Sperm donors beware in Kansas!  According to the article below in the JD Journal recently, a sperm donor is being sued for child support by the State of Kansas because the lesbian couple that he donated his sperm to, used the state’s resources for upkeep of the child.  They are also requesting he pay for the birth of the child.  For more information on this case, see the link below.

Sperm Donor Fighting Against Petition for Child Support – JD Journal | JD Journal.

 

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  I thought I would share it and say thank you to all of you who followed me in 2012.  Hope to see you in 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Did you know that the Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  The intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.  In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.

In October 1994 NCADV, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year.

The Centers for Disease Control announced last week findings from a ground breaking study that indicates domestic and sexual violence against American women at epidemic rates that affects “on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.”  I was shocked to read these statistics.

As the grandmother of two young women, this concerns me.

In the first case brought by a survivor of domestic violence against the U.S. before an international human rights tribunal, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found that the United States violated the human rights of Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales) and her children. The decision underscores that the U.S. is failing in its legal obligation to protect women and girls from domestic violence.

In June 1999, Jessica Gonzales’ three young daughters, ages seven, nine and ten, were abducted by her estranged husband and killed after the Colorado police refused to enforce a restraining order against him.

Although Gonzales repeatedly called the police, telling them of her fears for her daughters’ safety, they failed to respond. Hours later, Gonzales’ husband drove his pick-up truck to the police department and opened fire. He was shot dead by the police. The slain bodies of the three girls were subsequently discovered in the back of his pickup truck.

Gonzales filed a lawsuit against the police, but in June 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that she had no Constitutional right to police enforcement of her restraining order. She then filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, saying that the inaction of the police and the Supreme Court’s decision violated her human rights.

In another study, nearly 4,600 U.S. children were hospitalized with broken bones, traumatic brain injury and other serious damage caused by physical abuse in 2006, according to a new report, making child abuse a bigger threat than SIDS.

For more information for California residents,  you can go to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence website here.   You can locate a Domestic Violence shelter in your area on this website or you can call the 24 hour hotline at 1-800-799-7233.   If you know someone who needs help, you can also call the hotline.

 

Remember Judge Adams, who was given a suspension last November from the bench while being investigated for abusing his daughter when she posted a YouTube video?  The State Commission in Arkansas gave him a public warning this past week.

His daughter, who was videotaped when she was a teen being beaten by a belt by Judge Adams, says she is angry her father received only a public warning from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Adams declined to comment on Thursday’s sanction, which found the video cast doubt on his ability to be impartial. It also warned the judge against a pattern of demeaning behavior toward attorneys in his court.

Although police and prosecutors reviewed the Adams video, they did not pursue criminal charges, citing statutes of limitation. A grass-roots petition drive to unseat the judge fizzled.

The judge’s daughter, Hillary Adams, now 24, said she was angered by the decision because it won’t remove her father from the bench. She said it’s unacceptable for a family law judge to beat his daughter, but she said she didn’t want to direct her anger at the commission, and she’s glad the warning publicly acknowledged the judge’s behavior.

“They’re doing their job,” she said. “Really, I guess I should direct my anger at the law system for allowing this to continue and basically paying someone a yearlong vacation for beating his child.”

Commission Director Seana Willing said in an email that Adams now must petition the Supreme Court to have the suspension lifted. Judicial ethics expert Lillian Hardwick said that step is largely procedural and the court likely will lift the suspension.

For more on Judge Adams, you can read more in my previous article here and here.

 

 

Senate Bill 1476 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, crossed its last legislative hurdle Wednesday, when the Senate approved it on a concurrence vote of 21-13.  Under SB 1476, a judge could split custody, child support or visitation rights among three or more people who had acted as parents to the child.  To read my previous blog on the bill, here is the link.

It has now gone to Governor Brown for signature, after approval by the Assembly on August 27, 2012 and the Senate on August 29, 2012.  To read the bill waiting for signature, go to the link here.

 

 

In Klumb v. Goan, a Tennesse case, the wife Goan, was hit with $20,000 in damages, $10,000 in damages and $10,000 in punitive damages for her egregious conduct, after she installed a spyware program called eBlaster on several of the computers that husband, Klumb used.  Klumb was also awarded fees and costs.

Goan also intercepted three emails sent to Klumb and altered the emails to make it look like “[the sender] and [Klumb] were having an affair.” Apparently a finding of infidelity altered the split of property between the parties under the prenuptial agreement in place between the parties and under an agreed order entered in the divorce case that was initiated when the marriage soured.

As far as the legal issues, the court does not have any trouble finding that Goan’s interception of Klumb’s email violates the federal Wiretap Act and its Tennessee counterpart.

The most interesting part of this story is Goan is an attorney and should have known better.  The message here is clear, don’t spy on anyone’s, including your spouses email.  It can cost you Big Bucks!

 

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Interesting case in Iowa in which Father was granted sole legal and physical custody of the parties children after Mother posted on Facebook how Father was a bad parent and sent Father a threatening email.  The case is In Re Marriage of Bates, which can be read here.

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It really cannot be said enough, if you post it on Facebook, it can and will be used against you in a custody battle.

 

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I read an article recently where a New York attorney discussed ways to minimize attorney fees in your divorce case.   I have mentioned how to reduce your costs in a previous post, but thought that it bears repeating.

1.  Read your attorney fee agreement and understand how your attorney charges you.  Most attorneys charge in increments (usually six minute increments), so if your attorney (or even his/her paralegal) pick up the phone to speak with you, you will be charged a minimum time.  Attorneys also charge for the time they are working on your case, whether it be reviewing the file for court, preparing documents on your behalf, or talking with the opposing counsel, you will be charged.

2.  Using email to communicate with your attorney and staff.  Let the attorney and his/her staff know when you retain the attorney, that you prefer email communication.  This means that you will check your email regularly and respond as quickly as possible to your attorney’s or his staff’s email.  I can’t tell you how many times a client will tell our office that they prefer email communication, and then they never check it or respond.  This then entails calling the client to let them know an email was sent and a response is required.  The client is then charged for both an email and a phone call, which defeats the purpose of email communication.  Also let the attorney know that you prefer to receive any documents filed or received in your case by email in pdf format.  This saves time, paper and postage, which means less cost for you if your attorney charges for postage and copies.

3.  Keep track of the time you spend talking to your attorney and his staff and review your bill promptly.  Let your attorney know immediately of any questions or disputes you have with your bill.   Some fee agreements require your billing questions in writing and attorneys cannot charge you for questions on your billing statement.  Don’t wait for several months and then question the bill, it becomes time consuming to go back and review the billings in question, which takes away from the time the attorney or the staff have for working on your case.

4.  If your attorney or the staff request documents from you, promptly provide them.   This saves you money by not receiving multiple calls from the attorney or his staff for the information needed in your case.  If you can, scan and email the documents to your attorney, this saves time and cost to you as well.  Some attorneys charge for each copy in your case, and you might be charged for their staff time.

5.  It is ok to check in with your attorney if you have not heard from him/her in a while.  Attorneys get busy with trials, hearings and some are even lucky enough to take a vacation.  Attorneys usually have staff members who you can contact as well to check in on the status of your case.  I would recommend copying the paralegal working on your case with any email communications to the attorney.  In the event the attorney is in trial or out of the office, the paralegal can respond to your email promptly.

6.  Yes, you can contact your spouse to discuss your case as long as there is not a restraining order preventing you or your spouse from doing this.  Unless your attorney advises you otherwise, there is no reason you cannot discuss things with your soon to be ex.  Just be sure to let your attorney know what you are discussing so that any agreements can be discussed with your attorney.  Don’t fight over the little things, like who will get the large punch bowl and who will get the set of Henkel knifes, even if your spouse is.  Take the high road and let it go.  The cost of fighting over these items is just not worth it.

7.   Pay your bill on time.  Attorneys have bills to pay just like you do.  They have staff to pay as well.  Be sure you understand that the initial retainer you paid is just that, a retainer.  No attorney can predict what the cost of your case will be.  It is determined by many factors, such as how litigious your case becomes, and how cooperative you and your spouse are in negotiations regarding your case,, etc.  The more you and your soon to be ex can agree, the less cost it is for each of you.  This does not mean that you should settle for less than what you are entitled to, just to save attorney fees.  Your attorney is there to advise you of what the law says you are entitled to.  A good attorney will let you know whether it is cost effective for you to file a motion, or even go to trial.

These are just a few ways to help keep your costs down in your family law matter.  Be sure to talk with your attorney about other ways you can reduce costs in your case.

Yes, I know.  This has nothing to do with California Family Law, but it is interesting to me, none the less.  According to an article in the Washington Post on August 18th, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups made the ruling Friday in the case filed by Kody Brown and his four wives — Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn.  They have argued that Utah’s bigamy law should be overturned because it violates their right to privacy.

Utah officials had stated that the suit should be dropped because they were not going forward with charging Kody Brown and his four wives with bigamy and therefore had no standing to file this suit.  Judge Waddoups stated that the promise from the Utah County Attorney’s Office appeared to be a ploy to avoid the suit.

You can read the ruling here.  The next filing in this case is August 31, 2012.

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On August ,8,2012, it looks like AB 1476, the new Family Law Parentage bill, was approved by members of the Assembly in an 11-5 vote.  For more detail on this bill, see my previous post here.   For details on who voted yes and no, I have included the information below.   On August 15th, it was ordered to its third reading .  If you would like to follow this bill, you can do so here.

Measure: SB 1476 (Leno): Family law: parentage.
Location: Asm Appropriations
Date: 08/08/12
Motion: Do pass.
Result: 11-5 (PASS)

Ayes – 11

Blumenfield, Bradford, Campos, Davis, Fuentes, Gatto, Hall, Hill, Lara, Mitchell, Solorio

Noes – 5

Donnelly, Harkey, Nielsen, Norby, Wagner

Absent, Abstention or Not Voting – 1

Charles Calderon

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