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Practical tips about co-parenting, drug and alcohol abuse and admissibility of evidence that may be helpful in your divorce or child custody dispute.
The Jimenez Law Firm, P.C., provides representation through legal advice and experienced courtroom litigation in a wide range of criminal defense practice areas, including:
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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.
At 0:03 – I am Christina Jimenez and this is Joshua Floyd from the Jimenez Law Firm. We are here to talk to you about what you should not do in a child custody case because you might upset the judge.
At 0:21 – So the first thing we want to talk about is co-parenting. This means you must work with the other parent to raise the child.
At 0:36 – In a couple of our cases, we’ve had one parent hide the child from the other. Josh, what do you think about that?
At 0:49 – Generally, that parent will lose custody. The courts don’t like it, and it is not good co-parenting.
At 1:07 – We need to remember that if we are in a situation where you and the child might be in danger, and you need to hide the child, you must do so in a proper manner. This includes hiring a lawyer and filing the proper documents in court. If you do this, the court has remedies to help you. It’s when you take things into your own hands that the court gets frustrated because there’s no remedy for the other parent.
At 1:58 – Another thing we see is disparaging remarks. What do you think about that?
At 2:06 – Before we go onto disparaging remarks, I’d like to say that it’s one thing to hide with a child when you are in fear of your life or the child’s life. However, it’s always best to try to get a legal remedy. One thing that courts do not like is using the child as a pawn. The judge will get angry if you’re using the child for a strategic move or to hurt the other parent.
At 2:45 – And another thing, if you think you have justification to hide the child and want to take off with the child because you’re afraid for you and the child, you better have some evidence to back that up. The courts do not take it lightly. So, the best advice is to not do it. Call the police or call an attorney. Now, disparaging remarks.
At 3:39 – Disparaging remarks are talking badly about the other parent to the child. This is terrible co-parenting. You do not want to hurt the child. When you talk badly about the other parent, it hurts the child.
At 4:07 – One thing I have heard the judges say is that the child is 50% of you and 50% of the other parent. And so, when you are talking poorly about the parent, you are also talking poorly about the child.
At 4:40 – About co-parenting, the next topic is litigation. In family law disputes, there may be an injunction. The injunction may say do not disparage the parent and do not discuss legal issues with the child. We may advise the parent on how to answer questions. Teens and pre-teens have an idea of what’s going on and so tell me what you advise clients to do.
At 5:21 – I tell them to let kids be kids. Let the adults do the adult stuff, and kids do the kids stuff. When the teens ask questions, I would just tell them that mommy loves you and all will be okay.
At 05:46 – We are dealing with some issues that can negatively impact a child custody case. If you’re arrested for family violence or child abuse, you are going to have some serious consequences when you enter the courtroom. Floyd, explain presumption if there’s a finding of family violence.
At 6:32 – If there’s a finding for family violence, the presumption is that you and the other parent should not be appointed joint managing conservators. This means that one parent has all the rights to make decisions, and the parent that committed the violence does not get a say. Along with that is a protective order, and with the presumption, that means visits will be supervised.
At 7:04 – There’s also substance abuse problems with either illegal substances or alcohol. So, what courts do that people don’t realize is they can order a drug test. It’s a hair follicle test. And if they find illegal substances, then you may find yourself having restricted access or supervised access to the children. Floyd, please explain what happens with marijuana and what impact it can have on a custody dispute.
At 7:58 – Judges vary on how they view marijuana throughout the state. They can’t determine whether you used marijuana in a state where it’s legal or used it in Texas where it’s illegal. The presumption is that you used it in Texas. The judge’s job is to protect the children. And they’re going to protect the child from someone who uses drugs illegally.
At 8:44 – How does one go about proving that these things have happened? Potentially the custody case will go to court, and you or the other parent may be called as witnesses. And then we go in, and we try to prove our case. We have several methods for doing this. One of them is recordings. Floyd, can you tell me a little bit more about recordings?
At 9:39 – We have several types of recordings. You can record messages on your phone. You can’t record phone calls. There’s also home video that can be submitted as evidence. With technology, it’s hard to get away with things.
At 10:14 – Can you record a phone conversation? Yes, you can record without the other party knowing, and it is admissible in court.
At 10:47 – Any photos can be admissible in court.
At 11:29 – We are now going to discuss witnesses. Any third parties can testify that a certain event happened or there’s been abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, or child abuse. The less attached they are, the better. Family may not as credible because they are too close to you. A credible witness is someone such as a teacher, counselor, or a coach.
At 12:52 – Finally, there is also an opportunity to talk to the child. The court can ask any child aged 12 or older shall be conferred with on who they want to live with. If younger, the court has discretion. The youngest child I have seen a judge speak to was six or seven. Floyd, what are your thoughts?
At 13:36 – The code required the court to ask them, but it does not require them to live with the person they choose.
At 13:52 – We’ve had situations that are contentious with parents reporting abuse and other problems. And what happens is the court wants to talk with the child to see which parent might be more truthful. Also, they want to hear about what the child sees at home. So, they’re not interrogating the child. They’re trying to see If there’s any reason the child might need protection from the parent.
At 14:50 – If you plan on having the child talk to the judge, do not tell the child what to say. The judges will pick up on it.
At 15:06 – What I encourage clients to do is to keep the kids out of the custody case. It is your custody case, and the child does not need to be involved. We want to shelter them as much as we can. That will also support your custody case. Here in Texas, judges are not going to take interference well.