Thursday, May 31, 2007

Whose Embryos Are They?

As I was getting ready for Court this morning, there was a news item on the Today Show, regarding a couple's battle over what should happen to frozen embryos. The couple had created the embryos and right before the invitro fertilization procedure was to happen, the husband changed his mind. The couple has since been divorced and are arguing over what should happen with the embryos. The man believes that the embryos should be destroyed and the woman wants them so that she can bear a child. The case is still being appealed, and it may get all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States before a decision is made about what should happen with these embryos. The ex-wife is saying that she will absolve the man from any financial responsibility for the children, basically making him nothing more than a sperm donor. However, the man state's that if a child was born, he would want to be the father. On the surface this is a right to be a mother v. a right not to be a father debate. The issue for the ex-husband is that the couple is divorced and has a contentious relationship. He believes that his ex-wife has other options to have children and that it is not right to bring children into a very tumultuous world. I don't really know all the facts surrounding this case, but I tend to agree with the father's point from a strict best interest of the children standpoint. However, there is an underlying "moral" issue about when does life begin and are the embryos actually "potential life" which should not be destroyed? I will remain silent on that issue, but welcome any one's thoughts on the subject.

If you would like to watch the Today Show piece concerning the couple this blog is based upon, please see:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sperm Donor's Required To Pay Child Support?

There is no question that artificial insemination has created some unusual circumstances in family law cases such as disputes over who should retain custody over frozen embryos. A new case in Pennsylvania discusses whether a sperm donor is actually a third parent to the children his sperm created and whether those children are entitled to child support. The circumstances involving the sperm donation in this case are unusual and not the norm, due to the fact that the donor was a close friend of couple and not through the use of a "sperm bank". Under "normal" circumstances, the donor is aware that he is relinquishing any rights and obligations to any child which may be born from his sperm, and the couple who uses the sperm understand that they are accepting all the rights and obligations. Therefore, a child who is born through artificial insemination with the use of anonymous sperm, cannot request child support. However, this Pennsylvania case brings up interesting questions about a biological parent's duty to support a child if he or she does not formally waive any rights to that child.

To read about the Pennsylvania Case that this blog is based upon, see:

Monday, May 28, 2007

Central Florida And The Ex-Wives' Club

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about a new reality television series staring some Hollywood Ex-Wives. It seems that the casting for this show started right here in Central Florida. I am aware that divorce is very prevalent here in Central Florida, and while the divorce rate seems to be falling in other areas of the country, Florida's divorce rate is still holding strong. So, I'm not all that surprised that there were plenty of scorned men and women here in Central Florida, what surprises me is that there are so many people who were willing to air their dirty laundry on national television. I'm sure that initially, this new show will have good ratings, but I feel that the novelty will wear off and people will need to find other outlets to cure their hurt feelings and learn how to move on after a bitter divorce.,0,325616.story?coll=orl-caltvtop

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Couples With Children With Disabilities More Likely Too Divorce

I always liked the quote "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". This statement is very true in the context of marriage especially when a marriage is tested, for example, when a couple is faced with the difficulties of raising a child with special needs. When a couple decides to start a family, often times they are 100% surprised if their child is born with autism, cerebral palsy or a number of other disabilities. The divorce statistics for couples raising a child with special needs are quite high, mostly due to the stress that caring for such a child puts on the marriage. In addition, men and women have different ways of dealing with stress and their different ideas sometimes clash and cause a stable marriage to crumble. Therefore, it is necessary for couples faced with challenges involving their children to seek help and to make sure they take time for each other. I encourage all couples with children who are disabled or mentally challenged to seek out help, either through support groups or therapy to help them deal not only with the care of the child, but also how to deal with the stress in a positive and constructive way in order to avoid ending up in divorce court.

To read a question and answer from a psychologist about how to deal with the stress of raising a special needs child, see:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Divorce and the IRS

I've often talked about the negative and ancillary effects of a divorce. More often than not, when a high profile couple is getting divorced, information is leaked the press or makes the newspapers that shows that there may be some form of tax evasion and no sooner can you say audit, does the IRS make their appearance to determine whether a couple has any tax liabilities from previous years. It seems like that is what is happening in the most recently publicized divorce battle between golfer Greg Norman and his wife. It seems that the IRS is auditing the couple to determine whether they have any outstanding tax liabilities for the year 2003 and 2004. If the couple had settled their case, its quite possible that all the aspects of their divorce, including any possible tax liabilities, would remained quiet. I sense that this case will be in the papers for weeks and months to come, and the couple will spend much of their fortune on lawyers and taxes.

If you would like to read the latest concerning the Normans' divorce, see:,,21793366-953,00.html

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Ex-Wives Club

Leave it to reality television to glorify a lover scorned, or to glamorize what divorce is all about. A new reality television show on ABC will feature Marla Maples (Donald Trump's ex-wife), Angie Everhart (Ashley Hamilton's ex-wife), and Shar Jackson (Kevin Federline's ex-wife), where they will dish dirt and help those scorned get over their exes in a "positive" way. They use such tactics as dropping and ex's car from a great high distance to name just one positively insane tactic. I'm sure that these types of shows are good for ratings, however, I don't really believe that they do anything positive to help a divorcee get over their ex. In real life, you would go to jail for destroying property and you don't get paid for admitting that you may have treated your ex-spouse in a less than affectionate way. Tune into these shows for entertainment purposes, but do not use them as ways to get back at your ex in in your own life. The best approach for getting over an ex is making yourself happy, and a good therapist never hurt.

If you would like to read about the Ex-Wives Club, visit:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Bad Spouse, Good Parent Dilemma

All too often a person is faced with the issue that their spouse is not good at being married, but is a wonderful parent. Is this a reason to stay married? Is it healthy for a child to be living with two people who obviously don't want enjoy being married? This is a dilemma that many couples are faced with and depending on who you ask, people will have differing opinions about what you should do. Some think that therapy is a good option, while others believe that staying in a bad marriage, regardless of the fact that someone is a good parent is not a good idea and you should divorce. In reality, a divorce is not necessarily a bad thing, and if parents are willing to work with one another, they can have a happy divorce. Its possible to work out custody arrangements so that the child has substantial contact with both parents and can feel comfortable having both parents and school and other family events. In any event, this is a personal decision that needs to be made on a subjective basis. However, I am of the opinion that if two people have their children's best interest at heart, there is no reason that a divorce will affect either party's ability to continue to be a good parent.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fame, Divorce, Money and the Media

Every time you turn around there is another celebrity, athlete or television personality in the midst of an ugly divorce. Many times there are allegations of abuse, adultery or a number of other different allegations which some how make their way into the media and onto the Internet for the whole world to see. Elijah Dukes, a baseball player for the Tampa Ray Devil Rays, has made headlines for alleged domestic abuse against his current wife, who is seeking an injunction for protection against Dukes. Dukes' agent accuses Dukes' wife of using the media to gain leverage in their divorce. She has spoken with the press and given them pictures and voicemail that were allegedly left on her cell phone by Dukes. Whether or not it was her intention to gain leverage and support through the media is at question, but the media coverage has certain hurt Dukes' image. Sometimes release of personal information to the press hurts an athlete, celebrity or actor so badly, that it either effects their performance in their job, and/or causes them to have trouble gaining employment. No matter, what information about a parties' divorce, especially in those cases where children are involved, does nothing but create a media frenzy over something that should be private.

If you would like to read the latest article about Elijah Dukes, see:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Advice for Healthy Relationships

There is never an absence of articles, books, magazines and blogs about how to sustain a healthy marriage. Most of the literature on this subject gives couples rather objective commonsense advice that is good on paper, and sometimes bad in reality. I found an article on about what secrets should be kept from your partner in order to maintain a good relationship. Those secrets range from things like "I flirt with co-workers" to "I still think about my ex". While these secrets are hurtful, chances are that if you are doing many of the secret things on the list in the first place, your marriage or relationship may be in trouble anyway. I'm all for keeping the mystery in a relationship, but the key to not ending up in divorce court is respecting your partner and not keeping secrets which could be detrimental to your marriage in the long run. With that being said, I say take all of these relationship self-help articles and books with a grain of salt. They are not always right and sometimes the advice that they give is flat out wrong.

If you would like to read the yahoo article about the Secrets You Should Keep From Your Partner, see:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Deadbeat Dads and Pizza, Good Combination?

A county in Virginia has instituted a program that puts the faces and names of fathers who owe back child support on the front of pizza boxes in attempt to either deter men from not paying their child support and to find those individuals who have outstanding warrants for arrest based on their failure to pay child support. Its a novel approach to a problem that has become increasingly more prevalent over the past couple of decades. More and more fathers, and mothers, fail to pay their child support resulting in child support arrears that are in the billions of dollars. Getting someone to pay their child support has been a tough dilemma, because jail time keeps that person from working which then means they still aren't able to pay their support obligation. At the same time, there are many people out there who are working the system in order to avoid paying their support and may bring their arrears current if they were arrested, or were faced with the public humiliation of having their picture placed on a pizza box. Despite what anyone has to say about this one, its a novel idea and if it results in finding
"deadbeat dads" or stops someone from skipping out on their child support obligation, its worth whatever infringements on personal privacy which may be involved.

If you would like to read the story about the Deadbeat Dad Pizza Box, you can read it at:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The State of Adultery in America and Beyond

Adultery is one of the main causes for couples to break up. Although monogamy seems to be the norm in America, adultery still is commonplace. Even though many people cheat, it seems that we as a country consider adultery to be wrong and often vilify people who are known cheaters. Its said that its impossible to even find true statistics concerning adultery because of how secretive it is. Often times if a person strays, they don’t even share that information with their closest of friends and family. The research done in this particular article noted that the poorer a person was, the more likely they would commit adultery. However, in America, income has no bearing as to whether someone is likely to cheat. Why are the rules and statistics concerning adultery so different here in America? I am not sure we will ever find an answer to that question, but the following article is interesting and gives us a little bit of insight into the American adultery question:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Too Much Praise A Cause For Divorce?

It never ceases to amaze me the number of different articles that exist on the internet that try to explore and define the reasons why so many marriages end in divorce. I recently read an article that has linked the over complimenting of children to divorce and other relationship issues. There theory is that inappropriate complimenting or over praising are turning many people into narcissistic praise-junkies and these type of people generally have problems sustaining relationships. I definitely believe that we live in a society that is quick to praise, but I’m not sure that over praising alone creates narcissistic people who are not good in relationships. However, it is an interesting concept and yet another theory that may shed some light onto why our divorce rate, although declining, is still very high.

If you would like to read the story about The Compliment Complex, see the following:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Breaking the Law in a Divorce

When people are in the middle of a divorce, especially when there is a fierce custody battle, normally sane and rational people are sometimes driven to do very irrational things. Fears about extramarital affairs or poor child rearing may lead to one party’s need to prove these facts and some people will do anything to supply the Court with any such evidence which may help them in the litigation. While these facts may be relevant in your divorce, it is shortsighted to use any means possible to determine whether your suspicions have merit. No matter what, it is important to follow the letter of the law and not do anything which has potential criminal consequences. For example, it is illegal to record a person without that person’s express permission. If you are caught violating the state’s eavesdropping laws here in Florida, you could end up in jail. When in the midst of a contentious divorce, it is important to remain rational because there is nothing that is solved if you break the law or act in a way that will be frowned upon the Court. The best course of action is to work within the confines of the law and have faith that the truth will come out and that justice will prevail.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Disabled Children and Connection to Divorce

There is a very high rate of divorce for those couples who have special needs children. Healthy, "normal" children put stress on a marriage, and couples who have children with disabilities have even more stress. The high rate of divorce may be because of the devotion that the couple needs to have for their children, or the fact that one of the parties cannot deal with the fact that they have a child who has special needs. A program here in Central Florida held at the Calvary Assembly of God gives disabled children a place to go to in order to be around other children like themselves, and gives frazzled parents a break in order to run errands or do some things for themselves. These types of support groups are necessary and essential for couples with disabled children to be a part of, because despite whether or not you are totally devoted to your children, you have to nurture your marriage if it is going to survive.

To read about the buddy program that helps disabled children and their families, read:,0,3110435.story?coll=orl-living-headlines

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Trial and Disclosure of Information

One of the many reasons that a couple may settled their case at mediation rather than go to a Judge to decide their divorce issues, is due to the possibility of certain facts coming out that will have a negative impact on their lives outside of their divorce. Whether those negative facts are about drug abuse, tax evasion or criminal behavior, the idea that negative facts could come out in a proceeding which is public record scares people. In some ways, we are getting away from "slinging mud" in order to get our way in a divorce proceeding, however, there are times when a party will use a person's criminal activity, tax fraud or other quasi-criminal behavior as a bargaining tool in reaching a favorable settlement. This happens more often than not in divorces where there is a lot of money involved, or cases where the battle over child custody is extremely contentious. Such an example is Greg Norman's divorce. While there certainly isn't any allegations concerning criminal behavior there is still facts that seem to be coming out that Greg Norman may want to keep private. If you would like to read the latest story regarding Mr. Norman's divorce, see:,23599,21744515-2,00.html

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Appreciation for Stepparents

Blended families are not a new thing these days, if anything they are more the norm. The relationships that children have with their stepparents can be riddled with problems, including animosity and misplaced anger towards a person that they perceive to be taking the place of their mother or father. The stepparent has to walk a fine line of friend, disciplinarian and parent and often times what they do for their stepchildren is either unappreciated or taken out of context. The stepparent is often cast as the evil person who stops Cinderella from going to the ball, or the evil woman who sends a man's children off to boarding school so they are not in the way. However, there are stepparents, especially stepmothers, who are devoted to their stepchildren and are successful in making it clear to the children that they are not trying to take the place of their mother/father but simply want to be there for them. On Mothers' Day, published the following article that pays tribute to those rare people who have been successful stepparents:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Financial Independence

I did a blog a few months ago concerning a book that had been published called "The Feminine Mistake", which indicated that women who choose to get off the career merry-go-round are actually making a big financial blunder. There are many women's groups as well as critics who think that this type of thinking is wrong and misleading. My own opinion on this subject is a practical one based on my experience as an attorney who handles a number of divorces. Gone are the days where women are getting alimony on a permanent basis when they have been married for only a short period of time. Gone are the days where the wife is automatically granted primary residential responsibility and given large child support awards as a result of her desire not to work in order to stay home to care for the children. Now a days, when a young couple gets a divorce, large alimony awards that continue for long periods of time are a rarity, and more often than not, women are thrust back into the work force either without any skills or rusty skills and experience based on the fact that their career for the past several years was that of a wife and mother. Additionally, statistics show that most women, in one point in their lifetime, will have to be financially responsible for themselves. Having a marketable skill is important and if you choose to not work to raise a family, I highly suggest a Pre or Post Nuptial Agreement which specifically states expectations with respect to spousal support in the event of a divorce, otherwise, you can find yourself in a very tough financial situation.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Inclusion of Your Ex at Family Events

One of the realities of divorce is how your families deal with your ex-spouse and new boyfriend/girlfriend after your divorce is finalized. Sometimes there are real harsh feelings towards your ex-spouse and your family may treat your ex-spouse with animosity. When there are children involved, it can create family situations which are tense and awkward. Another issue and problem that arises is when your family refuses to let go of the fact that you are no longer married to your ex-spouse and refuses to accept your new boyfriend/girlfriend. This creates even bigger issues for you and your new boyfriend/girlfriend. Getting your family to accept the reality of your divorce can be difficult, but its important to tell your family how you feel and make sure that you don't put your children, including your adult children, in the middle of an family war regarding including your ex-spouse in family events. Regardless of your feelings towards your ex-spouse, when there are children involved, your ex is a part of your life and you need to deal with the fact that they may be around and invited to family events.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Florida's Divorce Rate Still Holding Steady

Despite the fact that the United States divorce rate seems to have fallen, the divorce rate in Florida remains much higher than the rest of the nation, with over 66,000 divorces filed from January to September 2006. I have no explanation for why the divorce rate in Florida remains higher than the divorce rates in other states. Some may argue that the liberal divorce laws in Florida may contribute to this fact. In Florida, if a couple agrees on the terms of their divorce, they can be divorced as quickly as 20 days. Additionally, Florida is a no fault state and follows fairly strict equitable distribution laws when determine what to do with marital property and debt. With no real waiting period or requirement to live separate and apart for an extended period of time before a divorce is granted, it seems, on the surface, that getting a divorce in Florida is pretty easy. I guess we'll never know the real answer to why divorce is so prevalent here in Florida, and can only hope that the declining divorce rate in the rest of the country will begin to be seen here in Florida.

If you would like to read about the falling American Divorce Rate, see the following article:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Safe Harbor for Domestic Violence Victims

Unfortunately domestic violence is very prevalent in our society and there are more and more individuals who are in abusive relationships whether they are married or not. Some of the violent and abusive behavior continues after a couple divorces and goes their separate ways, especially when there is contested issues in relation to children. In Orange County the incidents of domestic violence has increased over the past few years, making it necessary for safe havens for victims to go. Harbor House here in Orange County provides a safe place for victims of domestic violence, and Family Ties, offers monitored and supervised exchanges of children in order to avoid the pitfalls of direct contact between father and mother's who have a history of domestic abuse. If you or someone you love are a victim of domestic violence, there is hope and help.

For more information about Harbor House, visit:
For more information about Family Ties, visit:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Falling Divorce Rate?

Could this be true that the divorce rate in America has fallen to its lowest rate since 1970? According to recent data the divorce rate is at its lowest in over 30 years. Many people are speculating as to why that is. Some people believe that its because less people are getting married and deciding to cohabitate rather than get married. Others think that because people are getting more educated and have two working parties in a marriage, there is less financial stress in a marriage, therefore less divorce. Still others are thinking that the increase in marriage counseling, books and other self-help sources are helping couples struggle through their problems and remain married. I really don't know which one of these theories are true and I really do not see a dip in business that would verify the low divorce rate. However, I am happy to see that there are less divorces and perhaps this is a trend that will continue in the future.

If you would like to read about the lower divorce rate, see:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Tasteful Advertising

I find myself often writing about things that fall under the category "The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction". In Chicago, a local law firm erected a billboard that had two scantly clad people on it and under their firm name there was a statement "Life's Short, Get A Divorce". While I commend the thinking out of the box mentality that led to such a different way of advertising, I must admit that it is in poor taste and should be taken down. Lawyers already have a terrible reputation and divorce lawyers may even be held in a lower regard than others in their profession who practice in different areas of the law. Using tasteless advertising techniques may get clients in the door, but the integrity of the firm takes a hit, as well as the integrity of the profession. We all use advertising as a way to get clients to retain our services, however, I feel that you should advertise in way that provides useful information to potential clients about why you are qualified to represent them and not shock techniques that in the end only raise questions about your personal integrity. While this firm is gaining national attention, and they may subscribe to the idea that there is no such thing as bad publicity, I question whether this billboard, in the end, will give this firm anything more than some talk around the water cooler.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Electronic Discovery and Issues In Divorce

While it is not the norm in a divorce proceeding, there are times when one party will attempt to hide assets from their soon to be ex-spouse. When this happens, the best thing to do is hire a forensic accountant in order to find the hidden funds or assets. In an effort to obtain information, some spouse's go through extreme measures. In a case here in Florida a wife reportedly installed spyware on her husband's computer and later tried to use information obtained in divorce proceedings. She was not allowed because Florida bans the interception of these type of communications. Therefore, when you are trying to obtain financial information in a divorce proceeding, it is important and necessary to use all legal means to find anything that may be hidden.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cleaning Up Your Estate After or Before a Divorce

There was a recent question asked online at the Miami Herald concerning a closely held company and the fact that a gentleman thought that his parents had divorced, however when his father died, his mother petitioned for her spousal elective share of his father's estate based on the fact that her divorce with the man's father had never been finalized. In Florida there is no such thing as a legal separation, therefore, you are either married or not. If you never petition and finalize a divorce, a husband and wife may be allowed all their spousal privileges in the event one party dies. Additionally, after a divorce many people fail to change beneficiaries on their life insurance policy or beneficiaries in their will. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you take care of estate issues both during and after a divorce, or after you separate from your spouse. If this does not happen you run the risk of your estate being distributed in a way that goes against your wishes in the event of a divorce.

If you would like to read the article that this blog is based upon, see:

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Taking Emotion Out Of Divorce Settlements

There are two things going on when a couple is getting divorced, the emotional aspect and the legal aspect. Sometimes the emotional aspect gets in the way of seeing the reality of the legal aspect of divorce. Since Florida is a no fault state, marital fault does not enter into play when determining equitable division of marital property. Therefore, when someone committed an affair or is "responsible" for the demise of the marriage it has no bearing on equitable distribution or alimony. However, often times, a party believes that they should be "compensated" for whatever harm was caused by the other party. This mistaken belief can cause settlement discussions to crumble and can ultimately force a party into a financially imprudent decision. Its important for your client to attempt to take emotion out of the settlement discussions and think from a rational standpoint. Prior to mediation, enforce what the law is to your client so that when they get into the mediation room, they are fully prepared to enter into a reasonable settlement. Its impossible to separate the emotional from the practical/logical when a couple is divorcing, but whatever steps you can take to encourage your client not to let emotions factor into whether or not to accept a settlement award, the better off financially your client will be.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Divorce and Bankruptcy

One of the biggest and most financially difficult things that may arise out of a divorce, is the necessity for bankruptcy after divorce. With the changes in the consumer bankruptcy laws, it is now much more difficult for someone to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, despite the fact that they are saddled with debt and not enough income to cover that debt after their divorce is finalized. Another issue for some is that even though they may be able to file for bankruptcy, their alimony and child support payments are not dischargeability in bankruptcy, so they are still left with not enough money in order to support themselves, their ex-spouse and their children. Forbes has recently published an article which separates fact from fiction when divorce and bankruptcy intertwine. To read the article in its entirety, see the following:

Friday, May 4, 2007

Web Relationships and Issue on Families

Technology as contributed to a number of different issues unique to family law. With the birth of the Internet, and Internet dating services, people are able to develop or rekindle relationships with people who live in different states or, in some cases, clear on the other side of the country. This causes problems when a couple has children and one of those parties wishes to relocate in order to be with their new boyfriend/girlfriend who they met over the Internet. Relocation statutes here in Florida make it extremely difficult for a party to relocate when that relocation will have a negative impact on the non-relocating party's relationship with his/her child(ren). Therefore, when stepping out into the dating world after a divorce or break-up, when there is children involved, its important to remember that relocation may not be an option if you are the primary residential parent. Therefore, when looking for a new potential mate, give serious thought to location, location, location.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Laws Restricting and For Children

The latest scandal involving the divorce and child custody litigation between Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger has sparked controversy, debate and discussion about the social war of mother v. father in divorce. Often times, the parents are squabbling over custody to the point where they inadvertently alienate their children from the other parent. The parents in these situations are generally acting in a more childish way than their children and the inability to look past their own issues with each other ends up doing permanent emotional damage to their children.

A side issue going on in situations such as the one going on between Baldwin and Bassinger is whether adolescents and children in today's modern age are able to make decisions about their living arrangements in divorce, and whether they are capable of knowing what is in their best interests. Children these days are less independent than even kids growing up 20 or 30 years ago and may not be capable of making adult decisions until they are well into their twenties. I read an interesting article at that discusses this issue in a more abstract way. The article below discusses whether the laws that we have created to protect and restrict teenagers actually works to their disadvantage. Its interest and a different way of looking at the age old question of whether teenagers should be treated as adults.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

How To Know Whether To Fire Your Attorney

When you are in the midst of a divorce or some other family law issue, it is easy to take out your anger and frustration on your attorney. Often times a person feels compelled to fire their attorney or seek new counsel, not because their attorney is doing a bad job, but because they feel that their attorney is the reason why their case is not going their way. Firing an attorney just because you don't believe you are getting what you feel you deserve is dangerous for many reasons. First and foremost, attorney hopping sends up red flags to lawyers and if you have had more than one attorney, chances are the more credible lawyers will not take your case, because they know that they will not be able to make you happy. Secondly, it is expensive to have a new attorney brought up to speed on your case, and may cost you more in attorneys' fees in the long run. With that being said, I still think there are occasions where it is necessary for an attorney and a client to part ways. If you are trying to determine whether you should retain new counsel for your family law case here are some tips to insure that your decision is driven by the fact that you have lousy counsel and not because you are simply frustrated.

Signs Its Time To Find A New Attorney

1. Your phone calls are not returned within twenty-four (24) hours by someone in your attorney's office.
2. Your monthly bills or statements either don't reflect work actually done, or are not descriptive enough for you to determine what work has been completed, despite your request for more detailed statements.
3. Your attorney shows up late for a scheduled hearing, mediation or other meeting regarding your case on more than one occasion.
4. Your attorney is unprepared for Court hearings, mediation, depositions, etc.
5. Your attorney acts unprofessionally either towards you or opposing counsel on more than one occasion.
6. Your attorney fails to keep you informed about the happenings in your case.
7. You feel your attorney does not have your best interests in mind when deciding to proceed with litigation or settle a case.
8. Your attorney has been disbarred, suspended or reprimanded by the State Bar Association.
9. Your attorney misappropriates funds in his attorney trust account.
10. Your case is not moving forward towards conclusion because of your attorney's failure to act and not for some other mitigating reason.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Soldier's Rights v. Best Interest of the Child

With the war in Iraq as well as the war on terror looming over our country, there is a new issue and problem that has arisen with military families. With many men and women being deployed overseas for extended periods of time, custody arrangements that have been made between divorced couples are altered especially in cases where the person being deployed is the custodial parent. While these men and women are serving their country, Court's are amended custody orders changing who is the custodial parent on a permanent basis based on the "best interest of the child". The service men and women who are affected by the custody changes are left wondering whether their rights are being protected while they are performing their duties overseas, while the mothers and fathers left home with the children argue that its in their children's best interest to have a parent who will not be deployed to dangerous situations and who may not return. The Court's have argued that the determining the welfare of a child does not fall under the actions that the Serviceman's Relief Act was designed to protect, so therefore, a Judge can rule on a change of custody if he/she believes that the child's interests will be better served if they are placed with the parent who is not an active member of the U.S. Armed forces. This debate is something that we are going to be hearing so long as we are at war and I find validity in both arguments. I think at all times, the best interests of the child should be paramount in deciding who should be the custodial parent. However, determination of what is in the best interests of a child should not rest solely on whether or not a parent is an active member of the U.S. military.

If you would like to read more about this subject, visit: