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I moved from CA to Texas 7 months ago with approval from the…

I moved from CA to...
I moved from CA to Texas 7 months ago with approval from the court to move. My children are 11 and 14. My previous attorney refused to depose my ex or bring up his narcissistic actions including, my ex’s non-compliance to the custody orders, failure to pay correct support and his failure of attending family therapy with our kids except asking if he drank nothing was brought to the judge, even though I have massive documentation of each event.
My ex’s attorney is a master at twisting everything to make my ex look like a helpless victim and make me look like the worst mother possible.
My attorney never allowed me the opportunity to clear my name or to call my ex out on his abundance of lies in his declaration or in open court.
Due to this situation, every moment our children are not in school they must go to LA and I must pay ½ of the travel. He waits until the last minute to get the tickets, so they are expensive and then takes what I owe from child support. He also is allowed to come to Texas any 3-day weekend with only having to give me 7 days’ notice and he makes me pay for ½ of his travel, hotel and car rental when he does visit Texas
I am only allowed 2 weeks at the start of summer and 2 weeks at the end of summer and no holidays. He never wanted “his time” when we lived 2 miles away but now he demands it.
How/Can I transfer my custody here to Texas? If so how do I start that process.
Are our children allowed to speak to the judge in TX? They are both highly intelligent and mature beyond their years.
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Answered in 13 hours by:
3/25/2018
Sean K
Sean K, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 963
Experience: Family Law Attorney in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources. Please note that the system, independent from me, may offer a phone call. You are not obligated to engage in a phone call, but I am happy to speak if you desire. This is completely up to you.

So there is a process for accomplishing what you want to do.

I'll start with the basic considerations first. It is first possible for you to simply file your Louisiana order in Texas for purposes of enforcement. There is an overview of the process here. This will allow a Texas court to enforce the Louisiana order but not change it. This is generally a good first step because it puts the case before Texas. This will become important when you undertake the second step and that is to have a Texas court modify the case. It is a general belief that while having an order registered in another state is alone not enough to have that state take jurisdiction to modify it, it removes the argument that is made sometimes that without registration a Texas Court cannot modify.

Now, there is a uniform law called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This is an act that all of the states in the US have addressed in similar fashion and it dictates which state can make the custodial decisions for a child. Under the UCCJEA as it is known, you have to determine a child's home state. In your case it is currently Louisiana. You want it to be Texas. When your case started, under the UCCJEA, there was no choice for home state except for Louisiana, but now Texas could be considered the home state. The UCCJEA requires a period of 6 months uninterrupted residence before jurisdiction vests. As it has been 7 months, you have that established.

The next step under that would be for an action to be filed in Texas when you want to or seek to modify the custodial terms. The process would be to file and allege that because of the time passage Texas is now the home state and as a result, a modification is warranted. Under this scenario, Texas law would apply and you could avail yourself of relief that may not be available in Louisiana.

Do be aware that your ex could fight it, but under the UCCJEA, judges are even allowed to speak to determine where it is best suited for the case to be.

Now, could you children speak to a judge? Likely not. There is not law in Texas that says at a particular age children get to decide and Texas law favors keeping the child away from the judge. Now, that having been said, Texas does allow for an advocate to be appointed for your children who would address this issue with them and report to the Court. Do keep in mind that in Texas children's preferences can be considered, but they do not automatically decide the case.

So the bot***** *****ne is that there is a process, but it is rather specific and legally technical. Many attorneys don't fully understand the UCCJEA and if mistakes are made in the UCCJEA process, the entire case can quickly end. I always encourage people to go see an experienced UCCJEA attorney in the area where they live and have them handle the case. It will of course require legal fees, but when it comes to having a case moved to your home state, it is money well spent.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

Sean K
Sean K, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 963
Experience: Family Law Attorney in Private Law Firm
Verified
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