Entries in Divorce (20)


Woman Sues Ex Over Trove of Secret Tapes

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- An Ohio woman is suing her ex-husband after she said he spied on her with a hidden video camera, microphone and a GPS for months in their home.

Cathy Zang learned about the recordings during their 2009 divorce proceedings after 14 years of marriage, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Her ex-husband, Joe Zang, admitted to installing all the equipment, but denied doing anything wrong, according to court documents.

After learning of the secret recordings, Cathy Zang searched her home and found numerous recording devices.

"He [Joe Zang] put small microphones and small cameras in wall outlets and disguised them as actual wall outlets. It's a complete view of the computer area, the kitchen area, the living room area," said Cathy Zang's attorney, Don Roberts.

One secret recording in particular captured a vicious fight between the couple, including the exact moment the police showed up during the dispute.

While the Zangs' divorce is now final and out of court, the recordings are at the center of a federal court battle over the right to privacy amidst 21st century technology.  Two lawsuits are now pending in U.S. District Court that involve nearly a dozen of the former couple's friends and family and a computer monitoring software company.

It's not clear what laws Joe Zang has broken since he installed the devices in his own home.

Ohio and federal wiretapping laws permit audio recording as long as one of the parties in the conversation is aware of the recording.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missing Florida Millionaire's Wife Asked for Divorce Before Disappearance

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Missing Florida millionaire Guma Aguiar's wife told him she wanted a divorce just hours before he vanished from his fishing boat, the lawyer for Aguiar's mother told ABC News on Monday.

It was the latest twist in a mystery that has sparked a vicious tug-of-war between his wife and mother over control of Aguiar's $100 million estate.

Aguiar's disappearance has triggered a barrage of rapid-fire legal filings by his mother and wife over the last few days, with the wife filing counter documents on Monday seeking control of her husband's estate.

It was the third legal filing since Aguiar, 35, vanished last Wednesday when his 31-foot fishing boat washed up on a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., beach with the engine running and lights on, but with no sign of its Brazilian-born owner.

The U.S. Coast Guard and multiple police agencies launched a search for Aguiar, but the Coast Guard suspended their search last Thursday night.

Documents filed last week by his mother to secure control of her son's assets suggest that Aguiar may be alive and in a "delusional state or be suffering from psychosis."

But on Monday, a lawyer for Aguiar's mother, Ellen Aguiar, suggested that the millionaire was in a despondent mood when he got onto his boat last week.

"An hour before he got on his boat, the wife told Guma she wanted a divorce," attorney Richard Baron told ABC News.  "I'm of the belief that that's what pushed him over the deep end.  He loved his wife.  He did not want a divorce."

Court records show that Guma Aguiar filed for divorce from Jamie Aguiar in July 2011, but the couple did not go through with the divorce.

Baron said that Ellen Aguiar spoke to her son an hour before he got on his fishing boat, the T.T. Zion, and sailed off.

"She thinks he went off the deep end and got on the boat depressed [and then] jumped, fell or is somewhere clinging to life," Baron said.  "A mother's optimism knows no bounds.  She's not thinking the worst."

Guma Aguiar's assets include $65 million in bank assets, $35 million in Israeli real estate, the $5 million Florida home he shares with his family, and seven cars and a yacht valued at over $3 million.

Court documents filed on Monday by attorneys for Ellen Aguiar and obtained by ABC News say that Guma Aguiar's property is in "imminent danger" of being "wasted, misappropriated, or lost" by his wife Jamie Aguiar unless immediate action is taken to preserve the status quo.

The document alleges that his wife Jamie Aguiar fired Aguiar & Associates' CFO "without any reason or justification whatsoever and without a majority vote for the remaining officers to do so."

It also claims that his wife contacted the chairman of the board of Hapoel Jerusalem, a basketball team owned by Guma Aguiar, and instructed him to take no further action with the team, including paying the salaries of employees.

"The Absentee's Wife has taken such actions without court order, without power of attorney, and without any other authority to do so," the document states.

Jamie Aguiar's agent Suzanne Faulkner has been acting on her behalf and executing these actions, according to the document.  Faulkner did not respond to request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorado Lesbian Wendy Alfredsen Mom Granted Paternity in Custody Battle

ABC(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- A lesbian mother who fought for custody of her child by becoming the first woman allowed to file a paternity suit in Colorado has finally been granted access to her daughter.

The case was a custody battle ripped from the headlines: In the middle of a messy divorce, one parent took the child and fled the country, leaving the other to work the legal system in hopes of seeing the child again. In the case of Wendy and Lena Alfredsen of Centennial, Colo., the custody debacle was complicated by the sexual orientation of the lesbian parents, who had few legal rights under Colorado state law.

The Alfredsens decided to start a family in 2006 and adopted two biological sisters. Because Colorado law at the time of the adoption did not allow for a child to have two gay parents, each woman became the legal parent of one girl.

In 2009, when the women decided to part ways and Wendy Alfredsen hired legal representation, Lena Alfredsen took her legal child and went to Norway to live. Wendy Alfredsen, who had no warning about the impending move, thought she might never see her other daughter again.

"She didn't get to say goodbye to her parent or sister," Wendy Alfredsen told ABC News affiliate KMGH. "How can that not damage a kid?"

Wendy Alfredsen and her attorney, Ann Gushurst, decided to fight for custody of the girl by taking advantage of a recent decision in Colorado that allowed non-biological parents to file paternity suits.

"I think any parent would fight tooth and nail for their kids," Wendy Alfredsen told KMGH. "I didn't know what contact I would have, what role I would play, especially not legally being her parent."

In January, Gushurst convinced Judge Steven Collins in a courtroom packed with legal aides, clerks and judges that a woman should have the same right as a man to file for paternity of a child. The judge agreed.

The decision will allow non-biological parents who have shown a history of parenting to fight for custody, which is a boon for gay parents and for children, Gushurst said.

"It means that we're talking the first steps in realizing that children have rights to be with their parents," Gushurst told KMGH. "We give a lot of lip service to the best interest of the child, but children don't really have a legal standing in our court system."

Following the decision by Collins, both Wendy and Lena Alfredsen agreed to share custody of both children.

Lena Alfredsen and one daughter continue to live in Norway, where Lena is from, while Wendy and the other daughter continue to live in Colorado, Gushurst said. They are continuing to work out parenting arrangements.

"It's a huge milestone," Wendy Alfredsen told KMGH. "I just did what any parent would do for their child. But it does feel good to know that we're making a change."

Alfredsen, who has traveled to Norway several times to see her adopted daughter, said the girl still considers her to be one of her moms.

"She always screams and jumps in my arms and says, 'Mommy, I missed you,' and, 'Mommy, I love you,'" Alfredsen told KMGH. "It doesn't matter the amount of time that's passed."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Same-Sex Couples Fight to Divorce

Jeffrey Hamilton/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- Same-sex couples who have fought so long for the right to marry are finding they also need to fight for the right to divorce.

It’s a well-known fact that half of marriages will end in divorce. And with six states and the District of Columbia allowing same-sex marriage, it’s no surprise that same-sex couples, too, would at times seek divorce.

But for some, like Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan, who were married in California in 2008, divorce is hard to come by.

Maryland’s highest court is hearing arguments Friday on the precedent-setting case to determine if same-sex marriages granted in other states can be dissolved in one where the marriage is not recognized.

Granting divorce to same-sex couples has been an inconsistent practice within the state, lawyers involved in Friday’s case said. Though they believe judges have granted about a half a dozen divorces for gay couples, their clients, Port and Cowan, and at least one other couple were recently denied that.

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco and one of the attorneys representing Port, said divorces “shouldn’t depend on what judge you get.”

Jana Singer, professor of law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law who is not involved in the case, believes the appeals court took this case “to resolve this inconsistency,” she said. ” When the Court of Appeals rules in this case there will be a consistent rule in Maryland about recognition of same-sex marriages validly contracted in other states.”

The couple first requested a dissolution of their marriage and were denied in 2010 by a Maryland judge based on the fact that women’s marriage is not legal in the state.

“The court finds that to recognize the alleged marriage would be contrary to the public policy of Maryland,” Prince George’s County Judge A. Michael Chapdelaine wrote in a two-page opinion.

Lawyers for the women argue that Maryland has long recognized marriages entered into in other states, even if the state itself has barred those marriages. For example, Maryland law bars an uncle and a niece from marrying, but the state will recognize that marriage if it legally occurred in another state.

Singer explains this saying the court applies what is known as the Comity law.

“Even where somebody couldn’t get married in Maryland, if they validly got married somewhere else Maryland will recognize their marriage,” she said.

She added that a provision within the law of Comity that states it is invalid if the ruling “would be contrary to receiving state strong public policy” could have been the basis for Chapdelain’s decision.

The state also has no express prohibition banning the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states, lawyers argued before the seven-member appellate court Friday.

“There have been bills introduced in Maryland,” Minter said during the Friday hearing, referring to proposed Maryland stature that would not recognize a marriage when it was legally entered elsewhere.  "Legislature has repeatedly rejected those…”

“Is this marriage entitled to recognition?” Minter asked. “Yes, as long as the marriage was validly entered in another jurisdiction … it's exactly as though the marriage has been entered in Maryland.”

About a year and half ago Maryland’s attorney general looked at the question of marriage validity. In his review of Maryland law he said the state should recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages that were valid where they were entered into.  The attorney general’s ruling has been applied to state agencies, granting same-sex couples state benefits.

Maryland joins the ranks of Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas and Rhode Island where judges have denied gay couples divorces.

Responding to those cases, California and the District of Columbia recently passed laws allowing gay couples married in their jurisdictions to divorce there if their home state will not dissolve the marriage.

Regardless of the decision made by the high court, under a law passed this year, Port and Cowan and other same-sex couples, will only have to wait until January 2013 for same-sex weddings, and by extension divorces, to be legal. Opponents of the new law, however, are seeking to overturn it in a potential voter referendum.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Same-Sex Couple Married in California Getting Divorced

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- An interesting sign of the times: the lesbian couple whose legal struggle helped pave the way for gay marriage in California is getting divorced.

Robin Tyler and Diane Olson were the original plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court case (argued by attorney Gloria Allred) that opened the doors to lesbian and gay marriage in the nation’s most populous state. They appeared in an interview with Allred for ABC News.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

In June 2008, Tyler and Olson were the first same-sex couple to wed in Los Angeles County.

During the campaign over Proposition 8 -- the voter-approved initiative that ultimately overturned the court’s decision and banned gay marriage -- Olson and Tyler appeared in campaign ads asking the voters to not “take our marriage away.”

But now their marriage is apparently on the rocks. While they have plenty of company -- in Southern California, 75 percent of all marriages end in divorce -- the timing is kind of awkward. A federal appeals court in California on Tuesday struck down Proposition 8, the controversial ballot measure, passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bishop Eddie Long Takes Leave from Church After Wife Files for Divorce

John Amis-Pool/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Eddie Long, the anti-gay preacher who was accused of sexually abusing four young men in his youth ministry, announced on Sunday that he is taking a leave from his Atlanta megachurch to spend time with his family.

“I’m still your pastor, you will receive my direction,” Long told the congregation at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

Vanessa Long, who has been married to the pastor for 21 years, filed divorce papers last Thursday, but withdrew them a few hours later.  But her change of heart was short-lived.  On Friday, Vanessa Long’s lawyers announced the divorce was back on.

“Mrs. Long continues to hope that this matter may be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly; however, she has determined that dismissal of her divorce petition is not appropriate at this time,” her attorney said in a statement.

Long’s accusers say he coerced them into sexual relations when they were teenagers.  The preacher settled with the accusers for an undisclosed amount last May.  Some suggest he spent nearly $2.5 million to end the lawsuit.

This summer, at his first public appearance since news of the allegations broke, Vanessa Long stood by her husband’s side.  The two have three children together, and Eddie Long also has a son named Edward from his previous marriage.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which has more than 25,000 members, has been rocked by the scandal involving their bishop.  It is trying to put a good face on the most recent developments, and on Sunday told its Twitter followers, “The enemy wants us to think it isn’t well.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wife of Minister Eddie Long Files for Divorce, Then Withdraws

John Amis-Pool/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Late Thursday night, Vanessa Long confirmed long-standing rumors that she and her husband, megachurch Pastor Eddie Long, were on the brink of divorce. She filed divorce papers Thursday, and in an emailed statement wrote that “After a great deal of deliberation and prayer, I have decided to terminate my marriage to Bishop Eddie L. Long.” In the initial divorce filing, she said the marriage was “irretrievably broken” and had “no hope of reconciliation.”

Eddie Long was accused by four young men of coercing them into sexual relations when the they were teenagers. He settled with the accusers for an undisclosed amount last May. Some suggest he spent nearly $2.5 million settling the case. At his first public appearance after news of the allegations broke, Vanessa Long stood by his side. Her divorce filing was the first real sign that there was trouble in the Long marriage.

But Friday afternoon, Vanessa Long had an apparent, sudden and dramatic change of heart.

“Upon prayerful reflection, I have reconsidered and plan to withdraw my petition for divorce from my husband, Bishop Eddie L. Long,” she wrote. “I love my husband. I believe in him and admire his strength and courage. My filing followed years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me. I love my family and church family, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Therefore, my husband and I have mutually agreed to find healing from these attacks. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time.”

This is Eddie Long’s second marriage. He married Dabara Houston in 1981 and they were divorced four years later. According to court documents, there were allegations that he beat his then wife with his fists when she was more than seven months pregnant.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which has more than 25,000 members, has been rocked by the scandal involving their “bishop.” Elder Bernice King, daughter of slain civil right leader Martin Luther King, left the church this summer but denied she left because of the allegations surrounding Long having sex with young men in his youth ministry.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New York Lawyer Kills Wife, Children and Self Amid Divorce

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LEWISBORO, N.Y.) -- A Westchester County, N.Y., man bludgeoned his wife to death and then shot his two children before killing himself, police said Wednesday.

Samuel Friedlander, 50, appeared to have had a violent struggle with his wife and killed her with the leg from a piece of furniture before using a 12-gauge shotgun to kill his children and himself early Tuesday morning, police said.

Friedlander and his wife, Amy Friedlander, were supposed to meet for a divorce proceeding Wednesday, according to police.  Their Lewisboro, N.Y., house, advertised as having "cathedral ceilings and custom built-ins" on over an acre of wooded land in "sought-after" Michelle Estates, was up for sale with an asking price of $799,000.

The bodies were discovered at 3:40 p.m. Tuesday after Amy Friedlander's friend and business partner called 911 when she hadn't heard from her, according to Maj. Michael Kopy of the state police.

Police arrived at the locked house and asked the real estate agent in charge of selling the home to let them in using a lock box, Kopy said.  The realtor waited outside while police searched the home and found the bodies.

Amy Friedlander was found dead on the floor of the master bedroom and had not been shot, while the children -- Molly, 10, and Gregory, 8 -- were found in their respective beds, shot in their torsos, police said.  There was no sign of struggle with the children.

Samuel Friedlander shot himself in the basement of the family's home.  Police have not found a suicide note and said other rooms in the home showed no evidence of any struggle.

Kopy could not comment on any possible motives.

Samuel Friedlander was an attorney in northern Westchester County, where he handled criminal defense work and community-based real estate, Kopy said.  People that knew Friedlander told police they noticed his behavior had changed recently.

Police do not know where Samuel Friedlander got the gun.  He had no history of violence or mental illness, though police were once called out for a non-violent domestic dispute at the home, Kopy said.

Police said Wednesday that autopsies are still being performed on the bodies and the investigation into where and when the weapon was purchased will continue, in addition to interviews with family and friends.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Massachusetts Alimony Law Limits Payments to Ex-Spouses

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Divorcees, second husbands and second wives may find reason to rejoice in Massachusetts. On Monday, Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, a law limiting alimony payments and abolishing most lifetime spousal entitlements.

The new law establishes a formula for alimony, based on the length of the marriage, and says payments will now end when the paying ex-spouse reaches retirement age or the receiving ex-spouse lives with a romantic partner.

However, courts still have flexibility, such as special circumstances and awarding indefinite alimony for longer marriages, according to the Boston Globe.

The 2nd Wives Club, under its parent group Mass Alimony Reform, has been fighting for more than two years to limit what they said were excessive payments to former spouses. The 2nd Wives Club consisted mostly of married women who said Massachusetts judges’ rulings forced them to contribute to alimony payments for their partners’ ex-wives.

Deborah Scanlan, the club’s chairwoman, told ABC News in 2009 that because a judge took into account her $58,000 income as an executive assistant, her husband Daniel Gingras’ alimony payments totaled $26,000 a year, about $16,000 more than they would have otherwise.

Steve Hitner, president of Mass Alimony Reform, sent a message to his email distribution list on Tuesday saying, “the event we have all been waiting for has finally happened.”

He said the law is a complicated piece of legislation, written to address many years of outdated case law and is a monumental change in social policy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Schwarzenegger's Daughter: Scandal Aftermath Has Been a 'Difficult Time'

Chris Weeks/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver's oldest child says the past few months, during which her parents separated and the ex-California governor admitted he'd fathered a child with his housekeeper, have been a "difficult time" for her.

In an interview with Harper's Bazaar magazine, Katherine Schwarzenegger says that while she tries "not to care what other people necessarily think," she's appreciative of the support she's received from others on Twitter.

"When my parents announced they were separating, people on Twitter were like, 'Oh, how are you doing?'  They said, 'How are you?  We love you.  We love your family.'  And even if it's people you don't know, it's nice to hear people say that," Schwarzenegger, who's 21, said.  "So I responded, 'Thank you so much for your support in this difficult time,' which is definitely a difficult time.  It made dealing with it so much easier."

Schwarzenegger says she went to London in late May to avoid the scrutiny her family received in the wake of the scandal.

"I just want kind of wanted to go away and realize that it's not as big a deal in other places," she said.

Schwarzenegger says that she has a strong relationship with both of her parents, but she's "always been way closer" to her mother.

She adds, "I'm close to my dad, but they're totally different kinds of relationships."

Shriver, who has four children with Arnold Schwarzenegger, has filed for divorce.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio