November 2010 Archives

November 30, 2010

Surprising California Divorce News: Leigh/Baumbach

Justia-photo-75 Leigh.jpegAfter reportedly stating that he would be with Jennifer Jason Leigh for the rest of his life, Noah Baumbach received a Petition for divorce from Leigh. Leigh and Baumbach met in 2001 and started their relationship. They married in 2005. Then in March, 2010, fully in line with Baumbach's prediction, this couple gave birth to a son, Rohmer Emmanuel. Then just several months after the birth of their son, Leigh files for divorce in a California Superior Court based upon the grounds of Irreconcilable Differences.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney this case appears unusual. A five year marriage resulting in the birth of a child five months ago; and overall, this couple has been together for nine years. They have intersecting careers, so it appeared that they had a strong commitment to their marital union, which was underscored by the commitment to have a child born five months ago. Then, in November 2010 filing for a divorce, based on the grounds of differences which could not be reconciled.

China Daily reports of a increase in the divorce rate in China calling the trend "impulsive divorce". This news source reported that Tina Wang married her boyfriend in 2008 and divorced him in 2009 stating that she wanted to meet someone who would be a better match for her. A program in the United States, known as Controlled Separation, helps to prevent impulsive decisions to divorce.

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November 22, 2010

California Divorce Report: Marital Tort

Justia-photo-73 sugar daddie.jpegThe Daily Mail published a report of a wealthy California Husband, Mr. Saadian, who reportedly engaged in extramarital activities, contracted a STD (sexually transmitted disease) and passed the STD on to his Wife. This alone is not "news" as this situation occurs all the time in modern day America. What makes this case different, according to the report, is that the Wife retained a Family Law lawyer, filed for a divorce, and hired a tort lawyer then sued her Husband for sexual battery, fraud, infliction of emotional distress, among other civil tort claims.

The Saadian tort case was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court and was tried in front of a jury. The jury came back with an award in favor of the Wife in the amount of $2.49 million. The news report states that the Wife was awarded future medical treatment, approximately $2 million for past and future pain and suffering plus punitive damages.

As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney I am referred cases which occasionally involve a tort case inside the divorce case. Researching the law, it is clear that the ability of a spouse to sue the spouse for a marital tort has changed significantly in recent years. If you are filing for a divorce and you have been the victim of a domestic violence incident(s), or other marital torts (for example, rape, fraud, conversion, etc.) disclose this to your family law attorney so that important procedural decisions may be made as to both legal actions. More than once I have brought a civil litigation trial attorney into the divorce case so that the marital tort may be correctly handled. Keep in mind that the Saadian case went to a jury. A family law trial will never go to a jury so the civil litigation attorney may not want to join the marital tort case to the divorce case.

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November 22, 2010

Mel Gibson Custody Case Goes to Court

Justia-photo-74 Larry King Live.jpgWe've heard about it all summer. We've heard of the allegations affecting the child custody outcome. We've heard the audio tapes or at least some of them. We've noticed the silent denial as to the tapes. We've seen the reports of Oksana on the Larry King show. We know that the issues include, child's best interest; the Father is out of control and shouldn't have any child custody rights because of his untreated medical condition; we've heard that the Mother should only have limited or supervised visitation because of her monetary extortion attempt. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney, I am well aware of the arguments that will be made on both sides, however, which side will make the better argument?

According to news coverage as to this case, we will soon have our answers to these issues and questions as reportedly, the Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva child custody hearing will occur on Monday, November 21, 2010. Reportedly, Oksana will say that Mel Gibson is out of control. He must take his medication. Oksana claims to be a domestic violence victim. She states that she fears for her safety, and also for the safety of baby Lucia. Conversely, Mel Gibson intends to show up in court and to request the physical custody of the child because, reportedly, he alleges that Oksana is out of control; she is angry with Mel Gibson and only seeking a monetary extortion from Mr. Gibson thereby resulting in her not acting in the child's best interst.

We can picture Mel Gibson's attorney arguing that the law of the state of California, in the attorney's opinion, requires that both parents share the child. And, that Oksana's obsession with cashing in Mr. Gibson's wealth has caused her to fight viciously and deplorably in a manner that prevents her from being willing to share child custody with Mr. Gibson. We can picture Oksana's attorney equally passionate with the counter argument:

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November 16, 2010

California Divorce Report: What is "Jurisdiction"?

Justia-photo-72 Wall Street.jpegAs a La Jolla divorce attorney, my office receives telephone calls from people in different geographic areas with questions as to where their case should be filed. Which state in the United States should hear a court case is a similar question as to which county within California should hear a California divorce case. (The question as to which of the San Diego County courts should handle your case, go to the San Diego Superior Court website here.)

In 1987 Michael Douglas, actor, starred in the movie Wall Street playing the role of Gordon Gekko. The movie won many best actor awards. Michael Douglas received an Academy Award - Best Actor. In 1977 Michael married Diandra Luker and their marriage lasted until the year 2000, or 23 years. Wall Street was a financial success so it was no surprise that the sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) was expected to bring in millions in profits. By virtue of the California divorce between Michael Douglas and ex-wife Diandra, a claim was made by Diandra to receive a portion of the profits of the sequel film according to news reports. Diandra reasoned that since Wall Street was created during the marriage (thus community property) any movie that was a spin off from Wall Street (namely Wall Street 2) would be so related to the movie created during the marriage that Diandra would have some community property rights to the sequel. She and her attorney made a jurisdiction decision and filed her claim in New York city.

The movie Wall Street sought to portray the excitement and greed generated by working in an industry that has access to millions and billions of dollars. (See movie trailer below.) Appropriate to the movie theme, Diandra decided to file her case near the actual Wall Street in New York. Was this the correct decision?

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November 14, 2010

San Diego Divorce Report: Marriage and Children

Justia-photo-71 Berkely.jpegIn the last article posted by this blog, we considered how divorce can significantly affect children. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney for more than 30 years I have seen children hurt in the divorce process. However, I don't join in with those who say that divorce is bad and it must be stopped or made more difficult to obtain. Divorce is permitted because people are flawed. In some cases, people are bad or even evil. Divorce is a tool allowing correction and relief in these cases. The tool should be allowed even though its misused by some.

Approximately 30 years ago a psychologist, Judith Wallerstein, started conducting studies concerning children and divorce. Her studies became controversial when her opinions started to affect California divorce and child custody legislation and court decisions. Often her opinions were misunderstood leading to controversial results. However, all of these years later, she is still garnering attention regarding her views. The Huffington Post recently published an article by journalist Katie Hafner involving questions to, and answers from, Dr. Wallerstein regarding her twenty five year study of children involved in California divorces.

Judith Wallerstein is a psychologist. She is now 88 years old. She was a senior lecturer at the School of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley. She is shown in the video below providing thoughts, along with other professionals, as to how to make marriage better.

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November 11, 2010

San Diego Divorce Report: Miley Cyrus Blames Herself for Parent's Divorce

Justia-photo-70 Miley Cyrus.jpegMonsters and Critics online reports that celebrity Miley Cyrus blames herself for the announced divorce of her parents, Tish and Billy Ray Cyrus. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer I have heard this report, regarding the children of divorcing parents, many times before. Therefore, I believe this story.

The parents give a different account for the breakdown of their marital relationship. Reportedly they stated that they were equally involved in the comprehensive and probably exhausting goal of seeing their child achieve stardom. Now that this goal has been achieved they no longer have anything strong to hold them together. There are some cases where a parent will blame the child for a divorce. This is unusual. The parents know the real reasons however, often, the child sees himself or herself as the cause.

Doing some research on this topic, I found an article by the National Network for Child Care. This may be found online at The article states that the "National Network for Child Care - NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the National Extension Service Children Youth and Family Educational Research Network. Permission is granted to reproduce these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only (not for profit beyond the cost of reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive acknowledgment and this notice is included." Recognizing the importance of this study I include the additional information: The author was Lesia Oesterreich, M.S., Family Life Extension Specialist, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University. This blog thanks you for your study.

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November 5, 2010

California Divorce News: Charlie Sheen's Wife is Angry

Justia-photo-69 Sheen and Brooke.jpgIs it true that La Jolla divorces are more civilized? As a Certified Family Law Specialist attorney with a law office is La Jolla I have found that some couples work very hard to control the emotions that may lead to a very time consuming divorce.

Isn't divorce in California no-fault based? What difference does it make that Charlie Sheen did the numerous things that are now appearing on Internet news stories? Probably not much in his California divorce case; however, he allegedly committed the biggest mistake--he didn't discuss the highly public divorce with his wife prior to filing.

We've all heard of the notification that the "marriage is off" by voice mail or by text message. What's now? Notice by Facebook? Twitter? My Space? According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Charlie Sheen's wife, Brooke Mueller, alleges that she was not consulted (notified) by Charlie that he was filing for a divorce, which the actor Sheen did in the last few days. Never mind that Charlie reportedly pleaded guilty to a criminal assault last summer. Or that just recently he reportedly trashed a New York City hotel room in an event that did not include his family. Afterwards, Charlie files for the divorce against Ms. Mueller. This is the ultimate proof that California is a no-fault divorce law state.

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