Distant Grandparent Seeks Guardianship of Little Girl After Her Second Parent Dies While Raising Her with Active Involvement by Both of His Parents

Husband and Wife have baby Daughter.

Marriage deteriorates. Divorce is filed.

Wife is killed in car accident. Divorce stops.

Wife’s will expresses Wife’s wishes that her mother, Daughter’s grandmother, raise Daughter if something were to happen to her.

But Daughter has a father, Husband.

Husband raises Daughter in North Dakota, sometimes living with his father and sometimes with his mother. Both of his parents are very involved in caring for Daughter.

Now Husband dies in a car accident.

Husband did not leave a will.

Now all the grandparents want Daughter.

Wife’s mother, who lives in far off New England, somehow obtains temporary guardianship of Daughter.

Wife’s mother points to Husband’s father’s disability and Husband’s mother’s allowing her own youngsters to be raised by Husband’s father after their divorce. Husband’s father contends the disability limits heavy lifting and Husband’s mother explains that she only left the children with her ex for continuity.

Read more in this Worthington [MN] Daily Globe article: Grandparents fight for child custody.

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Father Allegedly Murders Baby Boy Intending to Avoid Child Support Arrearage

Unmarried New Orleans Mother and Father separate.

Two year old Son lives with Mother.

Father chooses to have no contact with Son.

Court reportedly orders Father to pay child support arrearages of $4,000 for Son.

Father suddenly decides to exercise visitation with Son.

Father allegedly murders Son and leaves his body in a playground.

Father calls police and claims that Son has been abducted, although his story keeps changing.

Father is arrested on a charge of first degree murder.

Father confesses, saying he’s “sorry”, but that he has been under “a lot of pressure” because he doesn’t want to pay child support.

Read more in this New Orleans Times-Picayune article: Father kills 2-year-old son, dumps him in park, police say.

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Illinois Gives Its Orders of Protection Strong Teeth

With 2009, a new era begins in Illinois orders of protection.

A new state statute requires counties to provide 24 x 7 surveillance of anyone subject to an order of protection anytime the court orders it.

The means: global position satellite technology.

Although not inexpensive, where used, this system should “buy” a great deal of peace of mind – and actual safety – for victims of domestic violence … and ultimate savings to the government by deterring violations by abusers.

In addition to equipment costs, extracting full value from this system requires having sufficient staff to monitor the electronic feeds. But that task may be well suited to existing police dispatchers (or increases in such staff).

Read more in this Elgin [IL] Courier News article: Counties to tighten orders of protection.

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Canadian Family Court Judge Rules in Favor of Chinese Gangster’s Wife in Their Divorce

Married Chinese couple immigrate to Canada. Sort of.

Husband actually still spends most of his time in China. But Wife and Son live in Canada.

Husband is reportedly part of Chinese mob. Husband is incarcerated in China for what may be a very long time.

After about eleven years of marriage, Wife files for divorce in Canada.

Wife claims that Husband is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, although Husband claims the figure is “only” around thirty-five million. Close enough, apparently.

Wife seeks the marital residence, her car and back child and spousal support of approximately $900,000. Wife claims that her English is poor and she does not have marketable job skills.

Court apparently buys into Wife’s world view, due to what it characterizes as “exceptional” circumstances of the case.

Read more in this Vancouver Sun article: Jailed gangster was worth $400m: divorced wife.

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In Iowa, Child Support Can Be Hit or Miss

Iowa Mother is supposed to receive child support.

Father apparently pays child support.

Iowa collects the child support from Father.

And … deposits it into the wrong mother’s account.

For four years.

Iowa also allegedly adds insult to injury in two distinct ways.

First, it blames the misrouted payments on the Mother’s request to change the bank account into which her support payments are supposed to be deposited, and her failure and her bank’s failure to catch the change error on the supposedly e-mailed confirmations of the change.

But the Mother denies that she ever requested to change deposit accounts. Still, the financial institution did change hands at some point, which could have contributed to the error.

Second, after finally paying Mother the amount of money that was misrouted to another mother, the Iowa sent Mother a letter saying that it had paid her by mistake – and that she would have to give the money she had received back. Iowa has since apologized to Mother for that latest error.

Iowa admits to two other cases besides Mother’s where child support payments were routed to the wrong parties.

Iowa has not recovered the child support payments inadvertently sent to the wrong mother.

Read more in this Des Moines [Iowa] Register article: Glitch sends support pay to wrong person.

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AR: Grandparent Rights Depend on Parental Rights

Family court can be hard on grandparents these days.

But so can juvenile dependency court.

When a parent’s parental rights are terminated, a grandparent’s derivative grandparental rights are terminated too in many cases.

Sometimes even if the grandparents once had temporary custody of the grandchildren.

Arkansas grandparents hoping for some visitation with their grandchildren recently met with state lawmakers about their rights and desires.

State workers advised the grandparents how to file for visitation.

Read more in this [Little Rock, AR] KARK 4 News article: Grandparents Seek Visitation with Grandkids.

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Federal Appeals Court Allows Child Sexual Abuse Case Against Florida’s Department of Children and Families

Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) places three youngsters aged five and under with a foster family.

A sexually aggressive teenager was already placed with the same foster family.

The youngsters were allegedly sexually abused by the teenager, and still DCF reportedly took no action to remove the youngsters from the home.

The complaint on behalf of the youngsters alleges that DCF demonstrated “deliberate indifference” toward the youngsters’ well-being and intentionally placed them in harm’s way, in violation of their constitutional rights.

DCF’s employee defendants asserted immunity as a defense, on the theory that they were acting within their duties and discretion as employees on behalf of the state.

Read more in this Florida Times-Union article: Foster home molestation case can proceed and this WFLX Fox 29 TV news article: Court allows suit over alleged sex abuse.

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Not Your Typical Post-Divorce Proceedings …

Couple divorce.

Ex-husband adopts ex-wife’s persona on internet … 1,577 times.

Ex-husband uploads nude photos of former wife to internet.

New York Court enters order of protection ordering ex-husband to attend counseling and to cease pretending to be his former wife on the internet and to cease uploading nude photos of her on the internet.

Ex-husband is also sentenced to five years’ probation on related criminal charges.

Still, ex-husband doesn’t stop.

Ex-husband is then charged criminally with violating probation.

Ex-husband is sentenced to one to three years for that offense.

Now ex-husband is again arrested and charged with identity theft and criminal contempt.

Ex-husband pleads guilty.

Former husband faces incarceration for up to five years.

Read more in this North Country [New York State] Gazette article:Man Guilty Of Posting Nude Photos Of Ex-Wife.

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NJ: Parental Alienation May Result in a Judgment for Damages to the Other Parent for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Parental alienation. It’s become a hot button buzz phrase.

It’s also been widely discredited and rejected.

Yet it can influence which parent is awarded custody … at least in some states, in some judges’ courtrooms.

But what of false claims? It’s hard to prove that something didn’t happen.

And even if you can, it probably does not follow that the parent wrongly accused should be awarded custody as punishment of the false accuser.

As a result, in many, many cases, there is no redress, no remedy for those falsely accused. It’s just “too bad”.

But no longer, in New Jersey.

A New Jersey trial court has recognized a parental right to seek monetary damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result of the other parent (and / or their relatives) turning their children against him or her.

The court distinguished such a claim from a claim for alienation of affections, which has been rejected in New Jersey.

It remains to be seen whether this will prove to be too fine a distinction on an appeal.

The court held that an emotional distress claim would have to be brought in family court after final judgment, and that such claims could be decided by juries.

However, companion claims against the other parent’s relatives would be relegated to civil court.

It will be interesting to see over time whether the threat of suit for damages deters parental alienation in New Jersey.

Read more in this Men’s News Daily article’s discussion of the New Jersey Law Journal article: Exes can sue over ruined ties to couple’s children.

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The New Post-Divorce Parental Timesharing Pact Becoming More Common

More and more couples (although still a fairly small percentage) are agreeing to equal timesharing or near-equal timesharing following divorce or separation.

These arrangements can be more complicated for all concerned and introduce more interactions and, therefore, potential conflict, between parents.

But where parents get along and both are able to put their kids first, such schedules can work well for everyone.

Even where more traditional timesharing arrangements are generally adopted, studies show that there is somewhat more actual contact between the children and the noncustodial parent more recently than in the past under such arrangements.

In some cases, the reason for increased timesharing with the noncustodial parent is financial, having to do with monetary incentives built into more modern child support laws.

In other cases, of course, the reason is that fathers genuinely want to spend more time with their kids than more traditional timesharing schedules allow.

Are equal and near-equal timesharing arrangements likely to be court-ordered where the parties don’t agree to it?

Statistics show that courts are still much more inclined to follow older, more traditional timesharing schedules where the parties don’t agree otherwise.

Why? Equal timesharing is fraught with logistical challenges that, where parents can’t get along, virtually guarantee further litigation, parental conflict and, potentially, danger.

In those cases, of course, a more traditional timesharing schedule minimizes parental interactions and conflict and therefore works better.

Read more in this Newsweek article: Not Your Dad’s Divorce.

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