May 2010 Archives

May 27, 2010

California Child Custody Move Away Issues Considered Through Reports Regarding Tiger

Justia-photo-26 Tiger Woods.jpegOn April 29, 2010 I posted a blog predicting a child custody move away maneuver by the Wife of Tiger Woods, Elin Nordegren. I referenced that Elin is Swedish. She bought a multimillion dollar home in Sweden during the marriage (why? could she see this coming?). During the separation from Tiger, after the facts first surfaced as to Tiger's extramarital activities and the alleged golf club attack on Tiger, Elin took the children to Sweden. She claimed it was for a short trip. Tiger didn't want her to go. The couple reportedly was seen arguing over this trip. My blog concluded that Elin was moving the children back to Sweden and this was prior to any such news report. just reported as to the status of divorce negotiations between Tiger and Elin: First, she reportedly wants $750 million as a settlement payment. Second, Tiger wants a confidentiality clause. Third, Elin wants full custody of the children.

Let me tell you what this report means, if true: Tiger's wealth is not fully known however the amount that Elin is reportedly requesting is not surprising. She is entitled to a share of the marital property as well as spousal support and child support. Tiger Woods is a business that makes money from multiple sources. For example, professional golf and endorsements. Tiger is going to cave into Elin's settlement demands as he wants no more publicity about the divorce as this publicity always returns to reports of Tiger's extramarital activities. Such reports kill off endorsements and this is costing Tiger millions.

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May 24, 2010

Will This California Divorce Cause a San Diego Child Custody Case?

Justia-photo-25 James and reports of continuing developments in the Sandra Bullock, Jesse James case. It is foreseeable to a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist that the ripples being caused in this case may open up another case. The report is that after the separation between Bullock and James, Jesse James continues to live with his children, ages 6, 12 and 15. Sandra Bullock lives with the child that she (and Jesse?) just adopted. Jesse's girlfriend (Michelle McGee) has two children of her own.

The report further states that Sandra Bullock has focused her residency attention to Austin Texas and that Jesse James was recently in Austin with a least one of his children. Sandra has filed the Bullock/James divorce in Austin. Will Jesse move to Austin seeking to maintain contact with his adopted child? In an earlier blog on this case, and Ms. Bullock's decision to file in Austin, Texas, I discussed the possible motives on her part involving child custody, child support and spousal support issues. In that blog we discussed the fault factors present in Texas law while California is a "no fault" state. Jesse has reportedly admitted fault in his divorce with Sandra.

Will Jesse's actions cause Michelle McGee to have a San Diego child custody case? Will Jesse's actions cause the mother of his children to file for a child custody modification motion against Jesse?

California family law provides that child custody orders may be modified. Therefore, Jesse's child custody rights may be changed (modified). They may be made more restrictive. The mother of Jesse's children may claim that Jesse's newly reported lifestyle, his reported girlfriends and legal conclusions that may be drawn as to the character of his reported girlfriends, negatively affect the health, education and welfare of these children in a significant way. She may seek complete custody of these children.

Might a child custody court rule against "the most hated man in the world"--see the video:

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May 21, 2010

La Jolla Divorce News Received With Regret

Justia-photo-23 La Jolla Playhouse.jpegNews reports surfaced that actress Emma Caulfield filed for a divorce after an almost four year marriage to Cornelius Grobbelaar. The couple married during the summer of 2006.

Emma Caulfield is well known in La Jolla California. She was raised in San Diego California. She reportedly was a student of drama classes when she attended high school at La Jolla Country Day School. During her high school years she is said to have advanced her acting skills at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Emma Caulfield, well known for her acting in Beverly Hills 90210, Buffy, other work in TV and movies. A simple scan of entertainment news will show that every day a well known entertainer is commencing a family law issue (divorce, paternity, child support, spousal support, etc.) Emma Caulfield's career, by virtue of her history in San Diego and La Jolla is closely followed in this community.

Fortunately, her dissolution of marriage does not appear to involve issues of child custody, messy property disputes, record breaking requests for support and other matters that are so prevalent in entertainment new today.

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May 19, 2010

Child Custody in San Diego and Military Towns--Effort to Impose a Federal Standard

Justia-photo-23 soldier and child.jpegA news report from the and reporter Rick Maze, staff writer, is significant to San Diego Child Custody cases where the custody spouse is military member and subject to deployment.

Since the beginning of time, San Diego divorce lawyers handling child custody cases have turned to California law; California child custody cases, telling us what are the legal standards to use under the circumstances of the individual case. Why? Why not use a national standard in child custody cases? As a San Diego child custody attorney, i have only focused on the laws of the State of California.

Simply put, our form of government is representative. Local areas, in this case States, pass laws to reflect the values of the citizens of the community (in this case California). In this state the Best Interest of the Child is the legal standard set by our legislature under which child custody orders are made. (See Cal. Rules of Court, Appendix, ยง26). The California Courts will interpret this standard in individual situations. As a result, we have Appellate and Supreme Court cases providing rulings for situation involving, child abuse, domestic violence, homosexuality, race, religion, separating siblings, unconventional lifestyle, and other.

This is California, not Kentucky, so the community values may be different. However what if the divorced custody parent is a military member who is about to be deployed to Iraq for many months. When the military parent comes home should custody automatically be returned to that parent? Four times the House of Representatives have passed a bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Turner that would seek to protect the custody rights of the deployed military member. Four times the Senate has rejected the bill. Now the bill is about to be introduced again in the House.

See Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, below:

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May 17, 2010

California Premarital and Postnuptial Agreements--Can They Affect a Divorce?

Justia-photo-22 tesla.jpegA news report was just released from Reuter's news and further discussed in concerning the California divorce between Elon Musk and Justine Musk.

This is just a typical story of a Husband, Elon, who goes off to work every day at his 9 to 5 job while his wife sits a home in her comfortable suburban home and writes novels. After their marriage the Wife is asked to sign a post marital agreement. She signs this document. Later, her Husband files for a divorce and the post marital agreement could mean that the company that the Husband owns might survive. It also means that the agreement could divert millions of dollars away from the Wife.

Pre marital (also known as prenuptial or premarital) agreements are contracts that are negotiated and signed prior to the marriage. Post marital agreements are signed after the marriage. The California divorce laws that apply to them are different. California Certified Family Law Specialists have read thousands of pages regarding the emerging law of fiduciary duties that are owed by each spouse to the other. These duties are completely different from the duties that a single person owes to the other non married person to whom he has proposed marriage. As a San Diego divorce attorney I have seen this area of divorce law grow over the last ten years.

On closer examination we find that the Husband's job is run a company that has created, engineered, and sells the Tesla Roadster. See the Tesla Roadster video below:

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May 12, 2010

San Diego Divorce Report: Mega Spousal Support Award

Justia-photo-21 stacks of carried a news report regarding the spousal support awarded to Jamie McCourt in a Southern California divorce court. The judge ordered that the Husband, Frank McCourt, pay the amount of $637,159 as and for his wife's monthly spousal support (sometimes referred to as "alimony").

This report is not surprising to a San Diego Certified Family Specialist. It is not surprising to the San Diego divorce lawyers in my office. Spousal support, under the laws of the State of California, has no ceiling. The only limitations are those of the arguments and the analysis under California law. Family Code Section 4320 specify the factors that a divorce court judge must consider in awarding spousal support. Certainly, Mr. McCourt's "ability to pay" spousal support was considered as well as Jamie McCourt's financial need and the "standard of living" established during the marriage.

Reporter Chris Lardieri of provides more details as to this decision. Is Mr. McCourt regretting entering this marriage without a prenuptial agreement?

In the video below, a California Certified Family Law Specialist discusses factors used by courts in deciding the amount of spousal support.

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May 10, 2010

San Diego Custody Report Regarding Target Stabbing Mom

Justia-photo-20 knife.jpegSan Diego news stories came out recently of a mom who had lost the custody of her child in a California child custody case. Reportedly this mom was emotionally distraught and went into a Los Angeles Target department store with a knife and stabbed four people in the store.

Looking deeper into this story, reportedly the mom who is claimed to have stabbed four people in a Target store did not go through the divorce recently. The brother of this woman reports that the divorce was five years ago.

San Diego divorce attorneys deal with these stories every day. As this story is a story about people and character, not about San Diego divorce law. The story raises the issue of health, recovery, self improvement, staying focused on a goal, working diligently towards the goal, believing in something greater than you, and surrounding you with people and professionals who assist you in this effort.

Not long ago I worked with a parent who had just lost a child custody case. The parent was reduced to infrequent, daytime visits. In the child support issue, the court found that this parent's time share was less than 5 percent. This person was devastated by the custody ruling. The parent appeared to be frustrated and angry. At this point, there are two directions in which this parent could go. One path is to seek improvement and positive results in the future. The other is to become lost in negativity and self destruction.

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May 6, 2010

California Divorce Avoidance: Bullock v. James

Justia-photo-19 moving van.jpegIn a recent San Diego Divorce Attorney Blog we considered the reasons that San Bullock would look for a way to not file her divorce in California, but in a conservative law state such as Texas. We analyzed the fault issue and how that benefits San Bullock; and, further, the differences in the child and spousal support laws which greatly benefited San Bullock (up to $3 million per year or more). Why would any wife want to pay a million dollars a year to a cheating spouse?

The recent news stories report that the San Bullock adoption was actually a Bullock/James adoption. And, that this adoption took several years to complete. The duration of the process reiterates the significance of Jesse James in this adoption process. Further, news stories report that San Bullock is now moving to New Orleans to live with the baby. But what--after San Bullock filed in Texas she reportedly stated that she had always considered Texas to be her home. Maybe she meant "home away from home". The wealthy have many homes.

The point is that these moves create child custody and jurisdiction issues. More specifically, a move away custody case issue. (Move away cases are sometimes referred to as "custody relocation" cases.) Did Sandra live in California when the adoption became final? Reportedly, when she learned of the affairs she immediately moved with the baby to Texas from the Long Beach home. Now the Long Beach home is reportedly on the market for $6 million dollars by virtue of the bad memories (hearing of the affairs). This, if true, indicates that the move with the child was from a California residence to Texas.

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May 4, 2010

San Diego Child Custody Case--Mom Loses Custody

Justia-photo-18 dog and baby.jpegSan Diego Fox News recently reported of a San Diego mom who lost custody of her two children two years ago and now is losing custody of another child when she left the child alone in a room with a male friend's dogs. The dogs mauled the baby. The baby survived but was seriously injured and the Mother will reportedly lose custody of this child.

San Diego divorce attorneys frequently are involved in cases where the standard of proof is the Best Interest of the child. The mom will have one child custody plan; the dad will have another and the San Diego divorce lawyers will argue that their client's plan is the one that is actually in the best interest of the child.

Sometimes the child custody case involves another standard of proof - that if one parent is awarded custody of the child the order would be Detrimental to the Child's welfare. This standard appears to have been met by the reported facts of the mom leaving the baby in a room unsupervised but for vicious dogs. What was going through her head? Booze? Drugs? Static?

Family Code 3040 states that a child's custody may be awarded to a non parent when, the court finds that "granting custody to the parent would be 'detrimental to the child' and that granting custody to the nonparent 'is required to serve the best interest of the child."

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May 1, 2010

San Diego Divorce News Report: When to File Divorce in Texas

Justia-photo-17 money baby.jpegThe Sandra Bullock - Jesse James story keeps getting more bizarre. Why would a couple so closely associated with Southern California file for a divorce in Texas? How could this happen?

As a San Diego divorce lawyer and a Certified Family Law Specialist I can answer the questions relative to California law. As to Texas I must rely on news reports and some Internet research. So, lets take a look at some of the factors leading Sandra to file in Texas:

Venue and Jurisdiction: These laws control where you may file a case. Sandra through luck, blessings, foresight or all of the above is reportedly a property owner in Texas and this qualifies her to file for divorce in either California or Texas.

Spousal support: reportedly Texas law will not cause an alimony order to be issued to Jesse James. Reportedly Texas is a "fault" state and California is a "no fault" state. Thus, in California Jesse's extramarital hobbies count for nothing and he could walk into a California divorce court demanding that Sandra support him according to their Marital Standard of Living.

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