Guardianships by agreement

Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Family Law, Guardianships

Guardianships can come about in several ways, and are brought to the courts for different reasons.  Guardianship over a minor person may arise as a precursor to adoption, as a challenge to a parent’s ability to care for the child, or as a result of an abuse & neglect case.  While it is entirely true that a guardianship proceeding may be the last thing any parent wants to go through, it is important to understand that guardianships aren’t always a negative thing.  When someone other than yourself is granted a guardianship over your child, it may be able to provide the support a parent needs to prevent any further negative consequences, and in turn, lay the foundation for a healthy and successful future for the family. Each biological or adoptive parent inherently retains full authority over their child.  This is guaranteed by our federal and state constitutions, as well as our state statutes.  A parent does not lose any bit of that parental authority until the Court makes an order as such (or a court’s approval of an agreement).  The basic principle of all guardianships, regardless of how they arise, rests on the finding that a child needs substitution or supplementation of parental care and supervision.  The Court may grant a guardianship to a person other than the parent in order to provide that supplementation of care that the child is lacking.  Sometimes, the courts will order a temporary placement for a child as the result of an abuse and neglect case.  This is particularly unfortunate, as the parent against whom the abuse or neglect claim is found not only risks having their child taken from their everyday care, but also, will have a finding of abuse/neglect against them.  A finding of abuse or neglect can have very serious consequences down the line, including possible termination of parental rights.  If a parent recognizes that they are in need of some additional supports for themselves and/or for their children, it may be worthwhile to explore the idea of a consented-to (agreed upon) guardianship with a family member or close friend that the parent trusts and has a good relationship with the children.  In this context, guardianships can be a good thing for the parent, in that they provide stability to the child, and could act as a delay or altogether preventative measure to DCYF becoming involved and potentially moving forward on an abuse and neglect claim. Again, there is more than 1 way a guardianship can arise.  It is important that you speak with an attorney at Shanelaris & Schirch, PLLC to understand all of your rights prior to entering into any...

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“Spying” on your spouse: Privacy & Consequences

Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Criminal Law, Divorce, Family Law, General Law

Divorce and separation can be a difficult process for spouses to endure, particularly given that it uniquely requires true bravery, but also restraint.  In cases where a spouse suspects infidelity, addiction or other dishonesties, it is not uncommon they feel they want or need to get proof of their spouse’s wrongdoing.  All potential clients should heed this warning: the truth may not outweigh the risks, especially when those risks include possible state and federal criminal charges. When considering recording telephone calls, attaching a GPS monitoring device to a vehicle, or perusing another’s email inbox, it should be stressed that even if a spouse is able to “catch” the other person in their wrongdoing, the evidence of that wrong doing may not be admissible in court if it was obtained illegally.  In general, in order to record telephone or in-person conversations, there must be consent.  Under federal wiretapping laws, at least one party to the conversation must consent.  This one party can include you, the person recording.  But, this State has gone one step further, and require “two-party consent” under our wiretapping laws.  This means that all parties must consent to the recording of the conversation.  There are some intricate caveats and nuances, but generally speaking, to discretely record a telephone conversation of other parties without their knowledge and consent will likely not be admissible in court to prove the very thing you are attempting to prove.  Furthermore, by violating these privacy and wiretapping laws you could face criminal prosecution and expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages. Lastly, even if a spouse is successful on proving adultery, the family courts in New Hampshire are unlikely to deviate so far from an equal split in assets/debts that would make the trouble of potential criminal prosecution, worthwhile in the long run.  Reference the wiretapping and privacy laws applicable to you, for more specific information on the...

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Attorney Shanelaris Receives Award

Posted by on July 3, 2014 in S&S Firm News

Our very own Cathy Shanelaris is 2014’s recipient of the Ted Jordan Award!  This award is given in memory of Ted Jordan, a member of the Nashua Bar Association from 1967 to 2002.  Ted is remembered for his adventurous spirit and lifelong concern for helping to improve the local bar association and community, and the award is presented annually to an individual who embodies Ted’s same ideals.  This award is particularly special because Cathy was selected by her fellow Nashua Bar Association members in recognition of her efforts and contributions to the practice of law, and to the community she serves.   We congratulate Cathy on this well-deserved...

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Early Cooperation in Criminal Cases

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Criminal Law

If you are being charged with a criminal offense, you usually don’t have notice of that until an officer or Sherriff is knocking on your front door.  But, in some circumstances, if the police department is still in the preliminary stages of their investigation and have yet to decide whether or not they are going to charge you with an offense, you may find yourself in a unique position.  The earlier you cooperate with the investigating police department, depending on the charged offense(s), it may be more likely that you will be able to reach a favorable settlement.  If a police officer contacts you in an effort to collect information related to an incident, contact an attorney right away.  Your attorney may be able to find out ahead of time if complaints against you will issue, therefore, may have the opportunity to accompany you to the police department to turn yourself in.  This will not only spare you the stress of being arrested in front of your family or coworkers, but also, will demonstrate to the prosecuting officials that you are willing to cooperate in an effort to resolve the issues at...

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