Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Guardian Ad Litem Fee Reporting Requirements

The Mississippi Legislature has passed Senate Bill 2673 located here.  Guardian ad litems are now required to report the amount of fees they charge in a contested proceeding when the amount exceeds $1,000.00 to the Chancery Clerk.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Natural Parent Presumption

On Tuesday, the Mississippi Court of Appeals decided Bradshaw v. Moore located here.  One interesting issue in the case was that the mother's parents had guardianship of the minor child.  However, the father was never given notice of the guardianship.  Ultimately, the guardianship was set aside for lack of notice and the mother was given custody.  The father appealed and argued that he was entitled to custody since the mother had given up custody through the court.  However, the proof showed that this was done for financial reasons and was later declared void.  As such, the natural parent presumption which is normally lost by giving up custody through the court was still intact. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Kidnapping

In 2010, Mississippi enacted the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA). This statute is designed to give the Courts the authority to prevent child abduction in parental custody/visitation disputes. This statute, in conjunction with the UCCJEA regarding interstate jurisdictional determinations, provides remedies to  prevent abduction by providing for injunctive relief upon a demonstration of a credible “risk of abduction.”   This is useful in preventing a parent from leaving the state or country with a child potentially. 

The statutes provides the following;
§ 93-29-13. Factors to determine risk of abduction.
(a)  In determining whether there is a credible risk of abduction of a child, the court shall consider any evidence that the petitioner or respondent:
(1) Has previously abducted or attempted to abduct the child;
(2) Has threatened to abduct the child;
(3) Has recently engaged in activities that may indicate a planned abduction, including:
(A) Abandoning employment;
(B) Selling a primary residence;
(C) Terminating a lease;
(D) Closing bank or other financial management accounts, liquidating assets, hiding or destroying financial documents or conducting any unusual financial activities;
(E) Applying for a passport or visa or obtaining travel documents for the respondent, a family member or the child; or
(F) Seeking to obtain the child’s birth certificate or school or medial records;
(4) Has engaged in domestic violence, stalking or child abuse or neglect;
(5) Has refused to follow a child-custody determination;
(6) Lacks strong familial, financial, emotional or cultural ties to the state or the United States;
(7) Has strong familial, financial emotional or cultural ties to another state or country;
(8) Is likely to take the child to a country that:
(A) Is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and does not provide for the extradition of an abducting parent or for the return of an abducted child;
(B) Is party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction but:
(i) The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is not in force between the United States and that country;
(ii) Is noncompliant according to the most recent compliance report issued by the United States Department of State; or
(iii) Lacks legal mechanisms for immediately and effectively enforcing a return order under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction;
(C) Poses a risk that the child’s physical or emotional health or safety would be endangered in the country because of specific circumstances relating to the child or because of human rights violations committed against children;
(D) Has laws or practices that would:
(i) Enable the respondent, without due cause, to prevent the petitioner from contacting the child;
(ii) Restrict the petitioner from freely traveling to or exiting from the country because of the petitioner’s gender, nationality, marital status or religion; or
(iii) Restrict the child’s ability legally to leave the country after the child reaches the age of majority because of a child’s gender, nationality or religion;
(E) Is included by the United States Department of State on a current list of state sponsors of terrorism;
(F) Does not have an official United States diplomatic presence in the country; or
(G) Is engaged in active military action or war, including a civil war, to which the child may be exposed;
(9) Is undergoing a change in immigration or citizenship status that would adversely affect the respondent’s ability to remain in the United States legally;
(10) Has had an application for United States citizenship denied;
(11) Has forged or presented misleading or false evidence on government forms or supporting documents to obtain or attempt to obtain a passport, a visa, travel documents, a social security card, a driver’s license or other government-issued identification card or has made a misrepresentation to the United States government;
(12) Has used multiple names to attempt to mislead or defraud; or
(13) Has engaged in any other conduct the court considers relevant to the risk of abduction.
(b)  In the hearing on a petition under this chapter, the court shall consider any evidence that the respondent believed in good faith that the respondent’s conduct was necessary to avoid imminent harm to the child or respondent and any other evidence that may be relevant to whether the respondent may be permitted to remove or retain the child.
Miss. Code Ann. §93-29-1 et. seq.

Friday, June 2, 2017

App of Interest

The scanning and exchange of documents has become the rule in legal matters. Many times clients do not have access to the same kind of equipment as attorneys and they struggle with how
to get documents to the attorneys. Often times, clients will take pictures of documents and send the pictures by email or text to the attorneys. This often results in documents being unreadable or
unusable. There is an app called Evernote scannable, which clients can easily use on their cell phone to scan documents and send them in a format which is readable and usable.