dallas fathers rights

Mar
27

Torn Apart – Children and Divorce

Despite the difficulties faced in a divorce, the children should not be placed in the center of the crossfire.  During the divorce process, and sometimes following the divorce process, it is not uncommon for a parent to become so wrapped up in anger, vengeance or simply being “right” that they forget the effect the whole process is having on the children.  Below are some behaviors to avoid and some suggestions to assist you with improving your communications during the divorce process:

  1. Do not use children as messengers between “mom” and “dad.”
  2. Do not criticize your former spouse in the presence of your children because children realize they are part “mom” and part “dad.”
  3. Resist any temptation to allow your children to act as your caretaker.  Children need to be allowed the freedom to be “children.”  Taking on such responsibility at an early age degrades their self-esteem, feeds anger and hinders a child’s ability to relate to their peers.
  4. Encourage your children to see your former spouse frequently.  Promote a good relationship for the benefit of the child.
  5. Do not argue with your former spouse in the presence of the children.  No matter what the situation, the child will feel torn between taking “mommy’s” side and “daddy’s” side.
  6. At every step during the divorce process, remind yourself that your children’s interests are paramount, even over your own. 
  7. If you are the non-primary parent, pay your child support.
  8. If you are the primary parent and are not receiving child support, do not tell your children.  This feeds a child’s sense of abandonment and erodes their stability.
  9. Remember that the Court’s view child support and child custody as two separate and distinct issues.  Children do not understand whether “mommy” and/or “daddy” paid child support, but they do understand that “mommy” and/or “daddy” wants to see me.
  10. If at all possible, do not uproot your children.  When a family is falling apart, a child needs a stable home and school life to buffer the trauma.
  11. If you have an addiction problem, whether it be drugs, alcohol or any other affliction, seek help immediately.  Such impairments inhibit your ability to reassure your children and give them the attention they need.
  12. If you are having difficulty dealing with issues relating to your former spouse, discuss such issues with mental health professionals and counselors.
  13. Reassure your children that they are loved and that they have no fault in the divorce.

Though these steps are not all-inclusive, they will assist you in dealing with the complex issues of a divorce and hopefully minimize the impact of the divorce process on the children.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody
DETAIL
Mar
23

Fathers and Parent Alienation Syndrome

One in three children lose touch with a parent, usually the father, following a divorce.  In a recent survey, one in five parents stated that their primary objective during the divorce was to make the experience as unpleasant as possible for the former spouse; despite the effects such attitudes and behavior have on the children.  One in three children stated that they felt isolated and lonely during and following the divorce process.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is the systematic denigration by one parent with the intent of alienating the child against the other parent.  In most cases, the purpose of the alienation is to gain custody of a child and exclude involvement by the father.  In other cases the mother wants the father out of the way to start a new life, the mother wants more of the money and assets than she is entitled to and uses the children as pawns.  The mother hates the father and the children become false weapons.  These are just a few reason Parental Alienation occurs in domestic disputes.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is common because it is an effective device for gaining custody of a child.  Trough systematic alienation, one parent may slowly brainwash a child against the other parent.  The parent involved in such alienation behaviors then gains misplaced loyalty of the child.

There are two types of Parental Alienation Syndrome, medical and legal.  Medical Parental Alienation Syndrome is a form of emotional child abuse.  Parents in hostile separations may suffer depression, anger and anxiety or aggression.  The expression of these feelings often takes on a form of withdrawing love and communication.  This extends to the children through the custodial parent.  It is a mechanism employed to stop the father from having contact with his children; and can be described by the mother holding the children “hostages,” afraid of the mother, and obeying her as a means of survival.  The child may also be instilled with false memories of the father, may be coached and/or brainwashed.  Parental Alienation Syndrome is recognized by the courts but is very difficult to define and in most cases requires bringing in County Social Services, Child Protective Services, and/or other professionals.  Anyone claiming Parental Alienation Syndrome should look for family therapy as a constructive way forward.  Other forms of abuse are physical, sexual, and neglect and are much easier to identify.

It is important no matter how bad the alienation becomes that you strategize to create a line of contact with your children, the mother and anyone connected to them.  Having a plan is critical.  When a father loses contact with his children he goes from disbelief, to despair, anger, depression, confusion and a total sense of social injustice.  Having a plan means looking at the situation logically, rather than emotionally.

1.  The first stage is to look for direct contact with the mother and children. Can you meet, write, or phone?
2.  If you are not allowed contact, can a relative contact the mother or children on your behalf?
3.  Can you contact your children through church, school, clubs, sports activities, or daycare?
4.  Can you participate in your children’s activities?
5.  Do you have a non-suggestive witness that can go with you when you exercise your visitation rights?
6.  Is there a local grocery store where you can purchase something to have a receipt stating the date and time you were in the area?
7.  Will the police make a report stating that you attempted to exercise your visitation?
8.  Whenever possible take video and pictures.

In cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome it is important that you document everything.  Keep a diary or timeline.  Write important events down on a calendar.

If you are a victim of Parental Alienation Syndrome, contact an attorney. Discuss your options.  Formulate a plan to move forward.  Do not give up your parental rights as a father.

By Nacol Law Firm | Parent Alienation
DETAIL
Mar
23

Child Support Modification in Texas – Done Within Three Years

Child support is one of the most heavily litigated issues in all of family law. To increase or decrease payments there are specific requirements that must be met to modify a previous child support order. Per Tex. Fam. Code § 156.401 the requirements necessary to modify a prior child support order are:

  1. The circumstances of the child or an affected party have materially and substantially changed; or
  2. Three years have elapsed since the order was entered or last modified, and the amount of child support differs from the statutory guidelines by either 20% or $100.00.

The second requirement is self-explanatory. The three-year limitation to file for another modification is for the benefits of the Courts. If there was no three-year waiting period to refill, then every conservator would constantly attempt to modify child support, thus creating endless litigation for clogging the Courts’ dockets.

The first requirement needs more explanation. A Material and Substantial change in the circumstances of the child or an affected party must be clearly shown at trial. Many Courts are meticulous in making the determination of what a Material and Substantial change is regarding the child and the affected party to insure this requirement is not abused for excessive litigation.

To prove a Substantial and Material change in circumstances, a conservator must show evidence at the final hearing of:

  1. The financial needs/expenses at the time of the divorce or prior modification for the children and the person affected, and;
  2. The financial needs/expenses at the time of the request for the modification.

If evidence of financial needs/expenses are not submitted and proved regarding both (1) the prior divorce/modification and (2) the recent modification, then no Substantial and Material change can be adequately proved. Further, if the request for modification of child support is predicated solely on one conservator’s increase in earning capacity, absent other compelling evidence, the change in circumstances is not Substantial and Material. Interest of L.R., 416 S.W.3d 675, (Tex. App.—Houston [14 Dist.] 2013, pet. denied.)

If one conservator decides to file a modification of child support within three years just because the other conservative received a better job, it may be dismissed. At the end of the day a Court has broad discretion on determining what is Substantial and Material and may allow the case to be heard and give an unfavourable ruling, but if that occurs you will have the ability to appeal the judgment and request attorney’s fees. It is important to know in any family law case the Judge has extremely broad discretion and interprets case law in a way that he deems fit using the Best Interest Test.

If you are a conservator that meet these requirements above and wish to increase or decrease the child support obligation, be sure to hire an experienced attorney. Nacol Law Firm will always fight for you and your children’s best interest.

Julian Nacol, Attorney
Nacol Law Firm, PC
Call (972) 690-3333

DETAIL
Mar
08

Supervised Visitation Orders – How Texas Fathers can Return to a Standard Possession Order

I Have Been Ordered, Right or Wrong, Supervised Visitation with My Child –

How Do I Return to a Standard Possession Order?

In a perfect world, parents going through the divorce process work together for the best interest of their child(ren) and are granted possession of the child(ren) approximately fifty (+ or -) percent of the time.  However, issues such as severe parental alienation, drug addiction, mental or physical abuse, neglect, and severe mental illness may force a parent to petition the courts to order limited or supervised visitation.  On some occasions, a parent is regrettably ordered into supervised visitation due to false, inaccurate or misleading information.  Regardless of the circumstances, court ordered supervised visitation is costly, may substantially limit the amount of time a parent is allowed to spend with their child, and can create a difficult and costly transition into a standard possession order.

If the court has ordered supervised visitation seek proper counsel from a qualified attorney as soon as possible.  If a case, rightly or wrongly, has been established for supervised visitation by the evidence or circumstances or court order, you will need to build a case for reinstatement of standard or standard expanded possession as soon as possible.

During a supervised visit it is imperative that you keep any comments on the case to yourself. Avoid giving any opinions on the existing judgment or the supervised visitation order.  Within reason, limit your conversation to what is strictly necessary for the child to have a safe, happy and healthy visit. Be polite and courteous with the monitor even if you develop strong negative feelings regarding him or her.  Continue to enforce the importance of wanting and seeing your child and spending quality time with your child as much as possible.  Never, under any circumstances speak negatively about the other parent to or in the presence of the child or the monitor.  Never, use vulgar or abusive language toward or in the presence of the child or the monitor.  The visitation monitor may be an important asset at future hearings regarding a change from supervised visitation to a standard or expanded possession order.

Make every scheduled visit without fail.  If unable to make a scheduled visit, contact the monitor as soon in advance as possible with an appropriate explanation and request an alternative date.  Bring family members whenever possible and clear it with the visitation monitor prior to their attendance.  Bring cards and gifts, not only from you but from family members.  If visits are going well request off-site visits at a nearby restaurant or park.  Though visits may be costly, the more frequently you are observed in a loving relationship with your child the better the chance of supervised visitation being suspended or terminated all together.

Involve a psychiatrist or qualified counselor in your visitation schedule if at all possible.  Such professionals are key as you begin to build your case for standard possession since they are able to make suggestions to the Court as to how visits are progressing and the manner in which standard possession can be accomplished.

If you have been ordered to have drug or alcohol testing performed, take each test as scheduled and make certain you are free of drugs and alcohol.  A positive drug or alcohol test may place you back at square one and undermine your progress.

If a social study is ordered, dispose of any prescription drugs not needed or which are out of date and put away any alcohol in your home.  Make certain your home is clean and orderly when the evaluation is performed.  In such cases, a qualified professional will come to your home and evaluate the environment as it pertains to the best interest of the child.  If you have been ordered into supervised visitation because of drugs or alcohol it is imperative that these items not be sitting around the home when a social worker is performing his/her evaluation to avoid negative results or an  invalid conclusion.

Keep your child support current at all times! If the supervised visitation is placing a financial strain on your ability to pay child support, have an attorney address modifying your child support obligation in a Motion to Modify.  It is counterproductive to request unsupervised visitation if you are not current in your financial responsibility toward your child.

Some very important tips a non-custodial parent should follow on a supervised visit:

  1. Follow the schedule of your visits to the letter.  Never cancel except for dire emergencies!

  2. Always arrive on time.

  3. Focus totally on your children.  Don’t ask about the custodial parent or exchange information or be judgmental in your comments. This is your time with your children.

  4. Have a game plan on what you will do when talking and spending time with your children. Stay open to suggestion from your children on what they would like to do with you so everyone enjoys the visit.

  5. Talk with your children about what you are doing in your life. Ask about their activities and school, but don’t press for information. Let them know that you are interested in what they care about.

  6. Always keep your word. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep!

  7. Avoid talking about the custodial parent at all times, the divorce, and any court actions.  Keep all conversations light and positive.  This is your time for your children.  Use it to reconnect and enjoy each other.

  8. Do not criticize the custodial parent or make negative comments about the supervised visitation. This is all the time you have with the children.  Love, embrace and enjoy them every moment.

  9. You may not like it, but follow the rules set forth for the supervised visitation.  Respect the process and this may help to encourage the court to change your status to unsupervised visitation.

By Nacol Law Firm | Possession of Children
DETAIL
Mar
07

I Need A Father – (A Fathers Role in Child Custody)

The number of fathers caring for their children is growing at a rate almost twice that of single mothers.  The bottom line is more men are choosing to be hands-on fathers.  In addition, presumed joint custody — or shared custody by both parents of children of divorce — is now the law of the land in most states.

Scores of research have documented the positive effects of a father’s involvement in a child’s life.  Regrettably, currently approximately 30% of American children live without their father’s involvement in their life.

As the number of women in the work force has increased, some men appear to have become more involved in fatherhood and show greater interest in child-care responsibilities.   With more women in the workplace than ever before — 68% of women with children under 18 — divorce courts in most states are not simply awarding custody and care of children to mothers by default.  In some cases, the mother has neither the time, nor the will, to care full time for her offspring. In other cases, she may not have the financial means.  The gradual progress towards leveling the playing field for women at work has resulted in slowly leveling the playing field at home.  The law is beginning to catch up as well. Divorce laws of more and more states are taking into account the importance of children maintaining relationships with dads as well as moms after divorce.

Following is a sample of what other sources have had to say about the risks faced by fatherless children:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)

After economic factors are excluded, children reared in fatherless homes are more than twice as likely to become male adolescent delinquents or teen mothers.

Recent studies have suggested that children whose fathers are actively involved with them from birth are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident in exploring their surroundings, have better social connections with peers as they grow older, are less likely to get in trouble at home and at school, and are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. Children with fathers who are nurturing, involved, and playful also turn out to have higher IQs and better linguistic and cognitive capacities.

The divorce process is difficult for all involved.  It is far better for the children if the parents are able and willing to place them outside of difficult divorce issues.  Children want to run and laugh and play.  In many cases they are not mature enough to process adult issues.  Keep heated issues between the adults and away from hearing range of the children.  No matter how angry a parent is, they should promote the children viewing the other parent in a positive light.  Children need positive role models.  Even if a parent feels the other parent has wronged them, it is just as wrong for that parent to take away the ability for their children to have a parent they can be proud of and look up to.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody
DETAIL

Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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