Family Law

The area of family law is extremely broad and encompasses a variety of statutes and causes of action for the potential plaintiff as well as several obstacles for a defendant in these matters.  Whether it is divorce, child custody, contempt, modification of child support, modification of visitation, or modification of custody, the Law Office of Matthew Poole is able to provide a prospect client with the guidance that they need to make the proper decisions to not only insure that they address all of the issues that are necessary to effectuate their rights, but to insure that they will not have to continually litigate matters that could have been settled and finalized for less money and with more efficiency.

It is often said that the area of family law is one of the most contentious areas in which the everyday person litigates.  Often seen as more important than litigating over money or property rights is that the family law litigants receive a fair result in child custody and divorce matters.  Family law also encompasses the filing of state actions, the probate of wills, and the administration of estates.

Termination of parental rights is also an area of law that is considered the death penalty of family law and with it comes a specific criteria that a litigate must show in order to terminate the parental rights of a parent and former spouse.  Adoptions are a unique product of statute in Mississippi and generally do require that the termination of a nature parents rights precede the adoption.  Adoption, as previously stated does exist solely by virtue of statute and just as a guardianship or any other proceeding in which custody of children is to be determined, the primary consideration is in the best interest of the child.  However, the issue of the best interest of the child cannot arise in the adoption until the natural parent has either consented to the adoption, abandoned the child(ren), or is unfit to rear or train the child(ren).

Adoptions and termination of parental rights do require the appointment of a guardian ad litem.  A guardian ad litem is a guardian of the law to perform an independent investigation into the best interest of the child and facts and circumstances that arise in the petitioner’s pleading. There are several prerequisites to the termination of parental rights.  The prerequisites include that the child may have been removed from the home of its natural parents, that circumstances presently prevent the return of the child to its natural parents and cannot be cured within a reasonable amount of time, or if the continuation of parental contact is not desirable or nonetheless not possible to find an alternative determination of parental rights, such as placing legal custody and guardianship with persons other than the natural parents.

Several grounds for termination of rights exist in the state of Mississippi.  One of those may be that the parent has deserted the child without means of identification or has abandoned and made no contact with the child under the age of 3 for six months, or a child 3 years of age or older for a period of at least one year.  Additionally, a parent that has been responsible for a series of abusive incidents concerning one or more children may be terminated pursuant to Mississippi statutory law.  It is also clear in Mississippi precedent that a child that has been in custody of a licensed child care agency (Department of Human services, or any other agency authorized to have custody of a minor child/children) have made diligent efforts to develop a plan to return the child with its parents but the parent has failed to exercise reasonable available visitation with the child, or that the parent has agreed to a plan to effect placing the child with the parent, but has failed to implement the plan so that the child caring  agency is unable to return the child to the parent.

Also, in Mississippi law, if a parent has exhibited ongoing behavior which would make it impossible to return the child to the parent because of the parent being diagnosed as an alcoholic or drug addict, or severe mental illness that is so severely mentally defective or physically handicapped that the parent is not able to provide minimally acceptable care of the child, or the parent has failed to eliminate behavior which prevented placement of the child with the parent in spite of the diligent efforts of the childcare agency to assist the parent, termination of parental rights may be deemed appropriate.  Mississippi law also provides for termination of parental rights in such cases that an extreme and deep seated antipathy by the child toward the parent is present or that there has been a substantial erosion of the relationship between the parent and child, which is called in part by neglect, abuse, prolonged unreasonable absence, or unreasonable failure to communicate. Imprisonment of a parent is also a factor for consideration under the termination of the parental rights statutes.

If you have any family law matter, including adoption, wills or estates, child custody, grandparents visitation, or any other that you believe falls within the realm of domestic litigation, the Law Office of Matthew Poole is able to provide you with the assistance and guidance to make appropriate decisions and efficiently litigate those matters that in the best interest of your children and for your family. Please see also our several articles listed in the article section of our website which pertain to the various subject matters that are herein described.