Monthly Archives: June 2012

Shared Family Plan: Six to Nine Years, Part I

            This period begins the long, usually more settled, middle years of childhood. Children have greater experience with multiple separations from parents (e.g. school, relatives, friends, sports). During this stage, children begin to:

  •  Develop peer and community relationships.
  • Attain self-esteem as they develop personal and social skills.
  • Develop empathy and a sense of right and wrong.

             Early school-age children understand the concepts of time and routine. They can be more independent than their younger peers and more secure with the idea of two residences.

             They usually can adjust to different parenting styles. This and the next age period are typically the most flexible years of development, which permits parents to be more creative in preparing parenting plans. Using a calendar to inform and remind children of the schedules outlined in the parenting plan, along with their other activities, is very helpful, as changes can be anticipated and talked about ahead of time, easing some of the stress of transitions.


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Shared Family Plan: Three to Five Years, Part II

When planning the amount of time and the number of consecutive overnights the child will spend with each parent, parents should consider:

  •  The amount of childcare each of the parents provided prior to separation.
  • The child’s temperament.
  • The level of conflict between parents.
  • Familiarity with the other parent’s home.

             If one parent was minimally involved in the child’s daily routine, a few days each week including a full weekend day will allow the relationship and caregiving skills to develop. As the child becomes more comfortable moving between two homes, additional time and one or two overnights may be added.

             If both parents are working outside the home at the time of separation and the child is in day care, parents might consider splitting each weekend so the child has one full stay-at-home day and overnight with each parent every week, as well as some weekday contact. While this may not be the best solution for the parents, it is helpful to many young children in the early stages of separation.

             If one parent is primarily at home with the child, the parenting plan may offer the other parent more weekend time, in addition to some weekday contact.

             Some parents find that an every-other-weekend schedule with midweek contact works well. As the child moves through this developmental stage, weekends may be extended to include either Friday or Sunday night or both.

             When both parents have been actively involved in the child’s daily routine, depending on the child’s temperament and adjustment, ease of transitions and the effectiveness of parental communication, reasonably equal time may be considered.


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Peruvian Citizen Sentenced for Marriage Fraud Ring

A 30-year-old Peruvian citizen was sentenced Thursday, June 21, 2012, to more than 12 months in prison and fined $1,000 for participating in a marriage fraud scheme disrupted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Jenny Sedano-Vilcapoma, 30, of Ketchum, Idaho, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. She admitted to conspiring to enter into a fraudulent marriage with a U.S. citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. She further admitted that she applied for immigration benefits using her illegitimate marriage as the basis.

HSI special agents found that Sedan-Vilcapoma aided three other Peruvian citizens living in Blaine County, Idaho, in their efforts to enter into fraudulent marriages with U.S. citizens.

Sedano-Vilcapoma is the sixth and final defendant sentenced as a result of this investigation. In April, Rudy Isla-Mejico, 38, of Hailey was sentenced to five years of probation and a $1,000 fine for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Isla-Mejico admitted assisting Sedano-Vilcapoma in recruiting individuals to enter into fraudulent marriages to obtain immigration benefits.

Four other defendants, all U.S. citizens, were convicted of making false statements in an immigration application as a result of their participation in the marriage fraud scheme. They admitted entering into fraudulent marriages in exchange for money.

In October, Anthony Joseph Scafidi, 31, of Hailey, Idaho, was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $5,000. Joshua Lee Buell, 30, and Daniel Casado, 34, both of Ketchum, were sentenced to five years of probation and 60 hours of community service in July 2011. Buell was fined $5,000 and Casado $3,500. In May 2011, Bryon Thomas Bain, 34, of Ketchum, was ordered to pay a $3,500 fine.


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Elderly Texas Woman Arrested for International Marriage Fraud Scheme

A Edinburg, Texas, woman was charged Thursday, June 21, 2012 with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Santos Botello, 76, was arrested June 20 and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos June 21 to face formal charges related to marriage fraud. Judge Ramos has set her bond hearing for June 22.

According to court documents, Botello was allegedly arranging sham marriages between foreign nationals and U.S. citizens for profit since 2002. Foreign nationals allegedly hired Botello to help them obtain residency status in the United States by arranging sham marriages with U.S. citizens.

The complaint goes on to state that Botello committed marriage fraud by arranging marriages between couples when they did not intend to establish a life together and were only seeking immigration benefits. Botello paid U.S. citizens to participate in the sham marriages, according to the complaint. She allegedly completed immigration paperwork and instructed them on how to present themselves to immigration officers. Botello told them to get a common law marriage certificate, and take pictures together; and she instructed couples how to answer questions at their immigration interview, the complaint states.

By filing a petition with USCIS, U.S. citizens may seek residency for an alien relative. These petitions are legal and permit a U.S. citizen to bring his or her close relative, such as a spouse, to the United States. Marriage fraud occurs when this petition for residency is filed, but the bride and groom do not intend to establish a life together at the time they are married.

The charge of marriage fraud carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, a maximum $250,000 fine and up to a three-year-term of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristen Rees and Kimberly Leo, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.


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Shared Family Plan: Three to Five Years, Part I

Children in the pre-school years experience a tremendous number of developmental  changes. It is important that parents of pre-schoolers adjust parenting styles to accommodate their children’s new development, while keeping in mind that preschoolers continue to require guidance and support.

 Three to five year olds think they are the center of the universe and therefore often feel they are responsible for the divorce. They may say what they believe the parent wants to hear. It is important to remember that this does not necessarily reflect the child’s real experience. If the child reports parental behavior that causes concern, discuss the matter with the other parent. In many instances, the child may have misunderstood what happened and talking to the other parent may resolve the issue.

 Pre-schoolers tend to be impulsive and very concrete in their thinking. Nightmares are normal at this age as children become able to imagine frightening things, but have difficulty coping with their fears.

 Three to five year olds are attached to their regular caregivers, and separation from them may cause them to be fearful, uncomfortable or anxious. They may have troublemoving between their parents’ homes. They may become upset, yet once there become settled and happy in the other parent’s home. Children will do better if each parent can display a positive attitude during transitions and give some advance notice of any anticipated changes.

 Children of this age can benefit from structured time with children of their own age, away from their parents. Children are beginning to understand days and weeks, but not time.

 Pre-schoolers continue to need consistency and predictability. They may be changing their naptime or giving up naps altogether and parents must communicate about andtake into account their child’s changing sleep schedule.


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Shared Family Plan: Eighteen to Thirty-Six Months (Toddler), Part II

It is important that each parent have the opportunity to become competent and comfortable in all aspects of the child’s daily routine. This includes bathing, feeding, napping, playing, reading, and arranging age-appropriate activities with other children.

 Parents with a child of this age should consider:

  •  The amount of childcare that each parent provided before separation as well as the child’s temperament.
  • If a parent was not regularly involved in caregiving, two to three daytime contacts weekly with the non-residential parent allows the parent-child bond to develop and strengthen as caregiving skills are mastered. The addition of an overnight visit may be planned after a short time if the child does not show signs of undue stress.
  • It is preferable to begin with overnights spaced throughout the week, particularly if dealing with an only child.
  • If both parents were involved in every aspect of childcare before the separation, the child should be able to be away from either parent for two or three days. Depending upon the child’s temperament, parenting may be shared on a reasonably equal basis.
  • Daily telephone contact at a regular hour may be reassuring to both the child and the absent parent.
  • Keeping a picture of the absent parent with the child in the child’s room.
  • Children at this age do not have an adult’s concept of time. Frequent contact helps the parent and child establish and maintain a mutually supportive relationship.

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Shared Family Plan: Eighteen to Thirty-Six Months (Toddler), Part I

The period from eighteen months to three years is one of rapid physical, emotional and social change. Toddlers are becoming more aware of the world around them. They may have formed attachments to many caregivers (i.e. parents, grandparents, daycare  providers, close family friends). They are beginning to trust that their caregivers will meet their physical and emotional needs. Toddlers can respond to different parenting styles.

 They are becoming more independent and are developing the ability to comfort  themselves (i.e. favorite blanket or toy or thumbsucking).

 Healthy children of this age are “full of themselves” and may express their independence by saying “No” to requests and demands. Some children at this age may become fearful of separations, so that transitions between homes may be difficult. Some children may cling to a parent or cry at the separation from one or both parents. Resistance to exchanges is normal for many children. This behavior does not necessarily mean that the other parent is not a good parent or that the child does not want to be with one parent or the other.

 If parents share driving, it is sometimes easier for children if the parent they are with drops them off to the other parent. This avoids interrupting ongoing activities that sometimes occur when a parent comes to pick up the child, and it signals parental support for the transition. Predictable schedules and supporting the relationship with the other parent can make exchanges easier. Toddlers are particularly sensitive to tension, anger and violence in the parental relationship.


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Shared Family Plan: Designing a Plan, Nine to Eighteen Months


 Between the ages of nine and eighteen months, the transition from infant to toddler gradually takes place. There is great and rapid skill development, including motor  accomplishments (crawling, standing and walking), communication from sounds and smiles to simple words, and beginning expressions of simple emotions (hugs, kisses, anger, fear and anxiety).


Predictability and consistency remain important. Babies can respond to multiple nurturing caregivers if there is sensitivity to their cues and needs, and regularity in their waking, eating, and sleeping schedules. Babies may continue to express fear and anxiety if a familiar caregiver is not there to comfort them.

Designing the Plan

It is important for each parent to have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in daily routines such as feeding, bathing, napping, playing.
  • Have frequent contact with the child. Separations of more than three or four days from either parent will interfere with a healthy attachment to that parent.
  • Establish similar routines in each home by creating a communication log to be shared between the parents that describes the child’s daily experience.
  • If a parent has not been involved in caregiving previously, frequent short visits several times weekly will help to develop a mutually secure relationship and allow the parent to master the tasks required in caring for a baby. Daytime visits may be lengthened gradually, and overnights added as the parent and child develop a stronger bond and the parent is comfortably able to attend to feeding, bathing, diapering, soothing and bedtime needs.
  • When both parents are working outside the home and a child is with a third-party caregiver during the workday, many parents split the weekend and consider an additional one      or two overnights with the non-residential parent during the week as well as other mid-week contact. Although this is quite workable if the non-residential parent was “hands on” with childcare when they lived together, parents should remain sensitive to the child’s response to several caregivers and multiple transitions.
  • If both parents participated in all aspects of childcare on a reasonably consistent basis before the separation, the plan should allow for shared parenting to continue.

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Shared Family Plan: Birth to Nine Months, Part II

Visits several times weekly with non-residential parents are usually recommended for this age. These visits should provide ample opportunity for such care-giving functions as feeding, playing, bathing, soothing and putting the infant to sleep, whether for a nap or for the night. This will help non-residential parents maintain or build familiarity between themselves and the infant.

If a non-residential parent has not been involved in caregiving previously, short visits of several hours every few days will help to develop a mutually secure relationship, allowing the parent to master the tasks and sensitivity required to care for an infant. As the caregiving skills are mastered and the parent-child bond strengthens, the plan may include longer days.

Non-residential parents of children this age who have been active, involved caregivers may begin overnights, preferably in familiar surroundings. Overnights are more likely to be successful when parents have shared parental tasks prior to separation and communicate effectively about their baby.

To develop a healthy attachment to both parents, an infant should not be away from either parent for more than a few days. Many infants demonstrate a caregiver preference.

Extended separation from that primary caregiver should be avoided. Communication between the parents about the baby is essential for good infant adjustment. A daily communication log should be maintained and exchanged between the parents noting eating, sleeping, diapering and any new developments.


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Couple Convicted of Marriage Fraud

A Virginia Beach, Va., couple was convicted Monday, June 4, 2012, of conspiring to enter into marriages with American citizens for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident status in the United States.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk.

Danil Lyapin, 32, and Natallia Liapina, 54, are scheduled to be sentenced in September.

They each face five years in prison for conspiracy, five years for marriage fraud and five years for each false statement relating to naturalization and citizenship count.

“Marriage fraud poses a direct threat to the integrity of our immigration system and allows people to take advantage of benefits to which they are not entitled,” John P. Torres, special agent in charge of HSI Washington, D.C. “HSI will continue its efforts to identify and arrest individuals like Mr. Lyapin and Ms. Liapina, whose actions show a lack of regard for U.S. laws and undermine the legitimate immigration process.”

According to court records and evidence at trial, Danil Lyapin entered into a succession of three fraudulent marriages over the past decade to obtain lawful permanent residence status and eventual citizenship in the United States. Danil recruited his longtime business partner Armando to marry his mother so she could come to the United States, fraudulently obtain permanent residence, divorce Armando, re-marry Danil’s father and reunite the family in the United States.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Joseph DePadilla prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.


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