Blog on Divorce and Family Law
Learning some basic information about divorce and family law can help prepare you for the legal issues you face. Our attorneys believe that honest advice, straight talk and some basic legal knowledge can make a big difference. A legal issue is a two-sided coin ─ your side versus the other side. Our job is to apply our knowledge, skills and experience to help you get the results you want. However, that doesn’t mean there is no participation on your part. You have important decisions to make that affect your future. The better you understand, the better you are at making smart decisions.
We hope you find our blog useful. Of course, forming a client-attorney relationship is the only way to receive legal advice, and these posts are not intended as legal advice nor the establishment of a client-attorney relationship.
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For most people, divorce is challenging, emotional and complicated. However, when you are dealing with mental illness or a bipolar spouse in divorce, typically, the process is even more difficult.
What Does Bipolar Mean?
According to WebMD bipolar refers to a mental illness also called manic-depression where the individual experiences severe high and low mood swings along with changes in sleep, energy, thinking and behavior. The extremes go from overly happy and energized to sad, hopeless and sluggish.
What If Your Spouse Never Acted Like This During Early Marriage?
According to Stephanie Burchell, Ph.D. licensed marriage and family therapist in Dallas, Texas, “What we more commonly associate with bi-polar disorder, such as the extreme mood swings and dramatic shifts between manic and depressive behavior, is sometimes not present until a major life crisis triggers a full blown episode of mania. Thus, it’s very common for milder cases of the illness to delay an accurate diagnosis.” She also says, “the emotional strain and stress associated with divorce has been associated with triggering the onset of a severe manic episode or relapse of some sort.”
She also advises that being consistent in the message given to your spouse throughout the divorce process is very important. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed.
Ideas for Detaching
Mandy Walker, who is a Divorce Coach and Divorce Mediator in Colorado encourages clients to engage in what she calls loving detachment. You can detach by:
- Recognizing this is a process and will take time
- Considering how to help your spouse be more self-sufficient
- Building a parenting plan that keeps your spouse as actively involved with your children as is safe and feasible
- Not holding your spouse’s condition against them to penalize or harm them
The Practical and Legal Needs When Dealing with a Bipolar Spouse in Divorce
Discuss with your lawyer the legal steps you should take to protect your rights, finances and property. Should you close accounts? Should you safeguard important legal documents? Consult with a divorce lawyer early on during the divorce process and make sure the actions you take are legally sound.
C.E. Borman & Associates is a law firm that helps people with estate planning, probate, family law, divorce and other related issues.
We often hear news announcers talk about child abduction. What occurs can cover a wide range, including:
- A sexual predator taking a child
- A non-custodial parent fleeing with a child
- Parents who fear domestic violence and have disappeared to protect the child and themselves
Texas Law on Child Abduction
Parental child abduction is the offense of wrongfully removing, retaining, detaining or concealing a child from the other parent.
Obviously not all instances of child abduction are the same, and Texas law accounts for such differences. These instances are covered under Texas Penal Code 25:03 called Interference with Child Custody .
Affirmative Defenses for Interfering with Custody
There are circumstances where child abduction has an affirmative defense, meaning an attorney can argue on behalf of the parent accused of child abduction to mitigate or defeat the charges. Affirmative defenses include:
- When a parent and child are fleeing to escape from family violence
- When the parent or guardian’s possession of the child was due to circumstances beyond his/her control and the other parent was notified or attempts were made to notify as soon as possible
Child Abduction that Is a Felony
However, all too often during a divorce case, a parent will leave an area with the child to prevent the other parent from finding them or to try to gain leverage in a custody proceeding. Doing so is a criminal offense in Texas, and you can be subject to felony charges.
Illegal circumstances involved with such felonies include:
- When you are violating a court judgment or order, which includes a temporary order that determined child custody
- When without authorization you take the child out of the geographic area where the court has jurisdiction during a divorce or child custody proceeding
- When you take the child outside of the United States without the other parent’s permission and to deprive the other parent of custody
- When as a non-custodial parent you entice a child to leave the other parent or guardian’s custody without returning the child within three days of committing the offense
Offenses under this Texas law are subject to felony charges with incarceration between 180 days to a maximum of two years and a fine up to $10,000.
Are you struggling with child custody arrangements or facing family violence? Discuss your situation with an experienced divorce lawyer.
Before taking your child away from the other parent, always consult with an attorney. Or, if you are the parent that lost a child through child abduction, find out about your legal rights. C.E. Borman & Associates can provide you with sound legal guidance and help you make the right decisions.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent lies to their children and pits them against the other parent. Often parental alienation arises during divorce when an insecure parent alienates the children as a means of gaining child custody.
In a TEDx Talks video, Jennifer Harman discusses parental alienation. She is a researching social psychologist, associate professor of psychology at Colorado State University, and co-author of Parents Acting Badly. She states that 13% of parents are targets of parental alienation.
A High Profile Minnesota Case That Involved Parental Alienation
In April 2013, the Rucki girls, Samantha and Gianna ran away from home, but no Amber Alert or manhunt immediately followed in an attempt to locate them. Almost three years later, it was discovered that they were alive, well and living at a horse farm that was located less than three hours from their home.
The mother, who relocated the girls and lied about doing so, subsequently faced felony charges for child abduction. A jury found her guilty on September 22, 2016 according to Sun Thisweek.
However, the parental alienation occurred much earlier than the abduction and eventually led up to the girls’ disappearance. The mother claimed that the father was physically abusive to her and their five children. In 2011, she filed for divorce and got a protective order against her husband. During the divorce, the court assigned several therapists to evaluate the children, and they determined that the mother was engaging in parental alienation. The parent’s oldest child, Nico Rucki testified that his father never abused them or his mother.
Are You Dealing with Parental Alienation? Talk with One of Our Attorneys.
If you’re struggling with parental alienation during divorce, discuss your situation with an experienced divorce lawyer so you understand your rights and have legal recourse to deal with your situation. If you have questions about divorce, our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates are glad to provide you with compassionate legal guidance.
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