Articles Tagged with children

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We’ve all experienced trying times during the pandemic. From school and business closures throwing a wrench in our daily plans to mask-wearing as the new normal, the pandemic has brought about many disputes and concerns, especially among divorced parents who share custody of their children. One Washington State father, Richard John Burke, is paying the price of his actions related to the pandemic after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree custodial interference in late August.

Burke shares three sons aged 6, 7, and 10 with his ex-wife. On March 24, Burke was supposed to return his three sons to their mother pursuant to a court-ordered parenting plan.  Instead he communicated to his ex-wife that he would be keeping his three sons for an additional four days.  Then, on March 28, Burke failed again to return the children to their mother. On March 29, the children’s school called the mother to let her know Burke had contacted them to state the children would no longer be attending school and to unenroll them immediately.

Burke pushed conspiracy theories about masks and the COVID-19 vaccine. He believed that the children’s school’s masking policy was “an absolute crime,” and also stated that one of his sons “will never be vaccinated again.” Upon deciding that he needed to take extraordinary measures to “protect his boys,” Burke fled with the three children. A judge authorized a $500,000 warrant for Burke’s arrest, and he was eventually taken into custody in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

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We have written in the past about Social Security Benefits, specifically Survivor’s Benefits, and how they play a role in adoption of the minor receiving those benefits. What the author did not realize is that, in the case where the child is in foster care, many state welfare agencies seemingly apply for, receive, and take those benefits from the children, without any notice. Continue reading →

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Child support and child custody are frequent issues when spouses are planning to divorce. Today we will discuss some of the most basic aspects behind these two broad and complex issues. How do you file a claim for custody and/or support? What are the governing laws in North Carolina? And what are the types of child support you could receive? Continue reading →

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For full text of S. 397 click here

June is Children’s Awareness Month, and on the occasion a bill (S. 397) was introduced into the United States Senate titled the Safe Home Act. What this bill aims to do is curtail the “unregulated custody transfers” that occur incident to adoption. The bill defines this transfer as “the abandonment of a child by the child’s parent, legal guardian, or a person or entity acting on behalf, and with the consent, of such parent or guardian,” by placing the child with a person who is not the child’s parent, step-parent, grandparent, adult sibling, adult uncle or aunt, legal guardian, or other adult relative; or an adult family friend; or a member of the federally recognized Indian tribe of which the child is also a member. There must also be an intent to “severing the relationship between the child and the parent or guardian of such child” without “reasonably ensuring the safety of the child and permanency of the placement of the child, including by conducting an official home study, background check, and supervision” and “transferring the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood or guardianship under applicable Federal and State law.” Continue reading →

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Baldwin v. Baldwin, unpublished (2021).

After separation and divorce, it is not unheard of for one spouse to move out of state. If the former couple had minor children together, then the question is which spouse is primarily going to have custody of the children? Many factors may come into play when making the determination, such as improvement to quality of life. These are complicated cases, and the parent seeking custody needs to demonstrate that relocating the children to another state best serves the development and growth of the children. Continue reading →

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and here at Woodruff Family Law Group, we are cognizant that the ongoing pandemic has caused much harm to our collective mental health. The school closures and loneliness associated with social distancing are major factors. A remarkable Harvard study following 224 children found that 66% of the children were showing clinical signs of depression or anxiety. Similar studies in Europe and Asia also show the same trend: COVID-19 likely contributes to rising depression and anxiety rates. It is an alarming trend that may not be visible on the surface. Continue reading →

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There are unfortunate times where one individual who has become fully insured for social security benefits passes away or gives up a child for adoption. In such cases, however, the Social Security Administration has enacted rules to pass on the benefit to the children. But exactly what happens when the child receiving a benefit is going to be adopted? Does the benefit simply end because he or she now has a new parent? Potential adoptive parents should speak to an attorney if they are considering adoption of a child receiving social security benefits. Continue reading →

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Link to Comments from Superintendent Contreras

As we’ve written before, the plan is still to begin the school year on August 17, with complete remote learning. Some parents, especially co-parents who share custody, may have concerns regarding the technology that will be used for the remote learning, such as, what if I don’t have internet at home? Or what if I don’t have devices? Or what if I have devices/internet, but my co-parent does not. On August 11, 2020, the Guilford County School Superintendent Sharon Contreras gave comments regarding the reopening procedures for schools, including some news on technological issues. Continue reading →

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All too often in the divorce process, couples become so focused on dividing marital assets, locating funds, and getting back at the spouse that has wronged them that their focus on the most critical part of their marriage gets overlooked. Children, the one part of the couple’s marriage that should be the central focus, get lost. Most people have heard that children are resilient, they bounce back quickly, and they adapt to change well. While all of those can be true, nothing in the equation of divorce is the fault of a child, and parents should remember that children have feelings too. Continue reading →

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School starts soon, and parents in the Piedmont Triad area are understandably worried about their children’s exposure to COVID-19. Do I send my child back to the classroom, home school them, or opt for online classes? Fears over the lack of social distancing, schools enforcing mask policies of older students, and not requiring mask wearing for younger children are just a few of the concerns. Many parents’ fears, when faced with the threat of exposure and further spread of COVID, are only made worse when the parents are no longer together and cannot agree on how to address the situation. If you find yourself dealing with whether your children should return to school, with or without a court-ordered custody order in place, an experienced family law attorney can assist you. Continue reading →