James Piedimonte is a highly experienced family law attorney.
Family law is the name given to the branch of civil law that covers the legal relationships among family members, including husbands, wives, parents, children, and domestic partners. Family law relationships encompass adoption, child custody, visitation rights, domestic violence, divorce, juvenile dependency and delinquency, marital property rights, support obligations, and paternity. Many divorces, modifications and paternity suits involve child custody. Child custody refers to custodial awards or determinations involving a minor child. These determinations involve who has the right to make decisions about the child, or legal custody, including decisions about education, religion, medical issues, and discipline, as well as where the child will live, or physical custody. With sole custody, you alone have legal and physical custody of your child. In a joint custody arrangement, you and your ex-spouse share legal and/or physical custody of the child. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a custody arrangement, a court will likely make a child custody decision based on the best interests of your child.
209 South Spring Street
Independence MO 64050
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Divorce is one of life's most painful passages. It is painful for the spouse who wants it, painful for the spouse who feels rejected, and painful for the children.
We can understand and empathize with the spouse who feels wronged and wants revenge, or the spouse who is overwhelmed with anxiety at the thought of losing the children, or the spouse who prefers to forget that the marriage ever was. But using the children to get revenge, to cope with anxiety, to erase the past, is unacceptable. Parents must hold themselves to a higher standard. Parent-child relationships are particularly vulnerable when children are first informed of the impending separation, or when one parent actually leaves the home. If your spouse manipulates the children to blame you for the divorce, or to believe you have abandoned them, affection can dissolve overnight as their distress and hurt feelings are channeled into hatred. The risk becomes multiplied if, for any reason, you have no communication or contact with the children after you leave the home. This keeps you from reassuring the children of your love and helping them understand that they do not have to choose between their parents. A child who feels caught between two homes may feel that the solution to the conflict is to declare a clear allegiance to one household. This motive can result in alienation from either parent. A child who is anxious or angry about the remarriage may channel these feelings into unwarranted hatred of the remarried parent and stepparent. Or the child's alienation may express the disappointment of reconciliation wishes that have been dashed by the remarriage. Regardless of the child's underlying motivation, if the favored parent welcomes the child's allegiance and fails to actively promote the child's affection for the other parent, the child may cling to a maladaptive solution. Excepted from: Dr. Richard A. Warshak. Divorce Poison, Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex, Regan Books, New York 2001. The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. Excerpted from: Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc. PAS is more than brainwashing or programming, because the child has to actually participate in the denigrating of the alienated parent. This is done in primarily the following eight ways: -The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe oppositional behavior. -The child offers weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger. -The child is sure of him or herself and doesn't demonstrate ambivalence, i.e. love and hate for the alienated parent, only hate. -The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him to do this. -The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent. -The child does not demonstrate guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent. -The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividly describes situations that he or she could not have experienced. -Animosity is spread to also include the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent. In severe cases of parent alienation, the child is utterly brainwashed against the alienated parent. The alienator can truthfully say that the child doesn't want to spend any time with the other parent, even though he or she has told the child that he has to, it is a court order, etc. The alienator typically responds, "There isn't anything that I can do about it. I'm not telling the child that he can't see you. Alienation advances when the alienating parent uses the child as a personal therapist. The child is told about every miserable experience and negative feeling about the alienated parent with great specificity. The child, who is already enmeshed with the parent because his or her identity is still undefined, easily absorbs the parent's negativity. They become aligned with this parent and feel that they need to be the protector of the alienating parent.
I am a family lawyer representing family needs. Ninety-eight percent of my practice is family law-divorce, custody, paternity, child support and visitation. I believe that clients should be aware of all the alternatives. I also do mediation and collaborative law.
I have been practicing family law for over 35 years. I have been a family law mediator for over 30 years. I also do collaborative law. This training enables me to offer several alternative dispute resolutions. My training enables me to settle most conflicts, however, I am always prepared to take my client's case to trial.
My focus is only on family law. Our experience and professional staff is able to process cases more efficiently, in less time, costing you less money.
Hometown: Independence Missouri
Education and Degrees:
1981-1983 University of Missouri at Kansas City, Missouri; Juris Doctorate.
1978-1981 Graceland College, Lamoni Iowa; Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/History.
1977 Pembroke-Country Day School in Kansas City, Missouri; High School Diploma
2009 Mediator Strategies to Build Participant Staying Power. 7th Circuit Office of Dispute Resolution Services Advanced Mediation Training. Kathleen Bird. Clay County Familly Court, Liberty Missouri.
2008 Victim Offender Dialogue Training. Association of Missouri Mediators. Charlene Berquist, Kathleen Bird, Heather Blades, Sandee Gamet, Diane Kyser, Paul Ladehoff. University of Missouri Law School, Columbia, Missouri.
2008 "Sifting Through the Chaos: Pitfalls and Possibilities in Mediation." Sharon Lowenstein, Terri Clinton DIschiser, Martha Halvordson, Stephanie Sloggett-O'Dell, Robert Benjamin. Heartland Mediators Association, KU Edwards Campus, O.P., KS.
2007 Nov. Specialized Guardian Ad Litem Training in Missouri Juvenile and Family Court Matters. Missouri Bar.
2007 Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law Training with Susan Gamanche and Diane Diel, Collaborative Law Institute of Missouri, O.P., KS.
2007 Proactive Skills for Mediators, Heartland Regional Conference of Mediators, KU Renents Center, O.P., KS.
2007 Collaborative Law training Chip Rose Instructor offered by the Collaborative Law Institute of Missouri.
2007 Advanced Guardian Ad Litem Training, Missouri Bar.
2006 Advanced Guardian Ad Litem Training, Clay County Bar Association, North Kansas City, MO.
2000 Advanced Family Law Mediation Training, Robert Benjamin-instructor, Kansas City, MO.
1998 Mediation Training of Business, Family and Divorce Conflict, Robert Benjamin-Instructor, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
1998 Guardian Ad Litem Training, MO Bar, Jefferson City, MO.
1991 Family Law Mediation, KCMBA office, Kansas City MO.
Member of the Missouri Bar Association since 1983.
Western District of the Federal Bar Association since 1983.
Supreme Court of the United States Bar Association since 1986.
Kansas City, Missouri Bar Association since 1983;
Eastern Jackson County Bar Association since 1983
Clay County Bar Association since 2006.
Member Heartland Mediators Association
Member of Association of Missouri Mediators
Member of Collaborative Law Institute of Missouri
Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR).
Jackson County Family Court Child Custody Mediator Panel.
Clay County Family Court Child Custody Mediator Panel.
Member Rule 17 list of Dispute Resolution Neutrals of Missouri Bar.
Member of Mediator Panel of Kansas City Bar Association
Member Kansas City Bar Association Family Law Committee.
Member of the National Organization of Social Security Claims Representatives (NOSSCR).
Member of Panel of Attorneys for Union Plus Legal Services for AFL-CIO's and other affiliated labor unions.
Member of Panel of Attorneys for ARAG North America Inc.
Chairman of Panel of Attorneys for Hope House Shelter for Battered Women 1983 to 1989.
Advisory Board to Salvation Army in Independence, Missouri 1985-1988.
Advisory Board to Vatterott College in Independence, Missouri 1986-1989.
Adjunct Professor at Park University teaching master degree program in Evaluation and Study of Not-for-Profit Corporations 2000-2001.
Missouri Lawyer Status
James Piedimonte is a member in good standing with the Missouri Bar. He has a B.V. Rating with Martindale & Hubble. James is fully insured through the Missouri Bar Plan.
University of Missouri at Kansas City