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Everything posted by Ted_from_Texas

  1. In every state, a minor must have parental consent or, if parental consent is not forthcoming, a court order to marry. No court will issue an order allowing a minor to marry over the parents' objection without compelling evidence that the marriage is in the minor's best interest. Nothing in any of your posts suggests that it's in your friend's best interest to marry. Wanting to get out from under her parents' control is not legal grounds for either emancipation or marriage. Your friend is just going to have to tough it out. I'm sorry.
  2. Query why you think an eight-year-old child might be better equipped to deal with this "disruption" now, than later as a mature adult. The mother is correct. You had your chance to pursue paternity four years ago and you chose not to do so. When the child is an adult you can explain the lapse however you want, but don't expect a warm reception. I suspect a restraining order is more likely in the cards. You don't say, but I gather from the wording of your message that the child was born after the mother married the putative father. If so, the child is legally his and I can't imagine any family court judge granting your petition for paternity testing over the mother's objection after eight years, particularly after you've suspected your paternity after four of those years and took no action. That ship has sailed. Let it go.
  3. I don't know what your parents' divorce decree says, but there's bound to be an assumption, explicit or otherwise, that the "college expenses" incurred by your sister and of which your father is expected to pay half, are reasonable and proper. It would behoove your mother to go to (arbitration, court, whatever) and get a judgment for the amount he must pay while he's still alive. You wouldn't want to wait until probate, when your father's other family will have an opportunity to argue against the legitimacy of the debt. As co-executors, you and your counterpart must see that all legitimate debts incurred by your father while he was alive are paid by the estate before anyone from either branch of the family can inherit. With a judgment in the record, there'll be little chance for a valid argument against it, and the family need not be "torn up". Note that nobody has an inheritance while Dad is alive, so nobody is actually losing anything. How he manages his money (including signing off on the terms of the divorce) is his own business and nobody else's. If the other family members don't like what he did, they'll just have to deal with it.
  4. It wasn't clear from your original post that your mother and stepfather were no longer married. You say your parents are divorced, but your stepfather is not your parent until after he adopts you. In any case, if your stepfather is married to anyone, his wife must join with him in the petition.
  5. It is parents who adopt children, not the other way around. If your stepfather wants to adopt you, it is he who must file the petition for adoption in the appropriate court, and if he is married to your mother she must join with him in the petition. You will have to agree with the adoption in writing. For whatever reason, I cannot access the document (petition?) you link to in your original post, so I can't comment on whether it's correct or appropriate. A local family law attorney can make sure the petition is correct, and file it in your stepfather's absence. Both you and your stepfather must attend the hearing unless you can show good cause why he can't be present. Again, your attorney is the best person to advise you in this matter. Good luck!
  6. The only legal issue you raise in your message is whether your daughter can refuse to visit on your allotted days. If your visitation schedule is specified in a court-ordered parenting plan, then she cannot refuse visitation, no matter how much "influence" her mother wields over her choices. If that's what's happening, your recourse is to file an action for enforcement of your custody order in the court that issued it. If there is no such schedule to enforce, you need to obtain one. Whether your adolescent daughter is sexually active, and if so what to do about it, is a parenting matter you need to discuss with her mother and if necessary a competent family counselor. Your daughter's primary care physician can make appropriate referrals. Whether to leave the kids at home alone depends on a number of factors, including the age and maturity level of the children, how long they'll be unsupervised, the environment in which they're left, and the proximity of help should it be needed. The law generally (and rightly) considers this a judgment call best left to the parents. Again, this is something to discuss with the other parent.
  7. Is this a homework assignment? Any useful answers to your questions would require a careful review of the relevant Pennsylvania statutes and administrative guidelines, as well as case law. Such legal research is outside the scope of this forum. Since the scenario you describe is posed as a hypothetical, I can only assume that your interest is academic. If so, you'll have to do your own research. Most if not all the material is available in the "Cases and Codes" section of FindLaw's Legal Professionals page. You need not actually be a legal professional to access that material. FindLaw's home page has the links.
  8. I can't speak to Pennsylvania in particular, but in every state I know anything about, child support guidelines apply to all parents regardless of age, including minors. If the noncustodial parent is still in school, he can be imputed an income commensurate with his age and circumstances, and his child support obligation can be calculated based on that income. It's then up to him to decide whether to find part-time work to come up with the cash, or (as often happens with minors) tap his parents for financial assistance. Consult local counsel.
  9. I think you mean bigamy. Bigotry, while certainly abhorrent, is not grounds for annulment or divorce.
  10. Not sure why you want a guardianship. The law does not require a minor child to physically reside with a parent or guardian. If your mother cannot afford to care for your sister and you can, and if that's the only reason you want the guardianship, the quickest and cheapest way to go is for your sister to move in with you with your mother's permission, which costs nothing. Certain legal documents (school admission forms, drivers license application, medical directives, etc.) which only a parent or guardian can sign, can simply be forwarded to Mom for her signature which again costs nothing except for the turnaround time. Of course you can petition the court for a guardianship (your mother cannot simply "give" it to you) but you will incur the court costs and attorney's fees, and there's no guarantee the court will find it in a 13-year-old child's best interest to have an 18-year-old legal guardian. An Arizona family law attorney can best explain the process and your chance of success. If there are other reasons beside just "finances" that compel you to seek a guardianship, you'll need to elaborate.
  11. You have no legal obligation to read or even open Granny's texts. Delete them as soon as you get them. Ditto with emails and phone calls. Snail mail can go straight to the trash unopened.
  12. While you don't come out and say so, I presume you're asking whether you can avoid a divorce action by seeking an annulment of your marriage based on fraud. Unfortunately, I see no grounds for such an action based only on what you've posted in your message. I'm sorry.
  13. What sort of racing accepts broken bones (particularly those of a five-year-old child) as "part of the sport"? Just wondering. You cannot "force" your child's father to do anything. You can, however, seek a modification to your custody order (assuming you have one) that prevents him from exposing your son to dangerous activities while in his possession. If you don't have a formal custody and support order ("parenting plan") issued by the court, get one. Consult local counsel.
  14. Many but not all states permit adoption of adults. I don't know about Illinois. You and your prospective adoptive parent need to discuss this matter with an Illinois family law attorney who specializes in adoptions. The country of your origin is probably not relevant.
  15. Hard to understand why you'd be inclined to grant a request for a paternity test from a complete stranger (whose mother you don't even remember!) unless your intent is to "do the right thing" and welcome him into your family should the result come back positive. It would seem awfully cynical to go to the trouble to prove he's your son just to turn around and not treat him accordingly. If that's your intention, I suggest you deny his request and avoid a lot of future heartburn. If that's not your intention, what are you trying to "protect" yourself and your family from?
  16. Since just about anybody can sue just about anybody else for just about anything, the only possible answer to this query as it stands is yes. Whether such a lawsuit would summarily be tossed out of court as frivolous or groundless depends on a myriad of facts not apparent in the message. Note that many if not all states protect school officials from liability for a multitude of torts under the principle of sovereign immunity. Anyone contemplating such a lawsuit should consult with a local attorney well-versed in education law to examine all the facts and the context under which they arise. Whether the U.S. Supreme Court or any state supreme court has made a ruling on the matter would of course depend on the details of the case which are not given, and anyway legal research is outside the scope of this forum. You can perform your own research using FindLaw's "Cases and Codes" resource at http://caselaw.findlaw.com/.
  17. I am assuming (though you don't say explicitly) that that the agreement between your husband and the mother was a private matter between him and her and not embodied in a court-approved modification to the custody order. If that's wrong, you need to say so. Your husband cannot "give up" custody of the kids on his own volition. Only the court can transfer custody by issuing a modification to the custody order. If that didn't happen, he still has custody and can take the kids back at any time. Neither you nor your husband can "make" his ex do anything or stop doing anything. The fact that he "did her a favor" in the past does not confer on her any rights not granted in the custody order, nor does it obligate him to continue granting this or any other favors for her. If she is improperly possessing and/or withholding the kids from him in violation of his custody order, his recourse is to file an enforcement action in court. Consult local counsel.
  18. 1. If the other parent is violating any of the terms of your custody/visitation order, your recourse is to file an enforcement action in the same court that issued the original order. 2. Your attorney can file motions on your behalf. Whether you can attend your hearing(s) remotely via teleconference or videoconference depends on the relevant state laws, judicial guidelines and local court rules. This is a matter to discuss with your attorney.
  19. You are only obligated to make your child available for visits for the times specified in your custody order, no more and no less. If you wish to allow additional visitation time that's certainly permissible, but you are under no obligation to do so. Having done so in the past, you are under no obligation to continue doing so. Your initial post implied that you allowed additional time because you think it's the right thing to do. If that's not the case and you feel that your reluctance to allow additional time is the source of the disparagement described in your initial post, you are free to seek a non-disparagement clause in your custody order, or if one already exists, to enforce it. Consult local counsel.
  20. Child support is not for the child. It's for the child's custodial parent, or other person as identified in the support order. If the support order designates the aunt as the child's custodian, the money was directed correctly, no matter who the child was actually living with. If your girlfriend wants to change the support order she'll have to file an action for modification in the court that issued the original order. Consult local counsel.
  21. For reasons far too complex to get into here, it is extremely unusual for a school district to allow a student to attend high school who already has a valid diploma or GED. Contact your school district's administrative office and ask, but don't get your hopes up. When you decided to get your diploma online, you made the corresponding decision to forsake the "traditional" high school experience. I'm sorry.
  22. Of course I can't read the relevant documents myself, but if your description of the decree is accurate I can't see that you need to do anything at all. Document everything that's going on and keep it handy. You already have sole custody with certain supervised visits with which you have presumably complied. To advance to the next step it's up to him to comply with the specified requirements. If he demands to move on to step 2 and you refuse in writing telling him why, enforcement becomes his job, and he'll have to provide evidence that he has, in fact, complied with the specified requirements. If he can't, the process stops until he can.
  23. That would be up to your son, your granddaughter's father, about whom your message is strangely silent. Where is he? What does he say? If you believe your granddaughter's health and/or safety are in jeopardy in her mother's household and your son is unwilling or unable to do anything about it, you should contact Child Protective Services in the county where they reside and report your concerns to a caseworker. Only CPS has the authority to investigate the matter and if necessary remove the child to a safe, secure home environment pending resolution of the mother's issues. Note that CPS almost certainly would have been called in by the police and/or EMTs as a result of the shooting incident you describe in your message, but you say nothing about them, either. If they were not, there must be more (or less) to the story than you've posted. As for securing your position (whatever that means) as an active grandmother in your granddaughter's life, you can of course do what grandparents have always done -- that is, keep in touch, send her cards and letters, remember with gifts on her birthdays, invite her on outings, and so on. If you are asking if you have an intrinsic right to visit her or take a hand in raising her over her parent's objections, the answer is no. So-called "grandparents' rights" of visitation are extremely limited in scope and can be enforced only in highly unusual circumstances. Absent involvement by CPS, you will have to work with her parents to maintain your relationship on their terms. Of course if CPS is involved, you should be discussing all this with the caseworker.
  24. Emancipation and marriage laws very somewhat from state to state and you don't identify your state, but I feel pretty confident telling you this much: You may propose marriage to anyone you wish, at any time and at any age. If you propose and the other party accepts, you are what is called "engaged." Engagement is an entirely social and/or religious construct outside the law which confers no legal benefits or obligations on either party. So, if you find somebody you want to propose to, go for it. The law doesn't care. Marriage is a different matter entirely. Each state has its own laws concerning the minimum age and the circumstances under which one may enter a valid marriage. Some states will allow a 14-year-old to marry under certain circumstances and some will not. In every state, marriage of a minor (i.e., anyone under age 18) requires either the minor's parents' consent or a court order. It is not necessary to be emancipated in order to marry, but in every state I know about, getting married automatically emancipates both parties. Outside of getting married or entering the armed forces, early emancipation of a minor becomes pretty tricky. It's not just a matter of achieving a certain age and filing some paperwork. Again, details vary according to jurisdiction, but in every state you must demonstrate to the appropriate court that you are self-supporting -- "financially stable" is not sufficient. You need your own income sufficient to maintain yourself without financial assistance from your parents, friends, other relatives or the state. You must also demonstrate that you have achieved a level of maturity and responsibility on a par with other adults in your community. You can't just promise to do it, you must already have done it. It's very hard for a 16-year-old to become emancipated, and for a 14-year-old it's virtually unheard of. In some states early emancipation is impossible under any circumstances, and in those states that do allow it, parental consent is usually required. For more information, Google "Early emancipation of a minor child in [your state]". I hope this helps.
  25. Assault, vandalism and harassment are crimes punishable by law. You start by contacting the police when it happens and filing a complaint. If your brother wants to obtain custody of his child he must first establish his legal paternity and obtain a custody order in the appropriate court. A local family law attorney can explain the process and help him get started.
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