Criminal Stalking Prosecution Follows Repeated Violations of Order of Protection … in Illinois

Wife obtains injunction for protection against domestic violence, or order of protection, against Husband.

Husband violates restraining order by repeatedly stalking Wife.

Husband admits to stalking Wife and loitering near her home.

Husband may be sentenced to up to five years’ incarceration for aggravated stalking. He could have faced an additional five years but for the prosecution dropping three additional felony stalking counts.

Husband plans to request probation without confinement.

Read more in this Chicago Daily Herald article: Carpentersville man admits stalking estranged wife, now faces prison.

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American Children Abducted Abroad: Their Parents Can Labor for Years to Bring Them Back Home … Without Success

Two hundred thousand American children are abducted from the US each year, most often by a parent or extended family member.

Such abductions are federal crimes.

But in too many of those cases, the child ends up being raised in a country foreign to them by the abducting family member.

Even when the country the child is abducted to is a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

An international lawyer traveled to his wife’s native Switzerland with her and their one year old son. Switzerland is a party to the Hague Convention.

At the airport for their return trip, his wife refused to give permission for their son to board a plane to the US. The authorities there would not help.

The lawyer later obtained a US judgment awarding him sole custody of his son, and filed an application for return of the boy to the US under the Hague Convention.

Four years later, the man has spent a total of five hours with his son – all in Switzerland – since the abduction and he is no closer to bringing him home.

That is one many such cases, some receiving considerable media atttention, others barely any.

Read more in this Voice of America News article: Where in the World Are America’s Missing Children?

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Illinois Man Sentenced to Five Years for Making Three Hundred Calls to a Woman in Violation of an Order of Protection … While Already Incarcerated

Illinois Man is incarcerated for about a year for a violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence, or order of protection.

Man has history of other criminal charges of domestic battery and other violations of restraining orders against other victims.

While Man is confined, he allegedly makes nearly three (300) hundred phone calls to a different victim who reportedly also has an injunction for protection against domestic violence against him.

Calls in the corrections facility are monitored.

Man is convicted of a felony over the stalking phone calls made from jail and sentenced to another five years’ incarceration.

It is unclear why, since the calls were monitored, law enforcement took no action until nearly 300 unlawful calls had been made.

Read more in this Pekin Daily Times article: Man gets five years for telephone calls.

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Global Positioning … in Divorce

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are proliferating, and not just for guiding drivers.

As I’ve previously posted, some states use them to track movements of people subject to orders of protection.

And in some states, one divorcing spouse is increasingly likely to be planting one in or on the other spouse’s car.

And police in some states are using them in criminal cases.

However, constitutional and other privacy issues may impact admissibility in court of information from these devices.

Read more in this Ogden [UT] Standard-Examiner article: Issue to track.

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Ex-Boyfriend Gets 99 Years for Sledgehammer Attack That Steals Ex-Girlfriend’s Bright Future

Three years ago, a then 20 year old South Florida Man purchased a sledgehammer.

After his girlfriend (Woman), a then 19 year old aspiring dancer and singer, arrived, the Man bludgeoned her in the face and head over and over again.

The Woman survived, despite extensive brain injuries.

But now she has a mental age between 12 and 15 years old and spends her time watching children’s television.

The jury convicted the Man of first degree attempted murder after just half an hour of deliberating.

They were not persuaded by the insanity defense he put on.

The judge sentenced the Man to 99 years in prison.

He can’t be released from incarceration until after his 100th birthday.

Read more in this South Florida Sun Sentinel article: 99 years in prison for ex-boyfriend convicted of beating Broward woman with sledgehammer.

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Oops … Don’t Forget to Consider the Various Tax Impacts in Property Division

Equitable distribution or property division can be deceptive.

In Florida, and other states, the law presumes a fifty-fifty split of assets and debts.

But even where that is the agreed upon goal, the devil is in the details.

Some proposals can look like an even split right down to the penny.

Yet be anything but.

How so?

Thanks to taxes.

Taxes can have a significant impact on the ultimate value of certain assets.

By not taking the tax impact into account, a seemingly even split can turn decidedly unequal.

Tax credits, tax deductions, ordinary income taxes, capital gains taxes, etc., may eventually apply to transfer of any distributed marital asset.

To take an extreme example, suppose the wife receives all marital assets that will be subject to capital gains tax. Further suppose that the husband receives only assets that will not be subject to capital gains tax.

In that event, the husband’s fifty (50%) percent distribution of marital assets will in effect be worth more than the wife’s fifty (50%) percent distribution of marital assets.

So it’s important to be tax-aware in reviewing or presenting alternative distribution scenarios – or to have a tax professional involved in that process.

Read more in this Wall Street Journal article: Divvying Up? Check Taxes.

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Economic Abuse is Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse conjures images of physical violence.

That is abuse.

But it’s far from the only form that domestic abuse takes.

Domestic abuse is, fundamentally, about power and control as much, if not more, than violence.

One way to maintain absolute power and control in a relationship is to hold the purse strings, all of them.

And so abusers may block their victim from getting or keeping a job (and paycheck) of their own.

Or run up debt behind their significant other’s back.

Or deny their victim access to “their” money.

That’s economic abuse, a form of domestic abuse.

It is one of the strongest holds that abusers have on their victims.

And it inflicts real anguish – and ultimate control – on its victims.

That is even more true in a weak economy, such as we have now.

A helpful resource for victims of economic abuse: Click to Empower Domestic Violence Survivors.

Read more in this Public News Service – Florida article: Study: Abusers Control Their Partners Through the Pocketbook.

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PA: The Good News: Divorce Rates are Falling, The Bad News: Fewer People are Getting Married … Later

In Pennsylvania, divorce rates have dropped by more than ten (10%) percent in the last decade or so. In some counties in the state, the decline was even sharper, as much as twenty-five (25%) percent.

Are we doing something very right to account for the reduction in divorces?

Well, yes and no.

The most likely reasons for it are:

  • couples delaying marriage until they are older
  • couples being generally more educated than ever when they marry
  • premarital and marital counseling becoming more accepted and more common
  • more testing of premarital couples, with trial cohabitation discouraging more mismatches and
  • marriages are just plain fewer in number

Read more in this [PA] Morning Call article: Divorce rates fall as couples marry later.

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Murder by Domestic Violence Generally Heats Up to a Boil Over Years

In Brevard County, Florida, over half of the women killed by intimate partners had in the last three years turned to the police or the domestic violence courts for assistance, in the form of arrests or restraining orders.

In many of those cases, the abuse victim did not follow through, recanting or simply not appearing in court to testify.

Too often, such victims fall through the cracks.

Abusers can exert a powerful control over their victims, causing them to stay with their abuser year after year.

And, unfortunately, the most dangerous time for a victim can be the time when they do try to break away.

Read more in this [Brevard County] Florida Today article: Homicides can follow years of abuse.

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Oregon Mother Wins Custody Award from Greek Court … But Still Awaits Enforcement or Husband’s Cooperation with Son’s Return to US under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Oregon Wife and Greek immigrant Husband marry.

Husband and Wife have Son.

Husband and Wife raise Son with awareness of his dual heritage.

Husband and Wife travel with Son to Greece for his baptism and when Husband’s father passes away.

In September of 2008, when Son is two years old, Husband takes Son to Greece to visit extended family for 3 weeks.

Wife cannot get time off from work.

Husband postpones the return trip, claiming Son has an earache.

Then Husband informs Wife that he and Son will not be returning.

Wife eventually finds out that Husband consulted a lawyer before he left Oregon …

That Husband had quit his job, sold his car, drained a bank account in just his separate name, and taken Son’s birth certificate.

Wife calls various authorities and finally hires a lawyer to help her bring an application for Son’s return to the US under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Eventually, the case goes to court in Greece. The Greek court awards Wife custody of Son and orders Husband to take Son back to the US.

Husband’s time to appeal has expired.

But Son remains in Greece.

Husband expresses concern about the missing child report Wife filed in Oregon, fearing his arrest.

Apparently the Greek courts provide no mechanism for enforcement of a custody order for return of a child.

In fact, Wife could be targeted by Greek law enforcement if she goes to Greece to try to bring Son back herself, without Husband’s written consent.

Read more in this Yamhill Valley [OR] News Register article: ‘I just want my son back’.

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