West Virginia Statute Fills Void By Conferring Authority on Temporary Caregiver to Consent to Medical Care for Child in Their Care

The time arrives for Father’s court-ordered bi-weekly timesharing, a full weekend with Child.

Father’s parents (Grandparents) pick Child up at Mother’s home.

Father is often delayed at work.

Assuming that Father will have Child, Mother departs on her planned weekend trip out of state.

Actually, Father is not at work. And he will not have Child either. He is away for the weekend too.

Grandparents anticipate having and spoiling Child for an entire weekend.

On Saturday, though, Grandparents and Child are involved in an accident.

Child requires surgery.

Hospital requires parental consent.

Both parents are out of state, however, … and cannot be reached.

This dilemma plays out all too often.

As well as variations with various other relatives or friends serving as the temporary caregivers.

And other variations where the child’s parents remain at home and the Grandparents (or relatives or friends) take the child away with them on a weekend (or longer) trip.

And injury or illness befalls Child while away from parents.

Whichever variation applies, there is no one available with legal authority to grant consent to medical treatment for Child.

Of course, attorneys can draft documents, which both parents can execute, to delegate authority to temporary caregivers to grant medical consent on behalf of a child.

But this process entails some expense and requires some thought and advance planning and implementation.

As a result, in the event of an unforeseen need for medical treatment for a child, there can be detrimental delays.

But no longer, at least, not in West Virginia.

A new statute there authorizes temporary caregivers to sign an affidavit granting consent to medical treatment for a minor child in their temporary care.

Assuming that you and your child’s other parent have shared parental responsibility:
is your child is ever left in the care of a third party who is not your child’s other parent or a legal guardian of your child, when both you and your child’s other parent will be at a distance and/or incommunicado?

If so, you and your child’s other parent may want to address this potential risk to your child.

If you have sole parental responsibility or ultimate decisionmaking authority over your child’s medical care:
you may want to address this potential risk to your child.

Otherwise, your child’s health and welfare may be subject to statutory provisions that may not give effect to your child’s other parent’s or your wishes.

Read more in this Harrisonburg [VA] WHSV-TV 3 news article: New Law Allows Caregiver to Sign Affidavit for Child’s Care.

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Boyfriend Charged with Murdering Mother’s Toddler, and Child Welfare Agency Puts Boyfriend’s Toddler in Foster Care

Michigan Mother has two year old Daughter and one year old Son.

Boyfriend is the father of Son.

Boyfriend and Mother both reportedly occasionally use drugs in the home.

The child welfare agency investigates Mother’s home twice in recent weeks, but takes no action..

Daughter dies.

Boyfriend allegedly admits pressing his knee on Daughter’s chest, resulting in her suffocation. He reportedly indicated that he was tired of her yelling and crying.

Boyfriend is arrested on charges of murdering Daughter.

Child welfare agency removes Son from Mother’s home, and places him in foster care.

Now Mother accuses Boyfriend of hurting Daughter in the past.

And tries to win back custody of Son.

Read more in this Grand Rapids [MI] Press news article: Watchdog group critical of child welfare workers in case of alleged 2-year-old murder victim Jozlynn Martinez.

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One Community’s Model Approach for Actually Collecting and Enforcing Child Support Payments

When it comes to collecting child support, Pittsburgh seems to be doing something right.

Compared to other similarly sized communities, Pittsburgh has a significantly higher rate of collections of current child support. The area also fares significantly better at collecting past due child support.

One reason cited for Pittsburgh’s support collections success is a program to enroll unemployed parents in job training, so that they can qualify for jobs.

Another reason cited is that the community establishes support payments that are realistic. But, for that reason, enforcement is reportedly strict.

Another local initiative aims to divert parents required to pay support from jobs paying them “under the table”.

Read more in this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review news article: Allegheny County child-support plan hailed

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Schoolteacher and Her Elderly Father Are Arrested in Her Ex-Husband’s Murder

New Jersey Husband and schoolteacher-Wife have a toddler Daughter.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Father has reasonable visitation and timesharing.

Husband and Wife experience conflict over co-parenting, especially Daughter’s diet and sleep requirements.

According to Mother’s attorney, Mother is overprotective of Daughter, insisting on extremely detailed accounts of both during Husband’s timesharing. To get them, Wife reportedly calls Husband two to four, or even more times per day during Husband’s timesharing with Daughter.

Wife plans to relocate to Florida. Husband plans to follow them.

Husband’s and Wife’s settlement agreement requires Wife to provide reduced-rental housing for Husband in Florida for the first five years.

The agreement also requires Wife’s father to help Husband get a new job in Florida, and waives child support until Husband gets a job.

And then Husband is found murdered.

The unlikely suspects?

Schoolteacher-Wife and her businessman-father.

Husband and Wife’s divorce settlement agreement provides that, if either parent dies, the other gets custody of Daughter. Exactly what the law would normally provide without an agreement, or if the agreement were silent on this issue.

Wife and her father are arrested in Husband’s murder.

Read more in this Asbury Park [NJ] Press article: Murder victim, ex-wife were at odds over child.

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Father Goes to Family Court Hoping for Timesharing and Visitation with His Baby Son … Despite Father’s Conviction of a Sex Offense … and New Charges against Him of Exposing Himself to Minors

Father has a five month old Son.

Father seeks visitation and timesharing with Son.

One problem.

Father is a convicted sex offender.

Another problem.

Father is about to be arrested on new charges, of exposing himself to two children.

Although the new charges are misdemeanors, normally punishable by confinement for no longer than a year, the prosecution is seeking an enhancement that could subject Father to incarceration for life.

Father’s parental rights to two other children of his have previously been terminated.

The family court denies Father visitation with Son.

But sets another hearing regarding psychological counseling Father will be required to undergo before timesharing with Son can be considered.

Mother has supervised visitation with Son.

Read more in this Huron [MI] Daily Tribune article: Welshans jailed on charges.

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The Best Remedy for International Parental Child Abduction Is An Ounce of Prevention

An Ohio attorney submits a letter to the editor in regard to a case where her client won a hollow victory in an international parental child abduction case.

A US Court apparently awarded her client custody of his children.

Unfortunately, the mother of the children has them with her in Japan. And Japan won’t honor the US judgment and return the children.

The attorney’s message is, in a nutshell, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If minor American children don’t have passports, the very best prevention of international parental child abduction is to block their issuance.

This can be accomplished by either parent registering in the US Department of State’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program.

Remember though that some children may have dual citizenship by virtue of one parent’s foreign citizenship. If so, the foreign parent may be able to obtain a foreign passport for the children, sometimes without the American parent’s knowledge or consent.

Once a passport has been issued to a child, there is no way to ensure that that child cannot travel abroad.

Many common carriers do require written consent of both parents to each trip abroad, but this is not a legal requirement.

Once a family court case is filed, a court may issue an order to secure children’s passports and prohibit foreign travel, but it doesn’t happen automatically.

Read more in this Dayton [OH] Daily News piece: Parents can take preventive steps to prevent abductions.

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Husband Charged With Beheading Wife Will Try to Prove At Trial That He Was The Battered Spouse

About to stand trial for beheading his wife, Husband wins permission to try to show that he was a victim of domestic abuse by Wife.

Husband reportedly has a forensic psychiatrist and a psychologist prepared to testify that he suffers from “battered spouse syndrome”.

And e-mails that supposedly corroborate his claim.

Husband maintains that Wife threatened to kill him, regularly kicked and struck him, threatened to set fire to their house, and threatened to abscond to Pakistan with the couple’s children.

On the other hand, the prosecution intends to offer proof that Wife was a victim of domestic violence by Husband.

Wife had reportedly called the police on Husband numerous times over the years, but never pressed charges. Their divorce was pending at the time of her murder two years ago.

The criminal case has been dragging for two years due to Husband’s changes of attorneys and other experts in the case and, now, changes in defense legal strategy and newly disclosed evidence.

Before his arrest, Husband ran a cable TV station with programming catering to a Muslim audience.

Read more in this Buffalo News article: ‘Battered spouse’ defense allowed in beheading trial.

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Father Pays Child Support By Allegedly Selling Cold Pills for Manufacturing Illicit Drug “Meth”

Father is court-ordered to pay child support.

The amount of Father’s child support obligation is unknown.

But Father pays his child support.

Father allegedly raises funds to pay his child support by buying over 5,000 cold pills and then re-selling them. Father makes nearly four hundred “shopping trips” to pharmacies.

The buyers reportedly buy the pills from Father to use them in the process of producing “meth”, an illegal drug. Father allegedly knows this.

Father enters a plea bargain with federal law enforcement authorities under which Father pleads guilty to possession of narcotics.

At sentencing, Father faces between nine and eleven years’ incarceration in a federal facility.

It is unknown whether Father has a conventional job by virtue of which he could have paid his child support.

Read more in this St. Louis Post Dispatch article: Arnold man admits selling cold pills to pay child support and this KDSK TV 5 news article: Arnold man sells cold pills to pay bills and child support.

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In Many States, Punishment for Child Abuse Precedes Charges, Let Alone Conviction

One state’s child welfare agency removes children from their parents’ homes, due to perceived abandonment, abuse or neglect, at a pace equal to two times the national average.

A whopping fifty thousand of that state’s three million residents are listed in a child abuse registry … although not convicted of – or even charged with – any crime.

These residents make the list because a single child welfare investigator (with a supervisor’s rubber stamp) concludes that it is more likely than not, however slightly, that they abused a child.

As a result, the listed residents face loss of employment and loss of child custody.

They do have a right of appeal … to the same child welfare agency.

The state under consideration? Midwestern Iowa.

But forty-five other states’ laws and procedures are not all that different from Iowa’s in regard to “qualifying” for listing in such child abuse registries.

The federal government reports that many states list residents on abuse registries with appallingly little evidence. Many abusers aren’t even informed that they have been placed on the list. Those who press appeals, often aren’t ever advised of the outcome.

Iowa’s Supreme Court reviewed the state’s system recently and reportedly found it lacking in constitutional safeguards. Now the state legislature is working on reforms.

But what about the other forty-five states doing things similarly?

Read more in this Washington [DC] Times editorial: Abusing due process.

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Child Custody Battles Aren’t Always Limited Just to Parents …

Bio Mother of one year old Baby is just sixteen. Bio Mother has two adult Sisters.

Bio Mother and Baby live with Bio Mother’s mother, but Sisters worry over boyfriends Bio Mother is involved with.

Bio Mother’s boyfriend reportedly has made threats of violence against one of the Sisters. Bio Mother allegedly leaves Baby in the care of her teenaged friends overnight.

But child welfare agency investigates Bio Mother – twice – and investigation finds no evidence of abuse or neglect of Baby.

Bio Mother leaves Baby with Younger Sister for two weeks to go on vacation.

When Bio Mother returns, Younger Sister doesn’t give Baby back.

Bio Mother files criminal complaint for kidnapping.

Older Sister, a nurse, files a legal case in family court to obtain guardianship of Baby. Older Sister makes numerous serious allegations in her case against Bio Mother.

Family court judge grants Older Sister temporary guardianship of Baby on an expedited (if not emergency) basis.

Bio Mother is not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations before the family court judge rules.

Two months later, Older Sister admits in court that she has no hard evidence to back up any of her allegations.

Hearings continue.

Read more in this Des Moines Register article: Sisters tussle over tot’s guardianship.

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