April 2013 Archives

Child Custody Issues for Eddie Murphy

childairport460.jpgWhen celebrities such as Eddie Murphy and former Spice Girl Melanie Brown were married, it made the news - at least entertainment news coverage.

Now their custody battle is grabbing legal headlines.

Eddie Murphy vs. Melanie Brown

Brown, who entered into a contract with Australia's version of The X Factor, decided to break her agreement with the Down Under network due to Murphy's refusal to allow their daughter to move to Australia.

Murphy and Brown were never married but in 2007, Brown gave birth to their child, the now 7-year-old girl, Angel Iris. Initially, Murphy refused to acknowledge the child until a paternity test proved that he had indeed fathered the child.

Now he wants a relationship with Angel Iris and for her to live in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Brown's professional future is at stake because if she can't move with her daughter, she will be in breach of contract with her employer.

It's a mess.

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Financial Instability of Sonoma County Families Breeds New Forms of Fraud

bankownedpic.jpgSonoma County foreclosures may be less common than they were two years ago, but they continue to besiege financially vulnerable homeowners.

According to The Real Estate Report, notices of default in Sonoma County - the first step in the foreclosure process - jumped 52.1% in February. But the good news is that there were still down by 70.1% from the previous year.

Due to the avalanche of foreclosures in recent years, banks continue to own about 685 properties in the county.

Financial Vulnerability Breeds New Forms of Fraud

The Great Recession saw too many people lose their jobs and their homes. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals saw a window of opportunity amid this atmosphere of pain and financial uncertainty.

As part of their fraud, companies cropped up, claiming they could prevent foreclosure by negotiating with a consumer's lender or obtaining a loan modification.
These services were offered at a price and naïve and desperate homeowners facing the prospect of foreclosure gladly paid the fee.

Many of the companies pretended to be affiliated with the government or government housing assistance programs. Others falsely claimed to offer legal services or "audits" of consumers' loan paperwork to help them negotiate a resolution with their lenders.
Unfortunately, promised services were never delivered.

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Prenuptial Agreements Are 0n the Rise

Premarital Agreement.jpgYou survived your divorce and as you signed the final documents you thought to yourself, "I'll never get married again."

Then you met someone new and you're convinced this marriage will be different.
Unfortunately, the statistics indicate that the divorce rate is higher for second marriages so if you're thinking of remarrying, call your attorney to draft a prenuptial agreement.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

As divorce rates rise, so do prenuptial agreements. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says about three-quarters of its members have seen an increase in prenups in the past five years among couples of all income brackets.

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between two parties that protects their respective pre-marital financial interests, such as retirement funds, properties owned, investments, savings, and other financial interests.

In addition, a prenuptial agreement will record debt. This is important because if the marriage should end in divorce, you will want to be protected from your spouse's credit card debt, college loans, and default mortgage payments.

Child custody arrangements and child support can't be determined in a prenup but you can specify your preferred religious education for your children.

Reasons to Negotiate a Prenuptial Agreement

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7 Tips to Help Your Children Survive Your Santa Rosa Divorce

Time Divorce.jpgDivorce is hard on children.

Quarreling parents, financial uncertainty, stressed parents, and a sudden move from the family home are all factors that affect your children's stress level, self-confidence, and performance in school.

Research on the Effects of Divorce on Children

Numerous studies have examined the effects of divorce on youth and some of their findings are disturbing.

  • Researchers from the University of Toronto recently concluded that children from divorced families are more likely to take up the habit of smoking. Men whose parents had divorced before they turned 18 had 48 percent higher incidence of smoking.
  • In 2007, a researcher examined data collected between 1994 and 2000. She discovered that 13.2 percent children of divorced parents were taking Ritalin versus 3.3 percent of children with parents who had stayed together.
  • A University of Wisconsin-Madison study concluded that children of divorced parents often fall behind their classmates in math and social skills, and are more likely to suffer anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.
  • A 2010 study found that the more change children are forced to go through, such as a divorce followed by a remarriage, the greater the difficulty they may have in finishing school and obtaining a high school diploma.
  • Divorce can repeat itself. Children from divorced families are more likely to divorce their spouses when they become adults
. 7 Tips to Help Your Children Survive Your Divorce

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What Do You Do When Your Credit Report Is Wrong?

CreditReportIllustration.jpgHave you checked your credit card report lately? It could have errors that are causing you to unnecessarily pay higher interest payments, mortgage and vehicle loans, and insurance premiums. Those errors could even prevent you from landing a new job.

According to a study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as many as five percent of consumers had errors on one of three major credit reports. In some cases, the errors worsened the consumer's overall credit rating.

Credit reports contain more than a record of your debts. It also includes information about whether pay your bills on a timely basis and will note if you've been sued or filed for bankruptcy.

Your Credit Information Is for Sale

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