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There is a new bill going through Sacramento that would change the law that allows people convicted of violent sex crimes against their spouses to still be awarded support payments, community property, or other financial benefits.

The bill is being promoted by Carlsbad stockbroker Crystal Harris.  Harris is responding to the fact her husband, Shawn Harris, who was convicted of sexually assaulting her, was able to convince a judge that she should cover his legal costs.  She may also be liable for spousal support when he is released from prison.

Harris is urging the Assembly Judiciary Committee to approve legislation carried by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins of San Diego, that is crafted to bar that possibility in future cases.  San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a candidate for San Diego mayor, is the measure’s primary sponsor.

Opposition to the measure has been registered by the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.  In a letter to the committee, the alliance of attorneys argued that violent sex crimes could be considered a factor in determining support issues but should not necessarily be a black and white rule, thereby obliterating any discretion by the courts to consider mitigating factors or circumstances.


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The California legislature has changed how a family law court can receive a child’s testimony during divorce proceedings.  New rules have now been created to help family law courts in determining the best way to accomplish this without bringing harm to the child.  The Elkins Family Law Task Force was created in part to help develop a solution to this problem.

In a family law case involving a child, the child’s rights and very future are often affected.  The family law courts are faced with the problem of obtaining the child’s testimony in an attempt to determine their desire, yet do so in a manner that avoids entangling them in the unpleasantness of litigation.  In many instances, the child’s input is important to achieve proper resolution of the matter or to ensure that their feelings and desires have been appropriately heard and addressed.

The task force determined that “Children’s participation in family law matters should be considered on a case-by-case basis.  There should be no blanket rule or practice requiring or prohibiting children from participating in the court processes or procedures.”

The California Legislature has rewritten Family Law § 3042 to require courts to allow the testimony of children 14-years-of-age and older who “wish” to address the court and whom the court finds it is in their best interest to do so.  The court is responsible for determining this, and the section indicates no child is required to “express his or her preference or to provide other input regarding custody or visitation.”  Nor are children younger than 14 years of age prevented from testifying, but the court has to find that such testimony would be both useful and not harm the child.

The court can also be informed of the child’s wishes by other participants in the process.  The Judicial Council has issued an additional guideline for courts to use to determine how this should occur.


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Beware!!!  The U.S. Federal Government has once again gone on the attack.  This time it has set its crosshairs on the backs of deadbeat, disabled dads all across the country.

Government policy has changed to now allow states to seize every penny of federal benefits from men who owe back child support.  The previous law only allowed states to siphon sixty-five (65) percent of the benefits received per paper check.  Now, it is estimated that 275,000 men could be left penniless due to the change.

A major concern centers around the Treasury Department’s decision to pay all benefits electronically beginning next year, including disability, Social Security and veterans’ benefits.  A separate Treasury Department rule grants states the power to freeze the bank accounts of men and women who collect federal benefits and owe child support.  With the seizure of the remaining thirty-five (35) percent of benefits, thousands of poor men could lose their only source of income.

In many of the cases, the bills are decades old and the children involved have reached adulthood.  A great majority of the debt owed is based on interest and fees that accrued while the men were unable to pay because they were disabled, institutionalized, or in prison.  What’s worse, most of the money will not even go toward the children of the men with child support debts.  It will go to the government.  States have been enabled to keep the money as a form of repayment for welfare previously given to those children.

The Draconian change shows how a politically desirable goal such as cracking down on deadbeat dads can result in counterproductive effects in practice.  Disabled fathers will now be in foreclosure and unable to pay their bills due to states’ aggressive efforts to collect back child support.  Fathers will now have the very real fear that they will face going to jail due to no ability to pay back the debts.

Who says debtor prisons are a thing of the past.

Some attorneys are advising their clients to collect their benefits while they can per paper check.  This will allow them at least some cash to pay their bills.  However, that option will terminate next March due to the Treasury Department depositing benefits directly into bank accounts or load them onto prepaid debit cards.  Either way, the state child support agencies will have access to all of it.

As a result of the practice, government agencies are expected to save $1 billion over the next ten (10) years.  Yet the dilemma will still remain:  Do we prevent states from collecting child support debts versus the risk of impoverishing thousands of people by depriving them of their only source of income?


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Classic case of parent in desperate need of anger management classes.  Gee, is it really any wonder why his 15-year-old daughter lashed out on Facebook in the first place.  Here’s the scoop.

Fifteen-year-old daughter takes to Facebook to get back at parents re the chores they heap upon her and the pressures of growing up under mommy and daddy’s tutelage.  So her father, being the mature, emotionally disciplined lout he is, gets his revenge.  (Do I hear ego talking here?)

Dad decides to do away with his anger issues, and pretend he’s working one of those video games he’s obviously spent too much time in front of.  So, on video, disgusted dad, sitting back in his Adirondack chair on a wide stretch of lawn, wearing jeans, a plaid shirt and wide-brimmed hat, and clenching a lit cigarette, suddenly launches into a diatribe, fuming at his daughter’s Facebook post where she complains about being her parents “damn slave” and that she’s tired of “picking up” after her sloppy parents.  Dad is not a happy camper.

He then goes off on how disrespectful his daughter is and how easy she’s really got it, and then his maturity kicks in, or lack thereof (which may really be the core of his daughter’s problem in the first place) – and goes ballistic – firing his rebuttal of nine gunshots into his daughter’s laptop and posting it on the Net.  Take that.  Way to show her, dad.  Any more internet mistakes, and BLAM!!!  Blow her away.

Upon going viral, the bizarre “tech-xecution” garnered more than 26 million YouTube views and tens of thousands more on Facebook.  Some believe it touched the collective nerve of parents tired of their kids’ attitudes, while others stressed concern dad may be in serious need of doubling his dosage of anti-depressants.

She’ll never make that mistake again, right.  Wrong!!!

Parents, who have the ability to act half their age need to recognize that they are setting the example for their children’s behavior.  They cannot act one way and expect their children to act in an opposite manner.

Daughter was expressing normal emotions for a child her age.  And dad?  Well, he’s obviously got some anger issues that he needs to deal with.  It really is no wonder daughter needed to find an outlet for her misfortunes in growing up in such a hostile environment.  And her poor laptop?  Who’s going to pay for that?  And is daughter going to be responsible for pops’ bullets as well?  Before dad feels the need to post more warnings for his 15-year-old daughter, maybe mom can lead the three into some sort of anger-management, family counseling which they all seem to be in desperate need of.