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RayAnswers, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  30 years as a family law lawyer .
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I am going thru an issue with my wife. We are currently

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I am going thru an issue with my wife. We are currently seperated. She is Bipolar Manic and refuses to handle it properly. She has run off. I feel like I need to file for custody of the children. She will not object at the moment so I need to get something done pretty quick. Can I do this without a Divorce? It needs to be a court order so she cannot refuse to follow it later. I do not think she will come to any court hearing. What are my options here. I will have to do all the work myself because I do not have money for an attorney.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

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In Texas you will need to file for divorce and serve her.You can serve her with alternate service if you cannot locate here.The court has to award you legal custody and divide up the marital assets/debts.You can file yourself here.

Here are free forms and affidavit of indigence to avoid filing fees.

In Texas it takes minimum 60 days from filing here to get final divorce granted.

How to serve her

iving Notice

1. Legal Notice
How to give the other party legal notice that you filed a case in court (also called Service of Citation or Service of Process).

2. Substitute Service

How to ask the court to allow alternate methods of service when attempts to serve the respondent have failed.

3. Service by Posting
How to serve your spouse with legal notice when you cannot find your spouse and there are no children.

4. Service by Publication
How to serve the other parent with legal notice of a case involving children, including a divorce with children, when you cannot find the other parent.

If you are granted legal custody court will require her to pay you child support here in Texas.Minimum is say $160 a month.

You should really consider filing yourself here pro se and and seek to avoid the filing fees by affidavit I gave you.That will save you money here , it is your best next step.

Many people do this themselves because of circumstances.I appreciate the chance to help you today.Let me know if you have more follow up.

If you can positive rate when we are done it is always much appreciated.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

So your telling me that there is no way to protect the children and our marriage until we know for sure that she will not seek treatment. The only option is to further destroy our lives?

There is no way to resolve custody and support here without filing for divorce./You are the legal parent but if she say showed up and took the kids while you were distracted nothing prevents that.Besides here you have 60 days or longer many file for divorce but end up back together and dismiss the filing.I am just telling you that you do this if you want your legal rights to custody and support.Otherwise you have the right to the kids here since you are a legal parent.But the system is set up so that if you want court orders on these issues for your protection you would need to file here.Thats your call here is you want to do that.

If you want to take some more time before you file thats your right as well.You decide if the marriage is over or not and whether you need legal custody of the children.You also have great facts to limit her visitation to supervised in your presence.

Texas doesn't have legal separation here, its married or divorced.

Thanks again, let me know if you have more.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

I want to protect the children because of her mental state. I do not want a divorce. I want to make sure she cannot come pick them up and run off with them because she has abandoned them in the past because of her condition. There must be another option besides a divorce to get some type of order to protect the children

If you just want to deal with custody, support here a Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship(SAPCR) is filed here in Texas..

Forms for that, remember this will only address the kids here.

http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/suit-affecting-the-parent-child-relationship

You would serve her using the reference I gave you above, you can publish if all other means fail in newspaper.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

My question was I needed to know how to protect the Children. Not how to file for Divorce.

The forms above only deal with custody and support.You would still be married.But you have to file the SAPCR here and serve her if you want court orders.This isn't a divorce but only a court order concerning legal custody and to decide if she is allowed any visitation.Thats as simple as Texas has here if you want legal rights and protection.Sorry please don't shoot the messenger here I am trying to help you .Thanks

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