Articles Posted in Child Custody

Published on:

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.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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

In a sign that the Baby Veronica child custody debacle might be finally coming to a close, the baby’s biological father, Dusten Brown, reportedly turned over the girl to her adoptive parents late Monday night at the Cherokee Tribe headquarters in Oklahoma.

Holding hands shadow Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Child Custody Attorney Lawyer.jpgAccording to news reports, Brown said his goodbyes at the tribal headquarters where he and his new wife have been living for the past several weeks while the custody fight reached a fevered pitch. Brown reportedly then made the handover to Matt and Melanie Capobianco at around 7:30 p.m. that evening, bringing to an end a lengthy dispute that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The decision to hand over custody occurred after the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided to lift a ruling that had kept Veronica in the state while Brown attempted to win permanent custody over the girl. A spokesperson says the Capobiancos have already left the state and are on their way back home to Charleston, SC.

The exchange was an emotional one for everyone. Reports indicate that Brown’s father, the girl’s grandfather, went into medical distress and had to be transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. The Capobiancos were reportedly relieved, glad to see that the lengthy custody fight had finally moved towards a conclusion that saw the return of their adopted daughter.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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

The Baby Veronica battle rages on in Oklahoma as a spokesperson with the Oklahoma Courts said the two sets of parents are currently in the midst of a lengthy mediation over the future of the young girl. In fact, reports says that the mediation sessions have continued running well past the courthouse’s normal closing time, all efforts to ensure that the matter is wrapped up as quickly as possible.

Gavel Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Child Support Custody Attorney Lawyer.jpgThe media has been in the dark most of this week about what has gone on in the case, with no comments being released by either side. Though it is now known that mediation is ongoing, it is not clear how much progress is being made. Both sides are currently under strict gag orders and are prevented from speaking to members of the media.

Reports indicate that the two groups have spent the past four days negotiating in a room in the Court of Civil Appeals building in downtown Tulsa. Previous statements by Matt and Melanie Capobianco indicate that the adoptive parents, who were awarded custody by South Carolina family law courts, have said that they wanted Veronica’s biological father Dusten Brown to be a part of the girl’s life. For their part, a friend of the Brown family recently said that the family had suggested sending Veronica to South Carolina for the summer to live with the Capobiancos so long as she could stay in Oklahoma during the school year.

The case is a sad one and difficult for both sides given that the Capobiancos raised Veronica in South Carolina for the first two years of her life. Since then, Brown has had Veronica with him and his new wife in Oklahoma for the last two years. Experts say that given how emotional the case has become it is likely that neither group will leave the mediation completely satisfied. However, the goal of the mediation is to produce a solution that both groups can live with.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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

In an especially tragic case out of Arizona, law enforcement officials revealed that a woman has been charged with two counts of murder with special circumstances following the death of her two children. According to officials with the police department, the woman killed her two kids to avoid having to hand custody over to their father in Georgia.

Poison Bottle Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Alimony Child Custody Attorney Lawyer.jpgA judge in Georgia recently awarded Mark Edge custody of the couple’s two children. The custody fight had gone for months and was incredibly contentious according to those familiar with the case. Marilyn Edge, the children’s mother, was reportedly furious with the result and decided to poison her two young children in a California hotel room rather than send them to their father.

The heartbreaking incident occurred last weekend when Edge gave her children poison and proceeded to drive her car into an electrical box outside a nearby by Home Depot. The murders took place only days before Marilyn was supposed to turn the children over to her husband and begin paying court ordered child support. Tragically, rather than being met by his children, Mark was instead informed by a police officer of the devastating news.

Authorities say the case is stunning given that one of the children, a 13-year-old boy, was autistic and in need of specialized care that Mark had hoped to provide. Now, Mark will have to try and put the pieces of his shattered life back together while his ex-wife faces a possible lengthy prison sentence.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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

It finally looks like the sad case of the adopted girl from South Carolina might be coming to a conclusion. According to a recent report by the Associated Press, the father of Baby Veronica has turned himself into authorities in Oklahoma.

Cherokee Nation Emblem Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Alimony Lawyer Attorney.jpgDusten Brown, the biological father of the three-year-old girl at the center of a recent Supreme Court case has turned himself into authorities while his daughter remains with family members in the area. Brown surrendered himself on Monday after having been charged over the weekend with custodial interference and a warrant was issued for his arrest in the case involving his daughter.

A couple from Charleston, SC, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, have spent the last 18 months fighting to have the girl returned to them after Brown won custody in 2011. Brown successfully used the Indian Child Welfare Act to reassert his parental rights after initially voluntarily signing them away.

Authorities say Veronica is currently in the care of Brown’s parents and Brown’s wife. The three individuals were recently named temporary guardians of the girl by a Cherokee Nation court. Brown, who is 2 percent Cherokee, asserted his heritage in his child custody fight with the Capobiancos, a ploy that was recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was remanded to South Carolina where the Capobiancos were affirmed as Veronica’s rightful parents and Brown was ordered to return the girl as part of a gradual transition process that is aimed at reintroducing the toddler to the Capobiancos. So far, Brown has refused to participate.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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

The South Carolina Supreme Court issued an important decision earlier this week when it decided Baby Veronica, the young adopted girl at the center of a major legal dispute, should be returned to her adoptive parents, the Capobiancos, in Charleston, SC. This meant that the girl will be removed from her biological father, Dusten Brown, who successfully sued before the very same South Carolina Supreme Court to take custody of the girl last year.

SC Supreme Court Charlotte North Carolina Family Law Divorce Separation Child Support Alimony Lawyer Attorney.jpgThe decision, 3-2, ruled that the girl should immediately be returned to the adoptive parents’ custody and that the lower court should immediately move to finalize the couple’s adoption. The couple will see their daughter for the first time in 18 months since Brown successfully sued to reassert his parental rights, claiming that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) prevented him from signing away his parental rights.

The case ended up making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled last month in a 5-4 decision that ICWA was never designed for cases like this where the Indian parent (Brown is 2 percent Cherokee) voluntarily chose to terminate his or her own parental rights. Instead, ICWA was meant to prevent the forcible breakup of Indian homes. The Supreme Court remanded the case to South Carolina for reconsideration and to determine which home would be in the best interest of the child.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

Former professional basketball player Allen Iverson’s already messy divorce appears to be getting worse. Just this past week his ex-wife, Tawanna Iverson, filed documents with a family law court saying that the former Philadelphia 76ers star has taken the couple’s five children and refused to return them.

The latest incident is one in a long string of custody fights the couple has engaged in since they initiated the divorce process. In February, Tawanna won full custody after a family law judge decided that Allen was not capable of managing the children in his current state. The judge ordered that Allen begin seeing a psychiatrist and attend AA meetings for at least one year. Allen was only granted visitation rights in specific circumstances, including that he not consume alcohol within 24 hours of a visit.

Basketball Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Child Support Alimony Divorce Lawyer.jpgThe family law judge said that Allen was at times a hindrance to the development of his children and that, if he wanted to see more of them, he would have to invest some time into learning more appropriate ways of interacting with them. Allen called the decision unfair and one-sided and appealed, an appeal he lost in March of this year.

In this most recent case, Tawanna claims Allen has refused to return the five children after he took them for an alleged vacation, something Tawanna believes may never have even happened. According to the court documents, Allen asked permission to take the children to Charlotte, NC for several days in late May for a short vacation. However, when Allen was supposed to return the children they were nowhere to be found. Tawanna claims she tried to set up an exchange at a neutral location, a nearby Target, but that Allen never bothered to show up. Tawanna says she has reliable information that Allen never took the children to Charlotte at all and instead is staying with them at a Sheraton in Atlanta.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

In a potentially important shift, the North Carolina General Assembly is currently reviewing a bill proposed by State Senator Clodfelter that could drastically alter child custody arrangements in the state. The measure, Senate Bill 610, would amend the current laws regarding child custody arrangements and presumptions of custody following a divorce.

Specifically, the measure has been written to create a presumption of shared custody and responsibility between divorcing parents. The measure says that ought to be the policy of the State to encourage joint parenting arrangements and to reduce what it refers to as “needless litigation over child custody matters.” To help facilitate these joint parenting arrangements, the law will encourage parents to take responsibility for their children by creating a new expectation that parenthood will be an ongoing responsibility for both parties, even in the face of divorce. North Carolina Flag Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Attorney.gif

The measure seeks to encourage both parents to share the responsibilities of raising a child, even after a marriage has dissolved. To accomplish this, SB 610 will now create a legal presumption of shared responsibility. The measure defines this as meaning that each parent will share “as close as possible to an equal amount of time with the child.” The legislation does not stop there, but instead specifies an exact amount of time that non-custodial parents should expect to spend with their children. The law says that this figure shall not be less than 35 percent of the amount of time with the child.

Continue reading →