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Curtis Bounds’s Answers

36 total

  • If I have been married for 3 years is,my husband intitled to part of my house that I have had sense 2006.

    His name isn't on my house . But he helped in the upgrades

    Curtis’s Answer

    Read Curtis's Answer to the Question, posted July 6, 2011.

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  • My boyfriend and I had a no unlawful contact order. He got arrested at our residence due to a gun charge I was not home.

    Does this violate the no contact order? Does this mean he can't call me from prison and I can't go see him?

    Curtis’s Answer

    A Petition for Protection from Abuse Order always contains a statement that the Respondent cannot possess a gun. A Petition for Protection from Abuse Order usually contains a statement that the Respondent cannot contact the Petitioner, but there are often exceptions written in to the PFA Order. If a Petitioner makes contact with a Respondent, then the Petitioner can get the Respondent in trouble by creating a situation where the Respondent is violating the PFA Order. If two people have a no contact order between them, then it is best to have a third party who is welcome by the Respondent be the go between. It's even possible for third party contact to get the Petitioner in trouble, if the Petitioner uses the third party to harass, follow or intimidate the Petitioner. PFA Orders are meant to protect Petitioners from dangers created by Respondents, but its often the case that the Petitioners still want to have contact with the Respondents when they are behaving themselves. But that kind of invited contact sends mixed signals to Respondents and they don't know if the Petitioners want them around or not. If a Petitioner gets a PFA Order then he or she should keep away from the Respondent, unless and until the PFA Order is modified by the Court to allow direct contact, preferably in a therapist's office only, if possible, to allow the two people to discuss their differences with each other in the hands of professional who may help them communicate in a healthy and effective way. Just getting back together when there has been violence in the past is often a prescription for violence in the future. But because humans behave that way (breaking up violently and then getting back together for many different reasons) the Court takes seriously violations of the PFA Order, even when the contact is invited. The Court doesn't want injured or dead people. It goes to the trouble of giving out these PFA Orders to protect people from injury and death.

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  • If a party in a child support hearing (who is an attorney) refuses to comply with a Discovery request, what happens?

    A Motion for Discovery was filed in Dec., the other party filed a Motion for Confidentiality, which was signed. He still has not provided the Discovery info and a Motion to Compel was filed in May. The Commisioner has yet to make a decision on tha...

    Curtis’s Answer

    Discovery procedures in Family Court can be like the starting and stopping of a train. It takes a lot of energy to get it going, but a lot of energy to stop it. There's also delay, and it's not uncommon for weeks to go by before attending to unresponsive discovery requests, due in large part to the immediacy of other pending matters. But where there is a pending motion to compel and no compliance, the Court will usually try and figure out what needs to be done. Oftentimes, it's necessary to ask the Court for a continuance of the hearing because there is insufficient time between getting the discovery and actually being able to use it at trial. A motion for continuance is governed by Family Court Civil Rule 40. The Court may or may not grant the motion, but it is more likely to give a continuance if asked, and unlikely to order a continuance if not asked in advance. Showing up for trial and saying, "I'm not ready because I didn't get my discovery," is not usually a good practice. Sometimes, when the other party has the burden of proving something, it can be an option to let the party with the burden miss discovery deadlines, but in child support cases, as in most cases, the right solution is to show up prepared with both sides' information. When parties are open about the available information, it's also easier to settle cases, and cases usually do settle when all that needs to be known is known. When a case cannot settle because one party is withholding information, that set of circumstances can be a basis for an award of counsel fees, although some decisions in Delaware have denied an award of counsel fees to a private party in child support proceedings because any person seeking child support has the ability to hire the Attorney General's office for a $25 fee. I recommend to most of my clients that they hire the Delaware Division of Child Support Enforcement (an office of Delaware's Attorney General) at the outset of the matter, to represent them in child support proceedings.

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  • What kind of motion do I file if the mother of my children goes against a visitation agreement on court record?

    At a court hearing in June, the judge put a visitation schedule on court record while decides the custody matters. The mother is threatening constantly threatening to go against the record. What kind of motion do I file if she does go against record?

    Curtis’s Answer

    If a Judge placed an order on the record but has not yet issued a written decision and order, then a letter to the Judge asking for a copy of the written decision and order may be necessary. It's possible that a written order was issued, and that requires a trip to the Family Court file room to ask for a copy of the order. The Family Court will also provide, for a small fee, a copy of the hearing transcript which can be listened too, and to make sure that what was heard was what was said. Once a written order is put in place, the local police can enforce the order, but police officers will often refer the complaining parent or party back to the Family Court. If one parent is violating the court order, then the other parent or party needs to file a Petition - Rule to Show Cause aka Contempt Petition, and make clear and concise statements as to what is going wrong. Oftentimes, there are two sides to any story and the parent or person on the other end of the story is allowed to explain to the Family Court why he or she is not really violating the order. There are defenses to Contempt Petitions (even when one side is not following the letter of the order) for example, if the parent or party seeking visitation is visibly intoxicated or acting violently when showing up for visitation. Those could both be reasons to not comply in the moment with the letter of a court order. If a Judge finds one parent or party in contempt, after a hearing, the Judge will often award make up visitation. Sometimes multiple contempt proceedings lead to new petitions to modify custody or visitation, in a continuing attempt to get it right. Oftentimes the fight ends up harming everyone involved. In my experience, it is better if both parents can reach accommodations with each other about what is right for the children and each other. Persons who share children in different homes often disagree, otherwise they might be together as a couple. Also, many families who cannot cope with managing custody orders in a way that is beneficial to a child are prone to mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues, betrayal or mistrust, and money problems. If these problems are in the way, then it is difficult for the Family Court to solve the problems that the parents or parties cannot solve themselves. In my professional and personal experience, parents working together to resolve the problems in their lives by seeking professional help through counseling, and everyone working to the best of their abilities and potential to provide the maximum possible income for the fractured family, if possible, provides a better foundation for the lives of that fractured family's children, regardless of what is dictated in a custody and visitation order.

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  • 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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