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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 20394
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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In my divorce (2007), my ex and I were granted joint managing

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In my divorce (2007), my ex and I were granted joint managing conservatorship, however, he retains primary custody. There wasa mutual agreement for no child support and a Texas Standard Possesion Order (SPO) was agreed upon. In that SPO, there was nothing concerning taking the child out of state - only out of the country. The Texas SPO also does not include regulations for taking a chid out of state. Our divorce was granted in Collin County, Tx. This past year my ex has asked for "A Provision to Modify Parent-Child Relationship" to the decree (predominatly child support and other financially related benefits). The case was originally filed in Collin Co. and moved to Denton Co., Texas. A provision of the original SPO was the written notice of "Summer Possesion". The written notice was provided in March. There was no written statement of contest. In numerous conversations with my ex since that notice, we discussed the date and time that my child would be with me, and the fact that we would be going out of state to visit relatives the first week of July (1st -9th). Travel arrangements were made and expenditures were incurred. When I picked my son up on June 30th, I recevid an e-mail stating that in Denton Co., the SPO states that a child is not to be removed from the state without agreement of the parties or a court order. Upon reading that document I found a clause stating:
"8. EFFECT OF OTHER COURT ORDERS. Ifany part of this order is different from any part of a protective order that has already been entered or is later entered, the protectiv order provisions prevail. Any part of this order not changed by some later order remains in full force and effect until the court signs a final decree."
-Denton County Standing Order Regarding Clildren, Property, and Conduct p. 4


Does this mean that the original divorce decree SPO (Collin Co.) takes precedence over the Denton Co. Standing Order, and I can proceed with my planned vacation?

What are the ramifications of procceeding with my vacation, and taking my child out of state? My ex's lawyer states that if he is taken out of state, they will have "no choice but too bring the issue to the attention of the Judge". Is this all, or can federal criminal charges of kidnapping be applied?

I originally engaged an attorney, however, this lawyer is no longer able to take my case. As she was in private practice and not with a firm, she was not able to turn my case over to someone else. I currently do not have an attorney as I am in the process of saving money for a new retainer fee. Thank you for your help.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Do you actually have an SPO from Denton signed by the judge or is that just the standard text?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It is just the Standard text I pulled off -line.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
If you don't have an order from the court, signed by the judge, it wouldn't be binding on you. It does say that it supersedes any prior order, and it would - if a judge had signed it. You may want to call the clerk of the Denton Court to verify that no SPO was entered in that court in that case, but they can't hold you to a document that was never issued - you never would have even seen it, if someone else hadn't sent it to you. Otherwise, the court order you have is in effect until it gets changed.

If the order is valid against you, and you take the child out of state, you can be held in contempt of court. That generally involves a fine where the judge finds a willful disregard of a court order. I don't think a judge would find that. In extreme contempt cases, jail is possible, but usually not as a first resort. It wouldn't be considered kidnapping under federal law, because she is your child and you have a right to custody.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 20394
Experience: Attorney with experience in family law.
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