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Kelly Rutherford’s child custody case

Rutherford is fighting to regain custody of her two children from their father, who has been living with the children in Monaco since 2013. She and the father had joint custody of the children before the father lost his visa and a California judge ruled that the children should live in Europe with him. The father has not been allowed to re-enter the United States with the two children since his visa was revoked.

To see the children, Rutherford has been traveling to Monaco to visit. The father has been encouraging the children to have a good relationship with Rutherford, according to his attorney. Rutherford has not been accused of doing anything wrong in regard to the children or the custody case.

Child custody cases are generally decided according to the best interests of the children. Most judges believe that being able to see both parents as much as possible benefits a child, absent accusations of abuse or neglect. This case is unique because there are not many prior cases of one parent being denied access to their children because the other parent has been forced to live outside the country. Parents are denied custody of their children for many other reasons, such as accusations that one parent is unfit. A parent who wants custody or more visitation with their children may wish to consult an attorney who has experience in this type of family law matter.

Kardashian breakup raises child custody questions

Family law courts will consider evidence of substance abuse in determining parenting arrangements, but a history of substance abuse is not necessarily a bar even to physical custody. Indeed, most courts presume that spending time with both parents is in the best interests of the child, and they prefer arrangements that may maintain or strengthen parent-child relationships.

A judge may order supervised visitation or mandatory drug testing in cases where a parent has a history of substance abuse. Courts may issue similar orders in cases where a parent has a history of criminal behavior, spousal abuse or mental illness. The judge has the power to structure custody and visitation in a way that protects and promotes the best interests of the child and may consider any factor from employment history to whether one parent is likely to speak ill of the other in front of the kids.

Child custody decisions are heavily fact-dependent and may vary widely from case to case, but a parent’s history will very rarely be a bar to contact. An attorney with experience in family law may be able to review the facts of a particular case and help a parent anticipate and prepare for a custody argument. An attorney may be able to negotiate a child custody arrangement agreeable to all parties or develop a strategy and argue on behalf of a parent during family court proceedings.

Prenuptial agreement guides divorce of Google co-founder

The co-founder is reportedly worth about $30 billion, but his divorce settlement was not publicly revealed. As for his company, the divorce does not appear to have any impact on ownership or operations. In 2013, the couple separated. There have been reports that the co-founder had a relationship with another woman at Google.

Google remains an investor in 23andMe, the human genome company founded by the co-founder’s former wife. Under her leadership, the company raised $110 million. Her sister, who was among the first employees at Google, continues to be in charge of its YouTube business. The divorced couple has two children, and they maintain separate residences in California. Parenting duties and child custody appear to be shared.

Although this high-profile couple had a prenuptial agreement, their high-asset divorce likely required additional legal support because the agreement would only serve as the foundation of the final divorce terms. A person beginning the divorce process might seek an attorney to help with tasks such as asset valuation and division of retirement accounts. Additionally, an attorney could inform clients about rights and obligations concerning the division of property and child support. In high-asset separations, the division of assets could become complex when multiple business interests and offshore accounts are present. One could also consult with an attorney if challenges arise to a prenuptial agreement.

Source: Business Insider, “Google founder Sergey Brin and wife Anne Wojcicki have gotten divorced,” Alyson Shontell, June 23, 2015

Highest-ever divorce settlement reduced by $4 billion

The divorce of the Russian couple is being heard in Swiss courts. In 2005, the husband transferred much of his fortune into offshore trusts in Cyprus. His wife is not the beneficiary on those trusts, and in 2008, she filed for divorce. The conflict over her husband’s wealth, which he made in the Russian fertilizer industry, has been going on for seven years, and her attorney plans a further appeal. Under Swiss law, she is entitled to half of the marital assets.

The husband also owns the Monaco Football Club as well as real property in the U.S. However, in July, a divorce claim will be heard in Russia that deals with even larger amounts by the ex-wife of a billionaire who is estimated to be worth $15 million.

High-asset divorces may have a number of features that those involving couples of more modest means do not, including prenuptial agreements, property in multiple states or even other countries, and complex trust and other financial arrangements. While division of marital assets is generally supposed to be equitable, this actually leaves a great deal of room for negotiation if the couple is willing to do so. However, there may be additional complications if one spouse is attempting to conceal assets or challenge a prenuptial agreement. Whether property division is decided amicably or through litigation, an attorney may be helpful in representing a spouse’s interests.

Source: CNN Money, “Russian oligarch’s divorce bill cut by $4 billion,” Ivana Kottasova, June 12, 2015

Financial considerations for divorce

Having a good legal and financial team is important as well. Depending on the number and type of assets that need to be divided, individuals may not need to have a large legal team. While spouses cannot share attorneys, there is sometimes no conflict of interest in sharing a financial adviser.

Finally, people should make certain that they get all agreements in writing. If the divorce is amicable, they may feel as though this is not necessary, but they could be jeopardizing their own financial stability as well as that of their children.

Those who are considering filing for divorce may want to take a look at their overall financial situation before discussing the situation with their spouse. This may be a good idea even if they anticipate an amicable split because it can be difficult to predict how people will react in such a stressful situation. People in this situation may want to educate themselves about their household expenses if they are not already well-informed, and they might want to have a consultation with an attorney to discuss what to expect even if they are not yet certain about going through with the process.

The problems of international child abductions

In order to address this issue, the United States and 92 other countries are signatories to an international treaty that covers how countries should handle these matters. However, extradition laws and international legal complexities make things challenging. In many cases, it is difficult to know which country is now harboring the child and parent. Additionally, even when the whereabouts are known, the costs to a custodial parent of traveling to another country to pursue legal proceedings can be prohibited.

A New Jersey congressman has championed this cause in recent years, in part as a result of children of constituents being abducted to a foreign country. Legislation that he introduced and that has become law requires the U.S. State Department to take certain actions against countries who are not cooperating with U.S. authorities in violation of the treaty.

Custody battles are difficult at best to all parties involved, including the child. When a court issues a custody order as part of divorce proceedings, the best interests of the child are paramount in its decision. A custodial parent who is having difficulty in seeing such an order complied with by the noncustodial parent may want to seek the advice and counsel of a family law attorney.

Child custody for grandparents and other loved ones

Because the court will assume that the child’s parents have his or her best interests at heart and are making safe and sound decisions to this extent, the third party interested in custody will have to provide evidence to the contrary. Proof will have to show that the parents have consistently displayed a lack of concern and are making poor choices on behalf of their child that may obstruct his or her well-being.

After receiving concrete proof of any detrimental behavior exhibited by the parents, the court will take into account the third party as well as the parents when determining the child’s custody. The judge will hear testimony on behalf of all parties, review evidence and make a decision of what living arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.

If an individual wishes to seek custody of their grandchild, they may find it beneficial to speak to an attorney about their legal options. An attorney may advise what evidence can be useful in a custody matter and what the process will entail. Likewise, if a parent desires custody of their own child when another parent or family member has custody, an attorney may be able to assist this individual in taking steps towards retaining custody.

Seeking emergency temporary custody

Emergency orders for temporary custody are orders that give one parent custody of a child until both parents can go to court and attend a custody hearing. If the child’s home state is considered to be North Carolina, the judge or magistrate has the authority to grant temporary custody if there is evidence that the child is at risk for suffering a serious injury or abuse. Additionally, if there is the potential for the child to be abducted or taken out of state without permission by the other parent, the judge may grant the temporary order.

If the parent and child are in the state of North Carolina but do not live there or have lived there for less than six months, the parent may still seek an emergency order. Again, the child or the parent must be at risk for physical or sexual abuse or be at risk for being abducted. Additionally, parents who are at risk for being subjected to violence may also request custody by filing for a domestic violence protective order.

Child custody disputes may potentially cause parents who are afraid that they will not obtain custody to act out or take matters into their own hands. If a parent has legitimate fears that their child might be abducted or if there is a history of violence or sexual abuse, an attorney may help them seek an emergency order for temporary custody.

North Carolina child custody and relocation

Depending upon the type of child custody arrangements in place, a parent may not move beyond a certain radius or outside state lines without demonstrating a “good faith” reason for the appropriateness of the move and its advantages to the child. Some examples include being hired for a better-paying position, having access to family to assist with childcare obligations or better schools. The non-custodial parent may object and disallow the move.

Depending upon the circumstances, the court may revisit the case and revise the child custody or visitation agreements to make them as scrupulously fair as possible. In some cases, the court may award physical custody to the previously non-custodial parent to help maintain stability in the child’s life. In others, the court may require expanded visitation and communication rights between the parent and child, with either the moving parent or both parents responsible for travel costs.

When examining a child custody modification, an attorney might start by considering how the spouses have interacted through the divorce and after, both with each other and with the child. The attorney may analyze the reasons for the move and whether those reasons, taken as a whole, rise to the level of the child’s best interests. Finally, the attorney might petition the court to allow or decline the move.

Source: FindLaw, “Child Custody Relocation Laws,” Accessed March 12, 2015

Overview of parenting agreements

Once an agreement about child custody issues has been reached, parents generally finalize the agreement by creating a document called a parenting agreement. A parenting agreement is a detailed written plan about child custody issues that is personalized for each family’s unique circumstances. In general, a parenting agreement will include information about where children will live, with whom children will spend holidays and birthdays and how major decisions in the children’s lives will be made.

After a parenting agreement has been created, the document can be presented to a judge so that it can be converted into a legally binding court order. Before approving the agreement, a judge might ask each parent whether he or she has signed the agreement voluntarily. In a majority of cases, a judge will approve a parenting agreement as long as the agreement was fairly negotiated by both parties.

A parent who is having a difficult time communicating with their spouse about child custody issues in a divorce might want to have representation from an attorney. Whether a parent is able to negotiate an agreement outside of court or a court hearing becomes necessary, an attorney may be able to help represent the parent’s position on child custody matters. An attorney may also be able to help a parent to enforce a previously written parenting agreement that is not being honored by their ex-spouse.