Sometimes Divorce Isn’t Really Necessary … But Some May Desire It Anyway

A Washington state woman is undoubtedly the envy of many spouses contemplating divorce.

Her husband simply up and disappeared one day – about four months ago.

In some instances, the disappearance might eliminate the need for a divorce entirely. Instead, the missing spouse could eventually be declared dead.

But, for whatever reason, this woman apparently couldn’t wait anywhere near that long.

She reportedly already filed for divorce, weeks ago. The grounds she relied upon were her husband’s alleged willful abandonment.

Interestingly, in her court papers, the woman alleges that she was a victim of domestic violence by her husband and requests that any visitation with their children be supervised.

She also sought a court award of all of the couple’s property and asked the court to distribute all of their debt to him. Good deal.

Police have tentatively concluded that the man’s disappearance was not suspicious.

Rather, they believe that he simply chose to disappear and start his life over.

Read more in this Seattle Times article: Wife of missing man files for divorce.

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Australia: Conceal or Mislead the Court about Marital Assets at Your Own Peril

An elderly Australian businessman may harbor some regrets about allegedly defrauding the Family Court and concealing or misrepresenting assets.

The man reportedly characterized himself in court papers as a “supervisor” who earns $30,000. According to his much younger wife, he commands a $100 million fortune.

It is said that he kept mum about the $630,000 car he drives.

He also reportedly transferred $1.5 million in defiance of a court order.

Even worse, perhaps, the man allegedly ordered the destruction of financial records and conspired to transfer $30 million outside the Court’s jurisdiction.

For his misdeeds, the Court held him in contempt – and sentenced him to several months of confinement.

It is anticipated that the portion of the trial dedicated to dividing assets will take six weeks!

The couple’s combined legal fees are estimated to run between $1.5 million and $2 million.

If the man pays his wife just $133,000 toward her legal fees quickly, however, the Court will reduce his sentence to only three months.

Sounds like a real deal he should jump at.

Read more in this Sydney Morning Herald article: Divorce ends in slammer.

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To Work or Not to Work? That is Sometimes the Question.

In lengthier marriages where one partner has been a stay-at-home spouse and parent for most of the marriage, the homebound spouse often asks: should I look to get a job now that I know my spouse and I are going to divorce?

There are differing schools of thought on this important question. And sometimes the answer really depends on all the particulars of a given case.

But whether one generally favors putting off (or avoiding altogether) a return to the workforce or diving back in as soon as possible, there are considerations to bear in mind beyond the current number of dollars of salary potentially traded for dollars of current alimony:

  1. health insurance and other employee benefits of a job
  2. social security contributions for the future
  3. retirement benefits
  4. future raises
  5. a foot in the workplace at a time of life where that may be difficult to achieve
  6. the potential for the ex’s death (although life insurance generally can protect against that eventuality)
  7. the potential for the ex’s disability (statistically a likelier risk, which is less likely to be adequately protected against)
  8. the potential for the ex’s job loss or career setback

And, of course, the psychological and social benefits of working, which can be very beneficial to people going through divorce.

Read more in this Orlando Sentinel article – Divorce is pending: Is it wise to accept job offer?

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Don’t Kill the Messenger … or the Process Server

There have been countless incidents of one spouse murdering another during a divorce.

But a Colorado husband allegedly went one better.

A process server came to his home one evening to serve him with divorce papers – and a domestic violence restraining order.

Oddly, the man’s wife accompanied the server. Perhaps she was there to collect their children, who were at the home.

The man could have simply ignored the doorbell or accepted the papers, like most targets of process service do. That’s certainly what he should have done.

But, instead, this man apparently beat and stabbed the would-be process server.

Now the man faces first degree murder charges.

Read more in this [Larimer County, CO] KUSA TV 9 News article: Man killed while delivering divorce papers.

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Canadian Court Hints It Will Order Return of Baby to Australia, Despite Court’s Fears For Baby’s Safety If He’s Not Placed into Foster Care Instead of with the Left-Behind Parent

Canadian woman takes up with Australian man. Couple has son in Australia and family lives there.

A year and one-half later, Mother leaves Australia with son, claiming to fear Father’s abuse.

Now, Mother is seven months pregnant – and also has another child by another father.

Father files an application for return of the son to Australia under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The Hague Convention mandates the return of the child to his or her place of habitual residence, in this case, Australia. But there are exceptions under the Convention, including substantial risk of abuse.

The Canadian court has reportedly indicated informally that it intends to order the two year old boy’s return to Australia. But the court won’t formally rule.

An unusual situation. How come? In the presiding judge’s own words:

“Quite simply I am most uncertain about the atmosphere I would be sending [the son] Daine back into should I simply send Daine back to Australia and into the care and control of his father.

“I am hesitant to simply order the return of Daine without knowing that the Australian courts and Australia’s social agency networks have been engaged . . . In particular, I wish the Australian Embassy to advise me as to whether an agency, the equivalent of Ontario’s Children’s Aid Society, exists.”

To place the two year old boy into foster care in Australia, rather than expose him to danger in his father’s care in Australia.

Under the express language of the Hague Convention, however, no country, such as, for example, Canada, is required to order the return of a child if

“there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation”.

So, does the shoe fit?

Read more in this Owen Sound [Ontario, Canada] Sun Times article: Mother may have to send toddler to Australia in custody battle.

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Kuala Lumpur Organization Wants More Infrastructure to Proactively Protect Kids in Divorces

Kuala Lumpur’s Association against Parental Alienation recommends that all parents planning to divorce benefit from early intervention by the maximum breadth of the legal system.

The Association favors a panel of experts working with each family throughout a divorce case to protect kids from alienation, among other things. The experts would address the gamut of issues from finances to education.

The objective of all this expertise is to protect kids from the adverse impact of divorce.

Currently in Kuala Lumpur, custody evaluations by experts are made in only a small percentage of divorce cases.

The Association compares this to the many juvenile delinquency cases that the child welfare system is involved in, where nearly half of kids in “reform school” come from homes where the parents were divorced or separated (or one or both are deceased).

Their reasoning appears to be that it would be better to bring these expert resources to bear in more ordinary family cases in the hopes of preventing the delinquency cases from arising.

Among some of the more noteworthy recommendations by the Association:

  1. each judge should be assigned a standing panel of experts including, among others, psychiatrists, psychologists, child therapists and social workers
  2. judges may temporarily place children of divorcing parents with a guardian during the divorce case
  3. judges, lawyers and other participants in the legal system may dress more casually than in other courts and
  4. judges must be patient and experienced in family law

The only conceivable drawbacks are that divorce cases there may cost a fortune and take forever and someone would have to devise a “judicial patience index”.

Read more in this [Malaysia] New Straits Times article: Call for panel to guide divorcing parents.

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