USA: Orono mom found dead with 5-year-old son left suicide note lamenting custody rift


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An Orono woman discovered dead with her 5-year-old son Monday left a suicide note lamenting her long-running court battle with the father over custody that ended with them having joint parenting rights, according to a search warrant filed Wednesday.

Police have called the hangings of Gina Ilene Summers, 46, and her son Jude a murder-suicide. It appears to follow a lengthy custody dispute between Summers and the boy’s father, 51-year-old Jeff Sandberg, of Minnetonka.

Officers first stopped by the home Monday, after Sandberg notified police that he could not reach anyone there to arrange for picking up his son at 5 p.m., Police Chief Correy Farniok said. Summers and Sandberg have joint custody of the boy.

The home was locked and no one answered the door, Farniok said. Sandberg was advised to call back later if the situation remained the same, the chief said.

After the father called again, a relative who lived nearby and had keys let police in about 8 p.m. That’s when the bodies were found in the basement and a preliminary determination of murder-suicide was made, the chief said.

Summers’ typed and signed note, which was discovered nearby, “talked about prior domestic abuse and issues with the system and allowing a child to be ripped from his mother,” and it ended with, “Don’t let this happen to another child and mother.”

Sandberg released a statement late Thursday through his attorney pointing out how he went from enjoying a family fishing trip a week ago to the Boundary Waters with his 5-year-old son and others to now “planning the funeral for Jude, murdered by his mother, Gina Summers, when he was getting ready for his first day of Ready Start Kindergarten.”

Sandberg challenged the mother’s allegations, writing that Summers “since the onset of the case in January 2015 when she falsely accused the father of domestic abuse, never missed an opportunity to disrupt the established father-son relationship, both inside and outside of the Family Court paternity proceedings.”

He said Summers traumatized him and his family over the past 2½ years with “her actions and inactions, including her scheduling of multiple motions before the court, not only before but also after the trial, and subsequently to the Court of Appeals, and her absolute refusal to participate in ordered mediation.”

Police searched Summers’ house and found documents, including court and mental health papers. A camera system was also installed at the property.

According to court documents in their disputes over Jude’s custody and care, Summers and Sandberg began a romantic relationship in 2008, and the next year discussed having a child through in vitro fertilization. After several failed pregnancy attempts, Jude was born in August 2012.

By July 2015, the relationship had become toxic. Summers received an order for protection against Sandberg, saying he had been physically abusing her since 2009. That petition was eventually settled and dismissed.

But the two continued to fight over the pregnancy costs and how to care for the boy. They filed court motions against one another over which school district he should attend. On Friday, Hennepin County District Judge Edward Wahl ruled in Sandberg’s favor.

The court records include many of the boy’s report cards, pictures and assessments. His preschool teacher wrote that the boy is “doing great in class! He is such a smiley and loving boy!”

Summers worked as a Realtor in the west metro. In an online biography, she spoke at length about activities with her son, that ranged “from reading to painting, from racing cars to swimming with them, from gardening to building, all ball sports, and not to mention teaching him to downhill ski at 17 months old; the list of fun goes

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Bristol Palin loses full custody of her son after ex-fiance wins $100,000 court battle


February 27, 2016

Source: Blastingnews.com

Sarah Palin’s daughter has lost a court battle, giving up full custody of her 7-year-old son Tripp.

Bristol-Palin

The daughter of former half term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was on the losing end of a legal battle that cost over $100,000. After having full custody of her first child, Tripp, Bristol Palin will now take part in a joint custody agreement with her ex-fiance , as reported by EOnline on Feb. 24.

Bristol beginning

Heading into the 2008 presidential election, Republicans knew that they needed a spark to defeat the popular Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. With Arizona Sen. John McCain named the party’s nominee, senior advisors recommended Palin to join the ticket.

Sarah-Palin-2016

Despite her limit experience, the Tea Party favorite was able to add life to the GOP, but was quickly exposed for her lack of political knowledge, ending in a quick defeat that November. Along the campaign trail, Bristol Palin joined her mother with then fiance Levi, announcing that she was pregnant at only 17-years-old. Shortly after the election defeat, the teen couple separated which led to a legal battle that has lasted over seven years.

Court battle

Since their break up in 2009, Johnston alleges that the Palin family have made it difficult for him to see his son. In 2010, Levi and Bristol worked out an agreement that would allow the child to his see father twice a week, each Wednesday and Saturday. Since the courts never finalized the agreement, Johnston filed a petition in 2013 asking for joint custody.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Johnston announced that he had won the court battle. “I’m so happy to have my son in my life,” Johnston said, noting, “I’m happy now to be successfully co-parenting.” Elaborating further on the details of the case, “It might have taken me 7 years and cost me around $100,000 in lawyer fees, spread out among 3 different lawyers, as well as a lot of patience, but it was all worth it.”

The Palin family hasn’t released an official statement, but Bristol posted a meme on Instagram after the court’s decision, which read, “Always be careful of what you hear about a woman. Rumours either come from a man that can’t have her or a woman who can’t compete with her.”

Last December, Bristol gave birth to her second child, her daughter named Sailor Grace Palin. The child’s father is Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer, who has since taken legal action, also pushing for joint custody.

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Jason Patric teams up with Wall Street financier to talk about parental rights


February 4, 2016

Source: pagesix.com

Wall Street financier Warren Lichtenstein, who has been in a high-profile custody battle over his daughter with British socialite Annabelle Bond, is teaming up with actor Jason Patric to host a think tank about parental rights.

Annabelle Bond, the mother of Warren Lichtenstein’s daughter

Lichtenstein has been battling Bond, the daughter of former HSBC chairman Sir John R. H. Bond, for custody of their 5-year-old daughter and currently pays her $50,000 per month in child support.

Lichtenstein, the chairman and CEO of hedge fund Steel Partners, recently filed a lawsuit in Manhattan claiming Bond obtained the outsize child support order from a Hong Kong court to “improve upon her already extraordinary life of luxury, privilege and modest fame,” and alleges she and her new boyfriend conspired to hide her true wealth to win the inflated child support payments.

Sources tell Page Six that Lichtenstein is up to date on the payments and, “He desperately wants more time with his daughter.”

Meanwhile, Patric went through a 2- year court battle to be legally recognized as the father of his son Gus, who was conceived with his sperm donation.

jason-patric-Custody_Battle

Lichtenstein and Patric are co-hosting a Los Angeles think tank on Friday for international matrimonial lawyers and family court judges. Vanderbilt University professor and psychiatrist William Bernet, an editor of “Parental Alienation,” will be the speaker.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the Family Court System


January 14, 2016

Source: huffingtonpost.com, 

Why can’t you both just get along for the sake of the children?

Parental-Kidnapping-Recovery

Those words are like nails on a chalkboard to anyone who has been through a divorce with someone who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

While divorce can bring out the worst in a healthy person, a divorce involving someone with NPD is like inviting the devil himself onto the battlefield. The narcissist appears to be charming, charismatic and endearing to those whom he encounters yet outside of the courtroom, he is calculated, manipulative and many times, downright dangerous. The untrained observer may perceive the situation to be about two immature parents who are not capable of putting their children first.

Sadly, many of the untrained observers are the very people who are tasked with deciding the fate of the children caught in the middle of these highly contentious custody battles. A narcissist is like the modern day version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I once tried to explain to the Judge in my own divorce case that I didn’t know the man sitting 5-feet to my left. The man sitting next to me in the courtroom was not the same man who I was attempting to co-parent with. This man claimed to love his children and want to spend time with them however; his actions did not match his words.

how-PAS-affects-children

According to the DSM IV-TR, between 2 percent and 16 percent of the population in clinical settings are diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There are individuals such as Billy Eddy, Author of the book, “Splitting” and President of the High Conflict Institute who is working diligently to educate the Family Court System on these individuals however, the education needs to be moved to a priority status. After a contentious custody battle with a narcissist which spanned over four years, I have witnessed many of the cracks in the Family Court System first-hand.

  • Words vs. Actions: When words and actions are not in alignment, further investigations should take place. Narcissists are master manipulators yet their actions are never in alignment with their words.
  • Perjury: Changes need to be made when it comes to individuals who are caught lying. Perjury is taken very seriously in every courtroom except the Family Court System.
  • Education on Personality Disorders: Education on NPD needs to begin in law school and continuing education on personality disorders should be mandatory for each person who has a hand in the Family Court System such as Custody Evaluators, Guardian Ad Litems, Commissioners, Judges, Social Workers and Attorneys.
  • The Best Interest of the Child: Cases are often pushed through the courtroom like cattle. Ample time needs to be devoted to hearing high-conflict cases. When it takes longer to adopt a puppy from the dog pound than it does to decide the fate of a child, something is very wrong.
  • Court Orders: Even with court orders in hand, it can be difficult to enforce court orders. When dealing with individuals with NPD, court orders need to be very concise and void of wiggle room. If there is any room for manipulation in court orders, a narcissist will find it.
  • Parental Rights vs. Best Interest of the Child: While the Family Court System is supposed to act in the best interest of the child, this is not happening. Parental rights seem to carry more weight than what is truly in the best interest of the child. The ability to procreate should not automatically guarantee rights that override a child’s well-being.

I recently spoke to Chelsea Storey, Family Law Attorney in Orange County, California, about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and it’s affect on the Family Court System.

“The central focus of judges in the family court system should be on children’s rights and protecting the children. Custody determinations should not be based on father’s rights or mother’s rights but based solely on the best interest of the child. When there are accusations of abuse and neglect, it is imperative that these items are taken seriously and investigated by highly skilled and trained individuals. The actions of a parent should be given more consideration than the grandiose statements of the parties. In high conflict custody cases, with the popular presumption that equal parenting time or 50/50 custody is fair to both parents, the children’s safety, stability and best interest are too often ignored and overlooked while decisions are hastily made due to blanket assumptions about scorned parents and limited court time. While an equal parenting time arrangement may work between two healthy parents, it absolutely does not work when one or both parents are determined to lie, manipulate, alienate and abuse the children in the name of winning at all costs. When one party is focused on self and not on the children, children suffer immensely and litigation is exponentially prolonged creating instability and a dangerous environment for children.”

Currently, there are movements taking place such as Safe Kids International which is striving to make changes and to bring transparency to the Family Court System. A recent collaboration with Fox News prompted an investigative series called, “Lost in the System” which did a fantastic job of placing a spotlight on what many deem to be a Family Court crisis. While it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to protect a child. I think the first step is to create a village within the Family Court System that is educated on personality disorders which are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society.

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Kelly Rutherford loses three-year child custody battle


December 16, 2015

Source: pagesix.com

Former “Gossip Girl” actress Kelly Rutherford, 47, has failed to gain custody of her kids and will only be able to visit them in Monaco and France, according to a report Tuesday.

Kelly Rutherford 2015

Rutherford — who went bankrupt blowing $1.4 million on her bitter divorce from Daniel Giersch — was also awarded a paltry $3,281 a month in maintenance from the German-born businessman, the Daily Mail reported.

The rulings by a judge in Monaco followed a legal brawl that erupted in August, when Rutherford was forced to surrender son Hermes, 9, and daughter Helena, 6, to Giersch’s mom inside a closed New York City courtroom. One of the kids was heard shouting “Mommy!” through the doors before Rutherford emerged, looking distraught.

Kelly Rutherford with children Helena and Hermes, and Rutherford’s ex Daniel Giersch

Giersch — who won primary custody of the kids in 2013 — had accused Rutherford of breaking a promise to send them back to him in Monaco following a summer vacation in America.

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Angie Vu spends ‘terrifying’ month in Brooklyn prison on abduction charges, insists her life is in control


December 6, 2015

Source: nydailynews.com

She has spent a “terrifying” month cooling her heels in a Brooklyn prison on parental abduction charges, but Asia’s sexiest DJ, Angie Vu, insists that her life is not spinning out of control.

Angie-Vu Abduction Prison

Vu, 32, was arrested Nov. 3 by U.S. marshals at Kennedy Airport, where she was about to board a flight to China with her 9-year-old daughter, Isabella.

“I can be in the most luxurious places and enjoy the highlights, but I can also be left in a desert alone fighting to survive,” Vu told the Daily News. “Whatever comes my way, I will deal with it.”

Vu, 32, was arrested Nov. 3 by U.S. marshals at Kennedy Airport, where she was about to board a flight to China with her 9-year-old daughter, Isabella. The child’s biological father had convinced a French court that Vu was a fugitive after she failed to return their daughter to him in Paris.

Last month, a Brooklyn magistrate judge refused to free Vu on bail after Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Harris argued that the globe-hopping mom could not be trusted to return to Paris  on her own. She is due in Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday to find out if authorities in Paris are still demanding she return to face charges.

“I love my child, and it breaks my heart to see her being put in between all this,” Vu said.

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She is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in an open dormitory with 100 female inmates. There hasn’t been any “Orange Is the New Black” drama, but it hasn’t been easy, either.

“I broke down when I first got here,” she said. “I will never forget what I had to go through, the sound and view of cells, handcuffs and chains and other prisoners.”

There hasn’t been any special treatment, although a guard recognized Vu from her past appearance on the TV show “America’s Got Talent,” and several inmates remarked that she seemed like a model with her striking looks and “nice, white teeth.”

Angie-VU-HA-DJ

“I love my child, and it breaks my heart to see her being put in between all this,” Vu said.

Vu has appeared in Playboy magazine and Internet films when she’s not working as a DJ in posh clubs in Asia. She’s had to cancel gigs in Los Angeles, Malaysia and Las Vegas.

“I look horrible and baggy like a monster in this jumpsuit three times my size, but it is the last thing I care about now,” she said.

She hopes the judge will see her as a caring mom and not some sexpot with no respect for the law.

“(The prosecutor) can use as many photos of me in sexy outfits to go to events or in bikinis on the beach, naked in Playboy …,” she said.

But there are many photos of her shaking hands with former President Bill Clinton and pictures of her and her daughter on the cover of a family magazine, she noted.

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Kelly Rutherford Loses Bid to Fight for Custody of Kids in California


June 24, 2015

Source: US Magazine

Heartbreaking news for Kelly Rutherford. The Gossip Girl actress officially lost her bid to fight for full custody of her two young children in California on Thursday, July 23. 

kelly-rutherford Custody battle

Rutherford’s attorney David J. Glass tells Us Weekly that a judge ruled that Rutherford no longer has the right to fight for custody of her son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 6, in the state of California. A judge in Monaco, where Rutherford’s ex-husband Daniel Giersch lives, had given him full custody over their children.

“We are extremely disappointed with the Ruling,” Glass told Us. “Although the Court agreed with our analysis of the law, and in fact agreed with our position that citizens can have more than residence for jurisdictional purposes, the Court ultimately did not agree with us on the facts.”

Kelly Rutherford Children

Rutherford and Giersch, a German businessman, have been in an ugly custody battle over their two children for the last six years. (Rutherford filed for divorce in 2008, while she was pregnant with their daughter). Both children regularly reside with Giersch in Monaco, and it was decided in December 2013 that he no longer had to pay for his children to visit the States and their mother.

The news is bittersweet, as both Hermes and Helena are temporarily in NYC with Rutherford, 46, for the summer after the actress was granted temporary sole custody in May by a California judge.

“I know it’s not right. Parents know — everyone knows it’s not right,” Rutherford said on Good Morning America back in April. “I can sit here and tell you how often I cry. I can tell you how it feels to leave my kids in a foreign country and seeing them after not seeing them for weeks on end. Not being able to bring them from school and pick them up from school, dress them, hug them, smell them.”

The actress filed for bankruptcy in 2013, claiming $2 million in debt, including $1.5 million in legal fees and travel fees to see her children.

Her very public plight has gained widespread attention, including the support of some bold-faced names, including former costars Ed Westwick and Matthew Settle, and even Kim Kardashian. In May, the stars and tens and thousands of others signed a White House petition to bring Rutherford’s kids back to her.

“My children, not only were they taken away, but they were sent to a foreign country,” she continued in the GMA interview. “I don’t even know how you explain to someone what it feels like.”

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Custody Battle continues – Rutherford gets children for the summer


June 23, 2015

Source: Belfast telegraph

Kelly Rutherford has won a small victory in her ongoing custody battle with her ex-husband.

Kelly Rutherford

The Gossip Girl actress has been in a six-year-battle with ex-husband Daniel Giersch over the custody of their two children. Eight-year-old Hermés and Helena, six, currently live in Monaco with their dad after his US visa was revoked in 2012. While the bigger battle over where the children should live permanently rages on, 46-year-old Kelly has managed to secure the summer with them in the States.

“I am pleased with the outcome and that the children will be coming to the U.S. for a part of their summer vacation,” she said in a statement to People magazine. “I am reassured by the Monaco process and the judge and although I still maintain my legal objections about Monaco hearing the case, [my] serenity is restored.”

Last month Kelly was left disappointed when a ruling given by a Californian judge for temporary custody in her favour was halted because the United States does not hold jurisdiction over the case. Instead Monaco has full command over what happens to her offspring, which led to Monday’s hearing regarding their home for the summer.

While Daniel’s lawyer previously claimed his client had no problem with sending the children to America for their vacation like he had done since their joint custody plan was outlined in 2012, Kelly had reservations about it.

“I am concerned that he will try to further prevent me from spending time with them,” she said in a previous statement.

The former couple were both in court in Monaco for the ruling on Monday, but will face each other again in a Los Angeles court on July 9.

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Mum could be jailed for going on the run in child custody battle


June 22, 2015

Source: eveningtelegraph

A mother who went on the run with her three-year-old son during a bitter custody battle could be jailed.

Rebecca Minnock Ethan Williams

Rebecca Minnock, 35, is facing committal proceedings launched by her ex-partner Roger Williams, 39, after she defied two court orders concerning their son Ethan Williams.

Two court hearings will take place in Bristol this week, which could see the mother-of-one jailed for contempt of court.

Judge Stephen Wildblood QC said would there would be a directions hearing on Wednesday, ahead of the full hearing on Friday. Both would be held in public at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.

Earlier this month her mother, Louise, 52, and her mother’s partner Andrew Butt, 56, were jailed for withholding information about the little boy’s disappearance. Both have since been released.

Miss Minnock, from Highbridge, Somerset, handed herself in to the police in Oxford on June 12 after 17 days on the run. She disappeared on May 27, the day she was meant to hand Ethan over to his father.

Ethan, who was born on January 25 2012, has lived with Miss Minnock since his parents separated in February 2013.

A custody battle began the following month. Miss Minnock made allegations about Mr Williams which a district judge later ruled were false.

On May 27, it was found Miss Minnock exposed Ethan to emotional harm and should only have supervised contact with him. It was ordered that the boy should live with Mr Williams full-time.

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USA – Police arrest SoCal woman for alleged parental abduction


January 4 , 2015

Source: TheReporter.com

Vacaville police on Friday arrested a Southern California woman on suspicion of taking her two young children, then fleeing to Northern California with them.

Dodge Charger Police Car

At about 7 p.m., officers received a telephone call from the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, requesting help with a parental child-abduction case.

Sheriffs detectives were working a case in which a parent who was the noncustodial parent refused to return two children after a court-ordered visitation, Vacaville Sgt. Charlie Spruill said in a press release issued Saturday.

He said an investigation showed the parent, Isabel Cristina Warren, 28, described as a transient Norwalk resident, had no intention of returning the children, ages 4 and 7.

Detectives exhausted all leads in Southern California, but the investigation led detectives to believe Warren and the children were in Vacaville.

Detectives then sought an arrest warrant for her, and the two children were entered into the State of California Missing and Unidentified Persons System (MUPS).

L.A. sheriffs notified Vacaville officers that Warren and children were possibly in two separate Vacaville locations.

Detectives from the Vacaville Narcotics Enforcement Team, along with Vacaville patrol officers, conducted surveillance at the two locations, one of which was in the 1900 block of Duxburry Lane.

At 9:07 p.m., Warren was found and taken into custody. The two children were placed into protective custody and released to the custody of Solano County Child Welfare Services, where they await reunification with their custodial parent.

The Vacaville Police Department “viewed the safety of the children as paramount and the case was brought to a safe and successful conclusion based upon interagency cooperation,” said Spruill.

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