I’m Janet Langjahr, Divorce Lawyer, and I’m A … Lawholic

Like most attorneys. Actually, probably a bit less so than many other divorce and child custody attorneys, at least I like to think so.

Please forgive us. It’s not entirely our fault.

Remember, we spend years cloistered away in law libraries for long hours, totally immersed in the study of law.

Then we are permanently cloistered away for long hours in law offices and courthouses, totally immersed in the practice of law.

It can be easier than you might imagine for many of us to actually lose sight of the harsh nitty-gritty realities that regular people with divorce, child custody and domestic violence problems face day in and day out.

And there’s no Lawyers Anonymous Twelve Step program to help us break our near-addiction to spouting what we call black letter rules of law, legal precedents, and client do’s and don’ts handed down to us decades ago, from our law professors and mentors.

Yet as 2016 dawns, the world, civilization, and the legal system itself, if not the actual laws, are all changing at the speed of light – or the speed of the internet.

No longer should any of us just take it for granted that the way “it” has always / for a really long time been done is automatically the way “it” should be done now.

Almost everything else has changed.

Maybe there is new and better – or just plain different – way of this or that, that is better suited to these complex modern times and situations.

That possibility should never be overlooked by us. Or by you.

Source: Janet Langjahr, Divorce, Child Custody and Domestic Violence Attorney


Mother Slapped with Felony Charges for Allowing Four Year Old Son to Play Outside 120 Feet from Their Home

Family lives in gated apartment complex.

Apartment complex has playground one hundred twenty feet away from Family’s apartment.

Mother allows four year old Son to play in playground alone while Mother remains in Family’s apartment.

Mother is an adherent of free range parenting.

Neighbor spots Son playing alone, unsupervised.

Son is fine.

Neighbor calls police.

Police arrive on scene and … arrest Mother … for felony child endangerment and child neglect.

The charges have been reduced to misdemeanors but Mother still faces six month’s confinement.

Whatever the eventual outcome of the criminal matter, if a custody dispute were to erupt between Mother and Father, this would undoubtedly damage Mother’s position.


  1. this People magazine article: California Mom Fighting Back After She Was Arrested for Letting 4-Year-Old Son Play 120 Feet from Home Within Gated Community and
  2. this Fox 40 TV article: Sacramento Mother Faces Child Endangerment Charges for Allowing 4-Year-Old Son to Play Outside Alone .

Husband Convicted of Murdering Wife After Uploading Photo of Her Body On Facebook

Miami Husband and Wife argue over seemingly trivial matters … for hours. Both become enraged.

Finally, Husband shoots Wife in their kitchen … eight times. In self-defense, he contends. While their daughter sleeps upstairs.

Husband, who is about 6 feet tall and weights 200 pounds, claims that he has been a victim of domestic abuse.

Problem is, Wife was reportedly looking to leave Husband, and Husband had previously threatened to kill Wife if she ever tried to walk away from him. And forensic evidence indicates she was below Husband, on the floor.

After Wife died, Husband, bizarrely, posted a picture of her lifeless body on Facebook, which remained visible for about five hours.

Husband was convicted of second degree murder, firing a weapon in a home illegally and child neglect. He awaits sentencing, which is expected to range from twenty-five years’ to life in prison.



Father Demands Surrogate Mother Abort One of Three Fetuses Surgically Implanted

Atlanta Father enters a contract with forty-seven year old California Surrogate for her to be surgically implanted with three embryos combining his sperm and a third party’s eggs.

The Contract contemplates that Surrogate will carry the embryos to term and deliver his Children.

Seventeen weeks into the gestation, it appears, against all odds, that all three embryos are actually viable.

Father never expected to end up with three Children and instructs Surrogate to abort one of the fetuses.

Surrogate objects. Whatever else, Surrogate has a financial incentive under the contract to give birth to all of the fetuses if possible.

Father’s lawyer, invoking their Contract, is increasingly firm in his communications. Georgia has no law governing surrogacy arrangements.

Surrogate has enlisted the assistance of a nonprofit group opposed to surrogacy arrangements, and the matter has become increasingly political and high profile.

However, reportedly fearful of the financial consequences

At least one physician has gone on record as indicating that Surrogate’s pregnancy is high risk and an abortion at this stage would be high risk as well.


  1. this Atlanta Journal Constitution article: California surrogate: Atlanta dad demands I abort a triplet and
  2. this New York Post article: Dad demands abortion after surrogate learns she’s having triplets .

Missing Husband Found … Remarried … Without First Having Been Divorced

Husband and Wife marry a few months after Husband’s divorce from his previous wife. Wife had children from a previous relationship.

For about a year, all seemed well. Then Husband inexplicably took off, leaving a note indicating that Husband had a problem being a stepfather to Wife’s children.

Husband returned several months later though and Wife took him back.

Husband and Wife and Wife’s kids then relocated to a new state to start over. Again, for a while, all seemed well. Then Husband piled on debt and stayed away from home a lot.

Wife finally insisted that Husband toe the line or move on. He moved on.

Almost a decade later, Wife discovers Husband in their home state, Wisconsin.

With another “wife”. Only Husband and Wife were never divorced.

Wife reports the situation to law enforcement authorities.

Husband may be looking at criminal charges of fraud, bigamy, and making misrepresentations on a marriage license.

Read more in this Good Housekeeping article: Wife Finally Finds Husband 9 Years After He Disappeared — Married to Another Woman .


Mother Loses Custody of Her Three Surviving Children After Two of Her Children, Home Alone, Kill a Fourth

Single Texas Mother has four Children, all under the age of five years.

Mother lives with Boyfriend. Boyfriend is the father of some of Mother’s Children, but her Ex is the father of others.

Mother and Boyfriend put Children to bed and then go out for pizza and to visit Boyfriend’s brother. They leave Children home alone.

While Mother and Boyfriend are out, two of the Children, both three years old, collaborate to lock another of the Children, Baby, nineteen months old, into their oven … and turn the oven on.

Baby dies before Mother and Boyfriend return home.

Boyfriend was not Baby’s father. Ex does not know whether he was Baby’s biological father.

Mother and Boyfriend are both arrested on four counts of endangering a child. Additional charges may follow as the investigation progresses.

The Texas child welfare agency has taken the three surviving Children into child protective custody.

Ex expresses interest in obtaining custody of the two Children he knows are his. Ex states that he had been unable to reach Mother for months.

Mother is pregnant with a fifth child.


  1. this Fox News article: Toddler dies after siblings lock her in oven and
  2. this Weekly Challenger article: Boyfriend charged in connection with Texas toddler burned alive in oven .

Parental Rights Terminated Over Exorcisms and Stubbornly Untreated Mental Illness and Substance Abuse and Long Term Incarceration

Mother and Father have two Children together, now two and three years old.

Father is incarcerated as a result of a conviction of burglary and assault. Father abuses substances.

Mother is mentally ill, but unwilling to take her medications.

Mother takes Children to a church and requests an exorcism for them. She had not fed the Children in three days and admitted to hearing voices and fighting the impulse to hand the Children over to the devil.

The Children are taken into child protective custody, held to be dependent and placed in foster care.

Where they remain for three years.

During which time neither Mother nor Father complies with their court-ordered case plan.

Mother was repeatedly placed in psychiatric hospitals, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

She self-medicated with illegal drugs and allegedly received stolen property.

Her visits with the Children were few and far between … and she often slept during them.

The Children were disturbed by the visits and acted out afterwards.

Upon Father’s release from confinement, he relapsed, reoffended and indulged his addiction after his release again.

Although Father visited Children when he wasn’t confined, they did not establish a familial bond.

Foster family seeks to terminate Mother’s and Father’s parental rights and adopt Children.

Family court trial judge concluded that it was in the Children’s best interests to terminate Mother’s and Father’s parental rights so that their adoption could go through.

On appeal to an intermediate level court, the ruling was upheld. The court noted that the parents had not been able to parent for three years and did not seem inclined to do so.

Read more in this New Jersey Law Journal article: Parental Rights Terminated for Mother Who Sought Exorcism .



Billionaire Husband and Wife Finally Settle Their Divorce … After Five Years

Wife is the daughter of a real estate billionaire. Husband is also second generation real estate royalty.

Their union cements an empire.

Husband and Wife live a good life, a very good life, for decades.

But, with the collapse of the real estate market, their marriage also implodes.

Five years into their divorce, the couple settles.

Wife walks away with their $22 million Manhattan apartment and a waterfront home in the Hamptons.

Plus millions in art, jewelry and furniture.

Their agreement is signed but they must each still comply with some preliminary conditions for the deal to go the distance.

Not just another divorce.



Child Welfare Agency Targets Gaps in Foster Children’s Computer Skills

Children in foster care have it rough, in more ways than one.

Four years after they’ve aged out of foster care, only about half of them have jobs. Less than a fifth get any college study under their belts, and fewer than ten percent graduate from college.

Part of the reason for the above is that foster children lack basic computer skills.

Because they usually have limited technology resources, such as computers and internet access.

A child welfare agency in New York is trying to turn that around.

They provide a laptop to foster children, and a digital educational program to both foster children and their foster parents. The agency also furnishes free Wi-Fi to participating foster families for a full four years.

Last, but not least, the agency sponsors a technology career program to assist foster kids with graduating into technology careers.

The program is quite ambitious and, if successful, could make a dent in the discouraging statistics about foster children and higher education.

Read more in this Wall Street Journal article: Laptops Are Lifeline for Foster Children .


New York Employer Revamps Workplace Policies Regarding Victims of Domestic Violence

Buffalo, NY Wife works in sales at a Store in a large retail chain.

Wife and Husband are divorced. There is a history of domestic abuse.

Husband makes a threat against Wife’s life.

Upon Wife’s arrival at work the following day, Wife alerts Store security as to the threat.

Store Security rapidly develops a plan in case Husband comes to the Store.

Nonetheless, shortly thereafter, Wife is told to depart the Store and remain away until she secures a domestic violence restraining order of protection against Husband.

New York law prohibits discrimination in the workplace, including retaliation or harassment against domestic abuse victims.

Wife is in touch with the New York Attorney General’s office, and they initiate an investigation which culminates in action against the Store chain.

Store welcomes Wife back to work.

As part of its settlement with the state, Store agrees to provide education to all New York employees regarding the New York law prohibiting workplace discrimination against employees who are victims of domestic abuse.

Also as part of its settlement, Store amends its company policy barring victims of abuse from working in the absence of domestic violence restraining orders of protection.

Studies show that domestic violence victims all too often end up out of a job as a result of being a victim of abuse.

Studies further show that exclusion from their workplace creates economic and psychological stress, and may increase physical danger to victims of abuse.

Still, there may be circumstances where excluding a victim of domestic violence from the workplace may be lawful and appropriate.