June 2012 Archives

June 28, 2012

Mother Surrenders Child at "Safe Surrender" Site at Oceanside Fire Station

418px-Barnevogn2.jpgCalifornia's family law system provides little-known remedies for parents who may not be ready to fill the role of parents. Intended to deter the abandonment of children by panicked new parents, the "Safe Surrender" program allows parents to drop off a newborn child with no risk of prosecution. While the program may have saved many children from abandonment, it has also created new problems.

A fire station in Oceanside reported that a mother in her mid- to late-20's surrendered a newborn baby boy on Sunday, June 10. She reportedly said that she wanted to put the baby up for adoption. Firefighters described her as "heartbroken," but "calm and cooperative." She stayed at the station to complete an optional health questionnaire, which will help the state and potential adoptive parents understand the child's medical needs. Authorities took the child to a hospital for a checkup, but firefighters said he looked healthy. News media reported that this was the second baby surrendered at the Oceanside station in the past eighteen months.

California created the Safe Surrender program in 2001, reportedly in response to a growing number of infant abandonments and deaths. Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill permanently including the program in state law in 2006. According to the California Department of Social Services, 407 infants were surrendered in the first ten years and three months of the program. Another 151 newborns were reportedly rescued after illegal abandonment.

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June 21, 2012

Maryland Court Allows Divorce of Same-Sex California Couple, Does Not Allow Same-Sex Marriage

NoWedding.jpgThe Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled unanimously that a same-sex couple with a legal California marriage could obtain a divorce in Maryland. The state currently does not otherwise recognize the legality of same-sex marriages from other states. Same-sex marriage will begin in Maryland in January 2013, although that is subject to a referendum on election day in November. If the law passes the referendum, then the situation that the couple involved in this case found themselves in will be reversed, as Maryland will allow same-sex marriage while California no longer does.

The Court of Appeals considered the appeal of a trial judge's 2010 refusal to grant a divorce to two women who were married in California during the brief period when same-sex marriage was legal there. Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan went from their home in Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, California in 2008 to get married. The exchanged vows in the courthouse and returned home. Two years later, they had separated but could not divorce. Port had purchased a house in Maryland, so she filed a petition there. The separation was reportedly amicable, with the two separating their belongings and even sitting next to each other in court. The judge, however, said that since Maryland law does not recognize their marriage as valid, Maryland courts cannot grant them a divorce.

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June 14, 2012

California Divorce Report: San Diego Chargers Player Discusses His Divorce and Its Effect on Him

345px-2008_Chargers.jpgQuentin Jammer, who plays cornerback for the San Diego Chargers professional football team, recently spoke about his divorce and the difficulties it presented for him in his professional life. Jammer had a difficult time during the 2011-12 NFL season, he acknowledges in an interview with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Times-Union. His experience demonstrates the profound emotional toll, beyond the legal issues, that divorce can take on people, and the importance of support from family, friends, and others whenever possible.

The Chargers drafted Jammer, who played in college for the University of Texas, in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Jammer was the fifth overall pick of the draft. He has played for the Chargers his entire ten-year career, making him the most senior player on the team. He has reportedly missed only two games since 2003. He and his now ex-wife, Alicia, have three children and were active in San Diego community organizations. They founded a charitable organization called the Jammer Family Foundation to support education for disadvantaged youth in San Diego.

Jammer and his wife divorced in 2011, and they now share joint custody of their three children. He had impressive statistics on defense prior to the 2011 season, but his numbers began to slip. He allowed six touchdowns in 2011, down from his average of four per season during the previous six years. He now says that his mind was too distracted by the divorce and issues surrounding it. He says he dealt with depression and alcohol throughout the season.

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June 7, 2012

California Divorce Report: Irreconcilable Differences All Around

383px-DanicaMcKellar-2007-10-01.jpgTwo Hollywood actresses recently filed for divorce from their husbands in Los Angeles. The cases offer glimpses of some common claims brought in divorce petitions, such as the most frequently-pleaded ground for divorce, issues pertaining to property division and support payments, and child custody.

Danica McKellar, the actress and author best known for her leading role on the sitcom The Wonder Years, filed for divorce in Los Angeles County Superior Court from her husband, composer Mike Verta. The two have been married just over three years, and they have a one year-old son. They reportedly separated at the end of May, about a week before McKellar filed her petition. She cites irreconcilable differences as the sole ground for divorce. She is asking for joint legal custody of their son. The couple allegedly has a pre-nuptial agreement, according to the news media, which should eliminate the need for litigation over property.

The actress Debra Messing has also filed for divorce from her husband of over eleven years, screenwriter Daniel Zelman, in Los Angeles Superior Court. The couple separated last year. They have an eight year-old son. Messing claimed irreconcilable differences in her divorce petition, and she is asking the court to order child and spousal support

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