Ex-NFL player seeks reduction of child support

Former Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry appeared in DeKalb County Superior Court Thursday to try and reduce child support payments to one of nine children he fathered by as many women.

At the hearing, Randall M. Kessler, Henry’s attorney, argued that his client’s $3,000-a-month payments to Jameshia Beacham, the mother of his 5-year-old son, should be reduced because Henry is no longer earning a paycheck in the National Football League.

Henry was released by the Broncos last June.

“When you’re making zero dollars, what is the right amount [of child support]?,”said Kessler prior to Thursday’s hearing. “He’s not putting his head in the sand. He wants to support all of his children.”

In court Kessler noted that Henry awaits prosecution on federal drug charges in Colorado, and that if he’s sent to prison that could hamper his ability to pay child support.

Henry has offered Beacham a one-time payment of $100,000 to settle the case, an offer her attorney, Robert Wellon, scoffed at in court Thursday.

Wellon argued that Henry is unemployed by choice and that he’s squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have been spent on supporting his children.

“It’s kind of like the gentleman who kills both parents and comes to the court to beg for mercy because he is an orphan,” Wellon said.

The hearing is ongoing as testimony continues.


Georgia judge orders rapper T.I. to pay more child support

Ti_rapper A judge on Tuesday [September 23, 2008] ordered rapper T.I. to pay more child support to the mother of two of his children after she claimed he wasn’t providing enough money.

Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane told the two-time Grammy winner, whose real name is Clifford Harris, to pay just over $3,000 a month to LaShon Dixon. He had been paying about $2,000 per month.

The judge also said the 27-year-old performer must continue to pay for the boys to attend private school, uninsured medical bills and expenses related to the children’s extracurricular activities.

Tipton Lane also awarded the couple on Tuesday joint custody of the boys, ages seven and eight. Dixon, 28, was granted primary physical custody. The children previously spent about 40 per cent of their time with the rapper.

Dixon’s lawyer, Randy Kessler, said his client is still unsatisfied with the amount the judge ordered T.I. to pay but is happy to receive more child support.

"Every little bit helps," Kessler said. "She was just getting by with the children, while they lived a different life with their father. It can’t be complete opposites on the other side."

An email to one of T.I.’s lawyers was not immediately returned Tuesday.

He also has two sons with his fiancee, Tameka (Tiny) Cottle, of the defunct R&B group Xscape.

SOURCE: Canadian Press

PHOTO SOURCE: Once Upon a Man

UPDATE: Lawyer says T.I. is happy with Ga. judge’s order

A lawyer for T.I. said the rapper is happy with a judge’s decision in a child support case brought by the mother of two of his children.

Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane on Tuesday ordered the two-time Grammy winner, whose real name is Clifford Harris, to pay more than $3,000 a month to LaShon Dixon. He had been paying about $2,000 per month.

The judge also said the 27-year-old performer must continue to pay for the boys to attend private school, uninsured medical bills and expenses related to the children’s extracurricular activities.

"The court denied Ms. Dixon’s request for an upward deviation in child support," said John Mayoue, T.I.’s lawyer. "The court further ordered him to continue doing what he had already offered to do and what he has been doing since the children were born. He’s very pleased with the order."

Tipton Lane also on Tuesday awarded the couple joint custody of the boys, ages 7 and 8. Dixon, 28, was granted primary physical custody. The children previously spent about 40 percent of their time with the rapper.

Dixon’s attorney, Randy Kessler, previously said his client is still unsatisfied with the amount the judge ordered T.I. to pay but is happy to receive more child support.

T.I. also has two sons with his fiancee, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, of the defunct R&B group Xscape.

SOURCE FOR UPDATE: Fulton County Daily Report

Alec Baldwin writes divorce guide

Hollywood actor wants to help men survive their failed marriages

Alec Baldwin has written a practical guide to divorce for men.

The actor has put his bitter court battle with actress Kim Basinger behind him by writing A Promise To Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood And Divorce.

But he hopes not to reignite his war of words with his ex-wife, who he once described as ‘dark and manipulative’ and ‘a thoughtless pain in the ass’.

‘I took care to be very kind and measured in dealing with her,’ he says.

‘It is not a personal memoir, and I have no desire to settle some score with her through this. In fact, I was originally reluctant to write this book for that very reason.’

The Baldwins married in 1993 and separated 7 years later. During the mudslinging over custody of daughter Ireland, now 13, Kim, 55 called Alec, 50, a ‘tinpot tyrant and bully’.

‘I didn’t want to be perceived as stirring the pot or calling attention to any of that again,’ he tells Weekend. ‘However, I do find the situation disgraceful and I wanted to say so.’

A Promise To Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood And Divorce is published on 23 September.

SOURCE: Now Magazine

Judge Unseals Richardson Divorce Papers

The Fulton County Daily Report has today reported that a judge has unsealed most of the files in the divorce case of House Speaker Glenn Richardson and his ex-wife, Susan.

The day the divorce case was filed in February, Paulding Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge James R. Osborne, who once practiced law with Glenn Richardson, sealed the file. Osborne wrote in his sealing order that "the harm otherwise resulting to the interest of the parties and their children "outweighs any public interest" in seeing the records.

However, it appears that the documents that have been unsealed reveal few details about the Richardsons’ personal finances and offer no details about the factors that led to the divorce.

Judge Osborne recused from efforts to unseal the case, and Rome Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Walter J. Matthews was assigned to handle the matter.

Judge Matthews on July 16 issued an order to unseal the complaint, final judgment and decree and amended judgment and decree in Richardson’s divorce case, writing that after reviewing the relevant case law, "it is obvious to the Court that certain portions of this file must be open and available to the public."

"Public confidence in any Court’s proper application of statutory Child Support guidelines to all parties [sic] income would necessitate public access to such basic data in virtually any case," Matthews added.

"Because of his desire to protect his children, the speaker has not and will not comment on matters involving his personal life,” said Clelia Davis, a spokeswoman for Richardson. “He has put this difficult chapter of life behind him and remains focused on protecting our Republican majority so we can continue the progress we have made while working to ensure John McCain is our nation’s next president."

Atlanta family law attorney John C. Mayoue of Warner, Mayoue, Bates & Nolen said Osborne’s mistake was sealing the entire Richardson divorce case and that it is extraordinarily unusual that a divorce file in its entirely would be sealed.

However, Mayoue said he has found judges inclined to seal some portions of a divorce file related to the parties’ personal finances, such as affidavits and schedules.

"But that’s much different from what happened in the Richardson case, where the judge said the entire file is sealed forever, period," Mayoue said.

In her complaint for divorce, Susan Richardson filed for divorce on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken, according to the complaint. No additional details were included about why she filed for divorce.

In an amended final judgment and decree, dated May 8, Osborne named Glenn Richardson as non-custodial parent and granted him visitation rights of 90 days per year.

The decree said that Glenn Richardson has an income of $16,907 per month, and Susan Richardson has an income of $1,000 per month. Osborne ordered Richardson to pay Susan Richardson $3,000 per month in child support. The couple has two minor children.

The case, in the Paulding Judicial Circuit, is Richardson v. Richardson, No. 08-cv-670. Glenn Richardson, a lawyer, represented himself and his ex-wife in the divorce.

Richardson, a Republican from Hiram, was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1996 and selected as House Speaker in 2005. He was the Paulding County attorney from 1989 to 2005.

SOURCE: Fulton County Daily Report

Speaker’s sealed divorce could set precedent

In early February, Glenn and Susan Richardson walked into the Paulding County Courthouse, filed for an uncontested divorce and got their case sealed from public view.

The handling of the divorce raised questions as to whether the speaker of the state House received preferential treatment from Judge James Osborne, who was not initially assigned the case but signed the order placing it under wraps. The judge, once the speaker’s law partner, is now weighing a request to unseal the divorce file. He said Thursday that he has treated the Richardsons’ request like any other.

The case is being closely watched, particularly by divorce lawyers across the state. They say if the speaker succeeds in keeping the file sealed, it could lead to an avalanche of requests to close the files of other broken marriages.

"If they carve out an exception for him, I guarantee you we’ll all be trying to seal divorce records," said John Lyndon, a family law attorney in Athens. "There’s no doubt about it."

Lyndon has had mixed results sealing divorce records and said judges more often than not refuse to do it. When successful, he said he gives clients this caveat: "If challenged, I wouldn’t expect it to hold up."

Randy Kessler, an Atlanta divorce lawyer, said he has received requests from clients for "the Glenn Richardson divorce," meaning getting the case sealed right after it is filed. "But then we have to explain to them that we just can’t do it," he said.

Family law attorneys say it’s understandable that parties to a divorce would want to have their cases placed under seal. With court files so readily accessible, attorneys say, filing for divorce can be tantamount to putting your financial information on a billboard.

No couple should be required to make their personal finances available for public inspection, said Atlanta attorney Shiel Edlin, who said he would like to see the General Assembly find a way to privatize divorce cases.

"I don’t have a beef with him trying to keep his private life private," Edlin said of the speaker. "The problem is that he seemed to do it in an unprecedented manner. I will be extremely interested to see if the courts grant him the power to seal it."

First Amendment advocates note there is a strong presumption to access to proceedings and records to ensure courts are treating both parties to a dispute fairly.


Bynum discusses marriage on “Divorce Court”

Televangelist Juanita Bynum acknowledges thoughts of suicide and says she no longer wants to remain married to her estranged husband in an upcoming two-part episode of the reality television show "Divorce Court."

In episodes scheduled to air Thursday and Friday, Bynum also weighs in on a case involving alleged domestic violence. The Associated Press obtained a transcript with excerpts of the show.

Bynum told Judge Lynn Toler – who hears cases on the syndicated show distributed by Twentieth Television – that she saw signs of trouble in her marriage to Thomas W. Weeks III before the Aug. 21 incident that ended in a physical altercation in a hotel parking lot outside of Atlanta.

"I was just trying to make it work because I don’t like losing relationships," Bynum said. "All of this just kept getting swept under the rug … So you begin to adapt to a very wrong and very unhealthy marriage."

Weeks pleaded guilty on March 11 to assaulting Bynum and was sentenced to three years’ probation. At the sentencing hearing, he also addressed his wife, who sat in the second row of the courtroom gallery. The two later left the courthouse together.

Prosecutors alleged that Weeks beat Bynum – a prominent televangelist whose message of women’s empowerment resonated with thousands of followers – in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel.

According to a police report, Bynum told officers that Weeks "choked her, pushed her down, kicked and stomped her … until a bellman pulled him off of her."

As a condition of his sentence, Weeks must undergo violence and anger counseling and complete 200 hours of community service that cannot be church-related. He had been barred previously from communicating with Bynum, but that restriction has been lifted. His record will be cleared if he completes the terms of his sentence.

When asked whether she and Weeks were planning a reconciliation, Bynum said she was "done."

"I can’t speak for him, but I no longer want the marriage," she told Toler.

Bynum said she would always love Weeks, but made a decision to "love me more."

Weeks has said that the couple had discussed reconciliation as late as August, but his divorce attorney, Randy Kessler, said on Tuesday that the divorce is moving forward and headed toward trial. A mediation date is scheduled for May 13.

"Reconciliation is not in the works and not even being discussed now," Kessler said, adding that the show appearance could affect the mediation.

The couple wed in a million-dollar, televised ceremony in 2002 and together wrote "Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings."

The couple separated in June and they have no children together. Bynum filed for divorce from Weeks a month after the attack, citing "cruel treatment" and saying the marriage was "irretrievably broken."

The televangelist was also asked about rumors circulating on the Internet that she tried to commit suicide.

"Suicide crossed my mind … You know, I felt hopeless," Bynum said. "I didn’t because the name Bynum represents a legacy of people that have gone before me and had I done that I would have given too much power to an individual to not just wipe me out but to wipe out the integrity of the legacy I was born in."

Bynum said she briefly feared her legacy – and particularly her ministry – was in jeopardy, but no longer feels that way.

"If all that I have become in 25 years does not properly define who I am to the people that follow my ministry then there is no need for me to try to explain it."

Bynum is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Weeks is the founder of Global Destiny churches.

After the incident, Bynum vowed to become an advocate for domestic abuse prevention.

In the "Divorce Court" episodes, she observes and weighs in on a case involving domestic violence. When asked what advice she had for women in situations similar to hers, she said, "I have to make a decision … to take the love that I had for him with me."

Toler said the show doesn’t typically deal with domestic violence, but she saw a unique opportunity to reach some of her most loyal viewers, Southern black women.

"Here you have a woman who is very famous and who speaks to my audience," Toler said. "No one would ever think that she would be in that circumstance."

She said she thinks that viewers will likely be surprised by Bynum’s lack of anger and her candor about her own situation.

"She was very honest about how far she fell," Toler said. "It’s a tough situation anyway, and to do it in a fishbowl … I think she handled it with a lot of grace and aplomb."

SOURCE: Ledger-Enquirer.com in an AP story by Errin Haines