Category Archives: Grandparent Visitation

Behind the Scenes; LawCall, TV, Radio & Speaking)

Recently I was invited to be on the TV show LawCall.  I decided to write about that experience; the good, the challenges, and the behind the scenes “secrets.

LawCall is a live, weekly, thirty-minute call-in show hosted by local personal injury attorneys Rocky Wilkins and Tim Porter of the law firms, Morgan & Morgan and Porter Malouf, respectively.   The show features guests attorneys from across the state of Mississippi.  Every show highlights usually an area law.  The attorneys take live phone calls from viewers pertaining to that topic. My appearance was the Valentine’s edition; Love & the Law – Family Law in Mississippi.

This was not my first time on television discussing legal themes. I was previously a guest on the Local 98 TV Show The Reel Deal with Cole Berry discussing legal movies.  I have also been on the radio discussing Father’s Rights on WLEZ, in preparation for the then upcoming Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project’s free family law seminar.  I also routinely speak at CLEs (continuing legal education seminars) on Family Law.  I really enjoy these opportunities to talk about what I do.

On LawCall the usual hosts were out-of-town so Ben Wilson, an attorney with Rocky Wilkins Firm, filled in for Rocky.  Ben and I discussed general family law topics prior to the show.  I also met and spoke with the moderator/ TV facilitator Tamica Smith.  Tamica is a pro.  She has been on the news and TV for over 15 years in various markets and was as cool as a cucumber.

When I arrived, I received my instructions from Charley Jones and his wife Angela.  They produce LawCall.  I received an ear piece where I could hear the control room and the callers.  We did a run down, which is just a practice run of the show.  I was told where I would be sitting, how the show would open, when to expect commercial breaks and generally where to look.  This was the toughest part for me.  There were 3 cameras.  The one to my right I was never to look at.  When the shot showed the whole panel I was to look into the middle camera and when I was speaking directly to the caller I was to look to the left camera.  It took some practice and just as I was getting the hang of it the show was over!

There were 4-5 callers with some really good questions.  There was a question about whether a new spouse would be responsible for the husband’s support obligation from a prior relationship. She would not be.  There was a question about Grandparent’s rights.  Grandparents have rights guaranteed by law in Mississippi.  A caller asked about whether his alimony obligations could be changed.  Based on what he described he could seek to modify his obligations.

Behind the scenes.  One of the newscasters had on jeans.  You only saw him from the waist up on TV so it did not matter…  It made me think of the old joke showing all the newscasters in their “heart boxers” and suits up top.  It was only water in the coffee mugs.  I got to keep the mug.  Also, I had one call to my office within one minute of the show ending and had another call at 9:05 a.m. Monday morning.  How is that for marketing results!

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that has appeared on Local 98 TV, WLBT’s Law Call, WLEZ on the radio and at numerous speaking engagements.  If you need a speaker or TV personality at your next Family Law Seminar/Banquet please contact Matthew about his low, low “Celebrity Appearance Fee!”

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer    Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000

Grandparents, Not Just for Babysitting (Grandparent’s Visitation in Mississippi)

For as long as people have had children there have been grandchildren.  Where there are grandchildren there are Grandparents.  Where there are Grandparents there are free babysitters!

Mississippi has a statute, MCA 93-16-3, that specifically provides for Grandparent’s Visitation.  Grandparent’s Visitation is different from babysitting and is different from just being in the child’s life.  Specifically, Grandparent Visitation is for when the mother or father of the child dies, to insure that the Grandparent continues to have access to the child or when the Grandparent and their child have a falling out and the Grandparent has a viable relationship and active in the grandchild’s life, and also in divorce and/or Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) situations.

The law provides a viable relationship may be proven by showing that the grandparent has supported the grandchild in whole or in part for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition, or the grandparent had frequent visitation for one year prior to the filing of the petition.

The case of Martin v. Coop, 693 So.2d 912, 913 (Miss. 1997), list the factors the Court considers when determining the amount of Grandparent Visitation.

  • Potential disruption in the child’s life;
  • Suitability of the grandparents’ home;
  • The child’s age;
  • The age, physical and mental health of the grandparents;
  • The emotional ties between grandparents and the child;
  • The grandparents’ moral fitness;
  • Physical distance from the parents’ home;
  • Any undermining of the parents’ discipline;
  • The grandparents’ employment responsibilities;
  • The grandparents’ willingness not to interfere with the parents’ rearing of the child.

Usually grandparent visitation is not the equivalent of parental visitation.  Meaning grandparents will not get every other weekend under ordinary circumstances.

A Grandparent Visitation suit can also result in the Grandparents paying their own attorney fees PLUS those of the mother/father as  provided for in the statute.

Grandparents have rights in Mississippi to see their grandchildren.

**Grandparent Visitation is different from a grandparent seeking custody, which is a different standard and a blog for another day.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and knows grandparent’s rights.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

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