I am a seventeen year old daughter of divorced parents in Texas. Both of my parents are remarried, and primary custody is with my mother. She does, however, share custody with my father, who lives two hours away from us. My father and I are not close, and our visits, especially the agreement made that I spend 6 weeks with him in the summer, are not enjoyable and are beginning to interfere with my educational goals, but he refuses to negotiate without a lawyer.
The court order still stands, but you can ask your mother to take the matter back to court. At your age, the judge will likely listen to your wishes, especially if carefully laid out as to what you do want to do, why, how you would bring that about, even how makeup parenting time might serve. Judges are not likely to deprive one parent of parental rights without a substantive reason. Try again to work it out with your father, but by presenting a balanced plan.
We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.
Although you may not face legal reprocussion of not following the child custody order, your biological parents can, particularly your mother. The Houston courts have 2 appeal courts unlike any other city in Texas. This is important because the 2 courts are divided as to the extent your mother (as the primary custodian) has to go in making sure that your biological father (as the possessory conservator) gets to practice his custody rights. To that extent, your mother could not in any way prevent you from your father to exercise his cusotdy rights, rather, one of the appeal courts have stated that your mother would have to pretty much place you in the car to send you on your way. However, with that said, no parties would be in trouble as long as they do not file any sort of enforcement against the other parent. Although in violation, the court will not get involved unless one of the parties files a complaint in the guise of an enforcement. Enforcement can result in your mother being sent to jail for contempt of the court.
With that said, although your father is being stubborn, discuss with him your issues of not being able to go over to his place for a month. Particular how such visitation will interfere with with your educational goals of getting into a good college.
Also, your parents can seek a modification of the child custody order, if all fails. However, since you are 17, the custody order will terminate once you turn 18 or once you graduate from high school (if such extension is included). Hiring an attorney to modify now may not be something that would make financial sense because attorney fees are high and trying to modify a standard possession order because of your disconfort may not be enough for the court to even change. Of course, any modification are based on factual investigation and is a plausible option avilable to you and your parents.
Consult with your parents first, especially your father about allowing you to stay with your mother for educational purposes. If all fails, consult your mother about retaining an attorney to modify the child custody order before summer starts.
Good luck and wish you success.
Min Gyu Kim (Peter)
The foregoing are comments to a general question of law, and should in no way be interpreted as legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements
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