Archives for dc child custody lawyer

CHILD CUSTODY ORDER CHANGE DURING CIVIL CONTEMPT HEARING: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Cheek v. Edwards decided on September 5, 2019, reversed and remanded a change of custody order in the midst of a civil contempt hearing. After holding a custody hearing, the trial court had decided and ordered shared physical and legal custody among parents even after considering the allegation of domestic violence.  But before issuance of a final order, the mother-Edwards filed a civil contempt motion alleging that the father had violated the order against not assault, stalking and harassment in being arrested for domestic violence and assault against her. The trial court while addressing the
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RECOVERING ATTORNEY FEES IN FAMILY CASES: RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

The Court of Appeals in Khawam v. Wolfe decided on August 22, 2019, delineated all legal theories available to recover attorney’s fees in a child custody and by extension in relating family matters. Here, Wolfe moved to recover attorney’s fees ($700K) against Khawam for a rather protracted and vexatious litigation and under three theories: Common law theory of “necessaries” which permits an award of attorney’s fees in a child-custody case if the court finds that engaging an attorney was necessary to protect the interests of the child; The “bad faith” exception which permits recovering fees against a party who has
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ESTABLISHING PATERNITY: PRESUMPTIONS AND CHALLENGES TO PATERNITY

In order to either file or move to establish child custody or child support, first parentage has to be established. There are several ways in which the court can make a parentage determination as outlined below. Presumption of Paternity In the District, father-child paternity is presumptive under the following circumstances: If the putative father and the child’s mother are married, or in a domestic partnership either at the time of conception or birth, or between conception and birth, and the child is born during the marriage or domestic partnership. If prior to the birth of the child, the putative father
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CRIMINAL & CIVIL CONTEMPT IN DC: DC FAMILY LAWYER

The contempt powers of the court are divided into both criminal and civil contempt. Generally criminal contempt is reserved where there is willful and blatant violation of court order where as the civil contempt is reserved for non-compliance or neglect of a court order. In another word: Criminal contempt is a violation of the law, a public wrong which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. And the Civil contempt: is a sanction imposed by the court to enforce compliance with a court order or to compensate a party for losses or damages caused by noncompliance with a court
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC FAMILY LAWYER

The DC Court of Appeals in IN RE J.M. & D.M. decided on September 20, 2018, affirmed the trial court findings that the permanency goal change to adoption was appropriate, however clarified to certain degree the procedural appeal when the goal change request is a dual-goal, to both reunification and adoption. The Court’s Decision in IN RE TAL in 2016 required and bestowed on parents in a child abuse and neglect proceedings facing a goal change an evidentiary hearing. Specifically, to justify a goal change from reunification to adoption: …the District “must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER: SPECIAL IMMIGRATION JUVENILE STATUS

The Court of Appeals in Benitez v. John Doe, decided on September 6, 2018, reversed the trial court decision in denying an Special Immigration Status for a juvenile (“J.V.B”) subject of this appeal. The “SIJ” statute provides, in relevant part: [A special immigrant juvenile is] an immigrant who is present in the United States: (i) who has been declared dependent on a juvenile court located in the United States or whom such a court has legally committed to, or placed under the custody of, an agency or department of a State, or an individual or entity appointed by a State
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EMERGENCY HEARINGS IN FAMILY CASES: DC FAMILY LAWYER

In the Family cases often times certain facts and events give rise to necessity for an emergency and immediate court intervention and ruling. For example a parent may be seeking to transport a child permanently or temporary out of the jurisdiction without a prior court approval or permission from the other parent. Court order child visitation may be blocked or access to the child is denied by a parent having physical custody to  a parent with visitation rights. Child’s safety or security may be at risk or jeopardy. The child may be in need of medical treatment and intervention with
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: ENHANCED REUNIFICATION SERVICES UNDER ADA: DC FAMILY LAWYER

The Court of Appeals in IN RE H.C.; K.C decided on July 5, 2018, redefined and expounded on what constitutes reasonable efforts toward the goal of reunification when dealing with a parent with intellectual disability and eligible for receiving services through DDS (“Department of Disability Services.”) In this case the child was removed at birth from the mother’s care due to the mother’s cognitive and intellectual disabilities. The trial court had held that mother’s intellectual disabilities and mental health needs rendered her incapable of properly caring for the child even with the wrap around services, parental training and other assistance
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DC COLLABORATIVE REPRODUCTION PROCESS: LEGAL ELEMENTS: DC CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

The collaboration reproduction process either through the “gestational surrogate” or via insemination for intended parents create a labyrinth of legal issues that would need to be addressed incrementally. Intended parents are the individuals who put the process in motion, married or unmarried, who have committed in writing and otherwise to be the legal parents of the child to be born. The intended parents would need to file a petition of parentage for a legal declaration by the court. The Court will have jurisdiction when: The intended parent or the surrogate is a District resident ; Who have actually resided in
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DE FACTO PARENT DEFINED; THIRD PARTY CHILD CUSTODY STATUTE: DC CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

The third party custody statute in DC enables an initial filing or intervention by the third party in the ongoing proceeding under the following conditions: THIRD PARTY CUSTODY I. A parent who has provided primary care of the child for the past three years consents and supports the third party custody motion; or that: II. The third party has: Lived in the same household as the child for the past 4 out of the 6 months prior to the filing of the complaint; If the child is under 6 months, then for the half of the child’s life; and The
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