When Fathers' Support Center president and CEO Halbert Sullivan recounts a timeline of his life, he names just as many miracles as he does jail stints.
The birth of a baby is one of the happiest days in parents’ lives. But if the child’s mother and father are not married, it can cloud the situation legally. In the case of married parents, the husband automatically is considered to be the father of a child born during the marriage. However, children of unmarried parents have no legal father unless paternity is established.
In the often-complicated realm of child custody issues, technology has been able to offer some solace to both parents and youngsters through the telephone. As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s no surprise this process would follow suit: Virtual visitations are one of the latest ways parents and their children are staying connected after divorce through video chat programs like FaceTime and Skype.
In today’s world, grandparents’ roles in their grandchildren’s lives are growing—from taking them on vacation and celebrating holidays to supporting their academic and athletic pursuits and shaping their lifelong values. But what if the children’s parents deny grandparents their desired time?
When facing an impending divorce, it can feel like you are drowning in a tumultuous sea surrounded by major decisions about the most important aspects of your life. The family law firm of Green Cordonnier & House aims to be a life jacket for you during that time, helping you protect what matters the most, says partner Margo Green. “It’s very important that the attorney you choose to guide you though that process understands the traumatic nature of the situation. You may not be able to see clearly at that moment, but with so many years of experience, we are confident that we can guide you in the right direction.”
A tough economic climate, an aging baby boomer population and the high prevalence of social-media use are predicted to create the biggest hurdles for local attorneys and their clients this year.
For those children who are in the custody of the state, the need to find them permanent, loving families is great, and local nonprofit organizations are working diligently to fulfill that need.
A divorce can be one of life’s most difficult hurdles. And for men who often don’t share their emotions as openly as women, surviving the process can become overwhelming without a 'road map' for navigating the legal, financial and emotional issues that arise, says E.B. Gunn, New York Times best-selling author of The Gentleman’s Guide to the Nasty Divorce.
The simple, straightforward days of the standard American family with a house, car, pension, dog and a couple of kids no longer exist. The world has become more complex, with a growing number of issues factoring into the dynamics of a family. As that complexity has in- creased, so has domestic relations law; and Sam and Susan Hais offer their decades of experience to help clients navigate the intricacies. “It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach,” Sam says. “Family law cases are often finely nuanced, and we work hard to apply our skill-sets and experience to find appropriate solutions to the problems.”
These days, drunken photos, death threats and infidelity are more than Facebook fodder: Social media is becoming pivotal evidence in a court of law.
For kids, summer often means fun-filled family vacations. But for children of divorce, it also can be stressful as parents make arrangements to divide the extra free time.
Whether it’s a move down the street or across the country, child relocation can turn into one of the most hotly contested topics in divorce cases.
More than a few women around town are making their mark and achieving successful careers, and these three women are no different. Representing real estate, finance and law, Donna Auld, Diane Flower and Julie Hixson-Lambson, respectively, recently spoke with LN and shared what motivates them.
There’s an old Irish saying that goes, When mistrust comes in, love goes out. As with a marriage, the ability to trust a soon-to-be ex-spouse is very important, and suspicion can make a complex process like divorce even more complicated. When it comes time to file income taxes one last time before the dissolution of the marriage, the parties need to determine the best way to handle it.
Gaslight, with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, is a 1944 thriller that tells the story of husband who tries to make his wife believe she is insane as he tries to retrieve some jewels stowed away in their attic. “The only way he could get the jewels was to make her think she was crazy. As a result, she started to have a real breakdown, and that’s what some people do in real life,” says Susan Hais of Hais, Hais, Goldberger & Coyne. “Usually, it’s people who are suffering from a condition called narcissism—characterized chiefly by a person being focused entirely on his or herself and is motivated by the desire to look good at the expense of others.” She says in a marriage, the situation can play out in a number of ways. “For example, the husband gets irritated with the wife due to something called a narcissistic insult. This could be something perceived as mildly critical against him, but he takes on an attitude of incredible revenge and never gives it up.”
Technology and the economy will make big waves in the national discourse this year, local attorneys say. And if their outlook is any indication, these hotbutton topics will have everyone talking!
From basic morals to a proper work ethic, parents teach their children daily life lessons to help establish a foundation to build upon throughout their lives. An important part of that is an understanding of money and financial matters, says Terri Kraham, senior advancement manager for Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis. “We need to make sure children are prepared, and it’s our job as parents and role models to guide them down the right path toward the future.”
According to the College Board, the average cost of a four-year public college for the 2010-2011 academic year is $20,339. Attending a private college jumps the price to $40,476. With costs rising every year, it’s imperative for parents to plan early.
Last week, most of us watched the now-infamous meltdown of troubled Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen. It’s okay to admit you watched it—it was like a car wreck, you want to look away but you just can’t. Plus, if ‘looking away’ meant changing the channel, that didn’t help. As a direct result of Sheen’s admitted drug-induced behavior, he was fired from his top-rated sitcom, lost custody of his children, and has been the subject of numerous police investigations. All of which seem to be appropriate consequences for his actions.
Although it may seem harmless enough to post those great photos from your beach vacation on Facebook, you might want to reconsider if you’re in the middle of a divorce. That’s the advice of attorney Margo Green, a partner in the family law practice of Green Cordonnier & House. “Social network sites are increasingly being utilized as evidence in divorce cases,” Green explains. “So we are advising our clients to close down their Facebook accounts during the divorce.” She also cautions against sensitive email communications on the family computer. “If your spouse has access to that computer, and it’s not password protected, your attorney cannot communicate with you, because there is no attorney-client privilege.”
The recession has affected every business, from major, multinational corporations to corner mom-and-pop diners. “Law firms are no exception,” says Margo Green of Green Cordonnier & House, a family law practice. “Without a doubt, the business of managing a law firm has changed since the economy slowed down. Beginning with the second quarter in 2009, it became evident that the economic downturn was having a significant impact on the divorce segment of our practice. People weren’t coming in for consultations as often, and they weren’t filing for divorce, not because their marriages had suddenly improved, but because they couldn’t afford it.”
Alisse Camazine and Alan Freed of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal are two of the busiest family law attorneys in St. Louis. They spend their days hammering out property settlements, negotiating custody agreements and dealing with other complex issues. You’d think they’d have enough to do without taking on extra projects. But these colleagues and friends, who have more than 50 years of legal experience between them, recently sacrificed three years of TV and family time to write Divorce in Missouri: The Ultimate Guide to a Show-Me State Divorce. The book was published last year to rave reviews from grateful clients, mental health professionals, financial advisers and the toughest critics of all—other lawyers. Published by Acorn House, it’s the only divorce guide written specifically for Missourians.
Divorce may be what’s best for a couple, but it’s almost always a rough transition for the kids. The courts take this into consideration when making decisions about child custody. But like everything else, custody issues are influenced by social trends.
Today as many as 30 percent of all weddings involve a bride or groom (or both) who have been married before and are now widowed or divorced. Growing up in the ‘60s in a large Irish Catholic family, I didn’t even know anyone who had been divorced. Today the situation is completely reversed. Friends and family are delighted when their loved one finds someone to share their lives with after a first, or even second, marriage.
St. Louis is fortunate to have a strong network of organizations providing services to at-risk teens. Among the most well-known and esteemed are Epworth Children & Family Services, Annie Malone Children & Family Services, and Edgewood Children’s Center, each of which has a long history of providing child-focused programs ranging from therapeutic schools and residential living situations to emergency respite programs. The latter, especially temporary living situations, are more important than ever in today’s stressful economy and provide a critical safety net for kids who leave home because of personal or family problems.