July 30, 2010

How Long Does a Bankruptcy Filing Stay on Your Credit Report?

Posted in Bankruptcy tagged at 10:25 am by demetriagraves

One of the most common questions I get asked by my clients who are considering filing for bankruptcy is how long will the filing be visible on their credit report? According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a consumer reporting company is officially permitted to list accurate negative information on a consumer’s credit report history for seven years (7) and bankruptcy information for ten (10) years.

This does not mean that one cannot get a job, purchase a home, rent an apartment, or even get a credit card within a few years of bankruptcy. However, it’s important that people who are newly bankrupt to be very cautious about obtaining or using any new credit cards. This is because if a new credit card is offered, it is likely to be offered with very high interest and high yearly fees. It may not be worth these fees to have the credit. In fact, people who do get credit cards after a bankruptcy are very high risk and are more likely to miss payments or have trouble paying new loans. Missed payments can further damage one’s credit, even more so than a bankruptcy. This can establish that there hasn’t been corrected financial behavior. The person who has undergone bankruptcy and then contracted additional debt is most likely to face challenges finding work, renting a house, or buying a car on credit. This is because the person continues to establish a dubious financial record. It is essential that any new debt be contracted only with a great deal of thought, and only when one has the ability to repay debt.

On your credit report information regarding a lawsuit or judgment against you can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitation expires, which ­ever is longer. There is no time limit on reporting information about crimi­nal convictions, information that is reported in regards to a job application for a salary of more than $75,000 a year, nor is there a time limit on information reported because of an application for $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance. Thus, unless the reported information is otherwise determined and proven to be inaccurate, incorrect or downright fraudulent, negative information on your credit report can only be removed or marginalized through the passage of time.

It’s the job and duty of the credit reporting agencies to store and maintain accurate information about consumers by collecting data from credit granters and public records, including bankruptcies, judgments, and liens. Potentially negative information or remarks, such as missed payments and most public recordations, generally remain on a personal credit report for seven years, with the exception of Chapters 7, 11 and 12 bankruptcy filings, which remain for 10 years. Unpaid tax liens remain for 15 years while paid tax liens remain for 7 years. Positive information may remain on a report indefinitely, and paid-for closed accounts generally display for 10 years. Requests for your credit history remain on your personal credit report for 2 years.

While the Fair Credit Reporting Act places limits on the time period that negative information such as a bankruptcy filing notation may remain on one’s credit report, the actual time period it will remain will vary depending on the type of bankruptcy filing and whether the bankruptcy procedure was properly discharged, halted, or dismissed. The length of time that a bankruptcy filing stays on the credit record will depend on which type of bankruptcy was filed.

Chapter 7 is a type of straight bankruptcy procedure also known as a liquidation proceeding. This type of last resort bankruptcy filing is for those who have little assets or income, and have incurred so much debt that only a complete sell off will properly heal their financial position. Under Chapter 7, the debtor turns over all non exempt property to the bankruptcy trustee who then converts it to cash funds for distribution to the various creditors. The debtor then receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts, usually within four months. In the great majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, since the debtor had no significant assets to hold onto, the Chapter 7 filing will give that person, who was previously encumbered by crushing debt, a new opportunity at a fresh start.

Although the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act does provide that bankruptcy notations can remain on your credit report for 10 years. There is less reporting consistency when bankruptcy filings are dismissed by the court or filer, without a proper discharge. Not all bankruptcy filings successfully run their course and get discharged by the bankruptcy court. Sometimes, the court can dismiss a bankruptcy case, the trustee can request dismissal, or the debtor can file a voluntary dismissal for various reasons. Regardless of stoppage method, a bankruptcy dismissal derails the bankruptcy petition and procedure, and eliminates the automatic stay provision of bankruptcy where creditors are forced aside while the bankruptcy court assumes control. Without the automatic stay protection, creditors are able to once again resume collection activities against the debtor. But despite the dismissal itself which is required to be recorded on all credit reports, the original bankruptcy filing will continue to remain on the filer’s credit history for a certain period of time. One thing to note is that creditors and credit bureaus report bankruptcy dismissals differently – the time period can be anywhere from seven to ten years. That said, most other negative data and remarks on your credit report do drop off after seven years from when it was placed on the report. Here is how the big three credit reporting agencies treat subsequently dismissed bankruptcy filings:

  • The Experian credit reporting agency doesn’t list bankruptcy dismissals as a separate reporting item. On its frequently asked questions page, Experian indicates that: “Missed payments and most public record items remain on the credit report for seven years, with the exception of Chapter 7, 11 and 12 bankruptcies, which remain for 10 years, and unpaid tax liens, which remain for 15 years.” Thus the indication is that Experian reports all Chapter 7 filings, whether properly completed and discharged, or whether abruptly dismissed, for a period of 10 years. All Chapter 13 filings, whether discharged or dismissed appear to be reported for seven years (7) from the date of filing.
  • Trans Union material on its website indicates that the typical retention period for Chapter 13 bankruptcies that have been either dismissed or discharged remain on file for seven (7) years.
  • Equifax on it’s website states that it keeps in its credit reports all dismissed Chapter 13 filings for ten (10) years from the date filed. Discharged Chapter 13 filings on the other hand are only reported for seven (7) years from the date filed.

While bankruptcy filings represent a detrimental mark on your long term credit reporting history, it’s not the end of the world and the negative effects do fade with the passage of time. These days, just because someone has to file for bankruptcy protection doesn’t necessarily mean the person is broke. Bankruptcy can occur for many reasons, and it’s certainly not always the fault of the person who borrowed money in the first place. There are a variety of unforeseen situations and life emergencies that may cause one to file for bankruptcy including persistent unemployment, sudden illness or injury in the family, or simply the inexperienced use of certain financial instruments like credit cards. Bankruptcy will help you keep the creditors off your back and get you on your own financial feet again, but it’s important to acknowledge that there are long term repercussions to such a filing. But at the same time, it’s also important to know that your business and consumer life won’t just end with a one time filing for bankruptcy help.

With the passage of time, the negative reputation that follows filers of bankruptcy fades, weakens, and becomes less pronounced. Your credit rating will unlikely remain low for the entire time that the bankruptcy information remains on your credit report, and will more likely than not gradually rise over time. Credit scoring takes into account the age of any negative reports and gradually discounts the value of that information the older it is. Therefore, the more time that passes the less effect the bankruptcy mark will have on your credit score. Thus after bankruptcy discharge, a two year old bankruptcy will likely mean more to potential future creditors than a five year old bankruptcy because creditors are primarily interested in present financial circumstances. If one’s debt to income ratio is much improved from past years, the negative effect of a prior bankruptcy is likely going to be minimized. So keep in mind that negative history on your credit report is just that – history. It’s just something credit lenders will take into consideration when they evaluate your overall credit worthiness in the future. It does not doom you to perpetual credit rejection or credit purgatory, but it will challenge and should embolden you to strengthen your financial future by saving and using credit more carefully.

If you find that you are facing bankruptcy, it’s important that you get the right advice and that it is handled correctly because of these longer term implication on your credit. I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered and make sure that you are on the right financial track.

July 29, 2010

Do Children Increase Your Risk of Divorce?

Posted in Divorce tagged at 12:03 pm by demetriagraves

What are the risk factors for divorce? The most commonly known about risk factors for divorce are disagreements about money, work-and-family balance, sex and problems with in-laws. How about children – are they a threat or an asset to your marriage?  It seems that the main reasons couples divorce have far more to do with the age at which they married, whether it’s a first marriage or not and new data is showing that kids can be a contributing factor to divorce in certain circumstances as well as a stabilizing influence.

According to a number of recent studies, the number one reason couples split, is if they marry when they’re still teenagers.  A woman who marries before she turns 18 has a 48% likelihood of divorcing, almost twice that rate as women who wait until they’re 25 or older to wed and who face just a 24% likelihood of divorce.

It’s interesting to note that a recent study found that premarital childbearing lead to higher divorce risks, and that effect was actually slightly stronger in first marriages than in later ones. Consequently, childbearing before a first marriage seems to be connected with some characteristics that resulted in higher disruption risks to marriage. This was also found to be true for women who enter a second marriage or a later in life union.

Issues about children—from how couples feel about having them to their gender and health—are also high on the list of divorce triggers. For example, a woman who wants a child or children much more strongly than her spouse is twice as likely to divorce as couples who agree on the number of children they want.  Moreover, couples with two sons have a 36.9% likelihood of divorcing versus couples with two daughters who face a 43.1% likelihood.  And couples with a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are 22.7% more likely to divorce before their child turns eight than parents of a child without ADHD.

Children can also have a stabilizing affect on marriages in certain circumstances. It’s been found that an increasing but still moderate number of children has a stabilizing effect on marriage. This pattern ceases when a mother has a fourth child. There was a small increase in divorce risk for mothers of four compared to mothers of three children. The highest risk of marital dissolution is found in marriages of women who have no children of their own. The patterns are quite similar for first and later marriages but it was noted that the stabilizing effect of having children is less pronounced in later marriages than in first marriages. Also the risk of divorce is around two to three times higher for remarried women than for first-time marriages.

While analyzing the risks of divorce is an interesting topic, what do you do if you find yourself going through a divorce? Obviously, seeking the advice of an experienced family law attorney should be at the top of your list of priorities. I offer a free initial confidential consultation where you can get all your questions answered. My focus as a family law attorney is on getting agreements in place quickly so your divorced can be finalized as rapidly and painlessly as possible.

July 23, 2010

Is Divorce Contagious?

Posted in Divorce tagged at 1:29 pm by demetriagraves

Apparently it is and recent research has confirmed this idea.  How this tends to work is that when you see people breaking up around you, you start to look at and question your own marriage. Peer pressure can also play a role. The more divorced people you have around you, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to give you an unbiased opinion on the subject of divorce and may even be more encouraging that you seek a divorce as opposed to friends who’ve never been divorced.

Why do high profile relationships tend to totally blow apart with such frequency? – What, if anything, we can learn from these celebrity couple meltdowns? Is the constant focus of the press on the details of celebrity break-up a contributing factor to ordinary couples who are going through a rough patch and may be seriously contemplating a divorce?

Another supporting fact for divorce being contagious is that children of divorce are more likely to go through a divorce in their own life. Some research shows that a couple may be twice as likely to divorce if one spouse grew up with divorced parents and if both spouses had divorced parents that couple will be three times more likely to divorce than couple who grew up with both sets of parents still married.

New research data also shows that if you have a best friend who is going through divorce then the chance of your own marriage ending in divorce goes up by 75%. There has also been research on how news and opinions about divorce travels through social networks. Here’s some of the other findings from the 5000 person study that was started in the 1970s:

  • A person with a divorced sibling was 22 percent more likely to get a divorce.
  • A person with a divorced coworker was 55 percent more likely to get a divorce than someone who works with all married coworkers.
  • Even witnessing a friend of a friend’s divorce increased the likelihood of a marriage breaking up by 33 percent.
  • Couples with children were less susceptible to being influenced by other couples divorces.

While the idea of seeking a divorce may seem to be a daunting, regardless of how many friends and family you may have who been through their own divorce. It’s important that you get the right legal advice. I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get your questions answered. While friends and family are vital for your emotional support, often there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about divorce, so getting some sound unbiased advice is a vital first step to helping you decide on your best options regarding a divorce.

Kelsey Grammer’s 3rd Wife Files for Divorce

Posted in Celebrity Divorce tagged at 1:26 pm by demetriagraves

Kelsey Grammer’s third wife Camille, has filed for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences”. It is understood the couple actually split around a month ago and that Kelsey Grammer and his estranged wife had been “discussing separation for some time” before she filed for divorce. The actor (55) confirmed his wife, Camille Donatacci (41), who is a former Playboy model and dancer, had completed paperwork to end their marriage recently. The pair wed in 1997, a year after they met at a MTV party. They have two children together Mason, nine, and six-year-old Jude. Donatacci is seeking joint legal and primary physical custody of their children.

Since the news broke there have been a number of reports about the split, but Kelsey insists it was simply a case of the pair growing apart. “Camille and I had been discussing the possibility of a separation for some time before all this happened. She finally decided she should file. I respect her for this decision… I hope to have a great partnership with her in the raising of our children,” he wrote on his website kelseylive.com.

Kelsey was taking to his blog until fairly recently to deny many of the reports concerning the split.  Kelsey moved to New York earlier this year to star in Broadway production La Cage aux Folles, so he has been away from his family, who live in Los Angeles. It seems that having a long-distance relationship just didn’t work and there are reports that they began suffering marital problems when he took the part in the play earlier this year.

There were many reports that he was living the single life and that Kelsey had become more and more distant from Camille. Another report stated that Kelsey had been seen having dinner with a young blonde woman in New York. But amusingly, this turned out to be his 26 year old daughter Spencer from his first marriage.

July 17, 2010

A Look at No Fault Divorce

Posted in Divorce tagged at 11:57 am by demetriagraves

California introduced the “no-fault” divorce over forty years ago and currently forty-nine of our fifty states have “no-fault” divorce laws. New York state is the only state that hasn’t introduced the “no-fault” divorce, though currently a no-fault bill is being reviewed and New York may soon follow suit with the rest of the country. As a consequence of not having access to no-fault divorce, New York has a history of having  many of the messiest and costliest divorces in the country.

No-fault can be a misnomer. In every divorce, someone is often at fault. Often it’s both parties, to a greater or lesser degree. Let’s define “no-fault”, a number of the clients that I work with as a family law attorney don’t seem to understand what no fault means and often it’s the objective of either one or both of the parties to lay as much blame on the other party as possible, which is counter-productive. Feeling compelled to air differences in public and point out the faults of one’s soon to be ex-spouse does everyone a disservice, especially if you have children who can be profoundly affected by seeing their parents at war. Bottom line is it will also cost more money if you can’t rapidly come to some agreement on how you will move on with your lives separately.

Dictionary.com defines “ no fault” as, “pertaining to, or designating a divorce in which there is no attempt or need to hold either party responsible for the breakup.”

So as you can see from the definition above there’s no need to hold either party responsible for the break-up of the marriage, regardless of whether or not someone really was at fault. My focus as a family law attorney is to get both parties to rapidly agree on things like property division and spousal support. Plus custody, visitation and child support where there are children involved.

The longer it takes to sort out these fundamentals the more painful, lengthy and costly your divorce will be. While no divorce is ever pain-free, focusing on proving fault tends to escalate conflict and will make the process more expensive and time consuming. If your marriage doesn’t work out and you find yourself heading toward divorce, it’s important that both parties try to focus on  being civil about the break-up, especially if there are children involved.

My focus as a family law attorney is to get agreements in place as soon as possible, so that your divorce is as smooth as possible and both parties can move on with their lives and make a fresh start. There’s no need to prolong the agony of divorce by trying to prove who is at fault when we have no fault divorce.

As a California family law attorney I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get your questions answered and my goal is to help you get your life back on track as rapidly as possible, if divorce is on the horizon. Even though all divorce is unpleasant and it’s often painful, it’s important to stay focused on the big picture, which is getting your divorce finalized as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, so that you can move on and get a fresh start.

July 15, 2010

The Dream’s Over For Christina Milian

Posted in Celebrity Divorce tagged at 4:12 pm by demetriagraves

After less than a year of marriage, singer-songwriter-producer The Dream and R&B star Christina Milian have gone their separate ways and Milian will be filing for divorce. It’s been rumored that they have been separated since late 2009 but kept it quiet for the sake of their baby daughter Violet Madison Nash. This goes down in history as one of  the shorter celebrity marriages – they tied the knot in September 2009, their daughter Violet was born on February 26, 2010.

The Dream, whose real name is Terius Hagert Youngdell Nash, confirmed his split from Milian after photos surfaced on the net of him frolicking in the Caribbean surf with a mystery brunette who is rumored to be his assistant.

“Terius ‘The Dream’ Nash is saddened to announce that his marriage to Christina Milian was unsuccessful.”

“They ask for consideration and respect for their family moving forward.” his representative in a statement.

Milian started dating The Dream in March 2009 a month after ending her three year relationship with producer Andre Lyon. She also had a high-profile two year romance with Mariah Carey’s now-husband Nick Cannon, but it ended in 2005 after she accused him of cheating on her. It sounds like a case of history repeating itself.

It will be interesting to follow the details of their divorce settlement including who will get custody of their daughter. Hopefully they will be able to come to an agreement on child support and spousal support. If these factors can’t be readily agreed on their divorce proceedings may last longer than their marriage.

July 9, 2010

Olsen twins Dad Declares Bankruptcy

Posted in Bankruptcy, Forclosure tagged , at 4:56 pm by demetriagraves

The 24 year-old Olsen Twins may be richer than some small countries with their merchandising deals and fashion line but it seems that they’re not spreading the wealth to their dad. There are recent reports that the twins father, David Olsen, has filed for bankruptcy. David divorced Mary Kate and Ashley’s Mom in 1996 to marry his then-secretary, McKenzie with whom he has two children, Taylor, 14, and Jake, 12. Things don’t seem to be working out for David financially. David Olsen’s California home is in foreclosure to the tune of 2.2 million, and there are numerous reports David has had to file for bankruptcy to settle his debt with the bank.

Hearing about bankruptcy and foreclosure is a common occurrence for regular folks but it seems unusual when there are billionaires in the family. This has lead to all sorts of speculation on why the twins aren’t helping out their father financially.

The billionaire twins have their own company, started in 1993 (when they were 7), through which they put out their merchandise. They currently have a girls’ clothing and makeup line with Walmart along with a juniors’ line at JC Penny plus two higher end women’s fashion lines called Elizabeth and James and The Row.

Meanwhile Dad Olsen has fallen behind on payments for his property and he and his second wife McKenzie will be forced out of their home on soon if they don’t cough up the full amount and their home will be sold off at a public auction. This is not the first time their father has faced financial difficulty. Last year, he reportedly struggled to cover his tax debts. This is apparently because he had several tax liens but he was able to borrow enough money to cover them. It seems like he’s in a much worse financial position now and could lose his home at auction unless he’s able to come up with the over two million dollars owed.

Bullock’s Divorce Final

Posted in Celebrity Divorce tagged at 4:54 pm by demetriagraves

It’s now officially over for Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, with recent news that Sandra Bullock’s divorce has been finalized. The couple seemed to be doing well in their five year marriage and it was only announced that they were calling it quits and Sandra was filing for divorce in April. This news came soon after the 45 year old actress won her first Oscar in February this year. The major cause for the break-up was James’ cheating. The divorce papers cited “discord or conflict of personalities” as the reason for the split.

The fact this divorce was finalized so quickly, has many people in Hollywood wondering how did she do it so quickly. Sandra filed for divorce in Texas where she has a home and divorce in that state can be fast, finalizing in as little as 60 days provided there’s agreement on both sides and relative few issues to contend with. So it is possible to get a fast and relatively painless divorce, getting firm agreements in place is the key.

It appears that they had all the elements to make it a quick divorce. There were agreements on everything from both parties avoiding any major challenges. This included no spousal support for either party, no major issues on property or children and no drama. The settlement was probably amicable. All that was left was the final decree to be formalized.

It’s unclear if the couple had a prenuptial agreement but James isn’t eligible for spousal support under Texas law because they were married for less than 10 years, which is the minimum to qualify for spousal support in Texas.

Sandra and Jesse are both now legally single and by law they would have to wait 30 days before they can get married again. The divorce also helps clear the way for Sandra to finalize the adoption of her son Louis as a single mother.

James may get a chance to get closer to Sandra Bullock . There are rumors James will be relocating to Austin with his kids, so they can still be around Sandra and life can continue. It’s presumed that a private visitation agreement has been worked out regarding Sandra and the kids.

July 1, 2010

Short Sale Vs Bankruptcy

Posted in Bankruptcy, Short Sale tagged , at 1:40 pm by demetriagraves

I’ve had many of my clients come to me wanting information on short sales and bankruptcy. In particular, I’ve been asked by clients who are considering filing for bankruptcy if they should proceed with a short sale on their real estate.  This is a very interesting question and becoming more common these days. Most people don’t fully understand what a short sale is and how that may affect a possible bankruptcy filing.

If someone is upside down on their mortgage either a short sale or filing for bankruptcy could be an option but often people come to me wanting to do both. In my experience, it seems that a short sale or filling for bankruptcy are different alternatives to solve the same problem. So how do you know which one is best for your own individual circumstances? Obviously getting some advice from an experienced family law attorney is vital as a first step. The purpose of the article is to go over some of the basics on short sales and bankruptcy to help clear up any possible confusion on the subject.

A short sale is where the the lender takes less money than is actually owed because it may be a better alternative for the lender than a foreclosure sale in a down market. You are asking the lender to approve the sale without receiving the full amount of their loan, which is very common now in this depressed real estate market. For example: you bought a home in 2005 for $500,000 with a first mortgage of $400,000 and second mortgage of $100,000. The property is now worth $300,000 and you have a buyer willing to pay $300,000. If the first mortgage agrees with the sale, they will receive about $100,000 less than their current debt and the second will receive $0. Typically the second signs off with a nominal payment such as $5,000.00.

What many people don’t realize is that they could be liable for tax on the $100,000 debt that has been forgiven in the above example and the lender will issue you with a 1099 which needs to be declared to the IRS when you do your taxes. Most people qualify for exemptions to this and won’t end up having to pay tax, particularly if it’s their primary residence or if they were insolvent. But this ‘income’ still needs to be declared and the appropriate paperwork for any exemptions submitted to the IRS.

A successful short sale gives a homeowner some control over their destiny. The homeowner may be able to avoid bankruptcy and a foreclosure on their credit rating with a successful sale. However, short sales are often time consuming and difficult to negotiate and they can still adversely affect your credit.

One factor that’s often not considered is the total debt picture of the homeowner. While a short sale may resolve the issue of escalating mortgage payments, the homeowner may have other debts that need to be dealt with in a bankruptcy. A short sale won’t do much good to protect a consumer’s credit rating if a bankruptcy becomes necessary at a later date. Bankruptcy is an option for borrowers when doing short sales. One thing that lenders should be made aware of is that by accepting your short sale offer the lender will not have to deal with a possible bankruptcy by the borrower!

Depending on your circumstances, often there are very good reasons to file for bankruptcy. These would include things like avoiding financial liability for those credit cards you got in over your head with. Or maybe to avoid having to repay the balance on a underwater mortgage for a house that you plan on giving back to the bank. Perhaps you have some outstanding car loans on a car that has been repossessed or is about to be.

There also might be good reasons for doing a short sale. For example, it may save your credit from the hit of a bankruptcy for the home that’s under water. But both? If you have already made the decision of filing bankruptcy, who benefits from doing a short sale? When a borrower files for bankruptcy the lender cannot pursue collection of the debt and it stops the foreclosure process during the bankruptcy. When accepting a short sale the lender does not have to be concerned with the borrower filing bankruptcy and having to wait an indefinite amount of time for payment or to complete a foreclosure.

Plus when you file bankruptcy, there is no transferring or selling of your property. Without taking additional measures, basically you cannot sell your property while in bankruptcy. Why would you want to? You can let the bankruptcy take care of the upside down mortgage and any other debts that you can’t pay.

Every situation is different, but I when I see clients who who cannot afford their mortgage payments they usually have other debt problems. Sometimes paralyzed with fear, they do not know which way to turn. In many cases, their best option is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to get out from under all of their debt burden and avoid the potential tax problems with a short sale or letting the bank take the property back in a foreclosure.

The only way to determine what is best for your situation is to seek the advice of a competent attorney who is experienced in this area. Short sales are not always the magic solution that some proponents make them out to be. It’s vital that you’re fully informed on all your options before deciding which course of action to take. I offer I free confidential initial consultation where you can get your questions answered and you can get the guidance that you’ll need to navigate your way through these difficult circumstances.

Mel Gibson Not Paying Child Support

Posted in Child Support tagged at 1:34 pm by demetriagraves

There’s been much recent speculation about Mel Gibson not paying child support to Oksana Grigorieva for their eight month old daughter Lucia. As usual there are two sides to every story. Grigorieva who is a Russian musician is alleging that the multi-millionaire actor is not paying child support and that she is being forced to live off credit cards and cash from friends because Gibson hasn’t paid her a penny in child support.

Meanwhile, Mel Gibson’s lawyer Stephen Kolodney has stated that Mel has opened up his wallet for Oksana, putting her up in a multi-million dollar house, buying her a car, providing health insurance and giving her “tens of thousands of dollars to support her and Lucia over the past months.”

Oksana’s lawyer , Marci Levine has countered that “The statement released on behalf of Mel Gibson is based upon complete distortions of the truth regarding Mr. Gibson’s financial contributions toward the parties’ child and conveniently ignores his obligations to the parties’ child under California law.”

Levine hasn’t specifically said how Mel has fallen short, but those connected with Oksana claim the actor has not paid child support since the couple split.

Kolodny says Mel has gone far above and beyond what’s required of him under a support and custody agreement the former couple reached in mediation.

But now, Kolodny claims Oksana has violated the agreement by refusing to let Mel see their daughter on Father’s Day, Mel is only going to pay Oksana what they agreed to in mediation and not a penny more.

Kolodny wouldn’t say how much Oksana is legally entitled to under mediation, but there is speculation that it’s well over $10,000 a month.

The latest in this continuing drama is claims and counter-claims regarding restraining orders. According to some reports Gibson filed a restraining order against Grigorieva but perhaps this was a mix-up as it appears that Grigorieva has filed a restraining order against Gibson which has been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and will be heard by a judge sitting in-camera within the next week.

While all this public bickering is good for the tabloids, unfortunately this is an all to common scenario that I deal with as a family law attorney every day. I like to focus on getting agreements in place rapidly to prevent long and drawn out battles. If you have a family issue that you need some help with, please don’t  hesitate to contact me for a free initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered. As for Mel and Oksana hopefully their attorneys will guide them to an equitable resolution as soon as possible.