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The teenager who was arrested for drunk driving, called his mom who also got arrested for drunk driving who called her husband who guess what? Was arrested for drunk driving!

  • By 7018347523
  • 16 Feb, 2017

Call Us First!! Not Your Mom... 

It must have set a record, but this one South Canterbury family would surely much rather not have, after three of them were booked for drunk-driving  on the same night. The saga began about 12.15am when a 15-year-old boy was stopped and arrested for drunk-driving  . He blew 529 micrograms per litre of breath, more than three and a half times the youth limit. The teenager was taken to the Timaru police station for processing, where his mother was called to collect him. She was subsequently stopped and arrested for drunk-driving at about 2.14am, after blowing 776 mcg, nearly twice the adult limit of 400.  

But it wasn't over there. The woman then rang her partner to come and pick them both up. He was stopped and arrested on North St at about 3am, when he blew 559mcg  

The Coastal Virginia Law Firm of Brook M. Thibault & Associates P.C.

By 7018347523 13 Apr, 2017
With tongue in cheek, we present here six easy rules to follow when  robbing a bank, along with instructive examples of what can go wrong if you don’t. These lessons are gleaned from attempts by would-be famous bank robbers robbers.


1. Pick the right bank. Don’t make the same mistake as the fellow in Anaheim, California, who tried to hold up a bank that was no longer in business and had no money.

2. Keep family out of it. A California robber ran into his mother while he was making his getaway   . She turned him in.

3. Arm yourself … with a squash. A man in White Plains, New York, held up a bank with a zucchini. Successfully. A gun  wasn’t necessary: Most bank clerks are compliant and hand over the loot rather then risk harm to themselves, colleagues, or customers. Plus, additional criminal charges apply to gun-toting robbers, if caught. Which the zuke-slinger was, at his home.

4. Make mapping your quest. Avoid the sad fate of the thieves in Florida who took a wrong turn into Homestead Air Force Base, drove up to the military police guardhouse, and, thinking it was a tollbooth, offered the security men money.

5. Become a master of disguise. One would-be thief thought that if he smeared a mercury ointment on his face, he would be invisible to the cameras. Actually, it accentuated his features, giving authorities a much clearer picture of him.

6. Bring a bag. In these days of exploding dye packets, stuffing the cash into your pants pockets can lead to embarrassing stains, not to mention severe burns in sensitive places. Or so bandits from San Diego and Boston painfully discovered.

Remember, the easiest way to get money is to make it the old-fashioned way: Earn it. Maybe by working at a bank!

For more great laughs, check out one of  The Old Farmer’s Almanac’funniest pages . If you think you’re all set on your bank robbing advice, check out our  funny marriage advice !

By 7018347523 13 Apr, 2017

What is Custody?

Custody   is the care, control, and maintenance of a child. A child's parents are both presumed to be the natural and proper custodians. However, the court may be asked to determine the custody of children in some circumstances. The best interest of the child guides the court's decision. There are several types of custody:

  • Joint legal custody  is when both parents retain joint responsibility for the care and control of the child and joint authority to make decisions concerning the child, even though the child's primary residence may be with only one parent.
  • Joint physical custody  is where both parents share physical and custodial care of the child.
  • Sole custody gives a parent the primary responsibility for the care of the child. That parent makes all the daily decision about his/her child's life.

What is Visitation?

A parent who does not have primary physical custody of a child is legally entitled to visitation  with that child. There are exceptions to this when it is not the best interest of the child.

If the parents cannot agree to a visitation schedule, the judge will order a schedule. This can include general visitation days as well as holidays, school breaks, summer, vacations, and special occasions. The parents must bring any occasion they wish to have visitation to the judge's attention.

Who Handles Custody, Visitation, and Support Issues?

Custody, visitation, and support determinations are made in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. If you do not already have an order from another court, you may file a petition requesting custody or visitation in the Court Service Unit, located on the second floor of the juvenile court building. If you do have an order from this court granting you custody or visitation  and you wish to amend (change) that order, you may file a Motion to Amend at the Clerk's Office window.

When are Custody and Visitation Hearings Held?

These hearings are necessary when parents do not live together and cannot agree on what is best for their children, when a parent cannot take care of his/her children, or when someone believes a child is in danger from a parent.

If the parents are unable or unwilling to communicate very well regarding the best interest of the child, then the court will most likely award sole custody, legal and physical, to one parent, provided that it is in the child's best interest.

Custody may be placed with a non-parent only if there is "clear and convincing" evidence that it is necessary for the best interest of the child.

Guardian  Ad Litem

A Guardian  Ad Litem  (GAL)  is a lawyer, appointed by the court in a civil proceeding to represent the interests of a child or a person under disability. A GAL must be appointed for a child in the following situations:

  • The child is alleged to be abused or neglected.
  • The child is the subject of an entrustment agreement.
  • The child is the subject of a petition terminating parental rights.
  • Where a parent seeks to be relieved of custody.
  • Where the child seeks emancipation.
  • In mental health commitment proceedings.
  • For foster care plans or status reviews.
  • In addition, a GAL may be appointed in all other cases that, in the discretion of the court, require a GAL to represent the interest of a child or children.

How are Custody and Visitation Orders Enforced?

Any order of the court--including-custody and visitation orders    --can be enforced by filing a motion with the court requiring the other party to "Show Cause" why he or she should not be held in contempt of court for failing to follow the court's order. A "Show Cause" proceeding may be either criminal or civil in nature.

What Does “Support” Mean?

A father and mother have a duty to financially support their children. A husband and wife also have a duty to financially support each other. The amount of that support depends on the needs of the parties involved and the abilities of each person to pay support.

How is Child Support Calculated?

Child support  is based upon the combined gross income of the father and mother. The court uses the Virginia Child Support Guidelines, which are part of the state law, to guide judgements on child support.

Once the total support obligation is calculated, that amount is multiplied by the percent of the total income attributed to the person owing support. The result determines his/her obligation.

(For example, if a father's wages are 60% of the couple's total combined income, he will likely be required to pay 60% of the calculated child support amount.)

There are number of expenses that can be added to the basic amount, including (but not limited to) health care costs, extraordinary medical or dental expenses, and child care costs. Adjustments may also be made depending on which parent is paying health care costs, etc.

How is Child Support Paid?

Child support can be paid directly to the other party or can be paid through the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Social Services Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). The DCSE office located at 2127 Lakeside Drive.

Support can be taken directly from the other party's paycheck by wage assignment, or by an income withholding order, but must be passed through DCSE.

What is DCSE?

The Virginia Department of Social Services Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) is a state agency that assists in the collection of child support. A person who seeks support for a child may contract with DCSE for their services and assistance. DCSE may also be used as a channel for support to pass through.

In other words, the person owing support can send money to DCSE, or it can be taken from their wages and DCSE will then forward payment to the person entitled to receive it. DCSE then has a record of collections and distributions of the support money.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is paid directly to the spouse. Both parties should document and keep track of the amount and date of any payments. (This is true for both child and spousal support--and receipts are always a good idea.)

If you have questions about spousal support, seek the advice of a qualified attorney.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Support?

You don't necessarily need a lawyer to file for child support or spousal support. You may represent yourself. However, you should bring all documents available to prove your financial position, including pay stubs, copies of medical bills, copies of income tax returns, etc. (This court requires you to file copies of all this information in advance of any hearings.)

If you have questions about child support, you can contact DCSE at 800-468-8894.

Where Can I File for Support?

Determination for both types of support are filed in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. If you do not already have an order from another court, you may file a support petition in the Court Service Unit, which is located on the second floor of the juvenile court building. You may also call 455-2660 for information.

If you already have an order for support through this court and you want the court to consider changing that order, you may file a “Motion to Amend” at the Clerk's Office on the first floor of the juvenile court building.

How is Support Order Enforced?

Any order of the court--including custody, visitation, and support--can be enforced by filing a motion with the court requiring the other party to “Show Cause” why he or she should not be held in contempt of court for filing to follow the court's order. A “Show Cause” proceeding may be either criminal or civil in nature.  

By 7018347523 13 Apr, 2017

The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that a Fairfax County man can stop paying spousal support to his ex-wife because she lives with another woman, reversing lower courts that found the state’s cohabitation standard does not apply to same-sex couples  .

The ruling , handed down late last week, clarifies a section of Virginia divorce law nearly a year after same-sex marriage  became legal nationwide.

The case stemmed from the separation of Michael Luttrell and Samantha Cucco, who divorced in 2008 after being married for 16 years. Luttrell agreed to pay alimony to Cucco for eight years.

Under state law, alimony   payments can be cut off if the payee remarries or has been “habitually cohabitating with another person in a relationship analogous to a marriage” for a year or more.

Luttrell sought to end the payments in 2014. He said in court filings that Cucco was engaged to her new partner and had been living with her for more than a year.

Cucco argued her situation did not qualify as cohabitation because the relationship was with another woman.

Both Fairfax County Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled in Cucco’s favor; the courts found that cohabitation was understood to apply only to relationships between a man and a woman.

The state Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and said their interpretation would produce an “untenable result” of unequal treatment in identical divorce situations.

“The individual in the same-sex relationship  would continue to receive support while the individual in the opposite-sex relationship would not,” Justice William C. Mims wrote in the high court’s opinion. “We cannot conclude that the General Assembly intended such a result.”

Mims was serving in the legislature in 1997 when the alimony statute at the heart of the case was amended.

Mims noted in the opinion that the General Assembly considered language clearly defining cohabitation as only pertaining to the opposite sex, but that amendment was rejected in favor of the broader language in the law today.

“By declining to modify the word ‘person’ with the phrase ‘of the opposite sex,’ the General Assembly signaled its intention that ‘person’ would include individuals of either sex,” he wrote.

John P. O’Herron, a Richmond appellate attorney who tracked the case, said it was somewhat unusual because Cucco did not contest the appeals above the circuit court.

Though the case pertains to new legal questions posed by gay marriage, O’Herron said the ruling likely will affect only the specific issue in divorce law.

“I really don’t see this as sort of altering the landscape,” he said.

The ACLU of Virginia represented Luttrell in the case. Gail Deady, an ACLU of Virginia lawyer focused on gender equality  , said the ruling recognizes that “all laws regarding marriage must be applied equally regardless of the gender of the individuals involved.”

“Marriage equality means marriage equality,” Deady said

By 7018347523 21 Mar, 2017

OCALA, Fla. (AP) - A Marion County deputy reports pulling over a naked man riding a motorcycle and charging the man with driving under the influence  .

The deputy reports that he was driving on Interstate 75 early Tuesday morning when he spotted what appeared to be a naked man on a motorcycle. The deputy caught up with 45-year-old J. Dante Krauss at a red light and stopped him.

Krauss reportedly could not explain where he was coming from or why he was naked. The deputy asked him if he had been drinking, and he reportedly answered that he had. Breathalyzer tests    revealed blood alcohol levels   of .178 and a .162. The state's legal limit to drive is .08.

The man was charged with what turned out to be his fifth DUI   . Jail records showed he was later released on $20,000 bail.

By 7018347523 21 Mar, 2017

When you’re going through a divorce   , everyone and their mother seems to have an opinion on your split.

“Have you really thought this through?”  they ask, not realizing you’ve spent months or years painstakingly considering all the ways it might affect your family.

“You must feel so liberated, so free, “ they say after you’ve separated, without considering that maybe — just maybe — you’re mourning the loss of your marriage.

The truth is, you don’t know what the divorce    experience is truly like until you’ve been there yourself. HuffPost Divorce readers will tell you as much. Below, they share and debunk some of the most common misconceptions about splitting up.

1. “Non-divorced people think separating  is a cake walk and you just need to get over it.  It’s not that easy. You’re actually mourning the death of the person you loved and the relationship.”

2. “Some people seem to think  it’s no different than breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend . People who’ve never been married try to relate, but it’s just not comparable.”

3. “People love to tell you  divorce is ‘not an option for them,’  like it’s a disgrace or a bad thing. The truth is, sometimes it’s the  best  option.”

4. “One common misconception? That  divorced people simply gave up too easily . This is usually said by someone who just got married or who’s never been married at all.”

5. “They  act like you can ‘catch’ divorce . People avoid you like it’s contagious.”

6. “They think  you should have stayed together and worked it out for the kids’  sake. I think my kids are smarter than that. They want their parents to be happy.”

7. “People worry that  you’re not OK after divorce . Personally, I’m better now than I was the last three years of my marriage.”

8. “They think  it’s always someone’s fault . The truth is, sometimes people just grow apart.”

9. “People on the outside  think it’s a cause for celebration . I’m not celebrating. It isn’t great. It’s tragic.”

10. “They think the minute the papers are signed,  the worst is over and it’s time to pick up and move on.  You grieve like your spouse died — only worse because you’re forced to feel the pain of rejection and abandonment as well. And when your spouse dies, people surround you with love and comfort food. When your spouse leaves you, nobody even calls.”

11. “A lot of people believe you were never serious about marriage  in the first place.”

12. “They think  you should be over it by now . Wrong, wrong, wrong.”

13. “People  think the divorce process is over  in a matter of months. That’s far from the case in my experience. It’s been three years, I’ve lost thousands of dollars in the process, and I  still  don’t have that piece of paper in my hands!”

14. “They  forget that there’s two sides to every story . The one who cries or rants loudest about the split is not always the one who’s hurting the most. From my experience, the person who says the least is just doing a good job of hiding their pain.”

15. “Once you’re divorced, they  figure you’re back on the market  again, just like that.”

16. “They tend to believe  divorced people don’t grieve or feel sad  or think back fondly on the good memories. People think it’s all just anger and spite.”

By 7018347523 23 Feb, 2017

While most people never want to use the services of a bail bondsman  in Virginia, You can be assured that if the time comes when you do need one, Matlock Bail Bonds will be there for you, to guide you through every step of the bail bond and court process.

At Matlock Bail Bonds you can always expect to receive the most friendly and professional experience in the bail bond industry, Virginia bail bond information and consultations are always FREE! and our bail bond premiums are charged at the lowest cost allowed by law.

Unlike any other Virginia Beach bail bond company  , Matlock Bail Bonds will provide you with bail bonding services at any Jail location in the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the United States. If you have someone who is locked up in another state please give us a call and let us help you.

By 7018347523 22 Feb, 2017

By James Duane

Almost every time I speak at a college or law school campus, there are one or two audience members whose mother or father is a police officer or a prosecutor. I always ask them: What did your parents tell you about dealing with the police?

Every one of them, without exception, has told me the same thing: My parents in law enforcement taught me years ago that I should never talk to the police, or agree to let them interview me about anything, or let them search my car or my apartment or my backpack without a warrant.

You need to stop for a minute, and let that sink in.

The Right to Remain Silent

With the New Year upon us, it is more vital than ever to have a clear understanding of your rights in dealing with police officers — and the perils facing those who do not know and assert their rights in those encounters.

Everybody knows about the famous “right to remain silent”  protected by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees that no person may be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Not nearly enough people understand, however, that the protections of that right are for innocent people just as much as for the guilty. Too many people mistakenly assume that anyone who asserts his right to remain silent   must have “something to hide” or must be guilty of something.

That is simply false.

I have lectured to thousands of college and law school students around the country about the Fifth Amendment. I tell them that everyone — including those who think they have done nothing wrong — should assert that privilege every chance they get.

Why the Innocent Should Remain Silent

All around this country, every day and night, police officers are advising other people’s children to give up their right to remain silent by answering a few questions, or to consent to a search that the officer has no right to demand.

But, it turns out, when these same officers go home at night, they advise their children to do just the opposite.

That pretty much sums it all up, and tells you just about everything you need to know about dealing with the police.

All over this country, prison cells are filled with innocent people falsely convicted for crimes they did not commit

Far too many Americans mistakenly think: “If the police want to ask me a few questions, and I know in my heart I have done nothing wrong, surely it cannot hurt to cooperate with them and do whatever I can to allay their suspicions and clear things up.” That attitude is certainly understandable, but it can be a deadly mistake, and it can land you in prison for a crime you did not commit, perhaps for the rest of your life.

All over this country, prison cells are filled with innocent people falsely convicted for crimes they did not commit, and many of them will spend the rest of their lives regretting the day they agreed to talk to the police.

Four Reasons the Innocent Get Convicted

But how does that happen? How could an innocent man get himself convicted by agreeing to answer a few questions from the police? There are more ways than you could imagine, and it is not possible to list them all here in an essay of this length. But here are 4 of the reasons why you could be making the biggest mistake of your life by giving up your right to remain silent.

1. You don’t know the law.

Even though you believe in your heart that you have done nothing wrong, you have no idea whether you might be admitting that you did something that is against the law. There are tens of thousands of criminal statutes on the books in America today. Most of them you have never heard of, and many of them involve conduct that nobody would imagine could ever be a crime.

2. There could be a criminal coincidence.

If you talk to the police, even if you do not admit that you committed any crime, you could easily give them information that might be used to help prosecute you for a crime you did not commit. You might admit that you were present in the wrong place at the wrong time, for example, and unwittingly put yourself at the scene of a crime. Or you might disclose to the police, as innocent people often do, that there is some other surprising and unlikely coincidence that can be used as circumstantial evidence to connect you to the details of some crime you know nothing about.

3. Other people might lie or make a mistake.

If you talk to the police and tell them that you were not present at the scene of a crime — even if that was the truth — there is a possibility that some lying or mistaken eyewitness may have already told them that you were there. Now it is your word against hers, and the police might prosecute you for the offense of lying to them. Yes, that’s right: it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, to give the police any false information. Even if you know that you told them the truth, the police and the prosecutor and the jury are only human, and humans make mistakes. Don’t talk to the police, and you won’t give them the chance to make that mistake with your life and your liberty.

4. The police can lie to you.

But even though our legal system allows the police to prosecute you for lying to them, you have no similar protection against dishonesty by the police. Quite the contrary: our courts allow and encourage officers to lie to you if that will help encourage you to waive your right to remain silent.

Police officers routinely lie to criminal suspects about every aspect of a criminal investigation. So don’t think for a minute that you can trust your instincts when they tell you that it is safe to talk to the police, because the police are not required to put any of their cards on the table, or to give you any information about what they are really looking into, and why they suspect you might be involved. And the courts will let them get away with it every time.

A National Disgrace

It is a national disgrace that our legal system so often convicts and imprisons innocent people for crimes they did not commit, often for the rest of their lives. And in many of these cases, the critical evidence — sometimes the only evidence — was truthful information that some innocent person voluntarily gave the police, because they foolishly thought they had nothing to lose by giving up the right to remain silent.

Don’t make that mistake. Take the advice police officers give their own children. If an officer asks whether you are willing to answer a few questions, don’t be rude. But let the officer know that, with all due respect, you must decline to answer his questions. Ask him if you are free to leave, or whether you are under arrest. If you are not under arrest, wish him well and walk away. If he tells you that you are under arrest, tell him that you will not speak with him unless you have an attorney present.


James Duane is a Professor at Regent Law School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he received the Faculty Excellence Award in the Fall of 2002. He has twice taught as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia, most recently in the Fall of 2011. During the 2013-14 academic year, he served as a faculty associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

He was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award by the Virginia State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in 2002. He received his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1981, where he was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and his JD   cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1984. He clerked for the Honorable Michael A. Telesca of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York and the Honorable Ellsworth A. Van Graafeiland on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was senior associate at the law firm of Connors & Vilardo in Buffalo, New York, where he practiced civil litigation and criminal defense, and was trial counsel for all of the defendants in Schenck v . Pro-Choice Network of Western New York , 519 U.S. 357 (1997).

By 7018347523 16 Feb, 2017
It must have set a record, but this one South Canterbury family would surely much rather not have, after three of them were booked for drunk-driving  on the same night. The saga began about 12.15am when a 15-year-old boy was stopped and arrested for drunk-driving  . He blew 529 micrograms per litre of breath, more than three and a half times the youth limit. The teenager was taken to the Timaru police station for processing, where his mother was called to collect him. She was subsequently stopped and arrested for drunk-driving at about 2.14am, after blowing 776 mcg, nearly twice the adult limit of 400.  

But it wasn't over there. The woman then rang her partner to come and pick them both up. He was stopped and arrested on North St at about 3am, when he blew 559mcg  
By 7018347523 09 Feb, 2017

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Captain Max King’s Marine is host to many expensive boats, but it’s not watercraft that was taken — just their motors.

Virginia Beach police say thieves struck the boat dealership Sunday night and hauled out a hefty load worth about $200,000.

Owner Max King tells 10 On Your Side security cameras captured burglars  entering through a hole he says they cut in his fence.

“They were professionals,” King said.

Photos: Boat dealership break-in

Cameras show one burglar reaching out and turning a camera away. King says other cameras were spray painted or covered with a box. Minutes later, the thieves cut the wires at an electrical box, shutting off the spotlights King says are always on when it’s dark.

Police call the work extremely thorough, making the job of tracking them down all the more difficult.

“I have to shake everybody’s hand and say, ‘Look, I’m doing everything I can to protect your boat,’ and all that stuff and it’s frustrating.”

King believes the group may have known about motors. It appears they went so far as to move boats out of the way to gain access only to watercraft equipped with a Yamaha F300. King says that’s a more expensive, more complex model. He says thieves passed over any F300s that had more miles on them, selectively picking six new models. The models will cost about $30,000 each to replace.

“It’s very frustrating to know they can violate someone’s property like that. It’s crazy.”

King believes at some point, the burglars drove a vehicle onto the property. Each engine is more than five feet tall and weighs 600 pounds, so he guesses they used special equipment to load up then took off.

“There was a big truck or trailer, something that pulled out of here.”

King is hoping someone on Shore Drive who drove past or lives near the Ocean Park neighborhood may have noticed activity Sunday night. That could lead to an arrest. He says the cameras captured the thieves entering shortly after 7 p.m., and they didn’t leave until after 1 a.m.

“What happened here? On Sunday night? Were you walking your dog? Were you jogging? Were you out and about? What did you see go on here at my property?”

By 7018347523 07 Feb, 2017

Has your spouse or partner recently asked for a separation or divorce? Are you contemplating a divorce  and just don’t know what to do or where to turn? Are you worried about how your decision will impact your children? Knowledge is a powerful tool and knowing what to do and where to go is critical when one is faced with a life-changing event such as a separation and/or divorce; and for same-sex couples with children, the combination of state-by-state and federal laws pertaining to their relationships can add complexity.

Here are five critical “Must Do’s” when one party is calling it quits:

1. Know the law in your state regarding custody and support. Does the state you live in recognize same-sex marriage  and second-parent adoption? Do non-relative third parties or grandparents have the ability to sue for custody of your children? Each state has its own laws regarding each of these topics. Other states are beginning to embrace these changes or may be silent on the issues altogether. While the federal law has changed for same-sex couples, as it relates to benefit availability, laws regarding custody, support and adoption have not yet all followed suit. You can find many legal resources online, including a number of legal blogs, but those cannot fully replace an informative consultation to get these questions answered.

2. Choose an experienced attorney who you trust. While lawyers are sometimes considered luxuries, when it comes to the complexities of same-sex families, it is important to consult with a lawyer who concentrates in the area of family law  and has an understanding as to the same-sex laws in your state. Your lawyer can give you a strong education about the law in your state and how the laws apply to your particular circumstances. You may not need to hire the lawyer beyond the consultation but make sure that you get a foundation of information so that you can make informed decisions for you and your children. Access your local or state bar organization for help and for referrals.

3. Review agreements, if any. For whatever reason, even though the law is unsettled on various same-sex issues, many same-sex couples do not look beyond their vows when creating a family. Did you sign an agreement or other contract during your marriage that established parenting routines and responsibilities? Do you have any estate-planning documents that establish intention as it relates to the care of and support for your minor children? If not, please know that you could have done so, and that there is plenty of authority that would support its enforceability. Take heart — regardless of your relationship status, you may create estate-planning documents and trust documents to protect your children’s future and their ability to inherit from you.

4. Don’t change your routine with the children because your partner tells you to.Intention, routine and previous responsibility weighs heavy in the court’s eye. If you want to preserve your relationships with your children beyond your separation, don’t walk away because your partner says you don’t have rights. A biologically linked parent is not presumed to be the favored parent or the one that will automatically prevail in a courtroom. Understand what those legal rights are immediately and make sure to stay a part of the children’s lives accordingly. Unilaterally changing the parenting routine and then asking for it to resume months later through the court system often affects your credibility. For example, if you moved from the marital residence and visited infrequently with the children, the court may assume that you thought it was in their best interests to live primarily with the other parent. Or, if it was not until the primary parent began dating again that you decided you wanted the children back in your care, your desires may carry less credibility and instead may come across as the scorned former partner. Dating is not usually grounds to modify a parenting schedule. Make decisions based on knowledge and information not emotion.

5. Understand your child support calculation. You may begin by gathering financial information. Most states require documentation on your gross monthly income as well as expenses related to the children’s health insurance premiums, work-related childcare expenses, extraordinary expenses or other extracurricular activities. The legislature in most states has created a “guideline” calculation that is used to determine an amount of support that should be paid considering the children’s accustomed standard of living, each parent’s proportionate responsibility, obligations for other children and more. If your incomes are beyond the guidelines or, better yet, there is an opportunity to negotiate a different amount of support, consider it. There may be a chance to pay expenses directly to a provider or to share in expenses rather than pay direct support. Remember that most states will not allow you to “waive” child support obligations and can order that child support payments be paid retroactively for missed support.

In the end, if you find yourself in a position of being asked to leave or wanting to leave your same-sex partner or spouse, and you have children, be sure to protect yourself and seek the advice of a professional that can not only guide you through the process but can offer valuable information regarding your rights and your rights regarding your children. Knowledge is a powerful tool and is critical for those individuals that cannot, by default, rely on always being treated equally in their respective states.

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