dallas fathers rights attorney

Jul
12

Interstate Jurisdiction Cases when a Parent Abducts their Child

Parental child abduction is the offense of a Parent wrongfully removing, retaining, detaining or concealing their child from the other parent. This often occurs when parents separate or divorce proceedings begin. The abducting parent may consensually remove or retain the child to gain an advantage in pending child-custody proceedings or because the parent fears losing the child in the divorce proceeding. Many times the abducting parent may refuse to return a child at the end of an approved visit or may flee with the child to prevent the other parent from seeing the child or in fear of domestic abuse.

Many abducting parents try to take the child across state lines (Interstate Jurisdiction issues) or out of the country to make sure that the child will never be found by the other parent. They would rather live a fugitive than lose their child.

Are there any laws to stop this child abduction to another state or country? The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) provides remedies with valuable enforceable tools in deterring both domestic and international abductions by parents and unethical people or agents on their behalf. This Act empowers courts to impose measures designed to prevent child abduction both before and after a court has entered a custody decree. Unfortunately, the UCAPA has only been enacted in 14 states (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Michigan, Utah) and District of Columbia, since its inception.

In Texas Interference with child custody is a felony!
Texas currently follows the Texas Penal Code 25:03, Interference with Child Custody:

Sec. 25.03. INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person takes or retains a child younger than 18 years of age:

  (1) When the person knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the child’s custody;

  (2) when the person has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or

  (3) Outside of the United States with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access and without the permission of that person.

    (b) A noncustodial parent commits an offense if, with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years, the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian of the child.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (2) that the actor returned the child to the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, within three days after the date of the commission of the offense.

    (C-1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (3) that:

      (1) The taking or retention of the child was pursuant to a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child; or

(2) notwithstanding any violation of a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child, the actor’s retention of the child was due only to circumstances beyond the actor’s control and the actor promptly provided notice or made reasonable attempts to provide notice of those circumstances to the other person entitled to possession of or access to the child.

  (C-2) Subsection (a) (3) does not apply if, at the time of the offense, the person taking or retaining the child:

    (1) Was entitled to possession of or access to the child; and

    (2) Was fleeing the commission or attempted commission of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, against the child or the person.

(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony: Minimum term: 180 days to Maximum Term of 2 years; fine up to $10,000.00

Hopefully, in the near future, more states will adopt the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, but until then, if you think you have a problem with your ex trying to kidnap your child, find out what can be done in your state to stop this before it happens!

By Nacol Law Firm | Interstate Jurisdiction
DETAIL
Jul
06

How Fathers Can Improve Their Chances of Getting Child Custody in Texas

Times have changed! Mothers’ having primary custody of the children is not always the accepted social presumption as in the past. Courts, legislatures and juries are becoming more aware of the vital necessity of father’s being involved in the lives of their children. Children with positive father involvement have fewer behavior problems, higher levels of sociability, and perform better in school.

Recent research suggests that father involvement is essential to a child’s social, moral, and physical growth during the adolescent period. A father’s involvement during pregnancy affects multiple areas of child development and family well- being, from prenatal care, to the likelihood that the father will provide ongoing financial and emotional support. This body of research is gaining momentum. Local and regional governmental agencies are focusing more and more on parental father involvement in the lives of children.

As a result of the continuing evolution of fathers’ rights, Courts are now recognizing a father’s ability to care for his children as an equal to that of the mother. Starting out on an equal plane, the Court may look to which parent is more stable, has a superior income, has a parenting plan in place for the child and is capable of providing proper child care and spending more quality time with the child.

As a father, how can you increase your chances of getting child custody in Texas? You must be a good father and spend time with your children by involving yourself in their daily lives. You need to be responsible and reliable to the needs of your kids. Know and participate in all aspects of their lives. This includes school activities, doctor’s appointments, extracurricular events and getting to know and bonding with their friends.

Reflect on your own personal experiences as a child growing up and think about what was really important to you and your parent’s interaction during that period.

If a father voluntarily gives up rights to his children based on prejudices of the past in the Court system, he will feed a mother’s confidence and sponsor unnecessary ongoing litigation. The number one mistake made by fathers in the court system today is a failure to take the time to learn how the system works. Failing to learn how the family law system works may doom your case. Once you have learned the ins and outs of the family law system you will need to form a viable plan, set goals and never relent in enforcing your rights as a father.

Five of the biggest mistakes men make in a legal action are: 1) failing to respond to the legal action itself; 2) obtaining incorrect legal advice (from friends and family rather than a legal expert); 3) signing a settlement agreement that is not in agreement with and later deeply regretting it; 4) failing to perform under the actual settlement agreement signed; and 5) getting frustrated and/or acquiescing to unreasonable demands and orders.

Some of the things you may want to consider as you prepare for the custody battle are as follows:

  1. Who has the financial ability to best care for the child(ren)? Be sure to have income tax verification, W-2 Forms and other financial information available.
  2. Form a parenting plan (child care, after school care, transportation, pediatrician, etc.).
  3. Who is more stable and/or can provide the best home for the child (ren)?
  4. Where has the child (ren) been attending school? Is it possible to keep the child in the same school district?
  5. Prepare a chronology of events leading up to the divorce including treatment of the child(ren), time spent with the child(ren), activities with the child(ren), the child(ren)’s schedule.
  6. Consider if a home study should be prepared regarding each home of the child.
  7. Consider whether a psychological evaluation should be done on the mother?
  8. Is drug testing necessary? (Be sure to request hair follicle drug testing.)
  9. Is there an alcohol or other addiction problem in the home?
  10. Who can provide the best moral upbringing for the children?
  11. Is there evidence such as pictures, video tapes, etc. that may help your case?
  12. Avoid unnecessary compromising photos or data on Facebook or other social networking sites.

List any other relevant issues you feel may be important to your child custody case before you meet with an attorney about your rights as a father.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody
DETAIL
Jul
05

Out of State Child Relocation and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

In today’s hectic pace, moving to another state for business, family demands, or pleasure is a very common occurrence. But what about the family that is separated by divorce or separation and share custody of their children?  What happens to this family situation when Mom or Dad decides to take another job or wants to move to another state and take the children to or from the other? A Child Custody Relocation Case?

Sadly this happens frequently. Most Texas attorneys employ a geographic restriction in divorce decrees for couples who have children.  These restrictions dictate that the Child and Custodial Parent must live within a school district, County of Domicile, or consecutive contingent counties near the non-custodial parent. But what happens if this restriction clause is not contained in the divorce decree or if Dad/Mom were never married?

Forty Nine States, including Texas have adopted the UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT (UCCJEA) drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1997. The UCCJEA is a very helpful law since all states but one participate in the determination  of the ”HOME STATE” and which jurisdiction will  handle the family case. UCCJEA also helps to protect non-custodial Parents fighting for child custody out of state when their children have been moved to another state or over 100 miles away from them.

How does The State of Texas treat an initial Child Custody determination?

Texas Family Code 152.201 of the UCCJEA states, among other things, that a court may consider custody issues if the Child:

*Has continually lived in the state for 6 months or longer and Texas was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the legal proceeding.

*Was living in the state before being wrongfully abducted elsewhere by a parent seeking custody in another state. One parent continues to live in Texas.

*Has an established over significant time relationships with people (family, relatives or teachers), ties, and attachments in the state

*Has been abandoned in an emergency: or is safe in the current state, but could be in danger of neglect or abuse in the home state

Relocation is a child custody situation which will turn on the individual facts of the specific case, so that each case is tried on its own merits.

Most child custody relocation cases tried in Texas follow a predictable course:

  1. Allowing or not allowing the move.
  2. Order of psychological evaluations or social studies of family members
  3. Modification of custody and adjusting of child’s time spent with parents
  4. Adjusting child support
  5. Order of mediation to settle dispute
  6. Allocating transportation costs
  7. Order opposing parties to provide all information on child’s addresses and telephone number.

There is another important cause of action in Texas where the court will “take “EMERGENCY JURISDICTION’ over a case even though another state has the original jurisdiction. If the opposing party can prove that a legitimate emergency exists and Texas needs to assume the jurisdiction. These emergency situations could be abuse of the child, abandonment or cause neglect of the child, or any action that would put the child in immediate harm’s way.

The Nacol Law Firm P.C. @ www.nacollawfirm.com  is committed to helping parents have the right to have frequent and continuing contact with their child at all times and encourage parents to co-share in the rights and duties of raising a stable, loving child. Many times, because of parental alienation or other personal factors, a child will be taken away from the non-custodial parent and this can cause some serious mental and behavior problems for the child which could follow her/him into a lifetime adult situation.  

Sometimes you can settle, SOMETIMES YOU FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT!  We can help!

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody . Interstate Jurisdiction
DETAIL
Jun
29

A Fathers Rights – Child Custody for Texas Fathers

Courts, legislatures and juries are becoming more aware of the necessity of father’s being involved in the lives of their children.  Children with positive father involvement have fewer behavior problems, higher levels of sociability, and perform better in school.

Recent research suggests that father involvement during pregnancy affects multiple areas of child and family well- being, from prenatal care initiation and mother and child health outcomes, to the likelihood that the father will provide ongoing financial and emotional support.  This body of research is gaining momentum.  Local and regional governmental agencies are focusing more and more on parental father involvement in the lives of children.

As a result of the changes taking place in society today, the Courts are now recognizing a father’s ability to care for his children as becoming equal to that of the mother.   Starting out on an equal plane, the Court may look to which parent is more stable, has a superior income, has a parenting plan in place for the child and is capable of providing proper child care and spending more quality time with the child.

If a father ignorantly gives up rights to his children based on prejudices of the past in the Court system he can feed a mother’s confidence and sponsor unnecessary ongoing litigation.  The number one mistake made by father’s in the court system today is a failure to take the time to learn how the system works.  Failing to learn how the family law system works may doom your case.  Once you have learned the ins and outs of the family law system you will need to form a plan, set goals and never relent in enforcing your rights as a father.

Five of the biggest mistakes men make in a legal action are: 1) failing to respond to the legal action itself;  2) obtaining incorrect legal advice (from friends and family rather than a legal expert);  3) signing a settlement agreement they are not in agreement with and later deeply regretting it;  4) failing to perform under the actual settlement agreement signed; and  5) getting frustrated and/or acquiescing to unreasonable orders.

Some of the things you may want to consider as you prepare for the custody battle are as follows:

  1. Who has the financial ability to best care for the child(ren)?  Be sure to have income tax verification, W-2 Forms and other financial information available.
  2. Form a parenting plan (child care, after school care, transportation, pediatrician, etc.).
  3. Who is more stable and/or can provide the best home for the child(ren)?
  4. Where has the child(ren) been attending school?  Is it possible to keep the child in the same school district?
  5. Prepare a chronology of events leading up to the divorce including treatment of the child(ren), time spent with the child(ren), activities with the child(ren), the child(ren)’s schedule.
  6. Consider if a home study should be prepared regarding each home of the child.
  7. Consider whether a psychological evaluation should be done on the mother?
  8. Is drug testing necessary?  (Be sure to request hair follicle drug testing.)
  9. Is there an alcohol or other addiction problem in the home?
  10. Who can provide the best moral upbringing for the children?
  11. Is there evidence such as pictures, video tapes, etc. that may help your case?
  12. Avoid unnecessary compromising photos or data on Facebook or other social networking sites.

List any other relevant issues you feel may be important to your case before you meet with an attorney.

The most important thing to remember is that your failure, if based on dated concepts and inapplicable worn out prejudices, will be her victory and your parental failure.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody
DETAIL
Jun
29

Getting a Divorce? Should I Move Out of the Marital Home?

This is a complicated question to answer depending upon the facts of each case.  If you have experienced domestic violence you need to immediately do whatever is necessary to secure you and your child’s safety.  Many times a victim will go to court for a protective order and ask the judge to move the abusive or violent spouse out.  In this situation contact an experienced family law attorney now!

In most cases, absent of violence or risk of abuse, we would not suggest that a spouse move out of the marital residence.

Why is this?  One reason is once you have vacated the residence it may be very difficult to get back in! You have no legal obligation to leave the residence if your name is on the lease or mortgage personally and exclusivity.

Our suggestion to a client might be, to remain in the residence since the person who vacates may still have financial obligations and expenses of the family residence, while paying all expenses on a new residence for themselves. Double expenses are not a desirable result during the divorce process.

The higher wage earning spouse who moves out of the marital home must expect to continue to pay most of the household expenses, including the insurance and mortgage!  What about the personal property and furnishings in the residence?

If an agreement has not been made between the divorcing couple, the moving spouse will generally only be able to leave with personal belongings (clothing & jewelry) until a court rules fairly as to temporary possession.

Secure a court order ASAP to equalize property and household expenses.

By Nacol Law Firm | Property and Asset Division
DETAIL