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texas custody laws

Started by wife1, Jun 06, 2011, 12:00:52 PM

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While that's no fun for anyone, that's not going to be enough to warrant a change in custody.  Not trying to say that you don't have a right to be upset.  I'm just telling you how the court is going to look at it.  Most children his age think their parents are too strict.  That's how the court is going to interpret it, unless there's some concrete evidence of problems in the home.  Like grades falling dramatically, conduct issues at school or with the police, etc.

When our kids are supposed to be home a certain time, we expect them to be as well.  We also have told them that they couldn't hang out with certain kids who we thought were a bad influence.  I don't see those things as symbols of bad parenting.  If she's telling him when and what he can say to you or his father... that's another story.  But I'm sensing that it's more of a personality conflict than a bad parenting issue.

It is completely normal for kids to have mixed emotions about going back and forth between houses.  It's not an ideal situation.  But it's better than not having a relationship with one of their parents.  There are things you can do to help the transition be smoother for him.  I recommend the book "Mom's House, Dad's House" for learning about things you can do.

Also, no kid likes moving.  It's completely normal for him to say he doesn't want to go.  You have to leave your friends, you have to go to a school where you don't know anyone and you're the kid who talks funny and wears weird clothes, you have to move to a knew house, etc, etc.  It's not fun, but he'll get over it and get used to his knew home.  By the time I was 15 I had lived in 8 different places.  I moved a LOT.  I hated it every time, and wished I didn't have to move, and missed my friends.  But I always got used to the new place, made new friends, and moved on.  Your job is to let him know that everything is going to work out, and try to help him look on the bright side.


When I talk about the time I mean she is tallking to us like we are idiots, she goes back and forth about when and if she is going to allow him to come over and when he is with us she wants to be able to have him when ever she says and we better jump to it. Its just not fair or right, she is a grown woman with 4 other children  by 2 other men and the only reason she acts like this with my husband is because we show intrest in the boy. If we didnt care to see him she would be throwin him on us thats what tells us there is more to her attempts to keep him away. When te child was 7 yrs old he was already counting calories and checking labels because she would be on a diet and make him be on it too and he is not a heavy child. We worry that she is going to cause him to have emotional issues and there will be nothing that we can do to help him.
trying to make it through each day as best as I can...


Ok, so now we're getting into issues of conflict between you and the mother.  Those have nothing to do with the child, and hopefully he is shielded from that as much as possible.  The back and forth, talking to you like you're idiots, etc - that's attention seeking behavior that should be ignored.  Practice low/no contact:  http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/appropriate-means-of-contact-with-high-conflict-personalities/ (http://www.thepsychoexwife.com/appropriate-means-of-contact-with-high-conflict-personalities/).  If she actually makes good on threats or musings about not allowing visitation, THEN pay attention to it in the appropriate way - which is to file a motion to show cause.

Unfortunately "fair" and "right" have nothing to do with the family court system.  If you don't believe me ask any of the other people on this board who have been inside the courtroom.  It's a hard reality to come to terms with, and a lot of people don't until they've spent tens of thousands of dollars.  You have to remember that what seems like a big deal to you is not a big deal to family court judges.  You cuold very well end up in the courtroom the day after the judge terminated the parental rights of someone who burned their child, left their children with a child molestor, starved their child, and so on.  Then you're going to walk in there and say he should take the boy from his mother because she talks mean to you and her son reads nutrition labels.  I don't think a judge is going to have much patience with that.  My husbands ex was forcing hot sauce into their 5yo daughters mouth and putting in a cold shower when she had nightmares.  The judge told my husband he was "making a mountain out of a molehill".  Family court is not the place you think it is.

I understand your worry, but it seems like the best thing to do in this situation is to be a model of healthy, mature behavior.  Your stepson will grow up and decide what kind of person he wants to be.  If he's had some good role models he has a much better chance of choosing that path instead of an unhealthy one.  I know you want to hear a different answer - but you asked about changing custody and I am giving you an honest answer on what's likely to happen if you took this to court.  Since you're unlikely to get the outcome you desire, there are other things you can do to make the situation a little easier on everyone.


If visitation is being denied for any reason then you need to file a contempt charge.  You need to make sure you document all missed visits and also take with you to court documentation of the threats.  Like Gemini said family court is not going to worry about things that many of us feel are important.  However being denied visitation on a regular basis could be used as a change in circumstance and that is what you really need to shoot for.  Your child wanting to live with you could be also consider a change in circumstance.  Now if you feel that your child needs to be protected and something is going on then when you make the requested change ask the courts for a GAL for your child.

In Texas a visitation law was added to the Texas Family code that grants the non custodial some additional visitation.  This was put into effect in August 2009. Here is a basic breakdown.

1.  Non Custodial Parent is granted one overnight visit every Thursday. Starts when the child is let out of school and ends when school begins the followng day. (or 8:00 am if school is out). 

2. Weekend visitation begins on Friday and does not end until Monday when school begins (or 8:00 am if school is out).  If Monday is a holiday the visitation is over on Tuesday when school begins (or 8:00 am if school is out). (so you get the child from Thursday to Monday morning.

All the non-custodial parent has to do is elect this visitation. This is automatically granted.  The key here is the family code requires the noncustodial parent to make these elections "before or at the time of" the original court order setting out visitation, or "before or at the time of" any modification order. Here is a link to that section of the Texas Family Code - http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm#153.317 (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm#153.317)