WE HELP FAMILIES RESOLVE CONFLICT PEACEFULLY


Monday, August 22, 2016

Should Parents (and especially Divorced Parents) discuss Sexting with their Teen Children? - Infographic

When parents separate or divorce, children are affected in many different ways.  If the parents fail to effectively communicate then children may not be properly prepared for the challenges that teens face in relationships.  The ubiquitous use of cell phones by teenagers has some benefits but also many dangers.

Sexting is one of the potential dangers that face all teens, but which teens of divorced and separated parents may be more susceptible to.  Parents should discuss the personal and legal ramifications of sexting with their children and this is just one of many conversations that divorced and separated parents should coordinate so that the information received by the child is consistent.

Below is an infographic with some of the information that parents and children should know about sexting and the consequences.

Permanent Picture: Teen Sexting (And What Parents Should Do About It) (via Intella Blog)

Permanent Picture: Teen Sexting (And What Parents Should Do About It)

Above is an infographic provided by Intella Blog.  Skylark Law & Mediation, P.C. provides this for informational purposes only. We do not endorse nor claim endorsement from Intella or Vound Software. Skylark Law & Mediation, P.C. is not responsible for any information contained therein, unless indicated specifically on that site.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016 U.S. Presidential Platforms - What do they say about Families?

The 2016 U.S. Presidential election has many talking points and topics that engender strong reactions.  The significant difference between the various presidential candidates and their platforms explains some of the vehemence with which many defend or attack the 2016 candidates.  Since this blog focuses primarily on the impact of the law on families and family conflict, we will concentrate on only one portion of the presidential platforms:

How does each 2016 U.S. Presidential Platform address the American family?

These platforms are presented in no particular order and we do not endorse any of the following platform positions.  We are providing them specifically so you can decide for yourselves (and we encourage all eligible voters to vote in the election):

2016 Republican Party Platform Word Cloud
The 2016 Republican Party Platform mentions the words "family" or "families" 72 times, the words "child" or "children" 50 times, the word "marriage" 19 times.  The Republican party platform never uses the words "gay", "lesbian", "LGBT", or "transgender" despite referencing "traditional marriage" repeatedly.

Below are some of the excerpts from the Republic party platform's discussions relevant to families:

Excerpt in "Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary":
"Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.... We, therefore, support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions."
Excerpt in "The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Human Life"
"The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can 'be deprived of life, liberty or property' deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that 'all' are 'endowed by their Creator' with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth... We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from individuals with disabilities, newborns, the elderly, or the infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide."
Excerpt from "Marriage, Family, and Society"
"Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman... Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage. We oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation. Moreover, marriage remains the greatest antidote to child poverty..."
"The data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: Every child deserves a married mom and dad... Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society. For that reason, as explained elsewhere in this platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states. We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities."
Excerpt from "Choice in Education"
"We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual
risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach — the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease — empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs."
Read the full 2016 Republican Platform here.
2016 Democratic Party Platform Word Cloud
The 2016 Democratic Party Platform mentions the words "family" or "families" 72 times, the words "child" or "children" 66 times, the words "gay", "lesbian", and "LGBT" 29 times, and the word "transgender" 7 times.   The Democratic party platform never uses the word "marriage."

Below are some of the excerpts from the Democratic party platform's discussions relevant to families:

Excerpt from "Supporting Working Families"
"We will fight to secure equal pay for women, which will benefit all women and their families, particularly women of color who are disproportionately impacted by discriminatory pay practices, and against other factors that contribute to the wage gap. And we will combat the discrimination they face on and off the job. While Donald Trump thinks it is “dangerous” for women to leave the home and paid family leave hurts our economy, Democrats will make sure that the United States finally enacts national paid family and medical leave by passing a family and medical leave act that would provide all workers at least 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or address a personal or family member’s serious health issue. "
Excerpt from "Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights"
"Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people—like other Americans—have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done... We will also fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, to guarantee equal rights in areas such as housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, jury service, education, and federal funding. We will oppose all state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals, including legislation that restricts the right to access public spaces. We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate. We will combat LGBT youth homelessness and improve school climates. We will support LGBT elders, ensure access to necessary health care, and protect LGBT people from violence— including ending the crisis of violence against transgender Americans. We will also promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world."
Excerpt from "Guaranteeing Universal Preschool and Good Schools for Every Child"
"Democrats believe we must have the best-educated population and workforce in the world. That means making early childhood education and universal preschool a priority, especially in light of new research showing how much early learning can impact life-long success. Democrats will invest in early childhood programs like Early Head Start and provide every family in America with access to high-quality childcare and high-quality preschool programs. We support efforts to raise wages for childcare workers, and to ensure that early childhood educators are experienced and high-quality."
Excerpt from "Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice"
"We will address the discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive health care services, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, disability, and other factors. We recognize that quality, affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions."
"And we strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child, including by ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth, and by providing services during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including adoption and social support services, as well as protections for women against pregnancy discrimination. We are committed to creating a society where children are safe and can thrive physically, emotionally, educationally, and spiritually. We recognize and support the importance of civil structures that are essential to creating this for every child."
Excerpt from "Ending Violence Against Women"
"Democrats are committed to ending the scourge of violence against women wherever it occurs —whether in our homes, streets, schools, military, or elsewhere. We will continue to support the Violence Against Women Act to provide law enforcement with the tools it needs to combat this problem..."
Excerpt from "Women and Girls"
"We will support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the globe. In addition to expanding the availability of affordable family planning information and contraceptive supplies, we believe that safe abortion must be part of comprehensive maternal and women’s health care and included as part of America’s global health programming. Therefore, we support the repeal of harmful restrictions that obstruct women’s access to health care information and services, including the “global gag rule” and the Helms Amendment that bars American assistance to provide safe, legal abortion throughout the developing world."
Excerpt from "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People"
"Democrats believe that LGBT rights are human rights and that American foreign policy should advance the ability of all persons to live with dignity, security, and respect, regardless of who they are or who they love. We applaud President Obama’s historic Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons, which combats criminalization, protects refugees, and provides foreign assistance. We will continue to stand with LGBT people around the world, including fighting efforts by any nation to infringe on LGBT rights or ignore abuse."

2016 Libertarian Party Platform Word Cloud
The 2016 Libertarian Party Platform mentions the words "child" or "children" 6 times, and the word "marriage" once.  The Libertarian party platform never uses the words "family", "families",   "gay", "lesbian", "LGBT", or "transgender".

Below are some of the excerpts from the Libertarian party platform's discussions relevant to families:

Excerpt from "Personal Relationships"
"Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships."
Excerpt from "Abortion"
"Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."
Excerpt from "Parental Rights"
"Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs. This statement shall not be construed to condone child abuse or neglect."
Read the full 2016 Libertarian Platform here.

2016 Green Party Platform Word Cloud
The 2016 Green Party Platform mentions the words "child" or "children" 56 times, the words "family", or "families" 54 times,  the word "marriage" 4 time, the words "gay", "lesbian", or "LGBT" 7 times, and the word "transgender" 2 times.

Below are some of the excerpts from the Green party platform's discussions relevant to families:

Excerpt from "Families and Children"
"We call for social policies to focus on protecting families... The Green Party supports and seeks to expand Head Start and Pre- and neo-natal programs. A Children's Agenda should be put in place to focus attention and concerted action on the future that is our children... A universal, federally funded childcare program for pre-school and young schoolchildren should be developed."
"Family assistance such as the earned income tax credit, available to working poor families in which the parent supports and lives with the children, should be maintained and increased to offset regressive payroll taxes and growing inequalities in American society."
Excerpt from "Social Equality"
"The Green Party calls for U.S. passage of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted in 1979 by the U.N. General Assembly and ratified by 173 countries. The U.S. is one of the very few countries, and the only industrialized nation, that have not ratified it."
"We support the inclusion of an equal number of women and men in peace talks and negotiations, not only because these efforts directly affect their lives and those of their husbands, children and families, but also because when women are involved, the negotiations are more successful."
Excerpts from "Reproductive Rights"
"Women's rights must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman's right as a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice about whether to have a child." 
"Women's right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available. The "morning-after" pill must be affordable and easily accessible without a prescription, together with a government-sponsored public relations campaign to educate women about this form of contraception. Clinics must be accessible and must offer advice on contraception and the means for contraception; consultation about abortion and the performance of abortions, and; abortion regardless of age or marital status." 
"We endorse women's right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion. This right cannot be limited to women's age or marital status. Contraception and abortion must be included in all health insurance policies in the U.S., and any state government must be able to legally offer these services free of charge to women at the poverty level. Public health agencies operating abroad should be allowed to offer family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that ask for those services. We oppose our government's habit of cutting family planning funds when those funds go to agencies in foreign countries that give out contraceptive devices, offer advice on abortion, and perform abortions."
Excerpts from "Economic Equality"
"Since, nationally, women earn only 77% of men's wages for equal work, despite outnumbering men in the workforce and despite the U.S. 1963 Equal Pay Act, we support intensified effort to see this unfair gap closed, including support for the Paycheck Fairness Act and similar legislation, and greater effort at enforcement."
Excerpts from "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity"
"The Green Party affirms the rights of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation." 
"The Green Party recognizes the equal rights of persons who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, trans-sexual, queer, or transgender to housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life including equal tax treatment." 
"The Green Party will enact a policy that the U.S. Government recognize all international marriages and legal equivalents, such as civil unions, in processing visitor and immigration visas."
Excerpts from "Youth Rights"
"Youth are not the property of their parents or guardians, but are under their care and guidance." 
"Youth have the right to survive by being provided adequate food, shelter and comprehensive health care, including prenatal care for mothers." 
"Youth have the right to develop in a safe and nurturing early environment provided by affordable childcare and pre-school preparation."
Excerpts from "Adoptee Rights"
"Due to current laws millions of adults that were adopted as children are now being denied access to vital records regarding their births. This is a basic human right that the Green Party should be committed to help in abolishing the secrets and lies that surround many adoptions around the world by creating necessary transparency between adoptees, their mothers and adoptive parents."
Read the full 2016 Green Platform here.






Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Spreading the Word on the Benefits of LAR: An Interview with the Chief Justice of the Probate & Family Court

Valerie Qian

Photography by
Matthew Raymond
In a recent interview with Chief Justice Angela M. Ordoñez, Valerie Qian, of Skylark Law & Mediation, and the Chief Justice discussed the benefits of Limited Assistance Representation ("LAR"):
Chief Justice Ordoñez: "one of my goals and objectives in this department is to increase lawyer retention, and we have an enormous amount of unrepresented litigants, and a small percentage of represented litigants. We could close that gap significantly with LAR."
In Valerie's article the Chief Justice and retired Justice Hon. Edward M. Ginsburg both noted the lack of public and bar knowledge about LAR and the need to spread the word.
"The sad consequence of our ignorance is that by overlooking LAR, attorneys fail to extend our hands to help those who most need it. If there is any vestige of the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed lawyers we were when we emerged from law school ready to change the world, we owe it to ourselves and to the practice to acknowledge the most important benefit of LAR: that with it, many who cannot afford a lawyer, and who most need one, can have one."
Valerie also addressed some frequently asked questions about LAR, and made an excellent case for adding this work to your practice.  In the article's conclusion, Valerie notes the importance of providing services that are client focused.  This not only means addressing the clients' substantive concerns, but it also means providing clients with different choices for process.  Mediation, Collaborative Law, and LAR all offer clients the chance to make an informed choice about what portions of their case they want to be in charge of, and what portions of their case they need professional help with:
"In the same way, it could be beneficial to a large portion of potential family-law clients to dissect their case into parts that could most benefit from the help of a lawyer, and parts that they could handle on their own without incurring the costs of an attorney. There should be a broader way to look at a family law case. A family is much more than what happens in the courtroom and what lawyers can do."  
Read the full article on the Boston Bar Association website here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...