Archive for the ‘Family Law’ Category

The Importance of School Performance in Kansas Child Custody Cases

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Divorce is never an easy or stress free experience, and few issues are as emotionally challenging as child custody disagreements.  In the best case, child custody arrangements in Kansas are resolved amicably by agreement between the parents.  Amicable resolution to child custody disputes ease the potential emotional harm that can be inflicted on a child in a Kansas child custody case and provides a foundation for a constructive future co-parenting arrangement.  A divorce will not change the fact that parents share a child, which makes it critical to find ways to develop constructive interactions with the other parent for both your own sanity and the long-term wellbeing of your children.  Sadly, the hurt and conflict that often leads people to divorce sometimes prevents a mutually agreeable resolution to child custody disputes in Kansas.  When child custody conflicts cannot be resolved, school performance can be a critical factor in determining the outcome of a Kansas child custody case.

When courts must make residential orders for children in a divorce, the court will look at a wide range of factors.  Custody cases are difficult because obtaining reliable evidence to guide the court can be a challenge.  This places a premium on objective reliable evidence that is hard to manipulate.  One of the best sources for such evidence is school performance.  It is very common that parents will physically separate prior to a court making formal child custody orders.  A parent who moves out of the home to keep the peace or because cohabiting with one’s spouse is no longer a tenable option should be aware of the potential impact on future child custody orders.  If the child remains behind in the family home, which is common to facilitate transportation for school, the child’s school performance may have a substantial impact on future custody orders.

A child’s successful social, behavioral and academic performance in school is considered a reliable indicator of a child’s adjustment.  This means if a child remains with the parent in the family home after the child’s parents separate, the court may be persuaded by a child’s performance in the classroom.  If a child is thriving in the classroom, a Kansas family court may be inclined to preserve the status quo in terms of the informal child custody arrangement that evolves when a parent leaves the home.  If the child is not performing well in school, then the court may be more inclined to make changes to the residential arrangements.

Kansas courts like those in most states look to the best interest of the child to determine appropriate timeshare arrangements.  Unfortunately, many of the factors that go into this determination tend to be either conflicting or easily manipulated.  For example, the parents will frequently provide completely conflicting accounts.  The minor child also may express a preference, but there is always a substantial risk that the child is being influenced or manipulated by one of the parents.  School records are objective so the court will tend to rely heavily on such evidence.  Our law firm has successfully represented many Kansas parents in child custody disputes by effectively utilizing school records including report cards, letters from teachers, attendance records, school disciplinary records and other evidence that provides an objective third party measure of a child’s adaptation to a timeshare arrangement.

At Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C., we represent parents in child custody disputes in the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county and all other communities in Southwest Kansas.  If you are involved in a Kansas child custody dispute, our Liberal Kansas child custody attorneys represent clients with compassion and commitment so call us at (620) 624-8158 to see how we can help.

High Conflict Custody Cases: How Can They Be Avoided

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Most family therapists and other mental health professional agree that divorce can have a profound affect on children.  A child often loses daily contact with one parent and may also have reduced contact with extended family, which may be part of the child’s support structure.  Children may also be forced to change schools and move from the family home.  Depending on the distance of the relocation, children may even lose contact with their friends.  The impact of a bitter high conflict divorce and child custody dispute can have profound long-term effects on one’s children.  However, this result is not inevitable; there is a better way.

The attorneys of Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. are committed to helping parents facing divorce reach constructive workable long-term resolution of their child custody issues.  Our experienced family law attorneys recognize that conflict and dispute does more to increase the stress and cost of your divorce than to promote your best interest and the long-term well being of your children.  We also know that the reasons behind a divorce can mean that a parent may be struggling with anger, pain and hostility.  Our experienced Kansas family law attorneys can provide a candid and straightforward evaluation of what a court may do and help you cut through the emotional turmoil and animosity to negotiate workable solutions.

It is almost always better to reach a negotiated settlement of child custody issues because it will make the process easier on your children and result in more stable and lasting child custody arrangements.  Sometimes a highly contested custody dispute is unavoidable, especially where certain issues are involved including:

  • Drug or alcohol use or abuse
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Domestic violence toward a spouse or others in the household
  • Criminal offenses by a parent (particularly criminal offense involving violence or unsafe conduct)
  • Failure of a parent to protect a child from harm by a third party (i.e. new relationship)

Where these issues are not present, the more reasonable and constructive the communication between parents the less a divorce will hurt their children.  A child custody case that is negotiated effectively and constructively will also significantly reduce the cost of a divorce.  Our experienced Kansas child custody attorneys have provided some suggestions for reducing the adverse impact of a divorce on your children:

  • Avoid disparaging comments about the other parent in your children’s presence
  • Do not discuss issues of contention in the divorce with your children
  • Give the other parent the first option for providing “daycare” when you are unavailable
  • Advice the other parent of significant developments involving your children with regard to school, heath, religion and other significant issues.
  • Invite the other parent to your children’s extra-curricular activities
  • Encourage your children’s visitation with the other parent
  • Engage in positive constructive communication with your spouse in your children’s presence

These suggestions may sound excruciatingly difficult if the other parent is hard to deal with or your divorce is extremely contentious.  However, the more that you can follow these suggestions, the easier your children will adjust to a divorce.  It will also tend to promote trust and effective co-parenting with your spouse.  If you approach your child custody dispute with this type of cooperative approach, there may be benefits even if your spouse does not reciprocate.  If the court must determine custody orders in your divorce, it will look to the best interest of your children.  While a number of factors are relevant to this consideration, one of the things the court looks at closely is the your willingness and ability to promote and encourage your children’s relationship with the other parent.

We know that even basic civility can be difficult in the context of the anger and hurt that often accompanies a divorce.  Our compassionate family law attorneys will guide you through these emotional hurdles so that you and your children can get on with your lives.  The Kansas child custody attorneys of Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. want your divorce to be a new beginning rather than a bitter ending.

Can I File a Legal Separation in Kansas?

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

There are various types of domestic relations actions that may be filed in Kansas courts.  These actions will vary depending on the type of relationship involved as to whether or not the couple’s relationship is considered  “marital” or “non-marital.”

A “separate maintenance” action is very simular to the commonly referred to as  a legal separation.  A seperation maintenance action doe not grant the couple a final judgement of divorce but rather enables the parties to settle legal matters prior to a final marriage dissolution.  Again, the parties’ marriage is not dissolved with a separation maintenance action however the court may be requested by the parties to rule or and provide orders for child support and visitation rights, the division of assets and property, alimony ot spousal support and debt ownership or transfer issues.

A separate maintenance action was more common when divorce actions were more difficult to obtain or took long periods of time in the courts.  These separation actions would enable the parties to settle certain affairs while working through the divorce process.

Call (620) 624-8158 if you have questions concerning a divorce or separate maintenance action or any other Kansas family law matters.  We offer a free initial consultation with a Liberal Kansas divorce attorney.  Courage, Caring, and Commitment for Every Case.

In Kansas Domestic Battery is a Class B Misdemeanor First Offense and Class A Second and A Felony For Subsequent Offenses

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Domestic battery is a Class B person misdemeanor for a first offense and if found guilty a person may serve up to 180 days in jail.  In addition, a person found guilty of domestic violence in Kanas is usually also required to attend anger management classes. Kansas is interesting as far as the domestic battery law goes, in that if you get a second domestic battery, it is considered a Class A person misdemeanor. The penalty for that type of crime is up to a year in jail.  The person will again likely have to enroll in anger management classes. On a third offense of a domestic battery, it may be prosecuted as a felony.

Does a Spouse Have To Testify In Kansas Domestic Violence or Battery Trials?

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Concerning domestic battery, there is a general rule that a spouse does not have to testify against their spouse.  However, if a wife is accusing the husband of hitting her, there’s an exception in a Kansas statute that if a spouse is a victim, they do have to testify against the other spouse.  What a victim can do is they can file with the state prosecutor asking them to drop the charges.  This is called declining prosecution.  A common misconception is that the state has to drop the charges. That is not the case because it is an offense against the state, not against a person.

A lot people will say, “I don’t want to press charges, they need to drop them.”   This is simply not the way it works. The county attorney’s office or the district attorney’s office that are handling a case are the ones who decide whether a case goes forwards or gets dismissed.   It is not the victim’s decision, it’s the state’s.

Call us today to speak with our Southwest Kansas domestic battery lawyers about your case.

What Happens During A Domestic Violence or Battery Police Call?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Domestic battery often occurs when a husband and a wife get into a heated argument, the neighbor calls law enforcement, and the police visit the home of the married couple..  A domestic battery case is kind of interesting because the law basically states that if law enforcement feels like a domestic battery has taking place, they are then required arrest somebody.  To sum it up, if someone calls the police and reports domestic battery, somebody’s going to jail.

There also is a forty-eight hour hold in that situation.   That is just the way the law’s written and the reason behind that is to try to help protect the alleged victim and anybody else that could be in the house, including children.   It is basically designed to be a cool-down period.  There is a cool-down period for domestic battery to make sure that somebody does not turn around and do something more serious.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Southwest Kansas, call our law firm to speak with a Southwest Kansas domestic violence attorney for free.