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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Domestic Violence, Custody, and Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson's Custody Battle
We've all heard the ugly tapes of Mel's rants on www.Radaronline.com . We know there is a pending domestic violence investigation.
What does it mean? How does it impact his custody battle for his infant daughter?
The answer is Family Code Section 3044.

Under the law, if the court finds a party to have been a perpetrator of Domestic Violence within the past 5 years there is a very strong presumption that the perpetrator should not share Physical or Legal Custody with the victim-parent. (It is rebuttable, meaning, the burden of proof lies with Mel.)

Thus, if the court finds that you have committed Domestic violence within the past 5 years, there is a rebuttable presumption to be proven by a preponderance of evidence that neither physical or legal custody should be granted to the perpetrator meaning that the victim of the violence will obtain sole physical and sole legal custody.

It may be possible to rebut the presumption under certain limited circumstances.
If you are in a heated custody dispute, REFRAIN from domestic violence. IF there may be allegations, it would be prudent to have witnesses, etc. Consult an attorney.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Before Divorce

Tips by Kelly Chang Rickert, CFLS

Are you headed that way?

Ok, before we even start thinking about divorce - GO TO COUNSELING. Couples AND individual. A lot of problems causing people to divorce may be personal problems. If you can save the marriage in any way, you owe it to the marriage - to the children (if you have them) - to your spouse - and to yourself - to do whatever it takes.

If, however, your differences are sincerely irreconcilable, here are some tips from a divorce lawyer.

1. DELETE your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or other social media profiles. You are about to embark in a very painful process. Although you should be able to share with few intimate friends, posting your feelings and experiences, PHOTOS, on Facebook could have negative consequences, including potentially legally adverse consequences. Just trust me on this.

2. Get a new email account. Better yet, if you can afford it, get a new computer. If you are sharing a computer, you need to make sure there is no spyware. If you plan to communicate with anyone (your mom, your therapist, your attorney), through emails - be discrete and careful. I've represented many a client who had full access to their spouse's emails.

3. If you have a prenup, take it out and review it. I always advise my clients who have prenups to keep it in a separate place. It is a bad idea to store your prenups in the same safe deposit box. They always end up missing when you need them the most.

4. Know your finances, especially if you are the "out-spouse". Just because you aren't currently earning income, doesn't mean you need to be dumb about finances. EDUCATE yourself as to the family finances. Even if you do not have statements, you need to keep track of institutions, account numbers, balances. This includes bank accounts, stock accounts, retirement accounts, credit card accounts, life insurance, and tax returns. There is absolutely NO excuse for being in the dark. Knowledge is power.

5. On that note, depending on whether you are the "in-spouse" or "out-spouse", you need to separate accounts immediately upon deciding a date of separation. If you are the supported spouse, it may pay for you to act clueless and draw out the date of separation. You can hire a private investigatore (while acting dumb) to figure out if community assets are being expended, trace accounts, etc. If you are the supporting spouse, and you suspect foul play, you need to immediately do what it takes to show objectively/subjectively a clear date of separation, and open separate accounts, depositing earnings post-separation into these separate accounts, immediately.

6. If you have children, you need to start figuring out a parenting plan. Children are NOT, and I repeat, NOT property to be divided. You need to consider that you are possibly wrecking their lives, and you need to take every step possible - including therapy, to make their little lives go as smoothly as possible during this split. Absolutely, without fail, please work out a parenting plan with your soon to be ex, WITHOUT court intervention. Barring any abuse or addiction, recognize that your marriage is falling apart, but RESPECT their role as the other parent. Suck it up. I know that custody battles seem glamorous, and seriously, "Everyone is doing it,", but the reality is: IT SUCKS AND YOU DO NOT WANT THIS. If there is any fight left in you, you need to FIGHT to get a good working parenting plan. You can do this. Engage the services of a custody mediator/facilitator. WORK IT OUT. I repeat, WORK IT OUT. DO NOT GO TO COURT. Even if you have 750 million dollars, do NOT pay attorneys to fight your custody battle for you.

7. Figure out where you want to live. Discuss it. Understand that if you move out, there may be legal consequences.

8. Budget accordingly. If you've never had to budget, this is painful. But a divorce is going from ONE household to TWO households. You will have 1/2 to live on. It doesn't have to "break the bank", or "take you to the cleaners", but you must recognize that money will be a bit more tight, so maybe skip French Laundry, and take the kids to McDonalds tonight.

9. Find good help. If I had cancer, I would be knocking down the doors of the best oncologist in town. Same with a lawyer. Don't hire an everyday lawyer who defends murder trials, and chases ambulances, and handles divorce. If you are going through a divorce, find a Certified Family Law Specialist to represent you. They will charge more. They've earned it, and you will get what you pay for.

10. Think good thoughts. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Divorce is a nasty thing. You don't need to plague your thoughts. This, too, shall pass.

Report: Tiger Woods Divorce Final, Elin Woods to Receive Record $750 Million Settlement
June 30th, 2010 6:47 PM by Free Britney Tags: Elin Woods, Tiger Woods, Celebrity Break-Ups
MSNBC, Fox News and the UK's Sun are reporting that the Tiger Woods-Elin Nordegren divorce is final, with only a filing in Orlando County Court remaining.
"Everything's signed. Elin is ready to file for divorce at Orlando County Court," says an inside source. "She expects to sometime in the next seven days."

The settlement Elin is to receive, which has become the subject of much debate in recent weeks, is reportedly valued in the neighborhood of $750 million.
Yes, three-quarters of a billion dollars, believed to be the biggest payout of a celebrity divorce ever. There are conditions, however, according to reports:
- Tiger may not bring any other females around their children.
- Elin can never publicly speak about his various mistresses.-
- Elin gets full custody of the kids but they share legal custody.
That means Tiger will share decisions about the kids, and as such, Elin will not be able to permanently relocate them to her native Sweden anytime soon.
Tiger's main caveat, though, was that she shut yer yap - for all eternity.

A pal said: "Tiger's main fear is her telling her story after he's rebuilt his reputation, sending him back to the gutter. The price of that sum is her silence."
"Complete confidentiality. No interviews, tell-all books, or TV appearances about this for the rest of her life - even if Tiger dies first - or she'll lose the lot."
Basically, Rachel Uchitel, Jaimee Grubbs, Joslyn James, Devon James and the dozen other hoes we know of ended up costing Tiger about $37.5 million per.
One report suggests that Elin Woods ended up with double the sum she sought after her lawyers determined Tiger is worth much more than $1 billion.
Her friend explained: "Elin's legal team have done a great job digging up all sorts of assets." We would have to say that's the case if the sum is correct.
While it should be noted that The Sun is a British tabloid, the $750 million figure has been reported by more than one source over the past few weeks.
Let's just say we wouldn't bet the under on $500 million anyway.