Washington D.C. Archives - Cordell & Cordell

Cordell & Cordell Attorney William Phelan Named Rising Star

super-lawyers-300x160-300x160Cordell & Cordell attorney William J. Phelan, IV was named to the 2015 Washington, D.C., Rising Stars list for family law attorneys by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business.

Mr. Phelan was selected to be on this list for the second time.

Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. [Read more…]

Young boy center of dispute over custody placement

A 10-year-old boy has been stuck in the Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., for more than a month following a dispute among the child’s birth mother and the county, The Washington Post reported.

The boy’s mother and stepfather, who were both absent at a recent hearing for the child, have refused to take him home. His father is unable to intervene in the current situation, due to his lack of custody rights, the newspaper reported.

“The District of Columbia and Prince George’s County are obviously trying to push this kid off onto the other,” D.C. Superior Court Judge Eugene N. Hamilton said during the hearing. “In the meantime, the child is here in D.C. and has been abandoned and neglected.”

In an interview that was held recently, the boy’s father said he hopes to retain custody of the child and take the boy home to live with his one-year-old daughter and her mother, according to the Post.

WUSA 9 News reported that the boy’s mother doesn’t believe he is ready to return home because of several behavioral incidents.

Pair of Maryland Fathers Sue Washington D.C. Child and Family Services

A pair of Maryland dads are suing the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (CFS) for denying them custody of their children after the organization took their offspring from their mothers, according to the Washington Post.

Sam Wilson and Andre Adgerson were hands-on fathers who until recently had joint custody of their children. The mothers of their children were found to have neglected the kids to the extent that they had to be removed from their homes, the news source reported.

When the CFS came to take the children from their mothers, they took the kids to a foster care center instead of placing them in the custody of their fathers.

According to the news provider, this decision came as a result of the CFS’s interpretation of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. This led to the children being placed in foster homes for between one and six months while their fathers were assessed, despite their joint custody that was previously granted.

The District of Columbia and Family Services Agency handled more than 2,140 children who were in out-of-home care for 2009, according to the government website.

Film focuses on fathers struggles for custody

A new film depicting the world of divorce, custody and child support from the perspective of fathers is drawing attention to an often ignored side of the story. The documentary, titled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” made its theatrical debut recently in Washington, D.C.

The goal of the film maker, Janks Morton, was to tackle the issues found in family courts and to bring to light the plight of fathers in this scenario. The film follows five men through the system and shows the emotional toll and disparity between how fathers and mothers are viewed in family court.

According to Janice D’Arcy of the Washington Post, one particularly saddening story in the film is a man who was denied visitation and jailed because he was hospitalized, which made it difficult to pay child support. Before the hospitalization, his child support record was flawless.

“Millions of parents and children are directly impacted by court and agency rulings,” explained Michael McCormick, executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. “The routine and unnecessary separation of children from a parent is creating a nation of fatherless kids.”

Following the premiere of the film, a discussion was held to address audience comments and questions about the subject matter.

Lawyers expect gay marriage to bring business

Divorce lawyers are one group certainly cheering for New York’s successful bid to legalize same-sex marriage.

According to multiple media outlets, divorce lawyers and experts expect to see a whole new demographic of clients in their office, although they are not necessarily celebrating a possible increase in business.

“I may be a divorce lawyer, but I don’t hope for the demise of marriages,” Bettina D. Hinden, a divorce lawyer, told the New York Times.

Bettina said understanding the new implications for divorce posed by gay marriage is an issue that will be investigated in coming weeks. Child custody questions – such as a case where a lesbian couple raises a child together but only one is the legal guardian and birth mother – and where a couple can actually divorce are two major complications that may come to light.

Alton Abramowitz, the vice president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, told the New York Daily News that divorce lawyers will likely see an increase in business over the next decade. In addition, he said there will likely be a surge in gay and lesbian couples requesting prenuptial agreements.

New York is the the largest state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and Washington, D.C., have also legalized the institution for gay couples.