3 Reasons To Hire An Attorney For Paternity Issues

A father has many legal rights and responsibilities to his child or children. However, for one reason or another there may be a paternity issue of some kind that requires an attorney to be hired. These issues vary greatly, but hiring an attorney will be ensure that paternal issues are worked out and things are legally as they should be. This article will discuss 3 reasons to hire an attorney for paternity issues.

Testing For Paternity 

If you are a woman seeking to prove that a man is the father or your child, or a man seeking to prove that you are not the father of a woman’s child, you may need to hire an attorney to prove this. Often times child support is going to need to be provided if you are the father of a child, so it is crucial that the issue is resolved. An attorney will use DNA from the mother, the child, and the potential father to see if he is indeed the father. If he is the father, he has custody rights and will need to pay child support, which may also need to be worked out in court.

Child Support and Custody

Often times there are issues regarding child custody and child support that need to be worked out in court. The father of the child will be required to pay some amount of child support for each child that he has. This is to help the mother have the finances that she needs to raise the child. Also, if a father would like to gain custody of his child, or gain more custody of his child, this will also often need to be worked out in court by an attorney. The background history of the mother and father will be looked into for this issue, and the attorney will do their best to represent their client’s case. 


In the case of an adoption, there are a few different reasons why an attorney should be hired for paternity issues. For example, if the father of a newborn child doesn’t agree to having their child adopted, but the mother does agree, they may need to go to court. Or if the father is absent in the life of the child that is to be adopted, the attorney will serve papers to this father to ensure that the adoptive parents won’t have to deal with issues from him later. Lastly, in the case of a stepfather adopting his wife’s children, he may need to go to court to prove he is a good father and to prove the children want to be adopted by him. 

Contact a legal office like Law Office of Shelli Wright Johnson for more help.

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What To Do When You Are In The Military And Getting A Divorce

If you are currently serving as an active member of the armed services and are about to get a divorce, you may not know that the process is slightly different than if you were a civilian. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when you need to deal with military divorce proceedings. 

You Must Be Aware of Time Requirements

Because you are an active military member, you must adhere to certain time requirements before medical coverage and your pension are available to your current spouse. Checking those requirements might affect how soon or late you seek out a divorce, as you might want to use those benefits to negotiate with.

You Should Try to Keep the Survivor Benefit Plan

Your current spouse may seek to be the beneficiary of your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). If that happens, when you pass away they will receive financial benefits. This can become a problem for you if you get married again in the future, as you cannot reassign the SBP; your second spouse will not get any of those benefits.

That’s why it is a wise decision to make sure you hold on to your SBP in the divorce. If possible, try to give your current spouse life insurance or any other benefits you can offer.

You Need a Military Divorce Expert

When your spouse files for divorce, it is not unusual for them to do so in the state of their residence, although you may be doing active military service somewhere other than that. You are required to respond to their petition, but it’s a good idea to secure a divorce lawyer with experience in military divorces before you do so. That’s because each state has their own set of divorce laws and you need to do everything you can to make sure your divorce happens in a state with laws that are most fair for you. An experienced lawyer can help make that happen.

An expert in military family law can also help you with the unique military issues that may come up during your divorce proceedings, so be wary of choosing a lawyer recommended to you by friends and family unless you know they have experience with military marriages and divorces.

Use the information laid out in this article to help you get started with a military divorce. Work closely with your attorney, such as one from Law Offices of Peter Napolitano & Wayne Hibbeler, to determine how best to proceed so that you can negotiate a fair settlement for yourself.

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The Facts About Common Law Marriages And Divorces

Can you simply live together for a certain length of time to have a legal common law marriage? This question presents just one of the common misconceptions about this issue. While common law marriages are still recognized by some states, the ones that do give legal status to cohabitating couples have rules and guidelines that must be followed for the relationship to qualify as a common law marriage. To gain more factual information about what constitutes a common law marriage, read on.

Where Are Common Law Marriages Recognized?

As of this writing, 27 states do not recognize common law marriages at all. Other states recognize it only for probate purposes, and all states that recognize it have their own specific laws that determine the validity of the relationship for legal purposes.

What Are the Requirements For Common Law Marriages?

In states that do recognize common law marriages, cohabitation is just one of several requirements that must be fulfilled. A common requirement among common law marriage states is that you must be legally qualified to be married in order to also have a common law marriage. In other words, you must be:

  • At or above the minimum age for marriage.
  • Not already married to another person.
  • Have a sound mind and not be incapacitated.

Other common law marriage requirements include:

  • The couple (both parties) intend to live as a married couple.
  • The couple must “hold themselves” as a married couple. This means that both parties represent themselves to the community, the family, and their place of worship as a married couple.
  • The couple has filed taxed returns using the “married filing jointly” designation.

Are There Common Law Divorces?

Technically, there is no provision in any state for a common law divorce, per se. That does not mean, however, that people who have held themselves to be in a common law marriage can simply cease to live together and go their separate ways without the need to legally divorce. If you have maintained that you are in a common law marriage, you must use the same legal means to split up as those who are in a traditional marriage.

As you might imagine, some common law marriages that end can be highly contentious, especially if only one party maintains that a common law marriage exists. Since divorce normally involves a division in debt and assets, child support and custody, and spousal support, it could be to one party’s advantage to claim that, in fact, no common law marriage existed. Family law judges will evaluate the validity of the marriage to determine the status based on length of cohabitation, IRS filing status, children raised together, property owned jointly, and other markers of a common law marriage.

If you are separating from your partner and maintain that you have been a participant in a common law marriage, consult with a divorce attorney, such as Bray & Johnson Law Firm, to find out how to protect your rights.

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Tips For Building Parenting And Custody Plans For Kids Of All Ages

Dealing with parenting decisions can be hard enough as a happily married couple, but when you’re faced with these decisions following a divorce, it can be downright difficult. You want to be sure that your kids are getting what they need, but you also need to have a balanced approach so that they aren’t caught in the middle of further arguments. Here are some tips to help you create an effective parenting plan for kids of all ages.

General Plan Considerations

When you have multiple children, it means dealing with multiple unique needs. Some kids are more at ease with one parent than the other or may be more comfortable talking with one parent over the other. In those situations, it can be difficult to be away from that parent for an extended period of time.

Other children may have a hard time with frequent changes in routine and environment. For those kids, visitation one day a week and every other weekend may be too much disruption. It’s important that you consider the unique needs of each of your kids when drafting a custody and visitation agreement as well as your parenting plan for future decisions.

Infant Parenting Considerations

It’s tough to establish a solid parenting and visitation plan for infants, especially if one parent is the primary nurturer and caregiver. Once babies reach about six months old, they are able to recognize those caregivers and even develop a solid routine of sleep, mealtimes, and play. It’s important to consider that routine in your plan. For example, don’t plan drop-offs in the middle of naptime, because you’ll end up with a cranky and confused baby who is overtired and struggling with upheaval. As your baby’s routine changes, you can adjust the plan accordingly.

Toddler and Preschooler Parenting Considerations

As your child reaches toddlerhood, it’s important to recognize that separation anxiety and confusion may become a problem. Consider establishing a routine that minimizes disruption. The more consistent the schedule, the less stress your child will feel. For example, a consistent single afternoon every week without an overnight and then an overnight every other weekend may provide a consistent routine that helps your child know what to expect.

Older Child Parenting Considerations

As kids get older, it’s going to be in your best interest to have them play an active role in their routine. After all, kids will have friendships, social commitments, school activities and other things that need to be accommodated. Make sure that any plan ensures your child’s continued access to these things.

A parenting plan and custody agreement should be focused on your child’s best interests. Those interests can change as your child grows, so it’s important that the documents be modified when necessary to meet those needs. The more you understand about the unique needs of these developmental stages, the better prepared you’ll be as things start to change. Talk with a local divorce attorney (such as one from Harold Salant Strassfield & Spielberg) about the best way to make changes to these plans going forward. 

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3 Separation Tips If You Are Leaving An Abusive Relationship

Are you in an abusive relationship? Are you planning on leaving your partner for your safety or the safety of your kids? While leaving is likely in your best interests, it’s also possible that the period immediately after you leave could be the most dangerous period for you and your children. Often, abusive partners become angered by the announcement of the separation. Your partner may seek you out and could have intense emotions. It’s important during this time that you take steps to protect yourself and your children. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

Get organized. You may be tempted to make an impulsive decision and leave after a fight or in the middle of the night. That may even be necessary for your own safety. However, if you can take time to get organized, you’ll likely be in a much safer position. The first thing you’ll want to do is find some way to save money, and do so in a way that your partner won’t recognize. Perhaps save spare change in and have small deductions transferred from your paycheck into your own, separate account.

Also, bring all important documents, including social security numbers, tax information, account statement, and even a journal documenting the abuse. You’ll need those documents as you go through the separation process.

Hide yourself. You may be tempted to go stay with your parents or other relatives. However, your partner is also likely to look for you in those places. If possible, try to stay somewhere that they won’t think of. Do you have a work friend that your partner doesn’t know? If you can save enough, perhaps you can get a short-term lease on an apartment until you can find something more permanent. If necessary, look for a shelter in your area.

Also, make it difficult for your spouse to find you. Get a P.O. box at your local post office so your mail doesn’t have your address. Get a new phone number and don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. You may even want to find a new job or ask to be transferred to a new work location.

Get legal protection. While divorce takes time to be finalized, there are steps you can take to get quick protection from abuse. For example, even before you leave, you can work with an attorney (like Timothy L Hitchings) to get a protection order. You can then have the local police department serve the order right after you leave.

If you have kids, you may want to take steps to protect them. If your partner abused the children, you may be able to ban him or her from seeing the kids or only seeing them with court supervision. However, it’s possible that you may have to share custody. If so, you can arrange neutral drop-offs and pickups at a safe location, such as your local police station.

For more information, meet with a divorce and custody lawyer in your area. They can help you protect yourself and your family.

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Preparing For Your Divorce

As hard as it can be to admit when a marriage is over, it’s important to be clear on what your next steps need to be. Getting your affairs in order prior to a divorce will not only help you expedite the filing process, it will minimize the appearance of impropriety on your part, and may save you a protracted legal battle. Further, it will mean less work for your lawyer as they prepare to represent you.

His and Hers

Depending on the divorce statutes in your state, you may have few legal options when it comes to division of property. Make sure you have documentation which reflects purchase dates for any property, where the money came from to make the purchase, and which reflects the names on those accounts. This can all be used as evidence to establish solitary versus joint ownership of real estate in some states, so make sure this paperwork can all be easily located and provided to your lawyer.

Financial accounts are a little different than real estate, in that checking or savings accounts are often considered joint, regardless of whose name is on them. Meanwhile, retirement accounts are sometimes excluded from joint property considerations. It’s best to err on the side of caution though, and put together all documents relating to any monetary sum you have on record so that it can all be accounted for. Attempts to hide these funds can have punitive results.

Think of the Children

If minor children are living with you at the time you file for divorce you need to consider both their well being and how future custody arrangements will impact them. Avoid using them as a weapon against your spouse, as this can do more harm to your children than anyone else. Instead, consider fair arrangements with them in mind that allow them the most possible time to spend with you and your spouse separately.

Being a good parent should come before trying to be fair to your children, or getting your own way though, so make sure any official documents relating to custody contain specific language. Both parents should be capable of providing food, living accommodations and an appropriate level of comfort to the children. If you have reason to believe that this won’t be possible with your spouse, make sure your lawyer adds specific language to the court documents to address that. This might include limiting access to the children until a permanent residence is secured, though stipulations should address any issue that might negatively impact your children.

Spend some time with more than one lawyer, and take advantage of free consultations to do so. Get questions answered and make sure your intentions are fully formed before proceeding. Once you’ve secured legal representation, you’ll be able to take the next step and move forward with your divorce.

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Have Kids? Getting Divorced? Stay In Your Home Until The Court Makes A Ruling

If you have kids and have decided to get a divorce, you should not move out of your home until a court determines residence and establishes a temporary custody plan for your children.

Moving Out Establishes That You Don’t Want To Live In Your Home

To start with, moving out will make it look like you don’t want to live in your house and it can weaken your argument to be allowed to stay in your house and for your spouse to move out. When you move out, you establish your residence and take the courts out of the equation.

Moving Out Looks Bad To The Courts

Unless there is a domestic violence situation taking place, moving out of your home without your children looks bad to the courts. It shows the courts and the judge assigned to your case that you valued getting your own place and getting away from your spouse more than you valued the welfare of your children. It shows the courts that you value your space, and you are okay with being away from your children.

Moving Out Can Set A Precedent

Not only can moving out make it look like you value your welfare over your children’s, it can also set a dangerous precedent. If you move out and leave your spouse with full or primary custody of your children and with the primary responsibility of taking care of them on a daily basis, you risk the court deciding that the best interest of your children would be to keep the arrangements as it is. Courts generally try to subject children to as little change as possible; if it looks like not seeing your children on a regular basis is the status quo, don’t be shocked if that is what the court enforces.

Wait For The Court To Make A Decision

If you want to retain residence in the home you and your spouse currently share with your children, don’t move out. Have your lawyer get you a court hearing where both sides can present their reasons for remaining in the home that you share. Show the courts that you have a vested interest in staying in the home that your children are familiar with. Even if the court ultimately decides that you need to move out, you will have shown the court that you want to stay.

Next, remaining in the house until your attorney gets you a hearing will give you more bargaining power to get the custody arrangement that you want. If you can show the courts that you currently live with your children and share the responsibility of taking care of them with your spouse, the court is much more likely to draft a custody arrangement that tries to keep both of you in your children’s life as much as possible.

Don’t make a rash decision in the heat of the moment and decide to move out when you and your spouse make the decision to get divorced. Hire an attorney and get a court hearing as quickly as possible to determine residency and custody. Staying in the home with your children until that point will establish that you don’t want to leave and that you are active in your child’s care; this will help your case for residency and custody.

For professional legal assistance, contact a lawyer such as A. Scott Kalkwarf.

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Didn’t Do It? Support Your Alibi With Technology!

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time or being involved with the wrong people can give you a lot of guilty traits, even if you’re completely innocent. If law enforcement is looking for suspects, anyone within eyeshot can be considered a potential culprit. If you’re confused and looking for reasons to escape the situation, calm down and think about what you were doing; how it separates you from any criminal acts; and how mobile devices, receipts, cameras and other pieces of technology could help you out of a bad situation.

Time-Based Evidence: Cell Phones

Having an alibi showing that you were otherwise occupied during the time of a crime, but you’ll need more than word of mouth to support your story. One good source of time-based evidence is cell phone discussions.

The cell phone discussions can tell a lot about what you were doing. It’ll show how long you were in a conversation, and if the actual conversation can be retrieved, it can give some evidence of background activities through the background audio.

Another good part of speaking on a cell phone is that your position can be tracked. Cell sites (including cell towers and smaller antenna for inner-city systems) are used to place and route your calls, and your cell phone company can be contacted to figure out which cell site you were near.

This can be a long stretch and based on chance, but if you were on your phone at any time during the events in your accusation, call records may be useful in proving that you weren’t near the event.

Time Based Evidence: Receipts And Purchase Records

This technique is clever, but not at all innovative and also relies on luck. If you bought anything during the alleged incident, you may be able to use your purchase as proof of innocence.

The receipt could be used to show that you were at a certain store during the incident. Depending on travel time, it may be impossible for you to make a purchase at the location and reach the crime scene in time. Someone could have made the purchase for you, but you could also use the clerk as a witness and request camera footage for the surrounding area.

Although the receipt is a contentious piece of evidence alone, it gives lawyers a lot to work with in your defense. It isn’t just the store that could have evidence; the entire path from your purchase to the area that you traveled to can be examined. Any businesses, hospitals or other buildings with cameras can be investigated for proof of your position.

A lot of this evidence-finding may be too much effort for the prosecuting attorney, and the very idea may be dismissed if you don’t aggressively–but professionally–push for examination. Contact a criminal defense attorney like Andrew H P Norton to discuss your alibi, possible pieces of evidence to support your story and better ways to protect your best interests.

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5 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Custody Case

Even if you don’t have children, divorce is difficult to navigate. Toss children into the mix and you have a bigger problem. The court draws certain lines as far as children are concerned, and you might be surprised to find that the court could be looking down on some of your actions.

Could you be sabotaging your custody case based on your interactions with the children? If you are doing any of the following, you might be.

1. You are using your child as a pawn in the divorce.

Using a child as a pawn is frowned upon in court, and could even be considered child abuse in some cases. Don’t put undue stress on your children, forcing them into the awkward position of choosing which parent they spend time with and telling them how to feel about the other parent.

Have you attempted to use your child as leverage in an attempt to persuade your ex to pay more child support?

3. You act different toward your child following the split.

Unfortunately, some parents do take out their frustration on the children, often acting out in anger. Divorce is a vulnerable time for children, often resulting in stronger dependence on their parents. This is a time when you are needed to provide support, not anger.

4. You rely on your child for support.

There are some things a child should never have to hear, and the details of a divorce are among them. Forcing your children to listen to your frustrations can cause anxiety and intense stress. Additionally, your children will remember that you spoke ill of their other parent, and it may cause additional problems in your relationship. If you find yourself saying something to your child that doesn’t feel right, consider speaking to a therapist instead.

5. It is difficult to be with your ex in any capacity.

Are drop-offs with the kids getting more difficult? Make sure to avoid heated discussions that could lead to fights — especially ones that your child will witness. Try finding a mutual third-party you can trust with drop-offs if possible.

Ultimately, hiring a family and divorce attorney is the best way to protect your parental rights in court. If you are not sure how to proceed with your case, speaking with a lawyer can help you determine the best course of action. You will also receive counsel about the best steps to take with your child.

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Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Going through a Divorce

No one expects to go through a divorce. After all, you planned on your marriage lasting for years. Unfortunately, marriages can go astray. Whether it be that a spouse cheated or you just can’t see eye-to-eye, divorces are sometimes justifiable. If you are in the middle of a divorce case, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind to prevent making matters more complicated for yourself.

Don’t try to hide bank accounts or other assets.

Oftentimes, couples going through a divorce will try to hide their assets from the other party. They will drain bank accounts and start trying to conceal personal property in an attempt to prevent the other party from being able to take the items. However, that is going to end up coming back to affect you down the road. Anything that was obtained during the course of the marriage will need to be dispersed properly by the judge. Only he or she can decide who gets what.

Don’t post negative comments or photos on social media accounts.

Just because you might be ticked off at your spouse, that doesn’t mean you should go to social media and start posting a bunch of negative things about them online. All of the information you post online is easily accessible by the court officials and your ex. Don’t think they won’t try and come after you for slandering their name and trying to make a mockery of them. Sure, they might have done something wrong and deserve it, but you have to be the bigger person and rise above the nonsense.

Avoid bringing the kids into the middle of it.

When children are involved, you don’t want to bring them into the midst of your spat. Only talk positively about your ex, regardless of how you feel about them on the inside. Your children don’t need to know what is going on between the two of you. All they need to know is that both of their parents care about them and love them. Make them feel loved and taken care of, even when you have to send them with your ex. Children can be questioned in court, so you don’t want anything coming out about the divorce and how they were put in the middle of it.

By refraining from making one of the three mistakes above, you can get through your divorce and be able to move forward with your life soon enough. Find legal advice by speaking with a family lawyer like Margit M. Hicks, PA Attorney at Law.

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About Me

There may come a day that a divorce is the only option to finding happiness for your future. When this time comes, you will need an attorney working by your side to ensure that the divorce proceedings go as best they possibly can. I had initially thought that I would be able to get through my own divorce without hiring an attorney, but my former husband took advantage of that idea and tried taking everything. Find out what a divorce attorney can do for you and why the cost is an investment for your future. You will understand after reading through the information contained on this blog.

November 2015
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