Digital Evidence Gets Hot in Divorce – Maybe Too Hot

Although most of us aren’t actively aware of it, much of what we do on a personal computer leaves a digital trail that can be picked up by an expert.

Where someone wants to know what someone else has done and where someone else has been with their computer, there are so-called spyware and keylogger programs that can tell just about all.

Sometimes a spouse or parent thinks such digital evidence can help with, or even clinch their case. And, in many states, this is undoubtedly true.

But digging up the digital goods can backfire, because some or all types of digital spying may be illegal in certain states. If so, the digital dirt can’t be used in court – and may result in criminal charges against the “spy”.

Florida is one of the states that, for example, criminalizes the real-time interception of electronic communications, such as in internet chat or instant messaging.

Read more in this St. Louis KDSK TV article: You Got Nailed! How Cheaters Get Busted.

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(Ex-) Judge Refuses to Follow Court Orders of Support

A former New York judge has reportedly accrued $200,000 in arrearages in child support and spousal support since garnishment of his wages ceased when he was thrown off the bench for misconduct.

His ex-wife is doing her best to support their three kids in their metropolitan NYC home on $9.45 per hour.

The ex-judge earned more than $135,000 a year during the marriage.

The deadbeat dad has since moved out-of-state and taken up working as a realtor.

It is unclear why Georgia support enforcement has not enforced New York’s support orders with garnishments of his commissions. It is also unclear whether the former judge has ever been held in contempt of court.

Read more in this New York Daily News article: Ex-judge a real stiff.

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Can Ex Avoid Support Payments Because Jailed for Conspiracy to Murder Ex?

A Toronto man is in jail for conspiracy to murder his ex-wife.

His motive: he reportedly didn’t want to pay child support or alimony.

Now his ex-wife is apparently looking to collect previously ordered, unpaid support.

The man allegedly has substantial savings from the sale of a house.

But he reportedly argued in court that he can’t pay support because he is in jail and unable to earn money.

The woman’s attorney had this to say about his argument:

“It’s like the child who kills the parents and then throws himself at the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan”.

Although the judge in the case reserved on his ruling, he did suggest that he expects to order a substantial lump sum award to the ex-wife.

Read more in this Reuters article: Man hopes jail means no support payments.

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AR: Parental Rights Not To Be Terminated Lightly

An Arkansas court terminated a mother’s parental rights to her three children – even though the State’s Department of Human Services recommended against it and the mother complied with all pertinent court orders, made a substantial effort to improve her parenting skills and was in fact making good progress.

In these types of cases, the goal is normally to provide services to get the parent(s) back on track so that the family can stay together, without the children being at risk.

But, in this case, according to the appellate court, the Department of Human Services and the children’s guardian ad litem did not take the case seriously enough and were ineffectual.

Accordingly, the appellate court reversed and reinstated the mother’s parental rights to her three children.

Read more in this Arkansas News Bureau article: Court restores woman’s parental rights.

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Texas Mother Shot Dead by Husband

A young mother, and a platonic friend who worked with her, were gunned down in front of her house – allegedly by her husband.

The abrubt end to their stormy marriage left their young children without a mother and with a father under arrest for murder.

The husband had reportedly previously been charged with aggravated assault with a weapon – but his wife dropped the charges that time.

The couple had been together for 10 years, playing out a destructive and tortured pattern all too common in relationships with abusers.

Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that the young mother had finally broken free of his hold and was about to start a promsing new career and a happy new life with their children.

The woman’s family hopes their tragedy will inspire other women enmeshed in abusive relationships to get out – before it’s too late for them too.

Read more in this El Paso Times article: Homicide ‘devastates’ woman’s family.

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NZ: Mother and Child May Stay in New Zealand After Fleeing From Father’s Abuse

Couple lived in the Netherlands. Daughter born and raised there.

Father sometimes allegedly violent and Mother unhappy.

Mother’s mother becomes terminally ill.

Mother and daughter return to New Zealand, reportedly with Father’s permission.

Father maintains that it was agreed that Mother and Daughter were to remain in New Zealand only until Mother’s mother passed.

Mother maintains Father knew that the move was permanent.

After a few months, Father followed Mother and Daughter to New Zealand – but reportedly lived separately from them.

After about 6 months, Father was ordered to leave New Zealand as a result of a new domestic violence allegation (eventually dropped).

A trial court in New Zealand found that the Netherlands was Daughter’s habitual residence, and that she must be returned there for a custody determination.

On appeal, the decision was reversed under an exception, under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, where the other parent and child left the former habitual residence to escape domestic violence.

Although the Court did not make such a ruling, arguably the child’s place of habitual residence changed after 6 months anyway.

Read more in this New Zealand Herald article: Court revokes order to send girl back to Netherlands.

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New York Man Tries to Hire Hit Man to Get Around Property Division in Divorce

When all is said and done, for some spouses, the absolute worst part of divorce is the prospect of property division, called equitable distribution in Florida.

And so it apparently was for a Long Island father and husband who had been married for 9 years but together with his wife for 20 years in total.

According to his wife, the man was abusive and controlling. In the end, his wife said, it was all about “greed and control” for him.

In an effort to avoid having to part with any of his assets, the man allegedly attempted to hire a paid hit man to murder his wife. He reportedly tried to schedule the “hit” for a time when their children would be out of the country with him.

Under arrest, the man now probably has different concerns, such as the possibility of 25 years behind bars.

And his wife says she lives with fear as her constant companion. And the stress of trying to protect their kids from the knowledge of what their father allegedly did.

Amazingly, the man’s sister tried to pick up one of their kids from school after the man’s arrest. She wasn’t successful.

The man’s lawyer now says the man later had a change of heart and tried to back out of the contract killing.

Before or after his arrest?

Read more in:

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Equal Timesharing: At Least One Utah Voter Endorses It – Because It Rights the Wrongs of the ‘Evil’ Child Support System

A (male) Utah editorialist (who also happens to be an MD) strongly endorses joint physical custody of minor children – also known as equal timesharing.

Of course, there are a lot of perfectly good reasons why one might advocate for equal timesharing.

But why did this particular editorialist do it?

For the most part, because, he contends, it would counter the impact of having to pay unfair amounts of child support, which he maintains, in substance, oppresses noncustodial parents, usually fathers.

That’s the primary reason cited in support of equal timesharing.

Secondarily, he argues, the prospect of equal timesharing would eliminate what he perceives as the economic incentive that he believes motivates most divorces, which, he reports, are initiated by women.

Thirdly, he remarks, joint legal custody actually results in enhanced collection of child support. “Believe it or not”.

Near to last, and apparently least, joint physical custody better reflects (whatever that means) modern family life, especially among Utah residents who may be disproportionately Mormon.

Read more, if desired, in this Deseret [UT] News article: Joint physical custody has many advantages.

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Florida’s New Disestablish Paternity / Anti-Fraud Statute

Until recently, legal challenges to paternity which were not promptly filed were denied, in the best interests of the child in question.

A concerted hue and cry from father’s rights groups has diverted focus from the best interests of the child to the catchphrase paternity fraud.

As a result of the diversion, this year the Florida legislature passed a statute permitting alleged fathers to prove scientifically that they are not the biological fathers of their alleged children. Accordingly, they will be able to avoid any future child support legal obligations and just “drop” their alleged child.

It is projected that the statute might let about 30% of alleged fathers off the child support “hook”.

The lynchpin of establishing or disestablishing paternity is DNA testing, which is generally inexpensive and reliable.

The new statute does impose certain restrictions on its availability to support a paternity challenge, however.

  1. The alleged father cannot have acknowledged paternity, signed the baby’s birth certificate, adopted the child or otherwise voluntarily assumed responsibility for child support for the child after discovering that they are not biologically related.
  2. The alleged father cannot have previously blocked the true biological father from assuming parental responsibility.
  3. The alleged father cannot have ignored previous notices or orders to take a DNA test in connection with legal proceedings concerning the child.
  4. The alleged father must be current on his legally established child support obligations (unless truly unable).
  5. The challenge must result from new evidence coming to light.

Read more in this Miami Herald article: Florida men get a break on false paternity.

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Rape Victim’s Address and Photo Go Directly To Jail – Detouring Around Common Sense – To Collect Child Support

In Ohio, when a custodial parent seeks child support from a non-custodial parent, the government collects evidence of parentage.

Evidence such as DNA test results, photos of the parents and child, current residence addresses of the parents and child, etc.

And the government produces the evidence to both the custodial and non-custodial parents.

An Ohio prison inmate reportedly received such a packet about his child and the custodial parent.

The inmate was incarcerated for allegedly raping the custodial parent, who was described as a “young girl” at the time of the incident in 2003.

The girl and her family are traumatized that the inmate came into possession of her current photo and residence address. Frightened, she reportedly moved.

Her family questions the logic of sending photos and addresses when DNA tests pretty much tell the whole story.

Now the girl’s family is filing suit against the county to instigate changes in its potentially dangerous procedures.

Read more in this Fox 19 Cincinnatti article: Rapist Gets Picture of Victim from County.

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