Tag Archives: P.L.L.C.

What You Need to Know About International Custody and Child Abduction

What You Need to Know About International Custody and Child Abduction

What You Need to Know About International Custody and Child Abduction
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, Virginia

Child abduction is one of the most heartbreaking events than can happen to any parent and is one of the most emotionally-charged areas of family law. It can also involve diplomatic involvement, especially when different countries are involved.

Some countries may protect a parent from being forced to return a child if the abducting parent is a citizen of that country and takes the child to travel there, then fails to return the child to the other parent at the end of the visit. These countries refuse to sign treaties that allow them to have such international custody matters determined by The Hague or by the domestic courts of the country that was the child’s “home state” prior to being removed by the other parent.

Personal experience for the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C has been in dealing with the country of Brazil, which is only a signatory to the New York Convention, but still fails to facilitate the return of children who are essentially abducted away from the United States, even if those children are U.S. citizens.

There are several conventions and treaties, including the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but a country unwilling to sign or to have its government ratify the ground rules for international abduction and custody fights means it can be a serious emotional and financial battle to gain return of a child once he or she is removed from the United States.

International Kidnapping is a Federal Crime
The International Parenting Kidnapping Crime Act 1993 “makes it a federal crime for a parent to remove or attempt to remove a child from the United States, or retain a child outside the United States with intent to obstruct another parent’s custodial rights.” However, prosecution of the kidnapping parent and the return of the child to the United States can be different matters. “Although the parent who removed the child from the United States is generally eligible for formal extradition because they are charged with a federal crime, the child is a victim of international parental kidnapping and often not eligible for formal extradition.” (Source: The United States Department of Justice). The child’s return is often settled through negotiation.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction also resulted in response to the increasing occurrence of parental child abduction and has resulted in different approaches to interpreting the key concepts of the Convention, thus prompting discussion of the issue.

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Parental Kidnapping
If your child or children have been kidnapped by the other parent, we urge you to take action right away. Talk to an attorney. Talk to us. We are experts in family law issues. We need to begin processes immediately and will counsel with you to set the necessary steps in place.

For this, or any family law issue, feel free to contact Attorneys Patricia Tichenor and Camellia Safi at the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C. Please contact us today.

Why Parenting Agreements Are So Essential

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Why Parenting Agreements Are So Essential
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, Virginia

Even though you are divorced or divorcing your significant other, you both will remain tied together as parents for the rest of your lives. That means that working together for the best interest of your child or children, no matter what your own differences are, as the Honorable Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Burke F. McCahill wisely reminds parents in his courtroom: “You are getting a divorce from each other…you are not getting a divorce from your children.”

One way to help ensure a better outcome for your offspring is to establish a written parenting agreement. In this agreement, you lay out the terms for sharing parental rights and duties and how each parent will maintain a strong bond with and play a significant role in your children’s lives. Typical agreements include terms about where the child will live (physical custody), visitation schedules, legal custody, schedules for holidays, birthdays and vacations, contact with other relatives, and how changes to the agreement will be handled.

Avoid the Judge
It is almost always best for parents to work out a parenting agreement for their children outside the courtroom. If, however, an agreement cannot be reached, a judge may be called upon to make a ruling. Delegating these important decisions to a judge who knows very little about you or your children, even after hours of court hearings, is rarely in your children’s best interest.

Consider the Child’s Point of View
Unless a parent is truly unfit, parenting agreements should not be used to marginalize one parent’s role in favor of the other. Keep in mind that, until your separation and divorce, your children have had the opportunity to see each parent on a daily basis or during weekends. You must consider how to limit the impact the divorce will have on a child’s interaction with each parent and avoid alienation of either parent, whether directly or indirectly.

Limit Legal Labels
Consider using ordinary language in your agreement rather than lawyer-speak or labels. Ask yourself if it is really necessary to refer to one parent as “the primary physical custodian” while the other is merely “the visiting parent.” Instead, you could use the term “parenting time” when referring to the time each of you will have with your children, even if it is necessary to identify just one of your homes as the “home base” for purposes of school registration and attendance or claiming your children on tax returns.

Be Flexible
Create a framework that allows for flexibility with each other. Ask yourself: “If I was the one being asked to agree to this parenting schedule, would I think it was fair and in the best interests of the children?” As children grow up and develop interests, remain flexible to changes in parenting schedules; you may not be able to keep to the original “typical custodial/visitation schedule.” Consider also including a “Right of First Refusal” that allows for a parent who misses schedule parenting time to make up dates – assuming that the missed parenting time was due to circumstances outside that parent’s control that caused a need for rescheduling.

Many divorcing parents are able to work out parenting agreements between themselves. Others rely on legal counsel or working with a mediator. As a last resort, a few must submit to a judge to determine division of parental responsibilities and visitation. The resulting decision of a judge can and often does frustrate both parents as being not ideal for themselves or their children – not to mention the thousands of dollars spent to obtain that decision from a judge that could otherwise have been spent on the needs of your children.

Whether you draw up your own agreement, or have questions regarding a parenting agreement, we welcome your contacting at the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C. for guidance. Attorneys Patricia Tichenor and Camellia Safi are here to assist in drafting an agreement that balances the concerns surrounding your divorce while ensuring your children best interests are not harmed in the end. Please contact us today.

Don’t Let Errors Derail Your Retirement Income Plan

Don’t Let Errors Derail Your Retirement Income Plan NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, Virginia

Don’t Let Errors Derail Your Retirement Income Plan
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, Virginia

When people talk about retirement income planning, they are most often referring to the assets they have in their IRA and 401(k) plans, and how they will withdraw that money, transfer it, or move it from place to place.

What they need to be careful of, however, is doing it properly. If done incorrectly, it could cost a person dearly in taxes. Here are some points to remember:

Remember Required Minimum Distributions

When taking IRA distributions, a minimum withdrawal is required once a person reaches an age that is six months past his or her 70th birthday. The penalty for not taking enough out is substantial: it can cost 50% on the under-distributed amount.

Defer Taking Inherited Money
When inheriting money, one might be tempted to take the money in cash, but that is not the best solution. It is better to spread out distribution of that money over a term of several years. This will ease the potential tax burden and create a stream of income.

Heed Deadlines when Transferring Money

When the lure of a higher interest rate or can’t-pass-up opportunity arises, people should be careful about how they transfer their assets. If they transfer funds themselves, by taking a distribution from one savings plan and rolling it into another, they must complete the transaction within 60 days of the distribution or risk a 20% mandatory withholding on the amount withdrawn, a penalty for early liquidation of the account. This penalty is collected by the retirement plan administrator and sent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Additionally, funds can only be transferred once per year.

A better way to transfer money is to have it sent via direct transfer from one investment company to another. This method carries no withholding, no amount limits, and is a much-more hands-off procedure for a casual investor who is looking for a better return.

Contact Your Attorney

To avoid making costly mistakes with your retirement income, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning issues, like Patricia Tichenor or Camellia Safi at the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C. Contact us today.

–excerpted from MarketWatch, “Tax Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Retirement,” Andrea Coombes, Feb. 21, 2012.

New Early-Detection Alzheimer’s Test May Enable Early Guardianship Decisions

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Pre-Determine Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Estate Planning Needs
NOVA Estate Lawyers – Leesburg, Virginia

When we talk about guardianship and conservatorship issues, a lot of questions are raised as to what conditions constitute having to necessitate a guardianship or conservatorship. One of these is Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease
A form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that starts slowly and worsens over time. Its symptoms can include difficulty remembering short-term events, language problems, disorientation, mood swings, lack of self-care management or behavioral issues. Gradually, the person’s condition declines, leading to a withdrawal from family and society, and ultimately death.

Because the disease creates debilitating symptoms, family members may need to step in and take over with issues like daily care, medical treatments, and housing. Many times the responsibilities of guardianship and conservatorship are thrust upon an individual, leaving them with many questions and few answers.

New Tests May be Able to Detect Alzheimer’s Early
Although early detection wasn’t always possible in the past, modern medicine has developed a new test that could help predict the progression of Alzheimer’s in at-risk patients. Using saliva samples, researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada were able to detect specific bio-markers that indicated a link to possible cognitive degeneration. With refinement, this test could assist doctors worldwide to better predict a patient’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Pre-Determine Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Estate Planning Needs
Knowing the risks of Alzheimer’s development can help families make calm and rational decisions in advance concerning guardianship, conservatorship, and care for the afflicted family member. Decisions that should include irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, and other estate planning decisions.

Contact Your Attorney
At the Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C., attorneys Patricia Tichenor and Camellia Safi specialize in family law and estate planning to assist families in drafting the documents that ensure the safekeeping of long-term care issues involved with Alzheimer’s patients. Don’t wait until the last minute to make these important decisions. Call us today to schedule a consultation. We can provide the answers you need.

The Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C.
Professional Legal Services or Legal Representation
(703) 669-6700

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