Who Watches the People Entrusted With Looking Out For Our Children?

Mom and Dad divorce.

Mom is awarded custody.

And Dad is denied visitation.

Then Child Protective Services takes children away from Mom due to Mom’s alleged drug use.

Children are placed with Dad.

According to reports, no one from Child Protective Services read the divorce court case file.

Dads are not denied all visitation lightly.

It’s actually real tough to have visitation completely withheld.

It is alleged that no one from Child Protective Services did a criminal background check on Dad either.

It is also alleged that Child Protective Services never did any followup home visits.

Now one of the children is known to be dead. Her murder was brutal.

The other child’s body has not been found in months, but he is presumed dead.

Mom has sued the state and Child Protective Services for damages for their alleged negligence.

Who watches the ones entrusted with looking out for our children?

Read more in this Tucson Citizen article: Dead kids’ mom: CPS culpable.

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China Makes History … Grants First Divorce Via Text Message

For those with disabilities, the simplest tasks can be far too challenging.

Imagine having to deal with the legal system to get a divorce when you can’t hear … or speak.

How difficult would that be?

That was the challenge faced by a couple in China – and the presiding Court.

In our multicultural and multilingual nation, people who don’t speak English routinely testify through foreign language translators.

But what if the litigant doesn’t speak any language?

For deaf and / or mute people who know sign language, the obvious solution is an interpreter of sign language.

But not everyone is able to study or learn sign language. And, perhaps, courts may not have adequate access to interpreters on an as-needed basis.

If you think about it, modern technology actually furnishes newer alternatives to sign language that may well serve non-hearing and non-speaking people better in most of life’s daily needs.

But in the courtroom? In China?

Well, the solution that the couple in this case came up with was text messaging.

It’s almost humorous, but there is a certain elegance to the solution that allowed both spouses and the judge all to communicate with each other directly, without need of a translator or other intermediary.

That’s certainly optimal, where possible.

And it is reportedly a first for the history books.

Read more in this UK Metro article: Deaf-mute pair’s text message divorce.

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A Novel Way to Get Closure in Divorce

Yesterday, I posted about a company offering a Divorce Party as the mechanism to achieve what might be termed closure in divorce.

Today’s post is at the opposite end of the closure spectrum.

A woman going through a divorce kept a journal of her experiences and emotions while going through her divorce, to help her get through it. (Many attorneys, like me, advise their divorce clients to keep a journal for the lawyer, to maintain a record of noteworthy events in their case anyway.)

Years later, this woman re-worked her journal into a novel about, of all things – a woman going through a divorce. The novel is intended to be a relatively accurate and unembellished depiction of the experience, in part to reassure people that others have been through exactly what they are going through … and survived it.

Perhaps because of its unusual genesis, the format of the novel is reportedly eclectic, ranging from poetry and diary excerpts to lists of things to do – and not to do.

Sounds both cathartic for the author and potentially reassuring and inspirational for readers taking their divorces hard.

Read more in this Chicago Pioneer Local article: Undoing the devastation of divorce.

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Introducing … The Divorce Party … Ready or Not

A company that built its events concierge business catering to soon-to-be-marrieds by planning bachelors’ and bachelorettes’ parties has recently expanded its offerings.

They have just introduced the … “Divorce Party”. That’s right. A self-styled decadent event intended to plunge the newly divorced back into the thick of the singles social scene.

Although such an event may indeed find a market, some may feel that the company may be pushing the envelope to extend the following offer:

“Free divorce party w/ purchase of bachelor party*
“*Just like your marriage(s) this offer will not last forever, call for details.”

But perhaps it is not.

If you care to, read more in this PRLeap press release: Free Divorce Party With Purchase of Bachelor Party and on the event planner’s website.

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Deadbeat Florida Dad Faces Felony Charges for $650K Child Support Delinquency

Many custodial parents struggle to raise their children with inadequate child support, whether due to the noncustodial parent’s inability to pay, consistently, in full, or his or her unwillingness to pay, consistently, in full.

The noncustodial parent should, of course, pay in full and on time.

But deviations run across a broad spectrum, from never paying at all to being mostly compliant with legal obligations, except in times of rare hardship.

Florida has the dubious distinction of being home to a noncustodial parent allegedly at the far non-compliant end of the spectrum.

This so-called deadbeat dad reportedly owes $651,000, all in child support.

He has been held in contempt, for willful non-compliance with court orders, seven different times over the last fifteen years.

He was tossed in jail, on misdemeanor charges, for short stretches, a couple of times along the way. Each time, friends supposedly bailed him out with their own money.

The custodial parent’s civil remedies having been exhausted with no success in recovering the debt, a felony criminal prosecution is now pending. A first in this part of Florida.

Oh, the deadbeat dad is said to have turned down a generous offer to settle for $200,000.

Felony prosecution: a shot heard round the … state? Similarly struggling custodial parents around the state can only hope so.

Read more in this WFTV 9 news article: Deputies Catch Father Who Owes $651,000 In Child Support.

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UK: Let the Kids Decide What Country They Want to Live In

French mother and British father and two boys lived in England near London.

Mom and Dad divorced. Mom got custody of the eleven and twelve year old boys.

Although the boys didn’t speak any French, Mom decided to move them all to France.

Boys not happy. Boys complained to Mom.

Boys go on summer vacation to England for visitation with Dad.

Boys announce they will not return to Mom in France.

Mom brings return proceeding under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

UK Court rules that the boys were quite firm in their strong objections to living in France, making for a “very exceptional” situation that warranted allowing them to remain in England without any ruling from a French court.

The Mother’s argument that the boys were habitually resident in France within the meaning of the Hague Convention and therefore France had jurisdiction to determine custody was all but ignored.

The British Court prohibited the Mother from appealing it’s ruling.

One reason the boys gave for wanting to remain in England was that they “would not have as much homework”.

What better basis for a child custody ruling?

Read more in this London Daily Mail article: Two boys take mother to court because they don’t want to live in France.

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Parental Alienation Hurts Kids As Well As The Other Parent

A therapist gives some concrete examples of parental alienation:

  • false allegations of abuse
  • blame for nearly forcing them into bankruptcy
  • accusations of trying to modify custody
  • associations with evil

And the possible effects on the child:

  • confusion and anxiety
  • negative self-image
  • assumption of the role of protector instead of protected

Alienation isn’t just damaging to the child’s relationship with the other parent.

It is damaging to the child’s psyche.

Read more in this [Riverside County, CA] Press Enterprise article: Put kids first in divorce.

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Oregon Supreme Court Will Be First to Rule on Whether Sole Custodial Parent Decides Whether Child Has Circumcision as Part of Religious Conversion

Father is awarded full (or sole) custody of his son.

Father converts to Judaism and puts boy on educational path to his own religious conversion.

Jewish law requires males to be circumcised. The procedure is typically undergone in infancy.

This boy was nine years old when the issue arose.

Mother opposes the procedure, citing potential health concerns and contending that it is abusive.

Each parent claims that the child, now twelve years old, agrees with him or her. But the boy has been given no direct voice in the proceedings.

The lower court ruled in favor of the Father, agreeing that the Mother is not entitled to a full evidentiary hearing on this issue for the reasons below, as argued by the Father.

The Father argued that the decision is not a proper subject for a court’s consideration because:

  • the decision is an exercise of freedom of religion under the US Constitution and
  • the decision is an exercise of the custodial parent’s fundamental right to parent and make decisions for their child under the US Constitution

The Oregon Supreme Court is reportedly the highest US court to hear a circumcision case. Many anxiously await the court’s ruling.

Read more in this New York Sun article: Ore. Court Mulls Circumcision Case.

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Japan’s Chauvinistic Husbands Stave Off Divorce By Learning to Express Themselves

Divorces among retirement age baby boomers in Japan is growing more commonplace.

Japanese wives have apparently tired of cultural inhibitions that restrain husbands from expressing the sentiments “sorry”, “thank you” and, especially, “I love you”.

The threat of divorce has inspired a lot of nonetheless happily married Japanese men to try to overcome their inhibitions to save their marriage.

Several thousand of them have sought mutual support and encouragement on the path to self-improvement through the Chauvinistic Husbands Association.

Every member of the association has thus far been able to keep his marriage intact.

So perhaps they’ve got something there.

Now, we can only wait and see whether branches of the Chauvinistic Husbands Association will pop up elsewhere around the globe in the future.

Read more in this MSN 9 [Australia] article: Fearing divorce, Japanese men learn to say ‘I love you’.

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Custodial Mom Struggles to Return Her Kids to Australia From the US After Alleged Abduction by Dad

An Australian mother consented to her two little girls, eight and nine, taking a summer vacation trip to the US with her ex-husband last June.

She has not seen them since. And has only been able to speak to them on the phone a few times in all those months.

The children’s father reportedly initially suggested that the girls’ stepfather had molested the older girl. But that allegation was withdrawn.

Only the children still are not home with their mother.

But, thanks to the internet, the mother has finally tracked the girls and their father down. Now she will at least be able to press an application for return of the girls under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The mother has learned that getting children returned under the Hague Convention, even if ultimately successful, is a frustratingly slow and expensive process – particularly if you don’t yet know where your children are.

This mother hopes to warn other mothers not to consent to overseas travel by their children with the other parent.

Of course, that strategy won’t protect a parent if the Court will or has already granted permission for the overseas travel – as is fairly common today …

Read more in this Mackay [Australia] Daily Mercury article: Mother fights to get her daughters back.

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