DC ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS

In the District, Child and Family Services (“CFSA”) involved adoptions are both complicated in legal requirements as well as in procedural steps needed to reach finalization.  The legal process starts with filing of an adoption petition, which would generate show cause orders to be served on parents.  Upon service, the parents may either enter a written consent, or contest the proceedings. The adoption petitioner then in a contested proceedings has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that either the biological parents have abandoned or failed to provide financial support for the child for a period of six months preceding
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MOTION TO SEAL DC CRIMINAL ARREST OR OTHER PUBLIC RECORDS:

In the District, depending on the outcome of a criminal case, there are various formulas used to seal arrest and other generated criminal records.  This blog will address four main statutorily authorized procedures and the requirements thereto: 1)   Sealing the record when case dismissed before trial 2)   Sealing record based on innocence 3)   Sealing record post trial with a non-guilty verdict 4)   Post conviction filing to seal record 1) Sealing of the Arrest Records Motion to seal an arrest record may be file by any person arrested for an offense whose prosecution/case has been terminated without conviction and before trial.
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OTHER NEWS JUNE 2012

Beyond the Penn State Scandal: Child Abuse Reporting Laws (Washington Lawyer) For some observers, the Penn State scandal exposes the problems inherent in the web of complicated laws defining the scope of who must report suspected child abuse. Available here. Parents’ Depression Linked to Problems in Children (NY Times) Research into postnatal depression has underscored the importance of checking up on parents’ mental health in the first months of a baby’s life. But a parent’s depression, it turns out, can be linked to all kinds of problems, even in the lives of older children. Available here. Adapting to Aging Out: Profiles
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LEGAL NEWS MAY 2012

In re C.L.O., No. 11-FS-898 (Decided April 12, 2012) This new case from the D.C. Court of Appeals addresses an unwed, noncustodial father’s challenge to the adoption of his child.  Available at: http://tiny.cc/dv9bdw. Youths Arrested for D.C. Robberies Up for 4th Straight Year (Washington Examiner) Arrests of youths for robberies in the District were up 17 percent.  Available here. Families Race to Adopt Before Tax Credit Ends (Reuters) The credit is set to expire on December 31, 2012.  Available here. Breaking Down Barriers so Foster Kids can Find a Family (CNN.com) Making adoption more accessible for same-sex couples.  Available here. Parents
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DC Alimony; maintenance of spouse and minor children/enforcement; residence requirements:

As the titles give away, this blog addresses and expands on these intricate and generally hard battled-over elements of a divorce and separation action: DC Alimony:  Upon issuance of a divorce decree or order of legal separation, the court when “just and proper” may enter an order for payment of alimony as well.  The order may be indefinite or for a certain designated period dictated by the relevant facts and circumstances.  In short, the court will determine the amount and the duration of payment of alimony.  The order may be nunc pro tunc to the date of filing of the
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LEGAL NEWS APRIL 2012

Recent Court of Appeals: Kenda v. Pleskovic, No. 09-FM-1082, 10-FM-16 (Decided March 22, 2012) Available here: Analysis of the District of Columbia’s Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Adoption: Study: Families Trending Toward Open Adoptions (Washington Times) An estimated 95 percent of U.S. infant adoptions now have some level of openness between birth parents and adoptive parents, unlike earlier decades, when such contact was routinely denied. Available here. Adoption Tax Credit Advocacy Kit (National Council for Adoption) Available here. Child Abuse: Stopping Child Abuse (Washington Post) Educating adults about the law and about signs of abuse is key to holding perpetrators accountable and
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CHILD SUPPORT MEASURED BY CHILD CUSTODY

DC Child support obligations are correlated and connected with the award of child custody.  They are inversely proportional.  That is, increase in child physical custody reduces the child support obligations.  Thus it is beneficial to litigate the child support and child custody matters simultaneously to both potentially reduce the child support obligations and also to increase the physical time spent with your child. In the District, the award of child custody may take one of the following forms but it is always based on the best interest of the child criteria: (i) sole legal custody; (ii) sole physical custody; (iii)
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DC Drinking and Driving Implied Consent Statute; submit or not to the blood alcohol content test?

Upon being stopped for suspected drinking and driving, and before being administrated or submitting to alcohol/drug detection devices, the police officer has to inform you explicitly as to your right to refuse test submission pursuant to DC Implied Consent Act. DC Statute Sec. 50-1905 makes it clear that refusal to submit to two chemical tests pursuant to Sec. 15-1902 (blood, urine, or breath), will result in an automatic suspension of the driving privileges in the District for a period of 12 months.  Before suspension, the arresting officer has to submit an affidavit stating that the implied consent act was explained, and
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LEGAL NEWS MARCH 2012

RECENT COURT OF APPEALS: V.C.B. v. U.S., No. 10-CO-89 (Decided February 16, 2012)  Available at: http://tinyurl.com/75gm3fu Challenge to trial court’s refusal to seal arrest records after case dismissed.   Significant as the case involved child witnesses –Remanded. Patterson v. U.S., No. 08-CF-876, 10-CO-1611 (Decided February 16, 2012) Available at: http://tinyurl.com/6u7p2l7 Expert testimony and requirements for admissibility. OTHER NEWS: Failed Adoptions Lead to More Homeless Youths (NYTimes) Available here. Calls for More Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse (NPR) Available here. Poverty Thinning Out But Still Hurting District (Washington Examiner) Available here.
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LEGAL NEWS FEBRUARY 2012

RECENT DC COURT OF APPEALS DECISIONS: In re J.R., No. 10‐FS‐38 (Decided December 22, 2011), available at: http://tinyurl.com/ckbhy38:  Challenge to the trial court’s jurisdiction to conduct neglect and custody proceedings  – and finding of neglect, affirmed. In re M.A., No. 07‐FS‐1313 (Decided December 22, 2011), available at: http://tinyurl.com/cg8tllt:  Appeal from a second‐degree child sex abuse  — adjudicated delinquent – and denial of suppression of confession – affirmed. A.R. v. F.C., No. 11‐FM‐766 (Decided December 22, 2011), available at: http://tinyurl.com/ctxnl7c:  Civil protection orders extend to persons who allege stalking, sexual assault, or sexual abuse with no prior relationship with the alleged offender,
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