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Debra Joan Cheatham Reece
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Debra Reece’s Answers

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  • How can I get items left to others in moms will

    After falling ill my mom agreed to leaving her home to her sister in xchange for careing for her. Mom changed will to state this and to appoint her executrix over the will and even inserted a no contest clause. Can I file to change this

    Debra’s Answer

    As others have stated, the will controls. Your mother's property is hers to designate to whom it goes upon her death. That being said, if there is some reason you think your mother's mental capacity is not sound, or she was illegally coerced into changing her will, you should speak to a lawyer, who can advise you on steps you could take. Please remember, though, that when an elderly person gets sick, the thought of a nursing home looms large and frightening to them, and it is well worth that person remembering someone in their will in exchange for being cared for. That may seem frustrating to the children who expect to inherit but, after all, the property is hers; and if planning to give it to a caregiver ensures she will be cared for by someone she knows and trusts, that is a better alternative than a nursing home. Plus, if she didn't get the care and needed to go into a nursing home, she would probably lose the home to Medicaid anyway.

    Good luck with your situation.

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  • Request info on purchase of refill airtime using a stolen debit card. 4 different transactions?

    Is anyway straight talk and net 10 can tell me who's acct. my stolen debit card bought airtime for? I have bank statement time and date the purchase was made and i have police report.

    Debra’s Answer

    Probably. But they're not likely to do it for you. As far as they are concerned, so long as you are reimbursed through your bank for the stolen card, Straight Talk and Net 10 do not owe you any information. If the bank or police decide to pursue the threat, they will be able to get the information so they can prosecute.

    Be sure you fill out the necessary paperwork with your bank to dispute the charge. Of course, you'll also have to agree to prosecute the perpetrator if they are found. Something tells me you may suspect you know who that might have been, based on your desire to find out who did this.

    Unfortunately, it is super easy to steal someone's debit card info. Happened to me and someone used the info to buy gas at three stations in California. And I'm very careful about how and where I use my card. So chances are good this was a racket using burner phones. You should just focus on getting your money back.

    Good luck.

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  • Can a traffic violation from 19 years ago still be enforced/collected?

    I received a letter from an attorney to collect on a traffic violation from 1996 for the City of El Reno. The charge was failure to provide insurance. It was issued in Oklahoma. Can this even be valid any longer? I don't live in OK any longer and ...

    Debra’s Answer

    You posted this in the Arkansas forum. You need to consult with an Oklahoma attorney since the violation was in Oklahoma.

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  • Can an ad litem attorney tell by e-mail the previous attorney on the case any details on the case like there is no reunification

    Current criminal justice major and I am looking for a no win no fee attorney to sue DHS and maybe ad litem. I am even willing to help assist with office work you need if allowed by law. If you are a dynamic confident lawyer that knows they can win...

    Debra’s Answer

    Depending on what exactly you want to sue for, you may not be able to have a contingency - fee agreement. Contingency fees are not allowed in family law or criminal cases. Not sure how yours falls.

    Also, DHS is a state agency and therefore immune from suit in court. The best you can do is bring a claim before the Claims Commission against DHS. And if the ad litem was acting as an agent of DHS, that goes for him/her too.

    So without more facts, you're probably not going to get any bites at your offer. A percentage of nothing is nothing, and it is not likely you can win any money damages against DHS or its agents. And any good, competent, "confident" attorney is not going to work for free. Your best bet is to consult with an attorney familiar with DHS cases (I assume this was a dependency - neglect case) and let them outline your options for you. I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's the truth. Good luck.

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  • Can a property manager of an apartment complex kick me out because my attitude towards the staff?

    I moved into an apartment complex in August 2014. the maintenance crew has been to my apartment twice for a broken Air conditioner before winter in 2014. in april 2015 the maintenance crew AND the property manager came to my apartment to look at t...

    Debra’s Answer

    It depends on your lease and exactly what you did/said. No one has to put up with verbal abuse. One person's "simply firm" is another person's "rude."

    Have you considered giving your landlord written notice that if it is not fixed this time, you will have a professional fix it and deduct the repair amount from your rent? Of course, if you don't have a lease, they could decide to terminate your agreement.

    Landlord/tenant law in Arkansas heavily favors the landlord. You'll need to keep that in mind. They have to give you things like running water, working plumbing, and heat in the winter. But AC is not a necessity under the law. It's a convenience. (One I love, but a convenience nonetheless.) If you want to stay there but they don't fix it properly, consider repairing it yourself or getting a window unit. I know that seems unfair. But the law isn't fair. It's whatever the legislature says it is, and they're much more landlord-friendly than tenant-friendly. Good luck.

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  • The man my wife was having an affair with, used his position as a caregiver, with my Eye Surgeon to have an affair with my wife.

    I found out recently that the entire Eye Clinic staff was aware, of the circumstances to include the good Doctor himself. Do I have any grounds for a legal action. I have suffered significant financial loss and emotional hardship.

    Debra’s Answer

    Based on the limited information you gave here, there is no cause of action. As Mr. Scholl stated, there is no longer an action for Alienation of Affection in Arkansas.

    As for the doctor and his staff being aware of what was going on -- that would be an internal employment issue for the doctor. If my staff did that (had an affair with a client's wife), I would probably terminate their employment, because I think that's just bad form. But hurt feelings don't give rise to lawsuits. If I understand your question correctly, you had eye surgery and the caregiver was there to help you and utilized his access to your home and your wife to have an affair with her while you were recuperating. That's pretty much the definition of despicable. But life is full of despicable people. If you don't believe me, watch Congress.

    If there is anything he did to YOU (such as get you to sign anything or agree to anything) with his influence as a caregiver, then you could have a potential lawsuit against him or the doctor. But your post doesn't include anything like that. If that is the case, then by all means sit down and talk with a lawyer in your area who can consult with you on your possible outcomes.

    I'm very sorry for what you went through. I hope your eye surgery turned out well and you will be able to move along with your life. As for your wife and the "caregiver," karma has a way of taking care of people like that. My best advice is for you to put them in the past to the best that you can and take the high road. Good luck.

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  • Recently went through a custody case, ex is pulling stuff with the kids what can I do now?

    I recently went through a custody battle (I 'am custodial parent) and I kept custody of my children. I find out today from my child and they said that their dad had been talking them about him doing background checks on my current spouse. I have a...

    Debra’s Answer

    Hopefully your divorce decree or settlement agreement contained some language to the effect that the parties were not to disparage the other party to the children, or allow anyone else to do so, or words to that effect. You are correct that it is not healthy for either parent to discuss with the children the parent's personal opinions of the other parent or their new spouse. However, depending on the ages of your children, they may have brought the subject up, and it can be difficult to try to avoid talking about the divorce/custody, etc., with the kids.

    Talk to the attorney who represented you in the custody battle. If your ex is violating the terms of the decree or any mutual restraining order, then you may be able to take him back to court for contempt for discussing this with the kids.

    On the other hand, if there is some reason you think your new spouse will not pass a background check for something that is significant as to custody (for instance, he's a registered sex offender or he's got a violent criminal past), then your attorney is going to need to advise you on the possible outcomes.

    Performing a background check on your children's new stepparent is not "pulling stuff." It's caring enough about your kids that you want to be sure they are safe. I assume you already performed a background check on your new husband before you ever brought him around your children. If not, you may need to do that so you can find out what your ex is going to find out. It's always better to know. And get your lawyer's advice. If the news is bad, you could actually be looking at a legitimate challenge to custody.

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  • What rights do I have if I'm married but my wife is from south Africa, my daughter is a u.s citizen and is living in S Africa?

    I'm wanting to get a divorce and custoday of my daughter. But she is in South Africa and her mother got her a dual citizenship without my permission. My daughter was born in Searcy Arkansas and is a u.s citizen. My wife is a South African citizen.

    Debra’s Answer

    I agree with Mr. Scholl that you need a lawyer for this. First, your permission is not needed for your daughter to have dual citizenship. Citizenship is controlled by the laws of the country. For instance, if a US citizen goes to France, marries someone there and has a child, that child is a citizen of the US (because of parentage) as well as a citizen of France (because of parentage and birth), because those are the laws of the US and France. It is for your daughter to choose which citizenship she will have when she turns 18 -- that is not your decision, nor is it your wife's decision.

    And divorce/custody can be a very tricky thing when your spouse is living in another country and has the child there. You need to talk to a family law lawyer who has experience with international divorce and custody issues. The fact that your daughter is living in South Africa is going to be significant, and an American court may not have jurisdiction to determine custody, depending on the treaties that could be involved.

    Good luck.

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  • I live in a house I co-own w/ my parents but they're basically my landlords.What can I do about my dad's invasion of my privacy

    My dad has a habit of dropping by a few times a week.Often he stays for several hrs mowing&entering the house repeatedly to use the kitchen & bathroom.I've put up w/ this a long time since he's my dad&he does text first but often only 15-30 mins b...

    Debra’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    First, it sounds like your lucky to have a dad who appears to care about you and is taking care of responsibilities of the house like upkeep, yard work, etc.

    A good way to establish parameters would be for you to pick hours during the day -- for instance from 8-5, that he can come by, but he needs to notify you by the evening before if he's planning to come over. As him not to come over before 8am (so you can get up, get your shower, etc., before he ever comes), and after 5pm (so you can have a peaceful dinner with your boyfriend and spend time with him in the evening. Unless there's something else going on here that you are failing to mention, your dad will probably honor this request.

    Considering that you're on SSI for mental illness, he probably feels it necessary to stay involved in your life and be sure that you are okay AND that the property is being properly cared for. After all, he has an investment in it too. But that doesn't mean that you're not entitled to some privacy as an adult.

    As one of the other responders said, just talk with him. Sometimes an open conversation that doesn't involve high emotions can achieve a lot. Good luck.

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  • What are my rights as a mother if my mom has guardianship of my kids can she not let them stay night unless me n my boyfriend

    drug test

    Debra’s Answer

    As the other two attorneys mentioned, the guardianship order will control, to a degree. If you were given visitation in the guardianship order, then the guardian is supposed to comply with that. If she is not, then you can petition the court for her denial of the court's order.

    However, I assume there must have been a problem with drugs since you mention them and since your mother has guardianship in the first place. Therefore, she may be well within her rights and responsibilities as a guardian to prevent the children from visiting unless she can be assured the environment is safe. As the legal guardian, she is charged by the court with caring for the children just like a parent would. And, just like a parent, she must be sure the children are in a safe environment. If you and your boyfriend have drug problems and she cannot be assured that you have gotten them under control, she could be held responsible for endangering the welfare of minors and could actually be charged criminally.

    So if she's willing to let them stay so long as you get drug tested, and you've had drug problems in the past, you may want to comply so that you can see your kids. The judge's biggest concern is going to be the children's safety, and your ability to visit the kids will take a second chair to that. If in doubt, contact a good family law attorney in your area who can walk you through everything and can examine the guardianship papers to see what your rights may be. Good luck!

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