Skip to main content
Dana Joseph Stewart

Dana Stewart’s Answers

64 total


  • Is it possible to get free or low cost legal representation in a child custody case?

    My daughter lived with me for five years, since she was a baby. After some time, my daughter started to stay with her Dad over the weekends, then it turned into weekdays because he was not working and I was and my schedule did not allow me to pick...

    Dana’s Answer

    Mr. Daley is right - depending on the facts, you might have opened yourself up to be named as the non-custodial parent. However, that doesn't mean you have no hope. You need to speak with an attorney asap - the longer you allow him to have primary possession, the greater the possiblity that you will end up as the non-custodial parent. And even if the does name your ex as the custodial parent, you still want in order in place that details your legal rights and duties. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • My son wants to move back her in september when he is 17 how does he go about doing that?

    Last summer my ex took me to court to get custody of both my kids but we split them because my son wanted to stay there and my daughter wanted to live with me. But now his dad is making it very hard for him to live there and wants to move out, he ...

    Dana’s Answer

    Both answers above are correct. Perhaps the first thing you should try to do is sit down with your ex and attempt to reach an agreement. Often times, parents in his situation are reluctant to "give up" their child though. So, be prepared for some resistance. However, if you are able to clearly (and calmly) present your reasons why it would be beneficial for your child to move back with you, well then, hopefully your ex will open up to the idea.

    If you are able to work out an agreement, then you should contact an attorney to assist you with formalizing the agreement into an order. If your ex will not agree, well at least you tried and now you know that you'll have to resort to litigation. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • First right of refusal order...

    I was recently given the first right of refusal in a modification order (original decree in 2005) for when my ex is traveling somewhere overnight. If I know my ex will be traveling out of town on specific dates, do I need to give him SPECIFIC adv...

    Dana’s Answer

    Ms. Shanklin is right. Your attorney's job is to make sure the order protects your interests and accomplishes your goals. If something is not clear, contact your attorney to get a better understanding. Typically speaking though, with the right of first refusal, you are not required to give him specific advanced notice that you want the child(ren). Rather, it's his duty to inform you of the dates he cannot take them. However, not all first right of refusal language is the same as it varies based on your specific facts. Call your attorney. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • Should i sign a paper stating i will not make my son do anything or go anywhere if he doesnt want to.. he is 8. in a divorce?

    my wife will not sign the divorce papers. i have given her everything and she still wants me to sign a paper stating i will not make our son of 8 to go anywhere he doesnt want to go. if i do this will this allow her to keep my son away from me? i ...

    Dana’s Answer

    I agree 100% with Mr. Daley - DON'T SIGN IT. Without knowing more details, it is difficult to give your more advice. You need to speak with an attorney about this. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • Do I need an attorney?

    My son is 13 years old. He currently lives with my ex-husband. When we first seperated he wanted to live with his dad because he felt sorry for him. Soon after he said he wanted to live with me. Is he old enough to make that decision without ha...

    Dana’s Answer

    As noted above, your son's preference is allowed to be voiced to the court, but that alone will not guarantee the court awarding you with primary possession. You should consult with an attorney to deteremine, based on your specific facts, the best route to take to accomplish your goals. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • How do you legitimize a child in Texas

    I'm just trying to figure what steps are taken for a father to legitimize a child in the state of Texas, and if the child isn't legitimized, does the father have any legal rights to that child?

    Dana’s Answer

    Expanding off the previous answer, keep in mind that until paternity is established, the father has no real rights and duties under the law. Therefore, the father doesn't have set times of possession and access, but he also doesn't have a obligation to pay child support. It's hard to discern the exact route you should take without knowing more details. Talk to an attorney about this to ensure your rights, and the child's rights, are protected. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • Need to take my daughter out of state for the weekend on family emergency but it falls on her father weekend he is a

    non negotiable person, i learn to never ask him for anything because he will tell me no, just to be spiteful because im asking for something, what can i do? what will happen if i only informed him but not ask and just took her with me n tell him h...

    Dana’s Answer

    You defintely do not want to put yourself in a position to be held in contempt of court. If that happens, not only do you open yourself up for paying a fine, you could also be put in jail. Definitely not worth it. Take the advice above and contact an attorney to assist you. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • How do you get a divorce when you are unable to locate the spouse and have no way to trace him after 33 years of abandonment

    I have not seen or heard from my husband for over 33 years when he abandonded my son and myself. I got a copy of our marriage certificate to get his social security number only to find out he had put an invalid number. The social security office...

    Dana’s Answer

    I agree with Ms. Shanklin - 33 years is long enough, it's time! As stated in the previous answer, there are legal procedures in place that allow someone in your predicament to get divorced. You should speak with an attorney in your area so that you follow the correct steps to ensure everything is handled the right way. Best of luck.

    See question 
  • I have file a Petition to Modify the Child Parent Relationship. The respondant did not provide me a copy of the Answer she filed

    The respondant did not and has refused to provide me with a Copy of the Answer/Response she filed with the Denton County Court. Even after asking her to provide the document to me. Can I Set my hearing with the Judge to sign my order? Does it ...

    Dana’s Answer

    I completely agree with Mr. Daley, especially when it comes to getting an attorney to help you. If you try to handle this on your own, then fully expect to be held to the standard of an attorney. So, if you miss a deadline, don't know the rules of evidence and civil procedure or better yet, the local rules; then you are possibly jeopardizing your case. I wouldn't risk it.

    Also, in regards to the mediation - many judges require the parties to mediate before you can even set the matter for final trial.

    Best of luck.

    See question 
  • House deed is still in my name and spouse, how can I release myself from responsibility of paying mortgage

    I would like to give the home to my soon to be ex-wife. I am going thru a divorce. How can I, if at all, give up my obligation for all responsibility of the home to include payment of mortgage? She works full time, I am unemployed I am divorc...

    Dana’s Answer

    Generally, if you are on the note for the house, you are not just going to be able to sign a document and automatically be released from that liability. Even if the court awards the house to your wife in the divorce, you are still on the hook as it's up to the bank/creditor to make the decision to release you from liability.

    You should try to get your wife to refinance the home in her name only. If she can qualify to do so, that will effectively remove you from any liability on the home. If she can't qualify to refinance the home, then you need to put some protective language in the divorce decree . Also, you need to have her sign a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption. This document will force the bank to give you notice of an delinquent balance on the house after you are divorced. The bank has to give you the chance to cure the default (pay the amount owed), before they can initiate a foreclosure.

    These situations are always tricky - there may be other options, but without all the facts I can't get more specific. I advise you to speak with an attorney - this is a complex area to deal with. Best of luck.

    See question