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Mel Gibson Settles Child Custody Dispute with Ex-Girlfriend

Thursday, September 08, 2011

In an end to what is one of the bitterest child custody disputes that Pasadena divorce lawyers have come across, Mel Gibson has settled his child custody dispute with his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. No doubt, the settlement was hard to reach, considering that this dispute involved allegations of domestic violence by Oksana Grigorieva and battery charges against the actor.

Both the star and his ex-girlfriend arrived at the Los Angeles County Superior Court where attorneys announced their settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, Oksana Grigorieva will live at Gibson's California home until their daughter, Lucia, who is currently two years old, reaches eighteen years of age. When that happens, the house will be sold and the proceeds of the sale will be put into a trust for the child. Gibson will also pay Oksana Grigorieva $750,000 in three installments.

Gibson and Grigorieva had been involved in a relationship that resulted in the birth of their daughter. However, in 2010, allegations of domestic violence began to emerge after Grigorieva claimed that Gibson had hit her and broken her tooth. In March, the two ended up in court where Gibson admitted that he slapped his ex-girlfriend during an argument because of his concern for his child. He entered a no-contest plea, and was sentenced to three years of probation. The pair broke up and agreed to a $20 million settlement.

The dispute between the two at some points grew so ugly that it was hard to believe any settlement would be reached at all. Among other things, Gibson alleged that Grigorieva tried to extort money from him beyond the settlement amount.

McCourts Working Towards Divorce Settlement

Friday, April 01, 2011

Dodgers owner Frank McCour,t and his estranged wife Jamie, are working towards what California divorce lawyers often recommend - an out-of-court settlement of their much-publicized case. 

Last week, the court postponed a hearing that was scheduled for April 11th, during which Jamie was expected to request that her husband be ordered to give her all papers related to the Dodgers’ financial and business operations.  The date of that hearing has been moved to May 11, and provides the two parties more time in which they can negotiate an agreement to settle their acrimonious divorce.

The two parties have gone to the settlement table before, but attempts to bring about an amicable resolution of the divorce have been largely fruitless.  In several rounds of settlement talks, Jamie McCourt agreed to give up ownership of the Dodgers to her ex-husband in exchange for a payout, but refused to accept some of his conditions.  So far, it's unclear to California divorce attorneys how the two might settle their divorce.  Frank McCourt has maintained all along that any settlement must end with him becoming the sole owner of the Dodgers team.

A couple that has filed for divorce proceedings in California can choose to settle out of court.  If the couple and their attorneys manage to resolve all issues through mediation or collaborative law, then the final resolution of the divorce is outlined in a settlement agreement.  This agreement is then submitted to the judge, followed by an informal hearing.  During this hearing, the judge will make sure that each party is well aware of the terms of the agreement, after which each party has to sign the agreement.

After the couple signs the agreement, the judge gives them a divorce decree that shows that the divorce is final.  The divorce decree will involve information about division of the couple's marital property, child custody, living arrangements, visitation, parenting time, child support and spousal support.

Sacramento County Shows Great Improvement in Child Support Collection

Friday, February 04, 2011

The California Department of Child Support Services recently recognized the child support collection agency in Sacramento County for having made the greatest improvement in child support collections. Sacramento County has an impressive overall performance in child support collections among all the large counties in California. According to estimates, in 2010, the Sacramento County collection agency collected $105 million in payments.

California family lawyers may find Sacramento County’s performance even more impressive, considering that child support collections in California fell dramatically last year. In 2010, the state of California collected $2.2 billion in child support payments, a sharp 1% drop from the previous year. Additionally, 57.7% of California's child support cases were reported as being in arrears at some point during 2010. That rate is up from 56.2% in 2009.

There was also a sharp drop in child support collections through wage withholding, which continues to be one of the biggest ways of collecting child support payments. Such payments fell 5.5% from 2009. There was also an increase in child support payments collected through unemployment checks, by 62%.

All of these estimates have simply reflected the dismal state of the economy in California, which continues to struggle with an unemployment rate that is at least 2% higher than in the rest of the country. There are simply more numbers of people receiving unemployment checks in California, and child support payments tend to be easier to collect through unemployment checks.

The state of child support payments in California also mirrored the national picture. For the fiscal year ending September 30th, 2009, the total collections amounted to $26.4 billion, a decline from .7% from the previous year.


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