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Joan M Bundy

Joan Bundy’s Answers

749 total


  • I'm due to give birth. Unwed, father wants the baby to have his last name. How do courts decide these things?

    Joan’s Answer

    My understanding is that, in the vast majority of the United States (except for some Native American tribes), we use a patrilineal genealogy system. That means that children are traced through their father's line primarily. We could debate all day whether that is right or wrong, but it does mean that unless the parents can agree otherwise, the child generally will be assigned the last name of the father on the birth certificate, at the hospital at the birth, etc. If you guys can agree to some kind of hyphenated surname, that would be great. Barring an agreement, though, the father's surname will be applied. Best of luck with the birth!

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  • I’m 16 I live with my aunt and she has custody of me can I move with my dad if I wanted to?

    Joan’s Answer

    I certainly can empathize with your predicament, and it makes sense that you would want to live with your father. He is your closest living relative, after all. However, it's not quite as simple as that. A judge has to decide what is in your best interests, based on all the possible options. It sounds as if your aunt has gone to court and requested and been granted at least some kind of guardianship/custodianship or something along those line, likely through juvenile dependency court. Unless it's turned into a permanent guardianship or adoption, it can possibly undone if your father is interested in stepping up and telling the court he can and wants to have custody of you instead. He would need to participate in the court case and show that he is stable enough to care for you full-time. I wish you the best of luck! Take care.

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  • Can I be charged with animal cruelty in NYC for severely matted dogs?

    Joan’s Answer

    That does not sound like animal abuse, although it might be considered neglect. Regardless, a groomer is not a mandatory reporter like a veterinarian. Rest assured the best thing you can do for your pets right now is to take them to a groomer and help them be free of their "severe" mats. Or do the best you can at home to remote the mats and make them more comfortable in the meantime. Best of luck!

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  • Is there a way to open my divorce case back up without having to file all over again?

    Joan’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear about your situation. However, it sounds like you are going to need to go back to court regardless if you want the court to reexamine or reconsider its decisions. Without more information about what went wrong, what you want fixed and how long it's been since your last court hearing, it is difficult to advise you further. Best, Joan

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  • Does she deserve bah and why do i have to give it to her?

    Joan’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear about your situation. However, I do not presently handle any Pinal County cases. If you email me at [email protected], I will gladly send you a list of capable family-law attorneys who do practice there. Meanwhile, if I am understanding you correctly, you want to know whether your BAH (which I believe is a military abbreviation for Basic Allowance for Housing?) should count toward your income in determining child support and/or spousal maintenance. Is that right? If so, yes, it would count. Arizona is a no-fault state and the court does not penalize someone for infidelity or getting financial support from a new significant other. Best of luck! Joan

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  • How do I go about enforcing divorce decree regarding child support and what happens to ex husband if he wasn't complying ?

    Joan’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear about the situation you now find yourself in. I don't presently practice in Pinal County, but there are many qualified family-law attorneys who do, and I would be glad to send you a list if you email me at [email protected] Meanwhile, yes, you can certainly file a petition to enforce any provisions of the decree. Also, father may be held in contempt of court and possibly suffer punishments such as decreased parenting time as a result. Best of luck!

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  • How do I establish paternity & support?

    Joan’s Answer

    You would file a petition for establishment. The court has free forms including fillable and step-by-step forms for doing this. There would be a filing fee of a few hundred dollars, and you would be off to the races. Let me know if you need any assistance with any of this; I would be glad to help! Best, Joan

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  • If a child custody case has already been heard in one state; can the UCCJEA still be used to move the case?

    Joan’s Answer

    It's a little hard to follow your question without more information about what states are involved (for example, is Arizona one of them? Does the child presently live in AZ?). Perhaps you could refile with additional information? Meanwhile, I would say that wherever the child lives now would have the superior jurisdiction (right to hear the case), usually established within six months of residence in the state, although states vary. Best, Joan

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  • 1st Breathalyzer Violation BAC 0.03- What happens next?

    Joan’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear you are going through a high-conflict divorce. I am no scientist, just a family law attorney, but alcohol can stay in the system for quite a while, and that is a fairly low reading. Cough medicine would have nothing to do with the testing, as Soberlink just tests for alcohol, I believe, not codeine or anything else that might be considered a controlled substance typically used in cough medicines. I doubt that this one positive reading is going to jettison your right to all parenting time, but if it happened during exercised parenting time it won't be great. But if there's no ongoing pattern (no other positives) I would imagine it will just be considered a one-time blip on the radar. Best of luck!

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  • Can my nephew take his 18 month old daughter out of state to his parents home without the mother's consent?

    Joan’s Answer

    Sure. The law says that both parents have 100% right to possess and take the child with them anywhere they want in the world, until/unless there is a court order in place governing child custody or what is now being called parenting time and legal decision-making. That's not to say that either should do so without providing notice to the other, but simply taking a child out of state, especially if just for a visit, is not cause for criminal or civil repercussions. Also, obtaining an Order Of Protection against mother that also covers the child might be a good idea, although mother could object and require a hearing to try to get it overturned. However, realize mother also could file something on an emergency basis to get the child kept in Arizona until an initial determination can be made about parenting time, but if a child lives long enough in another state it could possibly have jurisdiction as well/instead. These are complicated legal matters, and your nephew would definitely benefit from advising with a qualified family-law attorney to help him through this trying time. Don't go it alone!

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