The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is turning out to be a struggle to pass. The Senate has made some changes to it, as it’s renewal approaches, but the House doesn’t agree with the addendums made.

In the world of high profile politics, this battle has turned into an all out riot as we enter the throws of the election year. In order to come to some resolution on this point, congressional leaders are in need of appointing negotiators to hammer out the details and come up with a solid plan. The differences between the two factions will have to come to a final agreement in order for legislation to be passed.

That is easier said than done. Each side blames the other for the hold on the process, therefore nothing is being accomplished at all.

The version coming out of the Senate was approved with bipartisan support, with a vote of 68 to 31. Every Republican woman supported the measure fully, which would expand the coverage to illegal immigrants and Native Americans who are victims of abuse. There are also inclusions made on behalf of gay, lesbian, and transgender victims.

In the House, however; Republicans oppose those changes, passing their own measure with a much closer vote of 222 to 205. Their bill stripped the extended coverage for illegal immigrants, Native Americans, gay, lesbian, and transgender victims. The vote was largely split along party lines.

"We’re eager to resolve our differences…This is an important issue for our country and it needs to be resolved," said House Speaker John Boehner at his weekly news conference Thursday. "I think the bigger question is whether Senator Schumer and his Democrat allies in the Senate want to come to an agreement on this bill or whether they want to continue to attempt to use it as a political weapon in this year’s election cycle."


In his recent divorce, Ruben Studdard benefited by having a prenuptial agreement.

Studdard earned his fame as the runner-up in the second season of the television program, American Idol. Since that time, he has sold several albums and received a Grammy Award nomination. He has also worked as an actor on several television shows.

In June of 2008, he married Zuri McCantis. The two met while Studdard was signing CDs at a Wal-Mart.

However, in November of 2011, the two announced that they were getting a divorce. McCantis made a number of demands in court, but Suddard introduced a prenuptial agreement the two had signed prior to marriage.

Per the agreement Studdard was not liable for spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) and is entitled to retain the property he earned. This includes his home, royalties to his music, a significant amount of money, and pensions.

McCantis attempted to contest the prenuptial agreement, arguing that it should be nullified. However, the judge ruled against her and entered judgment in favor of Studdard.

McCantis was awarded a $10,000 property settlement, $2,000 in attorney fees, her wedding dress, and a BMW.

The lesson is that either signing a prenuptial agreement, or failing to sign a prenuptial agreement can have profound implications on a prospective divorce. If you are nearing or considering marriage, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney to discuss what effect a prenuptial agreement might have on your situation.


Years ago, the idea of a pre-nuptial agreement was only for the exceedingly wealthy looking to protect their fortunes. But in today’s world it is actually a sign of forethought for everyone.

A pre-nuptial agreement is simply a contract between spouses written before marriage in order to be able to divide up assets in the event that the marriage ends in divorce. While that doesn’t brim with romance, it does allow for protection the assets of the spouses should things go awry.

No one wants to think of marriage as a business arrangement, but in many ways it is. When two people are dating and the bluebirds are singing, it’s hard to imagine marriage as a business. Rather than looking at the pre-nup as a sign of doom, it is actually a way to learn up front how the other handles finances. It also helps prepare you, as a couple, in how you intend to move forward with regard to finances.

No one wants to talk about money and marriage, but money is at the top of the food chain when it comes to reasons for divorce. Laying financial matters bare and visible before tying the knot can be a perfect way to know in advance how your marriage will take on the strain of such things. These matters range from cash, to debt, to newly started businesses, to children from a previous relationship. All is laid out in the open so no frightening surprises rear their ugly heads down the line.

Pre-nuptial agreements have existed since the dawn of time, or so it would seem. In the early years of the United States, if a woman didn’t have an agreement ahead of time, she stood to lose everything in a divorce. Marriage for a woman meant complete transference of everything she owned or inherited to her husband. The Married Women’s Property Act of 1848 began in New York State and was the most comprehensive law with regards to what a woman could keep in the event of a divorce.

Protect yourself. Learn about your intended spouse. Grow together in financial understanding.


A Mexican law firm has initiated a campaign offering divorce gift cards.

In a professed effort to make the divorce process appear less costly, less complex, and less bureaucratic, the Mexican firm, Abogados Postulantes en Sociedad, began marketing its “Libera Divorce Pass.”

The pass can be purchased by friends, family, or parties to a prospective divorce. The minimum purchase for a card is 200 pesos, or roughly $15.43 in United States currency. The gift cards can be applied to a final bill for legal services.

In synch with the launch of the Libera Pass, Abogados Postulantes unveiled an online divorce service. Gift cards can be applied online. In order to initiate a divorce, users must load their accounts with at least 5,000 pesos, or roughly $385.69 in U.S. currency.

The system is built around an “express divorce,” which was authorized by the Mexican government. The divorce process takes approximately 3 to 4 months.

The campaign is designed to reduce the difficulty and fear involved with visiting a traditional law firm by allowing people to use the web-based system.

In the United States, there are a number of companies that offer Internet-based document preparation of divorce forms, however, the ethical rules to which attorneys are bound make a net-based attorney’s operations, and the issuance of gift cards purchased by third parties, very difficult.

Many law firms are, however, increasingly mechanizing operations and shifting into an e-environment. There are also a large number of courts around the country that allow for electronic document filing. So it may be only a matter of time before U.S. attorneys offer services like those of Abogados Postulantes.


Guma Auguiar went missing hours after his wife, Jamie Aguiar reportedly asked for a divorce. His fishing boat was found on a Fort Lauderdale beach with the engine running,  there was no sign of Guma. Jamie’s lawyer said that, they think he might have staged his own disappearance to escape his marital and legal anguish.  Aguiar’s mother, Ellen, thinks he is still alive but is in a delusional state and suffers from psychosis. Aguiar does have a history of mental illness, his mother says he is bipolar.

After his disappearance his wife Jamie and his mother Ellen filed legal documents fighting for control of his assets, said to be valued at $100 million. Ellen wants control to be turned over to a third party, Northern Trust, a wealth management company that was selected by Guma Auguiar  to take care of his assets in case anything ever happened to him. 

It is unknown if  Northern Trust will take control of Aguiar’s assets, even if they want to, they can’t take immediate control because their lawyers need to approve the move first. If Northern Trust does accept they will have more than $50 million of Auguiar’s U.S. assets. It is unknown what will happen to his millions in Israeli assets. Florida court has no control over international assets.

Aguiar made his fortune in 2006 when he and his uncle sold their Texas-based energy company for $2.5 billion, according to the Associated press. He has been in a legal battle with his uncle, Thomas Kaplan, for years over how the monies should be divided.


Lane Garrison was just arrested on domestic violence charges.

Garrison is known for his work as an actor, having played the role of David Apolskis on the television program, Prison Break. He was also in the press in 2007 after he plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter. He was driving drunk and crashed, resulting in the death of a 17 year-old. In 2009 he was released from prison and placed on 4 years of probation.

While still on probation, Garrison is alleged to have assaulted his ex-girlfriend, Ashley Mattingly on April 21 of this year. Mattingly is known for being a Playboy Playmate.

According to the allegations, Garrison hit Mattingly in her apartment in Beverly Hills. When someone approached, he ran away. He was later apprehended by police at his home and currently faces charges of battery and violation of his parole.

Police had previously responded to a domestic violence call between the two in February when Mattingly called 911. However, no arrest was made at that time.

Mattingly made a public statement that she intends to press charges if Garrison refuses to go to rehab. Garrison’s attorney told the press that he had never hit her, but rather attempted to calm her down when the two got into an argument.


Guiding your child or children through your divorce is a painful process. Providing them stability and reassurance at a time when you may not feel self-assured or stable yourself can be a really difficult task. But the effects on children can be far reaching, so helping them through this time is crucial.

In cases where there are children involved, Florida courts now use the term Shared Parenting Responsibility as it is less inflammatory that the word “custody”. The division of time between parents can be quite difficult on the child or children as they get accustomed to each parent’s new role as individual caretakers. At times like this, children of any age need reassurance and a listening ear. It won’t necessarily be a smooth path, but it doesn’t have to be a cloud of doom that hangs over them throughout their lives.

One way to help them come to terms with things and transition into healthy, confident, well-adjusted kids is to provide them with routine. Lay out a parenting plan ahead of time and stick to it so that kids know what to expect on any given day. This will not only help them feel more at ease, it will give them confidence in their relational standing with both parents just by knowing what to expect and when.

Secondly, allowing parental conflict to seep into the everyday lives of the children is a sure fire way to make kids angry, sad, or distrusting toward one parent or the other. Maintaining civility with one another when the kids are around is an important way to help them feel safe with either parent.

Dissolution of marriage won’t be without some degree of difficulty, but making your children a top priority can help alleviate some of that difficulty and help them grow to be emotionally healthy adults.


Divorce has a new look in this age of technology. We have become a society driven by cell phones, computers, e-mail, and social networking, and those changes are quite apparent in today’s divorces. In an age where everything is visible and virtually nothing (no pun intended) is left to true privacy, there is very little we aren’t able to find out about one another.

Back in the day there may have been the occasion when a suspicious spouse would hire a private investigator to follow a suspected cheater around, hiding in bushes or slunk down in car seats to photograph alleged trysts. In today’s world we are visible to everyone in countless ways. Seeing into another person’s world has taken on a whole new dimension and brings with it an ease of finding out one’s deepest secrets in their on line personas.

In today’s world, the suspicious spouse or scorned lover merely has to take control of the other person’s e-mail, twitter account, or text messages. Facebook is mentioned in fully one-third of divorce cases in 2011, according to a survey by a British legal service. Finding an old flame that one has fond memories of is just a click away, unlike the days of having to actually hire someone to track down said flame.

Often before one even realizes what is happening, permanent and irreparable damage can be done. Be cautious of the people you let back into your life. Becoming part of the new look of divorce can literally just be a click away from reality.


When a French couple filed for divorce in Nice,France, the judge sided with the wife, and entered a judgment of 10,000 euros, or approximately $14,000 for “lack of sex over 21 years of marriage.”

The 47 year-old woman,identified as Monique, filed the case approximately 2 and a half years ago against her 51 year-old husband. In September, the court blamed the man, identified as Jean-Louis B,” for the downfall of the marriage.

The court relied on article 215 of the French civil code which mandates that married persons must live in a “shared communal life.” The court interpreted this provision to mean that “sexual relations must form part of a marriage.”

When the man said that his failure to perform was caused by “tiredness and health problems” the judge responded, “A sexual relationship between husband and wife is the expression of affection they have for each other, and in this case it was absent . . . By getting married, couples agree to sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other.”

The United States operates under a different legal system, so the outcome of an action here could be very different. If you are concerned about the implications of event that took place during your marriage, speak with a qualified divorce attorney.


The Senate just passed a bill renewing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

VAWA was enacted as a Congressional effort to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The act authorizes the Office on Violence Against Women, which aids communities in developing and implementing policies to combat abuses to women. The law also provides automatic restitution to victims and creates a mechanism through which victims can sue civilly for abuses.

VAWA was first enacted in 1994 by Bill Clinton. It was renewed by Congress in 2000 and in 2005. When it went to Congress for proposed renewal this year, there was a great deal of disagreement.

The new version of VAWA will provide $659.3 million per year to law enforcement to combat domestic violence and would expire in 5 years. Both parties agreed that the bill was a necessary measure.

However, the disagreement came over 2 major points. Democrats sought to add a provision encouraging undocumented aliens to communicate with law enforcement regarding domestic violence. Second, they also introduced a way to offer domestic violence protections to homosexual and transgender persons.

The bill was ultimately approved, but only after a massive debate. Republicans alleged that the Democrats were only playing political games, while Democrats argued there was a real need to add the provisions. The revised VAWA will now pass to the House of Representatives, where it is rumored another version is being prepared.