Posts Tagged ‘family’

According to an article in the ABA Journal, see the full article here, “among pet owners, ‘re-homing’ an unwanted dog or cat is a relatively straightforward process. The owner who seeks an alternative home often places an ad on the Internet, and a private transaction occurs that moves the pet to a new family. But with the rise of foreign adoptions of children and the inability of some parents to handle troubled youths, more and more desperate families are taking that approach with adopted youngsters and re-homing the children with strangers. Often those re-homed children report gruesome tales of physical, sexual or emotional abuse by their new guardians.”

“The process of re-homing has been largely unregulated—no federal laws prohibit the exchange of unwanted adopted kids. Most states allow private adoptions, but the processes vary widely and oversight is limited. In most cases, re-homing may be executed by a simple power-of-attorney letter or a notarized statement without government authorities or even any lawyers vetting the new parents.”

“Kids shouldn’t be in want ads like: ‘Our dog just had puppies. Want one for free?’ ” adds Haralambie, a former chair of the ABA Family Law Section’s Juvenile Law and Needs of Children Committee. That’s precisely where people like the mentally ill and pedophiles go to get children. At best, it’s abandonment, and at worst, it’s human trafficking.”

Children adopted internationally face other problems: Those from institutional homes may have attachment disorders from prior neglect or have language differences that limit their understanding of expectations.

“Myers says the remedy for re-homing is twofold. ‘First, it has to be a crime, and I’m not a big fan of criminalizing. But the analogy is baby selling, which is a crime. Plus, it’s always been a crime to abandon a child.’ Criminalizing the practice sends a very clear message to the very unfortunate parents who find themselves in a situation where they think: ‘I simply can’t do this.’ “

State legislatures are taking note. In April, Wisconsin became the first state to make it illegal for anyone not licensed by the state to advertise a child older than age 1 for adoption or any other custody transfer, both in print and online. Parents who want to transfer custody of a child to someone other than a relative must seek permission from a judge. Violators face up to nine months in jail or as much as $10,000 in fines.

Last summer, Louisiana also banned nonlegal adoption, with offenders facing a penalty of $5,000 and up to five years in prison. Colorado, Florida and Ohio are considering similar laws.

Unfortunately, Babb says, most states aren’t making prohibiting online advertising of children or re-homing a priority. “This requires urgent attention, but children and families are at the bottom of the totem pole in policymaking.” It’s an effort, she insists, that must be led by the federal government.

For its part, the Adoption Committee of the ABA Family Law Section has informally discussed re-homing, but it has no plans to take active steps such as drafting a model statute, says family lawyer Carl Gilmore, the committee’s chair.

“I’m always hard-pressed to say under all circumstances that a practice should always be illegal,” says Gilmore of Woodstock, Illinois. “I can see circumstances where replacement of children might be advantageous, such as when there’s been no attachment between the child and the family. But there needs to be oversight.” Re-homing must be viewed “with a great deal of caution” and include, at the very least, investigations and criminal background checks, he says.

For Babb, re-homing raises broader issues. “We should question why so many parents are relying on international adoptions given that many of America’s children are available for adoption,” she says. “Parents should reconsider working with local departments of social services. There would be much more willingness and, in some cases, legal authority to help adoptive families facing challenges.”

I personally have often wondered why more American children are not adopted, as there are many children here in the United States who are deserving of a loving family.  I would love to hear how others feel about this as well as the issues of re-homing the children who are adopted, whether internationally or not.

I recently read an article posted by Stephan Futeral, a South Carolina attorney, with some great information about children and divorce and what parents can do to assist their children during this time.

Per the article, “Divorcing parents can decrease the impact on their children by following guidelines with their children, by avoiding conflict with the other parent, and by maintaining their own well-being.”  Sounds easy, but he listed several ways to deal with your children.  Some of those are listed below:

  • Don’t treat your children as adults – Some parents believe that their children must “grow up” quicker because of the divorce. Unfortunately, just because some parents treat their children like adults does not mean that their children are emotionally or intellectually equipped to deal with adult issues.  Let children be children.
  • Don’t rely on your children for your emotional support – Although it may seem natural to turn to your children for comfort during an emotional time, you are likely to cause greater instability and more pressure on the children. Some children begin to feel responsible for their parent’s emotional well-being, whereas some children suffer other emotional side-effects such as increased anger or depression. If you need emotional support, turn to another family member or a friend instead.
  • Don’t talk about the “divorce” or other grown up stuff – This issue ties in with not treating your children as adults.
  • Don’t block visitation or prevent your children from speaking to the other parent – There are many psychological studies illustrating the benefits children reap from spending time with both parents. No matter how you feel about your former spouse, don’t deprive your children of having a healthy relationship with the other parent.
  • Don’t ask your children to spy on the other parent or report back to you – Children in divorce already may be experiencing conflict in their loyalties and feelings toward both parents. Asking children to spy or to report places the children in an extremely awkward and emotionally stressful position of pleasing one parent while betraying another.
  • Don’t ask your children to keep secrets from the other parent – Dividing a child’s loyalty between parents’ places them under extreme stress. Further, the child is learning to become manipulative and may later play one parent against the other using lies and secrets.
  • Allow your children to take items such as their toys back and forth between homes as long as they can carry them – Oftentimes parents are reluctant to allow toys, books, and other items to go to the other parent’s home because these items may not be returned. Think of these items as the children’s things, not yours, and let your children have a sense of continuity by taking familiar and comforting items such as toys back and forth between homes.

These are just a few of Mr. Futeral’s suggestions and I believe they are very informative.  As a child of divorced parents, I can tell you that I wished my parents would have taken these suggestions to heart.   It would have made things much easier on us children.  When I went through my own divorce years ago, I did my best to make sure my children did not go through what my sister, brother and I went through as children.

There were also suggestions on how to deal with the other parent, which were thought provoking.  Some of them are listed below:

  • Don’t ignore the other parent or sit on the opposite side of the room during special events involving your children such as athletic matches, school plays, etc. – As emotionally difficult as it may be for you to be that close to the other parent, it is more difficult for your children to see parents distance themselves at these times. Overall, it is a small sacrifice to make for your children’s emotional wellbeing.
  • Ignore (rather than arguing back) when the other parent tries to tell you how to parent – This argument is one that no one can win.
  • Accept that there is more than one “right way” to parent and support different parenting styles- Even if you had not divorced, chances are that you and your former spouse may have or would have parented in your unique styles. If you can accept and deal with the difference in parenting styles during marriage, then you can accept these differences in divorce too.

And finally, taking care of yourself is important.  Talk to friends, family, or whoever you need to, and stay busy.  You will adjust, your children will adjust and life will go on and you will enjoy the new path your life is going.  I know I did, and I love my life.  I have two great grown sons, lots of grandchildren and they are all a part of my life.  To read the full article by Mr. Futeral, you may find it here.

 

 

Senate Bill 1476 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, crossed its last legislative hurdle Wednesday, when the Senate approved it on a concurrence vote of 21-13.  Under SB 1476, a judge could split custody, child support or visitation rights among three or more people who had acted as parents to the child.  To read my previous blog on the bill, here is the link.

It has now gone to Governor Brown for signature, after approval by the Assembly on August 27, 2012 and the Senate on August 29, 2012.  To read the bill waiting for signature, go to the link here.

 

In an article in the JD Journal today, it was reported that the SB 1476 Bill proposed in California by Senator Mark Leno, offers the chance of radical social engineering and reform. The modifications sought in Family law and proposed, wants the statute to establish that a child may legally have more than two parents – thus altering prevailing notions of a family. Leno told the Sacramento Bee “The bill brings California into the 21st century.”

This bill is to amend Sections 3040, 7601, and 7612 of, and to add Section 4052.5 to, the Family Code, relating to parentage.   In existing law, a man is conclusively presumed to be the father of a child if he was married to and cohabiting with the child’ s mother, except as specified. Existing law also provides that if a man signs a voluntary declaration of paternity, it has the force and effect of a judgment of paternity, subject to certain exceptions.

This bill would authorize a court to find that a child has 2 presumed parents notwithstanding the statutory presumption of parentage of the child by another man. The bill would authorize the court to make this finding if doing so would serve the best interest of the child based on the nature, duration, and quality of the presumed or claimed parents’ relationships with the child and the benefit or detriment to the child of continuing those relationships.

The Uniform Parentage Act defines the parent and child relationship as the legal relationship existing between a child and the child’s parents, including the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship, and governs proceedings to establish that relationship.  This bill would provide that a child may have a parent and child relationship with more than 2 parents.

Existing law establishes an order of preference for allocating child custody and directs the court to choose a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interest.   This bill would, in the case of a child with more than 2 legal parents, require the court to allocate custody and visitation among the parents based on the best interest of the child, including stability for the child.

Under existing law, the parents of a minor child are responsible for supporting the child.  Existing law establishes the statewide uniform guideline for calculating court-ordered child support. The guideline directs a court to consider the parents’ incomes, standard of living, and level of responsibility for the child.  This bill would, in the case of a child with more than 2 legal parents, direct authorize the court not to divide deviate from the statewide uniform guideline when dividing child support obligations among the parents using the statewide uniform guideline . The bill would instead direct the court to divide the child support obligations among the parents based on the income of each of the parents and the amount of time spent with the child by each parent, as specified. f a child with more than 2 legal parents, require the court to allocate custody and visitation among the parents based on the best interest of the child, including stability for the child.

According to Leno,  “Most children have at most two parents, but some children have more than two people in their lives who have been a child’s parent in every way.” And according to him confining parenthood only to two persons neglects the emotions and contributions of other persons who, in a modern world, should also be held in equal status with parents.

Not everyone is happy about this new two-and-more parent family concept and hold that parenthood in a family as a social unit is not amenable to “the more the merrier” concept.

I can see good and bad in this bill.  In reading the proposed new Family Code Section 4052.5, the court may deviate from the statewide uniform guideline and divide the child support obligations based on each parents income and the time spent with the child.  One of the biggest problems I see in this new section, is going to be the allocating of child support and the enforcement of the same.  Then again, this could be a good thing in both of the non-custodial parent’s views, as they will not be paying as much in their child support obligation as they would be if there was not another non-custodial parent in the picture.

This is one bill I will continue to watch, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.  What do you think about this proposed bill?

I recently read a great article on Firstwifesworld.com, on how to handle a verbally, emotionally abusive ex-husband written by a member of First Wife’s World.  There were also some very good comments made on this article.

One of the hardest things for women (or men) who have been emotionally or verbally abusive is to move on and stop letting the ex continue to push their buttons, or bait them into continuing to respond in the same old way.

The member wrote the following on how she now deals with her ex: “He knows all your buttons to push, so learn to react in a way that is completely different from how you have always reacted.

Here is an example (based on my real experience):

  • Him: “I should call the attorney and tell him that you’re……….”
  • Me – Old response:  “That isn’t true!  You know it isn’t true!  You’re just trying to cause trouble!”
  • Me- New response:  First a long pause of silence, and then, said very calmly and quietly: “If you think that is what you should do, then you should do it.”

This last part is the most difficult for us victims of abuse to understand because we think we’re caving in or letting “them” win.  Quite the contrary.  They honestly don’t have a clue what to do when you don’t react in the same adversarial way they behave, because being adversarial is the only way they know how to deal with people.”

If you would like to read more on this article, please click on the link above.  This website also has many other articles that you might find interesting, such as, Home and Home, Kids and Family, and Money and Finances.  Check it out and let me know if you find it useful.

Disclaimer: I am not a member nor am I affiliated with this website in any way.

I previously wrote about the California dad who threw his son off of a tour boat in August 2011 and was arrested for child endangerment.  See the post here.  He was convicted of child endangerment and was sentenced to 3 years probation, 1 year in a child abusers treatment program and 180 days in a Veteran’s Administration residential treatment program.

No jail time for California father who threw son off boat – CNN.com.

The Pendas Law Firm in Tampa Bay, Florida handed out 1000 turkeys to families in need for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  This is the 3rd year that the firm has given away turkeys to those in need.

Turkey Give Away

To read more about the turkey give away, click here.  It is nice to see a law firm with the giving spirit.

I have not commented on the former governor’s announcement about his son with the former housekeeper because I felt there was enough out there about it already.  However, this week I read an article in the CEB blog written by Julie Brook, Esq., that I would like to share a bit of with you.

Ms. Brook reminds us that California law has a “conclusive” presumption of paternity for children born to a married woman.   There are four elements that must all exist at the time of a child’s birth to trigger application of this presumption under Family Code Section 7540.  They are:

  • The mother is in a valid marriage;
  • The mother is living with her husband;
  • Her husband is not sterile; and
  • Her husband is not impotent.
If all of these elements are in place when the child is born, the child is presumed to be that of the mother’s husband. Any rebuttal of the presumption through a motion for blood tests must be made within two years of the child’s birth per Family Code Section 7541.
It appears that the mother and her husband were living together at the time of the child’s birth and no paternity action was filed within the two year’s after the child’s birth.  Assuming that the husband was not sterile or impotent at the time of the birth, the child is the legal child of this marriage and the mother’s former husband is the legal father of the child pursuant to California law.
This happens in California more than people realize.  Children are born into a marriage and the husband may not be the biological father but he is the legal father unless an action is filed within the two year time period from the child’s birth.  This is in my opinion an antiquated law and I have seen this law destroy families and children’s lives leaving the children with a legal father who has absolutely no relationship with the child and the biological father who has no obligation to support, nurture or acknowledge their child.

Just when you thought you were paying more in spousal support than you thought was fair, along comes this story from Australia.  As a high-earning professional, the husband took home almost $2 million, including a six-figure bonus, in the last year.  After their split he moved out of the $2.7 million family home and into another property worth more than $1.1 million, which he bought without his wife’s knowledge before their separation.  Hmm, here we call that a fiduciary duty to disclose, but I digress.  It was intended as an investment property if the marriage lasted; instead, he lived there with his children as their primary care-giver.

His former wife hoped to earn up to $50,000 annually working in community services and wanted him to support her financially for two years while she obtained her qualifications.  He objected, arguing that she was employable and could return to her former career as a legal secretary or personal assistant, earning up to $75,000 annually. Her choice of occupation was effectively ”a luxury she cannot afford and which would be at his cost”, he said.

But Justice Fowler noted that the woman ”says she has had enough of the law and lawyers for the time being”.  She told the court the distress of the marriage breakdown and subsequent litigation have made her averse to ”having anything further to do with employment in the legal profession”.  More than two years after the couple separated, after costly proceedings in the Family Court, a judge made parenting orders for the care of their children.”  Given the history of this matter and its attendant costs, one can understand from her point of view that she would wish to distance herself from that profession,” Justice Fowler said.  Her decision not to pursue her former career was not unreasonable, he said, and he ordered the husband to pay her $1000 a week for two years while she retrained.

Now, I agree that the husband makes great money and the wife is probably entitled to spousal support, although there is no indication of how long the marriage was, but I think this is a little over the top.  At $4,000 a month for 2 years, she will receive $96,000 in spousal support and will get to go back to school to boot.  So, next time you write that spousal support check, just think, it could be worse.

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While this blog is not really about Family Law, it is about family and recognizing when our children make you proud, no matter what age they are.

Misty and her Father's beloved Harley

My son Dale and his other half, Misty, recently went on a Poker Run in Plumas County.  If you are not familiar with a Poker Run, participants meet at a pre-arranged point, and pick up details of their route and the stops they need to make. Each participant is given a score card which will be filled in as they progress along the route. At each designated stop, the participants draw a card at random (or are dealt a card, depending on the event rules). The card drawn or dealt is recorded on each participant’s score card, and the winner of the event is the participant who makes the best five card poker hand at the end of the event. Events usually end with some entertainment at the designated “last stop” of the route, along with the awarding of the prizes. The organizers raise their funds by charging a set amount to participate.  In this case, the run was all about Hospice, which was near and dear to both Dale and Misty.

Misty lost her father to cancer on Father’s day two years ago and shortly after that her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away within that same year.  When her mother was diagnosed, Dale and Misty moved their family from the town they lived in, leaving behind friends and family to move in and care for Misty’s mother through her illness.

Both of Misty’s parents were cremated and their wish was to travel on the bike that Misty’s father owned, even after their death.  Dale and Misty inherited her father’s bike and they have been on many runs with her parents since their death.  You might wonder how this is possible? Well, a little bit of her parents ashes are carried in a small flask inside the saddle bag on the bike and no matter where they go, Misty’s parents are always with them.

Mom and Dad riding on their Harley

I am proud of Dale and Misty for giving up all they gave up to make sure that Misty’s mother was taken care of and when it came time for Hospice, both of them were able to work with them and they have honored Misty’s parents last wishes and have made sure they keep riding their beloved Harley to this day.

Dale and Misty on the Poker Run

Dale and Misty, in case I haven’t told you before, I am proud of both of you.  I know it has been a struggle for them and during the toughest of times when Misty’s mother was hospitalized at the end of her life, Dale lost his job and the economic slump hit and they have been struggling to keep things afloat ever since.

When Dale contacted me yesterday to tell me that their story was written in Thunder Roads Norcal Magazine, I had to check it out and let the world know as well.  I also had to let everyone know how proud I am of them too.  For more information on this story and many others in the magazine, see the link above.

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