Disclaimer and Notice


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Child Piercings and Tats Bad But not Bad Enough

Earlier this year the Court of Appeals  upheld a lower court's determination that a non-parent contributed to the delinquency of a minor by helping a precocious 15 year old get a tongue piercing without the consent of a parent or legal guardian consent. See State v. Harla Webb, 2013-NMCA-027.   At the same time, however, the Court reversed Webb's conviction for child abuse by endangerment because there was no evidence that the non-parent's "conduct created a substantial and foreseeable risk to [Child] of which" Webb should have been aware.

Constitutional Right to Safety & Medical Care

In a development cheered by all GALs, the Ninth Circuit has concluded that children in state custody for abuse/neglect have a constitutional right to safety and adequate medical care.  Henry A., et al v. Willden,  Ninth Cir. Case No. 10-17680 (May 4, 2012).  The case concerned a foster care reform suit brought by the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) against Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada, which showcased the myriad of horrific injuries sustained with the child welfare system breaks down.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Idea: "Fathering Court"

As a domestic relations mediator and GAL, I appreciate what a complex area of law domestic relations is--parenthood is difficult, co-parenting is difficult, and some parents have special barriers to being good parents.  

Judge Milton C. Lee Jr. of the District of Columbia Superior Court recently wrote int the ABA Judge's Journal about the Fathering Court Initiative, over which he presides.  It's an exciting new idea in which a "problem-solving approach" is taken child support, and the focus is

Monday, February 25, 2013

Attachment--A Hot but Frequently Misunderstood Concept

As a domestic relations mediator and Guardian ad Litem, I frequently see parties and attorneys bandying about the concepts of "attachment" and "attachment disorder" for greater leverage in the dispute, and "[t]he concept of attachment can readily tip the scales in custody and parenting-time cases involving infants and young children."   See Pamela S. Ludolph & Mildred D. Dale, Attachment in Child Custody:  An Additive Factor, Not a Determinative One, Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1, Spring 2012.  However, as Ludolph & Dale detail, "attachment is often incompletely understood in both the legal and mental health communities." 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

DNA Testing & Abatement of Child Support

As a guardian ad litem (GAL) and domestic relations mediator in New Mexico, I occasionally meet men confronting the question of whether they can or should seek belated DNA testing to either challenge, or avoid a child support order.  As a mediator I can only provide legal information (if competent to do so), not legal advice, so I cannot answer that question directly.  However, I often encourage the parent to think of this as not just a legal question, but a personal and moral one

Friday, January 11, 2013

What Do You Tell Your Kids About Divorce?

As a domestic relations mediator, I see my clients struggle with how and when to tell their kids about their upcoming divorce.  I've recently come across a helpful article on the subject by Sol R. Rappaport, Ph.D., a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, in the Summer issue of the ABA's Family Advocate.  Id., Telling Your Children About the DivorceHere's some of his excellent comments and suggestions.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Right to Gay Wedding Photography Protected by HRA

As a guardian ad litem (GAL) and domestic relations mediator in New Mexico, I am keenly interested in legal cases of first impression involving family and home issues.  In a case involving the intersection of competing personal rights, the New Mexico Court of Appeals recently concluded that a professional wedding photographer's refusal--on personal and religious grounds--to photograph a same-sex commitment  ceremony constitutes a violation of NMSA 1978, Section 28-1-7(F) (2004) of the New Mexico Human Rights Act" (NMHRA or HRA).  See Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock, 2012-NMCA-086, cert. granted. Aug. 16, 2012, No. 33,687.

Willock first filed a discrimination claim against Elane Photography with the Human Rights