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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12620
Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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What are my chances of getting my daughter back full time in

Customer Question

What are my chances of getting my daughter back full time in my home after her father was given temporary custody
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
Hello there:

Your question appears to have cut off. The last thing written was:

I have been home for a year and been very active with my daughter and until the 16

Did you intend to write more?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have been home for 1 year and been active in her life. My question is what is the likely hood being that I went to jail for theft that they are going to keep her with him and not give her back to me. He works out of town on a wkly basis only home every other weekend leaving her with the stepmother. How much of a hindrance is the 16 mths I served going to affect my case?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
I have two questions:

1. How old is your daughter now?

2. How would you describe your visitation with your daughter over the past year? For example, how often do you see her? How often does she spend the night at your home?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She is 8. Let me say this I had her everyday for 6 years until I went to jail also. Our time together is great I get her every chance I can. She wants to come live with me again. I make 3 hour trips just to eat a 30 minute lunch with her on weeks that I am not getting her.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
I am not sure that answered the second question, and I apologize if I did not communicate it clearly. Specifically, I asked:

How would you describe your visitation with your daughter over the past year? For example, how often do you see her? How often does she spend the night at your home?

I was hoping for a better description of how much time you spend with her and how often she spends the night in your home, not just the quality. Can you tell me more? Again, I apologize for any lack of clarity on my end.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
she is in my home 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of the month. He won't let me see her outside of the court order. I had her for an entire month in the summer. I had her for a week at Thanksgiving. If I had it my way she would be with me everyday but at the moment that is not the case.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
I can tell you what is typical for a case like the one you described. A criminal conviction is only relevant to the extent that it provides insight into the best interest of the child. A drug conviction or domestic violence conviction will bear heavily on a custody order, but theft or other non-violent crimes are generally irrelevant.

What is relevant, however, is being absent from a child's life for an extended period of time. Kids need stability, and a parent who goes missing while she is incarcerated is a destabilizer. Still, where a year has passed and the child has had a good relationship with the parent over that time, the impact of that will generally be minimal as well.

What is typically most significant is the frequency and quality of the visitation because the court will look at the child's emotional and developmental needs in that context. 8 year olds generally need more time with their same-sex parent, so it is not a surprise that your daughter wants to spend more time with you.

However, courts do not like to make dramatic changes--as I mentioned, kids need stability. In that context, a court would be more likely to go from every other weekend to perhaps four weekends per month plus summers. If it did not disrupt the child's school schedule, it could realistically go to a 50/50 split. But it would not typically result in an immediate shift in primary custody, though it might move in that general direction in the short-run. Every case is different, of course, so I cannot predict exactly what will happen based on 1/2 of the story, but you might realistically see some, but not complete, progress toward the goal.

I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed. Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok well I have another question how much of a factor is her father working out of town every week from Monday to Thursday and most cases out of state going to affect the case?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
It will definitely be a factor. Nonetheless, a request for a drastic change in an existing schedule is generally disfavored. The courts are more comfortable with incremental changes. I realize that this does not conform with your hopes, but I want to give you an idea of what you might be up against so you can get the best result possible.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So I guess if I am understanding you correctly its a great possibility that the courts will leave my daughter with her dad and she be raised by a step parent? Are these typical results for the state of Texas?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 5 years ago.
That is not quite accurate. You are asking for an immediate, drastic change. What I am saying is, for the state of Texas, that the courts prefer drastic changes to be gradual. If you were asking whether it was realistic to expect full custody four, three, or even two years from now through gradual increases, the response would be "sure, why not?" But you are asking me the odds of going from perhaps six days per week to perhaps 25 or more after one court hearing, and that is something the courts will usually not do. So, when you go to your hearing in December, I certainly wish that you make as much progress toward the objective as possible, and I hope that you prove me wrong, but the typical short-run outcome would be a more subtle increase in time.