Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Recommended Reading for Divorce Clients

I wish all my family law clients would read this book and follow its instructions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Let It Burn...

Is America so addicted to government that it is doomed?

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Most Unpopular Divorce Statute

43 O.S. 107.1 A. 1. In an action for divorce where there are minor children involved, the court shall not issue a final order thereon for at least ninety (90) days from the date of filing the petition which ninety (90) days may be waived by the court for good cause shown and without objection by either party.

I get at least two calls a day asking if I can get the judge to waive this requirement for no really compelling reason.  Answer?  It depends on the judge; each one has his own standard of what amounts to "good cause" for waiving the 90 days.

Barack Obama Hates White People?

Say it ain't so!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It Was For the Children

Information about the Waco Incident.  Evidently the FBI was targeting the children with the CS gas.

Very shocking and would probably constitute a war crime.

"We're from the government and we're here to help!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My First Tea Party

It's nice to be among friends.  I'll post pictures later if I can get them from my phone to my computer and maybe post a few of my thoughts.

Tons and tons of Gadsen flags.

Monday, March 29, 2010

When Police Mistake Candy for Crack...

When Police Mistake Candy for Crack...

"Lesson #1: Never, ever, ever, ever, agree to a search. If you’re guilty, you’re helping them catch you. If you’re innocent, you’re wasting your time, you’re taking a chance since they aren’t required to fix anything they break, you’re leaving yourself open for being charged for something you didn’t know about that fell out of a friend’s pocket, and you’ve got the possibility that a couple of morons will think your coconut candy is crack and throw you in jail for a week."

Read the Whole Thing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You Can Judge Yourself by your Enemies

At least Castro likes the health care bill.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

National Suicide

By way of Critical Condition on NRO:
"All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa . . . , with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. 

At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide."  -- Abraham Lincoln

Timely words from a president who actually was great and as unlike our current presidents as could possibly be imagined.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Visitation

Sole Custody.  In a sole custody situation, visitation refers to that time set aside by the court for the child to be with the non-custodial parent.  The custodial parent (the one with the legal decision making authority) is not ordinarily described as having visitation, though, to my mind this is an error.  Visitation in a sole custody situation should refer to the time both parents spend with the child.

Joint Custody.  In a joint custody situation, visitation just describes the time both parents spend with the child.  Each parent has both custody and a visitation arrangement.

In other words, visitation refers to the time spent with the child and has almost nothing to do with who has legal custody of the child.  A common error is to assume that a parent can't spend half the available time with the child without having joint custody.  It's not true.  I know parents who do not have custody of their children but still get one-half of all the days in a year with them.

To make a long story short: custody and visitation are different animals, so don't confuse them.

Next time:  Child Support.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thinking About Joint Custody?

In Oklahoma, legal custody is an arrangement that primarily defines which parent or person gets to make what decisions for a minor child.  Who spends what time with the child (visitation) is a separate matter.

Married Parents.  When parents are married they have de facto joint custody, that is, neither has more authority in decision making than the other.  Each parent can make any (otherwise legal) decision they want regarding the minor child; e.g. enroll him in this school as opposed to that school, etc.

Unmarried Parents.  When the parents were never married and paternity has not been established then (in Oklahoma) the mother has full custody until a court with the appropriate jurisdiction says otherwise.  Once paternity has been established by a court then it will also have the power to enter a custody order which is appropriate to the circumstances.  If DHS is instigating a child support action then often the court will not enter a custody order after paternity and support obligations are established.  It is up to the parties to ask the court to do so once the DHS judge is done with the case.

Divorcing Parents.  In a contested divorce the parents will often ask the Court to enter a Temporary Order.  The Court will often enter a child custody order that grants the parties temporary joint custody as an experiment to see how it works until the final hearing unless there is a strong objection by either parent with good cause (drug use, physical abuse, etc.) shown.  Visitation can also be split equally at this point.

Divorced Parents.  In this scenario a court has already entered a custody order, generally one of the following:

     a.  Sole Custody.  One parent has final decision making authority regarding the minor child.  Where will he go to school?  Ask the sole custodian.  Will he get braces this year?  Ask the sole custodian.

     b.  Joint Custody.  The parents have joint decision making authority regarding the minor child.  Where will he go to school?  The parents decide together.  Will he get braces this year?  The parents decide together.  What if they can't agree?  One of two things generally happens (depending on the Joint Custody Plan and the Court):  (1)  they go to mediation or arbitration, or; (2)  one parent gets to decide after conferring with the other in good faith.

     c.  Modified Joint Custody.  One parent decides about some things (e.g. education) and the other parent decides about other things (e.g. medical).  This is pretty uncommon, but some parents agree to it.

Final Note: the State of Oklahoma and the Courts therein prefer joint custody when that is a reasonable option.  Next time I'll talk about visitation and child support and their relation to legal custody (who the child actually spends their time with and who pays whom money).


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why I don't like plea bargaining (in theory)

Scenario 1:  You look like the guy who robbed the liquor store down the street the other day.  The cops pick you up because you look like the suspect and you live nearby, you were even wearing a hoodie when they picked you up.  You were playing Xbox by yourself and have no alibi for the time the store was robbed.  You end up in a lineup and the clerk picks you out.  The cops conclude you did it and write a report to that effect.  The report goes to the prosecutor who files an information against you based on what the cops said.  You borrowed a lot of money from your grandma and you pay a bail bondsman and you pay a large amount of money to a private attorney.  He says the state's case is weak and you could go to trial and get acquitted, but there's no guarantees; he estimates your chance of acquittal at 55% because the clerk is gonna testify against you and you have no alibi.  Then he tells you that the DA offered a plea bargain; you plead guilty and you'll get a couple of months in the county jail with the rest of your sentence suspended, you pay fines and court costs as well; no prison time for you unless you violate the law during your suspended sentence.  You're not guilty, you know you're not guilty but if you continue to assert you're not guilty you run a pretty good risk of spending years in prison because of circumstances beyond your control.  Do you take the deal?

Scenario 2:  You robbed the liquor store.  They got you on a fuzzy video.  You got picked up by the cops with a wad of money in your pocket, but you were smart enough not to confess like all those other dummies who do.  You asked for your lawyer and you weren't further interrogated.  You're lawyer says you're screwed and it'll be an easy conviction for the state and you should look for a plea deal since this is your first offense (first one they know about anyway, suckers).  You have no reason to doubt what he says.  The DA offers you a deal, take a few months in the county jail, pay some fines and court costs and a suspended sentence; otherwise, the DA will go hard on you and ask for 5 years in the penitentiary, you probably won't get out until a little after 4 years pass.  Do you take the deal?

-- I don't practice much criminal law, but this seems to be a systemic sort of problem.  We have, in the first place, far too many laws and not nearly enough resources to enforce them all evenly.  We probably need to do something like halve the number of laws that result in criminal penalties while doubling the amount of resources prosecution and defendants have to adjudicate meritorious cases.

-- My buddy Erik thinks this is Pie in the Sky.  I agree, but it's still what I think.  And, no, I don't trust "the cops", only individuals that I know.