Bezos Divorce May Prove Even High-Profile Couples Can Divorce Amicably

Early reports on the pending divorce of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie indicate that the couple, despite a combined wealth estimated at close to $140 billion, doesn’t have a prenuptial agreement, points out Androvett Legal Media & Marketing in a release.

“Although it goes against what many expect from high net-worth couples, it’s really not surprising if they don’t have a prenup,” says Dallas family law attorney Brad LaMorgese of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP. “This is a couple that married long before Amazon became a billion-dollar enterprise. Right or wrong, not many young couples of modest means enter into a prenup when they are just starting out.”

Absent a prenup, how their amassed fortune is divided might be dictated by geography. With their primary residence listed as Washington, a community property state, the property and marital assets accumulated during the marriage will most likely be evenly split.

“Almost all of their entire fortune was earned during the course of the marriage, and each had a hand in building Amazon, so it would be difficult to argue that they shouldn’t now share in those proceeds,” says LaMorgese. “There is more than enough money, which can make divorce go smoother as the couple isn’t going to fight for pennies. This type of divorce can be surprisingly amicable simply because neither spouse is going to suffer real financial hardship.

“However, even in an amicable divorce, there is still much work to do. The devil will be in the details. Even the most seemingly air-tight agreement can fall apart if there is a disagreement over the smallest issue. If emotions don’t get in the way, they should be able to sort this out.”

 

 




A Family Lawyer’s Perspective on Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a vindictive tactic aimed at punishing a spouse, writes Keith Nelson in an article for the Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson blog.

He points out that the subject recently surfaced after the news that a judge warned Angelina Jolie to allow Brad Pitt to spend more time with their children or risk losing full custody of them.

His article discusses how to prove parental alienation court, and the effects of parental alienation.

“Let there be no question: Parental alienation, once confirmed by experienced and trained professionals, is undeniably a form of child abuse that no child should endure,” Nelson writes.

Read the article.

 

 

 




Hours After His Divorce is Final, Man Accused of Killing Ex-Wife’s Attorney

A Georgia lawyer who represented a woman in a divorce told colleagues he was worried about his client’s ex-husband, and a few hours later the man murdered him, according to police.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Antonio Benjamin Mari, 41, died from multiple gunshots Wednesday afternoon, two hours after the final divorce hearing in a Bartow County court.

“After shooting Mari, [Walter Samuel] Radford called his ex-wife, Cindy Radford, to tell her he’d killed the attorney, according to Lt. M.E. Bettikofer with Cartersville police. From there, Walter Radford, 33, allegedly broke into his ex-wife’s house and shot himself while no one else was home. He was found dead in the Willow Bend Drive home at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday,” reports Alexis Stevens.

Mari had worked nearly 18 years as a high school history teacher before becoming a lawyer.

Read the Journal Constitution article.

 

 

 

 




Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson Adds Attorney Taylor Mohr

Boutique family law firm Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP, has added Taylor Mohr as an associate in the firm’s Frisco, Texas, office.

“Taylor is smart, talented, and dedicated,” said partner Jeff Anderson, who manages the Frisco office. “When we met Taylor, we knew we found the right person and the right fit for our clients.”

In a release, the firm said Mohr joins the firm with experience in complex family law matters involving divorces, modifications, enforcements and child custody matters as well as a background in estate planning and elder law.

“I’m looking forward to working with this talented group of attorneys,” said Mohr. “Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson is well-known for its work on complex family law cases, and I’m glad to be part of this team.”

Recognized in Super Lawyers magazine as a Texas Rising Star each of the past two years, Mohr also has earned selection to the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys’ Top 10 Under 40 in the Texas listing and the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys’ Top 10 Best Female Attorneys. She is a graduate of Baylor Law School and earned an undergraduate degree in history from Baylor University.

 

 




The Court is Tiebreaker When Parents Can’t Agree

America’s favorite sport is at the center of a legal battle between divorced Pittsburgh parents. John Orsini wants their youngest son, who has a history of concussions, to stop playing high school football out of a concern for his safety. However, his ex-wife says their son understands the risks and supports his choice to keep playing. Since the divorced couple cannot agree on terms, the fight has ended up in family court, where a judge has preliminarily allowed the boy to continue to play.

In a post on the website of Androvett Legal Media & Marketing, Dallas family law attorney Lon Loveless of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP says when divorced parents cannot agree on issues involving their children, the judge in the case is asked to serve as the tiebreaker. Ultimately, he says, the decision will come down to what is best for the child.

Loveless explains:

“Due to the teen’s past concussion history, there is obviously an increased concern about him continuing to engage in contact sports. Although the parents want to be able to make this decision, because they cannot agree, this is a decision that will be left to the court. Even though he is 17, he is still considered a minor and therefore must abide by the court’s decision, but it has been my experience that because of his age a judge will most likely consider the boy’s input in making his ruling. But ultimately, the paramount issue for the court is what is in the best interest of the child. The court will undoubtedly seek input from medical professionals about the likelihood, and potential long-term impact, of another head injury. That input, not the wishes of either parent, will likely carry the most weight in this case.”




Alex Jones Custody Battle Puts His Personality, Credibility On Trial

The bitter child custody trial pitting high-profile internet radio host Alex Jones against his ex-wife has begun in an Austin courtroom. Jones’ attorneys are arguing that the angry, volatile personality evident from his Infowars website and radio show is “performance art” and doesn’t reflect his fitness as a parent, according to a post on the website of Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.

“It’s going to be a fascinating tightrope for him to walk because the jury will have to decide who is the real Alex Jones,” says Austin-based Weisbart Springer Hayes attorney Geoff Weisbart, who is closely following the case. “He may be in a bit of a lose-lose situation because, if successful at trial, that defense could ultimately damage his credibility with his core audience. That’s obviously a risk he’s willing to take.”

Weisbart also notes the court of Judge Orlinda Naranjo is one of the few in the state that allows jurors to submit questions to the witnesses as a part of their testimony. “While the judge has made it clear that the focus is going to be on the best interests of the three children involved, it will be fascinating to see what questions the members of the jury have for Mr. Jones.”




Roy Moore, Alabama Chief Justice, Suspended Over Gay Marriage Order

The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy S. Moore, was suspended on Friday for the remainder of his term in office for ordering the state’s probate judges to defy federal court orders on same-sex marriage, reports The New York Times.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary did not remove Moore from the bench entirely, as it did in 2003 after he defied orders to remove a giant monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, but the order effectively ends his career as a Supreme Court justice. His term ends in 2019, and Chief Justice Moore, 69, will be barred by law from running again at that time because of his age, reports The Times‘ Campbell Robertson.

The unanimous nine-member court cited Moore’s “disregard for binding federal law,” exhibited in a January order to the state’s 68 probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and “his history with this court.”

Read the article.

 

 




Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas Announces Recipients of 16th Annual Women’s Advocacy Awards

Legal Aid of NorthWest TexasLegal Aid of NorthWest Texas (Legal Aid) has announced the recipients of its 16th Annual Women’s Advocacy Awards to be presented on July 12 in Dallas. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas will receive the Business Leadership Award; Rev. Larry James and  CitySquare will receive the Nonprofit Leadership Award; Paul Zoltan will receive the Louise Raggio Women’s Legal Advocate Award; and Randy Johnston will receive the Champion of Justice Award.

The Women’s Advocacy Awards (WAA) supports civil legal aid for victims of domestic violence. Each year, the WAA recognizes exceptional advocacy on behalf of women living in poverty. This year’s event will be held at 6 p.m., July 12, 2016, in Arlington Hall at Lee Park.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) has a long history of working to advance opportunities for women and children in Texas. BCBSTX has provided numerous grants through its “Healthy Kids, Healthy Families” initiative, partnering with nonprofits to offer sustainable programs to underserved communities and provides safe environments for growth. Notable among these are partnerships with the Caring for Children Foundation, which provides immunizations to uninsured children through its Care Van fleet, and the Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation, which provides urban gardens along with healthy cooking demonstrations and mentoring provided to residents in need, as well as “Kids Meals,” a Meals-on-Wheels-style summer program that helps feed young children who may not otherwise have regular meals outside the school year due to limited economic and transportation resources.

BCBSTX also created the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas STEM Scholarship, which provides $20,000 scholarships to underprivileged high school seniors seeking college study in a STEM-related field. In a related effort, BCBSTX’s WISE group (Women Improving the Strength of the Enterprise) hosts Dallas Girl Scouts at its state-of-the-art facility, providing a full day of STEM-related activities for young girls. In addition, leadership within BCBSTX actively demonstrates its support through the encouragement of executives to hold Board seats with organizations including Texas CASA, REAL School Gardens, and It’s Time Texas. The organization also promotes advancement of women from within and encourages female leadership to participate in programs such as the Leading Women’s Executive program.

Larry James

Larry James has been involved in developing and implementing holistic, justice-focused approaches to congregational and community service and outreach throughout his career. Since 1994, James has provided executive leadership for CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries), a faith-based, human and community development corporation that battles poverty and its various related expressions in several inner city neighborhoods in Dallas and beyond. First serving as Executive Director and then President and CEO, James began his CEO role with a vision for CitySquare’s future fund development and external community endeavors. CitySquare offers a variety of services to its clients: legal services, youth and children’s ministry, affordable workforce housing, initiatives related to work force development and technology training, housing interventions for homeless persons, and spiritual development to neighbors living in the communities of East and South Dallas.

James, a native of Richardson, Texas, is married to Brenda Erwin. The couple, who reside in one of the neighborhoods CitySquare serves, have two grown daughters.

Paul Zoltan

Paul Zoltan is a long-time pro bono attorney volunteer specializing in immigration law. In 2014, inspired to do more when the influx of Central American women and children to Texas soared, Zoltan launched a pro se asylum workshop model that would multiply the representation provided to these refugees. In the last two years, more than 150 asylum applications for women and children have been completed at and submitted through these workshops. Through this project, Zoltan is credited with saving the lives of immigrant women and children who fled horrific and violent circumstances in their home countries.

Zoltan also mentors other attorneys, and works closely with the Catholic Charities team of AmeriCorps lawyers, whose caseloads number as high as 250 individuals and families. He helped the organization start its own legal program for immigrant children, training and mentoring staff in their representation of children in immigration court. He is a passionate advocate who fights against poor attorney practices in the field of immigration law, and is an inspiration not only to immigration lawyers, but also to those who practice in the area of public service law.

Randy Johnston

Randy Johnston has been a great supporter of women’s causes and legal aid for the poor for many years. Johnston, whose law practice focuses on the professional and ethical practice of law, is known both as “the lawyer with a ponytail” and the attorney who will sue other lawyers for malpractice and client abandonment. A founding supporter of the Dallas Bar Association’s Law Jam, a musical fundraising for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP), a joint program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. During Law Jam 2, Johnston auctioned off the right for the winning bidder to cut off his ponytail following the performance of his blues band, Blue Collar Crime. Two groups paid $7,000 each for the right to cut off his ponytail, and all of the proceeds went to DVAP.  Randy was awarded a Presidential Citation by the Dallas Bar Association for his efforts to aid the poor.

He is a highly sought after speaker, presenting more than 100 speeches designed to educate other lawyers on how to avoid client problems while complying with the ethical rules and standards of professionalism. Johnston is proud to practice law with Robert Tobey, Chad Baruch, and his son, Coyt. He is married and the proud father of eight children, five of whom are strong, independent women.

Ramona’s Story

Ramona’s husband tried to kill her in front of a crowd of bystanders when he lifted her off of the ground by the throat. Before bystanders could intervene, Ramona was thrown onto the concrete sidewalk and she lost consciousness. A witness called police, but the abuser had fled the scene and his family and friends refused to cooperate with authorities or share the husband’s location.

With her husband on the run, Ramona, the mother of two children, filed for divorce pro se. Unsure how to proceed on her own, she applied for help at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (Legal Aid). With the assistance of the Legal Aid attorney, Ramona amended the petition for divorce, and located and served her husband, who was in jail. Legal Aid assisted Ramona in finalizing the divorce, where she obtained sole managing conservatorship of her children, permanent injunctions against further abuse by or contact from her ex-husband, and no visitation of the children by their father.

The Women’s Advocacy Awards event helps provide critical civil legal aid for women like Ramona. This year’s WAA event takes place from 6-8 pm on Tuesday, July 12 in Arlington Hall at Lee Park in Dallas. Additional information is available on the 16th Annual Women’s Advocacy Awards Facebook event page, https://www.facebook.com/events/1572399809724590/permalink/1580695462228358, or by contacting Sam Prince at princes@lanwt.org.




Dallas Attorney Paula Bennett Named Partner at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson

Paula BennettThe family law boutique Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP, has promoted Paula A. Bennett to partner in the firm’s Dallas office.

“Paula is among the most dedicated attorneys I have ever had the honor to work with,” says firm partner Keith Nelson. “We are very proud of her commitment and hard work on behalf of her clients, confirming her role among the leaders of this firm.”

In a release, the firm says Bennett represents clients in a wide range of family law matters, including divorce and complex property issues with a particular focus on matters that affect the welfare of children. Her work includes dealing with parental custody disputes, the termination of parental rights, custody modification, custody relocation and child support matters.

“I came to law as a second career and could not have asked for a better group of attorneys to work with,” says Bennett, who worked in pharmaceutical sales before attending law school. “There is a wonderful camaraderie that fosters a collaborative atmosphere benefitting not only the attorneys, but ultimately our clients as well.”

A 2008 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now known as Texas A&M University School of Law), Bennett developed an interest in family law while working with victims of domestic abuse at the school’s law clinic. She is a 1991 graduate of North Adams State College in North Adams, Massachusetts. Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Ms. Bennett is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists.

With 16 lawyers and offices in Dallas, San Antonio and Frisco, Texas, Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP, is one of the largest firms in Texas focused solely on trials and appeals in family law cases, the firm says in a release. Four partners are Top 100 Texas Super Lawyers. Every firm partner is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists and all are Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Orsinger holds additional board certification in Civil Appellate Law.




Former Dallas Judge Marilea Lewis Joins Family Law Boutique

Texas-based family law boutique Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP announces the addition of former state district judge Marilea Lewis and Lon Loveless. Both attorneys are well-known for their work in family law, the firm said in a release.

“Marilea and Lon are among the very best family law attorneys in Texas and their experience will only enhance the expertise that our clients expect from our firm,” says partner Keith Nelson. “It is rare that you have the opportunity to simultaneously add two such accomplished attorneys, and we are excited to be working together.”

“Having tried a number of cases before Marilea when she was sitting as a district judge, I know firsthand the legal acumen she brings to our firm,” says partner Scott Downing.

Both attorneys join the firm from the civil litigation powerhouse Godwin Lewis PC, where Lewis was a name shareholder and head of the family law practice and Loveless was a shareholder.

“I have known and admired the Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson leadership team for many years. The opportunity to join such an established, respected boutique that focuses solely in my practice area was simply too good to pass up,” says Lewis.

Lewis served two terms as judge of the 330th Family District Court in Dallas from 2002 to 2010 after serving as the court’s associate judge from 1992 to 2002. She also served as the Associate Judge of Dallas’ 305th District Court from 1986 to 1992. In addition to her family law practice, she is a certified general and family practice mediator.

Loveless’ practice is devoted to all areas of family law litigation, including divorce, complex property division, and issues of child custody, visitation and support.

“The attorneys at Orsinger Nelson represent the very best in the practice of family law,” says Loveless. “I am very excited to start the next chapter of my career here.”

“I am excited and proud to welcome two lawyers who are at the top of their game with such distinguished reputations. They will be great additions to our firm,” says partner Jeff Anderson.