Non-Profit Finds Extended Family Members to Adopt Teenagers in Foster Care

Teens in foster care are not that adoptable. So they tend to remain in foster care. Permanently.

Yet these teenagers may have extended family who might be willing to take them in and adopt them. If they only knew of their circumstances. Or existence.

That’s the premise that gave birth to the non-profit, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition. Among other things, the non-profit’s investigators search for such extended family members of teens in foster care.

Where teens do have suitable relatives, the odds that these relatives will adopt them are significantly greater than the odds of their adoption by unrelated strangers looking to adopt.

In fact, the organization is able to get ninety percent of teens in foster care connected with their extended family members.

And seventy percent of the children with relatives end up being adopted, generally by their own extended family members.

In St. Louis, there are often 400 teens and preteens in foster care. Extended family member adoptions can make a big dent in that number … and a big difference in these foster children’s lives.

Read more in this New York Times article: A Determined Quest to Bring Adoptive Ties to Foster Teenagers.

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And Now the Rollout of the Divorce Gift Registry

First came The Divorce Party, not long ago at all.

So it was just a matter of time until …

The Divorce Gift Registry.

The brainchild of a British department store.

It’s intended not only to help a newly divorced ex-spouse celebrate their divorce, but also to replace items they lost in the divorce, which are needed to equip their new post-divorce home.

US department stores and boutiques will undoubtedly follow suit in short order and offer their own divorce gift registries as well.

Read more in this Rockford, IL MyStateLine article: British Store Chain Launches Divorce Gift Registry and this New York Daily News article: British department store Debenhams introduces gift registry for the newly divorced.

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You Can’t Keep a Loving Grandparent Down

It’s been ten years since the US Supreme Court all but stranded grandparents seeking visitation with their grandchildren out in the cold, but the grandparents of America refuse to be left there … and many state legislators have since taken up their cause, despite the high court’s ruling.

A Wisconsin statute allows a family court to order visitation for grandparents where the grandchildren’s parent has died and it is in the best interests of the children to have visitation with their grandparents.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently held that the statute encompasses overnight visitation.

The children’s surviving father argued that the statute violated equal protection under the law because it treats different types of parents differently based on whether their spouse is alive or dead.

The intermediate appellate court concluded that the distinction was justified by an overriding compelling state interest to protect a child’s interests after the death of a parent.

The father also argued that the overnight visitation awarded at the lower level exceeded the scope of the visitation contemplated by the statute and amounted to an improper “physical placement”.

The appellate court concluded that the plain meaning of the word visitation was consistent with overnight visitation.

Indiana has no statute like Wisconsin’s – yet. Indiana residents and a legislator fighting on their behalf are trying to change that.

Grandparents recently testified before the Indiana legislature about adult children arbitrarily withholding visitation with their grandchildren, maintaining that this hurt the grandchildren as well as the grandparents.

Read more in this Wisconsin Law Journal article: Overnight visitation is not physical placement and this Evansville [IN] Courier & Press article: Grandparents testify in Indy to establish visitation rights.

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Yours, Mine and Ours … No More

Mother and Father divorce. Mother and Father have three Boys together.

Mother and Fiance move in together with the Boys, Fiance’s child and a child of Mother’s from a previous relationship.

Mother and Fiance have two more children together. And become engaged.

This growing blended family reportedly works very well.

Then Father gets a new job out of state.

He informs Mother that he will be taking the Boys with him.

Mother obtains a court order awarding her sole custody of the Boys and providing for them to remain in their home state with Mother.

This Father cannot accept.

Father takes the Boys for visitation at his parents’ house.

Mother calls Father to tell him that she wants the Boys returned.

Father drives over to Mother’s and Fiance’s home.

Father then allegedly reveals a gun and shoots Mother to death … in front of the other children.

Father is arrested for Mother’s murder.

And this blended family is torn apart.

The Boys presently live with Father’s parents. Fiance tries to visit them every other weekend.

Mother’s child from a previous relationship is with some relatives of hers.

Mother’s and Fiance’s children are with Fiance, undoubtedly missing their Mother and siblings.

Read more in this San Jose Mercury News column: Herhold: A lethal child custody battle.

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Debit Cards for Child Support and Alimony Recipients: Mixed Performance

Many states now transmit child support (and spousal support) payments to recipients via debit cards.

Sounds convenient for all.

Unless some of the money that is supposed to be available through the card isn’t.

One state using debit cards is New Jersey.

One child support recipient was allegedly told that she spent her “missing” support money … on jewelry … in Nepal.

And she would have to take her disputes up with the merchant … in Nepal.

This mother in need of support had not been charging jewelry to her card in Nepal.

But the debit card company disagreed with her for two months.

Until the media intervened on the mother’s behalf.

Reportedly, this is not an isolated instance of fraudulent charges that were made the support recipient’s problem to investigate and resolve with the merchant.

Some support recipients who have had to deal with fraudulent charges have opted to switch from debit cards to direct deposit of their child support money into their accounts.

Read more in this New Jersey Star-Ledger article: Another EPPICard user misled on how to fight fraudulent charges.

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Wave of the Future: Are You a Half a Parent or a Quarter of a Parent?

That’s a question implied by recent scientific advances.

Family law keeps getting more and more complicated, thanks, in part, to science.

It is now reported that scientists have extracted “bad” DNA from one mother’s egg and inserted into that mother’s egg “good” DNA extracted from another mother’s egg.

(For those who are wondering, “bad” DNA foreordains disease, birth defects or the like, and “good” DNA carries the promise of normal and healthy.)

Both mothers in this instance were monkeys, but the science underlying the procedure theoretically applies to humans as well.

So, if two different mothers contribute DNA to an egg, are both DNA-contributing mothers a mother (or half-mother) to the eventual baby?

From a scientific perspective, the answer would seem to be, indisputably, yes.

But what about from a legal perspective? That’s less clear-cut and will probably depend on a number of considerations.

The potential ramifications of multiple DNA contributors can become unwieldy, at best.

These very legal issues just may be taken up in our family courts in the future.

Read more in this New York Times editorial: A Legal Puzzle: Can a Baby Have Three Biological Parents?.

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Child Welfare Agency Approves Preteen for Foster Care and Pimp as Her Guardian

Twelve year old Girl is in child protective custody.

Girl is placed in foster care with Man.

Reportedly, Man is a pimp who has been profiting from Girl’s prostitution at the time the Maryland Child Welfare Agency (Agency) and Girl’s aunt allegedly approve him as Girl’s guardian.

Now Man pleads guilty to this offense with Girl … and three other girls. He could be sentenced to as long as 20 years’ incarceration.

Man has extensive arrest record over twenty year’s long, but no prior convictions.

Agency is supposed to run a background check on any prospective guardian / foster parent, but typical background checks only pick up convictions.

Read more in this Washington DC Examiner article: Court records: P.G. social services approved pimp as foster father.

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Divorce Trial Court Orders Wealthy Wife to Cover Husband’s Real Estate Investment Losses With Her Half Share of the Marital Estate

Wealthy Wife and Husband divorce in UK in 2007.

Marital assets are divided equally.

The trial court also orders Wife to compensate Husband from her share of the marital estate for some real estate losses he suffered. This is in addition to his receipt of half of the marital assets.

Wife appeals that ruling, arguing that Husband may recover his losses in the future.

Court excludes evidence that those property values have already rebounded to a degree.

Wife proposes that the properties be sold within five years, with the profits or losses being shared equally.

Husband and Wife await the British appellate court’s ruling.

Read more in this UK Telegraph article: Frisbee heiress launches bid to overturn ‘monstrously unfair’ divorce settlement.

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A Child with Cancer Does Not Raise Odds of Parents’ Divorce

A couple of months ago, I posted a Warning to Seriously Ill Women: Be Prepared to Be Divorced … Now based on a study.

Another study concludes that parents of a child suffering from cancer are not statistically significantly more likely to divorce than any other parents, even if the child dies. This survey looks at nearly a million couples living in Norway over a twenty-five year period.

The people conducting the survey believe it shoots down an insidious myth. But they are quick to admit that living in Norway may defuse many of the stresses of parents of children with cancer because Norway has free medical care and an extensive social welfare system.

The study also reports a greater risk of divorce in the subset of couples where the wife is college-educated, particularly where the child’s cancer involves the child’s central nervous system. The reasons are unknown, but it is speculated that more educated women face more stresses juggling a career with child care, particularly where the child has special needs.

Read more in this Reuters article: Child’s cancer does not raise divorce risk: study.

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Rejected Husband Sentenced to Death in Murder of His Ex-Mother-in-Law and Two Small Children

Couple separate.

Husband condemns divorce and threatens Wife numerous times.

Wife gets injunction for protection against domestic violence, or restraining order, against Husband.

Wife requests that Husband be allowed only supervised visitation with their three and five year old Children.

Court, however, orders unsupervised visitation for Husband, including weekly overnight timesharing with the couple’s three and five year old Children.

Exchanges are conducted at Wife’s Mother’s home for her safety.

Divorce goes through.

During latest visitation, Husband sends increasingly disturbing text messages to Wife, in which he seems to try to lure Wife to his location.

One message alarms Wife and she calls police.

Upon investigation at Wife’s Mother’s home, police discover Wife’s Mother and both Children dead. Wife’s Mother was shot and Children were stabbed to death.

Husband is charged with “aggravated” murder.

Husband’s defense seems to be that Wife divorced him.

Husband is convicted of murdering all three victims and is sentenced to death.

Read more in this Cleveland WJW-TV Fox 8 news article: Ex-Wife: Mammone Admitted Killing Their Kids, Her Mom and this Canton[OH] Repository article: James Mammone III gets death sentence for murdering children, former mother-in-law.

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