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Carol Garner, Esq., Law Access New Mexico Larry Kronen, Program Director, Kinship Guardianship Program, Pegasus LSC Liz McGrath, Executive Director, Pegasus.

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Presentation on theme: "Carol Garner, Esq., Law Access New Mexico Larry Kronen, Program Director, Kinship Guardianship Program, Pegasus LSC Liz McGrath, Executive Director, Pegasus."— Presentation transcript:

1 Carol Garner, Esq., Law Access New Mexico Larry Kronen, Program Director, Kinship Guardianship Program, Pegasus LSC Liz McGrath, Executive Director, Pegasus Legal Services for Children Erin Olson, Director, Volunteer Attorney Program State Bar of New Mexico

2 Agenda: Overview of legal services system Grandparents & the Kinship Guardianship Act Orders of Protection & Custody Orders Legal services for children & youth Question & Answer

3 Who’s Here?

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5 ◦ A network of non-profit agencies ◦ Providing civil legal aid to low-income individuals ◦ Income eligibility varies by provider Generally up to 200% of FPG* ($47,100 for family of four) *2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines (see handout)

6 Weaknesses: Services coordinated in ad hoc fashion All agencies underfunded, not able to meet need Can be very hard for low-income individuals to access services

7 Strengths: Experienced, dedicated staff who want to help low- income clients We are working hard to coordinate services, reduce overhead, and increase revenue so we can expand services.

8 Statewide legal helpline – Law Access NM Large statewide provider – NM Legal Aid Large specialized provider – DNA People’s Legal Services (NW of state) Numerous smaller agencies specializing in particular issues, populations.

9 Primary point of entry to system Legal helpline for low-income New Mexicans Income eligibility 200% of poverty

10 Family law Landlord Tenant Consumer law Employment/Unemployment Benefits

11 Help with self-representation Referrals to other legal services No citizenship requirement Limited to help over the telephone

12 Statewide Income eligibility 125%-200% of FPG depending on legal area No assistance to undocumented people Except in Domestic Violence cases

13 Offices in: Albuquerque Clovis Gallup Las Cruces Las Vegas Roswell Santa Ana Santa Fe Silver City Taos

14 Legal services: Domestic violence orders of protection Family law (for DV victims) Consumer law Landlord/Tenant Benefits Foreclosure defense Unemployment Insurance Compensation Native American Program

15 Serves Native American communities Crownpoint Dulce Farmington Shiprock

16 Civil rights, tribal sovereignty Domestic violence Family law Consumer law Landlord/Tenant Benefits Education Employment

17 New Mexico Immigrant Law Center Legal assistance to low-income immigrant families facing separation due to deportation, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied minors. Catholic Charities Legal assistance to immigrants in gaining legal status including victims of DV

18 Disability Rights New Mexico (DRNM) Designated by Federal law to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities Statewide Native American Disability Law Center (NADLC) Advocates for legal rights of Native Americans with disabilities San Juan & McKinley Counties

19 Pegasus Legal Services for Children Advocacy, Inc.

20 Statewide Services available depending on resources Income eligibility: Sliding scale for kinship care givers Free to youth 23 and under

21 Young Parent Project Homeless/Runaway Youth Special Education Juvenile Justice Kinship Guardianship Program Abuse/Neglect

22 Abuse/Neglect – representation of children in 2 nd Judicial District Guardianship Program – uncontested cases statewide Adoptions - uncontested cases statewide *Income eligibility – sliding fee scale for guardianship & adoptions.

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24  Guardianship of Minors Probate Code §45-5-201 et seq  Permanent Guardianship Children’s Code: § 32A-4-31 et seq  Kinship Guardianship Domestic Relations Code § 40-10B-1 et seq

25  Who May File ◦ A kinship caregiver: an adult (not have to be a blood relative), with whom child resides, provides care, maintenance and supervision consistent with responsibilities of a parent

26  Parents have consented in writing or  Parents’ rights have been terminated or suspended by a court order or

27  Child has lived with petitioner ◦ Without an objecting parent in the home ◦ For 90 days or more immediately preceding the date of filing and ◦ The objecting parent is currently unwilling or unable to provide adequate care, maintenance, and supervision for the child and

28 THE GUARDIANSHIP IS IN THE CHILD’S BEST INTERESTS

29  On the merits- ◦ Between 30-90 days from filing  Temporary Kinship Guardianship ◦ Within 20 days of filing the Petition

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31 Restrains one party from committing acts of domestic violence Prohibits further contact Quick access to the Courts Allows police to arrest if there is a violation

32 Further relief: – Exclude Respondent from home, school, work – Temporary custody or child support orders – Restitution from any damages – Other relief as necessary

33 – Husband/wife (or ex) – Girlfriend/boyfriend (or ex) – Co-parent of a child – Grandparent – Continuing personal relationship (dating/intimate relationship) – Applies to same-sex relationships – Co-habitation not necessary – Stalking or Sexual Assault –no relationship required

34 As Petitioner: Parent or legal guardian can file OBO (on behalf of) a minor – Against minor or adult As Respondent: Minors can be respondents - Must be served on parent or guardian of restrained minor

35 Physical abuse or threat of physical abuse Criminal trespass or criminal damage to property Threat causing imminent fear of bodily injury by any household member Stalking Severe emotional distress Harm or threatened harm to children Harassment, telephone harassment Sexual assault Not included: self defense or defense of others

36 “You need to get a restraining order” “You need to go get custody”

37 Proof needed: Act of domestic abuse as defined by law Continuing threat of continued abuse and harm.

38 Physical abuse or threat of physical abuse Criminal trespass or criminal damage to property Threat causing imminent fear of bodily injury by any household member Stalking Severe emotional distress Harm or threatened harm to children Harassment, telephone harassment Sexual assault Not included: self defense or defense of others

39  While a DVOP may include a temporary custody order if the parties have children  The DVOP is not a substitute for a custody order

40  Temporary custody – 6 months  Petition to Establish Custody or  Motion to Modify Custody

41 New Mexico Legal Aid  10 offices statewide  Referrals through CYFD-funded agencies or other local referral partners  3 levels of service: representation, brief service, advice and counsel NMLA DV/SA/Stalking HELPLINE 505-243-4300 or 1-877-974-3400 Shelters/Service Providers – link to map of shelters http://cyfd.org/domestic-violence

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43 Petition to Establish Paternity Custody Timesharing Child Support

44 File Petition Serve opposing party with pleadings Opposing party has 30 days to respond Judge can then set a hearing Can easily take 3 months to get before a judge

45 Emergency Motion for Interim Order Order to govern until hearing on merits Can still take months to get a hearing Difficult for person representing self

46 Re-open existing domestic relations/custody case Substantial change in circumstances Other parent must be served 30 days for other parent to respond

47 2 - 3 months to hearing 2-3 weeks even if allegations of imminent serious physical threat to the child/ren If situation is so dire - CYFD should be involved

48 Process is complicated Limited legal services (especially for non-DV) Difficulty of putting on proof w/out a lawyer

49 Must have clear proof of abuse or neglect Critical to have CYFD investigator testify Testimony must be in-person or by telephone

50 Letters/affidavits are hearsay Generally not admissible Police reports are hearsay Police officers must testify in person

51 The officer who prepared the report must be subpoenaed to testify Officer’s testimony is subject to the rules of evidence Eliciting testimony from witness is not simple

52  Albuquerque: 505.998.4529  Statewide: 800.340.9771  Carol Garner: cgarner@lawaccess.org

53 Volunteer Attorney Pool Court Self-Help Centers Legal Fairs Legal Clinics

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55  Pegasus Young Parent Project Age 23 and under Priority to age 19 and under Direct representation to establish custody, timesharing, child support Telephone information and advice

56  Pegasus Legal Services for Children  Disability Rights New Mexico  Native American Disability Law Center  Private attorneys

57 Pegasus Legal Services for Children Accessing benefits & services Housing Maintaining relationships with siblings in foster care Obtaining identity documents Juvenile Justice Records sealing and expungement

58 Kinship Guardianship Program Guardianship Legal Helpline – information, advice, referrals Direct representation in most parts of the state Community legal education

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60 Carol Garner, Esq. – cgarner@lawaccess.org Larry Kronen, Esq. – lkronen@pegasuslaw.org Liz McGrath, Esq. – evmcgrath@pegasuslaw.org Erin Olson, Esq. – eolson@nmbar.org


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