fathers rights attorney

Jun
07

Concerns About Special Needs Children in a Texas Divorce

Parents of a special needs child face many challenges while raising and nurturing their child.  Many marriages falter and end in divorce due to the stressful demands required of parents with a special needs child. The stressors and emotional pressure that exists prior to the initiation of a divorce frequently accelerates during the divorce process. A special needs child is seriously affected by their parental decisions made during a divorce.

A divorce does not bring out the best in any couple. In the case of a special needs child, thoughtful and prudent care of the child should always be the main objective of both parents so the child knows that he/she is loved by both parents and is not at risk.  A special needs child will experience serious emotional and behavioral problems during this time becoming more vulnerable and not knowing what is happening in life.  The child is often afraid that he/she is losing Mom and Dad due to false and misplaced self-imposed guilt.

Many parents have already struggled with questions surrounding their child’s special needs such as correct diagnoses or the validly of treatments for their child’s conditions.  During serious custody battles, such concerns become the focus of intense parental conflicts.

Some of the more serious concerns are:

  • A child’s reactions to overly permissive or excessively rigid parenting

  • Use and dosage of prescribed medicines for a diagnosed problem

  • Proper diagnosis being made by a competent professional

  • Whether a professional label and diagnosis will be noted in school records

  • Whether a child be placed in special education classes for leaning or emotional disabilities. Whether one parent is so occupied with the special need child that the parent has lost perspective on how to best manage the child

Often one parent accepts a child’s diagnosis given by the specialist and actively advocates for the child, while the other parent may remain in denial of the child’s obvious needs. Which parent is actually and consistently working in the child’s best interests?

Special efforts are needed when setting up possession schedules for your special needs child. Both parents must understand the nature of the child’s physical/emotional problems and the level that the child can function.  When the child spends time in each parent’s home, both parents must reasonably work together and agree on a parenting approach that addresses the child’s needs.

When parents cannot agree upon the child’s actual needs and course of care, the court may appoint a specialist to conduct a complete evaluation of the child.  From this evaluation the specialist will offer specific opinions to the parents and court regarding the nature of the child’s special needs and specifically address these needs.

In a divorce involving a special needs child many joint decisions are critical to and impact a child’s self-esteem.  Other family issues and problems may need to temporally be put aside between the parents to assure a special needs child will fully receive the attention needed.  We suggest that in the divorce decree a parenting plan be included setting out specific provisions for the care of the child.

Some suggested items to include in this Plan would be:

  • Can the child be cared for in the home or an outside facility and how would these costs be covered?

  • Medical, educational, and therapeutic interventions and decision making authority

  • Treatments not covered by insurance. Who is responsible as to the authority and cost?

  • Working with the child’s school to implement plans for the educational needs of the child.

  • Care decisions on parents’ ability to work outside the home with a special needs child

  • Handling of Lifetime care and support and the cost necessary for the special needs child

DETAIL
Jun
06

Children – The Innocent Bystanders of Divorce

Divorce, in many cases, has a life-altering impact on a child’s development and well-being.  Given that one out of every two marriages ends in divorce, thousands of children are impacted each year. Divorce places enormous stress on a child trying to adjust to new feelings and rapidly changing situations in their lives. The resulting instability often leads to resentment towards the child’s parents and a difficulty acclimating to all the abrupt and immediate changes in a child’s life.

Children perceive divorce as a very traumatic event and are very concerned about their security. Many children internalize the dissolution and blame themselves for the breakup. They are scared that both parents may leave them.

Some very disturbing research on children and divorce has just been released by the Census Bureau Study, “The Marital Events of Americans: 2009”.

*1.5% of US children live in the home of a parent who divorced in the last year. The average age of the child is 9.8 yrs. old and the male/female ration is 1:1.

*64% of the children were White, non- Hispanic children, with the largest percentage living in the South (41%).

*Children living with a divorced parent are likely to be in a household below the poverty level (28%) and more likely to be living in a rented home (53%).

*Most children live in a mother headed households (73%). Because mothers have lower earning potential in the labor force, the family often lives below the poverty level.

*These children of divorce are often living with their parents’ unmarried partner (13%).  Only 5% of the children are living in a household with a married couple.

Children of divorce often suffer from anxiety, depression and reduced self-esteem issues.  Robert Hughes, associate professor in the Dept. of Human Development and Family Science, Ohio State University, found that children from divorce are more aggressive and more likely to get in to trouble with school authorities or police during adolescence. Also children from divorce are more vulnerable to becoming a victim of violence or become a perpetrator of violent acts on themselves and or others.

If you are considering divorce, carefully consider the impact on your children. To help children through this difficult time, parents must realize and accept that they are responsible for this situation and that their children often suffer as a result of the parent’s decision.

Parents should be very sensitive to the child’s emotional needs to ensure the best possible adjustment of his or her mental, physical, spiritual well-being towards a healthy, responsible adult.  Remember! Your child is the “Innocent Bystander.”

Seek professional help if you child is struggling with the changes in his or her life. Your attorney knows a resource that may be available to address your child’s pressing needs.

By Nacol Law Firm | Impact on Children
DETAIL

Domestic Violence Against Men: The New Intimate Partner Epidemic ?

When you think of domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence between couples what usually comes to mind? A woman being hurt or abused? This is the majority of public thought in the United States, yet the latest studies on domestic violence are showing a new and very alarming trend: notable rising rates on Intimate Partner Violence against Men.   

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. This was a serious eye opener on violence and men.  In the United State for the previous 12 months, app. 5,365,000 men had been victims of intimate Partner physical violence compared with 4,741,000 women. This physical violence includes slapping, pushing, & shoving.  Also tracked were more serious threats of being beaten, burned, choked, kicked, slammed with a heavy object or hit with a fist. Roughly 40% of the victims of severe physical violence were men. Again in 2011 the CDC repeated the survey and the results were almost identical!

Domestic violence (intimate partner violence) against men include emotional, sexual, verbal, physical abuse or threats of abuse. It happens in heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Have you ever felt scared of your partner and changed your behavior since you were afraid of what your partner might do? If so, you may be in an abusive relationship.

Are you being abused? What are the warning signs? What kind of abuse are you experiencing?

Emotional & Verbal Abuse:

  • Calls you names, belittles you, or puts you down regularly
  • Is jealous and possessive and accuses you without just cause of being unfaithful
  • Tries to isolate you from family and friends
  • Tries to totally control your life: how you spend your money, what you wear and where you may be going
  • Constantly makes unreasonable demands for your attention.
  • Blames you for her violent behavior and says you deserve it
  • Gets very angry or violent when drinking alcohol or using drugs

Physical Abuse:

  • Biting, burning, or choking you
  • Hitting, punching, or slapping
  • Pushing, shoving, or throwing things at you
  • Knifing or burning you
  • Forcibly holding you down
  • Hurting you, your children or your pets

Sexual Abuse

  • Forcing you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
  • Hurting you during sex
  • Forcing you to have unsafe sex

Threats and Intimidation:

  • Threatens to hurt / kill you
  • Threatens to kill themselves or the children
  • Stalks you
  • Reads all your emails, texts, or mail
  • Destroys things that belong to you

Being a man in an abusive relationship,  it may seem hard finding the help that you need. It has been estimated that about 20% of men who call the police to report an abusive spouse /partner are themselves arrested for domestic violence.

You do not have to stay in an abusive relationship. You need to start by discussing your situation with either someone you trust or a health professional who can give you guidance. Gather evidence on what is happening, photographs of any injury or bruises experienced during a confrontation, threatening emails or texts that can be used in a court of law, make a list of people who have experienced confrontations between you and your intimate partner.

Stay away from any type of violence with your partner since she may try to put you into a damaging situation with the police to make you look like the abuser or try to entrap you.

You can overcome these challenges and escape from the abusive intimate partner.  If you have a family or are concerned for your well-being, contact a legal professional who can help you break from this situation and also work to get your children out of harm’s way.  Just remember, if you are not available for her domestic violence, a predator will look for someone else to take your place and children are easy targets!

By Nacol Law Firm | Domestic Violence
DETAIL
Apr
21

Recurring Wrongful Conduct: Holiday Violations of Visitation Access

The holidays can be very frustrating times for both spouses when undergoing divorce proceedings that involve custody issues with children and one spouse acts in bad faith or arbitrarily.  If a spouse violates a temporary custody order, he or she may not face consequences at the time but must explain their actions to a district judge in the future.

If a temporary custody order describes in detail the periods of possession during the Christmas holiday, the order is binding on both spouses. The temporary custody order is binding civilly and NOT criminally per se. This is an important distinction to understand before you decide to call the police. Family law matters, with notable exceptions such as domestic violence and protective orders, are generally governed in civil and not criminal courts.  Because temporary custody orders involving children are governed by civil courts, a police officer has no immediate basis to enforce the civil order.

If your spouse refuses to release your child to you at the prescribed time mandated in the temporary custody order, there are certain things that you should do to insure this wrongful conduct properly is documented for future civil contempt proceedings.

  1. Call the police!!! Many police departments will not respond because temporary custody orders are not criminally enforceable, but if the police department decides to respond then you may request a police report to be filed noting that your spouse deliberately violated the temporary custody order. This may be used in Court to persuade the judge to hold your spouse in civil contempt or validate your properly made demand for access in accordance with your temporary order.
  2. Save and preserve any text messages, emails, letters, or recorded phone calls that demonstrate and reaffirm your spouse’s refusal to deliver your children into your custody during the holiday or other allotted time in your visitation order.
  3. Call your attorney and notify him of your spouse’s refusal to deliver the children to you.
  4. Do not be tricked or cohered into a physical confrontation with your soon to be ex-spouse!!!

By completing these four tasks you will be gathering and preserving evidence to hold your spouse in civil contempt of Court. After the Christmas Holiday season or other access periods are over, your lawyer with your consent will file a motion to hold your spouse in contempt of Court for violation of the temporary custody order. If your spouse is found in civil contempt of Court, he or she may be fined, ordered to jail for up to 180 days until the fine and attorney fees are paid, and the violation may be a solid basis to favourably modify the previous temporary custody orders. Such rulings are at the judge’s discretion.

Though you may feel helpless at the time, justice may be achieved through the District Courts in the form of civil or contempt sanctions. Judges usually look down on a spouse that blatantly violates temporary custody orders especially during Christmas or other special holidays.  Just relax and be patience if your spouse refuses to deliver the children to you and document the conduct.  Justice may take time but in the end, it is usually affirmed.

Julian Nacol
The Nacol Law Firm P.C.
8144 Walnut Hill Lane
Suite 1190
Dallas, Texas 75231
(972) 690-3333

By Nacol Law Firm | Protective Orders
DETAIL
Apr
12

Unique Possession Orders that Work with a Fathers Profession

Many professions create impositions on conservators making a standard possession order inapplicable and unworkable. The Court may deviate from a standard possession order if the order is inappropriate or unworkable in reference to the schedules of both the conservators and the child. Unique professions and irregular school schedules for children allow the Court to have flexibility to deviate from a standard possession order that is in the Best Interest of the Child. There are multiple ways in which the Court may depart from a standard possession order to fulfill the needs of all parties involved with the custody of the child.

First, the Family Code § 153.254 states that the Court will be allowed deference to modify the standard possession order if work schedules of either conservators or the school schedule of the child is irregular. The Court must attempt to narrowly tailor the modifications to keep the new possession order as similar to the standard possession order as possible. This instance most commonly occurs when the Managing Conservator and the Possessory Conservator cannot reach an agreement and one of the two Conservators has a unique profession such as a firefighter, police officer, or airline pilot. The working hours of these jobs allow the Court to modify the standard possession order even if both of the parties do not comply with the changes. The modifications must be made only if it is in the Best Interest of the Child.

Secondly, the standard possession order may always be modified if it is by the mutual agreement of both the Managing Conservator and Possessory Conservator. Family Code § 153.007 is the Agreed Parenting Plan Statute and allows for both parties to agree on a standard possession order for the child. This statute was passed to promote amicability in settlement for child custody issues and to give flexibility to the parents if they are willing to agree on custody terms. The Agreed Parenting Plan must be in the Best Interest of the Child for the Court to approve. If the Court grants the Agreed Parenting Plan then the Managing or Possessory Conservator will have a remedy as a matter of law for any violation of the agreement committed by either party.

Finally, both Conservators may enter into a Mediated Settlement Agreement under Family Code § 153.0071. A Mediated Settlement Agreement is the only time in which the Court will NOT look at the Best Interest of the Child when granting the custody agreement.

The Mediated Settlement Agreement § 153.0071 must be:

  • In bold, underlined, and capital letters that the agreement is NOT REVOCABLE
  • Signed by Both Parties to the agreement
  • Signed by the lawyers (if represented) of each party

The Mediated Settlement Agreement is binding and not revocable so if the Conservators wish to go this route they must understand that what is in the agreement will be held as binding. This method can be used to modify or change a standard possession order and the Court will not look at the Best Interest of the Child regarding the agreement, unless there exists a credible threat of domestic violence.

These are the methods in which a unique possession order may be obtained to accommodate irregular schedules or working hours of both the conservators. Any possession order must be correctly drafted and all future contingencies must be accounted for. An experienced lawyer must be contacted to safeguard an individual’s custody rights of their children and to make sure that a fair custody arrangement is obtained.

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.

TOP