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  1. #1

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    How Hard is it to reverse a child custody order in Texas?

    Jurisdiction / State: Texas

    I gained sole custody of my son back in June 2008. Before then, my "babymama" and I fought constantly on who pays what, who has the little boy when...to no end, in her mind, 'I gave birth, my job is done.'
    I kept a calendar of the days I have Davion (almost 4 yrs old), what and how much I pay for daycare, healthcare, etc. She saw her son an average of 5-8 days a month from Jan though June of this year. Before then the kid lived with his grandmother in South Texas. I filed for custody and won because the deadbeat didn't even show up to court or respond to the suit.



    Now, she sees her son growing up in a healthy environment WITHOUT her, she sees him calling someone else Mommy, and NOW she's threatening to fight the decision.
    I follow the visitation schedule to the letter (even let her keep him a few extra nights SOMETIMES) and I collect a measely $200/month in child support from her. But this is not even about the child or her desire to be a mother...this is about control over me. My girlfriend and I function as a unit and she has provided more love, support and structure to my son that his mother EVER could. But every week, we have to deal with an episode from this woman.
    In Texas, it is very difficult for fathers of such a young child to gain sole custody....even my lawyer advised against filing for sole custody. (I'm a 25year old Black man, gaining sole custody is unheard of for us.) But that order has stood since June and things couldn't be better. I don't think she realizes how much trouble she's causing just to say she has say-so over this or that.
    I'm afraid that if she does fight the order, the judge will overturn it simply because she is the mother (that's how it is in Texas, there's no such thing as a deadbeat mom here.) Davion has been through soooo much in his 3 years, he's finally in a place where he has stability, love, security (emotional, financial, spiritual) and most of all two parents (my and my girlfriend) that put him first no matter what. I'm not trying to take my son away from his birth mother, I just think the kid could do better without all the drama and yelling and instability that she brings to the table.
    Should I be worried? on what grounds would a judge overturn the decision?

    --Worried in Texas


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    My husband is the home parent here in Tx. You could look into going to mediation, which the judge most likeky will order before he hears much.. if anything. It's cheaper than hiring an attorney. You may have to agree to keeping YOU as the home parent. and allowing HER every 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend. as well as hoildays even/or odd yrs... basically the standard agreement. My husbands X was pretty much the same for a while, and all I can say is DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. If after a yr or two of being able to prove she is a pc. of garbage.. take her back to court for a modification.. You may have to wait 3 yrs before you can change an order... not sure.. But believe it or not, men.. whatever race, can and are good daddies, and that shows to the judge you are what is in the best interest of the child...

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    lauratuten (10-09-2008)

  4. #3

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    Thanks for you reply.
    That is actually already how we have the visitation schedule set up. She has him 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends and 2 hours on thursdays. I WAS allowing her Thursday nights until she decided she was not going to send our son to school on Fridays when she didn't want to take him. (Yes I realize he's only almost 4 but I'm paying good money to have him in a school that teaches and is not just going to watch him for 8 hours a day.)

    I NEVER disobey the visitation schedule but she claims that I'm keeping her from seeing him because she should be entitled to see him whenever she wants since she's his mother. As I said before I'm NOT trying to keep him from her...I'm just tired of all the BS and think it's best for our son if his mother has her assigned days that she can plan her life around as I had to plan my life around her BS for the first three years of my son's life.

    She wants to fight the custody order because NOW she says she's changed and ready to take on more responsibility. I don't mind amending the visitation schedule later but I'm not about to give this person legal rights because she says she's changed in the last 3 or 4 months.

    I just don't want my son's life turned upside down again...I did what I did because he needed SOMEONE to stand up for him and not BS him anymore.
    Thank you again for your advice and kind words.

  5. #4

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    Stick to your guns, IF it goes back to court, try to get ANY record that would show him missing school. I don't care if he's 3-4 or 15... courts don't like this at all.. I have been there... and they take a child's education VERY seriously... Any proof that you have such as the child being absent from school will definitley be in your favor. Whatever you have in black and white keep to it.. I had a judge ask me once.. "If you two are going to make up your own rules then why should I bother" It was harsh, but true. Stick to your agreement and she can fit all she wants. If SHE wants to take you to court.. which I'm guessing she prob doesn't have the $$$, then let her.. she will have to prove he is better of with her.. and you have stability and time on you side. When it comes to loosing your kid(s), I know how frightning it can be, but just try and I know it's hard but try to have faith in the syestem, becuase SOMETIMES it does work for you... eventually she will either honestly get her act together or fade off to obscurity.. either one could benifit the child. Good luck!

  6. #5
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    One thing that is NOT in your favor is that you are encouraging your son to call your girlfriend "Mommy". She is not his mommy and will never be his mommy unless you get married, terminate his mother's rights, and have her adopt him.

    Good or bad, he already has a mommy, and some judges take that very seriously.
    I'm not a lawyer

  7. #6

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    Thanks for your reply. Yes I understand that. He called her by her first name for almost a year and then all of a sudden started calling her Mom about 6 months ago. I asked him straight up if he thought that she was his mother, he said "no". When I asked him why he calls her Mommy, he said, "Because I want to."
    I don't even know what to do with that. Do I make my three year old not call her Mom? This is the person he sees day in and day out...this is the only consistent female figure in his life. Yes we do intend to marry.

    His own mother was supposed to pick him up today for her visitation...she called 15 minutes before I was supposed to meet her to cancel. This is just the kind of mess I'm afraid of...that I'm doing everything like I feel I'm supposed to but a judge is going to look at the situation, automatically see that Mom doesn't have a role in this picture and take away what I've worked hard to build for my son. I don't have time for my ex to grow up...I already have a son to raise and make sure he grows up right. I don't want to raise Mommy Dearest also.
    I realize I got myself into this when she became pregnant but I'm just trying to do right by my son and my responsibility. Again, thank you for the advice as this was something I did not know.

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    Moderator Honorable Colleague

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    I realize the whole situation is confusing and probably painful for your son, but I suggest that you discourage him from calling your gf 'mommy'. Since your ex seems to be threatening to go to court because of it, I would guess that will be her major complaint. I would hate to see custody change just because she can argue parental alienation.

    Good luck
    I'm not a lawyer

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  10. #8
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    I would not call her a deadbeat. Sure, she may not take all the time with him she is allowed, but at least she is paying some child support. My son's exgf, who gave him custody about 5 years ago, is over 15 grand in arrears and sees the boy only occasionally. You have it good with Mom.

    And speaking of "mom", if your son is old enough to know that your gf is not Mom, explain to him that Mom is upset that he calls someone else that name. Tell him he's lucky, that he is the only person in the world who can call her that (assuming she has no other kids). Let him use a nickname or pet name for gf that no one else uses.

    If Mom hasn't filed anything, don't worry, but don't give her reason to. Never speak ill of mom to him, or in front of him, and don't call gf Mom. I would think it would be hard to overturn at this point if he is doing well. Mom would have to show a change for the worst in the child's life to change custody. Changing parenting time may be easier, depends on your local rules.

    Also...Mom does have rights, you can't take any away or give her more, only a court can. Is your parenting time court-ordered? Make sure you always stick to it (make him available to her) and give her more if you wish.

  11. #9

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    so I was just served with court papers for a restraining order by my son's mother to keep me away from him. ????
    We go to court next Wednesday. Why in the world would she do that and can she just file a restraining order without sufficients grounds to do so? I'm the primary caregiver to my child, how do you just go file a restraining order???
    So fed up with this, so tired.

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