Ending Your Marriage Amicably

Adopted Child Custody Battle Against Birth Parents: What A Lawyer Can Do

Did the birth parents of your adopted child threaten you about getting custody back? You will need to hire a lawyer to handle the dispute cordially and prevent your child from going through a stressful situation. Find out in this article why hiring a lawyer is the best way to get through a child custody dispute with birth parents, as well as what his or her assistance is estimated to cost.   Why Should an Adoptive Parent Hire a Lawyer for a Custody Dispute? The adoption process that you went through to get your child will determine if the birth parents have rights or not. If the agreement for you to care for the child was not handled in court, it is possible that any documents that you have are not legally binding. A lawyer will review your adoption documents to make sure you have a strong case against the birth parents. He or she will also obtain any court records that available as proof that the adoption process was legal, as the documents is all that is needed to move forward. Even if you can prove that the child was legally adopted, a lawyer will prepare for whatever the birth parents may bring up against you in court. For instance, your lawyer will build your case by doing things that include: Gathering your income statements Investigating the background of the birth parents Obtaining evidence of your connection with the child It is also possible for a lawyer to help you obtain a temporary restraining order against the birth parents. After your case is won in court, the restraining... read more

Child Custody In Cases Of Child Abuse: Questions And Answers

As a parent, you want to protect your child from any type of harm, even if the injury is being caused by your spouse. The law recognizes that children are not strong enough or old enough to combat abuse, and if there is valid proof of child abuse or neglect, a child may be removed from a home. In cases where one parent is the abuser, custody of the child may be relegated to the “safe” parent. Here are a few questions and answers to help make sense of child custody in cases of child abuse: What is considered abuse? Any action that threatens the emotional or physical well being of a minor is considered child abuse. Likewise, a lack of action may be deemed neglect. If a child is not provided with adequate medical treatment, food or personal hygiene items, he or she may be considered neglected, and the parent or parents responsible for providing for the youngster may be found unfit. Likewise, any signs of emotional, physical or sexual harm may be termed abuse and will lessen the chance of a parent being awarded custody. Who gets custody if there is evidence that both parents abused a child? In cases where both parents are found unfit due to neglect or abuse, care of the abused child may be assumed by a government agency, such as the Department of Family and Children Services. In such a case, the child may be assigned to a foster family or a relative. Can the abusing parent visit the child after custody is awarded to the fit parent? To prevent further harm... read more

3 Child Support Myths Debunked

Child support tends to have a number of myths associated with it. Failure to clear up these myths can lead to financial trouble for the child and custodial parent and legal trouble for the court-ordered payer. Below are three common child support myths and the facts behind them. Myth #1: As Soon as the Child Turns 18, Child Support is No Longer Paid While your child may legally be considered an adult on their eighteenth birthday, the age of 18 doesn’t always mean child support ends. States vary in their child support laws which means final child support payment age can range from completion of high school to age 22 if the child is enrolled in an accredited educational program. While child support may end, keep in mind that other financial obligations, such as college support, may be required. College support can be a part of child support obligations, but they can also be a separately agreed upon support that was decided prior to divorce finalization. Myth #2: Back Payments Don’t Have to Be Paid After Child Support Payments Stop The age that signals the end of child support obligation may not always mean the end of your required child support payments. If you didn’t pay the entire amount ordered by the court, or you fell behind on your payments for whatever reason, you’re still required to pay support until the back payments are paid in full. Back payments aren’t payments for an adult child. Instead, you’re repaying your ex-partner for the times they stepped in and covered the financial gap caused by your non-paid child support. Back payments... read more

Tips for Finding a Quality Child Custody Lawyer

Divorce, as unpleasant and often painful as it is, is a fact of life in some cases. It’s an unfortunate event in any person’s life. And when children are involved, it’s even more layered and challenging. If you have children and you’re getting divorced, they are your highest priority. You want the best for them, and in some cases, that means you want to fight for full or partial custody. Ensuring your children are safe and healthy is of utmost importance.  When searching for the right family and divorce attorney, you want to look for specific qualities in your legal professional. It is recommended that single parents interview a potential child custody attorney before hiring them so that you can adequately express your needs and concerns, and ultimately find the right fit. Some elements to focus on are Style and personality: Choose an attorney who is comfortable asking for what they want. You need someone who isn’t timid and who isn’t afraid to speak up and truly be your advocate. Your children are everything to you, so you need a representative who can successfully convey your message.  Experience: The last thing you want is to hire an attorney who has no past experience in custody cases. Ask your potential lawyer how many cases they have taken on versus how many they have won. Don’t be shy about this. You have a right to know, and it’s the smart thing to do so you don’t get stuck with an incompetent attorney.  Fee structure: Inquire about whether the attorney charges by the hour or works on a contingent basis. Be sure... read more

When Should You Litigate Custody Issues?

Going through the divorce process can be grueling for anyone — but if you’re concerned about the welfare of your children when in the care of your ex-spouse, you may be experiencing even more than the typical levels of anxiety. What can you do to ensure that your children remain safe by restricting access to their other parent until this person has shown they can responsibly and reliably care for your children? Can you avoid a lengthy court battle, or is litigation your only choice? Read on to learn more about the situations in which you may want to litigate your custody case, as well as your other options. What are your options when seeking custody of your children? Because divorce can be such a contentious process, a number of alternative ways of resolving disputes have been developed over the past few decades. These include mediation and arbitration, as well as litigation. Mediation is a dispute resolution method that focuses on bringing the parties together to discuss and decide upon common goals. A neutral mediator will speak to the parties (alone and together) to determine what each party would like to get out of the proceeding, and will help both parties work toward common goals. As often happens in divorce, you may be too angry at your soon-to-be ex-spouse to truly listen to what he or she is saying. A mediator can help reframe these statements in a more constructive way to help you refocus on doing what is right for your children.  Arbitration is similar to mediation, but is binding on the parties — in order to submit... read more

Answering Common Questions About Routine Family Law Issues

Family disputes can be some of the most venomous and visceral experiences that a person can go through. Unfortunately, it may be necessary to settle these disputes through the court of law, but navigating this part of the judicial system can be extremely daunting. Not surprisingly, many people may have some questions about common family law disputes, and learning the answers to these issues may help them to better understand two of the more common problems that can arise in family law.  How Can You Minimize The Risk Of Disputes Arising Following A Death? The passing of a family member is always a stressful experience to go through, and not surprisingly, it is also one of the most common sources of conflict and strife. Often, these disputes stem from the division of the deceased’s assets and possessions. Sadly, many families fail to realize that a little planning can help avoid these disputes.  By creating a sound estate plan, you can ensure that there is little room for strife or argument among your family members over possessions. When you form an estate, it will assume control over your assets, which will be impartially divided among your survivors according to your will. While the formation of an estate can be extremely complicated, an experienced family law attorney will be able to help you navigate this process as efficiently and easily as possible.  Is It Possible To Move To Another State When You Have Joint Custody? Divorce is another stressful topic that family law attorneys will have to regularly address. This is especially true when the divorce involves children because both parents... read more

Using Trusts To Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

If you are retirement age or nearing it, you may be concerned about protecting your assets in the future so that you won’t be destitute later, especially if your health declines. You may also worry about relatives, friends, or caregivers taking advantage of you (and your spouse if you have one). There are several ways to manage your money and property that can help, and making a trust is could be a useful tool to protect what’s yours, especially if you have significant assets: Living Trust Basics A trust can cover several kinds of assets including money, property, and investments. This arrangement involves three parties and they are: The grantor (person who sets up the trust). The trustee ( the person who oversees the assets). The beneficiary (the person who benefits from the trust). The trustee should be chosen with great care since this person will manage the assets. This person can be an attorney, accountant, relative or friend. Spouses can also be trustees and you can make up several trusts under a single trust instrument that benefit each of you. You could also arrange it so that the surviving spouse is the beneficiary when you die. The remaining assets at the time of their death could pass on to your children or whoever you designate.  A living trust is one that is used to manage assets while you are living, as opposed to a testamentary trust that becomes valid at your death. When creating a living trust, you may want to establish that you will be working closely with the trustee to manage the assets so that you don’t... read more

Want The Right To Visit Your Child? Here Is An Overview Of What The Court May Order

One of the most intense stages of a divorce process is that of child custody and visitation discussions. If you are approaching that stage, then you are probably wondering what the court has in store for you. Well, here is an overview of three different types of visitations that the court may order:  Reasonable If you are given reasonable visitation, then it is up to you and the custodial parent to define the schedules for your visits. For example, if you had agreed to a visit every weekend, you can change it to a mid-week visitation if something comes up and you won’t be available during the weekend. The best advantage of reasonably visitation is that it allows you to factor in your calendar as well as the child’s schedule. However, it can only work if you are willing and are capable of talking to each other frequently. Fixed Just like the name suggests, this is the exact opposite of a reasonable visitation. If you have fixed visitation, then you have to see your child on the exact day and time ordered by the court. For example, if you are allowed a visit every Thursday, then you can’t change it to a weekend even if you are busy on one Thursday. This is the case even if you have a pressing issue somewhere; you are expected to put the child’s interest first. In fact, there may be legal consequences if you interfere with the court’s order. Fixed visitation can be very frustrating, but it is usually only made in cases where the parents’ relationship is too acrimonious for them... read more

Legal And Financial Ramifications Of Late Child Support Payments

Any number of reasons might cause you to become delinquent on a financial obligation. If that obligation is a child support payment, think twice about skipping a payment. You could face penalties at the state and federal levels. Federal Enforcement Under certain circumstances, it’s illegal to intentionally fail to pay child support payments. If you have a court ordered support payment for a child who lives in another state. Pay it; else you’re committing a crime. It’s a misdemeanor If you allow the payment to become overdue for more than a year, or if you owe more than $5,000, you might go to prison for up to six months. It’s a felony If you allow the payment to become overdue for more than two years, or if you owe more than $10,000, you might go to prison for up to two years You also can’t cross state lines or leave the country in an attempt to avoid making your child support payments.  If you do and you’re convicted of this crime, you might serve up to two years of prison time. State Enforcement Child support enforcement is often handled at the state level.  The laws and techniques to ensure payments vary, but each state has several ways to enforce child support payments. Some popular enforcement strategies include the following: Social Media Notice Some states will post your picture online if you’re delinquent with your payments.   For example, Louisiana posts a “most wanted” poster on the state’s website.  Visitors to the site can download the poster and can search the state’s database of delinquent payers.  This database tracks payers who... read more

Divorcing In A Community Property State? How Can You Protect Yourself?

If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, and live in one of the nine U.S. states that abides by the “community property” principle, you may be wondering how your assets will be divided in the divorce settlement — and whether there is anything you can do to change the presumed 50-50 split. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure you receive an equitable portion of your joint assets. Read on to learn more about how property division is handled in community property states, as well as what you can do to protect yourself. What is a community property state?  Property division is handled differently in each state, depending on local laws and procedures. In some states, you will be permitted to leave the marriage with the assets you brought into the marriage, and assets accrued during the marriage may be divided based on each spouse’s salary or other financial contribution to the household.  However, in community property states, all marital assets (including those brought into the marriage, or inherited from a deceased parent or other relative during the marriage) are considered equally owned by both spouses. There is a presumption toward equal distribution of these assets upon divorce, even if one spouse stayed at home or did not otherwise financially contribute to the marriage. What can you do to tilt the presumption in your favor? Although community property states default to the 50-50 asset split, there are several fact patterns that may be able to skew the odds in your favor. In some cases, you may be able to keep more than 50 percent... read more

About Me

Nothing is more terrifying than ending your marriage. After years of building a life together, it can be difficult to move forward separately. When I decided that things weren’t going to work out with my first husband, it took a lot of courage to meet with a divorce lawyer and take care of things. However, working with the lawyer was one of the best decisions that I made. In addition to diffusing the situation, my lawyer helped me to ask for the right things and get what I deserved. My blog is dedicated to helping other people to end their own marriages amicably.