Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Watch what you put on Facebook!

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

We all know that you shouldn’t put things like your home address or phone number on facebook.  But a lot of people put things on Facebook that can really ‘come back to bite  you’.  Talking to a good friend in person or on the phone is one thing, but typing some things onto Facebook can cause very severe repercussions, especially if you are in some sort of legal situation.  Privacy settings get changed relatively often these days and you really don’t know who is reading what you post.

In fact, you should always assume that whatever you post is being seen by everyone, including your soon-to-be-ex or his/her attorney and the Guardian Ad Litem that has been assigned to help the court make a custody decision.  Posting derogatory remarks about your spouse often backfires and leads the decision-makers to think poorly about you and your ability to co-parent your children effectively.

Talking about a new boyfriend and what a great weekend you spent together with your kids will possibly send you back to court when your children’s father points out that there was a court order that did not allow you to have overnight visitors of the opposite sex when the children were present.

Talking about your adventures on the new horse at the stable where you ride will not show you in a good light when you are brought into court for failure to provide the child for visitation and your excuse was that you are in a high-risk pregnancy that does not allow you to drive for over an hour to bring your child to his other parent after you moved away to be in a different state with your new husband.

Stories and pictures of you skiing do not help when you are trying to get disability or workman’s comp because of a back injury.

Bragging about having a new wide-screen TV that ‘fell off the back of the truck’ just might show up as evidence in a criminal investigation.

A picture of you with someone might be used as evidence that you and the person knew each other even though you say you never met.

Pictures of you with your ‘friend’ might just show up in your divorce proceeding as evidence of an extra-marital affair.  Or pictures of you out drinking with your buds might just show up in your custody case.

And don’t forget that potential employers might be reading when you write that your job is soooo boring and the time and date stamp of the post shows that you post on Facebook a lot while you are supposedly working.  I especially like the posts that tell the world that you think your boss is a ___ (fill in the blank).

You might think I’m just making this stuff up, but I’m not.  These things are really happening.

Text messages and Facebook posts are showing up more often in legal actions and they can often derail your legal plans.

Just be careful of what you post.  Remember that what you post, or what comments you make, are not just being seen by your closest friends.  Your fiercest enemy might also be watching!

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

July is Sandwich Generation Month!

Monday, July 4th, 2011

When I hear the word ‘Sandwich’ I tend to think of Peanut-Butter and Jelly, which always brings a smile to my face.

But there is a new way of viewing ‘Sandwich’ that is not so much fun.  That’s the role more of us are playing by being the caregivers of both our parents and our children.

In the grand scheme, this is not really anything new.  Families used to always take care of the generations, often in a single home.  Grandma and Grandpa shared the same home with their children and grandchildren providing wisdom and assistance as the new generation came along, and receiving the attention and care of those in the family as they slowed down in their elder years.

But things changed, especially here in the United States, and families tended to live in their own separate homes with Grandma and Grandpa often living across town or even across the country.  Most of us today can’t imagine even sharing a room with a sister or brother, let alone imagine sharing a home with Grandma or Grandpa.

None of us would consider leaving a two-year old home alone.  After all, the two-year old can’t really get food to eat or make sure they make it to the bathroom on time.  And there are things in the home that could injure the child if they are not used correctly.  The two-year old is also just learning about freedom and self-reliance and if the two-year old refuses to do what we tell them to do for their own good, we can pick them up and put them in their bedroom for a ‘time out’.  The parents get to set the ground rules because a two-year old doesn’t know that it is even possible to stay up past 8:00.

It’s a different story with our aging parents.  They DO know that they can stay up past 8:00, and they’ve done it for years!  Why, they even taught US!  And most of the time, they are too large to pick up and physically move to the bedroom for a ‘time out’ when they get cantankerous.  Unfortunately, our aging parents might also be in the position of not being able to get food for themselves or eating correctly, or making it to the bathroom on time, or using things in the home that can cause injury if not used correctly.

Our parents are living longer and having more health issues, both physical and mental, then previous generations.  I know there was nobody in my family that ever got cancer until my uncle was diagnosed a few years ago.  But nobody in the family had ever lived to be 85 before either.   On my dad’s side of the family, there wasn’t a history of dementia until the family members starting living into their 90’s.

Luckily, there are more and more services available to help us take care of our parents.  These services can take away some of the stress involved in day-to-day chores such as making sure that our parents are eating correctly and being kept clean and safe.  There was a time when babysitters and day-care centers for children were a new concept, even though today we see them as an established institution in our lifestyle.  It appears that there will come a day when adult care givers and adult day-care centers will also become established in our lifestyle.

These services cost money.  But unlike children who have no resources of their own, often our parents will have some resources available to them to help pay for the services needed for their care.

Also, as parents of minor children you have the legal authority to make decisions for your children.  This is not so for your parents.  It is important to have the correct documents in place so that you have the authority to make important and day-to-day decisions for your aging parents.  These include Powers of Attorney and Medical Directives.  You might also want to consider establishing a Trust so that your parent’s assets can be transferred with a minimum of hassle and used for their benefit.

What should you do?  Read…there are a lot of resources available on the web.  Talk to your parents…find out what they want while they are able to tell you.  Talk to people you trust…your doctor, your pastor, your lawyer.  Ask them to recommend services or service providers that they trust.  Unfortunately there are some scams out there that sound good but don’t really offer the right services for your needs.  And most of all, have patience. Remember that these are the people that spent their time raising you, dealing with you when you made mistakes and who helped mold you into who you are today.  Be patient with them, knowing that they are also having difficulty dealing with this role reversal.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

Do you have a ‘special needs’ child?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Most of us know that each child is special and unique, but in this case I’m talking about a child that has ‘special needs’.

These special needs can run the gamut from being mildly allergic to milk to being unable to care for themselves at all.

When the child is under the age of 18, the parent can make decisions for the child without question so long as they have not been removed as the legal guardian of the child.

But what happens when that child reaches the age of majority?  In most states, a person is presumed to be able to make their own decisions when they reach the age of 18.

If your child’s special need is to not drink milk, this is probably ok.  The child probably knows to stay away from foods that have negative consequences.  But what about a child that is not able to take care of his or her own self?

If the now-adult child is capable of understanding what it means, he or she can execute a power of attorney giving the parent (or someone else) the authority to act or make decisions on behalf of the child.  If the child is not capable of understanding what it means, the courts may need to step in to authorize someone to take actions on behalf of the child.  This person is usually called a ‘guardian’ or ‘conservator’.

As a parent, you also want to make sure that your young child is cared for in case something should happen to you.  While this is important for all parents, it is even more important for parents of special needs children who may not be able to successfully transition to the care of others in the case of an emergency.

There are also a number of financial and legal planning activities that the parents of a special needs child should know about in order to make the best decisions for the entire family.

If you have a special needs child, you probably already have a number of specialists working with you on your child’s medical and educational plans.  You should also consider having someone work with you on your child’s legal plan.

To Learn more about Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law visit the website at www.BeaversLaw.com

What is “Sexting”?

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

One of the newer trends with teens (and pre-teens) is ‘sexting’.  This is where someone takes a picture (or video) of him or herself and transmits it to someone else electronically.   This is usually as a text message to a cellphone, hence the term ‘sexting’ which is a combination of the words ‘sex’ and ‘texting’.

The picture is usually sexual in nature and shows parts of their body, or actions,  that they would not normally display in person.  Most of the time the sender thinks it is exciting and fun and is used as a way to explore their sexuality, the fact that they are ‘not just a kid’, or as proof of their ‘love’ for the other person.

The sender does not think about the fact that these pictures are now permanently stored somewhere.  They don’t think about the fact that the person who receives the picture can forward it on to others, by mistake, to brag, or as a way to humiliate the sender when the two have a fight or end their relationship, often laughing and thinking about what a joke it will be.

But they aren’t laughing when the police charge them with the production and/or distribution of child pornography and the possibility of being a registered sex offender!

Child pornography laws were developed to protect the children of our society, and at the time the laws were written, nobody imagined that the children would be producing the pictures on their own.  Most people think that in order to be convicted of producing or distributing child pornography you need to be a ‘dirty old man’.  That is not true.  The statutes don’t say that the producer or distributor must be over the age of 18, male or anything else.  It is the act of production or distribution that defines the crime, not the description of the person doing the act.

The children may not be aware of what they are really doing and they probably have no idea of the legal problems that they are starting.  And yes, you can be found guilty of producing and distributing child pornography when the pictures are of yourself!

How can parents help?  By talking to their children about the proper and improper use of cell phones and taking pictures (or videos) of themselves. By monitoring the cell phone usage of their children.

We talk to our kids about drugs and smoking and the long term dangers associated with those actions.

We also need to talk to them about other dangers in growing up in our society.

Most of our kids are not aware that ‘sexting’ can lead to being ordered to be a registered sex offender.  Or that being a registered sex offender means you can’t get a room in a dorm at college.  Or that they won’t be able to pick their own kids up at schools because sex offenders are not allowed on school grounds.

As parents, we need to make sure our kids know that the excitement they get from  ‘sexting’ is just not worth the possible repercussions!

How do I choose a guardian for my children?

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

One of the really difficult things any parent has to consider is “who will take care of  my children if I die?”

Of course, we all hope that we remain alive and competent and we are able to raise our children ourselves. But sometimes Life Happens and our children are left without us. This is going to be a tough time for the kids anyway. And if you haven’t recommended a guardian, there will be even more turmoil as the courts try to decide who should be the person to raise your children.

In most states, the natural (or adoptive) parents are the legal guardians. That means that even if you have full legal custody of your children after a divorce, if something happens to you, the other spouse will become the child’s default guardian. Maybe this is ok, but what about the situation where that other parent is also not available?

Then it is up to the Court to decide on a guardian.  It is much easier if you have nominated a guardian in your Will.  This will tell the Court that you have considered the problem and that you have decided who would be the next best parent for your children.

How do you choose?

You can make a list of the people that you will consider for this important role. (You might also make a list of people that you do NOT want to be guardians).

Then make a list of your own parenting style and what you think is important in your children’s lives. Do you want your children to attend the same church that you attend now? Do you want your children to be able to have a big yard to play in? Do you want your children to be with other children? Or perhaps you want your children to be the only children in the family? Do you want your children to learn how to cook? or work on cars? or be able to use the newest technology?

Then take the list of people on your first list and rank them according to the criteria on your second list.

The person on your list with the highest ranking number is probably the one you should choose.

What do you do then? You should contact your attorney to make sure that you have the correct legal documents to ensure that your choice is known.

And did you know that you can choose one person for the ‘personal’ care of your children and another person to be in charge of your children’s finances?

We all try to make sure our children are safe and that their needs are met when we’re around. We also need to make sure that their needs are met if something happens to us.

If you’d like to discuss this important aspect of parenting, contact the office at 757-234-4650 to set up an appointment!