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Proposed Legislation Would Give Adoptees Access To Medical Information

Posted on by Katie Synor

Missouri lawmakers are debating a bill that may make it easier for adoptees to find their birth parents.

If House Bill 252 is passed, it would require the Missouri State Health Department to provide birth parents with a contact preference form as well as a medical history form that would be attached to a child’s birth certificate. Then, if both parties are willing, it would make the process of reconnecting easier.

Advocates for the bill argue it is important for a child to at least have access to medical records so they have a more complete medical history. A similar bill was passed last year by the House, but failed to clear the Senate.

Legislators have asked Rep. Jeanie Lauer, sponsor of the bill, to investigate how the proposed bill could affect those born through in vitro fertilization, surrogates and donates eggs and sperm as well as how it could affect the donors.

As the proposed bill stands, all adoptees 18 and older adopted after August 28, 2013, would be able to request a copy of their original birth certificate without the consent of their adoptive parents as long as there was no objections from the birth mother or the birth father.

If you are involved in an adoption, custody case or divorce, you may need counsel of an experienced Missouri Family Law Attorney. Call today for a free, initial consultation.

Read the proposed bill here >>>

Legislation Passes Senate Eliminating Adoption Tax Credit For Out-Of-State Adoptions

Posted on by Katie Synor

Legislation that passed the Senate this week may steer Missouri couples more toward adopting a Missouri child over adopting one from outside the area.

Legislation passed the Senate eliminating a $2 million annual allotment of tax credits for those couples adopting children from outside Missouri, including foreign adoptions.

There had been a $2 million annual allotment of tax credits for special needs children adopted from Missouri as well as for those adopted from outside Missouri. The credit was initially set up to help cover nonrecurring adoption costs like home visits and legal fees. It was capped at $10,000 per child.

The tax credit was left in place for those adopting Missouri children. To qualify, a child must be determined as special needs by the Department of Social Services, Children’s Division or by a court. Any individual or couple adopting a special needs child or any business helping an employee with a special needs adoption could be eligible under the Missouri law.

The legislation moved forward as a combination of Senate Bill 20, 15 and 19 and is the first piece of legislation to receive Senate approval in the 2013 legislative session.

It will now have to move through the House to gain full approval.

If you are in need of an attorney to assist in any family matters including adoption, divorce or custody issues, you want to speak with an experienced Missouri attorney. Call today for your free, initial consultation.

Missouri Special Needs Adoption Tax

Paper Calls For Regulation Of What Happens To Digital Assets After Death

Posted on by Katie Synor

With more of people’s lives spent online, the issue of what to do in the event of their death with their digital assets is an ever more-pressing question.

According to a paper written by a University of Illinois law professor and released last week, federal law needs to define what happens to someone’s “digital afterlife” and it needs to play a stronger role in regulating social networking sites, allowing users to determine the fate of what they own digitally.

Jason Mazzone, an Illini law professor argues that social networking sites are unlikely to adopt user-friendly policies for what happens to accounts upon a user’s death so a federal statute could help impose requirements on those sites to help users take some control of their accounts.

Mazzone points out that although social media sites like Facebook oftentimes set up memorial accounts for users who have died, they keep control of the content on their servers and ultimately, it is not their content to control. When someone passes away, these same issues affect email and online accounts as well.

If you need help planning your estate and what will happen when you die, contact Troy attorney Kathryn Synor today for a free, initial consultation.

Attorney G. John Richards, Former Lincoln Co. Prosecuting Attorney Dies

Posted on by Katie Synor

The former prosecuting attorney of Lincoln County died Tuesday evening following a crash last week, he was 51.

According to his web site, Attorney G. John Richards was seriously injured last Thursday morning in a crash on Route 47, west of Ellis. He suffered a medical condition that caused his vehicle to swerve off the road and hit a tree.

Mr. Richards was a 1979 graduate of Pittsfield High School in Illinois. He graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with undergraduate degrees and went on to complete law school at the University of Missouri РColumbia. He served as Prosecuting Attorney of Lincoln County from 1991 to 2010. He was also a former municipal judge.

Mr. Richards lived just outside of Troy and was active at Calvary Chapel of Troy. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

MO Court of Appeals: Adding Spouse To Property Turns Property Into Marital Asset

Posted on by Katie Synor

A divorce case dividing assets reviewed by the Missouri Court of Appeals last week determined a farm that had belonged to the husband became marital real property after the wife’s name was added to it.

The case, JJ v EJ Missouri Court of Appeals, decided June 19 in the Western District of Missouri decided that when the husband added the wife’s name to a farm in his possession, the farm became part of their marital property. It stayed marital¬†property¬†when it was later placed into a trust by the two of them.

Ms. Jenkins argued that because her name was placed on the title, Mr. Jenkins had given her half of the farm as a gift and it therefore became her separate non-marital property. The court did nor agree with her and sided with the lower court.

The court also found that the lower court erred in finding the wedding rings to be marital property, but were instead non-marital property.

If you are facing a divorce, we understand it can be a long and difficult process. You need an experienced Missouri family lawyer who can help guide you through the process. Call me today for your free, initial consultation.

Read Court Ruling Here >>>

Three Charged In Abduction Of 5-Year-Old On Transplant List

Posted on by Katie Synor

Three people have been charged in the abduction of a 5-year-old boy who was taken from a St. Louis Hospital where he is very sick and on the heart transplant list.

Porter Stone was kidnapped Tuesday after he completed an evaluation for a transplant. Police found them Wednesday in a motel in the Chicago area.

Porter’s father, Jeffrey Stone, his aunt and Jeffrey’s sister, Heather Minton as well as their mother, Rhonda Marie Matthews are all facing kidnapping charges, interfering with custody and endangering the welfare of a child.

The three are currently being held on a $1 million bond in Chicago.

Porter is very sick and requires medication, which he had very little of at the time of the alleged abduction.

If you or a loved one is facing issues with a child custody, you need an experienced Missouri family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal system. Call today for a free, initial consultation.

Abduction Alert Issued For Missing Stl. County Boy

Posted on by Katie Synor

Authorities issued an abduction alert after discovering a seven-year-old boy was missing when his father failed to return him to the St. Louis County Court Tuesday.

According to reports, 41-year-old James Leon Nordrum, Jr. from Minnesota has a history of mental health issues and has alluded to officials that he would harm his son, 7-year-old Wyatt Nordrum, if he lost custody.¬†The two allegedly fled with James Nordrum Jr’s father sometime before Tuesday afternoon when law enforcement went to the listed address and discovered all three were missing.

James Nordrum, Jr. is described as a white male about 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 225 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

If you are involved in a custody battle, we understand the stakes are high. We work to help our clients deal with challenging family law situations. Contact Katie Synor, your St. Louis family law attorney today for a free, initial consultation.

New Proposed Legislation Would Expand Safe Haven Law

Posted on by Katie Synor

If new legislation passes, it would allow parents more time to decide if they want to surrender their baby to the state without fear of punishment.

Rep. Kevin McManus, D- Kansas City, has proposed legislation giving parents up to 60 days to surrender a newborn. Currently, Missouri state law allows a parent to leave their child at a hospital, fire station or police station within five days of birth.

The law was created to give parents an option instead of abandoning their child in unsafe conditions if they were overwhelmed and didn’t feel they could care for the infant.

In February, an infant was found abandoned in Ellisville wrapped in a towel beneath a tree. The 9-year-old mother is now facing two felonies for leaving the baby boy. He is currently in custody with the state of Missouri.

If you or a loved one are considering placing a child up for adoption, you may need to discuss your case with a Missouri family lawyer so you better understand your options. Call our office today for a free, initial consultation.

Summary of proposal >>