Federal Judge in US Orders Arkansas Father to Return Daughter to El Salvadoran Mother under Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Father and Mother are both from El Salvador.

Father and Mother have Daughter.

Father and Mother split up.

El Salvador family court awards Mother sole custody of Daughter, reportedly without challenge from Father.

Father asks Mother’s permission to bring Daughter to the US to take her to Disneyland. Mother agrees.

Father allegedly wrongfully retains Daughter in US.

Mother then files for return of Daughter to El Salvador under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

In federal court, Father contends that Mother’s litigation is untimely and that Daughter is settled in the US, that Daughter would be at grave risk of harm if returned to Mother in El Salvador and that Daughter wants to stay in the US.

The Arkansas court rejects each of Father’s positions in turn, finding fault in the legal analysis and/or taking a different view of the facts.

And, nearly two years after Father’s retention of Daughter, a federal judge in Arkansas orders Father to return Daughter to Mother in El Salvador … within fourteen days … at Father’s sole expense.

Read more in this [Fort Smith, AR] Times Record article: Judge Orders Girl, 7, Sent Back To Mom.

Posted in Uncategorized

Victim of Domestic Violence in New Zealand Is Threatened With Deportation After Reporting Domestic Violence By Husband, Who is Convicted of Same

New Zealand immigrant Wife and Husband have three Children ranging from nine months to fourteen years of age.

Husband allegedly physically abuses Wife. The most recent reported domestic violence results in Husband’s criminal conviction for domestic battery.

Following Husband’s and Wife’s breakup and Wife’s reporting of his alleged abuse, Wife comes under scrutiny from immigration authorities in New Zealand.

Now that Wife and Husband are separated, Wife is required to earn a certain level of income to support a work visa.

But Wife’s income is below that threshold.

Fear of deportation is expected to have a chilling effect on reporting abuse of immigrants by other immigrants, even though such abuse appears to be on the rise.

Government assistance is available only to victims of abuse by New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

But New Zealand talks tough on domestic violence.

Read more in this [New Zealand] Stuff article: Migrant faces deportation after abuse.

Posted in Uncategorized

Child Support Hearing Officer Takes Some Lumps For Publicly Commenting Harshly on Party to Case He Presided Over

Louisiana family court hearing officer presides over child support cases.

Like so many people these days, family court hearing officer is a new and active FaceBook user.

Family court hearing officer has case before him involving Father with twenty-three (23) different children. Father is reportedly compensated for his work in cash, and does not pay taxes on his income.

Family court hearing officer posts information on FaceBook that is not personally identifiable (at least not too easily identifiable) about Father’s case … along with His Honor’s personal opinion that Father should seek additional employment to, uh, more constructively occupy some more of his time.

Now, family court hearing officer suffers backlash as a consequence of his posting on FaceBook.

Specifically, it has been suggested that this family court hearing officer lacks the neutrality and impartiality that every litigant appearing before a judge (or hearing officer) is entitled to.

It has also been suggested that the family court hearing officer’s comments were not “judicial”, that is, befitting a judge or hearing officer.

Family court hearing officer is now thinking twice about commenting on FaceBook again about parties to cases before him.

For the litigant appearing before a judge or hearing officer, there may be a lesson to be drawn from this incident.

It should also be noted that the family court hearing officer is reportedly new to the world of social networking, and apparently is not a judge sitting on the bench full time and exclusively, but rather a working attorney who hears only child support cases, on a part-time basis.

Read more in this [Thibodaux, LA] Daily Comet article: Facebook flap is a good lesson and this Houma [LA] Courier article: Facebook flub cause for regret by administrative judge.

Posted in Uncategorized

Religious Courts Make Grab for Power to Exercise Jurisdiction to Rule on All Aspects of Divorce, Even in Secular Marriages

Israel recognizes two types of marriages, those solemnized by a religious authority and those solemnized by a civil or secular authority.

Historically, ending of a marriage solemnized civilly is heard in a civil or secular family court, and ending of a marriage solemnized by a religious authority is heard in a religious court.

But in recent power plays, religious courts have claimed and exercised divorce jurisdiction over secular marriages. Including jurisdiction over child support, child custody and property division.

In effect overruling a 2006 decision of Israel’s High Court of Justice, holding that civil marriages can only be ended in secular family courts.

Two religious courts have gone so far as to hold that they have authority to resolve disputes over conditions husbands may impose to agree to a divorce. In one such case, the court denied a divorce to a wife who asserted that she is a victim of domestic violence by her husband.

Religious divorce law applied by religious courts may reflect gender bias that favors husbands in property division.

Read more in this Haaretz article: Rabbis claim new powers in divorces of couples married in civil unions.

Posted in Uncategorized

Estimated Tax Payments Recommended for Alimony Recipients Who Are Not Employed

Taxpayers who have income from which taxes are not withheld are generally required to pay quarterly estimated tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service.

What kind of income doesn’t provide witholding of income taxes?

Well, for one, alimony.

That’s right.

Alimony is generally included as taxable income for the recipient.

But no taxes on alimony income are withheld.

Therefore, in order to avoid penalties and interest, quarterly estimated taxes should be paid on it.

(Unless taxes are withheld on other income, in which case the amount of withholding can be adjusted upward to, in effect, withold sufficient taxes for the alimony.

Read more in this BankRate article: The skinny on paying estimated taxes.

Posted in Uncategorized

How Long Is An Alimony Order Enforceable For?

Husband, an attorney, and Wife divorce in Minnesota in 1978.

The family court orders Husband to pay Wife $20,000 in alimony or spousal support.

Years later, Husband still hasn’t paid some of the alimony owed.

Husband claims to have a history a post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his military service, alcoholism, substance abuse, depression and schizophrenia, and that those conditions prevented him from continuing to practice law or earn a living.

But Wife obtains a judgment establishing Husband’s arrears for spousal support.

The years (in all, more than thirty of them) tick by and Husband still hasn’t paid all of the alimony he owes.

Wife sues him again every ten years … because that is how long a judgment is good for in Minnesota. Successive lawsuits are how the ten year limit is dealt with, procedurally, in Minnesota.

Wife’s most recent attempt to renew her judgment against Husband is, however, rejected by the divorce court, with a dismissal.

Husband’s position is that he did not have the ability to pay the ordered spousal support amounts at the times they were ordered.

It may reasonably be inferred that Husband does have the present ability to pay the judgments.

Legally, the primary issue under Minnesota law would seem to be how many times a support order (or, for that matter, any judgment) may be renewed.

Wife appeals the family court ruling to Minnesota’s Court of Appeals.

Which reverses the order denying renewal of her judgment against Husband.

Then Husband appeals that ruling.

And now final resolution of the issue rests with the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Florida judgments may be enforced for a period of up to twenty years if timely renewed before expiration.

Read more in this [Minneapolis-St. Paul] Pioneer Press article: 1970s alimony dispute isn’t over.

Posted in Uncategorized

Grandparents’ Rights: Slowly Resurrecting?

A South Dakota Mother and Father reportedly suffer from substance abuse and psychological conditions.

Mother and Father have a four year old Daughter together. They split up.

Grandparents seek custody of Daughter.

A US Supreme Court decision in 2000, Troxel, virtually eradicated grandparent custody and visitation rights previously recognized by many states.

Nonetheless, in the last several years, some states have been testing the boundaries of Troxel, trying to revive grandparents’ rights.

Especially where, as in this case, for whatever reason, the parents are less than model.

At trial in family court, the grandparents’ petition is denied, because the law it is predicated on is held to be unconstitutional. The specific defect cited by the divorce court is that grandparents may be awarded custody without a finding that the parents are unfit.

But the family court is reversed on appeal to the state’s highest court. Redemption is delivered by a requirement that a court favor fit parents and award custody to third parties only in extraordinary circumstances, such as parental unfitness, abandonment or neglect.

The South Dakota Supreme Court rules that Troxel falls short of mandating that parents be found unfit before awarding custody to a third party. According to them, Troxel requires only that fit parents’ wishes be substantial deference.

Read more in this CBS TV news article: S.D. High Court Backs Grandparent Child Custody

Posted in Uncategorized

Mother and Child with No Ties to Mexico Ordered to Travel There for Visitation Because Father Moved There After Breakup with Mother

New Mexico Mother and Father have Daughter together in the US.

After Mother and Father break up, Father moves to Mexico.

Now, Father wants to exercise his timesharing and visitation with Daughter … in Mexico.

Mother does not speak Spanish and has never been to Mexico before.

Presumably, Daughter has never been to Mexico before.

Mexico is under travel advisories by the US Department of State due to violence and crime there, and Mother is concerned for their safety and freedom.

Mother has no problem with Father exercising visitation and timesharing – here in the US.

But a New Mexico family court judge orders Mother, a US citizen, to bring now eight year old Daughter, a US citizen, to Mexico to visit with Father for a week.

The presiding judge was unavailable to the media for timely comment.

Mother asserts that she does not have the resources to appeal the ruling.

Read more in this Eyewitness News 4 KOB TV article: Mother, child ordered to visit Mexico in custody case.

Posted in Uncategorized

The New Form of Cheating: Holding Out on Your Spouse About Money

According to a recent survey of American couples, one-third of spouses lie to their partners about money matters and one third have been lied to by their spouses.

Among the money matters about which spouses lie are:

  • hiding money (58%)

  • concealing minor purchases (54%)

  • keeping bills secret (30%)

  • hiding major purchases (16%)

  • maintaining bank accounts on the side (15%)

  • hiding debt (11%) and

  • concealing income (11%)

When found out, the consequences range from:

  1. separation (11%)

  2. divorce (16%)

  3. loss of trust (42%) and

  4. arguments (67%)

Much the same as when one spouse discovers the other is having an affair.

Sometimes such revelations lead to divorce.

Other times, the revelations first come to light during a divorce.

Read more in this Forbes piece: Is Your Partner Cheating On You Financially? 31% Admit Money Deception.

Posted in Uncategorized

To Divorce or Not to Divorce: Just Put It To The Calculator … ?

Trying to decide whether you want a divorce?

Does the answer turn solely on finances?

The British government apparently believes that it does.

And has accordingly developed a controversial resource to assist residents of England and Wales with “running the numbers” (under English and Welsh law) to aid English and Welsh spouses in coming to a decision.

The “divorce calculator” may beat tossing a coin.

And it may actually be a great help to separating spouses in projecting post-breakup budgets.

But the divorce calculator also may be lacking in insight into what truly motivates spouses to divorce and how all the variables are weighed in the decisionmaking process.

Regardless, the calculator has quite a few Brits up in arms.

Read more in this [UK] Daily Mail’s This Is Money article: Divorce calculator puts price on your marriage.

Posted in Uncategorized