Establishing Paternity

The Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator puts out a helpful introduction on What Every Parent Should Know About Establishing Paternity.

Sometimes I get questions about the Putative Father Registry; a little information is here.

 

Adoption and Safe Families Act

This law comes up in Juvenile Abuse/Neglect cases I handle. A starting point to learn about it is here.

Some of the major provisions of the law include:

  • Requires that States move to terminate parental rights for children who have been in Foster Care for 15 out of the last 22 months
  • Exceptions to the 15/22 rule include:[4]
    1. When the child is in a Foster Home with a biological relative (Kinship Care)
    2. When the Agency documents a compelling reason why parental termination is not in the Child’s best interest
    3. When the State has failed to provide services necessary for reunification
  • Requires that Permanency Hearings be held every 12 months
  • Clarifies cases in which States are not required to reunite Families (Aggravated Circumstances)
  • Expands family preservation and support services
  • Extends subsidies for adoptive children
  • Provides incentives for States to improve adoption rates
  • Requires States to document efforts to move children toward adoption
  • Expands health care coverage for adoptive children
  • Provides funding for efforts at encouraging adoption
  • Clarifies that interstate boundaries should not delay adoption.

This Day at Law…

This Day at Law is a site that reports what happened in legal history for the current day. ¬†Things like the law that replaced the War Department with the Defense Department was signed on August 10, 1949…

Right to remain silent? Not so much…

The Court of Appeals in a recent decision held that where a driver remained silent when asked whether she would submit to a blood alcohol test during a DWI stop, she had refused the stop and her license should be suspended for one year. Had she asked for a chance to contact a lawyer, she might have had a different result. The court remarked in a footnote that:

The right to contact an attorney is triggered only if the driver specifically requests to talk to his lawyer.

So, you have a right to remain silent, except sometimes you don’t, but even some of those times, you can still ask for a lawyer. It’s always safe to ask for a chance to talk to your lawyer and sometimes extra rights are triggered when you do.

I want my lawyer.

Are Lawyers Getting Dumberer?

The Future of Law?

According to data collected by some professor at Pepperdine Law, yes. Lesserer and lesserer of us who scored over 160 on the LSAT (law school admission test) are applying to go to law school. Meanwhile, morer and morer lower scoring folks are applying and being admitted. Even top schools’ LSAT stats are dropping.

Some think it might not be such a bad thing for smart people to do something besides law.


An attorney, cross-examining the local coroner, queried, “Before you signed the death certificate had you taken the man’s pulse?”
“No,” the coroner replied.
“Well, then, did you listen for a heart beat?”
The coroner answered, “No.”
“Did you check for respiration? Breathing?”, asked the attorney.
Again the coroner replied, “No.”
“Ah,” the attorney said, “So when you signed the death certificate you had not taken any steps to make sure the man was dead, had you?”
The coroner rolled his eyes, and shot back “Counselor, at the time I signed the death certificate the man’s brain was sitting in a jar on my desk. But I can see your point. For all I know he could be out there practicing law somewhere.”

Can I file my dissolution and paternity action together in one case?

It can mean the difference between a single $170 filing fee for one case or $340 or more for multiple cases. Some judges will let litigants do this and save a filing fee, but Court Operating Rule 4.05.3 controls.

Dissolutions and paternity actions shall be filed separately. A separate case number shall be assigned for each dissolution and each paternity action filed and shall be related in the automated case management system for scheduling and other processing.

— COR 4.05.3

Nothing prevents the consolidation of cases once filed, so only one trial is usually necessary after the cases are consolidated.

 

Electronic Monitoring of Sex Offenders

Under a new law that went into effect January 1, some sex offenders (but not all) are required to be monitored for life and tracked by GPS. I’ve had some calls from folks on the list surprised by the new law. Yes, it’s a real thing. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is working on following up on records of guilt findings to track down who is and who is not required to be tracked; those on probation and parole can expect their probation/parole officer to require tracking.

Trials & Appeals