Emergency! The 411 on 911 in Court

I get the call, at least, weekly.  It is an EMERGENCY!  I have to get into Court yesterday to solve some critical issue.  However, once I start asking questions the emergency is more like an inconvenience.

For Court purposes, think of an emergency as being a true emergency; danger of life or limb, or the immediate threat of imminent and irreparable harm.

The Court judges emergencies on a case by case basis to make sure they have merit.  Some examples  of emergencies include;

  • when the custodial parent refuses life saving medical treatment, against medical advice
  • when one parent absconds with a child, it’s not “their” time and refuses all contact
  • when a parent is using illegal drugs in the presence of the child and/or exposing the child to that lifestyle
  • is abusing the child
  • is neglecting the child

Some examples of non-emergencies, at least for Court purposes;

  • is 15 minutes late for a pick-up or a drop-off, even multiple times
  • stops paying the house mortgage
  • forgot to give the recommended dose of antibiotics
  • returns the child in the same clothes that he was dropped off in
  • returns the child with a scratch or bruise caused by kids being kids

Emergencies are quite often judgment calls and the Judges treat these seriously when they are serious and are nonplussed when a lawyer files an Emergency Petition over a non-urgent circumstance.  The Judges are also somewhat on guard against persons using ERs for tactical advantage and this can and does backfire on the petitioner if it is not a true emergency.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and is careful on the draw about declaring emergencies.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer 

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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Why Settling your case is BEST!

I want a bulldog!”  

“I want to take him to the cleaners!

“It’s the principle!”

Oftentimes I am asked the difference between settling a case and litigating a case to a conclusion.  In my experience, more often than not, settling your case leads to a better result.  Here’s why.

  • It eliminates the uncertainty of a Court ruling. You know what you get.
  • It usually results in a quicker end.
  • It can save money.
  • Settlement gives your more control and “say” in the final outcome.
  • Settling your case allows the matter to end on a “positive” note, perhaps more amicable than otherwise.

Cases can be settled through a variety of ways, through negotiation or mediation, either through the parties, through the attorneys or a combination of both.

These are just some of the reasons why settling your case may be best.  However, there are also those cases that cannot be settled.  Typically, hotly contested custody cases cannot be settled because both parties genuinely believe that they have to fight for what they think is best.  And sometimes the other party is just a big jerk that makes everything a fight!

Know this;

  • People don’t get taken to the cleaners (unless they agree).
  • Suing on principle is unsatisfying and expensive.
  • Bulldog lawyers seldom make a difference in the outcome, they only alter how you get there.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and can attest that big jerks can try to fight, but usually get what they deserve…

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War Stories; A “Bump” in the Road

Client sabotages own case.  Story at eleven.

FACTS:  A mother lost custody, temporarily, due to being arrested for driving on a suspended license.  The father was given the child and while mom was in jail he filed a fault based divorce, sought custody and had her served.  Mom was finally released and began the process of regaining custody.  Mom filed an Answer and a claim for custody herself.

At a temporary hearing, which is a legal band-aid to address custody and finances, mom presented her case.  Upon being cross-examined there were numerous questions about alleged drug use.  Well, fortunately, mom had been thoroughly interviewed and prepared by her lawyer.  Her ONLY dirt was the suspended license.

Mom denied the drug allegations as laughable. Some of mom’s financial records were introduced that showed her in some shady parts of town at unseemly hours. This was shown through ATM transactions. However, mom was a waitress at night and just blew off some steam with some co-workers and got beer money. No harm, no foul.  Then mom was asked about a pipe that was “found” in her belongings.  “Not mine,” she quipped.

The Court was ready to rule. The Judge indicated that it seemed dad may have taken advantage of mom’s unfortunate circumstances. It came out that he may have tipped off law enforcement that she was driving on a suspended license. That Jerk!  But, “out of an abundance of caution” the Court decided to Order hair follicle drug tests. In fact, the Judge ordered that they were to report to get tested that day, before 5:00 p.m., to have the results furnished to the Court directly from the testing facility and then, assuming all clear, he would determine the custody and visitation for each.

On the way out of the Courtroom mom asked…

Can I delay the test?”    “What?!!!”    “I may have had a “‘bump...(of coke).'”

Nope. Not taking the test was not an option. Only the worst could be assumed from that. Mom took the test and failed, miserably.  A No Contact Order was entered. Dad passed. Mom lied.

Final Result:  A few weeks later the parties reconciled! Case dismissed.

Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody Attorney in Mississippi and while there may be bumps in the road it does not mean you should cause the bumps.

Follow the blog:#BowTieLawyer  You may also contact Matthew with your family law matter or question at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

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Divorce, Child Custody & Support, Alimony, Contempt, Modification, Adoption, Appeals, Corporate Counsel, Professional Licensure Issues, and Civil Litigation.

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