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Curtis Bounds’s Answers

32 total

  • Do I need a divorce lawyer?

    My husband and I have been married for 2 years (in May) he stepped out of our marriage and fell in love with another female. He has asked for a divorce. we also have a special needs son. I have been a stay at home mom since our son was born 8/2013...

    Curtis’s Answer

    Parents are the joint natural custodians of their children and they have co-equal rights concerning the major decisions about their children's lives. When parents go to Family Court to decide custody, they are asking the Court to either continue that relationship as joint legal custodians or they are asking for sole custody. In my years of practice, the Delaware Family Court has favored joint legal custody given to both parents over sole custody given to one parent or the other. The other part of custody before the Court is determining residency and visitation. Both parents want to spend as much time as possible with their children, usually, and both parents are presumed to be competent to care for their children alone. One parent's behavior may place that presumption in doubt, but that is for the Court to decide if the parents cannot agree. If one parent is the primary residential parent, then the other parent has visitation or a contact schedule. If the parties share residential placement then they will divide the time with the children equally. In any situation, both parents are expected to do what is best for the children's health, education and welfare. But, often parents disagree about what is best for the children; and often parents put their own feelings, interests and needs in front of the needs of the children even though they may not realize that they are acting this way. Co-parenting is hard for families who are divorced and even for families who are not divorced. Separated and divorced parents sometimes expect the Court to be the referee for every dispute. It is not. The Court will do its best to look out for the special needs of a special needs child, but parents must remember to use common sense, tact, persuasion and even forgiveness in order to co-parent, especially with someone who says that they do not love them anymore. Divorce is hard on everyone.

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  • What state do I hire a lawyer in? I live in Texas. Custody order is in Delaware. What do I do?

    I live in Texas, my custody order is in New Castle County Delaware-where my daughter's father lives. I need to modify the order. Do I hire a TX att. or a DE att. to help me do this? We have been living here for 2 years and following the order-fly...

    Curtis’s Answer

    The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is the law on child custody jurisdiction. Delaware and Texas both adopted the UCCJEA as law. The State where the custody order originates remains the State where custody orders are modified as long as one parent or the child live in that State. A parent can ask the original State to give up jurisdiction on the basis of another State being the State where custody should be decided, but the original State gets to decide. Sometimes, a State where a child lives or is even in temporarily can take emergency jurisdiction over a custody case, but that State will always refer the case back to the original State where the custody order started if that State still has jurisdiction. Regardless of which State creates a new custody order, that State will make a visitation order for the absent parent.

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  • I live with my boyfriend in DE. He owns the mobile outright. I have been living here 5 years.

    My name is on the electric bill and all of my mail is delivered here. I buy food/household products. Can he ask me to leave the home at any time?

    Curtis’s Answer

    A person living in someone else's home has some rights, but not many, without a lease. Living in someone else's home makes that person either a guest or a renter, and if a renter, he or she has the rights that are given to a person who is living without a lease in another's home. Its called in the common law a tenant at sufferance, but the renter's (and the owner's/landlord's) rights are today spelled out in the Delaware Landlord Tenant Code. It is not really a family law issue unless it were to come under a Petition for Protection from Abuse. If a landlord wants a renter out, there's a process under the Code, and eventually the landlord will get his or her way. If a host wants a guest out, that's a little different, but a guest knows that he or she has to leave.

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  • I am ending a relationship with the father of my child I don't have a job will he get custody ?

    I just lost my job he works for the federal government. I am the primary caregiver. I would go back to my mother's. Could he win custody because I don't have a job ? We are not married

    Curtis’s Answer

    Its important to understand the meaning of the terms custody and visitation. Parents are the joint natural custodians of a child, meaning that they have co-equal rights in him. When parents split up, sometimes they just go along and continue to raise the child by agreement, but often they need a Court Order to lay out custody and visitation. Custody means joint decision making about the child's life, where he goes to school, to church, medical procedures, or moving out of State. The law in Delaware favors joint custody, which means that neither parent has the sole decision making authority about these issues. Visitation means the time that each parent gets to have and raise the child under his or her roof. When parents split up, unless one parent is in prison or a complete mess, they are going to share the time with the child. The law in Delaware also favors shared visitation, meaning that the child spends equal time with each parent. But even when the visitation is not equal, both parents are going to share most of the free time with the child: weekends, holidays, the Summer. Separated parents usually end up disagreeing about a few overnights a week, and they often do that for one of two reason: everyone wants to spend as much time as possible raising their child, or they are looking for child support to be increased (or decreased) based on the amount of time spent raising the child. All of the best interest factors will be used by the Court in deciding custody, if you go in front of a Judge, but at the end of the day, it's what the parents decide and how they behave with each other that matters most to the life and happiness of the child.

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  • If no one has custody claimed in court and my kid refuses to leave home do i have to take them back to their mom?

    no one has custody and one out of 2 of my daught ers want to live with me. She absolutely does not want to go back to her moms house. Can I just keep her here and file something in this state where I live with the courts?

    Curtis’s Answer

    Here are two separate answers that I have given to previous questions, which answers may be helpful to this questioner. This Q&A is not the place to ask for or receive advise that is particular to a specific legal question, and all are advised to seek appropriate and competent legal advice in a sit-down meeting with a family law attorney in Delaware.
    Answer One: A legal parent of a minor child is a joint natural custodian of that child under Delaware law. That means that either parent has rights to the child, and either parent can talk to and give instruction to that child's lawyer, doctor, teacher, or other professional. A parent can go to Court to obtain sole or joint legal custody of a child, but in Delaware, the parents have to be living in separate households for the Court to hear and decide on legal custody. A step-parent does not have natural custodial rights to a minor child, and any such legal custody rights must be established by the Family Court, and only under specific circumstances. The personal injury case of a child, the governance of a child's money awarded in a settlement, and the divorce of a couple are all completely separate matters handled in completely separate courts. Personal injury is resolved in Superior Court, if not by agreement. The child's interest in money awarded to her is dealt with in the Delaware Chancery Court. Divorce, custody and support are properly litigated in the Delaware Family Court. A lawyer who has some knowledge of all three types of litigation is probably the best resource for help and guidance with the questions posed in this request.
    Answer Two: The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is a uniform law that is in both New Jersey and Delaware. It states, under most circumstances, that a child's home state is the state where the child has lived for the past 6 months. However, if another state has previously issued a custody order when the child lived in that state, and one of the parents still lives in that state, then that state remains the home state of the child, and a petition to modify the existing custody order must be filed in that state.

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  • How to file an exception for Domestic matters in Circuit Court

    A Memorandum of Understanding was signed however there is not enough detail on the topics of visitation other than summer vacation. So at court I was told to file an exception if I wanted to change/add anything to the Memorandum of Understanding..

    Curtis’s Answer

    Agreements or MOU's that become final orders of the Court will have to be revised by filing a Petition to Modify the Custody Order. If the agreement was reached at mediation or is otherwise a temporary or interim order, then it can be modified at the final hearing before a Judge. If the agreement was entered in front of a Judge, and the Judge left something out by mistake, then a Motion for Reargument or Motion for Clarification can be filed within ten (10) days of the Court's Order. Some particulars about visitation can never be explicit, as flexibility and cooperation are often required when raising children. But, the problem with divorced or separated parents is that they often don't agree about much. Think about hiring a counselor or a parenting coordinator to mediate disputes and make life better for the kids.

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  • Can I email a family court Judge that has just heard my daughters case?

    I feel I wasn't asked enough questions by either side. I am very close to my grand children and I was privy to how the family inter acted with one another. ( including the fights and problems in the marriage)

    Curtis’s Answer

    Even though family members are often closest to the action in family disputes, the testimony of family members is not given much weight or importance in the overall decision making of a Judge in a custody case. Attorneys will often put a family member on the stand to satisfy the client ("you should have had my sister testify") as opposed to that family member providing something really important to the case. It is often assumed that a family member is biased towards his or her relation in the dispute. It doesn't mean that a family member is not telling the truth, it just means that everyone tends to see things his or her own way, and a family member is not likely to say what he or she really feels about his or her own kin, knowing that that might hurt his or her kin's own case, and possibly affect one's relationship with the children in question. Court time is limited, and the Court is most interested in the testimony of the parents, and sometimes the testimony of mental or physical health experts, persons who are expected to have an independent view of things. Often those persons are biased too, because they don't know that much about the case and have to make generalizations about the family, but it is an imperfect system. What's needed, most of all, is for everyone to stop fighting over the children under the justification that they are doing it for the children's sake. It's a rare circumstances where the cure, meaning the fight about how many overnights, where children go to school, or how they brush their teeth, does more good than harm in child custody disputes.

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  • Is there a lawyer that can deal with both child support and a traffic issue, what are the called?

    My son was driving my car and I had forgotten that the tags were expired and he was pulled over but not given a ticket, he missed his court date and he also has a child support issue coming up in Sept that he needs to go to court for and is afraid...

    Curtis’s Answer

    If a capias has been issued for a person's arrest because he or she failed to show up at Court, then yes, that person can be brought before a judge or magistrate for failure to appear, and have to post a bond that will insure it more likely that a person shows up the next time. Unfortunately, in Delaware, we only have one system for holding people against their will, the Delaware Department of Corrections, and a person picked up on a capias can end up spending a night at one of it's facilities. That's why you don't want to get picked up on a Friday before a holiday weekend. Better to turn one's self in on a Monday morning, when everyone is awake and alert, and with a lawyer or bail bondman in tow. If a person risks having to go to prison to serve a term for an offense, he or she has a 6th Amendment right to a court appointed lawyer. If there is a fine for driving with expired tags, the fine will need to be paid. If there is a child support obligation owed, then it will need to be paid. The Court will take in to consideration the ability to pay overdue child support, and ordinarily the Court will work with the payor. The Court takes very seriously unpaid child support, and will use incarceration to enforce a child support order as a means of last resort. When that happens, "the key's to the jail house are in one's pocket," meaning that payment of some or all of the support obligation gets one's freedom.

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  • My wife has just very recently announced she wants a separation and even more recently announced now want a divorce.

    This all came as a surprise to me. Three weeks ago if you mentioned me ever having a divorce I would have said your crazy. However, all this seems to have happened after my wife has recently visited our attorney in regards to a personal injury m...

    Curtis’s Answer

    A legal parent of a minor child is a joint natural custodian of that child under Delaware law. That means that either parent has rights to the child, and either parent can talk to and give instruction to that child's lawyer, doctor, teacher, or other professional. A parent can go to Court to obtain sole or joint legal custody of a child, but in Delaware, the parents have to be living in separate households for the Court to hear and decide on legal custody. A step-parent does not have natural custodial rights to a minor child, and any legal custody rights must be established by a Family Court Order, and only under specific circumstances. The personal injury case of a child, the governance of a child's money awarded in a settlement or jury award, and the divorce of a couple are each completely separate matters handled in completely separate courts. Personal injury is resolved in Superior Court, if not by agreement. A child's interest in money awarded to him or her is dealt with in the Delaware Chancery Court. Divorce, custody and support are properly litigated in the Delaware Family Court. A lawyer who has knowledge of all three types of litigation is probably the best resource for help and guidance with the questions posed in this request.

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  • DIVORCE LAW IN DELAWARE ON DISTIBUTION OF ASSETS,CHILD SUPPORT AND ALLIMONY.

    MARRIED 11 YEARS 2 KIDS

    Curtis’s Answer

    Title 13, Chapter 15 of the Delaware Code, can be found on-line or at the public library.

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