July 2012 Archives

July 26, 2012

Judge Upholds Child Support Order Against Woman Who Returned Adopted Son to Russia

320px-Kremlevskaya_Naberezhnaja_Moscow.hires.jpgA Tennessee woman who now resides in California must pay $150,000 in child support for the adopted child she gave up in 2010, according to a Tennessee judge's ruling. Torry Hansen made headlines when she reportedly put her adopted son on an airplane back to Russia by himself. The adoption agency filed suit against her for child support last year.

After adopting the then-7 year-old boy from Russia with the help of a Seattle-based international adoption agency, Hansen claimed that she became concerned with the child's behavior. According to Hansen's mother, the boy became violent, hitting and screaming at Hansen and threatening to kill family members. Hansen claims that her parents took him, and that they made the decision to send him back to Russia. No one ever contacted the police or the state's social services agency.

The boy arrived alone at the Moscow airport in April 2010. He reportedly had a note in his jacket pocket from Hansen, addressed to the Russian Ministry of Education, calling the boy "mentally unstable" and "violent," and claiming that he had "severe psychopathic issues/behaviors." The note accused the Russian orphanage of lying about the child's mental health. Russian officials vigorously disputed Hansen's descriptions of the boy, and the child reportedly spent six weeks in a psychiatric hospital due to emotional trauma. A Russian court ruled that Hansen's actions amounted to child neglect and abuse. The boy currently lives in a group home for children near Moscow.

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July 19, 2012

California Child Support: Halle Berry Ordered to Pay $20,000 Per Month in Child Support, Still Wants to Move with Daughter to Paris

Halle_Berry_11_AA.jpgAn ongoing child custody dispute between actress Halle Berry and her ex, Gabriel Autry, took an unconventional turn in late June, when a judge ordered Berry to pay child support to Autry for their daughter, 4 year-old Nahla Aubrey. Berry must pay $20,000 a month to Aubrey under the judge's order. Berry has said she wants to move to Paris, France with Nahla. The specific custody arrangement remains to be determined.

The 45 year-old Berry began dating Aubrey, a 36 year-old model from Canada, in 2005. Their daughter, Nahla Ariela Aubry, was born in March 2008. The couple reportedly separated in April 2010. Berry started dating French actor Olivier Martinez later in 2010, to whom she is now engaged. She has stated that she wants to move to Paris not only because of her fiance, but also to escape from the intense media scrutiny that comes from being a celebrity in Los Angeles. Her wish to raise Nahla in Paris appears to be the major point of contention between her and Aubrey.

Aubrey filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court on December 30, 2010, asking the court to formally recognize him as Nahla's father. He and Berry, according to his court filing, had already signed paternity documents. Since they were not married at the time of the child's birth, Aubrey has no legal presumption of paternity. Aubrey also asked the court to award joint custody of Nahla to both parents.

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July 12, 2012

California Divorce Report: Child Custody Issues in the Divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

335px-Tom_Cruise_&_Katie_Holmes_WHCAD.jpgHollywood actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes made headlines when they began dating, and they continue to be the subject of tabloid scrutiny up to this day. Their divorce, filed by Holmes in June and finalized in less than two weeks, brought media attention to the marriage once again, particularly to their six year-old daughter Suri. Issues of child custody and alleged concerns over the child's safety appeared to play a major part in the divorce. Much of the coverage of the case amounted to speculation about possible discord over religious issues. While the media offered many theories, it offered few confirmed facts. Since the parties have asked for privacy, details of the divorce will likely remain out of the public eye. Conflicts between parents over religious issues is quite common in divorce, so if that did play a role, this case is far from unique.

Cruise and Holmes began dating in 2005, and were married in November 2006. Both are well-known actors. Cruise, who is now 50 years old, has been acting in Hollywood movies for more than thirty years. Holmes, who at age thirty-three is seventeen years Cruise's junior, is best known for the 1990's television series Dawson's Creek. Cruise is a prominent member of the Church of Scientology, and Holmes reportedly began studying the Church when the two started dating. Their daughter was born in April 2006.

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July 5, 2012

Court Upholds Termination of California Man's Parental Rights

South_dakota_fence.jpgThe Supreme Court of South Dakota recently upheld a lower court's ruling terminating the parental rights of a California man, identified as M.A.S., finding that the state's efforts to reunite the child with the father were not successful and that termination is in the child's best interest. The case involved a complicated intersection of state and federal legal systems.

South Dakota's Department of Social Services (SDDSS) removed the child from the mother's home, while the father lived in California. The Golden State's Department of Social Services (CDSS) reportedly monitored the father's progress on court-ordered services. The federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) also played a role in the case because both the mother and the child are members of Montana's Fort Peck Sioux Tribe.

According to the court's ruling, SDDSS took the child, identified as P.S.E., into custody in June 2009, shortly after her first birthday. The mother identified M.A.S., who lived in California, as the father. He said that he did not know he had a child until SDDSS contacted him. The mother admitted to neglect of the child at an adjudicatory hearing, and her rights were later terminated with no appeal.

The trial court found that M.A.S. had not provided P.S.E. with "care and support", but through no fault of his own. SDDSS told the court at M.A.S.'s adjudicatory hearing that its goal was to eventually place the child with the father.

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