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Started by jmlrrtx, Jun 23, 2009, 07:24:44 PM

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I live in TX and have been divorced for 7 years. I have the same problems every year. When it is my weekend, spring break and even my month of July my ex-wife leaves out of town and I am missing the little time that I have a court order for. When I talk to her about it all she says it  "take me to court". The attorney's in my area want about $4-6K to enforce visitation. Is there anything I can do that won't cost me that much, I just don't have it. Thanks, Jesse


easier said than done, but learn how to do it "pro se" by representing yourself in court.

get a hold of your TX state code (the actual law that covers divorces)

get a hold of your Family Court Procedures

start researching and reading all there is about being pro se

contact your family clerk's office to see if they have any forms available for your use.

And then start stumbling forward.

7 years to do "essentially nothing" is a long time, but it can be undone.

The fact that it costs so much to hire an attorney will not be a defense when asked "WHY haven't you complained sooner?  (by filing for contempt in court).


I agree with MB except I found filing pro se' on contempt actions for denial of parent time or visitation to be much easier than I had originally thought.  I would like to add to the list of things to get (very important) is the Rules of your local jurisdiction.  Pick up at the court house.

Once you know the process (ask a court clerk) and have the format of  "Contempt motion" then the actual appearance and presentation is somewhat straight forward (and is covered in the motion) since you either did or did'nt have possession of child as defined by the court order.  By the way, the next possessory time, provide the managing conservator with a certified letter stating the date, time and place you will receive/return the child (name the child(ren) and, of course, follow the court order.  These motions are simple and you simply do not need to pay somebody 4k- 6k to stand around with the hands in their pocket.

Some other pointers :

1) always dress/look like an attorney as much as possible (don't where sandals and a swim suit).  On the other hand, if you think many attorneys are clowns (like I do) it is best not to go dressed like Bozo.

2)  do get more comfortable with the court room setting and a judge's demeanor,  you may want to find out when family court meets and go visit as a "casual observer".  I think everybody in America shoud do this just because.

3)  on the day of a hearing, try to arrive earlier at the clerks office and ask for your case file jacket (before it goes to the judge) to see if opposing counsel, ect has filed anything without notice to you ...may help to prevent surprises in the court room and by the same token kinda be prepared for any off the wall insertion or motion by your oppisition.

4)  always address the court authentilcally with respect (bite your tongue if need be) ie Your honor, yes sir, no sir BUT DO NOT HESITATE TO  ARGUE YOUR CAUSE OR DEFEND YOURSELF in a calm and deliberate manner. (If I can do it..anybody can ... remember the welfare or your child is stake)

5)  Attach affidavits (personal notarized statements) to your motion and file with the court (don't provide to opposition) any person or family member that can attest to the fact you did not have the children when you were suppose to.  May not be accepted but could inflence a judge knowing they were present and you went to the trouble of gathering them.

6) IMHO, it is best to speak in the second person (at times) for example say : "these children have not had access to their father for 118 months" rather than " I have not seen my children for 118 months".  To me one should always focus on the children (they may be suffering more than you think ) rather than the adult parents.  The judge took an oath to protect the family (I thought). I think this pointer is really important.

Never think or let anyone treat your motion or filing as frivulous.  If matters were reversed and she did not get the kids per court order then your butt would surely be in hot water and the full force of the statues would come to bear.  Similarly, if you kept the kids and didn't return them as stated in the court order then you would be deemed a criminal felon.  Actually, what she is doing is criminal.  Check out criminal interference in the articles section on this site but don't get your hopes up.  Nice to know and makes for legit conversation.

Also, if you are in the Dallas (and even if you're not) area where they have attempted to simplify the state statues. (I guess)

Please don't let this writing, or any writing, overwhelm you.   

Check out your county web site for any info.  and the site below for info in the Dallas area.

http://www.raggiolaw.com/txart06.html#CS (http://www.raggiolaw.com/txart06.html#CS)

PS.  And be sure to ask your county for the cost of filing fees.  Keep posting and ask for clarifiacation or other help whenever.


Excellent advice from both Davy and MB.  You could also consult with an attorney (usually free) and see if you can get your legal fees reimbursed since you are the one being wronged.  That might motivate your EX to follow the order in the future. 


http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/fa.toc.htm (http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/fa.toc.htm)  (Texas Code)

Check out this site, I would start with Title 5,

http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/table_divorce (http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/table_divorce) (links to all other 50 states Family Codes)

Good Luck and keep us posted.



http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/category/family_law (http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/category/family_law) --- Cornell Law School family law statue resources for all 50 states.