For Many People, The Time is Finally Here …To File for Divorce

The statistics tell the story, at least part of it.

Divorce filings surge throughout the first quarter of every year. That’s indisputable.

As for why, that is anecdotal, conjecture.

One attorney posits that tax refunds provide couples with the funds to pay for divorce.

There certainly is some truth in that for some couples.

But the more powerful forces driving the surge are likely emotional more than financial.

Unhappy couples, particularly those with children, often tough out the last couple of months of each year – the holiday season – for the sake of the children.

Divorce statistics typically reflect a dip in divorce filings during the holiday season.

But the couples who stay together for the kids, or appearances, are often especially miserable during the holidays, whether due to the pretense or just too much time off and togetherness.

With the arrival of the new year, they are often chomping at the bit.

Some have even made the arrangements in advance and just need to “pull the trigger”.

Others are first ready to begin their preparations in earnest now.

Circumstances permitting, this can be a perfect time to:

  1. update your designation of health care surrogate or proxy or medical power of attorney
  2. update your will and estate plan
  3. close joint bank and credit card accounts
  4. update insurance beneficiary designations where appropriate and re-evaluate types of coverages for gaps as well as amounts
  5. review your investment portfolio against your current individual needs and objectives and
  6. get a handle on your expenses and income and create a budget

Read more in

9 Red Flags That You’re in a Psychologically Abusive Relationship

1. Interaction with your partner makes you feel worthless, uneasy, exhausted, etc.
2. Your partner puts you down in a mean-spirited way
3. Your partner lies to you habitually
4. Your partner has to hold onto all the power in your relationship
5. Your partner raises his voice all the time
6. Your partner is always critical
7. Your partner makes light of their mistreatment of you
8. Your partner plays you like an instrument and
9. Your partner has you blaming yourself for their bad behavior

This type of emotional abuse may be damaging over time, just as much as physical abuse. It may also be accompanied by or escalate into physical abuse at any time.

Therefore, attempting to work on this issue or to extricate yourself from the problem should be handled with great care and planning for safety.

Read more in this CheatSheet article: 9 Signs You’re in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship.

Live-In Child-Maid Allegedly Abused by Judge and Wife She Worked For in Pakistan

Ten year old Pakistani Girl works as a live-in maid. For two years and counting.

Her employers are a Pakistani Judge and his Wife.

Images of Girl appear on social media …

Revealing burns and bruises on her body.

Authorities get wind of the possible abuse of Girl by Judge and his Wife and begin to investigate.

But not before Girl’s Father takes the matter up with Judge … and negotiates a settlement.

Father seeks to have the investigation aborted and any potential punishment headed off.

But Girl’s accounts of her injuries point to abuse and torture. Although she did reportedly alter her accounts over the course of the investigation.

Independent medical evaluations appear to corroborate Girl’s accounts of abuse though.

Judge and Wife are arrested against Father’s wishes.

Girl is taken into protective custody.

It is not known whether Girl’s Father and Mother face any charges under Pakistani law.

Or with whom Girl will live once released from protective custody.

Twelve million Pakistani children reportedly work under inhumane conditions.

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Family Court rules Twin Baby Boys Aren’t Related

Gay male couple in Italy want children.

Thanks to in vitro fertilization, the sperm of each of the would-be fathers was fertilized with a different egg donated by the same biological mother. That biological mother delivered the two baby boys in California.

When the couple returned to Italy and tried to register their sons’ births, officials refused because surrogacy is illegal in Italy.

Determined, the couple sued to be able to register the twins as their own. At trial, the Italian family court sided with the officials who had refused to even acknowledge the baby boys.

But an Italian appellate court partially reversed and found for the couple … sort of. The appellate court ruled that each partner could register his biological son as his own child.

But the other partner could not be recognized as a parent of, nor adopt his partner’s biological child.

And the twin brothers … were not legally related.

Counter-intuitively, an Italian organization advocating for gay rights hailed the ruling as favorable, because it did at least recognize each boy’s birth and Italian citizenship, and parental status of one gay partner.

Read more in this Washington Post article: These two baby boys are twins, but an Italian court says they aren’t brothers.

Toddler Drowns While Mother is Apparently “Intoxicated” … By Her Smartphone

Chinese Husband and Wife have four year old Son.

Wife and Son visit a resort with a swimming pool.

Wife and Son go into the pool.

While in the swimming pool with Son, Wife, her back to Son, seemingly becomes enthralled by her cell phone.

So enthralled, that Wife is apparently totally oblivious as Son encounters difficulty, struggles to stay afloat and eventually drowns in the pool after several minutes.

All while Wife – as well as other people in the pool – are just a few feet away.

Surveillance video captures the entire tragic course of events.

The resort is currently closed pending investigation of the incident by law enforcement.

If Wife had other children in her care, surely the local child welfare agency would have taken them into temporary protective custody during the investigation.

Whether the tragedy is ultimately ruled to be child neglect or freak accident, it should in any event serve as a powerful reminder that young children in a pool must be closely supervised, continuously.

Read more in this UK Daily Mail news article: Helpless four-year-old Chinese boy drowns in swimming pool while his mother plays on her phone just feet away.

Father Living with Son Under New Identities After Father’s Alleged Abduction a Decade Earlier, Seeks Early Release from a Four Year Sentence after Just One Year

Mother and Father, a veteran of the US Navy, have Son together.

Five years later, Mother and Father separate.

Father allegedly abducts Son and relocates with him from Alabama to Ohio.

Where they remain, under falsified identities, for the next decade.

They lead a good life and Son is a well-rounded honor student.

While Son is applying to colleges, he discovers a problem with his social security number.

Which leads to Father’s abduction of Son coming to light.

Father is ultimately sentenced to four years in prison for his actions after pleading guilty.

One year into his sentence, Father seeks early release from prison.

Apparently, for owning up to kidnapping Son and depriving Mother and Son of contact for a decade.

Mother and Son have spent holidays together since Father’s arrest.

If Father is released early from prison in Ohio, Alabama legal authorities may opt to prosecute Father themselves for interference with child custody.

Read more in this Associated Press news article: Dad who took boy from his mom in 2002 seeks prison release.

Retired Green Beret’s Pension Garnished for Child Support – for a Child That is Not His

Colorado Husband and Wife are divorcing.

Fifty-seven year old Husband is a retired Green Beret with twenty-one years of military service to his credit. He lives on his military pension.

In the divorce, Wife sought child support for her five year old son (Child).

The DNA of Husband and Child were tested to determine paternity.

The DNA test ruled Husband out as Child’s biological father.

Husband introduced that evidence in the divorce case.

And the Colorado divorce court held that Child was not Husband’s child and therefore Husband was not responsible for child support. The divorce decree states that there were no children of the marriage.

Despite that, Wife apparently somehow managed to get the United States Veterans Administration (VA) to garnish a substantial portion of Husband’s pension for child support.

Husband’s numerous phone calls AND submission of copies of the DNA test and divorce decree to the VA over a four month period did not deter the VA one bit though.

Finally, at his wit’s end, Husband contacted his local TV news station’s co-called Problem Solvers consumer watchdog team.

Luckily, the VA relented within a day of that.

This case is different from a far more common – and problematic – scenario where the presumed father doesn’t obtain a DNA test disproving his paternity until long after a court has already recognized him as the legal father of a child.

Here, Husband was on the ball and did everything exactly right.

The basis, if any, for the VA’s garnishment of Husband’s pension is not known.

But, by all accounts, Wife was clearly determined not to let the divorce court stand in the way of her collecting money from Husband.

Read more in

  1. this KDVR TV 2 Fox 31 news article: Army veteran fights VA to stop child support payments for a boy who is not his
  2. this KDVR TV 2 Fox 31 news article: VA stops vet’s forced child support payments for child that is not his and
  3. this Task & Purpose news article: VA Forces Green Beret To Pay Child Support For Someone Else’s Kid

Wife’s Expected Award from Marital Minority Interest in Close Corporation Slashed Because Company Bought Back Husband’s Stock and Discontinued His Generous Bonuses

Husband and Wife are in a twenty year marriage. Wife seeks a divorce.

This is a contentious case. Nine years in the making.

Yes, you really did read that right and no, that isn’t a typo.

This is a complex case.

Husband is a shareholder in a family business (Company). A minority shareholder in a business founded by his father.

A profitable business. A business that had been known to pay Husband bonuses on the order of $250,000 per year before Wife filed for divorce.

But after Wife filed for divorce, there were some big changes at Company.

For starters, Company did a reverse stock split and bought back Husband’s stock. And once Husband was no longer an owner, Company discontinued Husband’s bonuses.

Wife argued that the discontinued bonuses should have been imputed to Husband anyway.

But the Illinois family trial court disagreed. Husband received fair market value for his stock. Husband’s father was left the sole owner of Company and thereafter received all of the profits.

Wife was unable to prove that the stock purchase was a sham and that the bonuses were later going to be paid to Husband. Or that Husband’s father or Company did anything improper.

So Wife’s award in the divorce turned out to be significantly less than she had expected.

Read more in this Expert Institute article: Economics Expert Evaluates Financial Obfuscation in Divorce Proceeding.

Sperm Bank Off the Hook for Seriously Misrepresenting Traits of Sperm Donor

Sperm bank describes Sperm Donor as follows:

  • holds PhD in neuroscience
  • has IQ of 160

To numbers of would-be mothers seeking a sperm donor for their prospective children, Sperm Donor sounded pretty appealing.

So those would-be mothers signed on and gave birth to babies using Sperm Donor’s DNA.

Only, later on, those same mothers discovered Sperm Donor’s identity and that, far from possessing a PhD in neuroscience, Sperm Donor was not even a college graduate. Worse, Sperm Donor was a convicted felon … and diagnosed schizophrenic.

Finding the gap between the “advertising” and the reality extreme and distressing, the mothers sued the Georgia sperm bank they had turned to.

Their legal claims were expressed in the legal language of product liability, negligence, fraud, breach of warranty and commerical-type civil claims for money damages.

A Georgia trial judge rejected every single claim for damages though.

It’s not that the judge was condoning the sperm bank’s conduct. Hardly.

The problem is that the judge concluded that the monetary claims were in substance claims for ” wrongful birth” … claims not allowed in Georgia as a matter of public policy. Roses by another name, so to speak.

The trial judge did permit the mothers to press their nondamages claim for an order seeking additional information about the Sperm Donor from the sperm bank.

The judge also paved the way for the mothers to mount an expedited appeal of his ruling.

This case is one of roughly a dozen throughout North America brought by mothers in the same boat as these Georgia mothers.

Read more in this Atlanta Daily Report article: Judge Tosses All but One Claim in Sperm Bank Suit Over Donor’s Background.

Young? Got nothing? Earn Next to Nothing? Getting Married? Wow, You Better Get a Prenup

Boyfriend and Girlfriend are talking about getting married. First time for both.

They are in their early twenties, barely out of college.

Wealthy families? No, not at all.

Truthfully, neither earns much or has much, or has any reason to expect to inherit much, certainly not anything for a good long time.

But they both want to have prenuptial agreements signed before they walk down the aisle.

Of late, this is increasingly popular among young people who are marriage-minded. But it wasn’t true of this particular demographic as recently as a decade ago..

Are twenty-somethings suddenly so much more knowledgeable and sophisticated about family law?

Well, that may be true to a degree. But that may not be the driving force behind this trend.

It seems to have more to do with the pervasiveness of technology in this mobile era, and the dominance of their youthful peers in the technology arena.

While not every twenty-something creates a Facebook like the young Mark Zuckerberg did, there is no denying that quite a few twenty- and thirty-somethings have – quite suddenly – struck gold, coding mobile apps and other internet software, and pulling off other innovative disruptions in the technology and new media realms. Rags to riches, practically in a blink.

And everyone knows that marriages hit the skids roughly half the time.

So, if that happens to them, they wonder: should my app really be split as though it were our app?

And, when things are good between the couple, often they are in complete agreement that it should not.

And a prenuptial agreement just reflects – memorializes – that understanding, for later, just in case.

Read more in

  1. this Bloomberg article: Prenups for Ideas Are All the Rage With Millennials
  2. this Fox 5 News article: Prenups to protect your ideas? and
  3. this New York Times editorial: Should Couples Get Prenups for Their Ideas?