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Would I have a good standing in court?

Dallas, TX |

I have unfortunalty not seen my daughter in a little over a year due to my ex. We were never married, have a 6 year old daughter. We have an order set up where I pay child support and I am supposed to get my daughter every other weekend.

Long story short, my wife has to be the one to pick my daughter up due to my work, and my ex refuses to let my daughter go with her even though the order states I can appoint anyone to pick her up for me. Local police eventually stopped helping and I have not been able to afford legal help until recently.

My ex has been convicted of harboring a fugitive. The fugitive had 2 counts of evading arrest, breaking and entering, and a couple other things I cannot remember. She is facing either 2 years jail-time or 5 years probation which she cannot afford

It is our impression that she will end up in jail either way. Even though I have not seen my daughter in a year, I know it is in her best interest to come live with me and my wife and other daughter. The mother does drugs ((has admitted to CPS of doing weed, but was not punished for it)) and is supposedly around a registered child molester often. If she ends up in jail, I will want to seek immediate action to get my daughter under my roof considering she cannot keep my daughter from me while she is in prison. Would the courts even consider giving me custody if I haven't seen her in so long? Even if I am a better suited home?

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Attorney answers 3


Custody modifications in Texas have two main factors that a judge looks at: 1) Change of circumstances and 2) What's in the best interest of the child. You've got a pretty complicated circumstance on hand because you haven't seen your daughter in a year. However, if your ex has been convicted of harboring a fugitive and will be facing jail time or probation and is doing drugs, that's a pretty remarkable change of circumstance and a judge might not consider it in the child's best interest to be living with your ex-wife.

I'd definitely do a full sit-down consultation with an attorney. The entirety of the circumstances will come into play here and there's a multitude of factors to consider, like what kind of police involvement you had to see your daughter and if there's been a paper trail of it. A judge is going to be hesitant to uproot your daughter's entire life but you may have a shot.


Assuming you have a well-drafted order, you could enforce it by filing a motion for contempt. You do have the right to designate a competent adult to handle exchanges on your behalf. Of course if your ex is going to prison you could seek primary custody of your daughter also. Now it's up to you to do something about it....


I think you need to know what it is you want. If you simply want to punish your ex or make her comply with the child possession schedule, depending on the language in your prior order, you probably have good standing to enforce on it. This would make her face additional jail time, possible attorney's fees and fines. Whether you actually saw any payment would be a different story.

If you are looking to be the primary caregiver of your daughter, you need to sit down with an attorney and discuss the entire case with them, not just your ex's situation. You seem to have a very good start, but only by discussing it in detail with a lawyer knowledgeable in family law are you going to get a better idea of how you should proceed.

This answer is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice nor forming the attorney client relationship. This attorney is licensed in Texas.

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