Archive for June, 2015

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Custody Challenges for Stay at Home Parents

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

When one parent is accustomed to staying home to care for their children, a custody dispute can turn their whole world upside down rather quickly. Sure, they will still most likely be doing plenty of parenting, but it is likely that they will be doing less parenting than they were previously, especially if they were “on duty” twenty four hours, seven days each week.

Being a stay at home parent can provide the court with helpful information in a custody dispute, as there is likely to be abundant evidence of the strong connections that you have with your children, in addition to your well-honed parenting skills. You may wish to call attention to a few challenges that you are likely to encounter, so that the court can keep its expectations of you reasonable as you transition from being a full time stay at home parent to someone who must now find a job and a place to live, and balance work, parenting, and maintaining their own separate residence.

When parents who have stayed home to raise their children seek to reenter the work force, it is not always easy to do so. Whether you have been out of the job market for just a couple years or for a decade or more, the job market is tight. Depending upon your skill set and the job market in the place where you live, you may be able to find and apply for work that will enable you to do what you have done for work before. It is also possible that a job like the one that you used to have may not be available, and then you may need to think creatively about how to approach your job search. One idea is to look for a job that will train you to do what you are hired to do. If you are open to learning new skills, this may work well for you. Another option is working from home. If you have not looked into the types of work that people can do from home, it is a good idea to do so because there is a surprisingly wide variety of work that people can do at home. From writers to accountants and data entry to customer service, there may be a position that meets your needs.

If you are accustomed to running a household as a team, the thought of setting up your own household may seem daunting. It is not easy to run a household on one income, but it is possible to do so. If you can, do as much advance planning as possible so that you can set yourself up with housing and services that will work well with your budget. Think carefully about every service that you purchase, as you may need to adjust some things like your cell phone plan to fit your current situation.

It can be difficult to adjust to the changes in your parenting time that your child custody case is likely to bring. It is important that you acknowledge how you feel, and that you treat yourself with the same patience and kindness that you are accustomed to providing to your children. Change is not always easy, and you are making some big moves.  Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole understands the challenges that stay at home parents often face in child custody cases. If you have a question about a Mississippi child custody case, please call us at (601) 573-7429, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Behavioral Issues During and After Custody Disputes

Monday, June 29th, 2015

When a child’s parents are involved in a custody case, whether it is a divorce, CPS case, or some other matter, the child will undoubtedly experience their own feelings and emotions related to the situation. The range of feelings that children may experience during custody cases is widely varied, especially when you factor in things such as age and emotional development.

Parents who are involved in custody disputes may know to expect behavioral changes in their children, but since it cannot be predicted exactly what those changes will be and when they are likely to take place, they may still be caught off guard when their children behave in ways that are unlike anything that they have ever seen them do before. As stressful as the custody case is for the parents, they also have the additional responsibility of supporting their children emotionally throughout the entire ordeal. Ideally, this includes monitoring behavior and making note of when changes occur, communicating with the children, and supporting them as they experience whatever feelings they are experiencing.

When children are feeling confused, sad, frustrated, or angry, they may act out because they don’t know what else to do. Acting out can come in all different forms, from mild misbehavior to extreme destructiveness. Fortunately, parents can often help their children address the feelings that are underlying the unusual behavior. When children feel closeness to and support from their parents, they regain a sense of safety and security that they may have felt was threatened by the events taking place in the custody case. Children may stop misbehaving once they feel understood and secure, and once any confusion has been cleared up.

Sometimes, though, parents may need the help of a professional to help their children and themselves. Some children become depressed or aggressive, and they may be reluctant to communicate with you when you try to talk to them. If you begin to feel as though professional help may be a good idea, do not hesitate to find someone who can help you.

Although child custody cases often involve a great deal of tension between parents, it is often helpful to communicate with your child’s other parent regarding behavioral changes, so that the two of you can decide how to address them. This is particularly important when, as noted above, you begin to feel as though one or more of your children may need professional support.

If you are involved in a custody case, you may be having many different feelings of your own. Unfortunately, these feelings may affect your behavior without you necessarily knowing that they are doing so. Simply knowing that this can happen can help you to assess your own behavior and notice whether it is being influenced by how you are feeling at any given moment. If you do notice that your feelings are affecting your behavior in ways that you do not like, you might try finding a coping mechanism like exercise, talking to a friend, spending time in nature, or doing something creative. If you find that it is difficult for you to work through your feelings to a point where you can choose to act, you may want to seek professional help

If you need legal assistance with a child custody matter, Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole is a trusted ally that you can count on to help you during this confusing and difficult time. Please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Talks about Mental Health Matters

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Although many people discuss mental health with their friends and family fairly frequently, they are often reluctant to discuss it with anyone that they do not know well or trust completely. The reason for this is that unfortunately, even in this time of greater understanding about mental health issues, people still pass judgment on those who seek treatment for or help with mental health issues. This stigma is persistent enough that it actually prevents people who believe that they need or would benefit from help to avoid seeking assistance.

Parents who are involved in child custody cases may feel as though they are not in a position to seek treatment for mental health issues because they believe that doing so could work against them as far as their child custody case is concerned. Unfortunately, this belief causes many people a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering, and could even cause people to be in danger of harming themselves or others. In reality, seeking help for mental health concerns is a sign of strength and dedication, and it is important that those who feel as though they need help also feel like they may seek it without that being held against them.

The first safeguard that parents who wish to reach out for help can rely on is the confidentiality that is promised as part of the psychologist/patient relationship. This requirement of confidentiality exists in order to encourage people to seek help for mental health issues if they feel as though they need to do so. Unfortunately, sometimes, even the knowledge that whatever you say to a mental health professional will remain confidential does not preclude you from having other concerns about seeking treatment. You may also be concerned that if you do in fact seek help, your children’s other parent will attempt to use that information as evidence that is unfavorable to you.

Fortunately, courts are often inclined to view participation in mental health treatment, especially if there is a treatment plan in place and progress is being made, as a positive thing that reflects favorably on the parent who is engaged in such treatment. It is not easy to acknowledge that you need help with a mental health concern, so a decision to do so can be viewed as brave, and as evidence of a commitment to taking care of yourself so that you can take care of the needs of your children.

Mental health issues are serious issues that deserve careful attention. Professional help can be both life-saving and life-changing for those who need it. If you are concerned about the possible impact of mental health treatment on your Mississippi child custody case, we can help you. Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole has helped parents just like you accomplish results in their child custody cases that meet their needs and the needs of their children. Please call Attorney Matthew S. Poole today, at (601) 573-7429 to arrange a free, initial consultation.


Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Presents a Big Picture View of the Best Interest of the Child

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

If you are involved in a child custody case, you have undoubtedly heard of the concept of the “best interest of the child”. As with any legal concept, the concept of the “best interest of the child” is likely to leave people wondering what it looks like in real life. There are actually many ways that a person can get a feel for the concept of the “best interest of the child” by looking at examples from everyday life.

The simplest place to begin is by acknowledging that “the best interest of the child” is, by nature, a big-picture type of concept. It can be seen in all of the day to day interactions between parents and their children in homes all across America and all over the world. Also, in situations that do not serve the “best interest of the child”, those same day to day interactions, or the lack thereof, are what can help people who are a part of the child’s life to see that the child may need help.

It is not possible to get a sense of the best interest of any particular child in one day. Children need people and situations in their lives that are consistent, and observing a family over a period of time can provide a picture of how involved each parent is in the child’s daily activities and whether the involvement is consistent over time or not. This type of observation can also point to other things in the child’s life that provide stability, such as the routines they follow at home, their school or day care environment, grandparents and other family members, and regular activities that the child enjoys.

Observation over time is also important for gathering information about whether any changes that have been made by the child’s parents are likely to remain in effect. For example, if a parent has been asked to secure a more suitable apartment that will enable their child to have the appropriate amount of space available to them when they visit, it will take time for that parent to show that they can not only obtain the apartment that they need, but that they can keep it and maintain it in an appropriate condition. There are many situations in which a parent must address an issue, like getting treatment for substance abuse, making appropriate choices about which other adults spend time around their children, maintaining a safe living space for their family, and so on, that take time to address and for the parent to demonstrate a continued commitment to maintaining their success.

For parents who are involved in child custody cases, the “best interest of the child” may seem like a tough standard to meet. Fortunately, there are many ways that parents can meet that standard just by doing what they do every day to support their children with the physical and emotional resources that they need to feel safe, secure, and loved. If you would like to learn more about the “best interest of the child” or any other aspect of your Mississippi child custody case, contact Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Talks About Parenting Across the Miles

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Many custody cases involve parents who are and who intend to remain in close geographic proximity to each other. In some custody cases, though, the children’s parents live far away from each other. The distance between the homes of the parents becomes, in these cases, an important factor that must be addressed in the parenting plan.

Parents who are involved in custody cases that involve long-distance parenting can take heart in knowing that many families have created long-distance parenting plans that have provided both parents with plenty of parenting time and the ability to maintain close relationships with their children. Creating a successful long-distance parenting plans often involves a lot of careful thought and a high degree of attention to detail. Fortunately, that extra effort is often pays off in the form of a plan that works not just for a little while, but for years, because it has taken many different things into consideration.

The exact structure of long-distance parenting plans varies greatly because the distances between parents’ residences vary from one family to the next. Families where one parent lives in a place that is within driving distance of the other may plan for more transitions and shorter visits than families where the parents live in different regions or even in different countries. These families may establish a pattern of the children spending long periods of time with each parent, such as a situation where the children live with one parent during the school year and spend school breaks with the other. When the distance between parents does not preclude it, holidays can be given separate treatment from other visits if that is what the parents would like to do.

In addition to decisions regarding how often travel occurs, parents who are designing long-distance parenting plans must decide who is doing the traveling and what mode of transportation they will use. Sometimes, one parent will travel to visit the children at or near their usual home. At other times, parents will trade off on taking trips to see the children. Children can also travel between locations, especially as they grow older and are able to travel on their own. The distance to be traveled and the cost of travel are other considerations that go into a plan for who will travel where and when.

Communication between children and parents is an essential component of any parenting plan, and it is just as important of a consideration in long-distance parenting plans. Many long-distance parenting plans provide for daily contact between the children and the parent who is not present in the location where they are. Because video calling programs like FaceTime and Skype are so popular, families often incorporate them into their parenting plans as well. Plans for communication also often address the timing of communication between children and parents, so that the children are able to know when they will be able to talk to their parent and vice versa.

Child custody cases where parents live miles apart can seem difficult. Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole has helped many families design parenting plans that work for them, and it is possible that he can help, too. Please call our office today at (601) 573-7429, to set up a free consultation.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses the Importance of Creating a Parenting Schedule Early on in Divorce Proceedings

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

When you begin thinking about getting a divorce, it is only natural to wonder how you will go about it. If you have children, it may seem like divorcing will be even more complicated, because so much of your family’s daily schedule may revolve around parents sharing both household and child care responsibilities. Fortunately, families can adapt to the changes that divorce brings. One way to help your family have as smooth of a transition from living in a single household to living in two households is to create a parenting schedule as soon as possible, perhaps, even before one of you moves out of the family home and into new living quarters.

Depending upon the circumstances of your divorce, it may seem like a parenting schedule won’t be needed early on, because the kids will remain in the marital home with one parent, while the other moves out. However, the relationships that the children have with the parent who is moving out of the marital home are important, to both the parent and to the children. Children thrive when they experience stability, and while you may think that you are providing that by having them remain in the home that they are accustomed to living in, staying in the same school, and attending their usual activities, there is additional stability that can be provided in the form of spending time with each parent.

In addition to giving children much needed stability, spending time with each parent throughout the divorce process gives them tangible reinforcement of something that they cannot be reminded of too many times – that the divorce is about their parents, and not at all about them. Whenever possible, it is a good idea for parents to create a parenting schedule before one of them leaves the home, so that they can discuss it with the children at the same time that they discuss the divorce, and that one parent will be moving into another residence. Children like to know what to expect, and while it will undoubtedly be difficult for them to experience one parent moving out of their home, knowing where that parent is going and when they can expect to see them again can make it a little bit easier.

If you are a parent who is considering divorce, it may be helpful for you to speak with a Mississippi Family Law Attorney as you prepare to file for divorce. Your attorney can help you to understand the process of divorce, and what you and your children are likely to experience at each stage of the process. They can also help you work through all of the issues that are related to your divorce, including child custody. Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole has helped many divorcing parents obtain results that work well for themselves and for their families. Please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Family Law Attorney Discusses False CPS Accusations

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Cases that involve child custody are never easy. Whether you are involved in a divorce or some other matter, you may feel as though your child custody case is one of the most difficult if not the most difficult situation that you have ever been through. As difficult as child custody cases are, they can become even more so if a false accusation of child abuse or neglect gets tossed into the mix.

Sometimes, there is a legitimate reason for Child Protective Services (CPS) to become involved in a child custody matter. Unfortunately, not all matters in which CPS seeks to intervene involve situations in which children are actually being abused or neglected. In some cases, CPS becomes involved by investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect that are eventually proven false. Of course, while the investigation is ongoing, the parent who has been falsely accused may be restricted in their abilities to see or spend time with their children. As you might imagine, this is extremely painful, for both the parent and the children. The accused parent may also experience judgmental treatment from others and being ostracized within their family and community due to the allegations that have been brought against them.

If you have been falsely accused of abusing or neglecting one or more of your children, you may wonder what you should do about it. The most important thing that you can do is, unfortunately, very difficult to do. Remaining calm and keeping a positive, respectful, and cooperative attitude can help the investigators find the truth of the matter as quickly as possible. As angry as you may feel on the inside, it is important that you find a way to address those feelings in some way so that they do not impact your ability to guide the investigation to its correct conclusion. Some people find it helpful to acknowledge their angry feelings by talking through things with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. Others find that journaling, exercise, time spent outdoors, or solitude helps them to regain their composure in the face of something that would make even the most peaceful and even-tempered person lose their cool.

When your rights to parent your children are at stake because of false allegations of child abuse or neglect, it is important to retain a Mississippi Family Law Attorney immediately, if you have not done so already. If you do have an attorney, call them right away and let them know what has happened. Your attorney can provide you with valuable guidance on what to expect, what to do, and how they can help you to address the false allegations and get your child custody case back on the right track.

False allegations of child abuse or neglect can become important material in your child custody case, because they speak to the character of the person who made the false accusations. Your attitude and behavior throughout the investigation will also be detailed in any reports regarding the matter, so it can also be said that the manner in which you respond to the false allegations also becomes an important consideration in your child custody case.

If you have been falsely accused of abusing or neglecting your child, Mississippi Family Law Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you. Please call my office today, at (601) 573-7429 today, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Family Law Attorney Talks about Grandparent Visitation

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

When parents are involved in a custody dispute, they are likely to be most concerned about what will happen to them, and to the amount of time that they are able to spend with their children. However, many children enjoy spending time with other adults who are not parents, such as aunts, uncles, and grandparents. When parents make decisions regarding custody, the ability of some of these individuals to spend time with the children may be affected. Depending upon where the parents live in relation to a child’s grandparents, the degree of grandparent involvement in the child’s life prior to a division of custody, and other factors, some grandparents may experience a drastic reduction in the amount of time that they can spend with their grandchildren.

            In families where grandparents provide child care and other family support, their ability to visit with the children is sometimes addressed in the custody agreement as part of a plan for child care. At other times, custody agreements deal solely with the parents and leave visitation with other adults, including grandparents, to the parents’ discretion. There is no national law requiring that grandparent visitation be addressed in custody cases, nor do grandparents have any absolute rights to visit with their grandchildren.

            The benefits of grandparent relationships to children are widely acknowledged, as are grandparents’ abilities to support their children, in-laws, and former in-laws in their parenting. Without a guarantee of visitation, though, both grandparents and their grandchildren are at risk of having those beneficial relationships reduced or eliminated. Fortunately, parents may choose to acknowledge grandparent relationships in child custody agreements. Also, in certain situations, grandparents may seek visitation under the Grandparent Visitation Act of 1983. As it does with anything that affects a child, the court will consider the “best interest of the child” when it makes its determination of whether to award grandparent visitation.

The specific group of grandparents who may petition the court for visitation in Mississippi includes the parents of parents who were either not awarded custody of their children (the other parent got full custody), or whose parental rights have been terminated. Other grandparents who do not fit the aforementioned description may also petition the court for visitation, but they must prove that the children’s parents are being unreasonable in denying them the opportunity to visit grandchildren with whom they have viable relationships. Of course, grandparents who seek visitation through the courts should know that the process is likely to promote divisiveness within the family. However, in cases where the court determines that an award of grandparent visitation will serve the best interests of the children, grandparents often find that the unpleasantness or inconvenience of dealing with the children’s parents on the issue of visitation is often well worth the joy of seeing their grandchildren and continuing to be a part of their lives.

If you are a grandparent who would like to pursue grandparent visitation through the courts, Mississippi Family Law Attorney Matthew S. Poole may be able to help you. Likewise, if you are a parent involved in a custody dispute and you wish to include grandparent visitation as part of your parenting plan, Attorney Matthew S. Poole can help you accomplish that. Please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429, to set up a free consultation.