Category Archives: Child Support

When Court Doesn’t Go your Way…

Sometimes Court doesn’t go your way.

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Judges make mistakes, witnesses remember it wrong and you may ask for improper relief. But, all is not lost. You have options.

Motion for New Trial. This motion, sometimes referred to as a motion for reconsideration, can provide an avenue for the Judge to correct the mistake. They must be filed within 10 days of the Final Judgment and they are not for a do-over, but to correct a clear error of law or fact.

Appeal. You may appeal any Final Judgment. You have 30 days to do so from the final ruling and if you do a timely Motion for New Trial it resets the appeal clock. Appeals can be cumbersome and daunting. These are to the appellate court, not the Court that decided your case. However, an appeal is based on what happened below, the trial record. It’s not for new happenings.

Modification. Even though your judgment may be final, certain aspects are always modifiable. Custody, support, visitation and certain other payments may be changed by the Court if circumstances warrant it.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce and Appeals lawyer in Mississippi.

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Advice to Parents; Grow up

If you are the parent to a child then act like it.

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We have seen the reports and stories of parents going off the deep end. Using illegal drugs, abusing substances, pursuing bad-idea relationships and ultimately putting their own selfish desires above the needs of their children.  It’s time to stop.

There are only a handful of people that you, as a parent, are ultimately responsible for; yourself and the people you brought into this world, your children.

Don’t shirk your duties. Don’t neglect your children. Don’t be so consumed with your own desires that you lose sight of what is important. Don’t hate another person so much it clouds your judgment when it comes to your children.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody attorney and encourages parents to grow up and act like a parent.

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Mississippi Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA); How to prevent Parental Abduction in Custody cases.

In 2010, Mississippi enacted the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA). This statute is designed to give the Courts the authority to prevent child abduction in parental custody/visitation disputes. This statute, in conjunction with the UCCJEA regarding interstate jurisdictional determinations, provides remedies to  prevent abduction by providing for injunctive relief upon a demonstration of a credible “risk of abduction.” 

The statutes provides the following;

§ 93-29-13. Factors to determine risk of abduction.

(a)  In determining whether there is a credible risk of abduction of a child, the court shall consider any evidence that the petitioner or respondent:

(1) Has previously abducted or attempted to abduct the child;

(2) Has threatened to abduct the child;

(3) Has recently engaged in activities that may indicate a planned abduction, including:

(A) Abandoning employment;

(B) Selling a primary residence;

(C) Terminating a lease;

(D) Closing bank or other financial management accounts, liquidating assets, hiding or destroying financial documents or conducting any unusual financial activities;

(E) Applying for a passport or visa or obtaining travel documents for the respondent, a family member or the child; or

(F) Seeking to obtain the child’s birth certificate or school or medial records;

(4) Has engaged in domestic violence, stalking or child abuse or neglect;

(5) Has refused to follow a child-custody determination;

(6) Lacks strong familial, financial, emotional or cultural ties to the state or the United States;

(7) Has strong familial, financial emotional or cultural ties to another state or country;

(8) Is likely to take the child to a country that:

(A) Is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and does not provide for the extradition of an abducting parent or for the return of an abducted child;

(B) Is party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction but:

(i) The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is not in force between the United States and that country;

(ii) Is noncompliant according to the most recent compliance report issued by the United States Department of State; or

(iii) Lacks legal mechanisms for immediately and effectively enforcing a return order under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction;

(C) Poses a risk that the child’s physical or emotional health or safety would be endangered in the country because of specific circumstances relating to the child or because of human rights violations committed against children;

(D) Has laws or practices that would:

(i) Enable the respondent, without due cause, to prevent the petitioner from contacting the child;

(ii) Restrict the petitioner from freely traveling to or exiting from the country because of the petitioner’s gender, nationality, marital status or religion; or

(iii) Restrict the child’s ability legally to leave the country after the child reaches the age of majority because of a child’s gender, nationality or religion;

(E) Is included by the United States Department of State on a current list of state sponsors of terrorism;

(F) Does not have an official United States diplomatic presence in the country; or

(G) Is engaged in active military action or war, including a civil war, to which the child may be exposed;

(9) Is undergoing a change in immigration or citizenship status that would adversely affect the respondent’s ability to remain in the United States legally;

(10) Has had an application for United States citizenship denied;

(11) Has forged or presented misleading or false evidence on government forms or supporting documents to obtain or attempt to obtain a passport, a visa, travel documents, a social security card, a driver’s license or other government-issued identification card or has made a misrepresentation to the United States government;

(12) Has used multiple names to attempt to mislead or defraud; or

(13) Has engaged in any other conduct the court considers relevant to the risk of abduction.

(b)  In the hearing on a petition under this chapter, the court shall consider any evidence that the respondent believed in good faith that the respondent’s conduct was necessary to avoid imminent harm to the child or respondent and any other evidence that may be relevant to whether the respondent may be permitted to remove or retain the child.

Miss. Code Ann. §93-29-1 et. seq.

UCAPA is a another arrow in the quiver of child custody remedies when dealing with a dangerous opposing party. It is not often invoked, but is a necessary remedy in the above specific situations.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody lawyer in Mississippi and advises all parents to take serious Child Custody matters.

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