Articles Posted in Child Custody

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

 

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are currently holding hearings on a very important and very emotional issue for any parent: child custody. Specifically, legislators in the state are in the process of debating what if any changes to the existing system should be made. With a nationwide push to increase equality in child custody decisions, Massachusetts now finds itself wrestling with the same issues other states have before. How to weigh the potential benefit to children and parents that can come with legally mandated custody arrangements versus the wisdom of judicial discretion.

 

Family Picnic Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Mecklenburg Child Custody Law FirmThe issue began in Massachusetts like it does in many states; a group of parents, particularly fathers, stirred up debate among lawmakers who agreed to bring the issue forward. In this case, the debate began several years ago when the then governor, Deval Patrick, convened a committee of experts and lawmakers to study the issue of changes to child custody. The group finally issued its report last year, which found that, all things being equal, children’s best interests are served when parental responsibility is shared between parents.

 

This report was examined by the legislature and resulted in Senate Bill 834, which is now being considered by the body. The law strongly encourages, but does not require, that courts grant shared custody in a Massachusetts divorce. The law says that children should spend no less than one-third of their time with each parent. Parents who are cooperative can also be rewarded with increased custody or visitation while those who fail to follow court-ordered parenting plans face sanctions.

 

Many groups have rallied behind the bill, saying that it is high time for changes like this to be made. Decades ago, the “tender years doctrine” was used by courts across the country as a reason to award custody to children, the idea being that women are natural nurturers and that children would be better off in their care. This idea fell out of favor and was eventually replaced with an interest in joint custody. The problem is that “joint custody” rarely means the same thing to different people. A couple may agree on joint custody and then spend months fighting over what that looks like.

 

Today, research has led many to conclude that truly shared parenting is better for everyone. The majority of women work outside the home, something that represents a dramatic change from when the tender years doctrine was in force. Men are also expected and often do play much larger roles in parenting than in decades past. Finally, scientific research has indicated that children benefit emotionally and even physically from shared custody arrangements.

 

Though many see the benefits of shared custody, some wonder about the wisdom of dictating custody schedules and depriving judges of discretion. Years spent on the bench is a powerful tool in ensuring that the best interest of the child are taken into account and simply applying a one-size-fits-all policy to custody may end up causing harm. Legislators in Massachusetts and across the country will need to weigh the benefits of mandated shared custody with the potential costs.

 

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAWMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

Source: 

https://radioboston.wbur.org/2015/08/06/shared-parenting

 

 

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http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/980044

 

 

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What children’s expenses are not covered by child support?”

A Duke University researcher who set out to test whether the adage that unmarried parents are most receptive to the idea of getting married in the “magic moment” right after a child’s birth was true found out the post-birth magic lasts longer than a moment.

Smiling baby Charlotte Custody Lawyer Mecklenburg Divorce AttorneyThe researcher, Christina Gibson-Davis, drew on a national study of some 5,255 children born out-of-wedlock in the United States.

Gibson-Davis’s study, which appears online July 2 in Demography, found that 64 percent of children born out of wedlock see their mothers marry. Half of post-conception marriages, however, end in divorce. Only 38 percent of post-conception marriages between biological mothers and fathers ended in divorce within 10 years, compared to 54 percent of marriages between biological mothers and stepfathers.

Gibson-Davis stressed that despite years of public attention to out-of-wedlock births, few studies have uncovered how children born in that setting actually live.

The study appeared to show that while many mothers and fathers do marry after the birth of a child, the so-called “magic moment” to marry often extends well beyond the days and weeks after a child’s birth – as long as three years in many cases.

In 2012 – the most recent year in which data was available – 49,170 children were born to unmarried mothers in North Carolina. Children born to unwed mothers face potential hurdles such as proving the identity of and obtaining support from one’s father. When a mother marries a child’s father – even after the child’s birth – the child is automatically “legitimated” in the eyes of the law.

Where a child is born out of wedlock and a marriage does not occur, however, a child can still be “legitimated” through a court proceeding. This gives the child the right to receive adequate support from each parent until the age of 18; the benefit of spending time with each parent regardless of who has physical custody of the child; the right to inherit property from each parent’s estate; and the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of the death of one or both parents.

If you or someone you know needs help with the legitimation process or has questions or concerns regarding marriage, child custody, child support, or divorce, please give me a call today to set up and appointment.

Arnold & Smith, PLLC is a Charlotte based criminal defense, traffic violation defense and civil litigation law firm servicing Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know need legal assistance, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828   or find additional resources here.

 

About the Author

ARNOLD&SMITH_243 3.jpgMatthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

Sources:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-07/du-am070114.php

http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_49/Article_2.pdf

 

 

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“A smiling baby” by Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada – Hah!. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_smiling_baby.jpg#/media/File:A_smiling_baby.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

 

Joe Naugler says his “free range” children have been free to roam his twenty-six acre Breckenridge, Kentucky property—called “Blessed Little Homestead”—since their infancy.

Muddy Shoes Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer Charlotte Family Law FirmNaugler’s brand of off-the-grid daily living and raising children has raised more than eyebrows in Breckenridge County. Naugler’s ten children were seized by Child Protective Services last week, according to the Daily Mail, after investigators found that the family was living in a tent, that Nicole Naugler—Joe Naugler’s pregnant wife and the mother of their ten children—had given birth in a tent, that the homestead had no running water or septic system, and that none of the Naugler children were enrolled in school.

Appearing in court to seek to regain custody of the children, Joe Naugler said that the children are homeschooled and that they are “at liberty to go or do what they want on their land,” according to the Daily Mail. That land—Child Protective Services officials allege–contains “numerous piles of garbage, broken glass and nails… scattered about the property…” and a pond with “no barrier around it to prevent the children from entering or falling in.” The Naugler children range in age from five to seventeen years.

Naugler’s nineteen-year-old estranged son appeared at the custody hearing on Monday and accused Joe Naugler of physical, sexual and mental abuse. The now adult son said he had not seen his father in nearly fifteen years, as he was removed from Joe Naugler’s custody when the boy was just four-and-a-half years old. “We had a very dysfunctional relationship,” he told the court.

The Naugler’s updated their “Blessed Little Homestead” page on social media site Facebook following the hearing, reporting that the judge ruled that their children would remain in the custody of Child Protective Services while the investigation into their free-range parenting continues.

The Nauglers say they are seeking to live “a simple, back to basics life,” and that they have been targeted by local authorities who disagree with their approach to parenting. They contend that Breckenridge County Sheriff Todd Pate and other officers entered their property without a warrant or probable cause, seized the couple’s children and arrested the Nauglers. Officers visited the property to conduct a welfare check, according to media reports.

Nicole Naugler was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after fleeing when Sheriff Pate and another deputy arrived at the Naugler’s property, officials have alleged. Nicole Naugler said she was trying to protect her children from the officers and that she was slammed belly-first against a police cruiser after being pulled over.

Joe Naugler, meanwhile, was charged with misdemeanor “menacing.” The menacing charge stemmed from a confrontation over water involving Naugler and a deputy, according to WBKO. The Nauglers were due to be arraigned on criminal charges on Tuesday.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3077706/Alex-Brow-Joe-Naugler-s-son-testifies-against-free-range-father-Kentucky-court.html

http://www.saveourfamily.info/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2015/05/technically-nicole-naugler-is-not-a-homeschool-mom.html

http://www.wnd.com/2015/05/state-seizes-kids-from-family-living-off-grid/

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Statutes/statute.aspx?id=19733

http://www.wbko.com/home/headlines/Off-grid-Couple-Faces-Hearing-to-Regain-Child-Custody-303273911.html

 

 

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shoes-in-Mud-2759.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I get the judge to order my spouse to pay my attorney’s fees in a property division case?”

 

A Texas man who accused a judge of conspiring with the Baylor University medical system and the doctor who testified in his divorce and child custody case is claiming his free-speech rights protect statements he made online and in telephone calls to the judge.

Computer programming Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer Charlotte Family AttorneyLast summer, the man—Michael G. Peters—was ordered by 418th state District Court Judge Tracy Gilbert to sell his property and split the proceeds of the sale with his wife. Gilbert also awarded custody of the couple’s son to Peters’ wife.

That outraged Peters, who posted a video on YouTube on which he aired his grievances against the judge and others. That video drew the attention of law-enforcement authorities, who began monitoring Peters’ online activity.

After posting the video, Peters posted a comment on a Yahoo news story praising the ambush-killing of two Las Vegas, Nevada police officers. Prosecutors allege that Peters said he wished he could have seen the officers’ blood running from “their stinking bodies.”

On June 14—four days after the orders were entered in Peters’ divorce and custody cases—Peters called Gilbert’s home at 6:53 a.m. After Gilbert’s wife told Peters the judge was not at home, Peters asked Gilbert’s wife why the judge cut a deal with those conspiring against Peters.

Prosecutors allege that Peters called the judge’s home again about a month later. Judge Gilbert answered and told Peters not to call again, but Peters phoned twice more that day, leaving messages warning that he was “Out of sight but not out of mind. Remember that, (expletive). See you soon.”

Prosecutors charged Peters with third-degree retaliation for allegedly harming or threatening to harm Judge Gilbert. Texas law makes it illegal for a person to intentionally or knowingly harm or threaten harm to another by an unlawful act in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of another as a public servant, witness, prospective witness, or informant.

If convicted, Peters faces from two to ten years in prison.

Peters’ attorney, Tony Duckworth, acknowledged that some of Peters’ language was harsh, but that Peters’ criticism focused on what he perceived as a corrupt judicial system in Montgomery County. “That’s not a threat against Judge Gilbert,” Duckworth said. “That’s being a good citizen and expressing the free speech right to bring it to the attention of other citizens.”

Duckworth said Peters had a duty to expose corruption. He said Peters never threatened Judge Gilbert with any physical harm, but instead wanted to file a lawsuit.

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/courier/news/retaliation-trial-underway-against-man-accused-of-threatening-montgomery-county/article_a171aa1e-eb27-54a1-93ac-51605fd4c1fb.html

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/txstatutes/PE/8/36/36.06

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.12.htm

 

 

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Typing_computer_screen_reflection.jpg

 

 

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Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

 

The State of Massachusetts is considering a change to its custody laws that would end “an imbalance in the courts that favors mothers over fathers,” according to the Salem News.

Father with Child Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Child Custody AttorneyThe legislation is being pushed by the Boston-based National Parents Organization and would require judges in most custody cases to consider joint-custody arrangements. Backers of the bill say the societal norms and traditional roles of men and women in child-rearing have changed, and it is time for custody laws to catch up.

North Carolina’s custody laws eliminated the so-called maternal presumption in 1975. A number of other states followed the Old North State’s lead in the ensuing years, but census statistics show—at least in practice—that mothers are awarded sole physical custody of children far more often in contested divorce cases.

Figures from the 2010 census show that eighty-percent of “custodial parents” are women. Ned Holstein, the founder of the National Parents Organization, told the Salem News the figure may be the result of the manner in which courts have traditionally viewed fathers and their roles in children’s lives. Aside from child-support, alimony and weekend visits, courts have often required little of men in divorces.

Many divorced fathers would like to play a more active role in their children’s lives and think a maternal preference—whether formal or informal—is unfair. Furthermore, Holstein explained, weighting one side of the scale with a preference “encourages bitter custody battles.” Instead of beginning with the presumption that custody will be shared, the presumption is that one side’s right to custody is superior, and the battle ends up being over who “gets sole custody of the kids [and] a boatload of child support and alimony payments.”

Critics of the proposed change say “custody laws must be flexible and always put the interests of children first,” the Salem News reports. They say the focus should be on the best interests of the child, not on the leverage dynamics between parents in contested custody cases.

Massachusetts is not the only state considering a change in its custody laws. The Salem News reports that as many as seventeen states are considering proposals that would mandate consideration of joint custody in most cases or which would change the guidelines for judges considering joint-custody arrangements.

North Carolina’s custody laws are premised upon “the interest and welfare of the child” and explicitly bar any presumption in favor of one parent. “Between the mother and father,” the law provides, “no presumption shall apply as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child.”

If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, it is best to consult with an experienced family-law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact the experienced family-law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (855) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.

 

 

About the Author

ARNOLD & SMITH LAW Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.salemnews.com/opinion/our-view-child-custody-bill-requires-thoughtful-consideration/article_bac7778b-a6d8-5f6a-8ceb-b536870cd937.html

http://www.masslegalservices.org/system/files/library/JtCiustodySummary%20Memo-5.pdf

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_50/GS_50-13.2.html

 

 

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Father_with_child.jpg

 

 

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

 

Custody battles of the future may involve battles between litigants that are—in all our legal history—utterly foreign. That is because, for the first time in recorded history, scientists are on the verge of creating three-parent babies.

Mitochondria Charlotte Family Law Attorney Mecklenburg Divorce LawyerOnce that formerly inconceivable reality comes to term, if one (plus one, plus one) wills it, the normal progress and processes of life will follow, and those will inevitably include family units splitting up and launching battles for custody of a child or children.

Except then it will be three (or more) parents fighting for custody, instead of two. That means—potentially—three lawyers or more… ugh.

So far, scientific experimentation with three-parent babies has been limited to animals. Last week, however, the British House of Commons voted to allow the licensing of facilities in the United Kingdom that may allow genetic modification of human embryos.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

 

In North Carolina, the ultimate arbiter of custody is the District Court judge. The District Court judge is vested, by statute, with the authority to determine who should have custody of a child and the terms under which custody shall be exercised.

Child on school bus Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer Family Law Law firmOf course, the decisions of a District Court judge are subject to appeal, but when parties do appeal a District Court decision and one of the state courts of appeal decides to entertain the appeal, those courts frequently uphold the decisions of District Courts, and if they do not, many times they simply clarify the manner in which a judge should have considered the case and send it right back to the District Court to consider the case anew.

A party’s presentation regarding custody is made in District Court, and the person a party needs to convince is the District Court judge. Many parties believe a good way of convincing a District Court judge that they should have custody of a child is to have the child testify before the court. After all, who better knows what is in one’s best interest than oneself?

The problem with that ideas is that minor children are considered “infants” or “incompetents” under North Carolina law. Minor children do not have the capacity, for instance, to enter into contracts. A court will not take a proposal to allow a minor child to testify lightly. A judge will likely conduct a hearing to consider whether testimony would be appropriate in a particular case, and if so, what measures or protections may be afforded to the child while testifying.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

 

Being a lawyer is a bit like being a parent, and that is not because a lawyer’s clients act like children. Some do, I am told, but some lawyers act like children too. When they do, I recall the sage advice given to me by an old attorney for whom I worked early on in my career.

Family Law Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Mecklenburg Child Custody AttorneyHe said: It’s not about you.

This simple piece of advice has saved me a lot of heartache over the years, and it is advice that I believe my clients and any parents can take to heart. Parents, like lawyers, advocate on behalf of a third party. In the case of parenting, the advocacy springs from a selfless kind of love parents naturally express for their offspring. In the case of lawyers, this advocacy is professional.

Parents involved in custody disputes—and the lawyers who represent them—often become involved in heated entanglements. These entanglements may spring from matters that arose before a legal case began, or they may spring from the legal actions one or more party has taken in a pending legal matter. In any case, I have learned that the best results are often obtained when parties to a lawsuit lower the temperature, take a step back, and consider the interests and positions of others.

This is the same advice Los Angeles-based family psychotherapist Katie Hurley has for divorced parents who share custody of children. The secret to successful post-divorce co-parenting, says Hurley, is becoming child-centered.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Does adultery affect who gets custody?”

 

For a long time now people have assumed that courts are generally unfair to fathers during custody fights. This belief has held not only among men, but women too accept to a certain degree that family law courts prefer giving custody to mothers over fathers. Though there has been plenty of justification for this belief, new numbers reveal that over the past several decades this trend has changed, rather abruptly, and men are far more likely to get a fair shake today then they were several years back.

 

Male Female Signs Charlotte Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyExperts say that the family law world has undergone a somewhat quiet revolution with regard to men and their custody rights. Slowly, the percentage of men being awarded shared custody has increased from a scant number to a much more substantial share. This shift has as much to do with an increased desire among fathers to play a role in the lives of their children as it does a shift in the way that judges perceive men and women’s roles in raising kids and the importance of having both parties actively involved in parenting.

 

The trend towards more equitable custody decisions began in the 1970s when family law courts consciously decided to break away from the notion of the male as the financial breadwinner and the woman as a dependent caretaker. Instead, the courts adopted the radical notion that husbands and wives were interdependent, meaning they shared both financial and parenting responsibilities.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

A couple from suburban Cincinnati, Ohio is now facing potential criminal charges after giving up the son they adopted nine years ago. The tragic case has polarized many groups in the area; some who feel for the parents and others who argue that they should be punished for their abandonment.

Teddy Bear 2 Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law Attorney.jpgProsecutors in Butler County, Ohio say that they intend to file criminal charges against the couple after they returned their son to the county’s children’s services department. Law enforcement officials say they are interested in prosecuting the case to send a message to other parents that it is not acceptable to simply return your child whenever you’ve decided you have had enough. So far the two have been indicted on charges of nonsupport of dependents and were released from jail after paying $10,000 bond.

The sad story began nine years ago when Cleveland and Lisa Cox adopted their son who was an infant at the time. The parents say that they were unable to continue to care for the boy due to his aggressive behaviors for which he had refused to seek treatment. The couple claimed that the boy had threatened both parents and the couple’s two other children with a knife.

The boy is now a ward of the state and remains in protective custody as the parents await word from a judge about whether they will be able to legally abandon the boy or whether they will instead face up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. Officials with Butler County Children’s Services say that the boy is alone and confused. The boy’s court-appointed attorney says that the parents should have provided help for the child, regardless of whether he wanted it or not.

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