Christina Jimenez and Josh Floyd from The Jimenez Law Firm answer your Family Law Questions every Friday at noon on Facebook Live! Join us weekly as they discuss Divorce, Grandparents rights and Child Support issues.
The Jimenez Law Firm, P.C., provides representation through legal advice and experienced courtroom litigation in a wide range of family law and criminal defense practice areas,
-Crimes against property
-Crimes against individuals
-Fraud including fraud against the government
The Jimenez Law Firm, P.C. specializes in Family Law and Criminal Defense. Our offices are located in Flower Mound, Lewisville, and Odessa, Texas and we provide representation to residents throughout North Texas and West Texas who are struggling through a wide range of legal dilemmas. Many legal situations can be resolved through negotiation and mediation. When this communication breaks down, however, it is important to have an attorney on your side who has courtroom experience. We are not only skilled negotiators but accomplished trial litigators. In fact, we prepare for every case as if it would be decided in court. Clients appreciate our attention to detail and our thorough preparation. We represent residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in communities such as Lewisville, Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Flower Mound, Westlake, Southlake, Frisco, Plano, Carrollton, Farmer’s Branch, Irving, Grapevine, Highland Village, Richardson and in residents of West Texas such as Odessa, Midland, Monahans, Andrews, Crane and Fort Stockton.
Christina: [00:00:05] So welcome to the consultation. My name is Christina Jimenez, I am an attorney here in Texas. I’ve been doing this for over a decade and we do this every Friday at noon to kind of break down different fact patterns that relate to family law. Give kind of our opinions on what we think judges may do and what potential clients should or should not do and how things are potentially going to play out. Floyd.
Josh: [00:00:32] And my name is Josh Floyd, I’m also attorney here in Texas. I’ve been licensed almost 10 years. And yeah, we’re going to talk.
Christina: [00:00:44] Yeah. That’s your intro?
Josh: [00:00:47] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Don’t need flags and banners?
Christina: [00:00:51] Okay, excellent. So you’ll hear me say this throughout our live stream, so we always tell everybody, don’t consider this to be legal advice, right? When we’re going through these fact patterns, you’re going to hear that the slightest little issue or piece of evidence or desire is going to change the entire outcome of the case. And so we tell people all the time, kind of take this with a grain of salt or as a grain of salt.
Josh: [00:01:25] Sure.
Christina: [00:01:28] Let’s go with as a grain of salt. Ok. Just, you know, take the information, then go and share it with your attorney of choice, kind of explain to them what you’ve heard, what you’ve learned and then your attorney will presumably tell you if it’s applicable or not. Because everything’s going to be different. So with that being said, Floyd, take it away.
Josh: [00:01:54] Ok, so you take it with a grain of salt.
Christina: [00:01:58] I don’t get it.
Josh: [00:02:00] I mean, I could go through it with you. There’s a whole thing on it if you google it.
Christina: [00:02:07] Yeah. What’s the purpose?
Josh: [00:02:09] Means accept it while maintaining a degree of skepticism about its truth. I’m not sure why. I mean, dates back to 77 A.D. There were two dried walnuts and two figs and twenty leaves of Roux. You pound them together and you add an additional grain of salt. And if you take the mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.
Christina: [00:02:43] So that was not helpful at all. But I actually think that I am dumber for having heard of that.
Josh: [00:02:51] Well, there are several words I don’t have to pronounce from back in 77 A.D. that probably would have added context.
Christina: [00:02:59] Ok, interesting. With a grain of salt. All right. Go, Floyd.
Josh: [00:03:03] All right. So will a judge in Collin County rule that my wife can’t leave the country with my child? So I’m wondering, can I file for an emergency hearing from a judge in Collin County to stop my wife from taking the child out of the country for Christmas? We have a temporary hearing set for January. 2022 to set visitation.
Christina: [00:03:32] So I’m supposed to answer this?
Josh: [00:03:34] Yeah, yeah, we do it the same way every week. Yeah.
Christina: [00:03:37] Well, we didn’t do it last week and so I’ve got to get my mojo back. So OK, maybe it depends, right? Like, where are they going? Who are they going with? Like, when are they going to come back? Why is he afraid that she’s going to not come back if she leaves the country? Has she made comments that she’s not going to return the child? Potentially, judges can do that. Its what we call a temporary restraining order with extraordinary relief where you basically in your petition for divorce, you would file an affidavit, you would attach that and you would go in and you would say, Hey, Judge, here’s my wife is trying to go to wherever and she’s told me in the past and she’s not going to bring my kid back if she goes, and I am definitely afraid that I’ll never see my child again if she goes. And then the court would review the affidavit. And if the court felt that it could potentially significantly impair the emotional or physical health of the child, the court would sign a temporary restraining order prohibiting that conduct.
[00:04:48] And so there’s all sorts of relief that you can request in a TRO extraordinary relief. Typically, the big ones are that the other parent can’t see the child or that the child needs to stay in your possession, or that the child needs to be returned to you. But you can actually request additional things in a TRO, and it would be up to the discretion of the court to see if they want to grant that or not. So I think this is just too much of a vague question for me to say yes or no. It’s just going to depend on your facts, but it is possible you should probably talk to your divorce lawyer and see if they think it’s a good idea.
Josh: [00:05:26] I concur, and it reminds me, you know, my first day of law school, my professor told me that almost every legal question can be answered with it depends. To do get the answers correctly we had to tell them what it depended on. Right? And so that’s what this is, right? I mean, it depends. Right? So I don’t know.
Christina: [00:05:48] I mean, but see, sometimes and these are the cases that drives me absolutely nuts like she may be, you know, going to hell, I don’t know. Like Canada, for their annual Christmas vacation, she has their flights booked and kids have done it every year since they were a year old. And now, because they’re getting a divorce, dad’s freaking out and he wants to go in and try to stop this tradition just to be maybe ugly or nasty. And it’s not a legitimate fear that’s not going to fly with the judge. That is probably not going to sign a TRO unless you can show a significant impairment. And so while I understand that especially during the holidays, going through a divorce is, I don’t know, more emotional, more difficult, probably. Don’t do things like this just to be nasty. If it’s not legitimately a danger to your child, then just let him go.
Josh: [00:06:45] I concur, and I will say that judges are less likely to sign TROs around this time of year because of things like that. You know, just people getting nasty, being hateful, trying to take away holiday possession and just being really underhanded, spiteful. And so right now it’s difficult to get TROs signed.
Christina: [00:07:10] Well, what about this idea that moms trying to take the kids out of the country during Christmas? That kind of sucks for dad not being able to see his kids on Christmas. Well, they’re going through a divorce.
Josh: [00:07:23] It sucks, yeah, there’s no question.
Christina: [00:07:26] That’s not a question, is it?
Josh: [00:07:28] That’s not no, that’s not grounds to get a TRO.
Christina: [00:07:33] Well, I’m just saying if I were wife’s attorney and she was just saying like, Hey, I want to take the kids because we need to get away. I would try to arrange if I were her lawyer and we were going through a custody dispute. I would encourage her to work with him to try to split up that Christmas holiday because that’s what the judge is like to see. Yeah.
Josh: [00:07:59] Yeah, absolutely, that would benefit her.
Christina: [00:08:03] Yes. Ok. Oh gosh, this is a long question, OK. How do I get X to abide by a divorce decree, specifically division of an I.R.A. and sell real estate? Oh, goodness! Married thirty eight years, IRA was entirely funded during the marriage. There’s also a lot which the judge provided a way to be sold via a trustee. If you refuse to sign a listing or sales agreement. X has drawn everything out with many extensions, requests for new trials, appeals and a filing with the  Texas Supreme Court. IRA custodian has said ex needs to sign the distribution form to roll my half over to me . They are in possession of a certified copy of the decree and the mandate from the Court of Appeals. Realtors in Bell County don’t respond when I explain the situation. After two and a half years divorce, I’m completely out of funds and deeply in the hole and dependent on a measly $600 Social Security income, which is not beginning to cover anything. The lawyer withdrew from the case because ex sued him, lost and appealed and still threatens him. Ex accuses the attorney of attempted murder by heart attack/ COVID and other bizarre things. Do I really have to pay another attorney to file a motion to enforce? What good will that do to me if he refuses to sign anything? His emotions, and then I involve myself I have him served, and he refuses to sign the citation what then?
Josh: [00:09:39] Holy cow.
Christina: [00:09:42] Yeah.
Josh: [00:09:44] So you’ll start backwards. Start back. He doesn’t have to sign a citation to be served, as long as the processor identifies him as the individual to be served, they can drop it at their feet, put it on their car or whatever, so he doesn’t have to sign the citation. Is this a motion that you can follow yourself? I’m going to go with No.
Christina: [00:10:14] I mean, technically, yes.
Josh: [00:10:18] Is it lawful for you to file a motion for enforcement? Yes. The likelihood of you getting it procedurally correct and being able to pursue it is pretty slim.
Christina: [00:10:30] Technically, yes. Should you know? Yes.
Josh: [00:10:37] I guess that’s the correct way to say it, yes. Yes, you need to get an attorney. What would have to happen is and I’m assuming that the appeal up to the Texas Supreme Court has been dealt with or that doesn’t put some type of stay on the proceedings, because that I’m not sure of, but filed a motion for enforcement. He doesn’t have to sign anything. Form the motion for enforcement, so you have him served with an order to appear. If he doesn’t show up, you have a warrant issue. And then when you go to court the judge will likely give him a date certain that he has to sign it by or you subpoenaed whoever it is that has the documents that need to be signed, have them come to court and judge ordered him to sign it right there in the courtroom. If he refuses to sign it. Judge puts him in jail until he complies. So that’s how that works. Sounds like a pretty crazy case. Attempted murder is a very serious allegation. So it sounds like you do need to get an attorney.
Christina: [00:12:00] This sucks.
Josh: [00:12:02] That does suck, it does suck. This is one of those running amount of money cases.
Christina: [00:12:07] Yes. And it sucks because she doesn’t have money, so I will say, so there’s legal aid and they have different offices throughout different counties, and so I would highly recommend. Because she says she gets 600 bucks a month on Social Security income. I would highly recommend that you reach out to them and see if this is something that they could potentially help you with. But yeah, I mean and I hate when people like him get away with things like this because basically it just kind of makes it seem like we don’t have like what we do is for nothing? Like what’s the point if they just get away with it? And so I would be interested to see what the decree looks like because if the correct language isn’t included, then you may not have an ability to enforce any of this stuff. So I mean, it looks like maybe the court had included some receivership language. So maybe that would be fine, but the IRA, those are always just typically not really. I mean, she could file a motion to compel a motion to enforce, and then he signs that it’s like a one page little document that he just has to sign. So that should be fairly easy. But the selling of property is a pain in the neck of receiver. Yeah. What else?
Josh: [00:13:55] I think that’s it.
Christina: [00:13:59] Come, go.
Josh: [00:14:02] All right. My ex-wife and her boyfriend have moved, and she will not give me her new address. Oh, I hate this too. I am so conservator of my daughters. Don’t hate it as much. My ex-wife is recently moved and refuses to provide her new address. The final decree states that either of us are required to provide that to the ex, the state court. If either of us fail to do so, we can be held in contempt of court, face jail time, pay fines. What should I do since she is basically in contempt of court orders now by refusing to provide the address?
Christina: [00:14:38] So why don’t you hate it as much?
Josh: [00:14:40] Well, so initially I thought she had taken off of the kids and wouldn’t tell him where the children were living, but now that he’s got the kids, I don’t hate it as much. It’s still not.
Christina: [00:14:51] Yeah. So in almost every single order that you’re going to see a SAS order, so as affect a parent child relationship, you are going to have this long 3 or 4 paragraphs towards the end of your order that talks about updating all of your information. And it’s your address, phone number or your driver’s license number, all sorts of stuff. And there’s three places that you have to send it. You have to send it to the opposing party, their last known address. You have to send it to the state case registry and you also have to send it to the court. And if you fail to send it pursuant to that order, it’s very clear that you can be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court mean $500 fine or six months in jail. So, yes, technically she is in violation of the order if she failed to update her address. You know, typically what I tell clients to do. So this is one of those cases, like if somebody came in and was visiting with me and said, hey, like this is what she’s doing and I want older content because I don’t know where my kids are going for the weekend. Assuming mom gets visitation on the weekend, I would probably say, listen, I understand that it’s concerning to you, but it’s going to cost you a lot to hold on contempt for this one issue. And if you’re going to do that, then let’s at least make sure that we have our ducks in a row. So I would tell him to take a picture of the order. Text it to her. Email it to her, Facebook or whatever, and say, here is this provision of the order. You have to update me with this information. And if you fail to do so, I’m going to hire a lawyer and I’m going to try to put you in jail pursuant to the order. And then after that, if she still won’t comply, then maybe he has to pay all this money to a lawyer to go in and pursue it. But typically, when a prospective client follows that advice, I don’t hear from them again. And so I presume that it kind of just resolves itself. And that’s really what you guys want because litigation is hard and expensive, and if you can avoid it, then avoid it. And the best way to avoid it is just by following the orders and doing what you’re supposed to do. So yes, you can file an enforcement for that, but do that other thing first and see what she reacts or how she reacts. At least that’s what I would tell a prospective client.
Josh: [00:17:28] Have you ever seen anyone held in contempt solely on that issue?
Christina: [00:17:32] Negative. So I actually tried a case like that. Goodness, it was probably 8 or 9 years ago where Dad had attempted, so I was representing dad and dad wanted to hold mom in contempt of court because she had relocated with the kids and he didn’t update or she didn’t update the address. And so basically, in that particular case, Judge did not hold mom in contempt of court because dad still had a way to get in contact with mom, but had it really attempted to pursue that? And so Judge was like, give him your address now, and that was kind of the extent of it, but didn’t hold her in contempt.
Josh: [00:18:24] Yeah, I think that’s one of those issues that Judge may view as petty. And you end up looking worse than you did. Had you not brought anything. Particularly if you haven’t done like you said, right attempted on several occasions to try to get the address. And I mean, I had a hearing actually yesterday, and Judge was very angry about mom refusing to give dad the address. But I think if you have an attempted, just to try to find some loophole to hang on, I think the judge is going to not be pleased.
Christina: [00:19:00] Well, and that’s what I’m saying, like, I think sending numerous requests and documenting it, that’s when these judges are kind of like, well why not? Why wouldn’t you tell the other side? What are you hiding? And then you start getting into this dynamic of why are you not co-parenting? Like, wouldn’t you want your kid to know where they are, when they’re with the other parent. And that’s what I tell all of our clients, the litmus test is do everything that you would want them to do for you. And if you follow that, you’re typically going to be OK. I’d be pissed if my baby daddy was taking the kiddos off for a week and I had no idea where they were. And that’s dumb. Don’t do that.
Josh: [00:19:51] Agreed.
Christina: [00:19:52] So my turn? Ok. So can my boyfriend of almost 14 years adopt my son, who is 16 years old? I have been with my current boyfriend for going on 14 years, I have three children ranging from 20, 18 and 16. My youngest never really had a bond or relationship with his biological father. Due to his father always being in and out of jail and prison, even when he would make an appearance once or twice a year or never, he never really considered him a father figure or a positive role model. He wants my boyfriend to adopt him. I have a court order for support and supervised visits with the biological father. He never paid one cent for any of his children, and I never proceeded with filing any paperwork due to him never having a job nor being a positive role model. What can I do to get this done or to start the process so my son can get what he wants?
Josh: [00:20:52] Ok, so first thing before you could do the adoption is you have to get a termination, so you’ve got to terminate biological fathers rights before we can get the adoption. May have grounds, terminations are difficult, which I think we’ve discussed, so it’s fair to pay support for a period of 12 months is aground. But if he’s been in jail or prison it’s going to be difficult to prove that he had the ability to pay, so you have to prove not only do not make the payments, but you also have to establish that he had the ability to make those payments in order for it to be a ground for termination. And you’d have to do that for 12 consecutive months. So that’s one ground that you can terminate on. I don’t really see another ground that would be applicable, but terminations are difficult. I think if this person came in to hire me, I would say, let’s file on enforcement. Let’s put some leverage on them. Let’s get him to voluntarily relinquish his frontal right, so I don’t have to do any involuntary termination. And then once we get that done then, yeah, we can move forward with the adoption. I don’t like the fact that you’re not married. You’ve been together 14 years. Judges like you’re married. I don’t know that I’ve ever done adoption, if they weren’t married. The clients that I’ve had that weren’t married, I told them to get married before you did the adoption.
Christina: [00:22:26] Didn’t we try one time and the parties were not married and the judge is like, I’m not doing it unless they’re married. I’m fairly certain we have.
Josh: [00:22:35] Yeah, right? It’s just it shows stability. And if this guy is going to be the father of your child, he’s going to make that commitment to your child, he should make that commitment to you. And I think that’s the judge’s perspective. So you need to get married, but that’s easily solved. I think that’s what you do.
Christina: [00:22:59] The one thing I always tell people when they have these ideas about letting their boyfriends or their new spouse, whatever adopt the kiddos is, it’s so important that you remember that once that adoption goes through, that person is now the legal parent of this child. And so if you and your new husband ever get divorced, he then has the ability to fight you for custody and maybe take your kid away and make you pay child support. And so people don’t really, I guess, plan for divorce and custody disputes, which is probably good, but you kind of have to keep that in the back of your head because you could end up losing your son to this person. Wives just all around Seki, sometimes. You try to do something good and then something bad happens. That’s right. Ok, so your turn.
Josh: [00:24:08] Ok. Forgery during divorce. Remember that case you had when someone forged a judge’s signature on an order for attorney’s fees. You remember that?
Christina: [00:24:21] That was crazy. Absolutely crazy. Yes, I do remember that.
Josh: [00:24:28] So forgery during divorce soon. To be ex-wife forged my signature and submitted divorce documents to the court. Found out this morning. I never refused to sign as I’ve signed others already. I was at work and told her we should get this one done at night. Woke up this morning to find she submitted the document and kept silent, called to ask her about it. She feigned ignorance. Looking for a lawyer who can help and get her to also save my lawyer’s fees, as she’s the one who led us here. We were amicable up until the forgery. Do I have a case?
Christina: [00:25:11] Yes. I mean, file a motion for new trial. Ok, so when an order is signed by a judge, you have a time frame depending on what it is that you’re asking for and depending on what type of court actually signed the order. It’s a little bit different. But in this particular case of 30 days, you have to file a motion for new trial and most importantly, because everybody always messes this up. You have to have a hearing within 75 days of the judge signing that order. If you don’t the court doesn’t have what we call plenary power to render a judgment or to overrule that preceding order and then your toast. So you’ve got to file a motion for new trial within 30 days, set a hearing within 75 days of the judge signing the order and basically tell the judge, this is what she did. Now I am assuming that you have a problem with what was in the order. If it’s because you have a problem, then absolutely do what I just said. But if it’s just because you’re pissed off that she signed your name, but you don’t really care what’s in the order. Don’t waste your money. I mean, it’s kind of crappy. It’s bad that she did that but why waste your money? If the order is there and that’s what you want, sometimes these orders are entered without signatures at all. Because there’s default judgments or there’s what we call a 10 day letter where we just send it in to the judge and the other side doesn’t object. Your signature being on it isn’t really that big of an issue. What’s really the issue is the substance of the order and if you like it or don’t. So yeah, and if in fact she signed it, there’s stuff in there that you don’t like, and the court grants the motion for new trial. Well, so that’s actually interesting. So when you file a motion for new trial, technically you have to compensate the other side for having brought the new trial, so you actually may have to pay her a little bit. But I think in the grand scheme of things, because what happens is, and I’m rambling, aren’t I? So when the court sets aside the motion for new trial, then it’s like that divorce never happened and you proceed to a final trial. And when you go to your final trial at that point, the court will probably award you attorney’s fees.
Josh: [00:27:51] So I think what you meant is when the court grants the motion for new trial and sets aside the prior order.
Christina: [00:27:57] That’s what I said.
Josh: [00:27:58] Yeah, that said sets aside the new trial.
Christina: [00:28:02] Yes, what I meant.
Josh: [00:28:03] This is recorded. We can go back.
Christina: [00:28:06] You know what I meant, Floyd. Yes, that’s what he said. That’s what I meant. But yeah, then you could probably get attorney’s fees that your final divorce decree. Ok. My turn to read? Yes. Who is responsible to pay for a child’s braces after divorce? My wife’s ex-husband is refusing to pay a portion of their braces. He states he pays child support 600$ a month for three kids and should not have to pay for any part the braces.
Josh: [00:28:35] So what the order says, most of the time, the orders will say that unreimbursed medical expenses or expenses not covered by insurance are to be split 50 50 between the parties. This would qualify as an unreimbursed medical expense. So assuming that your order says that, you’re each 50 percent responsible. And so the way that that works is whoever incurs the expense. So if you’re the one that incurs the expense, you send the other party proof of that expense and the invoice and all that within 30 days, and then they have 30 days to reimburse you. If he does not do so, he is subject to contempt. However, if the order says that you are 100 percent responsible for the medical expenses, then you’re responsible. The fact that he pays child support, has nothing to do with whether he is responsible for unreimbursed medical expenses. Child support and the health insurance sections are two completely different sections. So even though he pays child support, he could pay max child support and still be responsible for unreimbursed medical expenses. So I would say you need to look at what the order says. There’s very detailed language in the medical insurance section that tells you how to recover these unreimbursed medical expenses. It gives you definitions of what unreimbursed medical expenses are and so it’s all set out there, and if he doesn’t pay, he suffers the consequences, which consequences are also set out in detail in that order.
Christina: [00:30:07] So, on something like this. I don’t know, I would probably say that you should maybe try to talk to the other parent before you do it. Like, hey, went to the doctor, tried to, they did an evaluation, they said he’s going to need braces and this is the time frame. This is a potential expense. I really think that this is something to do for her orthodontist. You don’t have to do it but I think that if you get to that point, if you have to file an enforcement having had that conversation or send that text message, it’s kind of like you were trying to work with the other parent. And there should be like an overarching theme of just don’t be an asshole and then you’ll be fine. So you’re trying to work with the other parent, you’re trying to communicate, you’re asking if they’d be willing to help out. And then if they don’t, then we send a picture of the order saying, hey, the order does say this, and I really don’t want to hire a lawyer. But if I have to, then I will, because this is what’s best for our kiddos. So please just comply. And then if they don’t, well, all of that stuff, you get to present it to the judge and the judge is not going to be happy with them, and it increases the likelihood that they’re held in contempt. It increases the likelihood that you get your attorney’s fees back. So and you get your money for the braces, too.
Josh: [00:31:40] Yeah, you should always err on the side of over co-parenting rather than under co-parenting. I think the overarching theme of don’t be an asshole is codified as best interest, right? Because I mean, even though something that’s not directly happening to the child but your ability to co-parent with the other parent does affect the child, if do you see it or not? And so if you’re always thinking, how is this going to affect my child, blah blah blah and thinking of their best interest, you will satisfy, we will submit as the new code of overarching theme don’t be an asshole.
Christina: [00:32:22] Yeah, yeah. Because it matters. Like, that’s the thing. Like these judges, simple things like not allowing the other parent to take clothes for the weekend, like not allowing the other parent to talk to the child when you have them for 30 days, like all of this stuff, it’s just like, why? And then you get to come in, you get to spend thousands of dollars going and hiring all these lawyers and then fighting. And then your kids know that there’s something wrong because mom and dad are always pissed off at one another and then you’re miserable and they’re miserable. And then the lawyers get to make a lot of money and why?
Josh: [00:33:05] And your kids go to counseling.
Christina: [00:33:06] And your kids get to go to counseling. Counselors, make lots of money and then you too are just pissed at the whole system because you just didn’t want to be kind to the other parent. So, yeah, I don’t understand it. My turn to read.
Josh: [00:33:24] Negative, yes, maybe, possibly. No, wait. Yes, no. My turn to read, your turn to answer.
Christina: [00:33:32] Okay go.
Josh: [00:33:33] Custody relocation case. I currently have a standard possession and access agreement subject to geographic restriction of tarrant or contiguous counties. I’m currently seeking to relocate 800 miles away to live with my new husband, who operates his family farm, a job he cannot do from Texas for obvious reasons because he’s a farmer and you can’t relocate the farm. My ex-husband has already moved outside the geographic restriction and is fighting to stop the kids from moving, and he wants primary conservatorship. The orders do not make a provision, so this will be a relocation case no matter what.
Christina: [00:34:17] Ok. Hold on, I’m lost. Ok. Seeking to relocate 800 miles. Got it, got it, I’m good.
Josh: [00:34:27] You understand what the last sentence means? Because I don’t.
Christina: [00:34:32] The orders do not make a provision for this, so this will be a relocation case no matter what? I am.
Josh: [00:34:42] That’s no. So I’m wanting to know if relocating will be an option, given the following. My ex-husband worked in the oil fields for 2019 and 2020. Only saw those kids three to five times a year. By his own admission, he left this job in February 2021 to seen the kids, but missed his Thanksgiving this year and another weekend because of traffic. I in quotes, which leads me to believe she doesn’t believe that there was traffic,
“is currently not paying his child support obligation has never been current on his payments”. Number three, the new area I want to move to has better schools. A home we will live in has no monthly bills, so better financial security and more opportunities for the kids. And no four my ex refuses not being an asshole, co-parent effectively.
Christina: [00:35:37] Right. So I think that sentence, the orders do not make a provision, so this will be a relocation case no matter what. I know she does say that there’s a geographic restriction of Tarrant County. I missed that part. That sucks. So, we practice in Tarrant County and one of the things that everybody has to remember and this is why I tell everyone, because sometimes we’ll have people that want to come in and hire us from like different counties and different cities and so on and so forth. I’ll tell them one of two things, I’ll say if you hire me, I need local counsel because I need somebody who knows what the judge, what his rulings are. Every judge most of the time has a position on an issue. And so if there’s mental health concerns, that thing that just kind of turns that particular judge off. If there’s drug issues, it turns that judge off. If there’s affairs that occurred, then that could be, what the court considers in determining what’s going to happen. So either we hire local counsel to co-counsel with us or I just tell them, go and just hire somebody else in that area because I’m sure you can find somebody that is just as qualified, if not more so. And so I will say that at least in my experience in Tarrant County, those judges are really big on geographic restrictions if both parents are active. And I’ll say in most counties, I don’t know that there’s ever really that I’ve ever practiced in front of a judge. And I guess the hope there’s actually like the statute that says that there should be close and continuous contact between the parents and therefore geographic restrictions are typically imposed.
Josh: [00:37:40] So are you saying, like in all courts to follow the law, there’s a policy?
Christina: [00:37:45] Yes, that’s correct. Yes, thank you. But in this particular case, that hasn’t really been active. 2019 to 2020 saw the kids only three to five times, February 2021, he missed his Thanksgiving. So he left this job in February of 2021, and he’s been seeing the kids, but he missed his Thanksgiving. So I don’t think that would happen in 19 and 20 is really going to matter. I think the fact that he’s exercising now, if he missed thanksgiving, that kind of sucks. But I don’t think Judge is going to, hold that against him. He’s going to let, you move 800 miles away, because of that, it’s just not going to happen. And it sucks. It really does suck. Because it seems like it’s a good opportunity for your children but judges are typically going to err on the side of, they got to stay within a confined geographic area. If you have an active parent. Refusing to co-parent effectively, I’d want to know a little bit more of the that. I want to know a little bit more about that. What is he doing? What is he saying?
[00:39:06] We had a case several years back where client comes in is just like, he’s just a jerk. Every time I see him, it’s just an ass, like he just does all this stuff. And finally, I told her, let me listen to some of your recordings, let me see some of your text messages. Let me see some of these OFW messages that you guys sent back and forth. And during one of the exchanges, it was a little girl. She was like 2, her shoe, fell off and dad picked it up and threw it at mom’s head. And then during another exchange, the little girl, they had just bought her a puppy and dad was wearing a stiletto boot and puppy runs up to dad and he kicks the puppy and knocks the little puppy’s tooth out. And of course, he yelps and baby girl starts crying, and we have this all on video. And he had never really done anything, I guess, directly to the child. He never harmed the child. But it was just this constant, just being an ass and just making life difficult for no reason at all. And in that particular case, the judge was like, I’m going to take some of your visitation away. And when that wasn’t enough, he took more visitation. He took more visitation until this guy was only seen as kids at a facility for two hours every other week. So if it’s stuff like that, maybe you have a chance, but it doesn’t sound like it’s that bad. So I think you’re stuck, and I think that your new husband is going to have to move back if you guys want to live with one another.
Josh: [00:40:46] And try to relocate the farm,
Christina: [00:40:49] Relocate the farm.
Josh: [00:40:51] So I think there’s a couple of things. So one is if your order has a provision that says if he moves outside the G.O., then you can move, then you don’t need to go to court. You can already move since he’s not living within a geographical restriction. Your attention to detail is great, Christina.
Christina: [00:41:11] It doesn’t say,
Josh: [00:41:12] I’ll let you. This is yours. Go ahead.
Christina: [00:41:18] Then why didn’t you stop me and say, hold on he already move? Go ahead Floyd. You just like to see.
Josh: [00:41:26] This is your question. Go ahead.
Christina: [00:41:28] Go ahead.
Josh: [00:41:30] Let me give you all the answers to the questions. I’ll be glad to do so. Anyway there may be a provision in there that says that if he doesn’t reside within the geographical restriction, then so long as you move while he is not living within the geographic restriction, you can move anywhere you want. So if that provision is in there, you don’t have to go to court, just move before he moves back in. But if that’s not in there, I think that’s something the court will consider depending on how far outside the geographic restriction he lives. So that’s something that the court will take into account. It’s Tarrant County case, he’s working oil field, I’m guessing West Texas. So, he’s probably since most of the time since this order has been entered has resided quite a ways away. So the court may take that into consideration.
[00:42:29] Another thing is how much is his visitation going to be impacted, and that depends on what his schedule is and all of that, because that’s going to be I think the court’s view on it, as can you move without it affecting the relationship between the dad and the children? And if the answer to that question is yes. Then your odds are better. So, like, if he’s exercising one week in a month. And you move 800 miles away, you make sure that children get back to Tarrant County, that one weekend a month and nothing’s going to be different for them. Then I don’t see any reason why the judge wouldn’t go along with it. Finally, you have a pretty good argument on financial stability since he hasn’t paid any support. And you could file an enforcement, use that as leverage to get him to agreed to no GO. But that’s my thoughts.
Christina: [00:43:30] Yeah. I mean, so when we have parents that are like coaching Little League, going to the schools and having lunch and go into the parent teacher conferences and they’re doing all their weekend visitation and all that jazz, you’re toast. But like Floyd says, if it’s limited, then you have a fighting chance. One of the big things that you mentioned that a lot of people sometimes get frustrated about, is the fact that you’ve got to get them back to Tarrant county or to whatever trying to see that. But that’s kind of this, I guess the price you pay for being able to move to the family farm, is you’re going to make sure that you pay to get those kiddos back. A lot of times we include airline provisions in the order, depending on the age of the kids, so that you can fly them to and from. It’s very specific language, so we make sure we get kiddos on the correct flights and all that good stuff. And that may be something that you have to do in this particular case, but don’t expect that the judge is going to let you move 800 miles away and then dad’s going to pick them up or that he’s going to meet you halfway. Because typically judges won’t do that.
Josh: [00:44:48] In my opinion, the fact that you have a husband that lives out there is going to have very little impact. The court’s not going to care. I’ve actually had a judge tell a client before that you need to worry about your primary family before you worry about your next family. And so you should have been thinking about that. So I don’t think that’s going to play really a role in it. And like, say, like Stevens saying, as long as you can do it without it costing him anything. You know, then you know, we’ll see what happens. You should be fine.
Christina: [00:45:25] Well, yeah, that’s a good one. What about the fact that they have better schools, no monthly bills and more opportunities?
Josh: [00:45:36] So the better schools, I don’t think they really care about unless children are doing terrible and are going to crappy schools and they’re not getting an education, but the fact that they can always go to a better school, they can always be put in private school. I don’t think they really care about that. No monthly bills maybe, that’s not paying support, you have the financial stability argument the court could say I’m not going to make her stay here and suffer and not have the support of her husband when you’re not helping support the kids, out here the children will be supported and have more financial stability because you chose not to follow the order. I could see that happening. Opportunities for the kids, no.
Christina: [00:46:24] Yeah, we had a case several years ago and I felt really, really bad for our client because it was over in Denton and the court that we are in front of, is just that’s his thing. All GO’s all the time. And this dad had been active. I was representing mom and mom’s new husband had got some big job and he was going to be making like $300,000-$400,000. And so they were literally like, we’re going to fly the kids home every single weekend. Dad won’t have to pay for anything, and we have this big, beautiful home that we’ve purchased and private schools, equestrian camps and all this like a crazy lifestyle that these people would have had. And Judge wasn’t having it, Judge says, you cannot go. You can leave the kids here and you can visit them, but they will not be moving. And so they didn’t.
Josh: [00:47:29] And that’s as it should be if you’ve got an active father.
Christina: [00:47:35] Yeah, but still kind of except for her. No, no. That’s OK.
Josh: [00:47:42] The courts don’t care about her.
Christina: [00:47:44] I understand that. I’m just saying for her not as a court, but for her.
Josh: [00:47:50] To put herself in that position.
Christina: [00:47:54] Yeah. But what if she and her new husband get a divorce and then the kids end up on the streets.
Josh: [00:48:08] She put herself in that position.
Christina: [00:48:11] I guess it still sucks, though. It sucks, but you’re right, if you have a good dad and the dads being active and doing all the right things, which in that case he was, it was just not just no, but hell no. And sometimes and I don’t think that it happened in that case, but I have seen it where judges get offended just by the mere prospect that you’re asking for it and actually thinking about it, I did have a case where I was representing dad and mom had primary custody of the kiddos, and she wanted to move to New York to move in with her boyfriend’s mother, who was dying of cancer. And so she wanted to go in and take care of her boyfriend’s mother. And in that particular case, the judge was, and it was just a final hearing in its best interest. In that particular case, the judge was so offended that the mother would think about doing that to those children and to this really good dad that the final, she ended up flipping custody. And dad got custody. And there were other things that went on in that particular case, but that was, I think, a big thing.
Josh: [00:49:30] There’s no way to argue that taking children away from an active father is in the best interest of the children.
Christina: [00:49:37] Or and active mother.
Josh: [00:49:39] Yeah. Well, the mother. Yeah, but this case, you’re talking about this father, right? So, yeah, taking children away from an active parent is in the best interest. And if you’re willing to do that, you don’t need primary.
Christina: [00:49:51] Yeah. And that is what we preach all the time to all of our clients is, the courts see having this role of being the primary conservator is having just a ton of responsibility. And ton of accountability to do the right thing. And so if you are not taking care of that right and managing it appropriately, then typically the court will say that’s not in the best interest of your children, and I’m going to give that right to the other parent and maybe they will treat you with more kindness. Don’t be an asshole. So we’re going with here. In Texas, what happens to debt in divorce? So we calculate marital assets and subtract debt to obtain community property, to split what happens to the debt. Is it all paid before splitting the net, i.e. assets are $900,000? I presume that’s $900,000. Debt is $100,000. Each gets $400,000, is the $100,000 paid.
Josh: [00:50:59] It depends on what agreement you work out and what the court orders. I’ve seen it done both ways. Sometimes there’s a big asset like a house that’s being sold. I’ve seen courts order the house to be sold, all debts to be paid, the remainder to be divided.
Christina: [00:51:23] Don’t you think that’s the best way to do it? The cleaner way, if it’s possible?
Josh: [00:51:28] Absolutely. Yeah, that’s for sure. The best way to do it. But it doesn’t happen a lot. Most time is just the assets are divided and each keep their own debt. And so I guess we’ll talk about debts. So if a husband has a debt in his name and when we do dividing property and stuff like that, if we represent a husband in this case, we would not award that debt to wife. Because it’s in his name and he’s eventually going to be responsible for it. Whether we award it to wife or not, and there’s all these issues of can we hold her in contempt because it’s debtors jail and all that stuff. So you really don’t have any teeth if she doesn’t pay it? And so if you’re going to be held responsible ultimately, then you need to take on that debt and then get the assets down to offset the amount of debt that you’re taking. So I guess, yes. In a very simplistic version, what he did is correct. But it’s just more complicated than that based on how the debt and assets are divided up. But like you, I agree it’s best to sell, pay debts and then divide.
Christina: [00:52:47] So one of the things that people always get super frustrated about when we’re, so when you get a divorce, your attorney should do what we call an inventory and appraise with supporting documents. So an inventory and appraisement is basically a list of all of your assets and all of your liabilities. I like to look at them as buckets. So we have husbands bucket, we have wives bucket and if husbands taking $100,000 assets and wives taking $100,000 of assets. But husbands taking $40,000 in debt. We’re going to have to bump some of wife’s assets over to her husband to make him whole. And so Floyd has created this beautiful spreadsheet that we just plug stuff in, and it does all the math for us, and it gets very complicated, very quickly because we have lots of different credit card debts. Typically, we have lots of different vehicles, IRAs, bank accounts, there’s all sorts of stuff that we have to make sure we put in here so that we’re accounting for the entire estate. And sometimes, even though you may have $900,000 in assets, they’re not liquid and maybe it’s not in the party’s best interest to sell those assets. The thing that people always get frustrated with is this idea of the credit cards in my name and it’s $30,000 and me and my wife racked that up, but the credit cards only in the husband’s name. And so when I have to tell, that has been like, you have to take that debt it never goes over well. But the trick is it depends on who is liable to that creditor. And so who signed the contract and who is the creditor going to come after? Because even if it’s in the divorce decree that she has to pay half of it, the creditor is not going to look to her. The creditor is going to look to you and it’s going to impact your credit. And so safe bet is just take the damn thing, take more of the assets, lump them over to your column and be done with it. And if you can sell it and pay all that stuff off.
Josh: [00:54:52] I concur, but I do want to point out that I realize now why you use buckets. Because if the assets not liquid, you can’t pour it from one bucket to another. Come on, that’s good. No.
Christina: [00:55:14] That was such a bad joke. Ok, so I’m going to put up a little disclaimer like we do every single week. So like I said at the beginning, whatever you guys are listening to the stuff, don’t take it as legal advice. It is so, so so very important that you go and you share your story with private attorney. Find somebody good that knows what they’re talking about and give them your story. Follow their advice. And hopefully, this information just kind of gives you a little bit of guidance on how some of this stuff will sometimes play out, hopefully. And that’s really kind of our goal with this thing is to help you guys just kind of get through this process with a little bit of peace and be better parents while you’re going through it, because this is hard, hard stuff, not fun stuff. So, all right, Floyd, I’ll see you later.
Josh: [00:56:14] All right.