Articles Tagged with children

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It’s your first holiday with your adopted child and you’ve done everything to make it perfect, with magazine-worthy tables of food, a home full of beautiful decorations, and lights twinkling just right in the annual family photo – at least until the dog eats the turkey, the cat knocks down the Christmas tree, and someone is blinking in every single picture! We all know that reality never goes exactly as you plan, but by following these tips to support your adopted child through the inevitable messiness, your first holiday season as a complete family can turn out better than you ever imagined! Continue reading →

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Keenan v. Keenan, 2022-NCCOA-554, No. COA21-579 (Aug. 16, 2022)

In August 2020, Plaintiff’s ex-husband came to Plaintiff’s house to cut her grass. Seems innocent enough, right? But Defendant ex-husband had a history of physically, verbally, and emotionally abusing Plaintiff, had been texting Plaintiff inappropriate things, had been told multiple times not to come to Plaintiff’s house, and wouldn’t leave even though Plaintiff told him to four times. That context makes the situation seem very different, doesn’t it? Plaintiff got so nervous about what Defendant might do that it gave her a panic attack, and she filed for a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO). The DVPO was granted because the trial court found that Defendant placed “the aggrieved party or a member of [her] family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, as defined in [N.C.G.S. §] 14-277.3A, that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress.” (N.C.G.S. § 50B-1 (a)(2)) Continue reading →

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Many adopted children grow up wondering, “Where did I come from?” Until the last 20 years or so, the only way to answer that question was to ask a court to unseal your adoption records, which rarely worked. However, as society has gained a greater understanding of the possible psychological and medical impacts of adoption, new options have opened to help adult adoptees learn their personal histories. There are four different ways for an adoptee to get information about their adoption and birth family: through their adoption agency, through a post-adoption intermediary program, through the courts, or through genetic testing. Going through the courts can be costly and time consuming, so it is usually best to try another option first. Continue reading →

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If you are an intended parent who lives in a state that does not allow more than two persons to be named as legal parents on a child’s birth certificate, it is valuable to consider all your options when deciding the legal structure of your growing family. The law is not structured to deal with or protect non-traditional families, so existing legal structures have to be adapted and carefully applied to fit your situation. Because this is a complicated process and every non-traditional family is unique, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney to learn which options will be the best fit for your child before you take any steps to establish a parenting arrangement with three or more people. Continue reading →

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In the United States, fewer than half of the children live in a household with just their siblings and married parents. The other children live in a variety of relationships and family structures that often mean that more than two people act as parents in a child’s life. Continue reading →

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Part 8: Supporting your LGBTQIA+ Child When Others Won’t

As a good parent, you love your child no matter what, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Watching your child face discrimination and rejection is heartbreaking, and of course you want to protect them from that pain as much as you can. But what happens if that rejection is coming from your child’s other parent? How can you protect your child when the threat is so close to home? If getting full custody of your child, discussed in Parts 6 and 7 , isn’t an option, there are still steps you can take to minimize the damage of their other parent’s rejection. Continue reading →

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Part 4: Palmore v. Sidoti (466 U.S. 429 (U.S. Apr. 25, 1984))

In custody battles between straight/LGBTQIA+ couples, one of the most common arguments that is brought up against the LGBTQIA+ parent is the concern that the child will face social stigma or bullying because the child resides with a gay parent. At first glance, this may seem like a legitimate fear, especially to parents or judges who themselves grew up in less tolerant areas or who were bullied as children. Fortunately for LGBTQIA+ families, social stigma is lessening every day, and studies have found that children with LGBTQIA+ parents don’t tend to get bullied any more than other children. Continue reading →

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Part 1: Custody Battles for LGBTQIA+ Parents

Every parent involved in a custody battle harbors at least some fear that they may lose custody of their child, no matter how unlikely it is. This fear is even greater for LGBTQIA+ parents, and understandably so. While acceptance for LGBTQIA+ individuals may be increasing, particularly since Obergefell v. Hodges, stigmas against LGBTQIA+ people can still influence custody decisions in North Carolina. If you are an LGBTQIA+ parent facing a custody hearing, it is important to engage an experienced family law attorney to help prevent those stigmas from keeping you away from your child. Continue reading →

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Surrogacy and in-vitro fertilization are generally not possible without gamete donors. However, like surrogacy contracts, gamete donation isn’t addressed by North Carolina statutes or cases. Both donors and intended parents need to protect themselves under North Carolina’s contract laws by making sure they have a strong contract addressing their interests. As with surrogacy, a contract needs to be reviewed by independent legal counsel for each party prior to signing and then signed before any gametes are fertilized. Continue reading →

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We’ve written before on the importance of establishing some new routines and traditions after (or during) a tough separation and divorce. Sometimes if you focus on the simple things it can make the difficult and complicated seem easier to deal with, especially in a contentious custody case. The courts believe that they ought to do what is in the best interests of the kids, and so should you. This May, treat yourself and your kids to some soul-nourishing pizza. You can eat veggies some other day. Continue reading →