BABY VERONICA CASE TAKES A HEARTBREAKING TWIST

I have written several times over the past year about the Baby Veronica case.  As an infant, little Veronica was given up for adoption by her birth mother after it appeared that the father had abandoned her.  However, the father. who was part Native American, later asserted his custodial rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act.  In 2011, a South Carolina family court judge ruled in favor of the father.  As a result, the child – who had now lived with her adoptive family for almost all of her two years – was ripped out of the arms of the only mother and father she had ever known.  She was placed in the car of a man who was a stranger, and was driven away.  

The adoptive parents appealed, and the decision was ultimately overturned.  An appeals court ruled that the child must be returned to the adoptive parents.  The father then appealed to the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided not to intervene.  That meant the prior ruling would stand.  It was final.  The case was over. 

Baby Veronica – who had by now lived with her biological father for more than a year, and had probably bonded with him – would have to be returned to her adoptive parents.

But that’s not the end of the story.

When the time came for the biological father to hand the child over, he was nowhere to be found.  The Sheriff’s Office in Charleston, South Carolina issued a warrant for his arrest.  On Monday, the father turned himself in.  He was taken into custody and later released on a $10,000 bond.  

Then, after his release, the father once again, disappeared — and Baby Veronica is missing.

Over the weekend, the father told CNN that he is willing to go to jail.  “I’m going to fight till I have no fight left in me and till they say you can’t fight no more. This is my daughter.  It’s not a yo-yo that I can just say, hey, I borrowed it for two years and here’s it back.”

The adoptive parents are grief-stricken.  They recently gave this statement:  “With every passing hour, we fear more and more for her safety and well-being.  If anything should happen to our daughter while she’s being left in the hands of those who hold her captive from us, the responsibility will be shared by many.”

Meanwhile, Baby Veronica remains in the eye of the hurricane.  She is the innocent victim here.  This poor child has been bounced back and forth like a ping pong ball.  Each time she has the chance to bond with an adult caregiver, she is yanked away and handed to someone else.  By now, she may have developed emotional scars that could last a lifetime.

This is a stunning example of how children can fall through the cracks of the legal system.  Father’s have rights.  Mother’s have rights.  Grandparents, and step-parents, and biological parents, and adoptive parents all have rights.  But in the process of asserting those rights, sometimes the best interests of the child are forgotten.  Sometimes, while the war is being waged in one courtroom after another, children like Baby Veronica are damaged.  And when that happens, it affects us all. 


Gary Frank, has been a courtroom litigator in the Family Law arena for over thirty years, and is a strong and committed advocate for his clients.  In addition to being a litigation attorney, Mr. Frank has acted in the capacity of a Judge Pro Tem in the Maricopa County Superior Court.  This has given him an understanding of the inner-workings of the court, and a unique perspective  that most attorneys lack.  He has also acted, for many years, as a professional mediator of Family Law disputes.   We handle a full range of Family Law matters, including divorce, custody / legal decision-making, parenting-time, child support, spousal maintenance, division of property and assets, modification and enforcement actions, as well paternity/maternity cases, grandparent or non-parent custody and visitation actions, and relocation/move-away cases.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding any area of Family Law, please do not hesitate to give our office a call today at 602-383-3610; or feel free to contact us through our web site at www.garyfranklaw.com; or by email at gary.frank@azbar.org.   We’d be happy to help you.


Our Changing World – A Victory for Tolerance

Working mothers.  Stay-at-home dads.  Gay marriage.  Single-parent adoption.  Interracial marriage.  Interfaith marriage.  Blended families . . . 

Our world, and the very concept of “Family,” is changing in ways that our grandparents never could have imagined. And it is changing for the better.

It is a victory for freedom.  A victory for tolerance.  We live in the only society in human history where something like this could be possible.

The Law Office of Gary J. Frank has been a fixture in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona for over thirty years.  Gary Frank is a Family Law litigator, a mediator, and a former Judge Pro Tem.  Our firm handles a wide array of cases, such as divorce, custody, relocation, paternity, child and spousal support, division of property and businesses, modification and enforcement actions, grandparent and non-parent rights, and all matters relating to families and children.  If you are in need of a consultation, please do not hesitate.  Contact us today.  You can reach us by telephone at 602-383-3610, or by email at gary.frank@azbar.org, or through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’d be honored to help you.

DWAYNE WADE IS LEARNING ABOUT FATHERHOOD – JUST LIKE YOU

Today is Father’s Day.  So, here is a story about a father.  Someone who loves his children, just like you love your children.  Someone who wakes up every day and works hard to be a better dad, just like you do . . .
Dwayne Wade is a basketball legend.  He’s a fierce competitor who has been criticized for complaining when a referee makes a call he doesn’t like.  It never bothered him that his every move on and off the basketball court is dissected by critics, and emulated by children who look up to him — until now. . . . Because now the children who are emulating his behavior are his own. 
Not long ago, a court awarded Dwayne Wade sole custody of his two sons after a contentious custody battle.  He is also raising a nephew.  By all accounts, the guy’s a great father.  But it wasn’t until he went to a youth league basketball game and saw his own son complaining to a referee that it hit him:  A kid will model his behavior after his father.  And if you don’t like how your kid is acting, it may be because he learned it from you.
That’s when Dwayne Wade knew he needed to make a change. 
“I’m a role model for Zaire, Zion, and Dahveon,” Wade said in an interview.  “So I go to their games and I hate, I hate, to see them talking back to the ref.  I hate it.  It burns me up inside every time.  I’m like “Get back on defense.’ And then I look in the mirror and say, ‘Well, how can you tell him not to do something when you’re doing it?’ I look at that and I think that’s helped me understand.”
* * *
Here’s some advice that I received as a young father: 
“You’re children are watching you.  They look up to you.  They want to grow up to be just like you.  And, if you’re not careful, they will.”
My mentor may have been joking, but the words ring true.  We are shaping our children not only through our love and discipline, but also by how we act when we think they’re not looking.  So, we need to try to continually improve ourselves.  We need to try to be better people – for their benefit.
I’ll let Dwayne Wade have the last word about fatherhood, on Father’s Day:
“I’m a role model . . . I can’t tell my son to do something if I’m not leading by example.  So I’m trying to be better at it.”
Gary Frank has represented dads in divorce, custody, and parenting-time cases for over 30 years, and is a strong advocate.  Mr. Frank is an expert courtroom litigator, as well as a mediator, and a former Superior Court Judge Pro Tem.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding divorce, child custody, parenting-time, or any other area of Family Law, call us today at 602-383-3610; or contact us by email through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’re always happy to talk to you.

WHY IS STEVE NASH TRYING TO STOP HIS EX-WIFE FROM MOVING WITH THE CHILDREN?

At first it sounds like a typical “Relocation” battle:  A father is asking the Court to prevent his ex-wife from moving out of Arizona with the children.  But this is not a typical Relocation case.  This one involves basketball superstar, Steve Nash.  And he isn’t trying to stop his ex-wife from moving the children further away from him – He’s trying to prevent her from moving them to Los Angeles, where he lives! 

Nash wants the judge to prevent the mother of his children from moving the kids closerto his home!

Sadly, this case isn’t about the children.  It’s about money.  You see, when Steve and Alejandra Nash divorced in Arizona, the former Mrs. Nash received millions in the settlement and, therefore, the Decree did not award her child support.

But now the mother of the Nash children wants to move them to California, where their father plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.  Alejandra Nash claims that the children miss their father and would like to spend more time with him.  Steve Nash, on the other hand, claims that the mother is an out-of-control spender, and that she wants to relocate purely for selfish reasons.  He believes that once she settles in Los Angeles, she will ask the California Court for an order requiring him to pay substantial child support, which was not contemplated in the divorce settlement, and which the children do not need.  (Indeed, at a recent court hearing, Alejandra admitted that if allowed to move to California, she will seek child support.)

So, what we have here is a mother who wants to relocate with the children for the purpose of obtaining child support, on top of the millions she already has in the bank . . . and a father who is attempting to keep the children further away from him, so as to prevent their mother from from asking for more money.

In the end, we’re left with one simple question:  
Is anyone thinking about what is best for the kids?”

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/showusat.php?id=2373997



Gary J. Frank is an Arizona attorney and former Judge Pro Tem with over thirty years of experience in dealing with parenting issues in Family Court.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding divorce, child custody, or any other area of Family Law, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone (602-383-3610) or by email at gary.frank@azbar.org, or through our websiteat garyfranklaw.com.  We look forward to hearing from you. 


TODAY’S PARENTS CAN DO IT ALL

It should come as no surprise that fathers can be loving, caring, and nurturing parents – just as mothers were always expected to be.

It should come as no surprise that mothers can excel in the business world and be family breadwinners – just as fathers were always expected to be.

In today’s society, women can be not only nurturers, but also breadwinners.  Men can be not only breadwinners, but also nurturers.  And our children are all the better for it.

The Law Office of Gary J. Frank has been a fixture in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona for over thirty years.  Gary Frank is a Family Law litigator, a mediator, and a former Judge Pro Tem.  Our firm handles a wide array of cases, such as divorce, custody, relocation, paternity, child and spousal support, division of property and businesses, modification and enforcement actions, grandparent and non-parent rights, and all matters relating to families and children.  If you are in need of a consultation, please do not hesitate.  Contact us today.  You can reach us by telephone at 602-383-3610, or by email at gary.frank@azbar.org, or through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’d be honored to help you.

IMPORTANT ADVICE FROM A MINNESOTA JUDGE

Nothing is more important to us than our children — we always try to do what is best for them. 

Of course, we all know this. None of us would disagree.  But when two parents are embroiled in a contentious divorce or parenting dispute, it can be easy to forget.  So just remember this:  What we say about the other parent, in the heat of anger, can cut our children like a knife, and leave lasting wounds.

Here are some words of wisdom, from a Minnesota judge.  Although the words were spoken many years ago, they are timeless.

This is what he said:

“Your children have come into this world because of the two of you.  Perhaps you two made lousy choices as to whom you decided to be the other parent.  If so, that is your problem and your fault.

No matter what you think of the other party – or what your family thinks of the other party — these children are one-half of each of you.  Remember that, because every time you tell your child what an ‘idiot’ his father is, or what a ‘fool’ his mother is, or how bad the absent parent is, or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child half of him is bad.

That is an unforgivable thing to do to a child.  That is not love.  That is possession.  If you do that to your children, you will destroy them as surely as if you had cut them to pieces, because that is what you are doing to their emotions.

I sincerely hope that you do not do that to your children.  Think more about your children and less about yourselves, and make yours a selfless kind of love, not foolish or selfish, or your children will suffer.”

Judge Michael Hass*



Gary Frank is an Arizona Family Law Attorney and a children’s advocate.  For many years, he represented children in child abuse and neglect cases in Superior Court.  He has been appointed to serve on the Governor’s Child Abuse Prevention Task Force.  He won a Maricopa County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer of the Month Award for representing a child in a Family Court Custody Action and successfully petitioning to have the case transferred to Juvenile Court, where the child could be protected from her abusive parents.  Our law firm focuses on Family Law Matters, including Divorce, contested Custody matters, Parenting Time disputes, Relocation/move-away cases, Enforcement and Modification actions, Child and Spousal Support, Paternity/Maternity, Grandparent and Non-Parent rights, Mediation, and all other matters involving families and children.  If you are in need of a consultation to learn about your rights, please call us today at 602-383-3610; or contact us by email at gary.frank@azbar.org.  To learn more about our firm, check out our website at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’d be happy to help you.

*(Source: Huffington Post)



MORE WOMEN ARE FAMILY BREADWINNERS THAN EVER BEFORE

Our society is changing fast.  Today, women have opportunities like never before, and they are making the most of their new situation.  A USA Today analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data reveals some startling statistics: 

In 1976 only 6 percent of families consisted of a wife who was the sole breadwinner.  Today, wives are the sole breadwinner in 23 percent of all families;

Wives now out-earn their working husbands 28% of the time.  Twenty-five years ago only 16% of wives out-earned their husband;

In the vast majority of cases in which the economic roles are switched, the woman is better educated than the man; 

Women today attend and graduate college in higher numbers than men.  In 2010 women earned 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of master’s degrees, and 52 percent of doctoral degrees, according to the Education Department reports.

The result of this role reversal is that women (who were historically deprived of equal rights in the work world) now have an almost unlimited employment opportunities.  It also means that men (who were expected to be breadwinners in the past) are now able to nurture and spend more time with their children.  This can truly be a win-win situation.    

    
For more on the USA Today analysis of Census Bureau Data, see:  http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/20130325record-number-us-women-family-breadwinners.html



Gary J. Frank is a litigation attorney and mediator with over thirty years of Family Law experience in dealing in divorce, custody, and parenting issues. Mr. Frank has served on the Governor’s Task Force for Prevention of Child Abuse, and has received a Volunteer Lawyer award from the Maricopa County Bar Association for his work with children. For many years he acted as a Judge Pro Tempore in the Maricopa County Superior Court, which gave him an insight into the inner workings of the courts that many attorneys lack. He can be reached by telephone (602-383-3610); or by email at gary.frank@azbar.org; or through his website at www.garyfranklaw.com. If you are in need of a consultation regarding any area of Family Law, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN AND SAVE THEIR LIVES

I grew up at the tail end of an era when killers of children lurked around every corner.  We knew who they were, but we couldn’t stop them.  We lived in dread, and when we left the house and went out into the world there was nothing we could do but pray.  These killers had names like Polio, Whooping Cough, Measles, Mumps.  They took the lives of thousands of children each year in one epidemic after another. 

When I was a kid, everyone knew a family who was the victim of one of these monsters.  A parent whose child died of whooping cough.  A neighbor whose children had the measles.  And, worst of all, someone whose child was paralyzed, and in an “iron lung” battling for his or her young life due to having been infected with polio.  The word “polio” struck fear into the hearts of parents and children alike.  On every school yard you could see children who limped on withered legs from a battle with polio – and these were the lucky ones – they survived.  In 1952, the year I was born, there were 60,000 cases of polio, and 3,000 deaths.

Whooping cough (Pertussis) is another killer of children.  It is an upper-respiratory disease that attacks babies, and it can be deadly.  It strikes without warning and can last several weeks.  Its calling card is a horrifying wheezing-type cough that chokes its little victims, sometimes to death.

But during my childhood, a seeming miracle happened.  Doctors found that through the use of a vaccine, children could be given immunity from certain illnesses.  Thereafter, school children all over the country were vaccinated en masse, and by doing so, these deadly diseases were unable to spread.  By creating what is known as a “herd immunity,” polio, whooping cough, measles, and mumps were eradicated.  They practically disappeared from the face of the earth.

But now they’re back.

Why?  Because of the mistaken impression – unsupported by the evidence but spreading like wildfire throughout the internet – that these vaccines actually causechildren to contract the diseases, and that they create other problems, such as autism. 

In a January 4, 2012 editorial, the Arizona Republic newspaper points out that increasing numbers of parents are obtaining “personal belief exemptions” to Arizona’s vaccine requirement for children.  In fact, the use of this exemption has more than doubled during the past decade.  As a result, “vaccine-preventable disease” is also on the rise.

The editorial warns that according to a recent study by the University of Arizona College of Public Health, there are now schools in Arizona with rates of unvaccinated children that exceed what public-health professionals say is necessary to provide “herd immunity.”  That same study found that parents who send their children to charter schools are more than twice as likely as traditional public-school parents to opt out of vaccines – and schools with lower vaccination rates have a higher proportion of White, middle-to upper-middle income students.  The newspaper concludes, and doctors agree, that these parents are making a dangerous choice.

Whooping cough once killed 9,000 children a year in the U.S.  Polio, measles and mumps were also prevalent killers of children.  Those diseases were brought under control through the use of mass vaccinations.  But now, whooping cough is up 67 percent from 2010, and the number is steadily rising.

We have been vaccinating our children, in this country, for decades.  Vaccinations are proven to be safe and effective.  But they can only remain effective if enough children are vaccinated to create a “herd immunity,” thereby preventing the diseases from spreading.  By allowing themselves to be frightened away from vaccinations by unsupported “evidence” on internet sites that lack credibility, today’s parents are opening the door and allowing these killers of children – polio, whooping cough, measles, mumps, and other dangerous diseases – to regain a foothold and threaten the next generation.

As the Arizona Republic so aptly points out:  Why would parents reject something that could save their children’s lives?


Gary J. Frank is an Arizona attorney and former Judge Pro Tem with over thirty years of experience in dealing with parenting issues in Family Court.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding divorce, child custody, or any other area of Family Law, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone (602-383-3610) or by email at gary.frank@azbar.org, or through our websiteat garyfranklaw.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.