We are moving from one MJ to another, one with closer ties to Chicago: Michael Jordan. The greatest basketball player in history is once again the target of a paternity suit.
Raising children can be tough -- so tough, at times, that we sometimes wonder that people try it at all. Just ask any Lake County parent about decisions regarding their children, and you will surely find that even happily married couples can disagree completely on things like education, religious upbringing and discipline.
Michael Jackson's family has another legal issue on their hands. The guardianship of Jackson's three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, had been a sore subject between his siblings and their mother, Katherine. In June, the guardianship came up again when Paris, 15, attempted suicide. The stress of the wrongful death trial -- Katherine is suing Jackson's concert promoter -- had taken its toll, according to press reports.
Normally we do not report on celebrity divorce or custody stories, but they do provide some "teachable" moments. As unlikely as it can be that Charlie Sheen would provide one of these moments, his latest agreement with ex-wife Brooke Muller is an example of how child support modifications can work.
Michael Jackson cannot, it seems, rest in peace. The pop icon died in 2009 as he was preparing for a tour, a comeback of sorts. His physical health had been fragile, his mental health had long been the subject of speculation, his legal troubles were legion, and his finances were a mess. From the relatively remote confines of Lake County, it looked as if the guy could use a long break. The only thing that seemed to be going well for him was his relationship with his children.
It is difficult enough to get those ordered to pay child support to comply. According to U.S. Census data, fewer than half of those awarded child support receive their payments on time (if at all). Because of this, authorities are more likely to issue garnishment orders to obligors' employers, so that payments are made as ordered.
It is a strange irony that financial woes are a leading cause of divorce as well as a leading reason couples choose to stay together. Fighting about money takes a terrible toll on a relationship, but some couples realize that a split will mean neither has the resources to start over. This became especially true after the housing bubble burst and home values tumbled -- and tumble they did. In Lake County, Illinois, for example, home values have lost almost one-third of their value since January 2006.