Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

In follow-up to my cover of this story last month, an Orange County Court denied former pornstar Janine Lindemulder overnight visits with her daughter Sunny.  Sunny’s father, Jesse James who is now linked to Sandra Bullock argued to the court that any overnight visits would endanger the child and subject her to pornographers, drug addicts, guns, firearms, felons and other unsafe environments.  Under the present custody order, Janine has limited time with Sunny during the daytime hours but no overnight visits.  She however was granted an overnight on Christmas Eve.

Since Jeese James is arguing his former wife is “unfit” to raise the child and is very likely to be asking for sole legal custody of Sunny, a custody evaluation is going to be needed to determine if in fact the mother [Janine] is unfit to raise her child or possibly even to have overnight contact with their daughter on a continuing basis.

In child custody situations where both parties are at such extreme odds, money is available and one party is asking for sole custody, these usually end with a long and drawn out custody evaluation where an expert will be appointed or agreed upon to determine what is in the child’s best interests.  No doubt these two will be back in court again as their level of disagreement is extreme and the child is just five (5) years old.

Jesse-JamesJesse James who is commonly known as the celebrity for his show “Monster Garage” recently went back to family court last week to determine if ex Janine Lindemulder was fit to share joint custody of their child Sunny.  Janine Lindemulder is a former pornstar who was just released from federal prison for tax evasion and is presently staying at a halfway house.  In his moving documents, Jesse raised concerns that Janine had recently married someone she met at her halfway house.  Janine’s new husband allegedly has a criminal past including multiple felonies.  James has also asked the court to conduct a review to determine if their daughter will be safe during any custody/time with Janine.

Surprisingly the Judge has temporarily granted Janine unsupervised visitation with the minor child for six hours every Sunday.  The matter will be reviewed again in sixty days.  Jesse James was granted full custody of the couple’s daughter while Janine was serving her six month prison term.

Assuming that Janine will want a change in custody which will likely be contested by Jesse James, it is likely that the court may order a child custody evaluation to determine what is in the child’s best interests and to address the concerns raised by Jesse James and the safety issues with Janine’s new husband.  The child custody evaluator in such proceedings is given considerable weight and their eventual recommendations often are adopted by the courts.  Jesse James is presently set to return to court on December 7, 2009.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

There is an old saying that a bitter marriage leads to a bitter divorce.  Clearly if a couple cannot get along after saying “till death do us part” there is a great likelihood any divorce terms or child custody battles will be filled with disagreement and bitterness.  Just look at the Gosselin mess!

News comes from People Magazine that  Christie Brinkley and ex-husband Peter Cook are going back to court each requesting the other be put in jail.  It comes as no shock that along with jail time, Brinkley wants Cook to sell the boat the couple used during their marriage to help pay her legal fees.  Cook’s attorneys are claiming Brinkley refused to turn over their child’s passport which caused the child to miss a school trip to Israel, chaperoned by Cook.  Cook’s attorneys also believe Brinkley should be jailed, pay attorneys fees and be forced to attend anger management.

Since I’m not furnished with all the facts I can’t estimate how this will turn out, but my gut tells me the judge will be unhappy with both parties.  All of this arguing probably relates to accusations of breaching a marital settlement agreement.  Requesting jail though?  You better have a very good reason for that!  From a child’s perspective is it beneficial to have mom or dad jailed?  This is one thing the judge may have to look at.

 

Will The Judge Rule For Me?

Will The Judge Rule For Me?

If  you are a fan of baseball, you probably remember one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history occurred in 2004 when the Boston Red Sox were down 0-3 versus their biggest rivals the New York Yankees.  The headlines after that Game 3 loss in Boston showed sentiments of hopelessness, defeat and “wait until next year” mentalities.  Commentators were quick to get to their stat book out and say that no team had ever won a best of seven series after losing the first three games.  Boston did not lose after Game 3 and instead swept the Yankees in the next four games.  That year they won the World Series and ended the “Curse of the Bambino” which many believed was the reason they couldn’t win a World Series title.

I digress in this illustration because clients always ask in divorce or custody proceedings, “How will the Judge rule?”, “Will we win?”, “What guarantees do I have?”  I completely empathize.   If I was a client I would want to know the answers to these questions and they would be the first ones I ask as well.  Unfortunately, I often have to tell my clients I’m not a fortuneteller and I cannot predict with 100% accuracy which way a Judge will rule, or what result will occur at a hearing.  Even when it seems the answer is clear, the unthinkable can always happen.  A Judge could get it wrong, a surprise fact may pop up at a hearing, or the unpredictable becomes reality … just like the Boston Red Sox coming back after being down 0-3.

I always give my clients scenarios as to what “may” occur based on my experience and quite often recommend they do certain things based on the information I’m given.  However, I don’t make any guarantees.  This is one of the hardest things for clients to understand.  But if I could predict the future, I’d be in a different occupation and $20 richer for having bet on the Yankees in 2004.


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