Using Civil War-era law, MS parents sue over ‘inequitable’ education

Alleged inequities in public education in Mississippi are at the heart of a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is using a novel legal argument that Mississippi is failing to live up to its agreement to allow the state back in the Union after the Civil War. Read more about the novel legal approach in this story at the Washington Post. More on the lawsuit is also available at the SPLC website.

More grandparents taking on parental role for grandchildren

CHICAGO (AP) — When Debra Aldridge became her grandson’s primary caregiver, she was making $7.50 per hour as a cook. The alternative for the newborn, she was told, was to put him up for adoption. “I took one look at the…
Source: More grandparents taking on parental role for grandchildren

Collecting Child Support or Maintenance from an Out-of-state Ex

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It is hard enough to collect arrears and enforce an order when all the parties live in the same jurisdiction.

To enforce an out-of-state order for spousal maintenance, alimony, support or child support, you need to know about The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Parties often need a legally recognized forum to collect either child support or spousal maintenance when the parties to the agreement or order live in different states. People read the act and tend to panic. What on earth does it mean? It is really not too complicated – just like a basic jigsaw puzzle. Put together the different parts, and a complete picture emerges.

History and purpose of UIFSA

  [sws_pullquote_right]Thanks to the Modern Law firm of Mesa and Phoenix, AZ, for this informative post. [/sws_pullquote_right] UIFSA is a federal statute that applied to all the states. It is hard enough to collect arrears and enforce an order when all the parties live in the same jurisdiction. Imagine the legal nightmare if the parties engaged in endless battles over which state had jurisdiction. Parties could move, seeking a state that has more lenient or favorable laws. Enacting UIFSA prevented ‘forum shopping’ by out of state parties who owed payments Whenever a law mentions ‘non-residents,’ it is referring to something in the law known as “long arm jurisdiction.” This gives local courts jurisdiction or power over an out of state citizen, when that citizen has “minimum contacts” with the state. The theory behind long arm jurisdiction is a party has received benefits or has sufficient relationship within a state, resulting in that party being subject to that state’s law.

How the Interstate Enforcement Law works

  Issues may get complicated because two states are involved. Suppose a party obligated to pay support has missed several payments. A state maintains what is known as ‘continuing exclusive jurisdiction over the obligor to enforce’ the agreement or the order. The foreign state, where the obligor now resides, is known as the enforcing state. A state can transfer its support order to the enforcing state, so the enforcing state may obtain compliance. Once the support is transferred, the enforcing state has no power to modify the agreement, unless there is agreement from both parties. For more information, please read the entire blog post.

What to Expect During Divorce

This article is reproduced from the Pines Laurent, LLP website. For more information on what to expect during your divorce, or to discuss filing for divorce with expert Los Angeles divorce lawyers, contact Pines Laurent, LLP today.
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While you certainly do not have to argue with your partner, it may happen. Do not beat yourself up but know that the quicker you resolve the conflict, the better you will feel.

If you are considering filing for divorce, or have begun the process, it may be helpful to know what you can expect during this often emotional period of time. As your divorce lawyer can attest, every situation is different, but there are a few common insights that many divorced couples can share in regards to your road ahead. Foremost, it is crucial that you have trusted legal counsel at your side, particularly if your soon-to-be-ex has hired an attorney. Your divorce lawyer can provide you with additional guidance and expertise on what to expect when you’re divorcing.

What to Expect When You File For Divorce

  1. Time. Your divorce may take longer than you expect, especially if children or money is involved. If you and your partner signed a premarital agreement prior to getting married, many of these issues may have likely been addressed and therefore, your divorce may be finalized quicker than you expect. Either way, your Los Angeles divorce lawyer can provide you with an estimated time line for your divorce.
  2. Arguments. While you certainly do not have to argue with your partner, it may happen. Do not beat yourself up but know that the quicker you resolve the conflict, the better you will feel.
  3. Emotional Children. If you and your partner had children together, you can expect them to feel many of the highs and lows that you are feeling, but in their own way (such as acting out, crying, attention seeking, or other problematic behavior).  Encourage them to talk to you about how they feel and remind them that the divorce is not their fault. Perhaps counseling may be beneficial.
  4. Camaraderie. You’re going to meet other divorced men / women who remind you that you are not alone and help you get through this time. They may end up becoming some of the best friends you make in life.
  5. Shift in Family Dynamic. After you separate or file for divorce, the dynamic in your family and extended families will shift. For example, your ex’s family may not want to stay friendly with you.
  6. Dating. Your ex may start dating immediately. You may be hurt, disappointed, and/or angry over how quickly he or she moves on. It is important that you do, as well.
  7. Change in Friends. Some of your couple friends may not remain your close friends, perhaps because they were friends with your ex first or because they only like to spend time with couples. You may meet some new friends with whom you can relate and connect (see #4 above).
  8. Emotional Roller Coaster. Some days you will believe filing for divorce was the best decision you ever made, other days you won’t be so sure. Find someone you can confide in and share your true feelings with, whether it is a professional or close friend.

What Parents Can Learn From Casey Kasem

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This article is adapted from the Family Law Focus Blog by Jennifer Brandt of Cozen O’Connor.

When lawyer Jennifer Brandt appeared on the radio show “Crime and Justice With Dan Schorr” on June 8, one of the topics was the ongoing family dispute concerning radio icon, Casey Kasem. Before his death on June 15, 2014, Casey’s wife, Jean and the children from his first marriage had been battling very publicly. The debacle showed that in child custody matters, if parents could simply focus on what is best for the child, there would be a lot less animosity and disputes. A few weeks earlier, Jean disappeared with Casey and the children did not know his whereabouts. Casey was very ill, suffering among other things, from a form of dementia. His daughter Kerri went to court in an attempt to find Casey, and a Judge ordered that she be named a temporary conservator and put in charge of his healthcare. Afterwards, there was another very public battle between Jean and Kerri, when Kerri came to the residence where Jean and Casey were staying and attempted to take Casey to the hospital.  In Kerri’s opinion, Casey’s medical condition was worsening. One thing led to another, and Jean ended up hurling raw chopped meat at Kerri in a display of anger. Of course, this incident was reported in the media and only added to the circus-like atmosphere surrounding this dispute.

Emotions and anger

Brandt compared the situation to a child custody battle. “In the Kasem matter, like many custody cases, parties are so focused on their own emotions and anger, that they often lose sight of the subject of the dispute, which in this case is Kasem, but in child custody matters is the child or children,” Brandt said. “If Casey’s wife and children could have turned their focus to him instead of each other, they would have likely rethought their actions. Similarly, in child custody matters, if parents could simply focus on what is best for the child, there would be a lot less animosity and disputes,” Brand said. Unlike the Kasem matter, parties in a custody dispute can always turn to the court for guidance on how they should proceed with respect to their children. The court is guided by best interests of the children, even though parents sometimes cannot see the forest from the trees. “While parents’ actions are not typically publicized like those of the parties in the Kasem matter, they can be just as ludicrous and more seriously, detrimental to their children,” she said.

Giving children a valuable lesson

In a custody dispute that Brandt recently settled, the judge after hearing the agreement placed on the record, commended the parties for their efforts in putting aside their personal feelings and settling the matter for the benefit of their children. The judge said that the parties gave their children a valuable lesson by settling. “They showed their kids that adults can resolve disputes themselves without a judge telling them what to do.  I will continue to remind future clients about this wisdom,” she said. When asked if the Kasem matter was too far gone to be remedied, Brandt said, “There is  always hope for parties to gain control over their emotions and bad feelings and learn to cooperate for the benefit of their loved one.  It is the same in custody disputes.  No matter how much anger parties have toward each other, they can always learn to set these feelings aside to be good parents and do what is truly in the best interests of their children.”
law news, legal news, trial lawyers, family lawyer Jennifer A. Brandt, of Cozen O’Connor’s Family Law practice, has represented a wide variety of clients in hundreds of family law cases throughout her career. Jennifer is a regular legal commentator on national and local television outlets such as CNN, Fox New Network, HLN, MSNBC, Fox29, ABC News, NBC and CBS and frequently writes and contributes to articles in numerous publications, including the Huffington Post, Fox, The PhiIly Post,,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Business Journal, the National Law Journal, and Main Line Today magazine.