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I need a Texas family law specialist
Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
6/15/2017
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago
RayAnswers
RayAnswers, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 43,490
Experience: 30 years as a family law lawyer .
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Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question and respond.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

What question may I help you with tonight, thanks

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you for your kind words are you still there?
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I had a bit of trouble connecting / installing the app etc.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Yes I am please ask away.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Oh great, thank you my apologies.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

No problem take your time here.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I have been involved in a prolonged family law matter for the past five years.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Can you give me more here be happy to help, are you needing to modify something?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Married for 14 years, 4 kids, ex wife had affair, super-amicable divorce in 2011, we both re-married early 2013ish. My current wife is an amazing child behaviorist, transition specialist, with her Masters in emotional behavior disorders for children. It's a good thing because my ex married a narcissistic, borderline personality sociopath.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Ok what questions do you have here?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
In our 2011 final decree there is a geographical restriction to the five contiguous counties. The husband wanted to take the kids 1300 Miles away. In a 2013 modify decree the same geographical restriction exists. In January 2016 the case was transferred to a different county, and the judge strongly denied the motion to lift the geographical restriction. "The geographical restriction is a covenant you made in your divorce, there is no good cause, motion denied. "
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The strategy was to drive me to bankruptcy, continue to petition the court's, and ultimately move once there was no ability on my part to legally defend their efforts to permanently relocate. That doesn't matter much. The husband ultimately left the wife behind with my children, when my eldest turned 17, they told her that she did not have to attend visitation anymore, and flew her 1300 miles away, a writ of habeas corpus was issued, and dismissed due to the lack of timeprior to her 18th birthday to return her.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The same judge was petitioned again to lift the geographical restriction only five months later, this time with allegations of emotional abuse and neglect. Based on my prior attorneys advice to record my time with my children, they did not move forward with the false allegations once presented with only four of the many recordings that served as an affirmative defense to their false allegations. Although they did not move forward with their false allegations, we ended up in mediation, I was offered temporary full custody of my eight-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son, and was asked for temporary suspension of the geographical restriction to help my 11-year-old daughter with the transition. I said no, however, both the mediator and my attorney convinced me to accept The temporary full custody of 2/4 of my children, reduction of Child Support to $0 dollars, and return of my 11-year-old daughter by December 2016 after review of the court. My eldest daughter turned 18 January 2017.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Opposing counsel delayed temporary orders so that a court date was not possible by December 31 2016. So after Christmas break they kept my daughter 1300 miles away, had her enrolled in school, and our motion to return my daughter during the school year was left in temporary status by the judge, and a final hearing is scheduled for July 27, 2017.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Try as he might he was not able to get the judge to schedule the final hearing after school resumes again 1300 miles away. The judge became upset enough that he scheduled the date with his own hand in his own court docket, scheduled discovery deadlines, deposition dates etc. due to opposing counsel's claim of inability to do so.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

So the remaining dispute is about the 11 year old who they have not returned here?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
In the mediated settlement agreement it's stated, "Mr. Joe agrees to temporarily suspend the geographical restriction on Jane Doe until review by the court no later than December 31, 2016."
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Well your argument here is that the other side has operated in bad faith, not complied with prior orders, enrolled the child instead of returning the child to your custody.Seems like continued bad faith here.You can argue the best interest of the child is to be with siblings and you , it might come down to where the child wants to live here.

It might decide where the child ends up.I know this is hear wrenching for you.Sounds like the judge wants the kid back and give you custody here.Focus on showing you are the best interests for the child and offer the best place for her to grow up.I hope the child wants to live with you and siblings.That may be the deciding factor is she is at least 12 years old.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Here the Texas Family Code 153.009 provides that in a nonjury trial or at a hearing, any party to the suit (that is either parent, any lawyer involved, any legal representative of the child, or the Judge himself) can make an application and the Judge must interview the child in chambers to determine the child’s wishes as to conservatorship or as to the person who shall have the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence for the child. However, the code further provides at 153.009(c) that the interview “does not diminish the discretion of the court in determining the best interest of the child”.

As long as the child is twelve (12) years of age, the Judge has no choice in granting the interview. If any party asks for the interview, the judge must conduct the interview. If the child is under the age of twelve, the interview is completely at the discretion of the Judge. I generally tell clients this means that if the child is close to 12, ask and hope, if the child is over 9 and there is a child over the age of 12 who is being interviewed, ask so that the 9 year old does not feel left out and the Judge is likely to grant the request. Otherwise, if the child is under 12 (or under 9 and there are no other kids being interviewed) you are wasting your time to even ask.

In years past, the Family Code allowed a child of age (which seemed to change ever legislative session) to sign a form stating which parent the child primarily wants to live with. The interview provision described replaced the form. While I can only guess at the reason for the change, I can state from experience that under the prior rules, most children signed designations for both parents – clearly indicating they were pressured by one parent or conflicted, or just wanted to make both happy. Now, the only way for a child to directly express his or her preferences to a judge is to meet with the judge in the judge’s office or, in very rare cases, testify in court as a witness.

Even if the Judge conducts the hearing, in Texas, a child’s decision cannot be the sole factor in determining which parent the child lives with. The public policy of Texas is to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child; provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child; and encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. (Texas Family Code 153.001) Accordingly, a child’s desires may be some evidence, or some factor for the Judge to consider, the best interest of the child must always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child. (Texas Family Code 153.002).

Therefore, if the Judge conducts the interview, and he/she must conduct the interview only if the child s 12 years of age or older, the Judge will most likely want to know why a child is selecting one parent over the other to see if the child wants to live in the house with no rules and no chores or closer to a friend’s house, or because one parent has a pool or offered a car, or whatever. Additionally, a judge will want to assess a child’s maturity and intelligence. After taking all of this information along with the evidence provided by the parents, the Judge will then decide independently which household is best for the child.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

This might be the key if you think the child wants to be with you and will so testify to the judge.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Originally, The only motion to the court was to lift the geographical restriction due to "conflict between the families", and that was denied in January 2016. In May 2016 I was sued for emotional abuse, neglect, and a repeat request to relocate the children outside of the geographical restriction. She is not 12, she just turned 11 this last March.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Well she will be close here.The court may interview her to see what child wants and then make a decision.I am sorry this has happened to you.

I appreciate the chance to help you.

If you can postive rate 5 stars it is much appreciated.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
They insisted that the judge speak to my 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old daughter at the time of the last geographical restriction hearing, and he asked three times if he was going to be forced to do so and he ultimately reluctantly did and still denied the geographical restriction request. He does not like to interview children in chambers. And reprimanded them for asking while at the same time condemning me for involving the children in the family law matter.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
the children before the court are only the eight-year-old and the 11-year-old. The 16-year-old boy wants to live with me absolutely having been alienated by the stepparent.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The 2011 decree and the 2013 modify decree, and the judges ruling in orders from 2016uphold the geographical restriction.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

So judge decides whether to interview or rule and you argue that the court really already awarded you the kids and they failed to return the one here in defiance of the court.Emphasize that they have defied the court and ignored the agreement to return.

Wife here might try to file where they went claiming jurisdiction is now elsewhere.Thats another possibility they might try here.You never know.Thanks again.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
In the 2016 ruling, it states that both parents have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the children, and that is consistent with a 2011 interview by a social worker.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
OK I'm not finished, it appears that you are.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

The best thing you have going for you is that you have obeyed the courts orders and they haven't and defied the court by not returning the child.The judge will hopefully remember that and rule in your favor.You were straight they have not been here.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

I would argue that they have not acted in the best interests of the child by not returning the child.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The issue is that I do not have $500 an hour to pay an attorney when there is no dispute. They tried to turn a request to lift the geographical restriction into a dispute by falsely alleging emotional abuse and neglect, when recording is proved otherwise, all that's left is the request to lift the geographical restriction with out the allegations of abuse and neglect.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I am staring 30 pages of discovery copied and paste it from the code, another $30,000 in legal fees etc. There is no dispute here.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
There's no accused of any kind even though over the course of five years they have falsely alleged all three types of abuse.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

So you appear pro se here and present yourself as the good guy and the other side as ignoring the order to return the child, and you keep returning to that point its the best one you have here.

You can answer your own discovery if you have too here.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
If they think that they can continue to have me spend money, and run me out of money to the point that I am unable to legally respond, they'll just keep filing suit's.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

You have to decide if you are committed here yourself to keep fighting this pro se if you have too.The lawyer here on the other side has the green light to keep the paper coming.Its a real strategy here on their part.I understand your frustration, you decide if you want to keep it up or settle somehow.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I read through all of the discovery, inspection, etc. and the only real answer to any of them is, this question is not relevant to the child not being returned to the court order geographical restriction, domicile restriction, and jurisdiction of the court.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

You need to answer their discovery.The test here in Texas is not that its relevant but whether it will lead to relevant information.Its broader than that, your objection will not fly.Don't shoot the messenger.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I guess more specifically, the questions asked in discovery or inspection will not lead to relevant information that can reasonably be expected to overturn the geographical restriction that applies to the daughter that has not returned to the state of Texas as set forth in the 2011 decree, the 2013 modified decree, and the current judges ruling and orders in 2016.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

You can object here and make them have judge rule with motion to compel.But overall fishing expeditions are allowed, pleas don't shoot the messenger.

Subchapter H.

DISCOVERY PROCEDURES.

§22.141--1

effective date 1

2/4/ 16

(P 45116)

§22.141. Forms and Scope of Discovery.

(a)

Scope.

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged or exempted under the Texas

Rules of Civil Evidence, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, or other law or rule, that is relevant to the

subject matter in the proceeding. Discoverable matters include the existence, description, nature,

custody, condition, location and contents of any documents, including papers, books, accounts,

drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, maps, email, audio or video recordings, and any other data

compilations from which information can be obtained and translated, if necessary, by the person from

whom information is sought, into reasonably usable form, and any other tangible things which constitute

or contain matters relevant to the subject matter in the action, and the identity and location of persons

having any knowledge of any discoverable matter. Discovery is not limited to tangible things, but may

extend to knowledge, mental impressions, and opinions of persons who will testify; explanations of

documents or tangible things, or information contained therein; and other relevant information within

the knowledge or control of the entity from whom discovery is sought. A person is not required to

produce a document or tangible thing unless it is within that person’s constructive or actual possession,

custody, or control. A person has possession, custody or control of a document or tangible thing as

long as the person has a superior right to compel the production from a third party and can obtain

possession of the document or tangible thing with reasonable effort.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The child simply does not meet meet any of the criteria to lift a geographical restriction. In other words, this child does not meet any of the criteria adjudicated by any lower level court, appellate court, or Supreme Court that have allowed the lifting of a geographical restriction.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

You would be more effective giving them some kind of short partial answer here if you can, it paints you as a good guy here, if the asnwers aren't good enough the judge will tell you.

I agree on the restriction issue this is separate from discovery, judge has already agreed with you here.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Does Texas law allow for a fishing expedition if the only thing left in this lawsuit is the request to lift the geographical restriction. The allegation of emotional abuse and neglect disappeared when opposing counsel was presented with a flash drive showing audio video surveillance of the "alleged abuse". If they want to depress it further to the judge, I guess it would be appropriate to let the judge watch The audio video surveillance proving their intent to defraud the court with faults allegations of abuse to lift the geographical restriction, when the motion to lift the geographical restriction could not stand on its own.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I just can't imagine a court allowing a fishing expedition without cause. No portion of the original suit remains other than the geographical restriction.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
They didn't claim that I was an unfit parent even at the hearing in January 2016. As a matter fact, the husband was asked to leave the room, and my ex said that contention came from both homes 50-50. When he testified, He said it was 100–0. When asked why his current wife said 50-50, he said, "she was wrong".I guess they're only representation to the court that I am not able to act in the best interest of the children was the false allegation of emotional abuse and neglect.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I guess the keywords in your quote above is that they are entitled to discovery regarding any matter "relevant to the subject matter in the preceding", and "relevant to the subject matter in the action". In this situation, what is the "subject matter"?
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Take away the emotional abuse and neglect allegations and the only subject matter, proceeding, or action that is left is a request to lift the geographical restriction to relocate the child.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

The discovery issue is different than what hearing is about.They can seek discovery here\, most of it would be sustained if you objected to everything.So you decide here if you want to fight to the death or answer it partly and see if that is good enough.The other issues like move away you seem to have good evidence and good argument.You just have to decide if you want to keep fighting pro se.You sound tired.I can understand that, here their entire strategy is to wear you down and honestly I think its working.But if you have the will to keep it up then do so.

Just understand that whining to the judge about the discovery will hurt you more than help you here, so pick your spots and the questions or requestsd you really feel are overbroad or too ridiculous.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
They don't even claim to be pursuing the emotional abuse or neglect
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Seems like that is a dead issue, you may wear them out their $500 an hour guys has to be burning money.He would want another $10k here to do the hearing.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

And remember if you send them discovery you can add $20 to their bill.Lawyers love it when you send them discovery.Copy theirs and change it up a bit.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

I meant $20k if you file some discovery here.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
No, my guy is $500 an hour because that's how much it costs to get someone to get back to daughters that were taken out of state by felony interference with child custody.
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Again you can go pro se here if the money runs out.If you have a lawyer ask for legal fees here if you prevail.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I am currently represented, both attorneys have filled discovery, both attorneys are burning money. If I go Pro se now and , answer discovery with brief, partial but sufficient answers, and stick to my guns that there is no "subject matter" left to this lawsuit, point out where their false allegations went, ask the judge to reaffirm the geographical restriction yet again, order the return of my daughter during summer break so she doesn't get caught in the school year again... how much would my chances of prevailing to decrease pro se as opposed to retaining my attorney for $500 an hour and another $30,000?
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
If I did go pro se, and for some on earthly reason the judge did not order the return of the daughter to the geographical restriction in the final decree of divorce, I supported in a modified decree of divorce in 2013 and his own ruling in 2016... could I appeal?
Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Your odds pro se go down about 25% so if it was 50-50% here its a lot less.They beat you to death on procedure and evidence rules rather than the facts.They can dance around you pro se here, thats for sure.

You always have right of appeal here.

Thanks again for the chance to help you.Thanks for rating 5 stars.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

If you can psoitive rate I really appreciate it.Good luck to you and have a great evening.

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Family Lawyer: RayAnswers, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

If you can positive rate I really appreciate it.Good luck to you and have a great evening

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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