Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What's behind Indiana's increase in child abuse reports?

From The Greensburg Daily News:

Shortly after an elementary principal alerted deputies something might be wrong with a child who had been absent from school for a few days, the frightened 9-year-old boy was laying in the fetal position in the lobby of the Johnson County Sherriff’s Office.

The boy’s pale face was bruised, scratched and cut. His eyes were partially shut and droopy, strained with broken blood vessels. Dried blood and drainage was coming from his ears. His neck was branded with ligature marks. He was shaking.

When a deputy tried to speak to him that night in October, the boy was disoriented. He couldn’t talk clearly and cried out that he was hungry and asked for food, according to court documents.

The boy’s mother demonstrated to police how she had intentionally and repeatedly hit her son in the groin three or four times, causing swelling, the documents said. She indicated she had lost control and knew it was wrong, but that she did it anyways. She didn’t send him or his brother to school because of their visible injuries.

The boy’s mother, Krystle Nikole Case, 31, was recently charged with two felonies: neglect of a dependent and battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a child. A judge issued a no-contact order that will keep her from seeing her son, even if she is released during her case.

This story is one of nearly 27,000 confirmed child abuse or neglect cases in Indiana each year.

The number of Hoosier child abuse and neglect cases has risen consistently since 2011, according to the Indiana Youth Institute’s annual KIDS COUNT in Indiana Data Book.

The report — which also gives data on homelessness, infant mortality, youth suicide and other topics — details how children are “surviving, not thriving” through 2015 statistics and year-to-year comparisons of the various challenges they face.

James Wide, deputy communications director for Indiana’s Department of Child Services, said although the number of child abuse reports are going up, it’s not for a bad reason. Wide attributes the increased number of reports to more cases being filed because of more awareness about child abuse issues, not necessarily because more incidents are occurring.

His office deals with all sorts of child welfare issues, including handling child support and protecting children from all types of abuse and neglect.

Before 2012, the state didn’t have a centralized child abuse and neglect hotline. Before the hotline, Wide said there were more than 300 numbers scattered across the state that weren’t always answered by a professional — or answered at all.

But the introduction of the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline streamlined reporting. Anyone who calls 1-800-800-5556, any time, is connected to a trained family case manager to describe what they think might be going on with a child.

Read more here.

March 4, 2017 in Child Abuse, Resources - Child Custody, Resources - Children & the Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Texas fathers fight for equal custody law at legislature

From ABC 12 News:

A renewed effort is underway by fathers in this state to get a law passed allowing equal custody for both parents during a divorce.

"When you go through a divorce you split everything down the middle, why is it when you have a child you can split custody and time with that child,” asked Noel Geren, 37.

He and his infant daughter are inseparable but Geren said he does not get to see his 10-year-old son from his first marriage as often as he'd like.

"I've been seeking more time with my son for the last four years and I've spent upwards of $80,000," he explained.

Geren is now among the vocal supporters of Texas House Bill 453, authored by State Rep. James White, R-Woodville, which would give mothers and fathers equal custody during a divorce.

"If this bill passes you're going in there at an equal advantage with the other person," added Geren. "It doesn't touch on any child support. It doesn't touch on anything that would be detrimental to the child. It's still left in the courts hands on what they want to do."

If parents reach a custody agreement before arriving in a family court, judges simply approve it. But more often, mothers win custody which leaves fathers only with visitation. House Bill 453 could change the starting point in family courts giving both parents equal custody from the beginning.

At least five states already have similar laws. But since custody cases are often messy and each one is unique, a former family law judge says the legislature should not mandate what to do with children.

Read more here.

February 15, 2017 in Child Support Enforcement, Divorce (grounds), Property Division, Resources - Child Custody | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Local father desperate after son is reportedly taken to Russia

From ABC News 10:

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Queensbury man is raising awareness to a growing global issue of International Child Abduction. It happens when a child is wrongfully taken and held in another country by a parent.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.

Corey McKeighan shares custody of his son Xavier with his mother who is from Russia.

What was supposed to be a mother and son three week trip to her country, has McKeighan worried he will never get his son back.

Xavier is bright and full of energy. He just turned 4 on Monday.

“He was the best kid in the world. He was happy, he was funny.”

His ex-wife agreed to return on September 16th.

“The day before they were supposed to return, she had called me and said, ‘We’re not coming back and you’ll never see us again.'”

In a panic, McKeighan contacted the U.S. State Department, FBI, and congressional leaders. They are working with the foreign government to resolve this case that they say is international child abduction.

Read more here.

September 30, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans), International, Resources - Child Custody | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Programme aims to help people affected by 'parental alienation'

From The Guardian:

Parental alienation – a phenomenon where one parent poisons their child against the other parent – has become such a feature of the most difficult family breakdowns that Cafcass, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, is to offer targeted support for those affected following a government-funded intensive therapeutic pilot programme.

Distinct from the all-too-common acrimony between divorcing parents, the syndrome is an internationally recognised phenomenon. In America and Canada, “parenting coordinators” are ordered and supervised by the courts to help restore relationships between parents and children identified as “alienated”. In Mexico and Brazil, alienating a child from a parent is a criminal act.

Psychiatrist Richard Gardner developed the concept 20 years ago, defining it as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.”

Read more here.

July 20, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds), Resources - Child Custody, Resources - Child Support, Resources - Children & the Law, Resources - Divorce, Visitation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Legal technicians provide family law assistance

From the News Tribune:

VNavigating the family law system can be an overwhelming and emotional process, especially for people who have no choice but to represent themselves in court.

The number of pro se litigants has steadily increased across the country, with between 60 to 90 percent of family law cases involving at least one party with no legal representation, according to information released by the American Bar Association in 2013.

"People are kind of in a society of do-it-yourself. Some people may be able to afford an attorney, but others can't. We are seeing more and more people representing themselves," Clark County Chief Deputy Clerk Baine Wilson said.

Local and state agencies recognize a strong need for assistance and have begun offering alternatives to help guide the public through the process, reported The Columbian.

Read more here.

July 4, 2016 in Attorneys, Resources - Adoption, Resources - Bar Associations, Resources - Child Custody, Resources - Child Support, Resources - Children & the Law, Resources - Civil Rights & Family Rights, Resources - Divorce, Resources - Domestic Violence, Resources - Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What Impact Will A Child Custody Expert Have On A Case?

From LEXOLOGY:

In some child custody cases, a child custody expert (CCE) makes a recommendation to the court on what they believe the court’s final determination should be. The recommendations can range from custody and visitation to therapy recommendations. These recommendations are made after the CCE conducts interviews with the parents, the minor child, and any other interested parties in the case. It is important for a child who is meeting with a CCE to be as open as possible with the CCE. The CCE’s final written recommendation to the court is made in the child’s best interest.

A CCE’s purpose in conducting these interviews is to understand as much about the family dynamics as possible. Information gathered by a CCE from the parents, the child, and other parties during interviews is not confidential. Both parties can use the information acquired by the CCE. Additionally, the CCE is subject to examination and cross-examination during a trial.

It is natural for parents to be nervous when meeting with a CCE. It is in the best interest of the child for parents to present the facts of the case truthfully.

Read more here.

December 15, 2015 in Resources - Child Custody | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Call for Papers

ISFL REGIONAL CONFERENCE IN ISRAEL, DECEMBER 29TH – 31ST, 2013

 Theme: International Family Law with Emphasis on the Work of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

The conference marks the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (in December 1983) and the publication of Dr. Rhona Schuz's book, "The Hague Child Abduction Convention – A Critical Analysis" (to be published in summer 2013 by Hart Publishing).

Download Conference flyer for further details.

MR

March 22, 2013 in Resources - Child Custody, Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Child Custody Resources