Posts Tagged ‘Hinds County Mississippi’

Grandparents Do Have Visitation Rights!

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Are you a grandparent of a child of divorce shut out of your grandchild’s life? In Mississippi, grandparents have a statutory right to visitation with their grandchildren, in limited circumstances. The polestar consideration in matters of child custody and visitation is “what is in the best of interest of the child?” In Mississippi, specific statutes confer upon grandparents certain visitation rights under specific circumstances. Below is the logical flow chart of the specific statutes that apply.

The statutory circumstances that apply to visitation rights are as follows:

Parent of the noncustodial parent;

Parent of the parent with terminated parental rights;

Parent of a deceased parent of the child; OR

Grandparents who do not fit any of the above three categories may still petition the court for visitation rights

Grandparent must prove an established “viable relationship” (defined below) with the child; OR

Grandparent must show the court that the custodial parent unreasonably denied the grandparent visitation rights; AND

Grandparent must convince the court that granting visitation rights to the grandparent are in the best interest of child.

“Viable relationship” as it relates to visitation rights of grandparents means “a relationship in which the grandparents or either of them have voluntarily and in good faith supported the child financially in whole or in part for a period of not less than six (6) months before filing any petition for visitation rights with the child, the grandparents have had frequent visitation including occasional overnight visitation with said child for a period of not less than one (1) year, or the child has been cared for by the grandparents or either of them over a significant period of time during the time the parent has been in jail or on military duty that necessitates the absence of the parent from the home.”

Your rights to grandparent visitation are worth pursuing if such would be in the best interest of your grandchildren. The above summary of the statutory rights conferred upon grandparents by the legislature is not an exhaustive list of factors the courts consider when making a determination of visitation with a child. Furthermore, the particular facts of your case are determinative of the proper court in which to file your petition for visitation rights. Establishing visitation rights of grandparents can be complicated and should be done with advice and representation by a qualified attorney.

If you are a loved one has questions about grandparent visitation issues, schedule a consultation with the Attorney Matthew S. Poole. Matthew has over a decade of experience representing parties in all matters of visitation, including many grandparents.

Myth: Courts Give Mothers Preferential Treatment for Child Custody When Child is Young

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Early American courts favored mothers over fathers for custody of young children. The legal tradition of preferential treatment of mothers eventually led to the adoption of the “tender years” doctrine. However, Mississippi courts no longer give preferential treatment to mothers of young children in child custody cases, with limited exceptions.

The “tender years” doctrine is a 19th century principle rooted in common law and stood for the premise that a mother of children of tender years (generally 4 years or younger) was presumed to be the best parent to care for young children. This was the legal rationale courts used to award mothers custody. Mississippi, as have most states, has trended towards a more balanced examination of both parents in determining which one is the best custodial parent of a child. Rather than completely abolish the “tender years” doctrine, it has been included as an Albright Factor (discussed extensively in other blog entries). Thus preferential treatment, as it relates to the “tender years” doctrine, is still a factor, but weighed against all the other factors courts consider.

There are, however, rare exceptions to the general rule against preferential treatment of mothers. When chancellors (family law judges) apply the Albright Factors to their analysis of the parents in a child custody case they do so with the best interest of the child as the overriding determinant. Courts in Mississippi consider it the best interest of a breastfeeding child of tender years to remain with the mother, thus giving these breastfeeding mothers preferential treatment in cases of child custody. Of course a father may present facts to the court, such as drug use of the breastfeeding mother, which override the interest of a young breastfeeding child remaining with the mother.

Suffice to say that the preference given to mothers in child custody determinations has diminished in weight to an appropriate position as one of a dozen or more Albright Factors. Ultimately, courts are going to consider many factors when making a child custody determination of a child of tender years. If you are a father or mother of children of tender years there are many issues to consider with an attorney. Matthew S. Poole has the experience and expertise to assist you in all your child custody needs. If you or anyone you know has a question about child custody matters, please contact the Law Office of Matthew S. Poole at 601-573-7429.

Why Is My No-Fault Divorce So Difficult?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Many people in the state of Mississippi, as in other areas of the country, seek to finalize and dissolve their marriage under what is commonly termed a no-fault divorce, also known as irreconcilable differences divorce in legal terms. No-fault divorces offer a variety of benefits for a prospective client, including that they are less expensive and less stressful than going through all of the arguing and fighting that accompany fault-based divorces and the lawsuits that are necessary in order to obtain a fault-based divorce.

As we’ve discussed many times on this website, and as is known by the majority of the legal community, fault divorces require the filing of a traditional lawsuit against your spouse. Many people wonder “why is it that my no fault divorce seems to be so difficult?” In short, no-fault divorce really has nothing to do with whether or not one of the parties or both have committed wrongdoing during the course of the marriage. No-fault divorces exist only when both parties have a clear agreement as to all of the issues involved in the divorce. When the parties have a child or children, own property, or have established separate living arrangements will complicate matters. No-fault divorces become less and less likely when more issues are involved. It is usually our recommendation that in a scenario where both the husband and the wife own little or no property, a no-fault divorce is easily attainable and should be pursued.

It is important, however, to note that in instances where there is not a firm agreement on all issues, a no-fault divorce is not an option. If the payment of attorney’s fees, alimony, whether or not one party wishes to stay in the house with the objection of the other, the visitation schedule of the children, or the possession and payment of automobiles or expenses related to any property owned by the couple is not agreed to, fault divorce is needed.

I’ve practiced domestic law for in excess of thirteen years, and have realized that there are several scenarios where the parties are very close to an agreement; however there are a few sticking points that have precluded them from reaching some final resolution to the dissolving of their marriage. Always remember that it is cost effective to agree on terms of divorce, but this is more easily said than done.

My general recommendation would be that if you are close to an agreement but have not yet obtained one with your spouse, make a short list of the issues that you do agree on prior to contacting an attorney. If you are able to make a list of the things that you do agree on and have very few things left over that could be resolved with a minimal amount of effort, you are on the path to a no-fault divorce. If the filing of a lawsuit against your partner is necessary, you will spend a significant amount of money that can go toward a better use, such as the support of your minor children or the sustenance of your daily living expenses. It is likely that you will need to contact an attorney at some point in order to get some advice about whether or not your divorce is in fact a no-fault or irreconcilable differences matter. If you are able to make some accommodation with your spouse in terms of resolving the major issues, it seems that likely that you will be able to obtain a no-fault divorce with minor adjustments to any initial draft of your agreement with your spouse. Don’t try to win every battle, just win the ones that matter most.

If you are seeking advice as to whether or not a no-fault, or “I.D.” divorce is attainable in your current scenario, we’re best equipped to provide you with assistance in making that determination and advising you as to the best path moving forward. Please feel free to call us for a no-cost telephonic consultation any time at 601-573-7429.
Law Office of Matthew Poole.