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The right moves make for effective family law dispute resolution

We often talk about the legal system in Texas and the United States as if it is one entity. That's not quite accurate, however. Anyone with experience with the law knows that the court system can be something like a hallway with many doors.

Finding the right one for your particular issue and then navigating all the twists and turns that may follow can be frustrating to say the least. One misstep or wrong turn could stall obtaining a positive resolution to the issue. And there is an old maxim that justice delayed is justice denied.

In family law matters, especially those that relate to the custody and the welfare of children, it's crucial to avoid such delays. Seeking the help of a skilled attorney should be a priority.

A case out of Nebraska is what sparks this musing. The crux of the matter is the desire of a mother and an adoptive stepfather to terminate the parental rights of the woman's ex-husband -- convicted in Missouri of molesting his 6-year-old daughter. He's now in prison.

The process followed by the stepfather involved trying to end of the biological father's parental rights to the girl and her two brothers by claiming during adoption proceedings that he had abandoned the children by virtue of his actions and prison sentence. Under Nebraska's adoption law, a biological parent's consent is required before an adoption can be granted, unless abandonment can be shown.

While a lower court accepted the stepfather's argument and approved the adoption, an appeals court said it was a misinterpretation of the law because the imprisoned father had maintained communication with the children and is current on child support payments.

The appeals court ruling does leave the door open to other legal options and an attorney for the mother and stepfather says they are considering what to do next. But whichever door they take, an attorney for the biological father says will be ready to challenge them for the protection of his rights and to maintain his relationship with his sons.

Source: The Washington Times, "Court: Molester father's parental rights wrongly terminated," Margery A. Beck, The Associated Press, Oct. 20, 2015 

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