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I read an interesting article this morning on Divorce Without Dishonor. The article is found here. The article talks about how parents play games to gain extra time with their children during the summer. The author of the article talks about a personal child custody battle which occurred shortly after the ink was barely dry on the divorce.

The article further goes on to state that in many court orders, each parent is entitled to one (1) or two (2) weeks of summer vacation and the dates are usually left to the parties to work out. Often divorced parents are required to take turns each year in having the right to select their vacation time with the children first. Sometimes each parent is entitled to have two (2) non-consecutive weeks of summer vacation and as is customary, these weeks would replace or supersede the regular child access schedule and therefore necessarily “trumped” the other parent’s regularly scheduled time with their children.

The problem? The summer is only so long, and from school year’s end to the next start date it is usually about ten (10) weeks, i.e. about seventy (70) days. Neither party can plan with any certainty when the summer schedule isn’t confirmed or if it is in dispute because of misinterpretation or deliberate exploitation by playing “word games.” Taking an example with a regular schedule of children being alternating Friday, Saturday and Sunday overnights with each parent and during the week, with Dad overnight on Monday and Tuesday and with Mom overnights on Wednesday and Thursday.

When mom advises that she will take her first week after her five (5) day scheduled time with the kids, there will likely be a problem. By doing it that way, in fact, she will strategically choose days so that she gets at least (12) twelve or more overnights in a row. And of course no good deed goes unnoticed and Dad, when it is his turn to count will return the scheduling favor so each of his weeks will begin at the conclusion of his five (5) overnights so that he will the take his twenty-four (24) overnights (almost three and one-half weeks), as his two (2) weeks vacation. The bigger problem is that with (48) forty-eight (twenty-four 24 each) of maybe seventy (70) summer nights accounted for, what happens in between all of that? Hard to plan isn’t it? Who gets what? How much agreement is there likely to be and what kind of summer will your children have?

Might I ask, “How is it that (2) two weeks consists of 24 twenty-four overnights?” No wonder we need lawyers to figure this stuff out!

Yes, many parents continue playing games with each other for many years after they split. What they fail to take into account is that the ones losing in their games are the children. It is the children who don’t get to see the other parent for those 24 consecutive overnights with the other parent. When you have small children, it is especially important to these children that they have contact with both parents on a consistent basis. Believe me, when they are grown they will remember the games you play. So, if you are one of the parents who thinks that it is cool that you got one over on the other parent and are constantly playing “word games” with the orders in your custody matter, you may be out in the cold when your children grow up.

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I came across an article at the Huffington Post today about Kids Write The Darndest Things in their test answers. Some were cute, some were funny and some were a little to adult to put here. I shared this one because I thought how some kids might think watching their parents argue and fight constantly would feel like an eternity to them and that it would never end and how helpless they feel in their “eternity.” We’ve all been in our own eternity, the work day that just won’t go away or the traffic that won’t move along so you can get home. So, the next time you are caught up in that argument with your spouse or significant other, think about your kids and the “eternity” they must feel.
If you want to read more of the test answers, click here.

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Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...
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A voluntary recall has begun by Johnson and Johnson on certain children’s over-the-counter medicines because of manufacture deficiencies. The deficiencies may affect the potency, purity or quality of the products. The recall involves all unexpired lots of seven products in 43 different flavors and sizes. These include Tylenol Infants’ Drops, Children’s Tylenol Suspensions, Infants’ Motrin Drops, Children’s Zyrtec liquids in bottles and Children’s Benadryl Allergy liquids.

The recall comes after federal health regulators cited McNeil on Friday morning for manufacturing violations found during a routine inspection at a company facility in Fort Washington, Pa., an F.D.A. spokeswoman said. This is the second major recall this year for McNeil. In January, after receiving reports of moldy smells emanating from over-the-counter medicines made at a plant in Puerto Rico, the company recalled several hundred lots of adult and children’s products.

Consumers should stop using certain lots of infants’ and children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl products because some of them may contain more of the active drug ingredient than specified, the Johnson & Johnson unit. McNeil has posted a full list of the recalled product lots on a dedicated web site. To see the list, click here McNeil also has a hotline, (888) 222-6036, available 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, the lines seem to be constantly busy, so checking the web site seems to be a quicker way to check out if you have one of the recalled products.

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Maybe some of you don’t know what a Family Law Paralegal does. Did you know that a paralegal can do everything an attorney can do, except give legal advice and represent you in court? The following is just a bit of what a paralegal does in a Family Law office.

Client Intake – The paralegal can be the first person you speak with when you call an attorney’s office, depending on the size of the firm. The paralegal will usually speak with the client to get a little more information on what the case is about, such as divorce, custody or visitation. The paralegal is not being nosy, they need to know what is going on so they can determine how much time you will need when you meet with the attorney. They also need to know if there is an upcoming court date, as that will determine how quickly you need to see the attorney. Answering the paralegals questions as thoroughly as possible helps immensely.

Managing the Client File – The paralegal makes sure that all documents prepared or received are updated in the client file, this also means that the paralegal usually opens the file and makes sure all of your contact information is updated so that the attorney and the paralegal can contact you when necessary. It is important that you notify your attorney’s office of any changes to your address, phone numbers and even your e-mail address if that is your preferred method of contacting your attorney’s office.

Preparing the Documents for Your Case – The paralegal takes the information you provide and incorporates it into the documents needed to file with the Court. It helps the paralegal to have all of the information needed before the documents are completed. If your attorney or the paralegal requests information, such as a client questionnaire and requests specific information or documentation from you, it is helpful to get this to them quickly to avoid repeated requests and additional cost to you for the repeated requests. Remember, you are not the only client that the attorney or paralegal is working with and if your information is not provided, the paralegal will be unable to complete the documents for you in a timely manner.

Contacting the Court – The paralegal is usually the person who contacts the Court or responds to calls from the Court regarding your documents. The paralegal usually has a good business relationship with the judge’s judicial assistants, (JA’s) which is helpful to the attorney and to the client if documents become lost or take longer than usual for approval. The paralegal also prepares the documents for Court filing and makes sure that the opposing counsel or other party is served with the documents in a timely fashion as required by statute.

Client Communication – As stated above, the paralegal is usually the person you, the client, will speak with when you contact the attorney’s office. Anything you say to the paralegal is treated as attorney-client privilege and will never be divulged except to the attorney. This means what you tell the attorney or paralegal stays in the attorney’s office and is never talked about to anyone else outside of the attorney’s office. Maintaining client confidentiality is essential and the best paralegals know this.

So, the next time you talk to your attorney’s paralegal, remember that what they do for you, they are also doing for the rest of the attorney’s clients. If you have any questions about your case, just ask the paralegal. A good paralegal will always take the time to answer your questions or if they can’t at that very moment, will tell you when they can have the answer for you and get back to you with it.

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Sign, Wapello, Iowa. This was put up in reacti...
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After trying to crack down on teenage sexting by charging offenders with felony child-porn offenses, states are rethinking their approach. Perhaps, some argue, a split-second decision made by an impulsive teen mind should not carry the risk of decades on a sex-offender registry. Nebraska, Utah, and Vermont all changed their laws last year to reduce severity of the penalties in recognition of the sexualized culture that pervades sites like MySpace and Facebook. Fourteen other states are considering new laws that would treat underage sexters differently from adult child pornographers. On Wednesday, a federal appellate court found that a district attorney had gone too far pushing to bring child-porn charges against some 16-year-old girls who sent pictures of themselves in skimpy clothing to peers’ cellphones. Lawyers say such use of the statues have results far from the intent of child-porn laws, which are to protect kids from pedophiles, not severely punish the bad judgment of a high-school student.

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A South Korean couple have been arrested for starving their baby to death. The couple, the father is 41 and the mother is 25, allegedly neglected their three-month-old daughter, who was born premature. It was also reported that both parents lost their jobs about the same time their daughter was born prematurely which may have led to the obvious depression these parents may have been suffering from.

Once a day, between 12-hour stretches at a neighborhood Internet cafe, they fed their baby. Instead of nurturing their own daughter, they became obsessed with raising a virtual child in the popular role-playing game called Prius Online. The couple were arrested in Suwon, a suburb of Seoul, 5 months after reporting the death of their baby. The baby’s autopsy showed that she’d died due to a long period of malnutrition.

There has been an increase in South Korea of Internet addiction and compulsive gaming leading to serious consequences and even death in the last few years. This increase has led to South Korea setting up an internet addiction camp, established in 2007.

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An upper-crust Long Island housewife accused of hiring a hit man to off her hubby lamented she could only afford to maim him — but then was thrilled to learn she could whack him at a bargain-basement price of just $20,000, authorities said yesterday.

That’s the stone-cold, cost-calculating mentality of sick soccer mom Susan Williams, 43, who allegedly hired an undercover cop this week to whack her husband of 21 years. She was held yesterday on $1 million bail.

Allegedly, Ms. Williams managed to turn the couple’s four children, ages 19-11, against their father. She alleged domestic violence during the marriage, not only against her but the children. She also alleged that her husband forced her to have deviate sex. Seems Ms. Williams also admitted having an affair with her boss during the marriage and allegedly stole marital assets. According to the husband, Peter Williams, a fence business owner, Ms. Williams lied about the couple’s finances during the marriage and received an order for spousal support and child support of $11,000 a month. Mr. William’s admits that he stopped paying the support to his ex because he simply couldn’t afford to pay it. Mr. Williams is now working on trying to get custody of the parties’ children while Ms. Williams sits in jail with the $1 million bail.

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For more on this story, you can see it at the New York Post.

You thought your attorney fees were high! Frank and Jamie McCourt‘s divorce could become one of the costliest splits in California history, with attorneys and accountants commanding as much as $19 million in fees — more than the Dodgers will spend on their starting infield this season.CEO and Owner of the Dodgers, McCourt

Frank McCourt has estimated his “divorce-related expenses” at $5 million to $10 million, according to court filings. Jamie McCourt has estimated her expenses at $9 million — and asked that her estranged husband be ordered to pay them.

Although records of salaries and statistics are omnipresent in baseball, specific information about divorce costs is largely unavailable. The Times consulted with several family law experts, none of whom could recall a divorce costing $19 million.

“I’m pretty sure there’s not been any litigation in a California divorce where they’ve spent so much on attorneys’ fees,” said Lynn Soodik, a Santa Monica family law attorney who represented Meg Ryan in her divorce from Dennis Quaid.

Soodik said it was “very unusual” that each of the McCourts has retained multiple law firms. Seven lawyers appeared in court last month for a hearing on whether to postpone the trial date, on the same day other lawyers in the case were said to be conducting a deposition of Jamie McCourt.

Connolly Oyler, another Santa Monica attorney with experience in celebrity divorces, said a total cost of $5 million would be “consistent with most high-profile cases.”

Even though we are talking a high profile case here, the amount of attorney fees might seem high for even this case. However, when you look at the fact that Mr. McCourt owns over 33 entities with countless financial documents to review, one can see how quickly the fees might add up. In Southern California where the jurisdiction for this divorce is located, attorneys charge from $250 and hour to $700 an hour and a “simple” divorce can run $10,000. Britney Spears recent divorce from Kevin Federline is reported to have cost $835,000 and we all know how contentious that case started out.

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If you are the parent of a child with a learning disability and need more information on how you can help them, I came across a great article in the New York Times which may help you. According to the article, parents should do their homework so they can contribute to an individualized learning plan for a student with a learning disability.

This begins with learning about the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. Each state’s parent information center can help explain IDEA and how it applies to your family. A directory of the centers is on the Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers’ Web site.

In Sonoma County, a great place to start is with The Matrix Parent Network and Resource Center. I have provided a direct link here. This center is located in Novato and from what I have read, they provide excellent assistance to families with learning disabled children.

Coming up on April 19, 2010 is their 3rd Annual Author Luncheon with the extraordinary observer, teacher, speaker, and author TEMPLE GRANDIN. If you have never heard of her, Ms. Grandin is the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world and among her many published works are The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s (2009) and Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports From My Life With Autism(1995). For more information on this luncheon you can contact Brenda at 415-475-2118 or brendagm@matrixparents.org. For more information on Ms. Grandin, you can see that here.

Temple Grandin

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MomsRising

Every afternoon 15 million U.S. children, more than a ¼ of our kids, are left alone after school. Among them are more than 40,000 kindergarteners.

This huge and heartbreaking number isn’t because of parent neglect, it reflects a simple fact: Afterschool programs are unavailable or too expensive for millions of families across this country.

In fact, studies show that 18 million U.S. parents would enroll their kids in an afterschool program if one were simply available.

Unfortunately, we’re now in danger of losing the limited afterschool programs we currently have.

The President just released his proposed budget and it does a lot of things right, but it cuts more than 13,000 kids out of safe and educational afterschool programs.

Congress is debating our national budget right now. So it’s up to our Representatives to get America back to work and keep our children safe and learning by protecting afterschool programs.

Will you join me and take a moment to tell your Representative that you are a part of the 83% of American parents who support public funding for afterschool programs?

For more information, click here to check out Momsrising.

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