In a perfect world, people would get married, have kids and stay together until they’ve got more great grandkids than they do teeth. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and divorce happens more frequently than we might like. Caught in the middle of many divorce cases in Texas are the children of the separating parties.
Whether the child is a teenager or a little baby a parent wants to spend as much time as possible with their child, especially after a divorce occurs. Often times though a parent’s decisions can have an impact on their ability to take advantage of the time that they normally would be afforded under the Texas Family Code. One such decision may be to become romantically involved with a sex offender.
The Texas divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC would like to share a story with you the reader. The story concerns a former client of ours who shared some pertinent information with her attorney when it was too late to do so.
A cautionary tale for those parents involved with a sex offender
A past client of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC was involved in a divorce with her husband. The couple had a four-year-old daughter together who was living primarily with our client. The divorce itself was not set to be overly contentious, time consuming or expensive.
The parties were young, had little property and did not own a home. What’s more, the father had a job where he was working out of the State for much of the year so it was a no-brainer to allow our client to have primary conservatorship of the child as well as superior rights to make educational, medical and mental health decisions for their daughter. It was with this understand that our office began representing this young lady.
As we progressed towards a temporary orders hearing in their case, our office did what we always do with clients: prepared. Our client and the attorney representing her had a meeting on the day prior to the hearing and went over questions, scenarios and anything else that was likely to be at issue during the hearing.
However, as with many temporary orders hearings, it was unlikely to even occur since the parties had spoken previously and seemed to be on the same page on just about every issue. Once their respective attorneys got involved a settlement was likely. We planned to show up to court, speak to the other side and then let the judge know a settlement had been reached and the hearing would not be necessary. Unfortunately, this was not how the situation played out.
An unpleasant courtroom experience
Just prior to going into the courtroom our client shared with her attorney that she had been dating a man for the past few weeks. I don’t advise clients to start dating until after their divorce is final, but those decisions are ultimately left to the client and not the attorney.
Besides, she wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last person going through a divorce to have already started dipping their big toe in the dating pool. This client, however, went on to say that the man she was dating was a registered sex offender and that her husband’s family knew of the man and his background. Immediately I realized that we were going to be in for a fight in this hearing.
Typically, the attorneys will speak prior to a temporary orders hearing and will see if there is any way to settle the case prior to going through with a hearing. Their big issue was (of course) that our client was dating a sex offender and was bringing the child around the man.
Had our client agreed to cut ties with the man and move forward from there we probably could have had ourselves an agreement. When this idea was presented to our client she was not willing to remove herself from the relationship. Despite her attorney’s best efforts, she was adamant that nobody could tell her how to behave and furthermore her boyfriend was completely reformed.
The hearing began with the attorney from our office presenting a normal case in chief by questioning our client about herself, her child and then the subject of the man she was dating came up.
As soon as this occurred the judge called both attorneys into his office and stated that a call to CPS may be appropriate at this stage given the information he had heard about the young girl being in the presence of a registered sex offender. The judge basically told both lawyers that the hearing could go on but that he had already made his mind up about which parent the child would ultimately be ending up with.
The hearing proceeded and ultimately the father awarded primary custody on a temporary basis. Since he would be out of state for much of the time prior to a trial his mother was allowed to have the child much of the time. Unfortunately, our client was given only supervised visitation with her daughter.
Lessons to be learned from another person’s mistake
If you find yourself in a similar situation and are romantically involved with a sex offender it is not enough to tell yourself that nobody can judge you and nobody can tell you who you can or cannot be in a relationship with. For most people that is a true statement.
However, if you are going through a divorce and are in a courtroom you are voluntarily making your life something that can and will be judged. The decisions you make affect your child no matter how removed you think the child is from the situation. When involved with a divorce every decision you make should be done with the understanding that your child could either suffer or benefit because of the actions that you take.
Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC with questions or concerns
For effective representation in family law cases, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our office represents people from all walks of life and across all parts of southeast Texas. No question is too small or too large to ask and consultations are free of charge.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Tomball, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.