Archives for dc child support lawyer

DC DIVORCE LAWYER/LAWS:

A divorce decree cannot be granted in the District unless the following separation criteria have been met: Parties have “mutually and voluntarily” lived separate and apart from one another without cohabitation for a period of six months prior to commencing of an action or that; parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for a period of one year prior to commencing the action. In the second category most likely the separation has been court ordered as it would not have been “mutually and voluntary.” Thus the statute requires a legal separation before issuing a divorce decree and the legal
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DC CHILD SUPPORT LAWS — HIGHLIGHTS

This blog highlights some of the basic DC Child Support Guidelines and the related child support calculation and obligation. Along with divorce, separation, and filing of child custody papers, invariably and eventually the child support aspect of separation has to be addressed. If the matter is court involved, that is – parties have not reached a global agreement addressing divorce, alimony, custody and support – then the court will most likely apply the Child Support Guidelines (hereafter “guidelines”) to determine each parent’s portion of support. The guidelines enumerate and provide an equitable formula to calculate support for each parent principally
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PARENTAL FITNESS DEFINED; RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: DC CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

The DC Court of Appeals in IN RE PETITION OF S.L.G & S.E.G.; D.A. (No. 14-FS-73) decided on March 5, 2015; once again reiterated and cemented the presumption of parental fitness in a contested adoption proceedings. The case is significant as the Court defined and expanded on the definition of “fitness” and outlined the legal criteria the trial court must use in rendering an opinion. The appellant biological mother contested the adoption petition by the foster family S.E.G. and S.L.G. Evidence established that the child was in the foster home for over two years, well integrated in the home and
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION: STATUTORY DEFINITION, CARRYING A DANGEROUS WEAPON:

The Court of Appeals on July 31, 2014, in IN RE D.R. (No. 11-FS-1320), both reversed a conviction for insufficiently of evidence and also remanded the case to the trial court. Appellant, D.R., was convicted at trial of four criminal offenses including a conviction for Carrying a Dangerous Weapon (CDW). The Court remanded for trial finding on ineffective assistance of counsel claim, however, focused significantly on the statutory construction and language of CDW and ended revering the conviction consistent with the opinion. Factually, D.R., a fourteen year old, was found at trial to have brandished a machete/sword type knife about
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS RULING REVERSING TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS (TPR) —

In the recent opinion issued by the Court of Appeals in IN RE D.M.; T.M., (March 13, 2014), the Court once again articulated that when a biological parent is unable to care for his or her child, her choice of a fit custodian must be given a weighty articulated consideration by the trial court. T.M., the biological mother of D.M., appealed successfully her termination of parental rights by the trial court.   She argued on appeal that the lower court erred by “failing to give weighty consideration to the third-party custodial arrangement” she set forth as a placement option and in
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De Facto Parent/Third Party Custody Actions: Legal Principles and Recent Relevant Court of Appeals Case:

In the District, the child custody statute extends rights upon third party and de factor parent custodians. That is, if an individual can establish by clear and convincing evidence that he/she is either a de facto parent or a third party custodian of a child – then the Statute allows for filing and litigating the custody action against the parent seeking order for grant of physical/legal custody to the third party custodian or to the de factor parent. Specifically, de facto parent is defined as an individual who has either: (i) Lived with the child in the same household at
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RECENT COURT OF APPEALS NEGLECT REVERSAL

In yet another recent case, it appears that the Court of Appeals has gradually shifted the standard of review in favor of the biological parent and the parental rights and preferences.  In the previously blogged and reviewed cases, the competing adoptions with a parental preference and a fit father’s custody filing — were both considered and analyzed – and in each of these recent cases, the Court had sided with the parental preference arguably raising the bar to overcome parental preferences and here to find neglect against a parent. In IN RE K.M., decided on September 12, 2013, the Court
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RECENT DC COURT OF APPEALS CASE DEFINING “WEIGHTY CONSIDERATION”

The recent Court of Appeals case on a competing adoption petition litigation issued on August 22, 2013 (citation below) defined with more specificity the meaning of “weighty consideration” given to parents’ choice of a fit custodian.  Here the parents whom have been adjudicated as having neglected their children consented to E.A., the great aunt’s adoption petition competing against W.s the foster parents.   The attachment study that was conducted did not factor or involved the children’s attachment to E.A.  In short, it was one sided attachment evaluation.  The study clearly established though a secure attachment to W.s – the foster parents.  
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DC TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER/CIVIL PROTECTION ORDER TPO/CPO

LEGAL ELEMENTS Generally a TPO petition/affidavit is filed under oath attesting that the safety and welfare of the petitioner/affiant and/or a household member is imminently endangered by the respondent’s conduct and thus an immediate relief in form of a court order is needed to protect the petitioner and other listed members of the family.  The initial hearing is generally ex parte and almost always the petition is granted as long as sufficient facts are alleged.  Within 14 days of the issuance of the TPO order, the court will set the matter for a CPO hearing and the respondent would be
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PETITIONER’S FTINESS FINDING IN THE ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS: RELEVANT CASES AND THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS

This blog addresses legal principles applicable to the court’s fitness finding in the adoption cases when the health or fitness of the adoptive petitioner is at issue. There are statutory provisions that address both fitness as well as health of the petitioners, among other parties, and relevant case law, which extend possible waiver of the doctor-patient privilege when in the best interest of the child or justice to the petitioners as well as the natural parents. There is the Termination of parental rights: D.C. Code §16-2353 (b)(2), the court is charged with in considering what is in the best interest
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