Divorces are stressful, that cannot be denied. The long and arduous process of dividing family property can leave feelings of animosity and regret. As a parent going through divorce you need to consider how the disruption inherent in divorce is going to affect your much-loved nanny.
Of course, your nanny will have to change the daily routine depending on where the children are at during that point in time, but what legalities are involved in continuing the employment of your caregiver once the divorce process begins.
1. Scheduling – As you and your spouse have more than likely separated, or are planning to separate, exact scheduling needs to be addressed for your nanny. Of course, this is going to be dependent on the new schedules of each household. Any overtime incurred from alterations within the time-frame will also have to be addressed. You will need to discuss the situation with your nanny and discover if the new schedules are something he or she can keep.
2. Payment Responsibilities – You and your former spouse will need to discuss the payment responsibilities of maintaining the nanny for your child. This may or may not be decreed by the judge during the custody hearing. If the two of you can devise a reasonable plan for retaining your nanny, there is a solid chance the judge will consider the idea. In a joint custody situation, usually both parents pay an equal share of the amount owed to the caregiver.
3. Time Off – Scheduled time off will be dependent on how the new living arrangements are developed. If one of you takes the child on vacation during a scheduled work-week for the nanny, does he or she get paid time off? Will your nanny now have to work weekends in either household due to these changes? After a divorce, there could be extreme changes to the scheduling and if your nanny is unable to adapt, you may need to look for an alternative solution.
4. Parental Rights – If there are agreements or court orders involving the parental rights of your former spouse, your nanny needs to be informed immediately. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, there could be specific rules put into place by the courts for yourself or your ex-partner. Your nanny needs to know if there are specific times that a parent is allowed to visit the child and/or if the parent can pick up the child to take him or her out to dinner.
This is as much for your benefit as it is for the child and the nanny. Without this knowledge, the nanny could end up in a battle with one parent, being unaware of the court ordered parenting schedule. Your nanny needs to be in the loop so that she can ensure that your child is protected. A prized nanny will not let anyone assert access rights over your children, without a court order.
SARA DAWKINS is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/. Learn more about her at http://www.nannypro.com/blog/sara-dawkins/.
Billionaire Donald Trump is used to running the show, whether it be in business or on television, and his penchant for full control made for an interesting few days in Judge Amy St. Eve’s Chicago courtroom last week.
Trump is a key witness in a lawsuit brought by 87-year-old real estate investor Jacqueline Goldberg, who is suing him, alleging that after she bought two million-dollar hotel rooms in Trump’s Chicago hotel and condo complex in 2006, he unilaterally changed the terms of the contract, thus depriving her of revenue she expected to receive from the ballroom business and valet parking receipts.
Judge St. Eve, who also presided over the trial of Lord Conrad Black, chastised Mr. Trump and Ms. Goldberg’s lawyer, Shelly Kulwin, for their incessant sparring, noting they had turned her courtroom into a boxing ring.
Lawyer Kulwin objected to Trump’s filibustering which he described as egotistical infomercials for Trump’s real estate empire. Kulwin’s impatience with Trump was marked by eye-rolling and heightened vocal volume on his part.
Mr. Trump’s testimony was vague on the details of Ms. Goldberg’s purchase, however, he confirmed that his executives managed all sales transactions and that he looked after the “big picture”, saying “I don’t run hotels, I build them”.
As for Ms. Goldberg’s bait-and-switch allegation, Trump testified that the contract clearly contemplated the possibility of a change in the profit-sharing scheme and noted that Ms. Goldberg had unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate the deletion of this clause from the contract. When Trump exclaimed “This is a disgrace. She’s trying to rip me off”, the judge admonished the jury to ignore Mr. Trump’s outburst.
Outside the courtroom Mr. Trump was even sassier, suggesting that Goldberg had “buyer’s remorse” and was using the “age-card” against the younger Trump.
The irrepressible Trump left the courthouse after a long day of cross-examination, only stopping to charm a throng of reporters by calling out, “I love Chicago!”
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
American actor Charlie Sheen is a very wealthy man. Rumour has it that before he was fired (or did he quit?) from Two and a Half Men, the popular CBS sitcom, he earned $1.8 million dollars per episode.
Nice work if you can get it.
Not a stranger to the justice system, Charlie has had his share of legal encounters including court appearances for drug offences, criminal mischief, multiple divorces, and spousal assault.
This week however, he was in court supporting a temporary custody order in favour of ex-wife #2, Denise Richards, who as a result of ex-wife #3, Brooke Mueller’s substance abuse problem, is now caring for Sheen and Mueller’s four-year-old twins while Mueller dries out at the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs.
Sheen’s counsel argued that Ms. Mueller’s application to have the twins cared for by her brother while she is in rehab, rather than Ms. Richards, is a crass ploy to continue to receive $55,000 a month in child support, money he says she needs to support herself.
Reportedly, Ms. Mueller’s counsel’s rebuttal is that Denise Richards wants the extra $55,000 to add to the $55,000 she receives from Charlie Sheen for their two children.
Nonsense says Sheen, who confirmed that Ms. Richards has not requested a penny to step in to assist with the twins.
Apparently Mr. Sheen’s position prevailed, as the Court confirmed the young boys will remain with Denise Richards.
Sheen released a statement shortly after his children were taken from Mueller’s home.
“Charlie supports the actions of the Department of Children and Family Services,” a representative for the Sheen told the News. “He knows Max and Bob are safe and in a stable, loving environment with Denise and the boys’ sisters. Charlie will fully cooperate and fully participate in all proceedings.”
A complicated family, no doubt, but tell me…How does one spend $55,000 a month on two four-year-olds?
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
A married couple from the United Kingdom tried for eight years to have a baby with no luck at all. After years of disappointment the couple were referred by family members to the Miracle of God Fertility Clinic in Port Harcourt Nigeria. They travelled there, and after paying $20,000, she underwent a fertilization procedure and became pregnant, according to Dr. Chinyere at the Clinic.
With much joy the couple returned to their home in England to await the birth of their child. Their first stop was a visit to their family doctor who informed his patient that she was not actually pregnant.
However, she was undeterred, relying on the Clinic’s advice that due to the nature of the procedure, her pregnancy would be more difficult to detect. As expected, she began to gain weight as well.
Nine months passed and the couple returned to Nigeria for the birth of their baby. After a painful birthing process under heavy sedation, the couple were presented with their baby, complete with its umbilical cord.
Arriving in England, they took their baby to its first medical check-up. Their doctor was stunned to see the child and contacted the police and social services who took their baby into custody after the doctor advised them that his patient had never been pregnant. DNA testing confirmed that the child was not biologically connected to the couple.
Court proceedings ensued where the couple sought the return of their child. The Crown, however, alleged that the parents of Baby D were fully aware of the child’s true circumstances and had knowingly participated in a fraud.
In a hearing before Mr. Justice Coleridge the couple were found to be innocent victims of a fertility scam. The Judge said:
“Gullible they may well have been, dishonest they most certainly were not. They had no inkling of the scam in which they were involved and the light only dawned after the production of the DNA tests. That is the conclusion to which the police and the Local Authority each independently have come and I think they are right.”
In a further court appearance the couple succeeded in obtaining custody of Baby D. A representative of “Children and Families Across Borders” expressed concern about the decision and its potential impact on trafficking in babies:
“Behind every one of these children lies an actual birth mother. She has been coerced, she may have been kidnapped or raped. These children are not given up willingly”.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Between 2007 and 2010 Mr. Marano’s interest in certain real estate investments in London England, where they had lived for most of their marriage, plunged from a value of $88 million dollars to a net loss of $10 million, an astonishing decrease, all on account of the world-wide economic disaster of 2008 and 2009.
As a result of Mr. Marano’s stupefying losses, his ex-wife was ordered to pay him an additional $5 million dollars from her share of the family pot. Needless to say, she took great objection to this outcome and launched an appeal of the order to pay.
Two year prior to their separation, Ms. Marano’s father, American entrepreneur John Bowes died leaving a substantial estate. He was the creator of both the hula hoop and the frisbee, which he sold to toy company Mattel in 1994 for $250 million. However, even before his passing, Ms. Marano was the beneficiary of a significant trust fund set up by him.
Ms. Marano argued that it was “monstrously unfair” that she should be compelled to pay her ex for his business losses, suggesting that if the market recovered he would reap the original value of the assets, but she would not. Her counsel suggested a more reasonable approach would be to sit on the assets for a further five years, then sell them and order the parties to share equally in any profit or loss.
After all she argued, if the real estate investments had increased in value from the date of separation to the date the assets were divided, she would not likely have shared in their uptick in value.
She also argued that she had new evidence that would prove the investments had already increased from $10 million in the red to between $4 million and $15 million in the last two years.
Unfortunately for her, the Appeal Court refused to admit her new evidence of value and dismissed her appeal of the order.
Not unlike other vastly wealthy couples, the court learned that the Maranos’ spent over $1 million dollars each on legal fees. It seems to be the thing to do these days: Marry, become obscenely rich and then spend a couple of million dollars fighting over your millions.
There is something wrong with this picture…
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
One of the worst possible scenarios for those unlucky enough to be involved in a lawsuit is when their respective lawyers are at each other’s throats. You may think you are being well-served by an aggressive, boorish lawyer whose focus is on denigrating and insulting opposing counsel, but you are not.
On the other hand, as a client you should be happy if you know or see that your lawyer has a good working relationship with opposing counsel, as you can be sure that the resolution of your case will not be hampered by ill-will between lawyers.
Oddly enough, some clients are disturbed when they see cooperation between their lawyers, misreading it as a sign of weakness on their lawyer’s part. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, there are lawyers who are so well-known for their cranky, obnoxious behavior that other lawyers refuse to take on cases where Mr. or Ms. Miserable is on the opposite side.
A recent example of bickering lawyers arose in a courtroom in Chicago, where last week the final act of an ongoing legal saga came to an end, with Judge Raymond Mitchell ordering both lawyers to resign from the case and their clients to retain new lawyers.
Lawyers Joel Brodsky and Michael Meschino treated their clients and the court to months of disturbing behavior while representing their clients in a business dispute, taking potshots at one another in open court, with no concern for their lack of professionalism and decorum.
At one point Mr. Brodsky called Mr. Meschino a “moron” and a “liar”. Meschino responded with words like “fat, short, and bald” complaining that “Brodsky was constantly shaking his bald head, so that a light was shining on me”. Over time, when the lawyers were in court, up to four sheriffs were present in the courtroom and on two occasions Mr. Meschino was escorted out of the courtroom by sheriffs.
Outside of court, threatening and insulting emails were the norm, and discovery of each party took place in the courthouse rather than in the privacy of a court reporter’s office, as is the usual practice.
Judge Mitchell advised Brodsky and Meschino that a copy of his order would be sent to the Illinois Attorney Discipline Commission so that appropriate action could be taken by the Illinois Bar.
Joel Brodsky is certainly no stranger to ethics complaints. He was the lawyer that acted for former police office Drew Peterson, who was accused of murdering his third wife Kathleen Savio.
Before the case was finished Mr. Brodsky was replaced by new counsel, an event that did not sit well with him. His public comments after his departure as counsel “shocked” the trial judge and resulted in an ethics investigation.
After Drew Peterson was convicted, the animosity between Brodsky and successor counsel, Steven Greenberg was so intense that Brodsky sued Greenberg for defamation, suggesting that Greenberg was a “pathological narcissist”.
Not surprisingly, Brodsky also suggested that Mr. Meschino was mentally ill.
While emotions can run high in hard-fought litigation, the behavior cited by Judge Mitchell has no place in our justice system and the harshest punishment should be levied against lawyers who embarrass themselves and the administration of justice. Sadly, it is their clients who suffer most.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
Let’s face it, most of us who commit ourselves into the bond of marriage are reluctant to think about it one day crumbling into a messy divorce, but the truth is, with today’s increasing divorce numbers, the reality is downright dismal ( in the US around 50% of all first marriages end in divorce, about 67% for second marriages and the numbers quickly rise with the number of additional marriages).
So what does this mean in terms of finding an attorney if you are among that fifty percent wanting to dissolve you marriage? Plenty!
Here are a few tips to heed if you find yourself needing someone to help you wade through the murky and unfamiliar waters of divorce.
• Before you file: Really consider the ramifications of filing for divorce. Have you exhausted every avenue before taking the steps for your divorce? Counseling and separation can be important steps to take before you make the final move.
Be very careful about moving about before the divorce, this could potentially be used against you, especially in the case of determining custody for minor children. Run a credit check for yourself, if possible get your finances in the best shape that you can. Divorce is extremely expensive and no matter the verdict, both parties will lose when it comes to finances.
Are you the non-breadwinner? You will need to take care of your personal finances as well as your healthcare, housing, cars and personal effects. A good attorney will inform you of what you should do long before you sign anything. Above all, if you can avoid divorce, then do so. Except in the cases of abuse or criminal behaviors on the part of your spouse, you should give your marriage every effort. Divorce should always be a last resort.
• Arbitration and Mediation versus litigation: The dissolution of a marriage cannot be on the same footing as breaking a business contract, though similar as seen through the eyes of the law, no one can put a price on the cost of someone’s betrayal or the lives of children of divorced parents who will forever grieve the loss of a family unit.
But there are ways to lessen the emotional trauma often association with divorce. If at all possible going through mediation services versus outright litigation will help not only with the overall costs, but will help families make choices over issues that can become quickly contentious if presided over by a non-family member or law enforcement.
Talk with your attorney; chances are if they have experience with family law and especially mediation expertise, this would make a better fit than someone hell-bent on taking on your spouse for every nickel and dime. Consider arbitration as an alternative to a lengthy, drawn-out court battle.
• Your attorney’s personal history: Find out about your attorney. Are they married? Or have they also been through a divorce, child custody battles with their own children or were they able to use their legal acumen to help minimize the trauma inflicted on all parties involved.
Sit down and talk with them about your personal feelings in regards to your spouse’s role, your custody concerns and your future. Do they really seem to be listening, adding thoughtful comments to your concerns or do you feel even more ambivalent after you leave their office?
Other than the death of a family member, going through a divorce is right there when it comes to life-altering experiences and more than ever, you will need someone who you feel confident in, someone who will stand up and defend you and fight for all rights.
A good family law lawyer will explain your rights and what you can expect with a divorce, they will not try to sugarcoat the truth about how difficult the situations will be, they will in all likelihood try to talk you out of a divorce, but if you are both in agreement about pursuing a divorce, they will be with you every step of the way.
GUEST AUTHOR NOAH KOVACS has over ten years experience in the legal field. He has since retired early and enjoys blogging about small business law, at href=”http://www.attorneyboost.com/legal-marketing.html”>legal marketing, and everything in between. He recently purchased his first cabin and spends his free time remodeling its kitchen for his family. Twitter: @NoahKovacs.
Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife, Christine Morton, in 1987 and served 25 years in a Texas prison. But justice was not served because prosecutor, now Judge Ken Anderson, purposefully withheld evidence that would have led to Michael Morton’s acquittal.
Instead Mr. Morton, an innocent man, languished in prison until DNA evidence exculpated him because the State of Texas, in the person of Ken Anderson, believed he was guilty, despite evidence that suggested otherwise. Morton was then 30-years old, worked at Safeway and had no police history
Anderson, a judge in Austin Texas for 11 years, was a celebrated “law and order” district attorney for 16 years before that. He prided himself in requesting and receiving the harshest sentences possible for criminals and argued vigorously to prevent inmates from being paroled, even when their prison terms had been served.
In Mr. Morton’s case he buried a bloodied bandana found near the family home, failed to reveal evidence relating to a mysterious green van near the home, from which a man emerged, and hid a statement from Morton’s three-year old son who said that it was a “monster”, not his dad that bludgeoned his mother to death.
To add to Mr. Anderson’s outrageous behavior, when asked during Morton’s trial whether all evidence had been delivered to defence counsel and the court, Anderson lied and said it had.
As is typical in these cases of wrongful conviction, the State erected roadblocks preventing Innocence Project lawyers from obtaining timely DNA testing on the bandana found near the scene. The forensics on this evidence proved that Mark Norwood was the killer, a man who had also murdered another woman near Austin. Last month Norwood was sentenced to life in prison for Christin Morton’s murder.
Judge Anderson’s apology to Mr. Morton was brief. He said “the system screwed up”. Obviously, a man in denial and all because he wanted another “conviction” notch on his belt.
He not only robbed Michael Morton of his life but also Morton’s son, who grew up without a mother or a father.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
A successful Cape Breton businessman, MacIntosh was transferred by his employer to Singapore and then to India in 1994 where he remained until his extradition back to Canada in 2007 to face numerous counts of indecent assault and gross indecency charges stemming from allegations made by six young men in 1995.
When MacIntosh left Canada in 1994 there were no charges against him and he had no idea that charges may be laid. Over the years he travelled between India and Canada, renewing his Canadian passport from time to time as required by Canadian law.
He was not hiding from the law. Canadian authorities knew where he lived in New Delhi and had his phone number. Coincidentally, one of his neighbours was an RCMP officer who worked as a liaison in India.
MacIntosh finally became aware of two criminal charges in 1997 but was led to believe by Canada Passport authorities that the charges were not proceeding. He heard nothing more until nine years later, despite the fact that in 2001 fifteen more charges were brought against him and he renewed his passport in 2002. The Crown acknowledged their decision to extradite Mr. MacIntosh in 1997 but as you will read, did nothing about it for nine years.
In 2006 the Crown filed extradition proceedings in India, some 11 years after the first charges were laid and five years after the second group of charges were filed against him.
Mr. MacIntosh was brought back to Canada in June 2007 but did not receive complete mandatory disclosure from the Crown until eleven months later, an astonishing delay considering that the Crown had readied their cases years before.
He finally went to trial in July 2010 and was convicted on several of the charges. However, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned the convictions based on the 14 year delay of the Crown in proceeding against MacIntosh. But that wasn’t the only problem with the convictions.
The trial judge had so badly confused the evidence, even mixing up the witnesses and attributing evidence to one witness that was derived from another, that the Appeal Court determined that even absent the extraordinary delay, the judge’s errors would be cause for a new trial.
A key issue at the trial was centred on statements made by an alleged victim in 1995 and again in 2000 concerning details of the abuse he suffered, that simply could not be reconciled.
The trial judge acknowledged the discrepancies and based on the victim’s evidence and the testimony of another witness, determined that the assault did not take place at all. Yet despite this finding, the judge did not turn his attention to the issue of the victim’s overall credibility.
The finding that the alleged abuse did not occur as described, or at all, points to a flaw in the Crown’s preparation of their witness. In cases where a witness signs a comprehensive statement which he radically amends five years later, it is incumbent upon the Crown to test the evidence of the witness to ensure its reliability. Under cross-examination, this witness agreed that the event did not occur.
That the Supreme Court of Canada denied the Crown’s appeal in an oral judgment from the bench speaks to the Crown’s flimsy case. After all, an accused is not obliged to turn himself into the police or give a statement. It is the Crown’s job to bring an accused to trial.
Most notably, the Crown was unable to provide any rationale for their delay in prosecuting this case and cries for a public inquiry may well be revived now that our highest court has spoken.
Has an injustice occurred? Perhaps, but the fault lies with those paid to bring criminals to trial.
Americans Mark and Jenifer Evans started their marriage with nothing, but after 25 years were worth millions of dollars as a result of their successful internet technology company. They lived primarily in the United Kingdom, but had homes in the United States and in the Turks and Caicos.
When Ms. Evans learned her husband was having an affair the marriage ended in trauma, but the drama had just begun.
In a three-year court battle, referred to by the judge as a “forensic point scoring”, the Evans’ ran up legal bills of over $3 million dollars in their collective efforts to make the other spouse pay…I mean really pay!
Lord Justice Thorpe divided their assets, valued at $60 million dollars, equally between them. Ms. Evans kept their London home and would receive the balance of her cash upon the sale of shares in their company. But the judge was not amused by what he had observed. He described their dispute as “puerile”, telling them “Somebody has to come into the nursery to make some rules”.
But nursery school was not over. Ms. Evans was nervous and fearful that her husband would dispose of the shares, leaving her with nothing, so she asked the Court for a rehearing and a new order.
By this time, Mark Evans had sold 65% of the business to a venture capitalist firm for $30 million. Jenifer Evans got her rehearing, but now the assets were worth $10 million dollars less and Judge Moylan reduced her share of the pot to 45%.
Yes, she should have stuck with what she had, as she lost millions in the new order. I somehow have the feeling that this case is not over.
Ms. Evans remains in London with one of her teenage daughters, while Mr. Evans has married the woman who distracted him from his marriage and lives in California with his eldest daughter. His wife is pregnant with their first child.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang
© 2010 Georgialee Lang