March 2013 Archives

How Facebook Can Impact Your Santa Rosa Divorce - And What You Can Do About It

tumblr_lyta07HSMP1qzh0vno1_500-485x322.jpgAre you among the 1 billion people worldwide with a Facebook account? If you are in the midst of a divorce, you may want to deactivate it.

More than 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they've seen a rise in the number of cases in which lawyers use social media posts as a reason to question child custody, spousal support, and other contentious issues.

Increasingly, courts also are examining Facebook for evidence. In September of 2011, a Connecticut judge ordered the attorneys for Stephen and Courtney Gallion to exchange "their client's Facebook and dating website passwords."

Facebook: Where Friends Can Become Lovers

When people tire of Match.com or don't find success in using Eharmony, they may shift to Facebook for "social dating." A rising number of people use Facebook to reignite friendships with high school and college flames, and take the relationships further than they'd intended.

Some predict that Facebook's new Graph Search - a search engine capability similar to Google that will soon be released - will make it even easier for former college flames to hook up. For example, when Graph Search is released you'll be able to search for single friends of your best friend and find new people to "friend" and date.

Of course, suspicious spouses also use Facebook to find evidence of flirting and affairs.

In cases where spouses still live together and share the same computer, a number of monitoring devices can be downloaded to monitor another person's Web use, such as SpectorPro, which monitors keystrokes, screenshots and a variety of social media networks.

6 Social Media Tips to Adopt During Your Divorce

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Child Custody Battle Brews in Aftermath of Mindy McCready's Suicide

child-custody2.jpgWhen country music singer Mindy McCready took her life on February 17, she left behind two sons whose future will now be determined by a judge.

Two weeks before McCready's death, and at her father's urging, Human Services placed her two sons - Zander, 6, and Zayne, 11 months - in foster care. McCready is known to have waged a battle with substance abuse and there were reports that the home was disheveled and that prescription bottles were readily available.

A custody battle has ensued between McCready's father and stepmother, and Zander's father, Bill McKnight. On April 5, a judge will decide the fate of the two brothers, including whether they will be raised separately.

There is no custody dispute over Zayne; his father reportedly committed suicide in January.

What the Judge Will Take into Consideration

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Child Custody Disputes Among Unmarried Heterosexual and Gay Unmarried Couples Are Similar

pic_child.pngLater this month, the Manhattan Supreme Court will decide the fate of a child born last July to an unmarried, heterosexual couple. In the interim, the baby is stuck in foster care and under the purview of Child Protective Services.

How Could This Happen?

Jonathan Sporn, a 54-year-old pharmaceuticals executive, began co-habiting with his partner, Leann Leutner, a lawyer, in 2010. Both had been previously divorced, weren't in a hurry to marry again, but wanted to start a family. They sought the assistance of an anonymous sperm donor and last July, Leutner gave birth to a healthy boy, Lincoln Amory Aurelian Sporn Leutner.

On January 1, 2013, the mother, who had struggled with postpartum depression, committed suicide. Not recognizing Sporn as the father due to the couple's unmarried status, Child Protective Services stepped in and placed the baby in foster care.

Now Sporn and Leutner's sister, Susan Sylvester, are battling for custody of little Lincoln. The court has visited both homes and deemed them both appropriate for the child.

According to the law, Sporn isn't a parent because he never married Leutner and he didn't father the child. In addition, Sporn failed to immediately take steps to adopt Lincoln following his birth.

Case Bears Similarities to Challenges Gay Parents Face

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Obama Urges Reversal On Prop. 8 While U.S. Military Liberalizes Benefits For Gay Couples

96981501_video_large.jpgOn February 28, President Barack Obama urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn California's same-sex marriage ban. His action is the first time a U.S. president has urged the nation's highest court to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Specifically, the president's brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court justices to strike down California's Proposition 8 ballot measure, which currently prohibits gay marriage in the state.

Benefits Not Available to Gay Couples

While California - and seven additional states - allows same-sex civil unions, marriage is not allowed, precluding gay couples from enjoying the benefits afforded to heterosexual couples, including:

  • Social Security benefit.
  • Tax-free inheritance for the surviving spouse.
  • Family and medical leave.
  • COBRA health insurance benefits

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8, gay marriage will be legal in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.

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