It can be one of the most intimidating problems facing a parent after a child custody or divorce case- having your co-parent take your child during a time that should be yours. You went through the time, hassle, and expense of a family law case only to have your co-parent disregard the court orders that you worked so hard to achieve. In doing so, he or she has violated your trust and put your child in a difficult position. When you need to take steps to get your child back on the correct custody schedule it can feel overwhelming. However, there are steps that you can take to do just that. We will discuss these tips and information in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.
Before we begin, it is helpful to point out that some situations become dangerous or at the very least impractical for you to continue to try to act on your own. As a parent, I'm sure that you would go to the ends of the earth and put yourself in harm's way to prevent anything bad from happening to your child. However, there are times and circumstances when it becomes counterproductive to act on your own when it comes to having your child return home to you. All the thoughts or daydreams that you may have regarding swooping in and "saving" your child may be well-intentioned, but they may end up making a bad situation worse. How can you identify when you are in a situation like that? What can you do to get your child home without exacerbating an already bad situation?
Working with an experienced attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is a good place to start. We are going to do our best to share tips and information with you in today's blog post that can hopefully shed some light on a tricky subject. We know that a co-parent can disregard the law and instead take matters into their own hands by creating a parenting schedule that does not conform to your court orders. Once you get to that point you are facing down a co-parent who is willing to go to great lengths to get what he or she wants. It is not a wild fantasy to imagine a situation where he or she goes even further in preventing your access to your child. Identifying when you are in that situation and how to proceed is what attorneys like ours work for on behalf of parents just like you.
Our attorneys know how to solve bad situations involving children. Unfortunately, the reality of many situations involving children in family cases is that while parents may do their best during a case to achieve fair results in response to their circumstances in the family law case, once that case is over all bets are off when it comes to whether your co-parent is going to follow the rules that the two of you just spent a fair amount of time negotiating upon. Do not underestimate their ability to completely throw you a curveball from time to time. What you do at that moment is what will define the nature of your relationship with your children and with your co-parent.
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to serve our clients
At our office, we work to serve our clients. We do not go into the office, the courthouse, or the mediation room to do what we think is best for ourselves, our business, or the bottom line for ourselves from a financial position. Rather, we walk into these settings with one goal in mind: to serve our clients and their families. It is as simple as that. We work tirelessly to utilize the law to the advantage of our clients. In children's cases, the idea that we can use the same methods as we did in the last case for the last client is not applicable. Rather, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan understand that what worked last week may not work this week when it comes to problem-solving. We can use the experiences of past cases but ultimately, we need to work on the fly to create solutions-oriented environments for each client and their family.
What you are going through in having possession of your children denied of you is unique. You, your co-parent, your children, and your lives are unique to you all. The family down the street who is also having a problem with possession denial is not the same as your way. As a result, it would be foolish to assume that the same methods utilized for that person will work for you and your family. A family law attorney cannot roll out of bed and expect to be able to use the same techniques and arguments with your case as he was able to use for another client last week. Family law attorneys ought to be working constantly to improve their arguments, knowledge of the law, and knowledge of the individual family that he is serving. Otherwise, the attorney does nothing more than bill hours to their advantage.
When you are meeting with a potential attorney who may be able to represent you and your family in a situation involving children, that is something that you should do your best to look out for. Do you think that the attorney that you are talking with will go the extra mile for you and your family? How many children custody cases does he or she work on per month? What type of results has the attorney achieved for these families? Asking basic questions of the lawyer will allow you to learn a great deal about their mindset and approach to family law cases involving children. Your first instinct may be to spend all of a meeting with the attorney talking to him about your children and your circumstances. However, I think that this would be a missed opportunity to be sure.
Rather, you should take some time to listen to the attorney answer your questions about this sort of information. Their approach, work ethic, and time commitment to your case will give you the best window into their law practice possible in that setting. If you ask the right questions, you will be surprised at the answers (both good and bad) that attorneys may give you. In doing so, you can determine whether this is the right lawyer for you and how you should proceed when it comes to hiring counsel for the possession denial that is currently ongoing in your life.
You may even want to ask the attorney how he deals with hostile situations involving custody denial. Has he ever worked with a family in your shoes before? What did he do that was particularly effective at getting the child home? What would he have done differently knowing what he knows now? How can you help the effort to have your child returned home? Ask questions and then resist the temptation to jump in and add your two cents. The attorney is going to help you to decide on which lawyer to hire- whether he knows it or not.
If you read through the information contained in today's blog post and have questions about how to proceed and whether you need a lawyer to help you then please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family's circumstances can be positively impacted by hiring one of our diligent and resourceful child custody advocates.
Have your child returned to you by considering these options
When your child is with a co-parent and he or she will not return the child home to you at the correct time and on the correct day then this can feel like a helpless situation. Your child is your world. You would do anything for him. However, you can be made to feel like you are a character in a movie or television show when your child is kept from you by a person who is not obeying the law. Rather than sit at home and do nothing or do something that you may regret like using force to have your child returned home to you, there are immediate steps that you can take which will hopefully keep tempers from flaring and return your child home to you just the same. You should consider what circumstances you are in and then make decisions for yourself about what plan of action would seem to suit your needs the best.
It may sound silly, but have you tried to talk to your co-parent about the situation directly with him or her? I don’t mean that you should put yourself in harm’s way or do anything that may jeopardize your safety. However, many people currently do all of their communication via text message. I think this is a mistake. Ultimately, you can lose a great deal of time by sending messages and then waiting by the phone for him or her to respond. Rather than go in this direction you can be much more direct about the situation by reaching out directly to your co-parent to talk to him or her about the situation on the phone. Many times, simply hearing your voice will snap the person back to reality and allow your child to come home. People will do what you allow them to get away with. Some co-parents will go to great lengths to see how far they can push the boundaries set up by their ex-spouse and a judge. If this sounds familiar to you then understand that you can push back and do so with a great deal of resilience.
You can tell your co-parent what he or she is doing is not only breaking a promise to you but also being extremely harmful to your child. Many times, parents think only of themselves when withholding possession of a child. If you attempt to put the focus on your child that may also snap your co-parent out of whatever mindset allow them to take matters into their own hands and withhold possession to the extent that they have. Whatever method you choose to employ you absolutely should do something about the situation. Allowing it to go on for some time normalizes bad behavior. It also puts your child in a position where he or she does not know what to expect when it comes to visitation and possession circumstances. Your child should be on a schedule like you all had created in your court orders.
Children function better when they have consistency and stability in their lives. Your co-parent is taking advantage of the situation and in doing so is harming your child. Your child may be having a tough time adjusting to going back and forth between homes as it is. Now that their schedule is being thrown off it may set you all back months as far as getting your child into a rhythm of seeing you and your co-parent in each of your homes at specific times each month. Rather than let your hard work and diligence go to waste it is better to be able to have your child get back on that schedule as quickly as possible. Communicating directly to your co-parent that what he or she is doing is unacceptable and will not be tolerated is a good place to begin your attempts to have your child returned home to you.
Start to prepare for going to court
Unfortunately, if your co-parent will not respond favorably to your direct attempts that communications regarding the situation of withholding custody then you likely need to consider going back to court so that 8 judges can review the circumstances and decide about appropriate ways to address the situation. I understand that going back to family court it's probably the last thing that you wanted to do but, in a circumstance, where your child is not being returned home to you on time this is probably the only option that you have.
What you can do once you decide that the involvement of the family courts is necessary it's still collected documentation that can be used as evidence in your case. This process can begin with you issuing a formal demand that your child is returned home to you. This can be done in writing so that the attempt can be established for the record of your case. It is much more difficult to prove that you made an oral request for your child to be returned home to you. Rather, something in writing can be proved much easier than a request that is made over the phone or even face to face. If you were denied visitation or possession, you should do your best to document this denial, as well.
Hopefully, you have been keeping a journal of any incidents that have occurred over time during periods of possession with your co-parent. For example, if your children come home from the other parent’s home and tell you about issues then this should be something that you write down so that you can document it for the court if necessary. Collecting proof of these incidents or occurrences would also be helpful and can greatly strengthen your case in the future.
A writ of attachment and filing for habeas corpus is the most direct method that can be employed in this situation to have your child returned home to you. By filing a writ of habeas corpus and attachment you are requesting that a specific person be brought before a judge or into court so that a hearing can be held. In this situation, you are asking the court to bring you your children but also for your Co-parent to present themselves before the judge to explain why possession was wrongfully denied.
With so much going on in your situation it is understandable if your head feels like it is in a fog. Knowing that you need to act is one thing but knowing what to do and how to act is something completely different. This is where having the advice and perspective of an experienced family law attorney can be incredibly helpful. By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can better prepare yourself for what may end up being a difficult family law case.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family's circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.