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News: Divorce Rates Skyrocket in India February 21, 2008

Posted by shelleycm in Dissolution, International, News.
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The International Herald Tribute runs this story about increasing divorce rates in India, a place where arranged marriages are customary and, historically, long-lasting.   The reasons for the increase?  Women’s financial independence, weakening of taboos, laws permitting divorce, and Western-style expectations of love.  Interesting stuff, particularly for Oregon’s large East Indian population.

News: Divorce rate up in China. January 25, 2008

Posted by csstephens in Dissolution, International, News, Statistics.
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china wallChina View reports today that China’s civil affair department registered an increase in marriages and divorces in 2007. Approximately 1.4 million couples divorced last year, a year on year increase of 18.2 percent, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. This rate could be much higher because the Ministry does not report state-sanctioned divorces in the figure. China’s divorce rate has been increasing since 1980. Sociologists attribute the increase to the fast changing society and challenges to traditional concepts of marriage. China’s divorce rate is still far below the US divorce rate of approximately 50%. A new law in 2003 simplified divorce filings and allows for a same day divorce with a filing fee of 10 yuan ($1.36 US).

News: How not to pay child support November 21, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in Child Support, News, Out of State.
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The Oregonian reports that a Washington man has been accused of running an Internet prostitution ring in order to make payments on his child support — for his eight children (by seven women). The man allegedly advertised on Craigslist.

While it’s good to see that he was taking his child support obligation seriously, we here at the Oregon Divorce Blog urge anyone struggling to make child support payments to avoid committing felonies to support your kids. Instead, contact an attorney to request a modification of the amount owed each month. It’s a much better bargain in the long run — plus, no jail time!

Baby you can drive my car, or: how would an Oregon family law court handle the McCartney-Mills split? (Part II) November 6, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in Dissolution, News, Property Division, Spousal Support.
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How much spousal support would Heather Mills be entitled to if she divorced Sir Paul in Oregon? That’s not as easy a question to answer as child support might be (there is a formula specifically set up for child support, and we’ll get to child custody and support next).

Earlier we mentioned that Sir Paul made about 100 million USD last year. Per month, that’s about 8.3 million USD. How much of that would a court pass off to Heather?

(As a preliminary matter, we should point out that it’s never guaranteed a court would award spousal support, even where one party is very rich and the other is not, or the marriage is a long or short one — it depends on the circumstances. In this case, a court might find that the income on the property settlement — say, to the tune of 250 million USD — would be more than ample to cover Heather’s expenses.)

But if the court does look at the possibility of spousal support, it has three types to choose from in Oregon: transitional, compensatory, and maintenance. (We’ve talked about them previously.) Transitional applies when a spouse needs some help to get back on his or her feet (Ouch! Sorry, Heather), and can be used for education or training programs. Compensatory applies where a spouse has put the other spouse through college, or medical school, or otherwise financially supported the spouse while he or she acquired training or education. Neither of these seem to apply to Heather, but the last, maintenance support, does.

Although we have no idea what Sir Paul and Lady McCarney’s expenses are on average, the goal in setting maintenance spousal support is to allow a spouse to lead a lifestyle “not disproportionate” to the type of lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage. So if Heather was used to private jets, living in estates (and all of those associated expenses), haute couture (though presumably not Stella’s line of clothing), and so on, a court would be more likely to award a large amount of spousal support. The goal isn’t so much to make the parties equal, though, but just to put the supported spouse in the place where he or she can live comfortably in a style “not disproportionate” to the type of lifestyle she’d previously enjoyed. The entire list of statutory factors involved in setting maintenance support is found at ORS 107.105.

Next up: Child Custody & Support

Baby you can drive my car, or: how would an Oregon family law court handle the McCartney-Mills split? November 5, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in Child Support, News, Property Division, Spousal Support.
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The Paul McCartney/Heather Mills divorce action is all over the tabloids (and some of us at the Oregon Divorce Blog just love our celebrity gossip). It’s no wonder, though – Sir Paul’s fortune is in the hundreds of millions, and his soon-to-be-ex-wife is, under British law, entitled to a large chunk of that fortune.

While perusing the newest gossip, we found ourselves wondering that if this case had arisen in Oregon, however — and if either Sir Paul or Heather had resided in Oregon for the six months prior to filing the action, it could have — how would one of our courts have handled the case? Just take a look… (more…)

Breaking Out October 25, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in News.
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This Real Simple article fits in the category of “while we’d like your business, we sincerely hope you never need to call us.”  (But if you need to, our phone number is over there on the right.)

Essentially, the article identifies a number of ruts relationships may fall into — like arguing the same way about the same things all the time, or conflicts about money, or communication, or sex — you know, the usual relationship suspects.  What makes the article blogworthy are some of the suggestions, which I’d not seen before, from my Tiger Beat days to my Cosmo days.  For example, they suggest a book club for two to spice up romance (seriously!), or going to an amusement park to spice up your sex life, or not talking so much when you’re having communication difficulties.

It’s worth a read!

News: Britney loses temporary custody of children October 3, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in Child Custody, News.
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We here at the Oregon Divorce Blog confess that we occasionally — OK, sometimes — follow the antics of celebrity disaster Britney Spears. It was our luck today, though, that Britney’s woes provided a window into the world of child custody.

Britney was in court in California today, along with her ex, Kevin Federline, at a hearing regarding custody of her two sons. On Monday, the judge in the case ordered Britney to turn over the boys to Kevin, after Britney didn’t appear for a drug and alcohol test. CNN noted that both Britney and Kevin will have to complete parenting classes, as well.

Oregon courts operate much the same way. If there is an action pending before the court (either because a petition for dissolution or custody has been filed, or because a dissolution or custody determination has already been granted), one party may apply for temporary emergency custody when a child is in danger. ORS 107.097(3) provides that:

(3)(a) A court may enter ex parte a temporary order providing for the custody of, or parenting time with, a child if:

(A) The party requesting an order is present in court and presents an affidavit alleging that the child is in immediate danger; and

(B) The court finds, based on the facts presented in the party’s testimony and affidavit and in the testimony of the other party, if the other party is present, that the child is in immediate danger.

(b) The party requesting an order under this subsection shall provide the court with telephone numbers where the party can be reached at any time during the day and a contact address.

(c) A copy of the order and the supporting affidavit must be served on the other party in the manner of service of a summons under ORCP 7. The order must include the following statement:

____________________________________________________________________________ Notice: You may request a hearing on this order as long as it remains in effect by filing with the court a hearing request in the form described in ORS 107.097 (5).

ORS 107.097(3).

If the other party requests a hearing, the court must make every effort to grant the hearing within 14 days (and no later than 21 days). Id.

In Oregon, the parties to a custody dispute (whether or not the parents are married) are also, like Kevin and Britney, required to take a parenting class. Here, the parties must either complete the classes before a judgment is entered in the case, or the court must specifically waive the requirement. Each county mandates its own program, although parents may ask the court to allow them to take online classes if they have special circumstances that would make attending local classes difficult.

News: Custody disputes extend to animals May 8, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in Child Custody, Dissolution, Domestic Violence, News, Property Division.
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In dissolution of marriage cases and any type of custody case, we automatically assume that the parties have a dispute over the custody of their children. Sometimes, though, the parties may be interested in settling a dispute over pets.

CNN recently reported about a custody dispute involving a golden retriever, whose adult owner committed suicide and whose (divorced) parents, the deceased man’s fiancee and the deceased man’s ex-girlfriend all sought custody of the dog. (The judge resolved the dispute in favor of splitting custody between the man’s parents, both of whom agreed to seek appropriate medical care for the dog and to other conditions.)

The case sounds extreme, but pet disputes are becoming more common. (For example, one of my immediate neighbors was involved in a protracted dispute over custody of two expensive show dogs. I often wish his ex-wife would have won, usually when I’m gardening near that particular fence.) In Oregon, the owner of a car dealership and his ex-wife feuded over custody of a wallaby named Skippy; Skippy had been purchased by the dealership and the wife was ordered to turn him over as part of other personal property listed in Exhibit A. Patchett and Patchett, 156 Or App 69, 964 P2d 1114 (1996).

When Skippy escaped (as he was prone to doing) and did not return, the husband filed a contempt action against the wife. Id. at 71-2. The trial court held the wife in contempt, but the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed, writing that there was no evidence the wife had willfully allowed Skippy to escape. Id. at 72.

Technically, of course, pets are not people and are not actually subject to “custody” disputes, but are more characterized as subject to “property division” disputes. Recently Maine extended domestic violence protection to animals and gave parties the option to seek temporary custody of animals in situations involving domestic violence, recognizing how common it is for abusive spouses and partners to take their anger out on pets. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the country, especially animal-loving Oregon, follows Maine’s example.

News: One way to reconcile May 4, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in Dissolution, News.
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CNN reports today that a couple about to divorce reconciled after the wife donated one of her kidneys to her almost-ex-husband when he required a transplant. Not precisely the ordinary course of things in a divorce case, but we’re suckers for happy endings, too.

News: Stay At Home Moms Should Earn $138,095 May 3, 2007

Posted by shelleycm in Dissolution, News.
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Salary.com calculates a stay-at-home-mom’s annual income – as a child care provider, housekeeper, cook, computer technician, janitor, facilities manager, and driver – at $138,095 a year, based on an average 92-hour work week.

Legally speaking, Oregon takes takes a stay-at-home parent or homemaker’s contributions into account in dissolution of marriage proceedings. Oregon statutes state that there is a “rebuttable presumption” that the assets acquired by either party during the marriage belong to both parties equally. ORS 107.105(f).  The court will assume this is true, unless one of the other parties can provide rebuttal evidence and convince the court otherwise. Id.

In the Oregon Supreme Court case Massee and Massee, 238 Or 195, 970 P2d 1203 (1999), the Supreme Court held trial courts must consider the contributions of a homemaker in determining whether the presumption of equal contribution has been rebutted.  Massee at 205.