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Divorce Lawyers

Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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FATHERS’ RIGHTS
NOT JUST EVERY OTHER WEEKEND

This is about fathers' rights law, and protecting the best interests of your children. It provides information, news and comments on laws, cases and strategies for life as a single father and winning your custody, access or child support case.

Archive for December, 2008

Military Deployment Used in Kid Custody Battles

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

The Washington Post has a story today by Staff Writer, Ann Scott Tyson, about parents using military deployment to gain an advantage in custody fights.   Custody fights are hard enough.  Imagine having to fight one from Iraq or Afghanistan.

By federal law, military members can request up to a 90 day delay in child custody proceedings.  But deployments are for 15 to 18 months.

So several states have adopted laws in the past two years to remedy this.  For example, Virginia passed a law this year to bar any permanent change in custody while a service member is deployed.  The District of Columbia does not have such a law.  And a similar law was killed in committee in Maryland this year.

Congress is expected to hold hearings on the issue next year.

“Never Tell Me the Odds, Kid” – Hans Solo in Star Wars

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Percent of custody cases that go to trial (5 percent)

Ratio of divorce cases where mom ends up with primary physical custody (5 out of 6)

Ratio of divorces where parties agree to joint physical custody (5 percent)

Noncustodial dads who see their children at least once a week (31 percent)

Percent of sole physical custodians who are men (7 percent)

Source:  “Not Your Dad’s Divorce”, Newsweek

Taking the Stress Out of Alternating Holidays

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Eathan is a divorced father of two boys who is thinking outside of the box when it comes to alternating holidays.  He says in his blog that he tried the every other year for holidays and it’s no fun.  There are travel arrangements, scheduling conflicts and plans that don’t work.  You have to coordinate the weeks events around the dreadful kid-swap.

So, Eathan says, he decided to let his boys stay with their mom for the holidays.  “They get to spend the day with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.  They get to eat Grandma’s stuffing and pies.  They can take their time and relax.  Problem solved.”

Then Eathan takes his sons on other holidays and special vacations.  He went to Disney World one year and took them on a father/son camping trip. “ Both of those trips are still talked about every year.  They are burned in their memory.  The one thing they can’t remember is Thanksgiving at Grandma’s last year.  It’s just a normal event, but the trips with dad are memorable.”

Argumentum Ad Hominem

Friday, December 12th, 2008

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject. – Wickipedia.com

Maybe it is the stress of the holidays, but I’ve received two ad hominems this week, one against me and one against a client of mine, from opposing counsel who ought to know better.

The first accuses me of asserting a right without any legal basis and the writer says “as I have come to see your conduct, it does not surprise me.”

The second says “Frankly, it is puzzling that [your client] would fight for custody in light of his apparent disinterest in taking parental responsibility.”

Now you have to be fairly thick-skinned to be a divorce lawyer, and litigation is pretty rough and tumble in the heat of battle, so I don’t lose a lot of sleep over things like this.  But there is a Code of Civility in both jurisdictions where I practice, that says lawyers should treat opposing counsel and opposing parties with respect and courtesy.

Both of these ad hominems are unnecessary attempts to say “Shame on you.”  If anything they are counterproductive because they only cause the recipient to dig in their heels and redouble their efforts to prove them wrong.  So think twice before you hit the send button, reread your letter, and make sure it contains only those matters which move the case forward.

And for those who celebrate Christmas, remember that Santa is watching.

 
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