“Right of First Refusal”? HB2992

April 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Analytical Review of HB2992

1. What is “Right of First Refusal”?
Right of first refusal is a guarantee that anytime the other parent needs someone to watch the children, they must ask the other parent first. This gives parents the opportunity to watch the children when the other parent has them.

2 How Does “Right of First Refusal” Work?
Instead of calling a babysitter when a parent who has the children wants to go out, the parent calls the other parent first and gives them the right to first refuse the children. So, let’s say that the mother of two little boys needs to go on a two day business trip during the week when she has custody. Instead of calling her parents to watch the children, she must first call the boys’ father and give him the right to have the two days with the children. If he refuses, then she can find someone else to watch them. It is the responsibility of the parent with the children to notify the other parent no later than 24 hours from the time of first learning of the need to leave the children. It is the responsibility of the other parent to respond within 24 hours of notification. It is the responsibility of parent with the additional parenting time to provide all transportation.

3. Why “Right of First Refusal”?
The right of first refusal custody provision can help give additional substance to § 602(c) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in that the court shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents is in the best interest of the child. It allows children to be with their parents rather than with other people for extended periods of time.

4. Is there supporting IL Case Law?
In Re: the Marriage of TINA MARIE DOBEY, Petitioner-Appellee, v. MATTHEW L.DOBEY, Respondent-Appellant.
No. 4-93-0468
258 Ill. App. 3d 874; 629 N.E.2d 812; 1994 Ill. App. LEXIS 185; 196 Ill. Dec. 267
The pertinent parts are:
OVERVIEW: Allowing the father daytime visitation in place of the child’s babysitter during the weeks he was home took into account the mother’s concerns about joint custody, while giving the father the more continuous presence he sought in the child’s life. [HN3] When a court designates one parent as the custodial parent, that designation does not and should not deprive the noncustodial parent of all rights and privileges as a parent. As § 602(c) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides, the court shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional wellbeing of their child is in the best interest of the child. Ill. Rev. Stat. ch.40, para. 602(c) (1991). Further, the custodial parent has the duty to strengthen and nurture in every way possible the relationship between the children and their noncustodial parent. The court sees this is as a way of maximizing the involvement of parents with their children without disrupting current custodial arrangements.

5. Do other states have similar statutes?
Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines: Section I(C)(3):

(3) Opportunity for Additional Parenting Time. When it becomes necessary that a child be cared for by a
person other than a parent or a responsible household family member, the parent needing the child care
shall first offer the other parent the opportunity for additional parenting time., if providing the child care
by the other parent is practical considering the time available and the distance between residences. The
other parent is under no obligation to provide the child care. If the other parent elects to provide this care,
it shall be done at no cost. and without effecting child support. The parent exercising additional parenting
time shall provide the necessary transportation unless the parties otherwise agree.

The rule providing for opportunities for additional parenting time promotes the concept that a child receives greater benefit from being with a parent rather than a child care provider. who is not a household family member. It is also intended to be practical. When a parent’s work schedule or other regular recurring activities require hiring or arranging for a child care provider, who is not a household family member, the other parent should be given the opportunity to provide the care. Distance, transportation or time may make the rule impractical. The period of absence which triggers the exchange will vary depending upon the circumstances of the parties. Parents should agree on the amount of child care time and the circumstances that require the offer be made. It is presumed that this rule applies in all cases which the guidelines cover; however, the parties or a trial court may, within discretion, determine that a deviation is necessary or appropriate. Any such deviation must be accompanied by a written explanation. See Shelton v. Shelton, 840 N.E.2d 835 (Ind. 2006)

*** Statutes Current through the 2012 Fourth Special Session. ***
Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-33 (2012)

(15) Parental care shall be presumed to be better care for the child than surrogate care and the court shall encourage the parties to cooperate in allowing the noncustodial parent, if willing and able to transport the children, to provide the child care. Child care arrangements existing during the marriage are preferred as are child care arrangements with nominal or no charge.
(16) Each parent shall provide all surrogate care providers with the name, current address, and telephone number of the other parent and shall provide the noncustodial parent with the name, current address, and telephone number of all surrogate care providers unless the court for good cause orders otherwise.

6. What if the parents live far apart?
The provisions of the bill clearly state that this bill would not apply when time constraints, distance, and availability of transportation make the offering of additional parenting time impractical. It is the responsibility of the parents with the help of the court to set these parameters.

7. What if step-parents or grandparents are nearby?
The involvement of third-parties, such as step-parents and grandparents, in the life of a child can be in the child’s best interest, and is certainly welcomed. Current statutes allow third-parties to petition for visitation (§ 607(a-5) (1) and § 607(a-7) (1.5)). However, they are not substitutes for the child’s natural parents. This is the policy of the state inasmuch that it is “presumed to be in the best interest of the minor child that the natural parent have custody of the minor child…”, and that “the dissolution of a marriage….shall not diminish parental powers, rights, and responsibilities…” (§ 602(a) and § 602.1(a)).

The US Supreme Court makes this very clear in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000) where it states that “the interest of parents in the care, custody and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”. According to Troxel, third-parties interest do not trump over parental rights. This even applies to step-parents and grandparents.

It is in the child’s best interest to maintain a strong bond with both parents. The presence of a step-parent doesn’t insure stability. The divorce rate among step-families is even higher than among originally intact families. There is a weaker sense of attachment between the child and step-parent. Sexual abuse is higher among step-parents than with natural parents. The step-parent has no legal obligations to the child after the relationship with the child’s parent dissolves.

It is only by insuring a meaningful relationship between the child and the natural parent do we see greater child support compliance and greater contributions when the child reaches majority age. Also we see greater support by the child to aging parents. This helps alleviate the State from shouldering such burdens.

8. What if a parent has restricted visitation?
The bill only applies if the parent has unrestricted time with the child (reasonable visitation) as defined in § 607(a) and § 607(c). Such time is unsupervised visitation. An order limiting, denying or terminating visitation would make that parent ineligible for right of first refusal. Supervised visitation is considered restricted visitation, and therefore the parent would also be ineligible.

9. How is “Right of First Refusal” Enforced?
The provisions of the bill are enforceable under § 607.1: Enforcement of visitation orders; visitation abuse.

HB2992 goes far in supporting the maximum involvement of both parents to the wellbeing of a child. It can encourage even greater cooperation among parents in that the other parent must be considered as an integral part of the child’s life.


Parental Alienation Syndrome : Symptoms and Warnings

April 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

Parental Alienation Syndrome : Symptoms and Warnings
April 15th, 2013

Parental Alienation Syndrome is the systematic denigration by one parent with the intent of alienating the child against the target parent. In most cases, the purpose of the alienation is to gain custody of the child and exclude involvement by the target parent. In other cases the alienator wants the target parent out of the way to start a new life, or the alienating parent wants more of the marital money and assets than he/she is entitled to and uses the child as a pawn. The alienating parent hates the target parent and the children become false weapons. These are just a few reasons Parental Alienation occurs in domestic disputes.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is common because it is an effective device for gaining custody of a child. Through systematic alienation, one parent may slowly brainwash a child against the other parent. The parent involved in such alienation behavior then may gain the misplaced loyalty of the child.

In a recent survey, one in five parents stated that their primary objective during the divorce was to make the experience as unpleasant as possible for the former spouse; despite the effects such attitudes and behavior have on the children.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is a form of emotional child abuse. Parents in hostile separations may suffer depression, anger and anxiety or aggression. The expression of these feelings results in withdrawing of love and communication which may extend to the children through the alienating parent. When the mother is the alienator, it is a mechanism employed to stop the father from having contact with his children; and can be described as the mother holding the children “hostages.” The children usually are afraid of the mother and obey her as a means of survival. The child may also be instilled with false memories of the father, coached and/or brainwashed. Parental Alienation Syndrome is recognized by the courts but is very difficult to define and in most cases requires bringing in County Social Services, Child Protective Services, and/or other professionals. Anyone claiming Parental Alienation Syndrome should look for family therapy as a constructive way forward. Other forms of abuse are physical, sexual, and neglect which are much easier to identify.

If the parental alienation has been successful and has influenced the child against the target parent, the observer will see symptoms of parental alienation syndrome. Many children appear healthy until asked about the target parent.

Warning signs of a Parental Alienation Syndrome Child:
1.The child is a “parrot” of the alienating parent with the same delusional and irrational beliefs and consistently sides with this parent.

2.The child develops serious hatred for the target parent and rejects a relationship with the target parent without any legitimate justification. The child sees nothing “good” about this parent and only wants to destroy the relationship.

3.The child refuses to visit or spend time with the target parent.

4.The child’s reasons for not wanting a relationship with the target parent are primarily based on what the alienating parent tells the child.

5.The child feels no guilt about his/her behavior toward the target parent and will not forgive past indiscretions.

6.The child’s hatred extends to the target parent’s extended family without any guilt or remorse.

Children having some of these symptoms may be experiencing Parental Alienation by one of his/her parents. Please contact an attorney and discuss your options on how to help this child. Formulate a plan to move forward. Do not give up your parental rights! Your child desperately needs and is entitled to your help!

Tags: child custody in texas, Child Protective Services, dallas child custody, dallas child custody attorney, Dallas child custody attorney mark nacol, emotional child abuse, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome Child, symptoms of Parental Alienation, symptoms of parental alienation syndrome
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suspenened judge for doing an exempalary job for children….

April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

Charleston – Judge William “Chip” Watkins, who made headlines for screaming at litigants in his courtroom, has been suspended without pay until his current term ends on Dec. 31, 2016, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled.

The unanimous decision, released March 28 in a state Supreme Court of Appeals filing, also ruled that the Putnam County Family Court judge be censured on each of his 24 violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and that he should pay the costs of more than $17,000 associated with the investigation and prosecution of the proceedings, West Virginia’s Daily Mail reported.
By an administrative order, the state Supreme Court ruled that former Family Court Judge Deloris J. Nibert continue presiding for Watkins in the district throughout the remainder of his suspension, The Charleston Gazette states.
The Supreme Court acted on the West Virginia Judicial Hearing Board’s December 3 recommendation to suspend Watkins without pay for the final four years of his term, according to WCHS-TV. The board decided unanimously that Watkins had committed 24 violations of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct.
According to court filings the state Judicial Investigation Commission charged Watkins seven misconduct charges based on its investigation into complaints that he delayed rulings, failed to enter domestic violence orders into the state’s tracking system and screamed and cursed at litigants in his courtroom, The Charleston Gazette states.
Watkins made headlines in June when a YouTube video (below) showed the judge in action screaming at a preacher during his hearing and telling him to “shut up”.

Watkins has served as a family court judge since 2002,

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Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/346987#ixzz2PPKs8yyS


April 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Forwarded Message: Supreme Court Morning Official Reports posted to the IL Courts website

Supreme Court Morning Official Reports posted to the IL Courts website

Monday, April 1, 2013 12:06 PM
Supreme Court Morning Official Reports posted to the IL Courts website: http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/recent_supreme.asp

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