A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: custody

“Before Midnight” – After Jesse’s Divorce

By Noah Forrest

The premise is deceptively simple.

American boy meets French girl on a train.  Boy and girl spend an enchanted night together in Vienna.  Boy and girl agree to meet up in six months without exchanging numbers.  They don’t.

Nine years later: older boy and older girl meet again in Paris..  Boy is separated from his wife; together, they have a son in the U.S.  Boy and girl’s spark is reignited. Boy misses his plane back home.

Nine years after that: man and woman, now married with children, vacationing on a beautiful patch of Grecian coastline with their family.  Man and woman struggle to connect in ways that were once so easy.

Richard Linklater’s trilogy of films (plus a brief appearance of the protagonists in “Waking Life”) starring Ethan Hawke (“Jesse”) and Julie Delpy (“Celine”) are probably the finest exploration of love over time since Francois Truffaut’s “Antoine Doinel” series.

“Before Midnight,” the third in the series of films (after “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”) hit theaters earlier this summer and will hit DVD and Blu-ray on October 22.  By its nature, this installment is the darkest and least conventionally “romantic” of the three films, as well as the deepest.

Yet in many ways, this is the most romantic film of the series precisely because it’s about the reality of what happens after most films fade out.  Things are messy.  The last half of the film is essentially one long fight between the couple we’ve adored for the last two decades and it is excruciating and exacting.  Nothing is off the table in this row, whether it’s their two young girls or Jesse’s ex-wife or the teenage progeny of that now defunct marriage, Hank.

It’s that last part that intrigued me from a legal perspective.

Apparently, during the nine years between the second and third films, Celine and Jesse lived in New York for two years; Jesse’s ex-wife and Hank lived there, too, and it seems that Jesse and his ex-wife shared custody of their child.  But things changed when, late in Celine’s pregnancy, Jesse and Celine traveled to Paris so Celine could be near her parents during the “complicated” birth of their twins. Sometime during this period, Jesse’s ex-wife moved Hank to Chicago.  As Celine was recovering, Jesse’s ex-wife petitioned an Illinois court for, and was granted, full custody.

Or to put it another way: Man’s first wife moves her son from New York to Chicago and is granted primary custody when Man is helping second wife recover from a complicated delivery in Paris.

Sure, I loved the film. But I did wonder.  Is what Jesse’s ex did kosher? Does Jesse have any options to try to regain joint custody?  LASIS investigates.

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The Courts Weigh in on Obese Children

By Alison Parker

I have been active, healthy, and fit my whole life.  As a young girl I tried out every sport to see what would stick — from softball, soccer and basketball, to gymnastics, cheerleading and dancing. I caught the running bug as a teenager, and since starting law school I have competed in triathlons. The truth is, I just don’t feel in touch with myself if I’m not active.  It helps keep me sane.

But though I never suffered from a serious weight problem personally,  I grew up with a keen understanding of the struggles overweight children endure –my mother, an avid runner, nutritionist, and registered dietician, specializes in treating them.

“After spending a decade in a pediatric clinic for overweight children, none of the children I saw had an endocrine (read: genetic) problem for their obesity,” Kathryn Parker, (mom) told me, when I asked about the role of nature versus nurture in overweight children. “As a mother it was clear to me that children don’t have purchasing power and they don’t have any say of what food is brought into the home.” She further believes that a child’s weight problem will only worsen if the parents don’t take action.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, which translates to being about 30 pounds overweight. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 17% of our children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese. Obesity can lead to problems like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — and diabetes can lead to complications such as amputations, blindness and kidney failure. One out of three children born after 2000 will develop diabetes in her lifetime if current lifestyle trends continue.

Obesity can also scar a child psychologically. A current classmate of mine struggled with obesity as a child and young adult; although she is slim now, the emotional wounds will never fully heal. “Kids were really cruel growing up,” she said. “They’d call me ‘fatty boombaladdy.’ Eating was like an escape from my problems, but it was also the cause of my problems. It was a vicious cycle.”

The severe and long-term damage done to children who are allowed to become obese is being recognized by our legal system.  As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, some courts are ordering a change in custody if a child is obese. This got LASIS wondering, under what circumstances does a court step in to change the living arrangements of an obese child?   (more…)

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