Reality TV Divorce Misses the Boat … and Husband is Charged with Bigamy

Virginia Husband and Wife separate.

They travel to California to appear on Court TV, intending to get their divorce.

Ex-couple returns to Virginia.

Life goes on.

Several years later, Husband and Fiance obtain marriage license.

Husband and Fiance marry.

Wife finds out.

Next thing Husband knows, the prosecutor is submitting a bigamy charge against Husband to a Virginia grand jury.

According to Wife, Husband and Wife never completed the necessary divorce paperwork for unspecified financial reasons.

It is not clear that Husband is aware that his TV divorce from Wife was not final and complete.

A surprising number of spouses in seemingly uncontested divorces in Florida leave it to the other spouse to “take care of” the details of the divorce.

And then simply assume that all is in fact taken care of.

Only to find out, often at a most inconvenient time and place, that the divorce was never finalized – or may not have been.

Moral: if there was a final divorce, there was a piece of paper, called a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage in Florida, to evidence the divorce. Both spouses (or their respective counsel) should have been furnished copies of it. If it exists, copies should be available from counsel for either spouse or the clerk of court of the appropriate county.

Check on it …

Read more in this Waynesboro [VA] News Virginian article: Attempted TV divorce leads to charge.

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New Parents Should Start By Planning for Their Children’s Future Care … in the Event of Their Deaths

Parents in an intact family should designate in each of their wills a guardian for their children in the event of both of their untimely deaths in a common accident.

As soon as their first child is born. If not sooner. No matter the parents’ ages or current health statuses.

The above almost goes without saying.

Otherwise, guardianship must be decided by courts, with a large potential cost and delay, at the children’s ultimate expense. The children could wind up in foster care while the courts are sorting things out.

Once parents split up, each parent should revisit their earlier designations of guardians for their children.

Whether through the passage of time or changes in feelings related to the breakup, either parent (or both) may no longer be comfortable with their original designations.

Generally, both parents must agree on the designation. Not necessarily so easy, at a time when the parents may not be able to agree on blue skies or grey.

Even more difficult, once both parents split up, each parent should now consider the possibility of the death of either parent alone.

Normally, if one parent dies, the other parent will assume sole custody of the children, unless the surviving parent is obviously unfit.

There may be legitimate reasons, however, why one parent would not want the other parent to raise their children alone in the event of his or her own death.

It is also possible that the other parent would be fine at raising the children … but terrible at handling their finances and/or inheritance.

The law allows for guardianship of children to be separated into guardianship of their person and guardianship of their property. With this division of “labor”, a different person can be designated guardian of the children’s property from the person who is designated as guardian of the children’s persons.

While either parent’s designation (or, for that matter, the designation of both) is not legally binding on the court, it is certainly worthwhile for a parent to fully express to the court in writing their feelings on guardianship of their children and their supporting reasons.

It can focus the court’s attention on potential concerns with the other parent or other pre-designated guardians.

Read more in this Kingsport [TN] Times-News article: Deciding guardianship important legal step for parents.

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Mother Stabbed to Death During Custody Battle

Wisconsin Mother and Texas Father have been involved in lengthy child custody case over 4 year old Son.

Along the way, Father is held in contempt of court, with potential for jail time.

Custody evaluations by Wisconsin and Texas social workers are very close to being filed with the court. Father reportedly knows the recommendation of the Texas social worker.

Mother is stabbed to death at home. Son is at the home at the time.

Father is a suspect in the murder.

Son is with relatives in Wisconsin.

Read more in this Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel article: Stabbing victim was involved in custody fight.

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American Father Arrested and Detained in Japan for Kidnapping His Own Children, Of Whom US Court Awarded Him Sole Custody Due to Japanese Wife’s Abduction Of Them to Japan!

Tennessee Husband and Japanese immigrant Wife have two children. Couple divorce.

Wife is unhappy in Tennessee. She writes to Husband of her concerns that their children are “losing Japanese identity”.

Over the course of a year, Husband repreatedly asks Tennessee court to prohibit Wife from removing children from the US. These are not idle requests.

In Japan, the noncustodial parent more or less fades out of a child’s life after divorce. Mothers almost always get custody. Foreign parents almost never get custody – or timesharing (or visitation).

The Tennesee court does not really share Husband’s concerns that Wife may abscond with the children. After all, Wife testifies that she will stay in Tennessee; she just wants a vacation with relatives in Japan.

So, passports are released to Wife. Wife and children vacation in Japan.

And return to Tennessee. Wife retains passports.

Then, two weeks later, in August, the children’s school calls Husband to report their absence from school. News to Husband.

Wife is on her way to Japan with their children.

Now Tennessee court awards Husband full custody of the children.

So what is an American father to do?

In this case, Husband goes to Japan, grabs his abducted kids while they are walkling to school, and walks toward the US Consulate.

But before Husband can reach the safe haven of the US Consulate, he is arrested while still on Japanese soil … for kidnapping his own children, of whom he has sole custody under US law.

Husband is now in a Japanese jail, waiting to learn his fate. Wondering: will he be prosecuted for kidnapping his own children, of whom he has sole custody under US law?

Since 1980, Japan has refused to enter the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The US, Canada, Britain and France have all called upon Japan to sign. And resolve numerous cases where abducted children have foreign parents totally cut out of their lives, as though they had never been.

Read more in this Associated Press article via Google: Dad jailed in Japan warned ex-wife would take kids and this CNN article: Group calls for release of American dad jailed in Japan

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Canada Embraces An Adaptation of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Uncontested Divorces

In an effort to help more people achieve an uncontested divorce, a counseling center is offering mediation services with additional facilitation by social workers.

Although referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the use of therapists and social workers really transforms mediation into an approach closer to collaborative family law.

This version of ADR is now being enthusiastically embraced throughout Ontario, Canada.

It is anticipated that only rare disputes among broken family members, including abuse and neglect situations, will be settled by a judge after a trial.

The facilitators also teach separating parents better interaction skills. Like parenting coordinators in Florida do.

Proponents trumpet that ADR is typically less damaging for children … and cheaper for parents.

It’s not a solution for every family. But it’s certainly worth trying in most cases.

(Palm Beach County mandates mediation prior to trial and Broward County judges routinely order it as well, in the hopes of residents having a Florida uncontested divorce.)

The addition of the mental health professionals and social workers are helpful in determining what is in the children’s best interests, but it pushes up the cost of ADR and complicates scheduling a mediation when all concerned are available.

Read more in this Thunder Bay Ontario Canada Chronicle Journal article: ADR all about peace.

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Look, Florida (and Other States): New York Legislates Automatic Protection of Marital Assets During Divorce Case

New York has passed a law that Florida and other states might do well to consider modeling.

The New York statute, in effect, prohibits either spouse from moving monies or other marital assets without court order or written consent of the other spouse. (Except for usual business or household expenses and divorce attorney fees, of course.)

In Florida, things currently work exactly the opposite way. (Except in certain counties that automatically impose a restraint along the lines of the New York statute.)

In most of Florida (including Broward and Palm Beach counties) today, if either spouse wants the court to restrain the other from transferring marital assets, the spouse seeking the restraint must go to court – to try to persuade the court to do it.

The New York legislation saves both spouses litigation expenses, unclogs the courts a bit and preserves the marital assets (or estate) from the get-go of the divorce case.

The new New York law has another feature: it prohibits either spouse from dropping the other spouse or a child from life insurance or medical insurance coverage.

Right now, Florida divorce law presently offers no such protection. A spouse seeking such protection must go to court to try to persuade the court to order it.

New York’s new legislative policy certainly sounds on the mark. Yet the champion of the New York legislation had to work for over a decade to get it passed. …

Read more in this New York City Gotham Gazette article: New Law Protects Assets During Divorce.

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Affluent Small Town Husband, Obsessed with Mistress, Allegedly Murders Wife

Lancaster, PA. Small town USA. Wholesome. Close to Amish country.

Where an affluent, 40-something member (Husband) of a successful funeral home-owning family lived with his Wife and four Children.

The Man had a string of affairs, finally becoming obsessed with one of them (Mistress).

And so, Man allegedly strangled, beat and then drowned Wife, to get her out of the way.

Man planned to marry Mistress. And divorce is such a bother.

Even after his arrest and during his trial, Man continued his obsessive e-mails and calls with Mistress, looking forward to their future together.

And now Man stands convicted of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Children, now orphans, in effect, are living with relatives.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence is not a problem limited to any particular economic status, social status, ethnic status or geographic location.

It can happen to anyone, anywhere … by anyone.

Just ask Man’s family.

Read more in this Lancaster [PA] Intelligencer Journal article: Roseboro sentence imposed.

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Putting Marriage Off Until After Education Completed Is the Best Protection from Divorce According to New Study

If you’re in an unhappy marriage and contemplating or confronted by the prospect of divorce, you may be past caring about the whys and whether it could have been predicted at the time of your marriage.

But a recent study sheds light on precisely those factors.

And the results may be worth considering for those seeking insight.

The study demonstrated a strong inverse correlation between the spouses’ ages at marriage and their level of age education.

Put another way, people marrying at a later age and having greater education are least likely to divorce.

Why? It’s hard to know for sure, but there are several possible explanations.

First, more mature and educated spouses probably earn more money. Money helps overcome or cope with many challenges.

People who wait to marry also probably have evolved into the person they will be, know who they are and have a better idea of what they are looking for in a life partner.

More educated and older people may also have more discipline and commitment, spurring them to work harder at their marriages. Younger, less educated people may be more impulsive and quicker to give up and move on.

Read more in this UK Guardian | Observer article: US study says divorce is linked to age and education.

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UK Banker Allegedly Kills Wife Over Her Affairs (His Is OK, Of Course) and Feared Divorce Losses

Husband is a senior banking executive.

After fifteen years of marriage, Husband, Wife and Children appear to be living the good life.

Except Husband is having an affair.

And so is Wife. Two actually.

But Husband is possessive and unwilling to lose what he has worked to obtain.

Wife is mindful of her “entitlements” under the law and wants custody of their Children.

Husband begins diverting lots of money to separate accounts.

Husband taps into Wife’s e-mails and text messages.

Husband tape records hours upon hours of Wife’s conversations with her lovers.

And finally, Husband allegedly strangles Wife to death.

Husband apparently claims self-defense.

Wife’s body bears bruises practically all over.

Read more in this UK Times article: Bank boss ‘strangled his wife after discovering two affairs’.

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Agreeing on Living Together

The agreement to live together should be about more than simply the major decision to live together. That’s probably the easy part. Both parties also need to consider all the issues surrounding living together.

  1. Who owns what? How will expenses be met? Debt anyone? Is either one supporting the other? Under what conditions and for how long? What happens regarding assets, debts and support if you decide to part company? Are you relying on any explicit or implied promises? These things should all be spelled out clearly in a written cohabitation agreement

  2. How well do you know your partner? Do they have good credit? Are they spendthrifts? Do they pay to take care of their stuff?

  3. Is living together just the first step in a more involved and complex merged life plan? Is joint property ownership in your futures? Is a business partnership in your futures? The future may be the best place to leave them until you have tested the “living together waters” adequately.

  4. Don’t burn bridges or eliminate all your fallback options. Approximately half of marriages end in divorce. The rate for cohabitating relationships is even higher.

Read more in this Lansing State Journal article: 8 tips to consider when living together.

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