Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi child custody attorney’

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Risky Experiments in Child Custody Arrangements for Same-Sex Couples

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

The traditional child custody scheme arose when two adults married, entered into a divorce, and then had to decide the type of custody (e.g. joint physical custody) and visitation schedule. However, in the 2000s, a shift away from the traditional nuclear family began. Today, nuclear families account for only 24.1% of American families. Other family structures are now more prevalent. These include single-parent households, unmarried parents with children, and multi-parent households. A new form of family arrangement that has recently begun gaining traction involves same-sex couples.

The state of Mississippi does not permit adoption by same-sex couples, though single LGBT parents are permitted to adopt. To get around this law, many same-sex couples have begun experimenting with some highly unusual and often problematic parenting arrangements.

One new method of child custody occurs when a same-sex couple desires to have a biologically related child. In order to do so, they must seek an outside individual to act as either a surrogate or sperm donor.  Previously, many same-sex couples used third party donation clinics to facilitate this process, essentially compensating an individual who agreed to help in the conception and/or pregnancy. However, many same-sex couples have now entered into arrangements with individuals they know regarding sharing custody of the child. For instance, a male couple sought the assistance of a close sister, who was also interested in raising a child. One of the males provided the sperm for artificial insemination, the sister carried the child to term, and then the male couple and sister shared joint custody of the child. A schedule was agreed upon in advance in which the baby was to spend half of each week with each respective parent. However, after a falling out regarding different parenting styles, the sister sought sole custody as the biological mother of the child. The young toddler was then forced to endure a lengthy and emotionally traumatic custody dispute.

Another method pairs two same-sex couples in pursuit of the same thing – a  child. A male same-sex couple and a female same-sex couple pair together to conceive and raise a child. These couples generally know each other quite well and agree on custody, visitation schedules, medical care, education, and all other aspects of custody prior to conceiving. In one case, the two couples bought side-by-side condos. They decorated the condos identically with the same paint, wallpaper, decorations, furniture, toys, and more to help the baby feel more at home. The couples split the year into quarters and agreed to swap custody at the end of each quarter. Because they lived next door, the other couple was never far away and could visit if permitted by the couple with visitation rights for that quarter. However, the agreement became problematic for the couples. First, the parenting styles widely differed, resulting in frequent clashes. Second, the quarterly schedule caused the couples to miss important milestones in the child’s life. Third, the quarterly schedule also took away from crucial developmental time with each parent. The arrangement therefore created problems for both the couples and the child.

Devising a child custody arrangement as a same-sex couple can be difficult. To avoid future problems, the easiest route to take is to find someone who is willing to relinquish all parental rights. However, if you wish to enter into an alternative custody agreement like the ones mentioned above, it is best to work alongside a skilled Mississippi child custody attorney to discuss your options and draft a legally sound contract.

To schedule a free initial appointment with a Mississippi Child Custody Attorney, call Matthew S. Poole now at (601) 573-7429.


Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Parental Alienation

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

In some cases, judges in custody cases take extreme measures when they believe that children are at risk of physical or emotional harm. In a recent court decision in Michigan, a judge at a custody hearing decided that the children involved in the case needed to go to a juvenile detention facility in order to escape parental alienation that was so severe that the judge declared it “brainwashing”. The children spent a short time at the juvenile detention facility before their father asked the court to release them to a residential summer camp where both of their parents could visit them.

The judge who issued the ruling believes that what she did was in the best interest of the children, who have been stuck in the middle of their parents’ custody battle for approximately six years. She says that the children had been refusing to meet with their father because their mother had alienated them from him. Parental alienation is a serious situation in which one parent’s efforts to present a negative view of the other parent are so successful that the children no longer want to see or have a relationship with the other parent. It is highly detrimental to children, who benefit from a strong relationship with both of their parents.

If you are concerned that parental alienation may be an issue in your child custody case, there are some things that you can look for which could help you to identify efforts at parental alienation. If you see any of these things happening in your family, share your concerns with your attorney so that the issue can be dealt with promptly. For example, there may be a “campaign of denigration”, which involves the creation of stories about the family which portray one parent in a very negative light. For example, denying a child the opportunity to visit their other parent and then telling the child that the visit happened because the other parent cancelled the visit.

Other signs of parental alienation can be seen in the way that a child talks about his or her parents. If the child can rattle off a long list of things that they do not like about the targeted parent without mentioning any of their positive attributes, they may be experiencing parental alienation. Additionally, children who are affected by parental alienation are careful to state that their negative statements come from their own experience and that no one told them to say those things. They often express themselves in a way that sounds scripted, and which makes them sound like they are really smart for their age. Unfortunately, words aren’t the only things that children who experience alienation use against the targeted parent. They sometimes even engage in very cruel behaviors and then exhibit no remorse afterwards. Children who experience parental alienation express a deep and profound loyalty to the parent who has caused the alienation.

Parental alienation is a serious issue in child custody cases and it is important that you act fast if you believe that it is an issue in your case. Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole has helped many parents with their child custody cases, and it is possible that he can help you, too. Please call our office today at (601) 573-7429, to set up a free consultation.


Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Shares Back to School Tips for Divorced or Divorcing Parents

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

The beginning of a new school year brings mixed feelings for parents and children alike. Whether this is your first time navigating the school year as a divorced or divorcing parent or you have done it before, now is a good time to make sure that you enter the school year feeling prepared and knowing what to expect.

If your family’s routines went by the wayside this summer, now is a good time to establish them again. Even better, check in with your children’s other parent to see what routines look like at their house and see how the two of you can become more consistent so that the kids have the same or very similar routines at both homes. Make sure the kids know what to expect on school days and weekends, and you will be on your way to establishing a smooth flow to your days.

Get familiar with your child’s school and their new teacher. Teachers benefit from knowing about each child and their family situation, so do be sure to let them know the basics about what has been going on in your family so that they can be aware of it. If you are the custodial parent, be sure that your child’s school, teacher, coaches, doctors, and other people who your child spends time with know that they should share information about your child freely with your child’s other parent. This will benefit you, because you won’t have to make copies and send countless messages or make frequent phone calls to share the information yourself.

Speak with your child’s parent about school activities, and consider making an agreement that both of you can attend all of their events. If this just won’t work, make a schedule that specifies who will attend each event so that you can plan ahead. While you are doing all of this planning and coordinating, discuss what items your children will need for school this year and decide which expenses each of you will pay. Once you decide that, follow through and get the things that you have agreed to provide. This type of planning can help to ensure that the kids have everything that they need, and that one parent or the other doesn’t buy something for a child that the parents do not agree that the child should have, like a cell phone.

If you are involved in a child custody case, the beginning of the school year is a good time to make sure that everything is working well with your child custody arrangement by checking in with your child’s other parent about what both of you would like to see happening during the school year. Many parents can work together to adjust parenting schedules and other things so that family life will be easier for everyone. If you are having difficulties with a child custody situation, Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole may be able to help you. Please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to arrange a free, initial consultation.


Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Parent Representation in Child Custody Cases

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

When parents struggle with drug addiction or other issues, the Mississippi Department of Human Services often intervenes and removes their children from their custody. When this happens, the parents’ struggle with their issues continues, and a new battle ensues regarding child custody. Unfortunately, this dual fight does not often end in reunification of the children with their parents.

A pilot program in Rankin County and in three other Mississippi counties is hoping to change that by providing parents whose children are in the foster care system because of drug addiction or other reasons with legal representation. Parents whose children are in state custody are often unable to afford to hire an attorney. They end up trying to represent themselves in court while trying their best to fulfill the expectations that are set out for them by the Department of Human Services, which, necessarily, involve pursuing and succeeding at recovery from substance abuse or whatever other issues prompted state involvement.

When parents who are battling addiction while attempting to regain custody are given legal support and advice, they have a much better chance of success. This is likely the reason why all of the other states make attorneys available to these parents. Attorneys who represent indigent parents in child custody cases can provide parents with the information that they need to make choices that may help them to regain custody of their children. They can advocate for parents when the Department of Human Services is setting up expectations for the parents, and they can help to ensure that the expectations are reasonable, so that parents are not essentially set up to fail. If family members who can provide a suitable home for the children are available, an attorney can advocate for that placement to be made. They can also help their clients get into facilities where they can get the treatment that they need.

The results of the pilot program in Mississippi look promising, and more counties are slated to become involved. Reunification is happening more often. Children are spending more time being cared for by family members, and less time in the foster care system. The legal advice and information that the parents have been receiving has led to parents thinking about how they can best solve their problems and making more choices that keep them on track to be reunited with their children.

Child custody cases are often difficult and complex matters, in addition to being highly emotional experiences. A Mississippi Family Law Attorney can help you to understand your child custody case and provide you with legal support and the information that you need in order to make informed decisions about how to proceed with your case. Mississippi Family Law Attorney Matthew S. Poole has helped many parents in diverse sets of circumstances to navigate child custody cases, and he may be able to help you, too. Please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Addiction and Newborn Babies

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

Some of the individuals that are at risk due to a nationwide opiate addiction epidemic are very, very tiny. They are too young to talk, but their cries are unmistakable. Babies who suffer from withdrawal symptoms after being born to drug addicted mothers cry hard, they cry loud, and they cry for a very long time as their tiny faces become red and their tiny bodies stiffen.

Babies who are born addicted to drugs often face health issues after they have gone through withdrawal. The additional health concerns that often accompany neonatal abstinence syndrome include respiratory issues, slow weight gain, and, in some cases, seizures. These conditions require extra care and attention from parents and caregivers.

The number of drug-dependent babies born in America has been rising for a while now, and the number of child custody cases involving the parents of those babies has been rising as well. Hospitals and public health agencies know that reaching out to parents is one way that they might be able to reduce the number of babies who are born addicted to drugs, but it is not always easy to find effective methods for doing so.

            When babies are born addicted to drugs, their withdrawal symptoms are often treated with morphine or methadone. Research has indicated that there are other types of care that can also be effective in easing the pain of withdrawal, including swaddling, music therapy, and rocking, which are all treatments that parents, caregivers, and volunteers who work with parents can learn how to provide.

Improving the outcomes for drug addicted babies involves more than improving the types of care that they receive in the hospital. When pregnant mothers who struggle with addiction are provided with support and resources during their pregnancies, they may be able to begin the process of recovery before their babies are born and remain in recovery after their child’s birth by using the skills and tools that they learned about during their pregnancies. Unfortunately, substance abuse rehabilitation programs for pregnant women are in short supply all across America. Less than two thousand of the eleven thousand substance abuse treatment facilities that are listed by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration include rehabilitation services for pregnant women.

Because there is a great need for programs that support addicted mothers, some states are designing and implementing new programs to meet that need. For example, a three-year pilot program called the MOMS Project has been created in Ohio. It is estimated that during the three year time frame, the MOMS Project will provide treatment, prenatal care, mental health support, and other important resources to three hundred pregnant women.

For parents who are battling addiction while facing a child custody case that could lead to termination of parental rights, the road forward is not likely to be easy. A Mississippi Child Custody Attorney can help you to understand your child custody case and provide the straightforward legal advice that you need during this challenging time in your life. If you need legal support regarding 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 Discusses the Connection between Marijuana and Custody Disputes

Monday, July 20th, 2015

As more and more states permit their residents to use various forms of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, it will be interesting to see how information about parents’ marijuana use will be utilized in child custody cases. As of right now, in Mississippi, almost all marijuana product use is illegal, except for a very small exemption for the use of certain formulations of marijuana oil for medicinal use. This means that in the overwhelming majority of Mississippi child custody cases, any evidence of any form of marijuana in a parent’s system at any time could be viewed as evidence of drug use and could be considered as such in a child custody case. However, as more and more pieces of marijuana legislation are introduced in Mississippi and throughout the nation that may change. Unfortunately, changes to rules regarding child custody do not always keep pace with changes in other legislation, as the stories below indicate.

Thirty eight states have legalized some forms of marijuana, and the number of states to do so is steadily rising. Other states, like Pennsylvania, have decriminalized it without legalizing it just yet. Parents on both sides of child custody cases around the nation, along with their attorneys, make allegations regarding marijuana use frequently during court proceedings. Allegations of marijuana use are also frequently included in reports that are made to child welfare agencies, and these allegations can lead to custody cases.

Because of the amount of confusion surrounding marijuana use and its legality and appropriateness, parents should always approach the marijuana use issue with great care and caution. Parents across America have lost custody of children because of various types of marijuana use. It happens in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use. It also happens in states where medical marijuana is legal, in situations where parents have been prescribed marijuana by their physicians. This creates a great deal of frustration and confusion, because parents can be found to be abiding the law as regards marijuana use, yet they can be found to be violating other laws that are related to the care and custody of their children. To further confuse things, courts in other states are treating marijuana use more like alcohol use and holding parents responsible for using it only in cases that involve situations where it may have affected their ability to keep their children safe, or where they are providing it to minors.

Child custody cases involve many complicated legal and personal issues. It is important to get accurate answers to the questions that you encounter along the way. A Mississippi Child Custody Attorney can help you understand the issues in your child custody case, and they can help you find the information that you need to make important decisions. If you need legal assistance with any type of child custody matter, Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole may be able to help you. Please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Jurisdictional Issues in Child Custody Cases

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Actress Kelly Rutherford’s high-profile, high-conflict international child custody battle has been through many twists and turns since it began. The latest issue to crop up in this family’s child custody case is whether any of the parties have sufficient connections to the state of California to justify the state’s maintaining jurisdiction over the matter. The issue of jurisdiction has recently been raised by Rutherford’s former husband, and it is worth noting that the issue had been raised before, by Rutherford, and a conclusion had been reached by the court that California did have jurisdiction over the matter.

In 2012, a Los Angeles judge ruled that Rutherford’s two children should move to Monaco and live with their father while he worked through some issues that he was having with his United States visa. At that time, neither of the parties lived in California, yet the state retained its jurisdiction over the matter. At that time, Rutherford told the court that she was living in New York for eight months out of each year while she was filming “Gossip Girl”. She had even tried to move the case to New York, because of the amount of time that she was residing there, but California continued to assert its jurisdiction in the matter. Not much has changed regarding the parties’ residences between 2012 and now. However, due to the California court’s renewed focus on jurisdiction, Rutherford is being asked to provide many types of evidence of her ties to California because the judge is now questioning whether he should make any new orders in her family’s child custody case.

According to Kelly Rutherford, the court’s focus on the jurisdictional issue is frustrating in and of itself, but it is especially so because it is drawing the focus of the case away from something that she considers a very important matter. When Rutherford went overseas for a scheduled visit in May of this year, her former husband refused to let her spend time with her kids. After that incident, the California judge issued an order granting emergency custody to Rutherford. However, the validity of that order is now under attack, as Rutherford’s former husband has questioned whether California has jurisdiction over the matter.

Jurisdictional issues are just one of many types of issues that can come up in child custody cases. A Mississippi Child Custody Attorney can help you understand complicated issues like jurisdiction so that you can make decisions that will work for your children and your family. If you are involved in a Mississippi child custody case, you need a strong ally. Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole understands that parents who are involved in Mississippi child custody cases often encounter many different challenges as they move through the various types of child custody proceedings. If you have a question about any type of Mississippi child custody case, please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429, to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Talks About Life in a Blended Family

Monday, July 13th, 2015

When people who have children from previous relationships decide to get married, they form a blended family. As with any other type of family, the relationships within a blended family have the potential to create joy, tension, and just about every other kind of feeling within the household. If you are considering forming a blended family, you may not know what to expect. Life in a blended family does have some unique challenges, but parents who work together to find solutions that work for their family often find that the rough spots are far outnumbered by the pleasant moments.

One area that can be confusing for both parents and children in a blended family is how to address each other. Children will naturally refer to their biological parents as “mom” and “dad”, but they may not know what to call their step-parents. Many step-parents have found that giving children the freedom to choose what they call their step-parents works out better than insisting that they call them “dad” or “mom”. This may be because children who are free to choose how they address their step-parents feel as though their step-parents respect their relationships with each of their biological parents, not just the one that they married.

Some blended families experience difficulties when parents find themselves blindsided by challenges that are unique to blended families, such as the aforementioned scenario involving how family members refer to each other. If parents learn about blended family life and the unique challenges that they may face as they combine their families, they may be able to avoid some troubles altogether by planning ahead and coming to an agreement about how they will handle certain situations if and when they arise.

It can be difficult to decide on house rules for a blended family. Each parent is likely to have their own views on discipline, as well as experience with the rules and practices that they had established in the home that they had shared with their former spouse. To further add to the confusion, research has shown that children adjust to life after divorce more easily when their divorced parents maintain the same rules, boundaries, and other matters related to discipline in each of their homes. Some blended families have found that having each child’s biological parent handle disciplinary matters in a way that is compatible with what goes on in the home of the child’s other biological parent works well for them.

These are just a few of the unique situations that blended families experience as they make their way together. Child custody cases can be difficult to navigate as a blended family. Parents who are involved in child custody cases often have many questions, and a Mississippi Child Custody Attorney can often help them find the answers that they need. Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole has helped many parents with their child custody cases, and it is possible that he can help you, too. Please call our office today at (601) 573-7429, to set up a free consultation.

Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Shares the Questions That Can Help Co-Parents Work Together More Effectively

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Divorce is not easy, and divorces involving children are even more difficult. Once the parties’ lives are separated, the matter of parenting always remains in the picture. There are many ways that parents handle parenting after divorce, and co-parenting/shared parenting/joint parenting is increasing in popularity as more and more parents realize the potential benefits of working together as a parenting team after a divorce. These parenting methods do not work well for everyone, but for parents for whom co-parenting works well much of the time, there are a few questions which can help them co-parent even more effectively.

Taking time to reflect on parenting is important for any parent, and it is essential for parents who are co-parenting. If parents do not occasionally take time to think about what they are doing and why, problems can arise. Fortunately, those problems and others can be avoided by taking regular opportunities to openly and honestly reflect on co-parenting, both on your own and with your children’s other parent. If the other parent does not want to engage in this type of reflection that may be indicative of a co-parenting problem in the making, or it may simply indicate that they have a different way of evaluating co-parenting that works well for them.

            When parents are unhappily married, their dissatisfaction can affect their children without anyone even knowing that it is doing so. Once unhappily married parents divorce and go their separate ways, children may feel relief from the tension that had been present in their home previously. This sense of relief can translate into hope that family life will be even better after the divorce than it was before it. With this in mind, parents can think about how they can co-parent in a manner that reinforces positive and hopeful sentiments within their separate homes.

As parents prepare to divorce and to turn one household into two, they can think about how they will preserve their children’s sense of security and stability during the transition. Things like keeping routines and house rules consistent can go a long way towards making a transition that everyone can feel good about. Also, taking the time to really think about what kind of parenting schedule will work best for everyone may seem like a lot of work up front. However, when a parenting schedule is thought through carefully before being implemented by co-parents, it has a greater chance of working well for everyone and requiring little to no adjustment until the needs of the family change.

Co-parenting is not always easy, but parents can make it easier on their children by keeping discussions about problems and difficulties between themselves. When parents can keep conflict out from in front of their kids, everyone wins. Children are less likely to feel confused, scared, and frustrated when they see their divorced parents working together in a calm manner to guide their family through whatever issues they are facing.

If you are involved in a child custody case, you need an advocate who can help you accomplish the best possible outcome in relationship to your unique circumstances. Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Matthew S. Poole may be able to help you, so please call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to arrange a free, initial consultation.


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.