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I just lost a temporary custody hearing and would like to know the process, and likely hood, of having a Guardian Ad Litem

Austin, TX |

Appointed to my case. The mother has Felony charges for prescription fraud against her in CA, OR and TX. She recently spent 2 years in a Substance Abuse Felony Program. When our son was born, 4 years ago, they found drugs in his urine so CPS opened a case on us. When he was 3 months old CPS conducted a random visit and found his mother passed out on the couch with our son nearly smothered in her arms. CPS made me the primary and told the mother that she could only be around our son with adult supervision. So at 3 months we had to put our son in day care so I could go to work. She tried to commit suicide when she was 2 months pregnant. She has an outstanding non extraditable warrant for her arrest in OR. She transferred her probation from TX to MS and fled with our son 3 months ago.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

I can’t imagine how you lost. Was that in a Texas court?

This reply is provided for information purposes only and does not represent legal advice or an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

Yes....Travis County in Austin Texas. Why?

Posted

I need more information to understand your case. What you mean by "lost" the Temporary Orders Hearing? Who filed what and where? Etc. Why do you think you "lost"?

Was there was a prior order that you were the primary conservator and that she could not have visitation with the child? Did you request finding of contempt?

Asker

Posted

Thanks for chatting with me Maria. The mother moved to MS with our son while I was at work. So I filed for sole managing conservatorship. The judge ruled that the mother had gotten her life together and needed her parents as support, emotional and financial, so she allowed her to move to MS...taking my son away from the only home he's ever known in 46 months. I think I 'lost' because I keep hearing that temporary orders often become final orders. How will I ever be able to have a relationship with my son when I have to drive 20 hours every other weekend to see him? It's not like the mother had some high paying job she had to move to MS for. She's working at McCalister's Deli. The first job she's had in over 5 years. Granted, she was in prison for 2 of those years. The only thing that I think could change this is that she told the judge that she had been clean and sober for 3 years. But we will be able to prove she went to HEB {grocery store} to get a prescription filled...when her probation stipulated that she could only obtain her prescriptions from Wal Mart. She also went to several different doctors during this time...which is yet another violation of her probation. One attorney suggested having a Guardian Ad Litem appointed...and then she could go to CPS, and Shoal Creek, and HEB to pull these records which will show what we couldn't during the trial. Other than that...I'm at a loss for knowing what to do next...and I've lost all confidence in my current attorney. Thank YOU!~ DP

Asker

Posted

Just re-read your question. No...there were no previous orders. We are both the parents, although not married, and have been raising him together ever since she was released from her Substance Abuse Felony Program in Gatesville TX. That was a year ago. And apparently that's how much time she needed in order to mover her probation from TX to MS. She also paid 4K in the event she needs to be extradited. The way I understand it...we not go into Discovery...and then maybe a deposition...and then mediation. And if we can't agree I am entitled to a jury trial. Which I firmly believe I would win. Worse case they place our son back in Travis where he was born and lived his entire life.

Maria Alicia Lackey

Maria Alicia Lackey

Posted

Go to your attorney and ask them to explain what happened and what the plan for moving forward is. Sometimes clients feel like their attorney/client relationship isn't working, but its really just a lack of communication. Take an active role and ask lots of questions. If you still feel like it isn't a good fit, interview a few attorneys before you make a switch. It is hard for any attorney to review the work of another without knowing all the facts and details involved.

Posted

Are you Travis County? Q says Austin, so I'm assuming so. Answer will differ slightly in WillCo or elsewhere.

The answer of getting a GAL depends if your case is in the CPS court system or not, which is unclear from your question. If CPS, then you can just ask at the next hearing, and mostly likely a GAL will be appointed from CASA of Travis County, at no charge to you. If it's not a CPS case, you or your attorney 'll need to set another Temporary Orders Hearing, and 3+ days before hearing, you can move for judge to appoint a GAL from the Travis Domestic Relations Office. In this case, one of you will most likely be court-ordered to pay a fee for this, $500+ depending on what you or the judge asks the GAL to do.

You really need to consult a family attorney about your situation. Even if you don't hire someone, probably worth a little money to ask about next steps. You don't say what, if any, your own skeletons in the closet are. Even if the child's mother has a terrible history, possible if she was in CPS system and working services (gotten clean, taken parenting classes, etc.), they would have worked with her to return child. Or there might be jurisdiction issues which caused you to lose--again, cannot tell from the q. Talk to a lawyer who can sort through this with you!

Christine Henry Andresen • www.cha-law.com

The above is legal information, not legal advice. If you have not paid me and signed a contract, we do not have an attorney-client relationship and I am not your lawyer. • Christine Henry Andresen • www.cha-law.com

Asker

Posted

Thanks Christine. Very helpful. The only skeleton I have in my closet is a 1999 DWI which actually was reduced to Obstructing a Passageway. Otherwise, I have no criminal history, nor abuse issues, nor anything even remotely negative. I'm an Eagle Scout too!~ The CPS case was closed about 8 months after it was opened....due to my keeping up with the case workers and working to get them out of our life. So that is out. So will the same Judge that ordered the mother to have custody be likely to appoint a GAL? If my life is in the Judges hand I don't feel good about that.

Christine Henry Andresen

Christine Henry Andresen

Posted

Travis docket system means you might well get a different judge for new hearing. But even same judge might be open to GAL--they cannot know they cannot go home with you, talk to you out of courtroom setting like a social worker can.

Asker

Posted

Thanks again Christine. My hope is that the GAL can check her prescription records and realize that when the mother told the judge that she had been clean and sober for 3 years {2 of those being in prison}...that we can have a game changer. Surely the GAL can go in and get the CPS and Shoal Creek and medical records. Or do we have to have a judge sign off on that as well? I mean, in order to subpoena that type of information? Do you work in Austin by the way?