Thursday, September 24, 2009

Relocation of Children

Dr. Joan Kelly of Corte Madera, California spoke at the State of the Family 2009 Symposium. She is a recognized expert on children's issues in divorce. In addition to being a therapist, she is involved in research and writing.

Several of Dr. Kelly's points are summarized here:

-Relocation does not benefit children whether the parents are married or divorced. It causes an increased risk of behavioral and academic problems by itself.

-Before relocating to a new area, the parents need to ensure that the move really is necessary.

-The attachment between a parent and a child can be disrupted if there is a move and frequent separation before the age of two. Any relocation should be held off until age three or older. Even then, frequent contact between the parent and the child is needed.

-If there are siblings present with them, children can tolerate longer periods of separation.

-The factors that place the children most at risk in relocation are: long geographic distance; moving parent is uncooperative; moving parent sees no benefit to contact; limited economic resources

In Virginia, for a court to approve relocation, there must be a showing that the move is in the best interest of the child and provides independent benefit to the child.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Risks of Parental Placement Adoptions

Yesterday I drove to Danville (8 hour round trip) for my client, a Utah adoption agency. The purpose was to have a mother who had given birth the day before sign adoption consent papers. She already had an eleven month old and was living in a shelter. She had contacted my client to arrange the adoption. The adoptive parents flew overnight from Utah. They met the mother, held the baby and were assured by the mother that the baby would be going home with them. Just before I arrived at the hospital, the mother told the nurse that she did not want any visitors and to tell the parents that she was keeping the baby. This is the fourth baby these parents have "lost" in the adoption process.
There always is a risk that a parent or parents will change their minds. Although this is an unusual occurrence, it is something that you must know can happen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Social Media

This is the age of Social Media. Everyone seems to be on Facebook, Twitter, etc., including Hackers. Things can be attributed to you that you had nothing to do with. Other parties to litigation also are on-line and can read what you write and what is written about you. Even if you do not give them access, your "Friends" might.
In a divorce or custody proceeding, you can expect to have these and the on-line dating sites searched for your presence. You should not be there! Even the most "innocent" comments can be taken out of context and used to make you look bad.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Family Law Symposium

On September 14 and 15, 2009 the National Center For Family Law at the University of Richmond will conduct its second Family Law Symposium "State of the Family 2009". Experts from throughout the country will speak on topics ranging from the psychological issues particular to military family law to same sex parents. I will attend the symposium and will report back.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Foster Parent Adoption

Many prospective adoptive parents take out ads in newspapers, have websites and hire agencies in their often fruitless search for children to adopt. They often overlook the large number of children (often older) who are in the foster care system and who are available for adoption. You can begin as a foster parent or foster parents for the child and see how things go. There usually are subsidies available in such adoptions and the Department of Social Services pays the cost of the adoption. Such adoptions fulfill a great need in the community and offer an opportunity to those who wish to bring children into their homes.