Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What is a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights?

A Petition to Terminate Parental Rights is a petition to the family court asking the court to take away the rights of a parent by court order. There are a number of reasons to seek a termination of parental rights ranging from protecting the interests of a child to preparing for the adoption of a child.

It is always important to seek competent legal counsel before filing a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights. Nevada law requires very specific information to be plead in a Petition before the court will even consider it.

While the Nevada statutes (N.R.S. 128) enumerate at length the possible reasons for termination of parental rights, the court focuses their decision on the best interests of the child as well as the conduct of the parent toward the child.

These considerations generally include:
  1. The Child's wishes;
  2. Abandonment of the child;
  3. Neglect of the child;
  4. Unfitness of the parent;
  5. Failure of parental adjustment;
  6. Risk of serious physical, mental or emotional injury to the child if he were returned to, or remains in, the home of his parent or parents;
  7. Only token efforts by the parent or parents (a) to support or communicate with the child, (b) to prevent neglect of the child, (c) to avoid being an unfit parent, (d) to eliminate the risk of serious physical, mental or emotional injury to the child, or (g) with respect to termination of the parental rights of one parent, the abandonment by that parent.
Pleading to satisfy these considerations must be done with care. When considering these factors, the court's final decision will not only rely upon the plain language of Nevada statutes, but also decades of complex and seemingly contradictory decisions from previous Nevada cases.

If you believe you or someone you know needs to file a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights, call or email the experienced attorneys at Ellsworth, Moody & Bennion today for a consultation.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Can a Stepparent Adopt a Stepchild in Nevada?

Can a stepparent adopt a stepchild in Nevada? Absolutely. In fact, stepparent adoption is the most common form of adoption performed in Nevada.

Stepparent adoption is most commonly used when a divorced spouse who has custody of the children from the previous marriage remarries and the new stepparent desires to adopt the children as his or her own. This process can be simple, but things may become very complicated if the birth mother or father in question is unwilling to relinquish their parental rights. Without the birth-parent's permission you will need to demonstrate that the parent is somehow unfit.

If you are considering stepparent adoption, contact the experienced attorneys at Ellsworth, Moody & Bennion, Chtd.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The FMP - Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program

On August 19th, the Nevada Supreme Court appointed the first 97 mediators pursuant to the landmark Foreclosure Mediation Program (Assembly Bill 149) passed by the Nevada Legislature during the 2009 session. Two of those mediators include our very own Keen Ellsworth and Todd Moody.

The new program is designed to help alleviate some of the pressure Nevadans are currently feeling due the housing crisis, as Nevada currently has the highest foreclosure rate in the country. Under the program, overstretched homeowners and and their respective lenders are able to meet together with a trained mediator and find a reasonable and workable alternative to foreclosure.

The most important requirements for eligibility to participate in the Foreclosure Mediation Program are as follows:
  1. The owner must still live in the home.
  2. The notice of default must have been recorded on or after July 1, 2009.
  3. The $400 mediation fee must be split equally between the homeowner and lender.
  4. The mediation must be conducted within (80) days of the Default and Election to Sell being recorded by the lender and served on the homeowner.
For more information about this program contact either Keen Ellsworth or Todd Moody or go to Nevada Judiciary's foreclosure mediation link.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Green Cards and Permanent Residency

What is a Green Card?

A green card is a common way to refer to the government-issued card provided to individuals with lawful permanent residence status in the United States. The name is based on the fact that the card was initially green. Throughout the years the card has taken different forms and colors, but the term “Green Card” has remained in use. You must carry your Green Card, or “Permanent Resident Card,” with you at all times

What is Permanent Residency?

Official immigration status is held in the form of Lawful Permanent Residency, commonly called “Green Card.” There are generally three avenues to obtaining Lawful Permanent Residency: through family members, through employment, and through the diversity lottery.

Some Travel Concerns for the Permanent Resident.

If you have a green card (i.e. a Lawful Permanent Residence Card), it is important to be aware of some issues that may arise as a result of traveling outside the United States. A person with a green card is free to travel outside the U.S., although a passport from their country of citizenship is generally necessary. When you return to the U.S. you usually simply show your green card at the time of re-entry. However, if you are going to be outside the United States for more than one year, but less than two years, you will want to obtain a “reentry permit.” Be aware that if you are outside the U.S. for more than 180 days (about 6 months) and attempt to re-enter, you may be deemed to have abandoned or relinquished your status.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Wealthlawblog's "The Low Hanging Fruit of Asset Protection"

With all of the wealth protection strategies available to attorneys and their clients today it is common for us to lose sight of the simple ways to protect assets. Yesterday I came across a great post by Ted Simpson on wealthlawblog.com which succintly mentioned some important yet vital wealth protection strategies such as education savings accounts and strategic titling of property. The list is brief but serves as a timely refresher for advocates and clients alike during these tough economic times.

Understanding Postadoptive Contact Agreements

In 2005 the Nevada legislature added Nevada Revised Statutes 127.187 through 127.1895, which collectively codified the rules surrounding treatment of Postadoptive Contact Agreements in Nevada. Whether you are giving a child up for adoption or adopting a child yourself, it is important to understand the implications these agreements have and your rights under them.

How do Postadoptive Contact Agreements become enforceable?

According to NRS 127.187, for Postadoptive Contact Agreements to be enforceable they must be in writing and signed by the birth parents and adoptive parents as well as incorporated into an order or decree of adoption. Once these steps have been followed the agreement will stay in effect until either the child reaches the age of 18, is emancipated, or the agreement is terminated.

What if a party to the agreement does not comply?

According to NRS 127.189, if a party fails to comply with the agreement it will not allow them to set it aside or get damages; the most common remedy is for the Court to enforce the terms of the agreement. What is especially important to remember is the fairly brief statute of limitations attached to actions for enforcement. An action to enforce an agreement must be brought within 120 days after the date of breach.

What if the visits become a problem for the child or family?

According to NRS 127.1895, there are some circumstances in which an adoptive parent may petition the Court to have the postadoptive contact agreement modified or terminated. To do so the parent must petition the Court which entered the order or decree and show that, 1) a change in circumstances warrants modification or termination, or 2) the contract required by the agreement is no longer in the best interests of the child.

The best interests of the child are paramount in the Court’s decision making process. In fact, according to the statute, if the adoptive parents petition the Court to terminate or modify the agreement it is presumed by the Court that modification or termination are in the best interests of the child. Then it becomes the opponent’s burden to show the agreement is in the child’s best interests, a difficult burden to overcome.

Another important thing to remember for adoptive parents is that according to NRS 127.1895(3), any order issued to modify an agreement may not expand or increase contact between the child and other parties involved, or place any new obligation on the adoptive parent.

If you would like more information or need help resolving an issue with a postadoptive contact agreement, contact Ellsworth, Moody & Bennion today.

Search Nevada Businesses Online

There are numerous reasons why individuals and their counsel would need to look up vital information regarding Nevada business entities, but many fail to realize this information is available at their fingertips. The Nevada Secretary of State's Website has a convenient Business Entity Search which allows you to easily search for NV entities by name, entity number, officer(s), or the entity registered agent.

After finding the appropriate business, the search results provide access to important information such as the status of the business, its filing date, information regarding their registered agent, the business's public financial information, the company officers, as well as any actions and amendments taken since the business's formation.

Feel free to contact Ellsworth, Moody & Bennion for more information about forming your own Nevada Business Entity.