Personal Protection Orders (Obtaining and Terminating)

A Personal Protection Order, or PPO, is a restraining order issued by the Court. It may protect you from being hit, threatened, harassed, or stalked by another person. The protection order may also stop someone from coming into your home or bothering you at work or on social media. It can stop perpetrator from purchasing a firearm or finding your address through school records. Personal protection orders can be terminated or challenged only after a hearing in front of a Judge.

Stepparent Adoptions

A stepparent adoption is one in which the birth parents are either divorced or were never married but the father had acknowledged paternity and the custodial parent and their current spouse petition the court to adopt the child(ren).

To facilitate a stepparent adoption, the biological noncustodial parent must consent to the termination of his or her parental rights or must have them involuntarily terminated.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized same sex marriage, states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize lawful marriages of same-sex couples from other states. Thus, a same-sex couple may seek a stepparent adoption of a spouse’s child from a previous relationship or a child biologically related to one spouse.

Experts are recommending a stepparent adoption even in cases where the nonbiological parent is listed on the birth certificate. That is because being named on the birth certificate is evidence of parentage but not proof of parentage. A stepparent adoption will create a legal relationship between the child and the parent and secure that parent’s rights if the marital relationship ends.

If a custodial parent wishes to petition for a step parent adoption and the other biological parent does not consent to the adoption the custodial parent and the stepparent may petition to have the non-custodial parent’s rights terminated.

The involuntary termination may occur if the non-custodial biological parent has not paid child support for the child or attempted to visit with the child for a two-year period prior to filing the petition to terminate rights.

Prenuptial Agreements

Many people are seeking prenuptial agreements to protect their assets. This tool, when used correctly can help provide parties with protections for assets in the event the marriage ends.

Prenuptial agreements can be used for first time marriages where parties wish to protect separate property or inheritance, or for subsequent marriages as an estate planning tool. Here are some reasons to consider executing a pre-nuptial agreement:

  • Provides the parties with finality in the event of divorce
  • Gives the parties more control over the process of a divorce,
  • Disclosure of financial information not normally shared when planning a wedding
  • Entering into the marriage understanding financial expectations
  • Protecting pre-marital and separate property
  • Providing for children that are not a product of the marriage
  • Protect a family business
  • Ensure a party does receive certain assets or support in the event of divorce
  • Sets forth the intention of the parties in how they expect to handle their divorce and marriage