A Mother Loses a Child and Her Citizenship In a Single Event

The UK’s Ministry of Justice has expressed its deep apologies to Liliya Breha, the mother of a boy who was murdered by her former partner. Probation services did not warn Breha that her partner was involved in a series of convictions for violent behavior against children and women. To make matters worse, Liliya Breha now faces deportation because she has no family ties in the UK.

Events That Led to The Murder

Alex Malcolm, the 5 year old boy, was beaten to death by Maryyn Iheanacho, Breha’s partner. The beating was related to the boy losing his trainers in a park. The court found Iheanacho guilty of murder. During the sentencing, Breha, who is 30 years old, was horrified by Iheanacho’s previous crimes against children and women.

The Ministry of Justice suspended two officials who were charged with supervising Iheanacho. In a statement, a spokesman of the ministry stated that they had put in place measures to prevent a repeat of tragic events like this.

The terms of Iheanacho’s license stated that he was forbidden from having unsupervised access to children who were below 16 years and that probation officers were required to monitor any new relationships he had with women.

Iheanacho’s Criminal Record

Iheanacho’s previous crimes include spanking a former girlfriend with a belt, breaking the jaw of a former partner, and attempting to strangle a 13 year old boy. Before the day of the attack, Breha was not aware of her partner’s predisposition to violence.

It was after the incident that she learnt that the probation service, which was keeping an eye on Iheanacho, should have informed her about her husband’s criminal record. Breha knew that her husband was fresh out of prison but she knew nothing about the licensing terms related to children and women. In fact, Iheanacho occasionally used Breha’s phone to communicate with his probation officer and Breha also spoke to the officer a few times.

Breha’s Immigration Status

Shortly after the incident, Breha learnt that she may not be able to live in the UK after she updates her immigration status in June. This is because she no longer has a child; therefore, she has no family ties in the UK. Breha arrived in the UK 10 years ago. She came on an exchange programme while studying at the “National University of Water Management and Nature Resources Use” in Ukraine.

Adan Frasch Convicted of Murdering His Wife

Despite the jury finding him guilty, Adam Frasch says that he didn’t kill his wife. The case is posing new questions as allegations arose at sentencing that the district attorney in the case failed to disclose evidence that worked in Frasch’s favor. Frasch and his attorney say that they’ll use the evidence to ask for a new trial.

Fransch was tried and convicted of murdering his wife and the mother of their two young children. She was found at the bottom of her swimming pool. The medical examiner couldn’t say how long she had been there. There was testimony that she had head injuries, but the medical examiner also said that those injuries weren’t consistent with the golf club that police say Frasch used to kill his wife.

The district attorney relied on the evidence of a jail house informant. They say that Frasch told the informant that he hit his wife in the head with a golf club. Police say they used that information to find the golf club in Frasch’s house.

Frasch says that the informant received leniency in his own case from the district attorney in exchange for his testimony. They say that the police finding the golf club in the house is both too convenient and scripted. They say that the golf club belonged to the victim.

Frasch plans to ask the court for a new trial based on the statement from the victim’s mother. At sentencing in the case, the district attorney read a letter from the victim’s mother. In the letter, the mother reported a prowler around the home in the days before the victim’s death. Frasch and his legal team say that this is exculpatory information that the district attorney had an obligation to give them ahead of the trial.

The district attorney says that she didn’t know about the contents of the letter until she read it in court. This is despite having to get the letter translated in advance of the hearing. Whether the district attorney purposefully failed to disclose the contents of the letter may not ultimately make a difference. If the courts find that the evidence is substantial enough that it may have caused a different result if it had been presented at the trial, they can throw out the conviction against Frasch. This may be the result even if they find that the district attorney’s actions in failing to disclose the contents of the letter were not intentional.

DACA Recipients and Immigrant Groups File a Lawsuit Against the Trump Administration

Immigrant groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for its efforts to terminate a program that protects the youth who come into the U.S. illegally. According to a report by abajournal.com, CASA de Maryland, flanked by eight other groups and over a dozen individuals presented their claim to a Maryland federal court. The main targets of the lawsuit were President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and four government agencies- the agencies involved with immigration, citizenship, customs, and homeland security.

The Issues Presented in the Lawsuit

The lawsuit against the Trump administration argues that terminating the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program was against the legally stipulated procedures and an act of discrimination against Central Americans and Mexicans. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the Trump administration has offered no guarantees that it will not use private information contained in DACA applications for enforcement purposes. This is tantamount to a violation of the equal protection and due process clauses enshrined in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. constitution.

Rescinding the DACA program will cause about 800,000 immigrants to lose their work permits and protection. The suit continues to say that the decision to withdraw the program is a double cross. It is unjustified, arbitrary, capricious, and offensive to the law and basic values of the U.S.

Termination of the DACA Program

The DACA program affects thousands of youth across the country. These young people have commonly been referred to as “Dreamers”. Many of these dreamers came to the U.S. unlawfully as young children while others came legally but remained even after their visas had expired. On Sept 5, the U.S. Attorney General announced the termination of the DACA program. However, the Trump administration promised to continue renewing existing 2 year work permits for six months. This additional time has been created to allow Congress to pass a replacement program.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include states where DACA participants range from hundreds to several thousands. These include Hawaii, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Besides CASA de Maryland, this latest suit also includes lawyers from the Howard University law school, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Willke Farr & Gallagher, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

The world will be watching the Trump administration keenly to see how they react to this lawsuit. Will they back down to pressure or will they add more time for the dreamers? It will also be interesting to see the initiative that Congress will introduce as a replacement of the DACA program.

ACLU Sues for Same Sex Adoptions

In Michigan, a private adoption agency can turn away same-sex couples that want to adopt. Under Michigan law, adoption agencies can rest on their religious beliefs in order to deny assistance to same-sex couples looking to adopt. But the ACLU has brought a lawsuit to change that.

The controversial law has been on the books since June, 2015. Sitting governor Rick Snyder signed the bill. Under the bill, each agency that facilitates adoptions can decide their own policies based on their religious beliefs. If those beliefs prohibit helping a same-sex couple with an adoption, the agency can refuse to help. However, as the law is right now, if an agency chooses to discriminate against a couple, they must refer the couple to another agency. If an agency declines to work with a couple and refers a couple to another agency, the second agency doesn’t have to be within any reasonable distance of the couple’s residence.

The ACLU says that’s not fair. They say that if a private agency accepts taxpayer dollars, they should lose their ability to pick and choose to help some but not others. Their purpose for bringing the lawsuit is to ask a court for a ruling that says these agencies are breaking the law each time they discriminate.

The ACLU says that the law in its current state prevents children from finding their forever families. They say that children should have as many options as possible. In a world where there are more children needing parents than there are willing adoptive parents, agencies shouldn’t be allowed to turn parents away because of their same-sex status, the ACLU says.

Supporters of the bill in its current state say that the U.S. Supreme Court takes their side. They say that the Hobby Lobby and Trinity Lutheran cases are in favor of the organization’s right to choose their own criteria for adoptions. They say that without these exceptions, there’s going to be a critical shortage of adoption agencies, and the family shortage is going to get worse.

Opponents say that there are too many children in foster care. They say that same-sex couples are significantly more likely to pursue adoption than opposite-sex couples. Supporters say that requiring faith-based agencies to assist same-sex couples with adoption isn’t necessarily going to increase the numbers of prospective adoptive couples. Michigan is one of a handful of states with religious exemptions for agencies that assist with adoptions.

Sam Dalton Passes Away At The Age Of 90

Sam Dalton was a lawyer who recently passed away at the age of 90. He practiced law for six decades. He was known for adamantly opposing the death penalty. He was also known for representing people who could not afford to hire an attorney. Moon Landrieu is the mayor of New Orleans. He is a graduate of Loyola University Law School. He stated that Sam was a good lawyer. He also stated that Sam was also a good person.

Moon also talked about his favorite memories of Sam. He stated that he remembers when Sam would come into the courtroom with lunch stains on his suit. He was totally committed to helping people. In 1992, Sam was given the Benjamin Smith Award. Mary Howell is another attorney who practices in New Orleans. He stated that Sam was the attorney who fought for the little guy.

Sam was known for challenging the 2 percent handling charge. This is a fee that is added to the cost of bail bonds. Sam was opposed to the fee because he stated that it victimized poor people. He has handled over 300 capital cases.

Walter Koon is one of the people that was spared from the death penalty because of Sam. He faced the death penalty after he killed his estranged wife. Sam stated that did not receive the proper counsel at the trial court level. Walter was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of the parole.

Sam stated that he never wanted to portray Walter as the model sinner. However, he still felt that the death penalty was inhumane. Sam was married with children. When he was not working, he was spending time with his family. Sam’s funeral arrangements will be handled by Garden of Memories Funeral Home. A date has not been set yet.

How Licensed Texas and Out-Of-State Lawyers Can Provide Crucial Legal Services to Hurricane Harvey Victims

The Texas Supreme Court recently released a favorable emergency order that allows out-of-state lawyers to provide pro bono assistance to victims of the fatal Hurricane Harvey. The order has been enforced for the next six months and is applicable in two main ways. First, legal practice is legalized through a pro bono program that provides crucial services to Hurricane Harvey victims. However, interested lawyers must fill a temporary registration form outlining their intention to the bar.

Secondly, licensed lawyers are allowed to provide legal services to Texas if residents are displaced from their native home due to Hurricane Harvey. The Texas Supreme Court also enforced two other orders in line with Hurricane Harvey. The first order allows for radical changes to procedures and deadlines to courts adversely affected by the Hurricane. The second order focuses on suspending limitation in civil cases in the event claimants can prove catastrophic conditions resulting from Hurricane Harvey. In relation to this, Saundra Brown, a prominent manager at the disaster response unit at Lone Star Legal Aid, insisted that the legal assistance would be beneficial to thousands of victims in need.

While most lawyers from the firm work remotely, senior members from the team are stationed at Texarkana after the company’s Houston headquarters had been damaged in a deceptive fire explosion. In such a situation, lawyers have been tasked with reporting for disaster appeals with FEMA to ensure that people secure income for home repairs, deal with insurance claims and obtain temporary housing.

According to Saundra Brown, the newly drafted lawyers can play an integral role in assisting with the FEMA appeals, while also providing legal assistance to victims at the National Disaster Legal Aid Resource Center. To promote service delivery, the Division has provided hotline numbers for both Louisiana and Texas as follows (800)504-7030 and (800)310-7029. The relief webpage contains precise information regarding volunteer recruitment.

As the Director of YLD’s Disaster Legal Service Program, Andrew VanSingel is tasked with selecting competent lawyers from the vast list of emails that has flooded his inbox. Each lawyer selected will be brought up to speed on how they should assist Hurricane Harvey victims.

Before selection can be done, interested lawyers must be referred to the State Bar of Texas to uniquely present their proficiency in handling pro bono legal aid. Furthermore, interested out-of-state lawyers can also donate money to groups such as the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and the Lone Star Legal Aid.

Scott Peterson Speaks from Jail

Convicted Modesto murderer Scott Peterson is speaking out from prison. While he sits on death row for murdering his pregnant wife Laci, Peterson is reaching out in order to insist on his innocence. The new information comes as Peterson waits for word on his latest appeal.

Laci Peterson went missing shortly before Christmas. She was 27 years old. Police later found her body on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

Scott Peterson says that he wasn’t the last one to see Laci the day she went missing. Peterson blames police for failing to follow leads from witnesses that saw her walking in the neighborhood after he last reported seeing her. He says that the police didn’t have any DNA evidence against him, and that their case was circumstantial.

Peterson said he expected the jury to find him not guilty. He said that he was surprised and shocked when the guilty verdict came down. He said the verdict affected him physically, and he felt sick to his stomach.

After Laci’s disappearance, news leaked that Peterson was having an affair with Amber Frey. Frey reported that Peterson told her that he wasn’t married. He also told her that he lost his wife. Police described Peterson’s behavior after the disappearance as strange. They say that his dishonesty to Frey was a motive for murder.

For now, Peterson’s case waits on appeal at the California Supreme Court. This appeal is the latest of appeals that Peterson began filing in 2012. If his appeal doesn’t succeed, he’s set to die by lethal injection. He waits in San Quentin State Prison. Attorneys for the State of California have filed a response to the appeal.

The reply from state attorneys calls Peterson one of the worst kinds of offenders. They say that Peterson acted callously when he ignored the welfare of his wife and unborn son. The State’s reply to Peterson’s latest appeal is several hundred pages long. Even though there are more than 700 people on California’s death row, the state last carried out an execution approximately a decade ago.

Specifically, the appeal says that the state left prospective jurors in the jury pool even though they disagreed with the death penalty. The appeal says that the court should have dismissed many jurors that they left in the pool. The appeal also argues that admission of certain evidence was unfair. Specifically, Peterson says that the court shouldn’t have admitted evidence about police dogs tracking Laci’s scent. The appeal says that this evidence is too unreliable to justify a death penalty conviction.

Lebanon Overturns Its Marry-Your-Rapist Law

Lebanon on Wednesday made headlines after repealing a piece of legislation that gave rapists a way to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Lebanon has joined a number of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East that have reversed such provisions following pressure by Arab women’s movements.

How Serious Is the Marry-Your-Rapist Law?

Several countries, including some from the Arab region and some from the Catholic countries such as the Philippines, have permitted men charged with rape to be excused if they accept to marry their accusers. Women’s movements have for years launched a massive campaign against these laws, claiming that they aggravate the suffering of victimized survivors.

The law was repealed after all the members of parliament voted against it. According to the women’s rights groups, parliament is their first step towards changing the sentiments in patriarchal communities. In these communities, a family’s honor is closely associated with a woman’s chastity.

Abaad’s Fight against the Marry Your Rapist Law

Ghida Anani, the founder of Abaad; which is a women’s rights movement in Lebanon, remarked that repealing the legislation was the first step towards transforming the traditions and mindset of the Lebanese. She reassured the world that this was just the beginning and that a behavioral and awareness campaign would follow. The aim of these campaigns is to make women aware that rapists can no longer escape punishment.

Abaad had campaigned vigorously against this legislation. The group had mounted billboards all over Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, depicting a woman wearing a bloodied and torn up bridal gown. A caption next to the image read in Arabic, “Wearing a white dress does not conceal rape”.

A group of government ministers had expressed their intention to have the law repealed. The main hurdle was the parliamentary vote, and the parliamentarians unanimously agreed to revise Section 522 of the legal provision.

Lebanon’s move came after other countries in the region had taken a similar stance. Jordan’s parliament recently voted to revoke this law. Tunisia is another country that followed the same path in July. Morocco repealed their marry-your-rapist law three years ago after a teenager committed suicide after being required to marry the man who had raped her.

Kentucky Lawmakers Sign Shared Parenting Law

Divorcing parents in Kentucky are more likely to find themselves sharing custody of the children than ever before. That’s because lawmakers amended Kentucky’s child custody laws to presume that it’s best for children to split time equally with each parent after a divorce. Courts don’t have to order joint custody if they think it’s likely to cause abuse and neglect of a child. Otherwise, joint custody with equal parenting time is the new normal in Kentucky, instead of the exception.

Parents don’t have to agree on a joint custody arrangement or even a parenting schedule in order for the court to award joint custody under the new law. Instead, the court may impose the schedule that they see fit as long as it’s as equal as possible. The law doesn’t change custody agreements that are already in place.

Parents must file an affidavit affirmatively demanding to exercise their parenting time. If a parent fails to file the affidavit, the court may award primary custody to the other parent. Parents must be sure to submit their affidavit timely, so that the court can consider it when making their initial decision.

In addition to the court considering whether joint custody may cause abuse and neglect, Kentucky’s new parenting law allows the court to make sure that both parents have adequate housing for the child. This means having a place for a child to sleep for at least eight hours each day without interruptions. It also means that a parent must have adequate food, clothing and other daily necessities for the child. If a parent doesn’t have adequate housing and other provisions for the child, the court should still try to maximize time with each parent in a way that ensures the child’s safety.

The vote for the new law was unanimous among Kentucky lawmakers. Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne sponsored the bill along with representatives Jason Petrie and Robby Mills. Lawmakers that support the bill say that their position has the backing of research on outcomes for children. Dr. Ryan Schroeder of the University of Louisville testified in support of the bill at hearings in the Kentucky legislature.

The National Parents Organization of Kentucky also publicly supported the bill. Governor Matt Bevin signed it into law in July, 2017. In addition to improved outcomes for children, supporters hope that the new law reduces animosity during divorce, because in most cases, parents no longer have to worry about losing the majority of the time with their children.


Hawaiian Federal Judge Revises Travel Ban

A Hawaiian federal judge recently revised the ‘family relationships’ clause of the President’s travel ban. Less than thirty days ago, the US Supreme Court voted unanimously that the President had the Constitutional authority to use executive orders to impose a travel ban that the administration believed was in the best interest of national security. The travel ban restricts travel from six countries: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia. The only exceptions to the ban are travelers who have what the Supreme Court called a “bona fide relationship” with someone in the United States. The language was intentionally vague and received additional clarity from Hawaii’s Judge Derrick Watson.

The Trump administration’s initial definition of bona fide relationships included only immediate family members, such as parents or brothers and sisters. Pushing back against the administration’s definition, Watson argued that relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, and other blood relatives like aunts and uncles, should also be exempted if those people already live in the United States.

Hawaii made headlines earlier this year by being the first to oppose travel restrictions brought on by the Trump administration. The state’s Attorney General, Doug Chin, said that the state’s tourism industry would suffer greatly if travel restrictions were levied. Not only is tourism the largest revenue generator for Hawaiian residents and business owners, it also generates huge tax revenues for the state.

Attorney General Chin released a statement following the revisions made to the travel ban that states his opposition to the administration’s scope of the previous version of the plan. “Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough. Courts have found that this executive order has no basis in stopping terrorism.”

The revised ban will take effect immediately. While the original case addressed whether the White House had the authority to issue executive orders that it believed would protect national security, the Supreme Court will address the Constitutionality of the contents of the travel ban later this year.

Enacting Every Child Succeeds Law Proves Difficult

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has shocked her critics on the feedback she has given states who have already submitted their plans under the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Unlike the previous No Child Left Behind Act, this new law passed under President Obama allows states to set their own benchmarks.

Power Returned to Locals?

The new law is designed to return most of the power to state boards of education. The law, however, requires each state to submit a plan to the federal government on how they plan to measure success. Each state must also identify the process they will use if a school fails to meet the required goals.

Delaware’s Plan Returned for Revision

One of the first states to submit a plan was Delaware. An assistant secretary with the United States Secretary of Education returned the plan to the state saying that the plan was not ambitious enough. The plan called for up to 25 percent of students to not meet state requirements each year without a school district receiving any punishment.
Another early state to submit was Tennessee where they claimed that all students spoke English. The United States Department of Education recommended that Tennessee rethink their policy because an estimated 50,000 students in the state speak English as a second language.

Betsy DeVos Overzealous According to Some

Yet, another state to submit their plan early was New Mexico. While the United States Department of Education has not given the state any feedback on their plan yet, the acting superintendent of schools says that he sees Betsy DeVos as being overzealous in maintaining control in Washington D.C,

States May Feel Defeated

The Council for Chief State School Officials says that the United States Department of Education has put states in a hard place. Many states had assured educators and parents that the plan they developed would receive approval in Washington D.C. but now that does not seem to be the case. He says he is very concerned that residents in states who had looked forward to local control would feel defeated because of the federal government’s actions.

Republicans Postpone Senate Vote on Healthcare

Republicans in the Senate have decided to postpone a vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. The bill is the next chapter in an attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ushered in to existence by democrats under President Obama. The newer Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 shepherded by Senate Republicans is the follow-up to the House of Representative’s American Health Care Act of 2017 passed under the stewardship of Congressman Paul Ryan.

Democratic senators have been vehement in their opposition to the Senate’s healthcare reform proposition, but it wasn’t until Republican senators like Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rand Paul began voicing their misgivings that Republican leadership understood the extend of opposition to the proposal. On Tuesday, June 27th the Republican-controlled Senate lead by majority leader Mitch McConnell decided to postpone a vote on healthcare reform under after the July 4th recess.

Sources claim that Republicans were backed in to forcing a postponement of a vote on healthcare due to opposition within the Republican party. An additional inducement to postpone came from President Trump, who called Republicans to the White House in order to reconcile the divisions among their own ranks. The trouble is that Republicans have only a slim majority in the U.S. Senate – as opposed to the House of Representatives where Republicans enjoy a more robust majority – and any Republican opposition among Republican senators could greatly complicated speedy passage of H.R. 1628, or the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

Senator McConnell claimed that postponing the vote until after the July 4th recess was informed by a desire to make other senators feel comfortable with the bill and its implications. Opponents across the aisle claim that Senator Mitch McConnell didn’t have the necessary votes to see the bill’s passage this week and decided to take his chances until after the July 4th recess. Democratic senators, in fact, are unanimous in their opposition to the Senate’s healthcare overhaul.

Another factor that swayed the debate in democrat’s favor was the fact that the Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the Senate’s healthcare overhaul would leave over 20 million Americans without insurance over the next ten years. The new Senate bill would, however, chisel over $300 billion from the federal budget over that time frame, which is music to the ears of conservative politicians concerned about the federal deficit. Senators return July 10th.

How to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

A subpoena is one of the most powerful tools a litigant or attorney has in their arsenal to develop and present important information and evidence to the court. In family law, subpoenas are vital because these are often contentious affairs. During family law cases, parties are commonly reluctant to produce the requested evidence or documents. In this common instance, you must ask the court to issue a subpoena to force the other party to comply with the request. Continue reading to learn the basic steps of having a subpoena issued for family law court.

Steps to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

In a nutshell, you must fill out the form, file it with the court, and have the person served, and submit an official notice to the court. With this powerful legal document, the individual will be held legally responsible to comply or produce the specified evidence or documents.

Fill Out the Form

The first step to issue a subpoena is to fill out the appropriate subpoena form. While each state’s requirements may vary, most of the information will be the same. You must provide your name underneath the defendant or plaintiff field. Below the name field, you should find boxes for civil and criminal. Family law matters are classified as civil issues, so you should check civil. Then fill out the address and other requested information of the person who is being subpoenaed.

The “You Are Ordered” Section

It’s important to check all of the appropriate boxes in the section titled, “You Are Ordered.” You must include the time and place if you are ordering someone to show up at a hearing. A few of the most common reasons family law courts issue subpoenas are to:

  • To produce evidence or documents
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a deposition
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a trial

In any case, make sure you check all of the options that apply to your case.

Issuing the Subpoena

Finally, fill out the rest of the information, such as your address, name, and contact phone number. Then sign and date the document. If you aren’t an attorney, you should check with your respective family law court because you may have to get permission of the court to issue the subpoena. Most states do require an attorney in order for the subpoena to be issued.

Serving the Subpoena

Since family law matters can be difficult for all parties, it’s best to serve subpoenas by certified mail. However, you can choose to use a personal service, which involves a process server delivering it directly to the person by hand. It’s important for the individual delivering the subpoena to be over the age of 18 and be someone other than you. Simply put, you cannot provide personal service delivery for yourself because it is illegal and can further intensify the already messy family law conflict. Doing it yourself can even lead to violence. In addition, doing personal service yourself will cause your proceedings to be dismissed or cause a delay.

Filing with the Court

After the subpoena has been delivered through personal hand delivery or by certified mail, you should file the form with the appropriate family law court. To do so, send a copy of the form with a short letter letting the court know that the individual has been subpoenaed.

In any case, filing a family law subpoena is confusing if you do not have previous experience. Instead of doing it alone, contact a San Francisco Bay area divorce attorney for assistance.

What is the Function of a Family Law Paralegal?

You may be looking for answers from a family attorney for advice involving divorce, separation, adoption, domestic abuse or many other family related issues. When you call, the receptionist might refer you to a family law paralegal at their law firm. You think to yourself, I thought I would have to get advice from a lawyer about this and how can a family law paralegal help me? Today, we will be looking at this question in its entirety.

The Bigger Picture of Family Law

Family law covers a lot of ground. A lot of clients typically seek out family law because of divorce, but parents don’t have to be married to one another to have custody or support issues. Family law can also cover guardianship, adoption, paternity testing, annulment, child abuse or neglect. Many family law practices specialize in divorce while others cover a broader range of issues.

Where the Paralegal Comes In

When you call the law office for the first time most of the time you will be transferred to a paralegal who will ask you specific questions regarding your case and keep you focused on what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes you may be emotionally frustrated or angry, and these emotions may come up during the call for your particular case. The paralegal will go over these questions with you and pass it on the lawyer. This information is vital, as the lawyer will go over a transcript of key facts covered by your initial interview with the paralegal. As a nurse is an assistant to a doctor, so a paralegal is an assistant to a lawyer, but the paralegal cannot give a client any legal advice.

Smart Filing

Lawyers are typically involved in several cases at the same time, so they need to be extremely organized. Law firms have been using cloud technology to have their client’s information sent to their smart devices, so it’s readily available anywhere and anytime. The paralegal keeps clients files with all their information up to date that can be easily available in both hard-copy and virtually in the cloud. The paralegal also has to keep up with the drafts and documents lawyers need when they go to court.

Investigation & Discovery

They say the devil is in the details and as a paralegal you will have to get every detail possible when helping a client. You will have to have your investigation skills fined tuned as you will be digging up financial details about your client. Sometimes during your research you will find gaps, and in these cases you will have to use discovery methods. Discovery uses subpoenas, electronic discovery using digital forensics, depositions, interrogatories, or request for admissions. You might even have to hire a private investigator to track down details as well.

Maintaining Court Contact

As a paralegal, you have to have constant contact with the court for the attorneys who employee you. You will be notified if anything changes from the court and will have to keep the lawyers informed on those details. An example would be, a judge orders a marital counseling for the client and or a mediation over the children. This is important information that needs to be updated.


Today, we’ve seen that a family law paralegal is often a client’s point of contact who serves that client directly and indirectly by accomplishing particular tasks for a lawyer. Whether you are contacting a family law firm for a divorce or another situation, we encourage you to receive the help you need today to resolve your dilemma.

Can a Psychiatric Diagnosis Hurt You in a Divorce?

One in four adults will experience mental health issues at some point during their lives.  Coupled with the statistic that between 40 and 50% of marriages will end in divorce, you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that the overlap between those two sets of figures is substantial, and that mental health issues are likely to have figured highly in many of those decisions to separate.

However, mental health problems aren’t just a factor in deciding to split, they can also heavily influence how your divorce proceeds, the outcome with regard to the final settlement, and even how family relationships are affected.  Your or your spouse’s decision to disclose a mental health issue diagnosis during divorce proceedings is entirely your or their own, but it’s worth bearing in mind the following, if only to get some clarity on what is already a very stressful situation for the whole family.

  • Undiagnosed conditions can have a significant bearing on events leading to a split in the first place – illnesses such as personality disorders can be very difficult to pin down, as the sufferer can be quite adept at turning the problems round on their partner, and no diagnosis means no treatment.  Divorcing under these circumstances can be extremely fraught, as it is unlikely that a reasonable result can be found without a great deal of distress on both sides.
  • Any diagnosis of depression or other mental health issues will already be bewildering for your children to comprehend, and they may resent the parent that won’t interact with them, or is otherwise emotionally absent.  If you can, putting the needs of your children first and parting as amicably as possible will help to lessen any blame they may place upon their parent over their illness.  Many states accept diagnosis with a mental illness as perfect grounds for a no-fault divorce, which can reduce heartache and bad feeling for all parties.
  • In terms of the settlement awarded, a psychiatric diagnosis could actually work in the favor of the mentally ill partner.  For example, a judge may rule that they are in need of financial support from their former spouse, especially if they have custody of any children and are otherwise capable of providing loving and appropriate care.

If the marriage breakdown is less amicable, and the mental health issues that have caused it have led to erratic and even violent behavior, it is important to keep an accurate and truthful record of events, and to have independent witnesses for any negotiations over property, custody, and finances.  If you fear for your physical well-being, or fear that the partner that is ill may harm others or themselves, it is extremely important to know where you can access immediate and appropriate assistance.  This may be either from the police or from mental health services, or if the illness is symptomatic or resulting from alcohol or substance abuse, an appropriate case worker or counselor.

There is no clear answer as to whether a psychiatric diagnosis will hurt or help you during divorce proceedings, but this one thing is certain; if you have children, any new openness and honesty you achieve as a result of full disclosure will enable you to continue to co-parent in a respectful and understanding manner.