what to be aware of when divorcing your spouse
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what to be aware of when divorcing your spouse

Every marriage is not meant to last forever. No matter what the reasoning behind the divorce, it is important to have legal representation for each side. I almost lost everything because my former spouse said that he was taking care of things and that he would be fair about how the assets were divided. It took several weeks for me to find out what he was up to. It was then that I hired my own attorney and got what I deserved. You should never attempt to go through a divorce without a lawyer working on your side. On my site, I have listed several of the issues that can get overlooked if you are inexperienced with divorce documents and proceedings.

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what to be aware of when divorcing your spouse

Juvenile Mental Health Courts: Help For Mentally Ill Offenders

Joy Johnson

Is your teenager facing charges in juvenile court? Whether for truancy, assault, shoplifting, or substance abuse, your teen may be breaking the law because of unresolved mental health issues. If this is the case, you need to make sure your teen receives proper psychiatric assistance, and that the judge recognizes the "story behind the story." Retaining a family law attorney who can walk your family through juvenile mental health court is the best way to ensure a balanced outcome for your child.

Mental illness in delinquent children

A vast majority of teenagers who find themselves in trouble with the juvenile justice system have psychiatric disorders. In fact, Mental Health America (MHA) states that 65-70% of those in the juvenile court system are legitimately ill with psychiatric disorders---a hugely significant increase over the number of mentally ill children in the general population. Further, many of the charges facing these teens are minor and do not involve violence against others; however, teens are incarcerated rather than appropriately diverted to community treatment programs.

Juvenile mental health court

Because judges, attorneys, and mental health advocates saw these problems, juvenile mental health courts were born. Teens with mental health problems are diverted to these courts before facing the charges against them. Mental health courts include the following services:

  • individual counseling
  • group counseling
  • substance abuse treatment

In addition, a team of legal and clinical professionals meet to develop a coordinated, individualized case plan for those participating in mental health court.

Early success

Teens who have the assistance of mental health courts receive supervision and follow-up by the juvenile justice system. When they appear in juvenile court to face the charges against them, they often receive suspended sentences, community service, or probation, with the understanding that they will remain actively involved in their mental health treatment plan.

Although success rates for these new teen programs are not yet available, the Bureau of Justice Assistance reports that participants receive more mental health treatment services than those who are not involved. The BJA reports they also receive better treatment, with more timely referrals to appropriate services. Further, mental health courts seem to facilitate communication among offenders, judges, attorneys, and counseling professionals. Cases are resolved more rapidly, and fair outcomes may lead to fewer future offenses.

If your teen has emotional problems that could signal a mental health disorder, ask your family law attorney about the possibility of a mental health court referral. It will not only meet his/her mental health needs, but will perhaps obtain for your child a compassionate response from the juvenile court. For more information, contact a lawyer like Nancy Bunting.


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