Georgia Fathers Challenge Jail Sentences for “Deadbeat” Parents

Five fathers are challenging a Georgia law that gives judges discretion to put parents in jail if they fall behind on child support payments. Critics of the law say it perpetuates a vicious cycle, as jailed parents end up losing their jobs, making it even harder for them to pay child support.

The lawsuit seeks to force the state of Georgia to provide parents with attorneys at hearings so they can defend themselves. Since January 2010, approximately 3,500 people have been jailed over child support without being provided with an attorney.

Under Georgia law, anyone charged with criminal contempt has the right to an attorney. The right to counsel does not extend to parents in child support hearings because the state considers these hearings civil matters.

“We absolutely have a modern day debtor’s prison,” said Sarah Geraghty of the Southern Center for Human Rights, who is representing the fathers. If the lawsuit prevails, the state may have to spend millions of dollars to pay for lawyers for parents facing jail time for child support.

Geraghty hopes that the lawsuit will force the state to change its collection tactics, prodding it to garnish wages or put liens on the property of delinquent parents rather than imprison them.

Source:  Ledger-Enquirer.com, “Fathers challenge jail sentences for child support,” Greg Bluestein, January 29, 2012

Paypal Founder’s Actress Wife Files for Divorce

PayPal founder Elon Musk’s wife has filed for divorce.

“Pride and Prejudice” actress Talulah Riley filed for divorce on January 17th, one day before Musk announced the couple’s split on Twitter. Musk and Riley have been married for one year.

Source:  TMZ.com, “Millionaire PayPal Founder Actress Wife Files for Divorce,” January 25, 2012

U.K. Man Loses “Star Trek” Apartment in Divorce

A man who spent ten years turning his apartment into a replica of a starship from the tv show “Star Trek: Voyager” is going to lose his beloved man-cave to a divorce.

When Tony Alleyne’s wife left him in 1994, he began transforming his Leicester, U.K. apartment into the interior of the U.S.S. Voyager. The Trekkie installed molded walls, a high-tech bathroom, voice-activated blue lighting, and a command console. Alleyne says he spent more than $150,000 on the project.

Unfortunately for Alleyne, his wife owns the apartment (and has been paying the mortgage since the couple split) and wants to sell it “as a conventional property.” Alleyne’s wife apparently waited until recently to seek a divorce.

“To say I’m gutted is an understatement. It is my life’s work – and it looks like it’s going into a skip,” said the hapless Trekkie. “I admit there were tears.”

Source: The Escapist, “The Ultimate Star Trek Apartment is Lost to Divorce,” Andy Chalk, January 25, 2012

Kobe Bryant’s Wife Rumored to Get $75 Million in Divorce Settlement

TMZ reports that Kobe Bryant has reached a divorce settlement with his wife Vanessa.

Sources connected to the couple say that Vanessa will walk away with $75 million. The couple’s assets are estimated to be worth approximately $150 million.

Vanessa Bryant will get to keep all three of the couple’s homes in the Newport Beach area.

Source: TMZ.com, “Kobe Bryant Wife Scores BIG in Divorce,” January 20, 2012