Defining Family

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in January 2012 that family court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate property issues between unmarried parents at the end of their relationship. The parties in this case (In re Mallett, N.H., No. 2011-338, 1/13/12) had cohabitated for fourteen years. The court decided that family court does have the authority to hear issues related to custody and child support, but it does not have such authority over the parties property division.

The court rejected the mothers arguments that family court should have jurisdiction based on fairness and equity because the mother knowingly lived with the father of her children for fourteen years in an unmarried state.… <Read More>

Private versus Public Agencies

The New York State website for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs includes many links that provide information about state services for those needs, as well as publications on the various topics. Of the many listed I was lead to a document describing city resources for special needs children. The city’s Children with Special Health Care Needs Program (CSHCN) mainly provides a diagnosis, payment of medical bills, and a treatment program. Since the brochure does not go into detail about the treatment program, one would assume that it is nothing to boast about. If parents seek further assistance for children with special needs, they must take it upon themselves to find continued treatment, therapies, and normalizing activities. … <Read More>

Guardianship 17A vs. 81

In an effort to explore different areas of family law, I registered for a Project Based Learning course at New York Law School titled The Guardianship Project. This course allows students to represent plaintiffs in Surrogate’s Court Article 17A Guardianship proceedings. Article 17A Guardianship allow the plaintiff, usually a close relative, to be appointed guardian over their “developmentally disabled or mentally retarded” family member who is over eighteen years of age. I use that terminology because that is the terminology used in the statutes and petition documents. The class of persons who can petition for Article 17A guardianship is quite narrow.… <Read More>

Criminal Charges for Administration for Children’s Services Caseworkers

The horrid death of Marchella Pierce’s, the four year old that died weighing a mere 18 pounds, produced four arrests.  Her mother, her grandmother and the two city caseworkers on her case all have charges against them.

She came under the watch of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services and her well-being fell to caseworkers who, prosecutors say, ignored the family.… <Read More>