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Lessons from my first contested termination of parental rights prosecution trial

Last week I represented a mother and step-father in a contested termination of parental rights(TPR)/step-parent adoption case. I have been a licensed attorney for over twenty-five years–the last twenty of which I have primarily focused on family law. I have successfully defended a couple of TPR cases brought by DSS. I have filed contested TPR […]

You don’t have to pretend to be perfect

A lot of family court litigants harm their cases because they don’t want to admit anything that makes them look bad. Confronted with such behavior they naturally feel shame or guilt. The natural reaction to feelings of shame or guilt is to shy away from it. In the context of being questioned about such behavior, […]

What’s so primo about primacy?

Folks will often contact my office with a desire to file a divorce or custody case immediately, “before the other side does.” Sometimes there is a need for speed: conditions within the marriage have made continued cohabitation unsafe; the other parent is acting dangerously around the child. More often this urgency is nothing more than […]

Should student loan payments be a factor in setting child support?

It has always struck me as fundamentally unfair that student loan payments–especially interest on those payments–are not deductible from income for income tax purposes. Borrow $200,000 for business equipment and there’s no argument that the principal and interest on that loan is deductible from income. Borrow $200,000 to obtain a law degree (as many of […]

Changes in the non-custodial parent’s income have a much bigger impact on child support than changes in the custodial parent’s income

Child support can be modified based upon a substantial change of circumstances. Common circumstances that justify a child support modification are when work-related child care expenses drop (typically when the child starts kindergarten or is old enough to no longer need after school care) or when one, but not all, of the children supported by […]

If you want peace, prepare for war

Clients often ask me, if the goal is to settle the case, why I ask them to gather substantial information or why I issue discovery from the very beginning. The Romans would have understood. They had an adage, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” Translated: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” In family law one […]

The unknown unknowns

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. Although not a fan of Donald Rumsfeld, I think he gets […]

Half a life

I was 9,930 days old when I married Karen Anne Klickstein on December 30, 1989.  As of March 8, 2017, I had been married 9,930 days–half a life. That day’s approach had me reflecting on the meaning of marriage. I spend much of my time working with people in unhappy marriages. Sometimes they are certain their […]

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