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Q & A

A smattering of answers to questions you didn't ask

  • So my question is basically, can I legally go get my child from my friend?

If I voluntarily placed my child with a friend until cps could complete an investigation then am I legally required to keep him there if cps is taking days to investigate? My child was in no danger at the time of placement, I just didn't want cps...

Robert's Answer

    • on Feb 4, 2016

Generally, when CPS takes temporary custody of a child without filing a formal lawsuit it is done by a "Family Safety Plan" This is a voluntary agreement between you and CPS and it is in writing, laying out the actions you must take before return of the child.
If you signed a document like this, you should abide by it.
If no written agreement was signed, you might want to contact CPS and see where the investigation is at.
While you might think it should only take CPS a few hours to conduct and complete an investigation, there are so many variables, it could considerably longer.

  • I need a good divorce lawyer on a budge

Married for 17 years he tells me he is going to kill me if I leave cheats on me call me names hit me and my son I need help

Robert's Answer

    • on Oct 10, 2015

While you may be on a budget, there are many other factors to consider when shopping for a lawyer besides budget alone. After all, you wouldn't make cost the primary consideration when hiring a brain surgeon. You might consider consulting with one of the many lawyers that offer a free consultation or contacting the Houston Lawyer Referral Service or Lone Star Legal Aid. Both of those organizations offer low cost legal aid if you qualify.

  • How can I word my statement to the judge for lowering the child support that I pay?

I know the father asks for the maximum that is allowed according to the state guidelines. I also know 20% of your income is for CS. When the judge set the support, my rent was below $200. Now, the rent is $460. I have not moved. I just don't wa...

Robert's Answer

    • on Sep 24, 2015

While the state guidelines presume that application of those guidelines are in the best interest of the child, Sec 154.123 (B) of the Texas family code contains 17 additional factors the court can take into consideration that allows the judge to consider a variance from the guidelines.
While discussion of each of those factors in this forum is prohibitively long, I suggest you or your lawyer review those 17 reasons for variance and determine if any apply to your situation. If you believe they do, those factors, along with your evidence should be argued to the judge.

  • What is difference in amt of child support owed on disposable income of $148,000 for employee versus self employed on 1child

CSRP resulted in increase of support payment for cp (me). However, reviewer reversed determination made from final divorce decree concerning the classification of ncp as employee to that of self employed. Company owned is incorporated and n...

Robert's Answer

    • on Mar 23, 2015

Employee child support obligations are determined by using Attorney General Tax Charts which standardize deductions in arriving at appropriate net income for calculating child support numbers. Self employed people may also deduct ordinary and necessary expenses from the operation of their business when determining child support

  • I have been fighting for one of my children for three years and still I and family haven't seen this child because the mother

is full of herself and selfish. While we are still married, she presently is living with her boyfriend with our child and admitted the child's not mine but there's never been a third party to contest me getting custody. Does this change the statu...

Robert's Answer

    • on Jan 18, 2015

When you already have an attorney, most attorneys won't give you advice or second guess your current attorney's strategy. But as a general rule paternity testing clears up the issue. Whether the child is your biological baby or not sets the approach you need to take to get access.

·         Applicability of Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (TDRPC) as cause for claims in family law court hearing.

Example: In a divorce, R's attorney had recently withdrawn. P's attorney, files pretrial motion for temporary order. R, without representation has facts that could set aside ordering the motion, Five days before hearing , R receives an email fro...

Robert's Answer

  • on Sep 17, 2014

As a general rule and out of an abundance of caution I never consider a hearing or any other setting canceled unless:
1- I cancel it;
2- The court cancels it and informs my office;
3- Opposing party EXPRESSLY cancels it and notifies my office;
4- We sign a Rule 11 agreement canceling the hearing.
If there was a miscommunication you can file a Motion for Rehearing, explaining the accident or mistake and alleging you have a meritorious defense. I don't see anything in your fact situation which would lead me to believe the hearing was canceled.

·         Is an affidavit that states that there are attached photos, and documents acceptable for TWC?

Former employer cannot stay connected to phone during appeal hearing. Hearing continued due to this. Former coworker, who is one of my witnesses has work hours that are difficult for her to participate in hearing. Can she attach her photos, and do...

Robert's Answer

  • on Aug 26, 2014

The Texas Workforce Commission is an administrative agency rather than a Civil or Criminal Court of law. Therefore they are not formally bound by the Texas rules of evidence and frequently admit hearsay documents such as affidavits and accompanying photos.
According to the TWC Appeal Hearing Handbook, The basic test of admissibility is whether there exists a reasonable "guarantee of trustworthiness". If not, the evidence has little or no probative force.

·         I've been clean on all my tests but I had smoked recently and I'm sure I have a HF coming. What's the worst that can happen?

First time felony offender, stays current with fines and hours

Robert's Answer

  • on Aug 26, 2014

Conditions of felony probation in Texas almost always include a prohibition against the use of illegal drugs. If your hair follicle test shows positive for an illegal drug, then the Prosecutor can file a Motion to Revoke your probation, or a Motion to Adjudicate guilt if you are on a deferred adjudication probation.
There are a variety of outcomes and variables in determining the outcome. A court can look at how long you have been on probation, whether the underlying case was a drug case and anything else pertinent to your violation.
I have seen cases where the defendant was simply admonished not to do it again, cases where the defendant was given "jail therapy", cases where the probation period was extended, and many cases where probation was revoked and the defendant was sent to jail/prison.
You do have the right to a hearing. In the interim, get a lawyer and........stop smoking dope while you're on probation.

·         I am currently paying childsupport and back child support and my tsp retirement house a hold on the account I want to know why

Child support

Robert's Answer

  • on Aug 25, 2014

Pursuant to section 157.317(a) Texas Family Code, a child support lien attaches to all real and personal property not exempt under the Texas Constitution or other law, including:
(1) an account in a financial institution;
(2) a retirement plan, including an individual retirement account.
This could be the answer to your question.

·         Is This a Good Reason to File for Child Support Modification

A year ago when my ex was awarded child support for our two children she had no job. (i believe on purpose) Two months after court she procured full time employment making $15 per hour. She has not notified the court so she is already in contempt...

Robert's Answer

  • on Aug 1, 2014

A Motion to Modify child support can be filed if has been at least 3 years since the last child support order or if the modification will increase/ decrease child support by at least $100.00.
Child support in Texas is generally based on a % of the Obligor's (Payor's)income (net resources) and not on the income of the Obligee (payee). Texas does however, have 19 additional factors that the court can consider in adjusting the actual % to be paid and your ex spouse's income can be considered.

·        

·         Can I expunge a Family Violence Class C Mis Assault by Contact Family Violence Off My record???

Conviction is more then 15 yrs old happened back 98. And also occurred in Texas... Victim explained to judge she was pushed and not injured...

Robert's Answer

  • on Jul 23, 2014

Under Texas law, certain types of records are eligible for expunction. These include convictions for failure to attend school, certain alcohol offenses committed by minors , cases where the person was pardoned and a few others. Additionally, if you were acquitted by the trial court, arrested but never charged or if the charges were dismissed, you may be eligible for an expunction. If the victim's statement to the judge resulted in one of the above an expunction might be proper. However, if the statement was made after a conviction or you were convicted despite the victim's statement, expunction is probably not likely.

·         Father not excersising rights? How long do I have to wait till I can move out of the county

He works transporting livestock, he and his current wife have separated about 2 months ago all exchanges going through her has not seen the child since then We have an 11th rule agreement... Need help

Robert's Answer

  • on Jul 17, 2014

If your Final Order has a geographic restriction requiring you to reside in your county or contiguous counties, certain exceptions usually apply. Generally, if your ex moves from the restricted counties first (and you know that for sure), then you are free to relocate without further restriction. Otherwise, you can relocate with his agreement or by filing a motion with the court seeking permission to relocate. If the court finds you have a valid reason to move from the restricted counties, such as employment or for family reasons, the court frequently allows the move, but may reduce your ex's child support or give him extra visitation if you move a considerable distance and he has increased transportation expenses, or its no longer practical to visit the children 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends.
Please note this is general advice and assumes the language referenced in this answer matches the language in your decree.

·         I had an affair and fathered a child to a married women. my wife and i are 100 percent working things out. i know that since she

is married the child is presumed her husbands. they are not living together but still legally married. she does not want me to see the child of course because she does not want my wife around. i just want paternity and my rights to visitation. can...

Robert's Answer

  • on Jun 7, 2014

Yes. You can file a petition either through the Attorney General's office or through a private attorney seeking to establish paternity. The husband (presumed father) can file a denial of paternity, but the best way is to ask the court to conduct DNA testing of you, mother and child, which with a better than 99% accuracy, will conclusively establish whether you are the father.
If you are, then you will be subject to the rights, duties, and responsibilities of a parent, which include visitation and payment of child support.

·         Family court situation: My attorney did not show up for a hearing on a TRO against me. What recourse do I have?

My ex spouse filed a TRO against me to keep me from seeing our daughter with blatant lies about me. According to my attorney it was a case of simply proving the statements and so-called evidence to be untrue. On the date of the hearing my attorn...

Robert's Answer

  • on Jun 5, 2014

A TRO is only valid for 14 days, so it appears your damages may be minimal. It sounds like your attorney is taking adequate steps to correct/ overturn the granting of the TRO. A lot depends on the reason the attorney failed to appear. If it was misdocketed, then understand that attorneys, like anyone else can make mistakes. If you've lost confidence in the lawyer you can terminate his services and request your file and a refund. If you believe the lawyer engaged in misconduct you can contact the State Bar and file a grievance. Talk to your attorney. You are entitled to an explanation, not an excuse.

·         I saw on my probation paperwork that I'd be required to frequent breathalyzers. Could be daily but is that realistic?

I am a first time dwi offender with no prior record. I I do doubt it will be daily but I may change jobs soon and would like to not have blow everyday. The blowing part depends at least in part on getting a new job which is why I'm asking.

Robert's Answer

  • on Apr 1, 2014

As a condition of probation, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (Smart Start) in your vehicle that requires that you periodically breathe into an on board breathalizer to continue to drive or start your car.

·         My ex wife forged our divorce papers.

My ex wife forged our divorce papers while I was in Mexico. The Judge in turn gave her everything. When I came back to get my belongings she said I have nothing there and took everything. I have not done anything to her because of our child togeth...

Robert's Answer

  • on Aug 13, 2013

Depending on the visitation terms in your decree, you have the absolute right to visit your child pursuant to those terms, with no requirement to take along children that are not legally yours. Visitation is a court ordered right and not a ransom to force you to adhere to her whims. If your visitation terms are severely restricted you can file a motion to modify that portion of the decree to gain additional visitation, provided the court finds that to be in the child's best interest.
If you can prove your name was forged, you could file a Bill Of Review seeking to overturn the entire decree

·         If i get child support in TX n a year later get divorce in HI. dose the child support stays at TX amount or change to HI amount?

me n my spouse are separating n i wont to move but we both don't wont to get divorce yet. and i would like to know what would happen.

Robert's Answer

  • on Aug 13, 2013

If you have an existing child support order from a Texas court (whether by way of a prior divorce or through an Attorney General Order), that child support amount will continue despite a move to a different state. In order for a HI court to change that amount you will need to establish residency in that state and jurisdiction will need to be transferred. Assuming you have established residency in another state and plan on getting a divorce or modification then the AG's office or that state's divorce court will apply HI's rules in determining child support.

·         In state of tx can I changes sons last name to mine without fathers agreement.

My son has his fathers last name even though he wasn't present at the birth and his name is not on the birth certificate or any records saying he's the father. I would like to change his last name to mine since he isn't involved. Does he have to ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 22, 2013

Signing paperwork that he agrees with a name change would certainly make this simple. However, assuming he won't do that you'll need to file a lawsuit (Petition) for a name change. Like any lawsuit he will need to be served with the Petition by a process server or other means if his location is unknown. The purpose of serving him is to put him on notice of your intention to change the child's name. He will be given an opportunity to argue his side before a judge. All service requires a response within certain timeframes. If he fails to timely respond you can go before the judge without him and get a name change by default.

·         How do I get a Judge to sign an ignition interlock removal order for dps so I can get my DL reinstated.

My DL suspension is over. DPS said they needed this in order to reinstate my driving privileges Thank you.

Robert's Answer

  • on May 22, 2013

You or your lawyer can file a Motion and Order to Remove Interlock Device. My office contacts the court coordinator to either get the matter put on the court's docket for a hearing or to determine whether the judge will sign it without the necessity of a hearing.

·         I have a traffic warrant in Harris county Houston texas. can i get a bail bonds and not have to go to jail?

Expired Registration back in 2008

Robert's Answer

  • on May 22, 2013

If you missed your court date (as opposed to failing to pay a fine already assessed) the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. As long as this warrant exists you can be subjected to arrest wherever law enforcement may find you. Additionally, you will likely be charged with a second offense of "Failure to Appear."
The simplest way to close these open warrants and get new court dates is to post a cash bond, use a bondsman, or use a traffic lawyer who is also licensed to write bonds.
As long as you get the bonds posted before you get arrested you should not have to go to jail.

·         My granddaughter wants to give me managing conservator of her 1 month old preemie baby boy. What is the cheapest way to do it?

She is unable to care for him at present time.

Robert's Answer

  • on May 21, 2013

Managing Conservatorship can only be granted by a court, not a parent. You would likely have to go to court and show the order granting you conservatorship is necessary because the child's present circumstances would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development.
Asking what the cheapest way to do this is like asking for the cheapest brain surgeon to remove a tumor.
Assuming you don't want to figure out how to do this yourself, there are Volunteer Lawyer Services that will have a lawyer represent you for the price of filing fees only assuming you qualify. Also some law schools in Texas have legal clinics to assist folks with limited resources. Finally, there are probably lawyers in Breckenridge that participate in Avvo that would cheerfully give you a free consult and guidance.

·         If a mother fails a hair follicle test for cocaine, how would she ever be able to get custody of her child back?

she's been dealing with drama from the mother of her son's father. he just got out of prison several months ago, and theyre suing to reverse the child support on her. her son has been staying over at the mother of child's father's house. for the p...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 21, 2013

People's rights with respect to custody, child support and visitation don't get altered by some magical process. If there is any case on file it is public record (usually after 30 days from filing) and can be found through the internet at the district or county clerks office in the county where everyone lives. A simple phone call will get the same results.
Secondly, rights don't get altered in any lawsuit unless the party is served with the paperwork putting them on notice. No one forgets if they've been served. The only exceptions are when no one can find the party to be served because they're hiding, transient or don't want to be served.
Finally, a general unwritten guideline in my experience is that courts like to see a year of documented clean and sober lifestyle. This would include 12 step meetings, random drug testing and supervised visitation.
Most courts are willing give redemption to a parent who used drugs but has cleaned up their act. Its like diet or exercise... if the parent puts in the effort, they'll see the result and have a shot at getting their child back. It isn't easy, but it is doable. Wishing won't do it.

·         If neither parent has custody of their minor child is it considered an uncontested divorce not involving a child?

Petitioner resides in Dallas County, TX. Spouse is incarcerated at TDCJ in Texas. Child's Grandmother (on mother's side) has custody due to positive drug test during birth. Petitioner would like to file for divorce but needs to know which petition...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 21, 2013

Unless the parent's rights were terminated, there is still a child of the marriage. If there is a court order giving grandma conservatorship, the divorce should be filed under that cause number as that is the court of continuing jurisdiction. When filing, the issue is "children of the marriage", not whether they live with you. Mention of the living situation and/or court order should be made in both the petition and decree.
While pre-packaged uncontested divorce forms can save you some money, they only work on fairly simple fact situations.

·         Can I sue for lost wages, time, distress, etc. I'm tired of wasting an entire day when she fails to appear time and time again.

My ex wife will file or ask the OAG Support office to amend the CS order. However she fails to show for court hearings or conferences set by the OAG at her request. The OAG judge has order contempt charges and told the OAG to prepare these now 4 y...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 21, 2013

In my experience, when a party continually abuses the OAG services, you can ask the court to dismiss her case and further ask that it be dismissed with prejudice, which would prevent her access to OAG services in the future.
A private lawyer could file a contempt against ex for failure to pay child support and get her in front of a judge in about 60 days. And if its a contempt action, her appearance is not optional. If she fails to appear a constable will be sent to her house or job and take her into custody pending a new hearing.

·         Can I keep my son overnight?

My ex and I have not been to court to settle custody, but we have agreed that she has full custody. She refuses to let my son spend the night at my house when he comes to town. He is 6 months old, and she allows my parents to keep him overnight.

Robert's Answer

  • on May 21, 2013

When there are are no court orders regarding conservatorship or possession and access (visitation) married parents each have equal rights to children of the marriage. That being said, just because there are no court orders doesn't really give either parent the right to withhold access or visitation. While technically either of you could take possession of the child and refuse access to the other parent, at some point you guys probably will be in front of the judge and will have to explain your behavior regarding how not allowing access was in the best interest of the child.
In other words, if a parent does not have adequate training or experience in dealing with a 6 month old, or if the non- custodial parent's living conditions may pose a danger to the child (bad roomates, drugs, inadequate place to sleep, bottles, diapers etc), then that is probably a defendable position.
Bear in mind that 6 month olds have much different needs than toddlers such as nursing and special diets and judges may restrict a full standard possession order, including overnights, until the child is a little older.

·         Can I reopen a custody case if i wasn't represented fairly?

I feel like my custody case from 2012 was not represented fairly. My lawyer at the time did not listen when i presented new information and was not prepared when we went to court. He did not have my proper paper work and had to use the opponents d...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 20, 2013

Since your custody case took place in 2012, it is too late to challenge the findings by way of a Motion for New Trial. You can still file a Modification suit. If you do so within 1 year of the Order you're complaining of and dad doesn't consent to a change, you must show that the child's present environment may endanger the child's physical health or significantly impair the child's emotional development. Filing after 1 year, the burden is slightly less, basically requiring "a change in circumstances" justifying a change.

·         Could I file for full custody if my child's father has never exercised his visitation rights?

My child's father has never asked to take her for a weekend or even overnight. He can go a couple of weeks without even calling her. I am just wondering why should he be noted as 'joint' parent and with those rights when he is never around. Is ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 19, 2013

There is a presumption under Texas law that all parents are good parents and should be named "joint managing conservators." This presumption may be rebutted if a parent shows that the child's emotional and physical well being would be impaired by the appointment of both parents as joint managing conservators. Whether the active parent is named primary Joint MC or sole MC may be a distinction without a real difference. We don't really use the term full custody in Texas. It really rests with the parent who determines the child's domicile which you likely already have. You probably already have the right to determine education and medical decisions. You can always go back to court to restrict the visitation he's not using or attempt to have yourself declared the sole MC. If you were my prospective client I'd ask why you want to spend a considerable amount of money to get what you've essentially already got.

·         Divorce

I don t have any money at the moment and I just want a simple divorce I don t want any thing that x has and wondering how much it would be

Robert's Answer

  • on May 19, 2013
  • Selected as best answer

If in Chambers County, no kids, no service: $228.00 filing fee

If in Harris County, no kids, no service: $232.00 filing fee

·         School prevents me from picking up kids

A couple of times the school principal has kept me from picking up the kids on days where the court order states I should I have access. This has been created by the custodial parent calling and changing them to bus riders. I gave a copy of the ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 19, 2013

Assuming you are a joint managing conservator, you have the right to have your name on the pickup list at the school. You can't prevent your ex-spouse's bad behavior such as putting the kids on the bus to make your life more difficult. The school generally doesn't have any right to prevent you from picking up your kids after school, nor do they have the power to enforce the terms of the divorce decree. The school doesn't have a dog in the fight between you and your ex and can't put them on or prevent them from riding the bus.They just want to ensure the safety of the kids.
If this particular principal isn't cooperative, try the superintendent of the school district.
If you're looking for the school to make a decision about whether the bus deal violates your access rights, don't hold your breath. A lawyer can have your decree clarified or modified

·         My husband has left me and my daughter and wants to see her

My husband has left my daughter and i and has not shown any interest in her for a couple of weeks until now. He wants to take her to stay with him for a couple of days. If i let this happen is there a possibility that i will never get her back? We...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 17, 2013

Absent a Court Order establishing conservatorship, which parent establishes the child's residence, and visitation, each parent has the independent right to possession. In plain English, if you deny visitation you haven't violated anything. If dad picks up the child and doesn't return her, he hasn't violated anything. While lots of people make agreements written on the back of an envelope or a cocktail napkin, they are not court orders. Finally, until you get some real court orders in place each of you can continue take the child and refuse possession or access. Its bad form, but not unlawful provided neither of you commit a crime like trespass, assault, or disorderly conduct in your quest for possession. I don't want this to sound self-serving, but get a lawyer.

·         Still married, my wife is living with another man with my 2 kids. I want to start paying child support where do i start?

I was arrested for false accusations. My wife charged me with assault while i was in jail she moved the man into our home. My home is still under both our names. I dont have money & was fired from my job due to the arrest. I want to start paying c...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 17, 2013

Money orders paid directly to your spouse certainly do count as child support until you file for divorce at which point all child support payments are made through the Texas Disbursement Unit so you can receive proper credit.
You might consider skipping a voluntary child support payment and getting a divorce on file. That way not only will child support be formalized, but a court ordered visitation schedule can be set up.
If funds are limited there are volunteer lawyers who will help you at no cost other than filing fees. There are also a lot of great lawyers on this website that may be willing to work with you for a minimal retainer and installment payments.

·         Does a parent not listed on the birth certificate still have rights?

We've never been married and never went to court to stablish paternity. My baby only has my last name and she's always with me. I let my baby daddy see her almost every weekend and he sometimes gives me diapers wipes or formula for the baby but do...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 17, 2013

A child born during marriage is presumed to be husband's child. An Affidavit of Paternity, frequently signed at the hospital, also establishes paternity. In the absence of one of those, paternity is not presumed. Neither visiting nor buying formula and wipes establishes paternity.
Either dad can sign an Affidavit or a paternity suit can be filed through the Attorney General or by a private lawyer. If neither of those 2 options take place, there is no father under law. He technically has no rights and no obligation to the child.

·         Will a judge require my ex to sign a rule 11 into a temporary order?

My attorney & my ex attorney came to agreement put it into a rule 11 a few months ago. My ex is not complying. So now my attorney says we have to take my ex to court to have him sign the rule 11 into a temp order since he is refusing to sign. Shou...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 17, 2013

A Rule 11 Agreement is either a written AGREEMENT which is made pursuant to Rule 11 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure or an oral AGREEMENT read into the record of the court. If neither of these events took place (signatures or reading in to record) then there is no Rule 11 agreement.
If there were signatures or the agreement was recited into the record, then a Rule 11 is generally binding and enforceable.
While we frequently have agreed temporary orders signed off on by the parties and their attorneys, a judge does not need any agreement or signatures to enter temporary orders. A judge will likely not order a party to sign a Rule 11 because the essence of a Rule 11 is an AGREEMENT not a shotgun. Talk with your attorney and make sure you are on the same page.

·         Shouldn't my sons father be in contempt of court for not making his child support payments? It's been four months.

My case has been on hold due to him filing bankruptcy. The OAG cannot enforce him to pay back the back child support, but he still has to make his regular court ordered child support payments. He has not made an attempt to do so. They sent out an ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 16, 2013

The obligation to pay child support is not stayed by filing bankruptcy. While most lawsuits are stayed against a debtor in bankruptcy, an enforcement or contempt for failure to pay child support is not.

See question 

·         How do I serve divorce papers via process server across state lines?

I filed the petition for divorce in Texas and I need to give legal notice and service of documents to my wife in Louisiana.

Robert's Answer

  • on May 16, 2013

You'll need to find the name of the County or Parrish in Louisiana where your spouse resides. Then contact the local sheriff or constable in that Parrish and send the Original and a copy of the Petition and citation to that office along with their fee ( usually between $75.00 and $100.00). They will serve the papers and will return proof of service to you for filing with the court.
Or you can find a private process server in that Louisiana Parrish who will do the same thing for a similar fee

·         How long is a custodial parent required to wait on a non-custodial parent to show up for visitation?

The non-custodial parent is often 2-5 hrs late for the scheduled visit.

Robert's Answer

  • on May 16, 2013

We advise our clients to wait a reasonable time. This means don't leave a note at 6:04 saying "waited as long as I could. Try again next visitation." At least one court's position is that dropping off a child 18 minutes late in the Houston Galleria during rush hour is not worthy of a contempt. In my opinion, 2-5 hours late, without a call or explanation is not reasonable. Based on the picking up parents history of being on time, contacting you if they're going to be late, bad weather, traffic, etc. should help you determine if you've been reasonable. Always picture yourself having to explain your behavior to a judge if you don't allow visitation to help you determine if you're being reasonable.

·         What does the court consider "notice" when a woman is pregnant and 9 years later the man receives paperwork from the AG's office

One question we have been asked is did he know about the child? He knew she was pregnant but not that it was his child. Now he is in prison and has been tested while in there and he is the father. What happens w/ back child support? We are in Tex...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 16, 2013

The AG's office does not represent mother or father. They represent the interest of the State. The AG often goes after parents who haven't supported their children and the State or Feds supplied Welfare, medicaid, WIC or other aid. Now the State wants their money back and they want the non custodial parent to support their children.
The AG can also ask for retroactive support, usually going back up to 4 years.
Once paternity has been established and a child support order put in place, a parent, even if incarcerated, owes this child support. However, they can't be held in contempt for failure to pay during the time they are incarcerated, but the obligation to pay still accrues each mom. Mom doesn't have to give any notice. The AG already did.

·         Do I still have to take my son to supervised visitation if my court order states he had to sign up within 30 days?

Its been seven months and my court order says that he had to sign up within 30 days, if he signs up now do I still have to take my son to these visitations?

Robert's Answer

  • on May 15, 2013

This is similar to the situation where a parent asks whether she/he has to sit on the curb every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday for 18 years waiting for a visiting parent that never comes. I think the key here is reasonableness: a parent should make the child available if there is a reasonable expectation that the visiting parent will show. A parent should schedule other events on visitation days to make the child unavailable.
There are couple of legal solutions:
1-Have the decree modified to remove the supervised visitation requirement and change visitation to "as mutually agreed";
2- have the court order that visiting parent gives 48 hour notice of intent to visit.

·         The guardian ad litem requested a hearing in four days and sent the request by email, can we request a continuance?

We have been a court date set the end of June to review the joint custody of my granddaughter however one parent has been trying to get full custody until then. This parent has hired an attorney and we have been to court three times on this with ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 15, 2013

Under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 21a. RULE 21 METHODS OF SERVICE, it states, “… [a party] may be served by delivering a copy to the party to be served, or the party's duly authorized agent or attorney of record, as the case may be, either in person or by agent or by courier receipted delivery or by certified or registered mail, to the party's last known address, or by telephonic document transfer to the recipient's current telecopier number, or by such other manner as the court in its discretion may direct.”
Accordingly, unless there exists an Order from your court, or email service is permitted under the Local Rules for the county of your jurisdiction, or a written agreement, often called a "Rule 11 Agreement," that denotes service may be done by electronic mail, then email is not proper service.
Any party can ask for a continuance, but be prepared anyway as they are not always granted. Ironically, if you file a written Motion for Continuance, you will need to serve it properly.

·         If an Order calls for revised access/visitation only, should conservatorship clauses continue in the newly drafted document(s)?

Conservatorship was revised in 2009, from Joint Managing, to Sole/Possessory Conservatorship, listing specific rights and duties of both parents. Access/Visitation also changed at that time. Recently, in 2013, access/visitation was revised to ev...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 14, 2013

In my practice stairstep visitation usually involves several months of supervised visitation at the SAFE program then a few hours unsupervised every other Saturday, followed by a few hours on Saturday and Sunday. Assuming each step along the way went well, the parent and child are bonding and the parent showed for each visit, then a slow progression from one overnight to two and finally an SPO. If only visitation was revised, but not conservatorship, then there is no need to use those clauses except to clarify the order.

·         NEED HELP GETTING RUN AROUND FOR 10 YRS AND IM TIRED.

MY DAUGHTER WAS ADOPTED BY HER STEP FATHER IN 1998, THAT IS WHEN THE CHILD SUPPORT STOPPED IN 2003 I RECEIVE A LETTER SAYING I OWED ARREAS. WELL NOW 2013 AND DAUGHTER IS 31 I CANT SEEM TO FIND OUT WHY IM STILL PAYING. ELPASO TX TELL ME TO CALL OAG...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 14, 2013

The Texas Attorney General has a website which allows you to log on and access your payment history and related information. It is also possible to setup a face to face meeting at the AG's office, using the OAG number on any correspondence you may have received.
If these informal methods don't answer your questions, an attorney familiar with handling AG cases can file a motion with the court. We recently created a motion called Motion to Contest Validity of Enforcement of Child Support Orders and to Determine Arrears for Child Support and it worked to resolve an issue similar to yours.

·         IF I DIVORCE MY WIFE FOR HERE CHEATING AND SHE WANT TO TAKE MY 2GIRLS 11 /AND 9 OUT OF THE STATE CAN SHE TO THAT

WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 12 YEARS

Robert's Answer

  • on May 14, 2013

Most final Divorce Decrees issued in Harris County, Texas contain a geographical restriction, which prohibits the custodial parent from moving outside of Harris and contiguous counties. Exceptions can occur if the non-custodial parent agrees, a court approves the relocation, or if the non-custodial parent moves out of Harris or contiguous counties first.
During the temporary orders phase of a divorce, if it was filed in Harris county, the parties are prohibited from moving in an attempt to establish jurisdiction in another county or state.

·         What is my responsility for filing for divorce we have 1 child ,18 year old son is hers.she cant work.but hasn't filied disibili

we still live together ,I want out. ,she don't work,i gross 50,000 a year, no assets, we live in a 3 bedroom apt .got a few bills I m financing new car at 48,000.she is morbidly overweight, im ok with whomever my daughter wants to live with...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 14, 2013

In Texas, a non-custodial parent of one child is usually required to pay child support of 20% of take home until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school. Simple, right? Not really because everything I said in the first sentence is subject to exceptions and other rules. Bottom line- if your under 18 daughter lives with mom, then dad will be obligated to pay child support.

·         Husband wants divorce, has 401k and I am not working, is there a way I can get a divorce wihtout having to pay up front?

I have medical problems that I can not work. We have been together 6 years. Doesnt want to give up his 401k. He has only had it since we have been together. What can I do to get help with this?

Robert's Answer

  • on May 13, 2013

Texas law, not your husband determines what happens with his 401k. Generally, a spouse is awarded 50% of the amount that vested in the 401k during the marriage. While you may not be eligible for Alimony after your divorce, you may be eligible for some temporary spousal support for a few months while your divorce is pending.
While most lawyers require a retainer up front, not all do and there are enough of them in your geographical area that its worth making a few calls. There are also volunteer lawyer associations that may help you out, but you'll still be responsible for paying filing and service fees.

·         My wife was arrested for shoplifting. They said she has a court appearance at 10am the next day. What happens at that hearing? I

I'm tying to decide if I should bond her out for just a few hours if the first appearance will get her a pre trial diversion or something like that.

Robert's Answer

  • on May 13, 2013

Pursuant to the Texas Criminal Code, a person in custody has to be brought before a magistrate within 48 hours. During this appearance the defendant is told, amongst other things, what the charges against her are and is informed of her right to retain counsel, right to remain silent, right to have an attorney present during any interview with peace officers or attorneys representing the state, right to terminate an interview at any time and the procedure for requesting a court appointed attorney.
She may be able to plead for time served or a small fine if it is a class "c" misdemeanor (under $50.00) but that will result in a conviction. If she's seeking a pre-trial diversion I would advise my client to wait for her first formal court appearance.
If it is a felony, I agree with Ms. Jaggers.

·         How to request an ad litem attorney

I'm needing to get an ad litem attorney for my 11 yr old daughter how can I do that without having representation

Robert's Answer

  • on May 12, 2013

You can file a written Motion (and proposed Order) asking the Court to appoint an attorney Ad Litem. Since your question doesn't explain why you need an Ad Litem you should briefly explain that in your Motion.

·         Uder Temp Orders until final ....My wife said she placed my $350.00 aquarium in the trash as I did not pick it up in time?

She mentioned that a friend was considering buying it and we agreed to split the money. I agreed and did not come to pick it up. She said she'd let me know the next day. Well, 3 day passed and then I was informed that the friend declined. 24 hrs...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 12, 2013

Temporary orders during a divorce normally include a series of mutual injunctions which are court orders to do or refrain from doing certain things which we might do to the other party in the absence of these orders. Therefore, no threatening, or harassing and.so on. In cases like yours, a standard injunction usually says something like " No destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring, or otherwise harming or reducing the value of any or all of the property of one or both of the parties."
If a party violates this order they can be found in contempt of court and punished accordingly.

·         I owe child support arrears in oregon. current order is 12000. Can I get a waiver to get a passport to work?

I repair ships in different ports 250days out the year. I'm a us citizen I live in texas I just travel for work. I just accepted this position which requires a passport. I was denied because I'm 12000 in arrears. My income Tax post every year to ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 10, 2013

Handled a similar case last year and the Texas AG required balance to be under $4000.00 before they would consider waiving the passport restriction

·         What steps do we need to take to get the divorce over? How soon will it be?

My boyfriend hasn't been with is wife for over 3 yrs. They have 2 kids together and she has one with the guy she's with. She refuses to agree to anything with the divorce. He wants a divorce. What do we have to do now that we know she won't agree ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 10, 2013

It only takes one person wanting a divorce to make it happen. After you file a petition and she is served, she can be disagreeable and she can delay and cause both of you to spend a lot money but in the end she can't stop it.

·         Do I have to share the proceeds from the house with him?

I know my divorce decree states that we are to share the proceeds made off of the house, but does that mean after the repairs I've made in the house? I put in a new water heater and repaired a hole in my roof last year and I was hoping to be able ...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 9, 2013

Courts tend to follow the actual recitations and plain meaning of the language in a decree rather than add meaning that is not in the order. It is easy enough when drafting an order to say "share the proceeds made off of the house AFTER REIMBURSEMENT FOR REASONABLE EXPENSES MADE BY EITHER PARTY". I would file a motion for the judge to clarify the order as the cheapest and fastest method to get it resolved. The worst the judge could say is "No, there is nothing to clarify"

·         In a divorce case, can the women sue the husband for court cost?

In a divorce case, can the women sue the man for court cost? If yes for what reasons will she be awarded the cost?

Robert's Answer

  • on May 9, 2013

In my experience with divorce cases, court costs are generally awarded against a party only when they pursue an obviously bad faith, frivolous, or unwinnable cause of action or when there is such a disparity of financial resources that one party has virtually no chance of paying and it would not be so burdensome on the party ordered to pay.

·         Can my ex come into my home where my children where, but i was gone, and remove anything from my place if he did not live there?

My ex friend of 4 years was waiting at my house for me until i came back from a funeral home to finish off some business for my dad i just buried from being murdered at 70 years old. When i arrived home with my little one from school i went into m...

Robert's Answer

  • on May 9, 2013

If you are not married to your "ex" and his name is not on your lease or mortgage, then he generally has no greater right to enter your home than a stranger would. But by your own admission you "have been giving people the benefit of a doubt", which could be interpreted as having given him tacit permission or an invitation to enter your home. This could make the DA's decision as to whether to accept criminal charges much less cut and dried and muddy the waters should you choose to file a civil suit.

·         Looking for family lawyer with experience in cases involving special-need children (specially autism) in the Houston area.

Looking in particular with someone passionate, experienced, reasonable, and work smartly.

Robert's Answer

  • on May 8, 2013

Having recently finalized a matter which involved an autistic child, there are several unique issues which must be addressed. Many schoolage autistic children attend speech and or occupational therapy or other counseling up to 5 days a week. This can present challenges to the parents because a standard possession order (SPO) might not be practical as the counseling can interfere with visitation and requires tremendous cooperation between the parents to share the responsibility. Additionally, it is essential that both parents are trained to follow the treatment plan for the child while in that parents possession such as potty training and rigid scheduling and structure. Some children receive Social Security Disability and there can be issues as to which parent receives those funds and how it will affect child support. Additionally, other child support issues arise because caring for the child will likely result in higher expenses and costs and these will not stop at age18. This is not an exhaustive list of issues, just some that came up during my recent case.

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