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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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a divorced couple has an 8 yr. old daughter. The daughter

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a divorced couple has an 8 yr. old daughter. The daughter lives with the mother but has alternating weekends with her father. Father has now obtained a restriction preventing the mother from any contact with the child while he seeks sole custody of the daughter. Mother lives in a large house with her widowed mother in a older, well established neighborhood close to the childs school and church. Mother has had two dui and custody is being sought by father on grounds of "unfit motherhood".
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
What is your question?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Question is this: The father simply walked away and left his family and then a few months later without notice or any known cause filed for divorce. During the marriage of 9 years instances of domestic abuse occured by the father. On at least one instance the police were called to the scene. Two years ago one of the abuses by the father resulted in a broken foot on the mother. There were healing difficulties and a rebreak leaving the mother unemployable for the past two years. Some alcohol abuse has been involved during the entire span of the marriage. The divorce was not contested and the court left custody with the mother. Comfortable, above average housing with the widowed mother of the mother that is close to the child's school has been in use the past 3 years (?). The father pays $450 per mo. for child support. Since the divorce, the father has married the woman that he was seeing at the time he "walked away" and has been seemingly satisfied with alternating weekend visitation rights. With the most recent dui in view the mother elected to volontairly attend alcohol rehab starting at "Maggie's House" for appraisal, then to Nexus if deemed necessary. The Grandmother, in whose house the mother and daughter have called home for 3 years, is taking care of the daily childcare of to and from school, homework, meals, etc. and also has two other adults on standby should they be needed during this time of absence of the mother. Only two days of the mother's absence in rehab, the father decided to physically take his daughter from her home domicile and keep her in his own care stating he was the alternate custodian of the child. As of Friday he obtained a restraining order which disallows any contact with the daughter by her mother, grandmother, sisters or aunt who normally see her day to day. He has filed for full custody of the daughter on the grounds of her mother being unfit to attend her raising. A family court hearing date has already been set for May 12th in Dallas county court (how obtained so quickly?). Does the father have a strong case to take over the daughters life activities and shut out her mother, grandparents, etc.??
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - I cannot predict the outcome of any court case so all I can do is provide general information based on the facts I have. The issue is between the parents rights to the child, not the grandmother's or anyone else unless the grandmother has some court order for temporary custody. All of the past facts of the father leaving or abusing the mother can be considered by the court but the abuse of the mother is not abuse of the child.


The father has a right as a parent to seek custody. Whether that is granted will be up to the court and there would not have to be a finding that the mother is unfit, only that it is in the best interests of the child to be in the custody of the father. If the court determines that the mother cannot care for the child then the father is likely to get custody over the grandmother since a parent has superior rights to the child over anyone else.


All you can do at a court hearing is present your case for what is in the best interests of the child through testimony as to the overall situation. The reason the court date is so soon is because of the emergency nature of the no contact order. I always suggest that the parties have an expert witness such as a child psychologist to testify on their behalf in order to present the best possible case for their side of the issue.


Dave Kennett

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