Monday, September 26, 2011



It is a reality of life that people consider cost when purchasing products and services. The age old problem has been determining whether you are getting value for the price that you pay. This is especially true when you are purchasing legal services because it is difficult to compare such services. One certainty is that comparisons cannot be made on the basis of price alone for several reasons. First, most lawyers bill based on an hourly rate. It would seem that the lower the hourly rate the less the overall cost would be, but that often is not the case. A more experienced lawyer may be able to perform a task in less time or may know that a task is not even necessary. Additionally, some bargain lawyers charge extra amounts for services that actually are included in what appeared to be the higher priced lawyer’s fees, thus increasing the rates to points that may even exceed the “higher” rates.

There can be no debate about the value of receiving correct and competent legal advice and representation. Unfortunately, true competence rarely is found in someone without experience. There is no shortage of choices of lawyers, and for simple matters, you may be content to have a relatively inexperienced practitioner handle your case, but if your future is on the line, you should think twice.

To get the value for your money, look to see whether the lawyer has experience and expertise in handling this type of case (you do not want a “general practitioner”); whether your case will be handled by the lawyer you hired or whether it will be doled out to someone else; whether your lawyer is respected by the local judges and lawyers in the area and whether you can relate to and communicate with that lawyer.

I have been told by a judge in a circuit court divorce case that I can't file a motion to quash only Atty can file this motion -

I have been told by a judge in a circuit court divorce case that I can't file a motion to quash only Atty can file this motion -

If I have a chilid and my name is NOT on the birth certificate, can I be obligated to pay chilid support? -

If I have a chilid and my name is NOT on the birth certificate, can I be obligated to pay chilid support? -

Don't Be Your Own Worst Enemy

I answer questions on the website as a public service to people who have legal issues. Often these are people who are getting second opinions about the manner in which their lawyer is handling their case or venting about how their lawyer is mishandling their case. More and more frequently it seems, however, the questions are coming from people who have fired their lawyers for not doing what they wanted and who have then ventured out to handle their cases on their own with bad results following. Most recently, the questioner was a woman who had been through three lawyers, then represented herself and managed to antagonize the judge and the Guardian Ad Litem to the point that she lost custody of her children and had to pay her husband's attorney's fees. She complained that no one would listen to her.

While it is quite possible to hire one lawyer who does not listen well, it is unlikely that you will have the misfortune to find three in a row. That should be a sign that there is a problem with what you are saying. And when the stakes are as high as custody of your children, you should be listening to the advice of the experts that you are paying. Unfortunately, clients often come to lawyers with preconceived ideas about how the lawyers should be doing their jobs. When the lawyers do not perform on cue, dissatisfaction occurs. This is damaging to the success of the client's case. Often, the client then embarks on self-defeating conduct like lawyer switching or representing themselves. The result is predictable, like the case of the questioner. Still the blame is placed on the three lawyers, the judge, the Guardian Ad Litem. The reality is that the blame is much closer to home. It is always easier to blame someone else for failure, but in the long run it is better to have a good result. That requires working with, instead of against, your lawyer. Don't be your own worst enemy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Children And Divorce

Children And Divorce
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

One out of every two marriages today ends in divorce and many divorcing families include children. Parents who are getting a divorce are frequently worried about the effect the divorce will have on their children. During this difficult period, parents may be preoccupied with their own problems, but continue to be the most important people in their children's lives.

While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are invariably frightened and confused by the threat to their security. Some parents feel so hurt or overwhelmed by the divorce that they may turn to the child for comfort or direction. Divorce can be misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are involved and not involved, and what will happen to them.

Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their parents. Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, sometimes by sacrificing themselves. Vulnerability to both physical and mental illnesses can originate in the traumatic loss of one or both parents through divorce. With care and attention, however, a family's strengths can be mobilized during a divorce, and children can be helped to deal constructively with the resolution of parental conflict.

Talking to children about a divorce is difficult. The following tips can help both the child and parents with the challenge and stress of these conversations:

Do not keep it a secret or wait until the last minute.
Tell your child together with your spouse.
Keep things simple and straight-forward.
Tell them the divorce is not their fault.
Admit that this will be sad and upsetting for everyone.
Reassure your child that you both still love them and will always be their parents.
Do not discuss each other’s faults or problems with the child.

Parents should be alert to signs of distress in their child or children. Young children may react to divorce by becoming more aggressive and uncooperative or by withdrawing. Older children may feel deep sadness and loss. Their schoolwork may suffer and behavior problems are common. As teenagers and adults, children of divorce can have trouble with their own relationships and experience problems with self-esteem.

Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won't live together. Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to "choose" sides can be particularly harmful for the youngster and can add to the damage of the divorce. Research shows that children do best when parents can cooperate on behalf of the child.

Parents' ongoing commitment to the child's well-being is vital. If a child shows signs of distress, the family doctor or pediatrician can refer the parents to a child and adolescent psychiatrist for evaluation and treatment. In addition, the child and adolescent psychiatrist can meet with the parents to help them learn how to make the strain of the divorce easier on the entire family. Psychotherapy for the children of a divorce, and the divorcing parents, can be helpful.

For additional information see Facts for Families:
#8 Children and Grief
#34 Children’s Sleep Problems
#4 The Depressed Child
#27 Stepfamily Problems
#52 Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
#00 Definition of a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

See also: Your Child (1998 Harper Collins) / Your Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins)

If you find Facts for Families© helpful and would like to make good mental health a reality for all children, please consider donating to the Campaign for America's Kids. Your support will help us continue to produce and distribute Facts for Families, as well as other vital mental health information, free of charge.

You may also mail in your contribution. Please make checks payable to the AACAP and send to Campaign for America's Kids, P.O. Box 96106, Washington, DC 20090.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) represents over 7,500 child and adolescent psychiatrists who are physicians with at least five years of additional training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Facts for Families© information sheets are developed, owned and distributed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and are supported by a grant from the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation. Hard copies of Facts sheets may be reproduced for personal or educational use without written permission, but cannot be included in material presented for sale or profit. All Facts can be viewed and printed from the AACAP website ( Facts sheets many not be reproduced, duplicated or posted on any other Internet website without written consent from AACAP. Organizations are permitted to create links to AACAP's website and specific Facts sheets. To purchase complete sets of Facts for Families, please contact the AACAP's Development and Communications Assistant at 800.333.7636, ext. 140.

The information on this website is provided for general reference purposes. It does not constitute medical or other professional advice and should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your child and adolescent psychiatrist or other physician. Only a qualified, licensed physician can determine the individual treatment that is appropriate for your particular circumstances. All decisions about clinical care should be made in consultation with a physician.

If you need immediate assistance, please dial 911.

How does my sister go about giving me full custody of her daughter? -

How does my sister go about giving me full custody of her daughter? -