MONTHLY ARCHIVES: May 2012

Gay Marriage Polls Not Yet Reflected in Votes

29May
2012

Although poll after poll shows public support for same-sex marriage steadily increasing, in all 32 states where gay marriage has been on the ballot, voters have rejected it.

In November, the streak might end as four states, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state, are likely to have closely contested gay marriage measures on their ballots.

There remains, however, a gap between the national polling results and the way states have voted.  Are conflicted voters telling pollsters one thing and then voting differently?Amy Simon, a pollster out of Oakland, California said, that it’s not that people are lying, but it’s an intensely emotional issue. He added that people can report to you how they feel at the moment they’re answering the polls, but they can change their minds.

Voters in California, in November 2008, approved a ban on same-sex marriage even though a Field Poll in September indicated the ban would lose decisively. California is an unusual case in that it is one of a few reliably Democratic states that have had a statewide vote rebuffing same-sex marriage in the state constitution.  The 32 states that have rejected gay marriage at the polls make up just over 60 percent of the U.S. population.

In liberal states, voters might vote to affirm gay marriage, but haven’t had the opportunity.

Over the past year, there’s been a stream of national polls indicating that the majority of people do support same-sex marriage.  The data released Wednesday from a  Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 53 percent of those questioned say gay marriage should be legal, while 39 percent say it should not.

Phyllis Watts, a consulting psychologist from Sacraments, California, believes a statewide vote in favor of same-sex marriage is likely to come soon  But she stated that any particular poll should be viewed in caution.  She said that people  are in a fluid state around same-sex marriage and they really can feel one way one day and another way another day.  Whe also added that she didn’t think the polls are able to track what’s actually occurring inside people’s hearts.

 

Posted in Same Sex Couples |
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Tammi Smith Convicted in Baby Gabriel Case

26May
2012

One of the most confusing and emotional missing child cases is in the news again as one defendant was found guilty in court of charges related to the case.

Tammi Smith was found guilty of charges of conspiracy to commit custodial interference and forgery.  The jury found aggravating factors that will be considered at Smith’s sentencing:  that the crimes caused emotional harm and that an accomplice was involved.  These charges are felonies with sentencing ranges of 1-3.75 years each.  Smith’s eligibility for probation is to be determined at a hearing before sentencing.

Smith, 40, was the woman who wanted to adopt long-missing Baby Gabriel. She was accused of forging her cousin’s name on a document challenging whether Logan McQueary, 27, was Gabriel’s father.   She was also accused of conspiring with the baby’s mother to deprive McQueary of his paternal rights.

Smith had tried various ways to add another child to her family before placing her hopes on Gabriel.  She explored adopting children from the foster system and from China, offering women money to be surrogate mothers, and walking up to pregnant women and asking to adopt their babies.  She even tried to adopt Elizabeth Johnson, the mother of baby Gabriel.

December 27, 2009, after Elizabeth Johnson, Gabriel’s mother, fled to San Antonio with her son, was the last day Gabriel was seen alive.

Smith’s sentencing has been set for July 6.  She was not taken into custody pending sentencing.

 

Posted in Child Custody |
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Usher, Ex-Wife Tameka Ordered to Reach Custody Agreement

23May
2012

When a couple with children divorces, it is best for the children if the couple is amicable in their relations with ease other.  This is especially true concerning celebrity couples as every move they make is in the news.  Unfortunately for the children of Usher and his wife Tameka, the relations between the former couple have been less than friendly.

In private mediation, Usher and his former wife Tameka Raymond have been ordered to work out a temporary custody agreement.

Usher filed for divorce from Tameka in June 2009 after almost two years of marriage.  Last year Tameka filed court documents in Georgia asking the singer be stripped of joint custody of their sons, Usher, four, an Naviyd, three. A judge at Fulton County Court Tuesday ordered  the former couple try to work things out between them.  If the pair fails to do so, then the judge will impose a temporary order.

Tameka accused Usher of being behind on child support payments in the amount of $34,000.  She is also requesting more child support because Usher’s income has risen considerably since they divorced.  Tameka also suggested that Usher is an unfit father and demanded that he be tested for drugs.  She thought he was “popping pills and who-knows-what-else” around his kids.

Usher denies the drug abuse allegations and wants an increase in the time he’s allowed to spend with his children.   Right now, the pair share custody of their sons.

If you have a child custody dispute that cannot be resolved, it is in your best interest to be represented by an experienced child custody attorney who can assist you in navigating through a court case involving disputed custody.

 

Posted in Child Custody |
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Rural Domestic Violence Services Network

20May
2012

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that includes the use or threat of violence and intimidation for the purpose of gaining power and control over another person.  Violence is characterized by:  Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Economic Abuse, Isolation, Emotional Abuse, Control, or Verbal Abuse.

According to the Arizona Chapter of the American Medical Association, studies indicate that two million women are assaulted by their partners each year, though experts believe that number to be closer to four million.  Domestic violence has devastating effects on families and is often generational.

In rural areas of Arizona, victims of domestic violence may not have ready access to services due to isolation and long distances between available domestic violence safe homes or shelters.

The Arizona Department of Health Services receives federal funds from the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act for the prevention of domestic violence.  In Arizona, these funds are used primarily to provide services to the rural areas of the state utilizing Rural Safe Home Networks and to support the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  These organizations fund six safe houses, operate domestic violence hotlines, and provide domestic violence victims and their children with temporary, emergency safe shelter, peer counseling, case management and advocacy.

What has the Program Achieved?  Between October 2009 and September 2010, the Rural Domestic Violence Service Network received $1,817,640 in funds.  Eight safe home contractors and six safe homes were funded during that fiscal year, with 95% of the dollars spent on shelter and related assistance.  435 women and 469 children were sheltered during the year, with 120 persons being turned away because shelter was unavailable.  9,769 individual peer counseling hours and 1,076 group counseling hours were provided to persons in shelters.  18,853 community members participated in 815 public awareness presentations.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please seek assistance immediately.

 

Posted in Domestic Violence |
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Bachelor Host Chris Harrison Divorcing

15May
2012

You would think  an individual who hosts a show all about love and relationships would be successful in his own love life, though this isn’t the case with the host of TV’s most popular dating show.

Chris Harrison, “The Bachelor” host, will be a bachelor once again.  A spokeswoman for the 40-year-old TV personality stated Thursday that Harrison and his wife are ending their marriage. Harrison and his wife, Gwen, have been married for 18 years and have two children together.

In a joint statement, the couple stated that though we have made this incredibly difficult decision to separate, our love and mutual respect remain, and we look forward to sharing in the lives of our wonderful children.  The couple have two children together, a son, 9-year-old Joshua, and a daughter, 7-year-old Taylor.

Harrison has hosted the ABC dating series and its various spin-offs since “The Bachelor” debuted in 2002.  Don’t expect the host to appear as the next man looking for love on his own series.  Harrison told reporters on Thursday that having just announced my divorce to the world, having two kids and trying to start a new life, I’m thinking I wouldn’t exactly be a great candidate to be the bachelor right now or probably any time soon.

He admits he has learned so much about love from the men and women who have appeared on the shows saying  now that he has  felt heartbreak, he know what these people have gone through and what they’re searching for.

Although Harrison may think the show “so genius”, the statistics on the series’ couples staying together are pretty dismal.  After sixteen seasons of “The Bachelor” and seven seasons of “The Bachelorette” only four couples are still together.

When a couple makes the decision to divorce, especially in a high asset divorce, it is wise to seek legal counsel from an experienced divorce attorney.

 

Posted in High Asset Divorce |
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Celebrity Child Support

13May
2012

When the father is a billionaire, should all of his children receive equal child support?  The mother of one child of a billionaire thinks so and went to court for more child support.

Supermodel Linda Evangelista and French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault received a judge’s approval for a confidential child support deal on Tuesday in New York.  The agreement was signed off earlier that day and sealed from public view.

According to the couple’s spokesman, the couple stated that they were happy that we were able to reach an agreement for the benefit and well-being of our son, Augie.

Evangelista was one of the biggest names in modeling in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The twosome dated over approximately four months in late 2005 and early 2006.   Augie, their son, was born in October 2006 after the couple split, but Pinault supported the child, though his paternity was kept very quiet.

Now, Evangelista has asked for child support in the amount of $46,000 per month. That’s $1,512 a day for Pinault’s five-year old son.  Pinault, who makes about $4 million a year, has said through his lawyer that he was willing to pay some support, but not a potential $46,000 per month.

Evangelista offered many reasons to the Court to justify her request for the $46,000 a month in child support, but the two main reasons were the following:

24/7 Child Care:  Augie needs a nanny 24 hours a day, which costs about $7,000 a month.

Armed Security:  Augie needs armed drivers to protect him when he’s traveling to and fro at a cost of $16,000 a month

After those expenses, it  leaves $23,000 a month for everything else Augie needs in the way of food, shelter, education and a reasonable lifestyle.

Evangelista also wants Pinault to give her son a mansion that mirrors the one he placed in trust for his daughter with his wife, actress Selma Hayek.  The California residence is valued at $13 million.  Whether Augie received his mansion in the child support deal, with a sealed agreement, only time will tell.

When dealing with child support issues or other family matters, it is beneficial to obtain legal counsel from an experienced attorney.

 

Posted in Child Support |
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Grandparent Rights

8May
2012

When families break apart, no matter what the reason may be, grandparents do have certain legal rights, and can seek visitation with grandchildren.  In some cases, grandparents can seek custody of their grandchildren.  The laws that determine grandparent rights vary from state to state and understanding those basic rights, help ensure that grandparents can retain their relationship with their grandchildren.

Federal legislation may affect grandparent’s rights, though state law is what these rights are primarily based upon.  In 1980, Congress passed the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, which requires each state give full faith and credit to child custody decrees from other states.  In 1988, Federal legislation requires that courts in each state recognize and enforce grandparental visitation orders from courts in other states.

Arizona is unusual in that it specifically grants great-grandparents the same rights as grandparents.  Those rights are fairly rigidly defined.  The conditions that must be met are contained in the law that pertains to grandparent rights, Arizona Statute 25-409.  As in all states, the court must determine the best interest of the child, considering such issues as any historical relationship between the grandparent and the child, the motivation of the person requesting or denying the visitation, the quantity of time requested and the possible adverse impact the visitation could have upon the child’s customary activities.  Petitions for visitation rights can be filed as part of divorce or paternity proceedings or grandparents can petition the court separately for visitation rights.

If you are having an issue with visitation rights, it is beneficial to seek counsel from a competent family attorney who has the expertise and experience to protect you and your family’s interest.

 

Posted in Grandparent Rights |
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Free Monthly Divorce Seminar

5May
2012

Couples who are contemplating or going through a divorce, need all of the assistance and information they can find to make the process less stressful and emotionally less draining.  One program to help do this is the Arizona Center for Divorce Education.

On the second Saturday of each month, the Arizona Center for Divorce Education (AZCDE) provides a free seminar on the process and issues of divorce.  These seminars, which are entitled, “The Rules of Divorce”, address the key areas of divorce, which include what to do before you file, pitfalls to avoid during the divorce process, and how to project future retirement benefits and determine a fair division of assets.

On April 14th, the seminar was hosted by Mary Ulick at Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley.  The seminar was open to those considering divorce, already in the process, or who had been through divorce, but still had questions concerning post-decree issues.  Mary, who leads the non-denominational Divorce Recovery Programs at the church, spoke about how her program works and the many benefits it provides to people who have been through divorce.

An additional speaker addressed the effects of divorce on children and grandchildren and how to minimize those negative effects.

The Arizona Center for Divorce Education is a professional association comprised of professionals of various backgrounds who provide educational information to those contemplating or going through a divorce.  This is not a law firm and the professionals involved are not members of the same law firm.

For those either contemplating or going through divorce, seeking legal counsel from an experienced divorce attorney is advised.

 

Posted in Divorce Seminar |
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