Domestic Violence Case Rejected by Judge as "Too Lenient"

In the case of a man who had been accused of beating his female partner, Judge Jeffrey Hjelm rejected the agreement that was made between the defense and district attorneys office in Rockland, Maine on Wednesday.

The defendant, Peter J. McClure, 46, of Rockland, had been charged with felony domestic violence against his female partner. Since his arrest nearly 2 months ago, he has been held at Knox County Jail. There had been reports filed by the Rockland Police Department where 2 officers witness McClure strike the woman in the face during a domestic violence call. The hit was so hard the woman fell to the couch.

McClure was also charged with refusing arrest after he fought with the officers who tried to detain him. The victim told police he hit her with his fist in the face, and thrown a TV set at her.

The final agreement for sentencing given by the two defenses was seven months in jail, and that was something Justice Hjelm was not able to accept. The judge made it known he would not accept a plea any less than 9 months in jail for McClure.

McClure had prior multiple convictions with the same female. In 2009, he was convicted for domestic violence against the women. Then again in 2011, he assaulted the same woman and was charged – but the case was soon dismissed for a lesser plea to other offenses.

According to the defense attorney, James Mason, the proposed 7 month sentence for this case was much longer than any prior sentence McClure had received. His longest jail stay had only been 45 days.

Since the judge rejected the sentencing agreement given, it means that McClure’s guilty plea is now withdrawn. Meaning, McClure is able to plead guilty again if he chooses – and accept the judge’s 9 month sentence, or he would be able to take a chance and bring the case to trial.

One Small Step for Man... One Giant Divorce Settlement for His Wife

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who if you do not remember from history class was the second man to walk on the moon, is probably wishing he was left up there right about now.

The 2010 Dancing With the Stars contestant has just reached a divorce settlement with his wife of over 23 years, Lois Driggs Cannon. The divorce, which is Aldrin’s third, was never seen coming. Lois was even seen around town driving a 1988 Mercedes with a license plate reading “Moon Gal”.

On top of forking over the car, Buzz Aldrin was ordered to surrender half of his current bank account ($475,000) and 50% of any profit he makes from his businesses in the future.

Additionally Aldrin will be paying nearly $10,000 a month and 30% of his annual income ($600,000) in alimony.

If you are going through a nasty divorce, make sure you end up on the right side of the Aldrin’s story. Hire an experienced and dedicated attorney like San Diego divorce lawyer Tara Yelman, who will either defend your estate at all costs or ravage your spouses like a hungry hippo.

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Top Reasons for Divorce

The Current State of Divorce in the U.S.

This article is brought to you by Yelman & Associates. If  you need a divorce lawyer in San Diego contact Yelman & Associates.
A divorce is the legal act that dissolves a marriage. Research gained by the Center for Disease Control and the National Survey of Family Growth, as well as information retrieved through the United States Census Bureau has led to interesting findings about the current state of divorce in the U.S.

Data shows that marriage rates are at an all-time low, and that people are waiting longer to marry for the first time. Divorce rates have also been dropping during the last few decades. By 2010 it was found that marriages in this century have lasted longer in comparison to marriages in the 1990’s, and experts project that both marriage and divorce rates will continue to drop due to the growing popularity of cohabitation.

Because the Census Bureau performs survey studies only every ten years, their most current data dates from 2009, when more than two million weddings were performed and the divorce rate was 6.8 per 1,000. From 1999 to 2009 there were 19.1 marriages per 1,000 men and 17.6 marriages per 1,000 women in the U.S. During the same time frame divorces were finalized for 9.2 of every 1,000 men and 9.7 of every 1,000 women. It was also found that northeastern states have the lowest divorce rates, and southern states have the highest.

The largest correlational element that leads to divorce is poverty and financial stress. Marriages whose household income is below the median have a greater tendency of ending in divorce. States with a lower base working-class compensation than surrounding states typically have higher divorce rates. Infidelity and young marriages are secondary factors in high divorce rates.

The amount of first, second and third marriages that end in divorce differ significantly. The divorce rate for first marriages is between 40 and 50 percent, the probability of divorce in a second marriage is 60 to 67 percent and third marriage divorces account for a staggering 73 to 74 percent. The amount of people who reach their 25th, 35th and 50th wedding anniversaries are 33, 20 and 5 percent respectively.

The process of a divorce begins when one spouse files a complaint or petition with the court to request a divorce. The court will then schedule a time for an initial hearing at which a judge will review the complaint, answer documents, interview the couple and make temporary decisions that govern the state of the couple’s relationship – this may include information about child custody and child support if any children are involved. After the initial hearing a waiting period will be required before the divorce can be finalized. The waiting period varies, depending on what state in which the divorce is taking place. During this time the couple may negotiate the terms of their divorce, such as division of property and assets. If those terms can not be agreed upon the couple may go through arbitration or mediation.

Finally, if the couple still is unable to see eye to eye, separate lawyers will become necessary to fight for what each spouse believes they are entitled to. A judge will then oversee a final hearing to approve any negotiated settlements, or to impose a settlement. Although an amicable and emotionally healthy divorce is generally the goal, total understanding and agreement in divorce cases is rare. It is therefore highly important that anyone going through a divorce who has any unresolved issues seek the advise of a qualified divorce attorney.


California Domestic Partnerships

In accordance with Article 297 of California Family Code, domestic partners are “two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.” California began recognizing domestic partnerships in 1999 and is one of seven states that does so. Within the first decade of the ruling that allowed domestic partnerships in California more than 50,000 couples were registered.

A domestic partnership in California provides same-sex couples with the same obligations, rights, responsibilities and protections as a marriage. This includes liability for each other’s debts, co-ownership of any real estate acquired after the registration of the partnership, the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner, the right to use sick leave to care for a partner and the right to obtain health care through a partner. Also, if either partner becomes a parent, the child will automatically be the legal child of the other parent.

A couple can legally become a domestic partnership by registering with the Domestic Partnership Registry. The couple must file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership (State Form NF/SP DP-1), include notarized signatures and the appropriate state charge, and send to the Secretary of State. The following are the requirements couples must comply with before becoming a domestic partner:

  • The couple must share a permanent residence in the state of California.
  • Neither member of the couple may be married or officially partnered with anyone else.
  • Each individual must be over the age of 18.
  • The couple may not be related by blood.
  • Each party must consent to the partnership.
  • The couple must be of the same sex. The only exception to this rule is for heterosexual couples in which at least one partner is 62 or older. This is because senior citizens often risk losing part of their Social Security benefits if they marry.

Although the state has gone to lengths to equate domestic partnerships to marriage as much as possible, there are some things that domestic partners cannot do. Couples who are in domestic partnerships are unable to jointly file federal taxes because of the Defense of Marriage Act which prohibits the federal law from recognizing their partnership; However, the IRS ruled in 2010 that a couple’s combined income is it’s “community property” for tax purposes. Also, there is limited to no eligibility for long-term care insurance for partners of state government employees. It must be understood before entering into a domestic partnership that generally, if a partnered couple moves to a new jurisdiction their partnership will not be recognized.

Ending a domestic partnership is a fairly simple process. The couple must file a “Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership,” and if the couple meets all 13 requirements in the brochure, the notice must simply be signed, notarized and sent to the Secretary of State. There is no filing fee, and the couple must wait six months for the termination to go into effect. If a partnership does not meet the conditions for filing the Notice of Termination, the couple must file for termination in their superior court.

This article is brought to you by the domestic partnership lawyers at Yelman & Associates. Specializing in all aspects of family law including divorce, custody and child support.

Yelman & Associates
3333 Camino Del Rio South Suite 140

San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 282-1107

$11 Billion in Unpaid Child Support in Texas

Child Support in TexasState officials have reported that unpaid child support in Texas has reached nearly $11 billion dollars and that nearly half of the 1 million Texans required to pay child support have fallen behind.

According to the Texas attorney general’s office, 46% of parents obligated to pay child support in Dallas County are behind. Authorities are saying that the blows to the economy and the high jobless rates are taking a toll on those who pay child support. While that is understanding given the though economic climate, many others simply defy orders to pay up.
As such, it has been reported that more and more parents are applying for child support enforcement and modification services in Dallas County.

When a parent ordered to pay child support refuses, typically the government collects by garnishing wages, withholding tax refunds and lottery winnings, and suspending professional licenses.

Divorce Survey

Phoenix family lawyer, Steven N. Cole has put together a survey for people who may be considering getting a divorce.  Click here to take the survey.  It’s only a few questions and is intended to collect data about those who are thinking about divorce and why.  Feel free to contact Mr. Cole if you have any further questions.  He has significant experience help individuals and families in the sometimes dark and tumultuous times that can come along with certain family law issues.
Steven N. Cole, LLC
2140 E Thomas Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(480) 333-5588



Governor Brown vetoes California Bill that would allow more than two legal parents

Senate Bill 1476 proposed by State Senator Mark Leno would have allowed a child to have more than two legal parents if “required in the best interests of the child.” It would award a previous custodial or biological parent legal parental rights to care for the child if the two legal parents become incapable.

California Governor Jerry Brown assured in his veto announcement on Sunday that he appreciates the intent of the bill and expressed his concern about the well-being of any child that the bill would affect, however he is “troubled by the fact that some family law specialists believe the bill’s ambiguities may have unintended consequences.”

Senator Leno explained that the bill would not change the definition of a parent in California. A parent would remain a biological mother or father, adoptive or legal foster parent, legal guardian, stepparent and grandparent. The bill would only eliminate the current limit of two parents per child.

The bill was created to satisfy 21st century lifestyles and families that are not necessarily “nuclear.” The bill could potentially benefit same-sex marriages or parents, surrogates, in-vitro fertilization, domestic partnerships, stepparents and other technological and societal changes that create new possibilities and nontraditional households.

The basis of the bill, which is co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the University of San Diego School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute, is a May 2011 case in which the biological parent of the child of a same-sex lesbian couple sought custody when the couple was no longer able to care for their child. He was not granted custody, and the child was going to have to go into foster care until the grandparents were eventually awarded custody.

Opponents of the bill argued that it would lead to an increase in court cases in an already overcrowded court system, and harm traditional parental roles that could allow children to have a limitless number of parents. They also called attention to the fact that the bill does not consider problems with tax deductions, social security, inheritance and probate, wrongful death and education benefits. A major financial issue that the bill would cause the state to face is that of determining child support. This process would cost an estimated $6.4 million according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Similar laws in the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maine, Louisiana and Pennsylvania have taken off successfully, however Governor Brown urges proponents to go back and work on the bill to prevent unintended consequences before California can be included in the list.

Sharing Household Chores Can Lead To A Higher Risk Of Divorce

A Norwegian study has shown that couples that share household duties are 50 percent more likely to be divorced than those where the woman does most of the housework.

The study, focused on couples in Norway where in 7 out of 10 couples the woman still does the majority of the chores, found that “the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate.”

While it’s conclusion was definitive, the study found very little cause and effect in the difference in rates and attributes it mostly to values and modern thinking.  Simply put, couples that divide housework equally are typically more modern couples, less dependent on their spouse, and have a less sacred view of matrimony.

Whether or not these findings are applicable remains to be seen.  U.S. divorce rates are high, around 50% for first marriages, have been climbing over the last few decades, and, according to divorce attorney Steven N. Cole, may be scaring younger people away from getting married in the first place.  According to his blog, “67 percent of cohabitating couples had fears about the emotional, financial, social and legal consequences of divorce, and the worries of having to deal with the fallout of divorce,  made them leery of marriage. ”

Until a similar study is made in the U.S., husbands should not use this as an excuse to get out of housework, no matter how enticing this option may seem.

Bride's Wedding Jitters May Predict Divorce

Bride with Cold FeetA new study looks at whether “cold feet” before marriage is a normal nervous feeling to be disregarded, or if it is a legitimate warning sign and predictor of divorce.

In a UCLA study led by doctoral psychology student Justin Lavner, it was discovered that marriages in which brides had doubts before saying “I do” had a two-and-a-half times higher chance of ending in divorce within 4 years.

Lavner’s team studied 232 couples is Los Angeles during their first few months of marriage, then checked back in every 6 months for a span of 4 years. They found that although newlywed husbands had more doubts before marriage (47%), the wives’ doubts (38%) were a much better predictor of the fate of the marriage. In fact, 19% of wives who reported uncertainties about getting married were divorced 4 years later, while only 8% who did not have those feelings were divorced in this time frame.

Researchers found that many people have apprehensions about getting married. Only 36% of couples studied reported having no doubts before the wedding. “People think everybody has premarital doubts and you don’t have to worry about them,” Lavner said. “We found they are common but not benign.” Lavin assured that doubts don’t necessarily mean doom for the relationship, but researchers recommend that couples address any issues they may have before getting married. Lavin is not advising women with doubts to necessarily end their relationship, but he warned “there’s no evidence that problems in a marriage just go away and get better. If anything, problems are more likely to escalate.”

Marriage is not a solution to ongoing issues. Couples need to talk about them and work through them. When women have these uncertainties they should not be lightly dismissed.  If you are considering filing for divorce, contact an expert Albaugh Law divorce attorney in St. Augustine,FL for a free legal consultation.

Chad Johnson Refuses To Sign Divorce Papers: What's Next?

Chad Johnson Refuses to Sign Divorce PapersUnless you hate football, news, and gossip, by now you know that former Miami Dolphin receiver  Chad Johnson is refusing to sign divorce papers he was served recently by the recently wedded, soon to be ex wife Evelyn Lozado. As entertaining as the human drama involved in the story (head butt arrest, the subsequent release by the Miami Dolphins, and the fresh ink, that screams “bad decision”, of the tattoo of her face on his leg), the story of the divorce provides an opportunity to examine the process of divorce as it plays out for the world to see.

According to various media reports, Johnson is very adamant that he wants to work things out and stay together. Though a court order forbidding him from making contact with her following the messy domestic violence charge might make it difficult to do so, he is determined to win her back. As previously mentioned, he even went so far as to tattoo Lozado’s face on his leg after she expressed her desire to dissolve the marriage. She on the other hand seems unimpressed and adamant that they have a divorce. Being served with divorce papers can send anyone into a state of confusion and denial. As Chad Johnson is exhibiting, this is not the best state to be making important decisions. That is why we advise contacting and following the legal advice of an experienced divorce attorney immediately.  We also advise against frequenting tattoo parlors in this state of mind.  So what happens next for Chad?

Unfortunately for the receiver formally known as Ochocinco, there is little he can do to stop a divorce. Potential domestic violence charges aside, “no-fault divorce” laws have been implemented in some way throughout all 50 states. This means a person can exit out of a marriage agreement without claiming fault on either party. Which means one way or another, the divorce is imminent.

At this point, the best course of action for Chad Johnson is to accept defeat and prepare for next weeks opponent. In this case, not so much the New York Jets, but the legal proceedings. Depending on what state the papers are filed in, a recipient of divorce papers could have up to 30 days to respond. This means they only have that much time to find the best possible family lawyer and position themselves in the best place possible for a divorce resolution. This could involve obtaining copies of W2’s and financial statements, closing joint bank accounts and credit cards, and assessing assets and liabilities shared by the couple.