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Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink

Jeffrey Wittenbrink’s Answers

110 total


  • I need an attorney that fights against the state instead of working for them

    I'm battling my ex who is a repeated convicted felon over false child neglect charges filed against me & keeping me from seeing my kids due to the false claims dcfs was told & without proof, they are winning by heresay & I went from being a mom th...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Claims against a parent made through the Department of Children and Family Services can be difficult and require an attorney with experience in these matters. As the previous attorney answered, you should ask the attorney whether or not they have experience in criminal as well as family law, because in many child neglect or abandonment cases the parent is referred for criminal charges, in addition to having custody and visitation severely limited.

    You should immediately consult with an experienced family law attorney that also has criminal law experience and experience in juvenile court.

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  • Does my son's biological father have to sign anything (rights) over for adoption since he's never been involved in 4 years?

    My husband wants to adopt my son. My son is 4, and has no biological father listed on his birth certificate, nor has his biological father met him or tried to have any contact (physical, emotional, or financial) with him. I have not heard from him...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana, a biological father who has had no contact with their child since its birth four years ago will be deemed to waive his right to consent (or withhold consent) for an intrafamily adoption. It should be easy for court to find that the adoption would be in the best interest of the child, since the biological father has no relationship with the child. You will have to notify the biological father and he will be allowed "notice and opportunity" to defend the adoption. You should seek a family law attorney to help with your intrafamily adoption.

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  • What do I need?

    Hello. I've been married with my husband a few months, but we've been dating 4 years and have lived together for 3 years. I also have my 4 year old son who lives with us and never sees his real dad. His real dad chose not to see him and hasn't sin...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    Your case would be called an "intrafamily adoption." In Louisiana a parent (your ex) may lose the right to consent (or withhold consent) to an intrafamily adoption if they have failed without just cause to contact their child for six months or more, or for failing to pay child support as ordered. At that point the issue would be whether or not the adoption is "in the best interests" of the child. If you have a judgment of sole custody, the adoption is presumed to be in the child's best interests.

    There are many factors that the court should consider as to whether or not the adoption would be in the child's best interests, but the fact that you have been in a stable, loving relationship for an extended period of time with a person that the child sees as "daddy," and that the biological father is not in contact or have a relationship with the child are two large factors in your favor. You should consult a family law attorney immediately to pursue the adoption.

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  • What can I do to get full custody of my unborn son?

    I'm 27 weeks right now. I was living in South Mississippi when I found out I was pregnant. I was 6 weeks. We was living in our own Camper. He had a job. He said we would start getting baby stuff. (Never did) I left the father when I was 10 weeks b...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana, a father who has not signed an affidavit of paternity with the mother's consent, or sued for filiation of a child, has very few rights that he can enforce. If he does not sign the birth certificate, the mother may not be able to place him on the birth certificate unilaterally. He has no right to have the child given his last name unless he is married to the mother at the time of the child's birth, unless the mother consents.

    If the birth father does not place his name on the Louisiana putative father registry, he may not receive notice in the case of a later adoption, so any father who does not pursue his rights may lose them.

    Custody proceedings may not take place until after a child is born. A mother pursuing child support in the case of an absent father does not have to pursue custody, unless she is worried that the father will appear and attempt to take possession of the child, in which case his paternity must have been already established, such as by being named on the child's birth certificate by way of an affidavit of paternity to which the mother consents.

    In an instance where a father is an habitual user of illegal drugs, many courts in Louisiana may grant the mother sole custody, pending the father taking steps to be drug free and sober for a period of time, usually six months.

    You should see a Louisiana family law attorney about protecting your rights prior to the child's birth and pursuing custody after the child is born.

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  • Are they laws against mother in law trying to break up marrage

    she is telling my wife ugly things, im a bum, your husband has moved on, etc.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    While Louisiana does not recognize a cause of action for "alienation of affection," certain actions could give rise to a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The burden of proof and damages is heavy, however, and usually would require treatment and testimony from an expert.

    You should strongly consider marital counseling with your wife, in order that you and she could increase your communication and deal with proper boundaries for your mother in law. Uninterrupted, corrosive influence by a third party, without some kind of counseling and intervention, could due irreparable damage to your marriage. Many family law attorneys work closely with counselors, and may be able to refer you to someone for help.

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  • Do I need a family law lawyer?

    My ex husband is having mental issues and has been in and out of mental health facilities and jail since our divorce 6 yrs ago. He doesn't pay child support and his visits with the child are sporadic. My new husband would like to adopt the child t...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana there is no minimum length of time for you to be married for your husband to qualify to adopt your minor child in an intrafamily adoption. If your ex-husband has not paid court ordered child support for more than six months, his permission to adopt the child may be waived. Nevertheless, it is easier to obtain the adoption if he signs a simple consent. You should meet with a family law attorney as soon as you want to get started with the process.

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  • Intrafamily adoption process?

    I want to adopt my 2 step daughters ages 11 and 13. I have been in a relationship with their mother for some years, but we married finally in 2011. Their bio dad lives somehwere in Arkansas. She had a last address on him but he moved years ago. He...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana, an intrafamily adoption is fairly easy if not contested. While the situation you describe indicates that the father may have waived his ability to contest the adoption of your stepdaughters, you will still have to follow the proper procedures and give him constitutionally acceptable notice and opportunity to defend against the loss of his parental rights. He may be entitled to a court-appointed attorney to defend, and the children may require an appointed attorney in order to complete the adoption. There are several possible wrinkles that you may not have anticipated. You should, at a minimum, consult with a family law attorney to prepare and file your intrafamily adoption.

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  • Is it advised to call family services if a mother of a minor child has moved 5 times in 8 months and had child in 3 schools?

    Mother of minor child, age 9, has moved 5 times since January 2014. The child has been in three different schools and in six different homes since moving from the original house in January. Is this a good enough reason to get family services invo...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana a child may be found in "need of care" if they are abused or neglected, according to the relevant statutes. If a child is clothed, fed and attends school without too many tardies or absences, and is not suffering any abuse, child protective services will probably decline to become involved.

    You do not explain your relationship to the situation. If a custody case is pending and the issue is what is in the "best interest of the child," several factors relevant to child custody are mentioned here, such as the stability of the family home and the proper education of the child. If a child is moved many times, they will sometimes lose progress in their education and suffer accordingly. A parent with a more stable situation may be favored in a custody case.

    You should consult with a family law attorney if you are a co-parent involved in this situation.

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  • Is it legal for my husband to buy a $60,000 gift (home for his 40 year old married daughter?

    We retired, he from City Parish, and I from the state. He bought the home with half of his retirement without my knowledge.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana, either party may alienate community property without the consent of the other, although sometimes rules regarding alienation of retirement benefits may preclude a party from disposing of retirement in a significant amount without the spouse's permission. For example, a married person must have a spouse's signature prior to changing a beneficiary or electing the payment of certain kinds of benefits, depending upon the benefit. If the payment were made improperly you may have a right to revoke it or "take it back," or otherwise hold the administrator liable.

    If the gift were made beyond what the normal means and ability of the couple generally allowed, there may be an action to reimburse the community upon divorce or partition.

    You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to determine your rights in this matter.

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  • When do I get to say no, and stop visiting my dad?

    I'm currently 17, but I turn 18 in three months. Me and my dad never get along and I never have positive visits when I have to visit him when custody schedules require. I'm hoping and I've herd that once a child turns 18 they no longer have to fol...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana you are considered an adult and free from parental control at age 18. At that age you may move out, be on your own and be responsible for yourself. If you still live with your mother, your father may still be required to pay child support for you if you are attending but have not graduated high school until age 19.

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