Expanded Unemployment Set To Expire; Americans Face ‘Utterly Preventable’ Evictions

More than 25 million Americans have been receiving expanded federal unemployment benefits — $600 a week. Those benefits disappear in days.

Congress is unlikely to agree on new package before the end of next week. And temporary moratoriums on evictions are coming to an end in many places around the country.

NPR’s Noel King spoke with Matt Desmond, founder of Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, about what could happen if Congress doesn’t provide more help, and why so many American families were already in trouble before the pandemic.

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The Fight Over Confederate Statues, And How They Could Tell Another Story

Monument Avenue is a large, tree-lined street in Richmond, Virginia that used to have several confederate statues and monuments. In the wake of protests against racism and police brutality, the city has removed most of the. But a monument of Robert E. Lee still stands — for now.

Even before the statues started coming down, WVTF’s Mallory Noe-Payne reports that Richmond residents began reclaiming the space where it stands.

And historian Julian Hayter tells NPR’s Scott Simon there’s a way for confederate statues to tell a different story.

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Voting By Mail Will Increase Dramatically This Year — And It Could Get Messy

Up to 70% of vote this November could be cast by mail. But not all states will allow it.

And a recent NPR survey found that 65,000 absentee or mail-in ballots have been rejected this year for being late.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly visited a county in Pennsylvania to see what challenges lay ahead for election night in a critical swing state.

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Masks May Protect Those Wearing Them; Vaccines To Enter Large-Scale Trials

Dr. Anthony Fauci tells NPR he’s glad the President is promoting masks, and hopes more frequent White House briefings will be a source of clear and concise public health messaging.

Experimental coronavirus vaccines are headed for large-scale tests on tens of thousands of people. Multiple companies are preparing to begin those tests, a major hurdle in vaccine development.

We know masks keep us from infecting others with the virus. Now, scientists believe they can also help protect the people wearing them.

And NPR’s Nurith Aizenmann reports that face coverings are one of the surest ways for cities and states to avoid returning to full lockdown measures and could potentially save 40,000 American lives.

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Two current family law trends

Communities throughout the world are going through changes. Just one year ago, we were out and about socializing, going to work, meeting friends at restaurants and carting kids around to extracurricular activities. Today, we are doing our best to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We are meeting our work counterparts in online meetings, ordering food to eat at home instead of enjoying the ambiance of a restaurant and we are encouraging kids to play in the yard with siblings or neighbors instead of in large tournaments with friends from other communities.

These changes have also impacted the workings of family law matters. Three examples include:

Trend #1: Increased divorce rates.

Although data is not currently available for divorce rates in the United States, it is likely these rates will increase. China, who began dealing with the coronavirus pandemic before the U.S., has data showing increased divorce rates due to the coronavirus. The stress that comes with stay at home and quarantine orders along with financial pressure from loss of employment or cut hours can magnify preexisting problems, potentially increasing the likelihood of divorce.

Trend #2: Custody and visitation issues.

These orders have also impacted child custody arrangements. Is it violating a stay at home or quarantine order to take kids to see their other parent? These are not easy questions to navigate. Parents can help to better ensure they get their time with children by keeping track of any changes. Keep records of missed dates. You can likely request make up time in the future.


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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

Federal Officers Could Expand Beyond Portland; Trump Searches For Campaign Strategy

In Portland, Oregon, federal agents have been using violent force against protesters. Some protesters have been arrested by officers in unmarked vehicles.

Governor Kate Brown has asked the Department of Homeland Security to step aside, while President Trump threatened to dispatch federal officers to more cities.

NPR’s Mara Liasson reports Trump was hoping to campaign on a thriving economy and a swift end to the pandemic. Surging cases have forced him to change his message — and given Joe Biden an opening.

Ongoing coverage of the Portland protests and police response from our colleagues at Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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Yes, parents can kidnap their own children

Most people think of kidnapping as a third party taking a child from the child’s parents. There are cases, though, where one of the actual parents can still face kidnapping charges.

For instance, this can happen when someone tries to leave the country even though they share custody of their child with an ex. This is known as international parental kidnapping, and it is sometimes referred to as abduction. It violates the rights of both the child and the other parent.

This may happen after a contested divorce case. Perhaps both parents want sole custody. The court decides that the child should live with Parent A all of the time, but they do give Parent B visitation rights. The reasoning is that Parent A does not have a safe living space for the child, but the court wants to keep them both involved in the child’s life.

Unhappy with that decision, Parent B abducts the child during one of these visitation meetings. It can also happen if they have joint custody. Either way, Parent B drives across the border and into Mexico — or boards a plane for Europe — where they have extended family. They hope to get around the court’s ruling by moving the child far enough away from the other biological parent so that they no longer have to share custody rights.

A case like this can get incredibly complicated and may be dangerous for the child. Parents often do not feel like what they’re doing is illegal since it is their child, but it is. Everyone involved in a contentious case of this type needs to know what legal options they have.


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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

Money Is Flowing For Big Banks. For Unemployed Americans, It’s About To Be Cut Off

The United States had 71,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. Back in June, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he wouldn’t be surprised to see 100,00 cases per day. That grim prediction is getting closer to reality.

While the economy is in a recession and tens of millions of people have lost jobs, some big banks are enjoying huge profits.

Three unemployed workers from different parts of the country share what options they have once the federal CARES Act benefits expire at the end of July.

Indivar Dutta-Gupta, co-executive director of Georgetown University’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, told NPR that the expiration of CARES Act benefits will not only hurt those workers relying on them — but the economy as a whole.

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When should you tell your kids about divorce?

You and your spouse may have known for a while that you were headed for divorce. However, that does not mean that your kids are expecting news about your decision, so when is the right time to tell them?

If you and your spouse have recently decided to divorce, it may be best to avoid rushing into a conversation about it with your kids. On the other hand, kids are very perceptive, and they may know something has changed, even if they are not expecting divorce.

It can be best to tell children sooner rather than later. You probably wouldn’t want them to hear it from someone else. However, this conversation may be one your children remember for a long time, so there are several important factors to consider when choosing the right time.

Make sure it is actually happening

Avoid telling your kids about your divorce if there is a chance it might not happen. This type of news can be very distressing for kids and it may spare their emotions if you and your spouse are able to work things out.

Have an expectation for the future

If the divorce is definitely going to happen, try to get an idea of some of the changes that may take place. For example, which parent will move out, when they will move out, where the children will live and when the children will see each parent.

There can be a lot of uncertainty for everyone during a divorce, but kids thrive on routines. It can help them prepare for the changes ahead if they have some idea about what they should expect.

Pick a normal day

Once you have a general idea of what changes may be coming, it is time to pick the right day and time. It is best to tell kids before any divorce-related changes occur. Don’t wait until after a parent moves out.

It may also be good to avoid certian days and times of day when emotions may run high. This includes birthdays and holidays. It also includes times right before a child usually takes a nap or goes to bed.

Gather everyone together

Choose a day when you and your spouse can both participate, when all your kids can be told at once and when no one is rushed. Then, go ahead and call a family meeting.

When you and your spouse break the news, agree on one, simple, honest message that avoids blaming anyone. Share with your kids what changes may come with divorce, and reassure them that both parents love them and that the divorce is not their fault.

Your kids may have a variety of questions at once or may need to have several brief conversations about it over the next several days. It is normal for siblings to have very different reactions from each other.

There may never be the perfect time to tell someone bad news. However, some times are worse than others. By trying to avoid some of the less ideal times, you can give your kids the best opportunity possible to cope with the news.


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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law

When a divorce-linked team approach might be warranted

Do you need more than one tried-and-tested professional working on your Texas divorce case?

Here’s the answer we suspect many readers of our blog posts at the family law firm of Katie L. Lewis might have guessed is forthcoming: maybe.

Many divorce matters understandably feature a close link between high-net-worth property division and resulting complexity. And the more complicated a dissolution is, the greater the likelihood that a team approach to securing optimal results might prevail.

We stress that bottom line on our website. We note therein that, “Often in complex divorce cases, it is necessary to consult with experts such as business valuators, financial advisers, accountants or appraisers.”

That type of integrated approach is common and quick to provide added value to a divorce client who is involved in high-asset negotiations focused upon property distribution. It is underscored in a recent Forbes article using a sports analogy that likens a proven property division attorney to a “quarterback” guiding a team of professional assistants.

Those extra players can help across a broad spectrum.

Marital assets must be accurately valued, for instance, and specialized appraisers routinely do that involving property ranging from art and collectibles to antiques and jewelry. Family businesses that must be accounted for in a marital split give rise to many complicated issues that are best addressed via professional input. Financial experts can follow money trails, trace assets and provide key data on income streams and a party’s reasonable post-divorce expectations.

Questions or concerning regarding a high-asset marital dissolution can be directed to an attorney with a deep well of experience in complex and contested divorces.


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Author: On behalf of Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law