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Category: Family Law

Parenting Plans – How to Negotiate and How to Draft

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Creating an effective parenting plan in a divorce takes forethought and a solid understanding of family law to know what make up a good plan.  Some preliminary thoughts to consider are:

  • Choosing: Most courts uphold a biological parent’s right to raise their child as he/she sees fit.  This isn’t an unlimited right since there are obviously life choices and lifestyles that could be harmful to a child, which is why #2 is so important.
  • Interests of the Child: The overriding criteria most courts will use when examining a parenting plan are the “best interests of the child.”  Different jurisdictions have their own standards, but there is amazing commonality among most courts:
    • The mental and physical health of the child
    • The mental and physical health of the parents
    • Parents’ ability to adequately address the needs of the child.
    • The thoughts, feelings and reasonable preferences of the child, based on their age and level of maturity.
    • Stability in the home environment
    • Siblings or other children whose custody and circumstances are relevant to the child.
    • The child’s school and adjustment to their community
    • Any history of abuse or domestic violence in the home
    • Any history of drug abuse or alcohol abuse.

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Transgender Persons and the Law

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A host of issues face transgender persons when trying to obtain fair access to the legal system.  Some of the most important concerns are:

  • Cost
  • Inexperienced legal counsel due to lack of education or familiarity with transgender issues
  • Distrust of those unfamiliar with transgender issues
  • Attorneys who reject transgender cases
  • Unfriendly or hostile court or law enforcement environments
  • Unacceptable paperwork or administrative hurdles
  • Some services may require the disclosure of the transgender status

How can attorneys make their offices a safe place for transgender persons.  Here are a few ideas:  Make sure your office is a non-discriminatory environment.  Make sure to include gender identity and sexual orientation in your official non-discrimination policy.  Be careful with pronouns and issues surrounding transition.

Make sure your restroom are non-gendered and available to your transgender clients but do not “require” that transgender persons use them.  Have a policy that allows trans people to use the gendered bathroom of their choice and educate staff and about your restroom policies.   Be accommodating but don’t make assumptions when providing directions or keys to restrooms.

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