Category Archives: Child Custody

It’s NOT a Vast Conspiracy…(usually).

“Do you think the Judge was on the take?”

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There have certainly been instances of judicial corruption. However, they are few and far between. In Family Law matters, Judges wield considerable power, read as discretion. The Judge, a.k.a. Chancellor, decides what evidence is admitted, how to determine witness credibility and what weight is given both.

To help in this endeavor, there are rules which the Court must apply and adhere to. These rules deal with whether evidence may be introduced, or if certain “witnesses” may even offer testimony. The lawyer knowing these rules, or at least that they exist and where to find them, should argue the application of the rules to the offered evidence or testimony and then the Judge determines if it is accepted.

With that background, if Court did not go your way ask your lawyer first. Were they prepared? Did they make sensible arguments? Did they know the law on the issues before the Court? Because, if they were not prepared, made nonsensical arguments and did not know the proper legal standard, perhaps your loss was not due to the vast conspiracy, but do to your own efforts and that of your counsel.

99 times out of 100 your loss is not to be put at the blame of the Judge.  The Judge wasn’t bribed. Think about it. Why would the Judge risk his or her career, reputation and freedom just to give you a bad deal? They would not. Think about the checks and balances in place, the process for having rulings appealed, the fact that every word uttered in Court is taken down, recorded and documented and then look in the mirror and ask that person if they have done the right thing.

The Judge wasn’t bribed. Just maybe, the outcome was because of the facts.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and represents parents in domestic disputes regarding divorce, alimony, child custody and support.

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Don’t Threaten the “D” Word Unless you Mean It.

D is for Divorce. It is a dreaded and unpleasant word. It is drastic. It is serious.

Divorce should never be taken lightly. It should not be cast around as if it is something less than a nuclear option. A cavalier attitude can lead to monumental consequences.

Threatening divorce could even contribute towards having grounds for divorce in the form of emotional or verbal abuse. So, what do you do if your spouse threatens divorce?

  • Recognize that they are upset about something and try to identify the problem.
  • Consider marriage counseling with a licensed counselor or pastor, with experience.
  • Have an assessment with an experienced family law attorney.
  • Educate yourself about: 
    • Divorce 101 in your state
    • Financial assets and liabilities of the marriage
    • Custody and Child Support 101

With divorce being a part of marriage and life there is no good reason not to be educated about the process.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce attorney in Mississippi and cautions you not to say “divorce” if you don’t mean it.

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Prison for NOT Paying Child Support? YES

You have seen the recent news about a local man being arrested and jailed for his refusal to pay Court Ordered Child Support. Now, this is only done after one is initially ordered to pay, doesn’t pay, then is formally requested to pay, given notice, given an opportunity to pay or prove their inability to pay with specificity, and then and only then, jailed as a last resort. In these circumstances, knowing the layers of review, the opportunities afforded by the Court and the fact that everyone had a lawyer (actually multiple lawyers), my sympathy is nil. This is Contempt of Court and ultimately the wrong-doer has the keys to the jail.  All you have to do is pay what you owe and you are free to go.

However, if you still don’t pay, your troubles can multiply.

TITLE 97.  CRIMES  
CHAPTER 5.  OFFENSES AFFECTING CHILDREN
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-5-3  (2016)
§ 97-5-3. Desertion or nonsupport of child under age eighteen
Any parent who shall desert or wilfully neglect or refuse to provide for the support and maintenance of his or her…children…while said…children are under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be guilty of a felony and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished for a first offense by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or by commitment to the custody of the Department of Corrections not more than five (5) years, or both; and for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), or by commitment to the custody of the Department of Corrections not less than two (2) years nor more than five (5) years, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Prison for not paying child support? Yes. It’s the law.
Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody and Child Support Attorney in Mississippi.
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