NJ Man With Legal Custody of Son Can’t Get Brazilian Stepfather to Honor Court Orders Under Hague Convention to Which Brazil is Party

Brazilian Wife and New Jersey Husband have a Son in US and raise him in US for four years.

Then Wife takes Son to Brazil for a visit.

And doesn’t return.

Wife remarries in Brazil – without ever divorcing Husband.

More recently, Wife dies while still in Brazil.

Now Son is with his Stepfather.

And Stepfather is refusing to comply with court orders granting Husband access to Son.

It’s been four years since Husband has seen his Son.

Brazil is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Yet, even though Brazilian officials acknowledge that Husband has legal custody of Son, in fact, Husband can’t even see Son.

The State Department has reportedly expressed the opinion that Brazil frequently does not comply with the Hague Convention, despite being a party to it – and favors Brazilians and mothers in custody battles.

Read more in this ABC 7 Eyewitness News article: Dad’s Brazilian custody battle intensifies.

Posted in Uncategorized

Florida is Reported to Lead the Nation in Child Abuse

Florida reportedly has the sad and disgraceful distinction of having the highest rate of child abuse of any state in the nation.

Twice the national average.

While Palm Beach County is allegedly not as bad as the rest of the state, that seems little cause for cheer.

Palm Beach County’s kids alone racked up $17 million in emergency room trips.

This should be sobering for those with family court cases involving children in this state.

Will 2009 see improvement?

Read more in this CBS TV 12 news article: Child Abuse Rate in Florida is Highest in Nation.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Wisconsin Case of the Disappearing Child Support Payment

Parents separate.

Father is required to pay child support.

Court order is entered garnishing child support from Father’s wages from arms-length, third-party employer.

Father’s pay stubs reflect deduction of child support from Father’s pay before he receives it.

Yet Mother never receives child support.

How is that?

Well, there may be several possible explanations, of course.

But in at least some cases, it is possible that an employer fails to forward the garnished funds to the child support collection agency. Intentionally or otherwise.

One Wisconsin employer who is alleged to have engaged in a course of retaining wages ordered garnished for child support has been charged with contempt. And a bench warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Unfortunately, the parent whose wages have been garnished suffers a double “whammy” in such a situation.

First, they don’t get all of their wages.

Second, they don’t get credited for the child support garnished from their wages but not forwarded to the other parent.

Needless to say, income deduction should be terminated promptly in such a lose-lose scenario.

And the paying parent should probably look for a different job …

Read more in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: Child support paid, not received.

Posted in Uncategorized

Grandparents Lose Baby to Foster Care for Giving Baby Pacifier … Over Her Mother’s Protest

Washington State teen Mother and Baby live with Baby’s Grandparents.

Grandparents care for Baby.

Then Mother moves out with Baby.

Baby loses significant weight, and doctor reports neglect to Child Protective Services.

Baby is placed with Grandparents.

Baby improves.

Then Mother and Baby are placed in “transitional housing”.

Mother gets evicted.

Grandparents complain to child welfare and their senator over the handling of the case.

Now Baby gets placed in foster care, instead of back with Grandparents.

Apparently child welfare agents changed their collective minds about Grandparents.

Their documentation finds fault with Grandparents undermining Mother’s parenting – by giving Baby a pacifier over Mother’s protests.

There are many unfavorable conclusions disproved by child welfare’s own documentation.

Under Washington State law, relatives are favored for placement over foster care.

Agency officials report that child welfare professionals don’t always follow the law.

Grandparents are even denied visitation for extended time based upon an alleged court order that doesn’t exist.

Now child welfare is pushing for the Baby to be adopted by her foster mother.

But the case will be back before a judge before long.

Read more in this [Washington State] NWCN TV news article – Investigators: Grandparents passed over in favor of foster care.

Posted in Uncategorized

Custodial Parent from Idaho is Believed to Have Abducted Son to Mexico for Reasons Unknown

Idaho Mother has custody of her Son. Father lives in Idaho too.

According to Father, Mother has passports for herself and Son, copies of their birth certificates and the proceeds of the sale of a home she owned in Nevada.

And now, about six months after their divorce, for reasons unknown, Mother is suspected to have fled with Son to Mexico, after she failed to drop Son off to Father for visitation on November 30th as scheduled following a trip described as being to California.

But neither Father nor authorities are at all certain where Mother and Son are.

Father brought in the FBI, and Mother is being sought on kidnapping charges.

International abductions from Idaho are reportedly not common.

Mexico is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, so it’s not the worst place for Mother and Son to be for purposes of securing their return.

But until they are located, it’s difficult to work on their return.

Father says he worries how the kidnapping and separation will affect Son emotionally and psychologically.

Read more in this [Boise, ID] KTVB-TV 7 article: Kidnapped boy believed to be in Mexico with his mom.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Christmas Family Gathering Doesn’t Necessarily Have to End with the Divorce …

After a divorce, parents typically divvy up the holidays with the kids on an alternating basis from year to year.

But some divorced families manage to all share the holidays together, with big family gatherings including not only exes but ex-inlaws.

While it is undoubtedly challenging to holiday with such a crowd, it does require less advance negotiation, spurs less advance arguing (and court battling) and does give both parents more holiday time with the kids – and the kids more holiday time with both parents.

Of course, this is not appropriate or safe for all divorced families.

But for the parents who can pull it off safely and civilly, it’s a pretty nice outcome for the children.

Read more in this Chicago Tribune article: Some divorced parents celebrate Christmas as a family.

Posted in Uncategorized

Holidays Not So Happy for Growing Number of Victims of Domestic Violence

For some, this holiday season is not so happy.

Domestic violence and domestic abuse typically spike at this time of year.

Days off lead to more togetherness, breeding more tension.

Greater consumption of alcohol during the season doesn’t help either.

And the current weak economy and high unemployment only seem to be intensifying that phenomenon.

In fact, a poor economy can more than triple the incidence of domestic violence.

And things are not expected to improve any time soon …

Read more in this Atlanta Fox 5 TV article: Domestic Abuse Shelters See Increase in Calls and this Fond du Lac [WI] Reporter article: As economy worsens, violence increases.

Posted in Uncategorized

WI Ex-Wife Charged with Felony Custodial Interference for Not Returning Child After Scheduled Visitation

Couple divorce. Ex-Husband gets custody of their little Girl.

Ex-Wife has Girl for visitation. Ex-Wife fails to return Girl as scheduled.

Ex-Husband calls police.

Ex-Husband reports that Ex-Wife has not shown up at her job for three weeks.

Ex-Husband also reports that he believes Ex-Wife is “off her meds”.

Police arrest Ex-Wife with Girl and charge her with felony custodial interference.

Judge releases Ex-Wife on bond and orders Ex-Wife to have no contact with Girl and to stay within the state.

If convicted, Ex-Wife could be incarcerated for over 12 years and fined $25,000.

Read more in this Fond du Lac [WI] Reporter article: Horicon woman accused of abducting daughter makes court appearance.

Posted in Uncategorized

Alimony Terminates Because Ex-Wife is Deemed to Cohabitate with Cellmate Under Florida Settlement Agreement

Couple divorce.

Under settlement agreement, Husband pays alimony to Wife until Wife remarries or cohabitates with someone for over three months.

Wife is sentenced to prison for DUI.

Wife has female cellmate.

Husband pursues termination of alimony based on Wife’s “cohabitation” with her cellmate.

The trial court rejects Husband’s claim.

Husband appeals.

Intermediate appellate court reverses, holding that Wife is “cohabitating” with her cellmate within the meaning of their settlement agreement. Alimony terminates.

The ruling appears to be based solely on the literal meaning of the language of the settlement contract.

The ruling does not appear to interpret or be founded in any way upon the supportive relationship statute which permits modification or termination of alimony when the recipient cohabitates with another in a “supportive relationship”.

Read more in this Palm Beach Post article: Ex-wife’s alimony cut off because she has cellmate.

Posted in Uncategorized

AR: Biological Father Who Failed to File Marriage Certificate After Wedding, Ignored Paternity Action Against Him and Didn’t Pay Child Support Has No Standing to Challenge Child’s Adoption by Mother’s Next Husband Even Though Mother Never Divorced Father

Arkansas man (Father) and woman (Mother) obtain marriage license and have a church wedding. For whatever the reason, the minister doesn’t sign the license and it is not filed with the county.

Mother and Father have Baby. Mother and Father break up eight years after wedding.

Mother files action to establish paternity of Baby.

Father ignores paternity case. Court rules that Father is the father of Baby and orders visitation and child support.

A few months later, the Mother marries another man, without obtaining a divorce from the Father of Baby.

Mother and her new Husband pursue stepparent adoption of Baby by Husband.

Father challenges adoption.

The trial court denies Father’s challenge, concluding that Father and Mother were never legally married because the marriage license was not filed and that Father had abandoned Baby by not paying support.

The intermediate appellate court reversed the adoption, finding that Father and Mother had been legally married, despite the licensing deficiency.

The Arkansas Supreme Court held that the default trial court judgment ruling that Mother and Father had never been married was binding, as well as the ruling determining that Father is the Father of Baby. The stepparent adoption was upheld.

Other states have come out differently on this issue.

Read more in this Arkansas News article: High court reverses ruling that ceremony, not license, validates marriage.

Posted in Uncategorized