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Problems finalizing CS order in Texas

Started by Im_a_survivor, Sep 05, 2005, 03:31:38 PM

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Note:  Also posted to Soc....

In addition to seeking legal advice/insight, I would to hear any views or experiences from folks who may have been in a similar situation to what I'm describing below.....

My DH is father of 3 children who live in Texas with BM. Court docs finalized in Texas. We live in Canada.

Between June 2004 until Sept 2004, my DH was laid off and got behind in CS ($650/month). On October 1, 2004, he started paying again, due to securing much lower paying job. In January 2005, we went to Texas to finalized negotiations for custody of oldest son (14 years old), due to problems he was having at school and Mom's environment. In hallways, we negotiated a deal with BM's attorney (BM didn't show up - just gave attorney instructions). Temp custody to DH of only the oldest child was agreed to, and CS was reduced to $200/month (since younger 2 ss remained with BM). The amount of $1k was paid on the spot for owed child support, and remainder was ordered to be paid over a 6 month period.

Because of the fact that the negotiations happened in the hallway, final document was handwritten. But judge signed it. We obtained copy. Our attorney has the original. He told us that a new/typed version would have to be drawn up and filed in court before the OAG will change the amount owing in the CSE system. Our attorney draws up 2 documents - one outlining contempt on CS and payback schedule, the other re the temp custody.

Fast forward to April 2005. The two parties cannot come to terms on the words in the temp custody document (issues about medical expenses). The two lawyers go to court. What we hear back from our attorney's office is that a couple of changes are required and that it will be done right away.. Our attorney assures us that it will be a simple matter to update the OAG.

My DH finished paying back owed CS at the end of June 2005. We call attorney's office to ask for a copy of finalized court orders. Nothing has been done. We check the OAG CS site and find that the original $650 CS court order (and interest on it) is still ticking away, despite the fact that my DH has complied with all CS court orders requirements since October 2004.

In August, we call attorney's office and assistant tells us that our attorney has talked to the other attorney. Both sides agree that it is time to make the temp order permanent (since Mom has stated that she believes oldest child is doing better with us). OAG site is incorrectly showing an outstanding balance of $4k (due to fact that they have no official notice of the initial $1k paid in January, and the difference between old CS order and new CS order). Attorney's assistant says that for some unknown reason, docs never got filed in court, but "not to worry".

Now our attorney doesn't want to bother wasting time finalizing the temp order - he thinks he can wrap up permanent order very quickly. Being unable to speak to attorney directly, we ask the assistant to separate the CS document from the temp or permanent custody order, and get that filed right away. We even went so far as to say (by email), that the temp/permanent custody order is NOT a priority to us, since as far as the OAG is concerned, DH is 'in arrears' to almost the tune of $5K. We informed the attorney's office about the fact that my DH has the intention of going to visit the other two kids in Texas, in the Fall. He could potentially, get stopped at the border, as he is an American citizen and carries an US passport. To date, the OAG has not contacted us re this amount, even though they were sending letters, during the period of Jun -Oct 2004, showing outstanding balance.

The message we got back is 'not to worry' and that our attorney will be able to wrap everything up very quickly (2 weeks). We aren't as convinced, since negotiating with the other parties has typically gone as smoothly as crunchy peanut butter. So, my questions are as follows:

Does anyone have ideas of actions can we take to make our issue a priority with the attorney, given that we live so far away and can't exactly rush off to court to file anything ourselves? For example, is there some kind of attorney codes of practice or something like that, that we can refer to?

Should we try to explain the situation to the OAG ourselves or will that interfere with what our attorney is (or is not) doing? Given that the OAG isn't bugging us right now, maybe they somehow know about the arrangement, they just can't officially change the CS system, until the finalized docs are filed in court).  The point being, should we let sleeping dogs lie?

Should my DH get pulled over/hauled off at the border and falsely charged with owing CS, what actions or steps should we take to clarify the situation and to hold the appropriate parties responsible?

Thanks in advance, for all your views.