraisal is the most common means of setting the price for the buyout.

But a noted law professor makes a pretty good case that an inexpensive home inspection should also be conducted and serve as a “reality check” on the appraisal price.

How so?

Home inspectors focus on the condition of the internal “systems” in the home. Defects, damage, wear, poor condition are typically noted.

Repairs and curative efforts have costs associated with them, which can be factored into an appraised price to reach a more equitable buyout price.

In some cases, the results may spur a spouse to reconsider buying out the other spouse.

According to the professor’s research, failure to take account of such negative conditions is a common basis for the buying out spouse’s efforts to reopen divorce cases after final judgment.

Read more in this New York Times piece: Home Inspections During Divorces.

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Children Returned to Mother in the UK Following Alleged Abduction by Father While Visiting Relatives in Turkey … Despite Turkish Authorities’ Reported Reluctance to Help

Mother and Father are originally from Turkey.

Mother and Father have two Children, Son and Daughter, together.

Mother and Father separate.

Mother is awarded sole parental responsibility for Children.

Mother, who lives in the UK, takes Children to Turkey to visit Grandparents.

While in Turkey, Father allegedly seizes Children’s passports and forcibly abducts Children.

Son manages to escape and is returned to Mother in the UK, despite lack of a passport.

Turkish authorities initially refuse to facilitate the return of Daughter to Mother, although Turkey is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

But subsequently, authorities intervene to persuade Father to bring Daughter to Mother, where they reside in the UK.

Upon Father’s return to the UK, he is served with several court orders, including an order for Father to return Daughter to Wife and another prohibiting Father from having contact with Children or Mother.

Read more in this Yorkshire [UK] Post article: Police persuade father to bring home his abducted daughter.

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Unusual Custody Battle To Be Fought in Civil Court, Rather Than Family Court

In Tennesee, an unusual custody battle is brewing. The subject of the battle is a thirty-six year old female …

Elephant.

Woman, one of the most prominent experts in the world on elephant rehabilitation, raised the Elephant in the circus from a tender age.

Woman eventually founded, ran and lived in the nation’s first habitat for “retired” elephants past their performing prime.

Until, after fifteen years of service, the sanctuary reportedly fired her.

After her discharge, Woman was initially allowed “supervised visitation” with Elephant. The justification for the supervision was alleged roughness toward Elephant.

Later, Woman was barred from any contact with Elephant.

The habitat has grown to 2,700 acres and $23 million, with tens of thousands of benefactors.

Woman has now filed a lawsuit, and many supporters of the sanctuary are rallying to her cause. Among other things Woman is seeking in her suit, Woman is still seeking visitation with Elephant.

Woman contends that politics and personal greed led to her termination, rather than alleged aggression.

The court’s view remains to be seen but the public or, at least, the supporters of the habitat, appear to be sympathetic to Woman’s position.

After all, the Elephant is like family to Woman. Firing Woman is one thing. Cutting her off from Elephant is another.

Read more in this New York Times article: Sanctuary in Custody Fight Over Elephant.

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Judge Wins Restraining Order After Being Threatened on Twitter

Arizona Student posts on social networking website Twitter that he would hit Arizona Judge in the face if given the opportunity.

Judge learns of post.

Judge seeks restraining order of protection against Student.

And judge’s request is granted, and order of protection is entered against Student.

Perhaps another reason to apply self-censorship on social media websites.

Still, in truth, it is questionable whether a restraining order would have been entered in Florida on similar facts … if the target were not a member of the judiciary.

Read more in this WireUpdate article: Arizona student gets restraining order after Twitter threat.

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Canadian Support Arrearages Exceed $2.7 Billion

Canada reports that total child support and alimony arrears across the nation exceed $2.7 billion Canadian.

Applicable to roughly sixty-four percent of support cases in which such statistics are kept.

Compliance varied from as high as eighty percent to as low as fifty-two percent, with several major regions reporting compliance of roughly sixty-three percent.

Read more in this Ottawa Citizen article: Unpaid child, spousal support tab hits $2.7 billion.

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Girl Who Was Allegedly Sold for Sex While in Child Protective Custody Will Sue Government

Australian Girl is taken into child protective custody by the child welfare agency (Agency) of the Australian government when Girl is twelve years old (presumably due to abandonment, abuse or neglect by Girl’s parents).

While in the custody of the Agency at the age of twelve, Girl is allegedly sold for sex.

Now Girl has an attorney and is looking to sue the Agency and government for its neglect.

The Agency reportedly concedes its negligence, but maintains that the Girl is fine now.

As part of her case, Girl will need to prove not only the neglect, but that it resulted in actual harm to her. That will require expert psychological evidence.

Since Girl is an indigent child, she is hoping to receive donations from the public.

Read more in this [Australia] World Today ABC newsradio article: Girl sold for sex wants to sue Tas Government.

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Mexican Mother Wins Return of Daughter Who Runs Away to Canadian Aunt Because of Alleged Abuse

Mother and Father divorce. Mother is awarded custody of their Daughter.

Daughter lives with Mother in Mexico. Father lives abroad.

Daughter, at 13, runs away from Mother in Mexico and goes to live with Aunt in Canada, with Grandmother’s assistance.

Daughter obtains asylum in Canada under the United Nations Refugee Convention, alleging that Mother abuses her.

Mother files an application for Daughter’s return to Mexico under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Mother maintains that Father’s family orchestrated Daughter’s flight.

Once a person is granted “protected” status under the UN Convention, they cannot generally be returned to the country where they were prosecuted.

But parents have the legal right to make decisions and exercise authority on behalf of their children. Therefore, the Hague Convention likely takes precedence over the UN Convention where parental rights to a minor child are involved.

At trial, the Canadian Court orders that Daughter return to Mexico.

Aunt is appealing the ruling.

Read more in this Toronto Star article: Mexican teen who fled abuse returned to mother.

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Children’s Preferences in Child Custody and Timesharing Cases

Many parents imagine that their child’s preferences in custody and timesharing, as allegedly expressed to them, will control the outcome of their child custody and timesharing case in family court.

They are usually disappointed to learn that that is probably not a significant consideration in their case at all.

On a practical level, it is all too common for children to express to each parent that they prefer to be with that parent primarily.

Which highlights the uncertainty as to the children’s true preferences. How can they reliably be determined?

In Florida and many other jurisdictions, divorce court judges rarely hear from children directly regarding their preferences. Subjecting children to testifying in court “against” either parent is frowned upon as damaging to children.

There are other ways to put children’s stated preferences before the court but, for a variety of reasons, the court often is not receptive toward receiving that input as evidence in the case.

And even if the court were, do children know what is best for them?

At best, not necessarily. At worst, definitely not.

And those are some of the problems with the proposal of three Connecticut children lobbying for family court judges to speak directly with children in the privacy of the judge’s chambers.

It also tends to put the children right smack into the middle of the case. And that is not healthy for children.

Read more in this Danbury [CT] News Times article: Siblings aim to change child custody law.

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Is Your Spouse Open and Honest About Their Property and Income?

According to a recent survey of nondivorcing married couples, commissioned by a British law firm of divorce attorneys, ten percent or more of British husbands admit that they would hide assets during a divorce, in order to keep a greater share of marital assets to themselves after property division in the divorce.

It is possible that some husbands might hide assets in their divorces, but might not own up to it for purposes of a study.

The same survey reports that, in one third of couples, one spouse does not really know what their significant other earns.

And one third of couples maintain separate accounts, meaning that one spouse may not know what or how much money is in their significant other’s individual accounts.

In twelve percent of couples, one spouse intentionally conceals or even misleads their spouse about their higher ticket purchases. More than half admit hiding any paper trail of those purchases.

Among young couples, nine percent admit to making investments that they conceal from their spouse. Again, it is possible that some who do so might not own up to it.

Men, more than women, reportedly tend to maintain financial privacy from the outset, to protect themselves financially in the event of a divorce.

The survey results suggest that one spouse in many couples is in effect cheated in the division of marital assets in their divorces.

Read more in this Times of Malta article: Husbands hide assets to avoid big divorce hit.

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Toddler Returned to Mother Who Shares Photographs of Him Duct Taped to Wall

Seventeen year old Nebraska Mother has an eighteen month old Toddler.

Mother, reportedly an admitted drug user, and her Boyfriend are allegedly intoxicated.

Mother and Boyfriend allegedly duct tape Toddler to a wall, with his hands trapped behind his back.

A “sippie cup” is also taped to the wall … beyond Toddler’s reach. His fingers are bound together as well.

Mother and Boyfriend take pictures of Toddler taped to the wall.

And show / send the pictures to various friends and family members.

Who notify authorities.

Mother and Boyfriend are arrested.

Mother is sentenced to ten days’ incarceration. She is also placed on two years’ probation.

Boyfriend is sentenced to three to five years’ confinement for child abuse. He is also sentenced to additional time … on unrelated felony charges.

Child welfare / health agencies will monitor the situation on an ongoing basis.

Read more in this All Headline News article: Mom Who Duct-Taped Toddler To Wall Has Custody Of Child Again.

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