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Dana Joseph Stewart

Dana Stewart’s Answers

59 total


  • What are the rights of grandparents when the parents are separated?

    my son and ex girlfriend have a 2 yr old daughter together. A custody agreement has been signed by a judge. Recently my son was to have custody but he could not locate the mother to make plans to pick up his daughter. After over 14 hours of pho...

    Dana’s Answer

    Please keep in mind that I will be answering this question based on the laws of Texas, as this is where I am licensed. To answer your first question, yes, the mother does have to "live up" to the custody agreement. Although the police were unable to help you, the court system will be able to. If a party fails to comply with a court order, that person could be help in contempt of court.

    Keep in mind though, that one single incident is probably not enough for the mother to be held in contempt. It might not be worth the time and money you would have to spend on a contempt/enforcement case for one failure to follow the court order. However, if the mom has broken the court order several times, well then you have a better chance of getting the order enforced. Tell your son to keep a journal and document every time his ex fails to comply with the court order (be very specific including the day, date and time of each entry). This can help prove to the court just how the mom has been acting.

    As far as grandparent rights. In Texas, grandparents do NOT have a right of possession of their grandchild(ren). However, a grandparent can file a case in court and request the court to award some possession periods to the grandparent (ex - one Saturday out of the month). You need to contact an attorney in your area to discuss this situation in detail. Best of luck.

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  • What are my rights to have the language of a separation / divorce co-parenting agreement ammended?

    I want to have specific language ammended in an original separation / divorce agreement relating to conduct. The arrangement is 50/50 joint legal and physical custody.

    Dana’s Answer

    In Texas, you are allowed to modify a divorce decree for several grounds. One of these is if there has been a significant change in the circumstances. Unfortunately, without more facts, I cannot tell you whether you qualify. Also, I am not familiar with the laws of your state. I recommend that you contact an attorney in your area and discuss what you would like to accomplish. More than likely, you should be able to file a suit to modify your divorce decree. Best of luck.

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  • Procedure for getting partial custody and visitation under WA state child custody laws

    Every other Wednesday the father has telephone visits with his son. To which the child lives in Georgia. The father has phone calls on the weekends too. The mother makes the child busy so the father cannot have phone calls with the child. These ar...

    Dana’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear of your unfortunate situation. You are definitely right when you say that a father should have the same rights to his child as the mother. Since you have a court order which states you are suppose to speak to you child on certain days, at certain times, you need to document the times when the mother does not comply. I advise all my clients in similar situations to keep a journal. You should write down every time the mother does not follow the court order. Be sure to put the day, date,and time.

    It sounds like you have had trouble in the past showing just how many times the mother has done this. It would really help your case if you gave the court your journal rather than trying to verbally prove that the mother has failed to comply with the court order. Perhaps after a month or so of documenting her not following the orders, then you will have a much easier time getting someone to listen to your complaint. Best of luck.

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  • TX child custody laws, father's right to primary sole custody, parent's right to visitation

    Father procedure in getting sole custody of child with visiation rights when the mother wants the father to sign over all rights of the child to the mother

    Dana’s Answer

    I am not sure I completely understand what you are trying to ask. If you are curious how to obtain sole custody of your child - you will have to show that your child's mother is "unfit." Most of the time, courts are reluctant to award sole custody. Typically, you will see courts award the parents with joint custody. However, this does not mean you cannot obtain sole custody.

    One thing to keep in mind is that just because a parent is awarded sole custody, that does not mean the other parent is precluded from seeing the child. The other parent can still be given possession periods. The parent whom is awarded sole custody gets certain rights and decision making powers that the other parent does not. So, in your scenario, if the father agrees to allow the mother to have sole custody, the father can still have "visitation rights" to the child. Before you make any decisions, you need to speak to an attorney. Best of luck.

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  • Procedure under ID child custody law to seek sole custody of child

    My daughter is 10 weeks old. Her father and I have been living in separate states (he in Tacoma, WA and I in Post Falls ID since before her birth; Nov 29, 2007) Chloe was born May 30, 2008. Her father and I were never married, and were together ...

    Dana’s Answer

    Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the laws of your state, as I practice in Texas. However, I may be able to point you in the right direction. In Texas, men and women can use the Attorney General's Office to help obtain custody and even child support. The Attorney General office offers these services for free. Again, I don't know if the same services are offered in your state, but it's worth checking in to. Good luck.

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  • Family

    Me and my wife have a 3 month old girl we are seperated and getting a divorce when I get to see my daughter do I have to return her to her mother. Her mother's house is unfit please give me some answers

    Dana’s Answer

    I am a licensed Texas attorney, so you need to meet with an attorney in your area. However, I should be able to give you a few answers. Currently, without any court orders, you both have the right to possession of your daughter. If you feel that your wife's current living conditions are unsuitable for a child, then you need to take the proper legal actions. You mentioned that you two are going to get a divorce, have you already filed? If no, then you need to. After the suit is filed, you should request a temporary orders hearing - this will allow you to go before the judge asap and present your case. At a temporary order hearing, a judge can decide who will have tempory custody, who will pay child support, and many other issues.

    Again, you need to speak to an attorney in your area to get an understanding of all your options and rights. As far as returning your daughter to your wife's house, there really isn't a simple answer for that question. Legally, you do not have a custody schedule. However, if you refuse to let your wife have your daughter, the police may get involved. You may want to contact Child Protective Services and discuss your matter with them. Perhaps they can shed some light on the options you have, as I am not familiar with the laws of your state. Best of luck.

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  • I wld like 2 know what I could do 2 prevent any unfair treatment in Family Court. Not 2 sure if Wife stil wants the family life

    My girlfriend of 4 years have been showing signs that she is no longer into the family life anymore & Im not to sure if I can stay around for this new party life she has. We have 3 kids together. 2 are from seperate fathers & the baby is mine. Iv...

    Dana’s Answer

    You need to speak with a family law attorney in your state as I am licensed in Texas. However, I can tell you what I know based on Texas laws. If you and your girlfriend are about to end your relationship, this doesn't mean that your child is automatically going to live with her most of the time and that you will have to pay her child support. You can petition to become the primary custodian of your child and to receive child support payments.

    The court formulates their decisions around one central question, "What is in the best interest of the child?" Typically, it is in a child's best interest to have both parents in his/her life. However, if evidence is presented that shows a parent is "unfit" to care for a child, that parent's rights to the child can be substantially reduced. If you girlfriend has started partying a lot, so much that you feel it was necessary to post your question here, you need to speak with an attorney in your area. Use the phonebook, internet or a recommendation from a friend to locate an attorney that offers a free initial consultation. I wish you the best of luck.

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  • Can a father that has custody of the 2 children seek child support from the biological mother

    my husband have custudian of his 2 children 3 year old and 6 year old .can he have child support from his ex-girlfriend?she doesn't work and have no income,she lives with child molest

    Dana’s Answer

    To answer your question in one word - YES. Your husband could be recipient of child support, but only if the court system gets involved. What he needs to do is meet with an attorney to discuss the situation. If your husband has not established his paternity - he will need to do this before he can ask the court for custody of the children and child support payments.

    Even if the mother does not have a job, this does not mean she can avoid any child support obligations. Assuming a court orders her to pay child support, she cannot intentionally avoid payments by staying unemployed. However, your husband does NOT have a right to obtain child support from her until a court orders her to pay.

    Remember, I am a Texas attorney, so you need to consult with an attorney in your state. Best of Luck.

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  • AL child custody laws, father's rights against mother preventing visitation

    My fiancé and his ex girlfriend got pregnant in September of last year, shortly before he and I started back dating. We have been friends for several years and recently got engaged. We hope to get married within the next two years, but his ex girl...

    Dana’s Answer

    Based on what you have stated, it seems that mother in this situation may have some mental issues that could render her unable to adequately care for her child. I believe that you should contact the police about her actions. I would understand your logic for not wanting to get involved if there wasn't a child in the situation. But you need to consider what might happen to the child if the mother has another episode. The last thing you want is the child to sustain mental or physical abuse.

    From what you have said, I am going to assume that your fiance and his ex do not have any court orders that dictate a custody schedule. If this is true, your fiance should meet with an attorney in your state to discuss his options. In Texas, often times Child Protective Services get involved in cases like this. Assuming your finace is a "fit" father, he very well could be awarded with primary or even sole custody of his child and thus be the parent to whom child support is paid. The court is going to ask what is in the best interest of the child when determining who should have custody.

    Again, meet with an attorney in your state to figure out the best course of action. Best of luck.

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  • Who has more rights if you are not married the mother or father & the child lives with the mother

    Me and my soon to be ex boyfriend have a three year old daughter together, but me and her live with my parents do to his jrug use and he has been in and out of jail at least 4 or 5 times now. Can I make sure I have full custody of her so he can't ...

    Dana’s Answer

    Please keep in mind that I am a Texas attorney and therefore not all of what I say might apply to your situation. Assuming that you don't have a court order which sets out a custody schedule, you need to consult with an attorney and initiate a SAPCR (Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship) case. Since your ex abuses drugs and has been in jail several times, you have a strong foundation to request a court to award you with sole custody of your child. Courts base their decisions on what is in the best interest of the child. Typically, it is in the child's best interest that both, mom and dad be involved. However, there are situations, perhaps such as yours, where it is not beneficalfor the child to be around both parents. Again, I recommend that you consult with an attorney in your state to go over all the details and learn what your rights are. Best of luck.

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