I have custody of my children,ages 12,and13 allmost 14.I have had trouble finding a job and have to move in with my mom,there is a roof over there head and food on the table and anything else they need.The question is that my ex-wife is threatening me that she is gonna get a lawyer to get custody of my kids on the basis that i dont have a job.Do you think she would get them?and this is because also that she says my daughter is of legal age to decide where she wants to live.What do you think. Thank you.
2 Answers from Attorneys
In Texas, what is important is "the best interest of the children." That been said, if you are a loving, caring parent and you do not abuse your children in any way, the fact that you do not have a job should not change the reason why the children were placed with you to begin with. If there is a change of circumstances and the children are not provided for, so long as you are making attempts to find jobs, the courts should not change the previous orders; however, it would be a factor for the court to consider. Good luck and God bless you and your children.
The judges in Harris County are aware that the economy is bad. Again, the judges look at how the kids are doing. They will look at their grades at school. Are they attending school?
They are required to interview the children in chambers without the parents being present.
Your ex is wrong about a child "choosing" where they want to live. A child gets to choose where they want to when they turn 18! The TX legislature got rid of the document that a child could sign over 2 years ago! Now the judge has to interview the kid in chambers in person.
Also, the burden of proof is on the parent wanting to change custody that the change is in the best interests of the children. What does "best interests" mean? Good question. It is not defined anywhere. It's up to each judge. It is not defined by any one thing. It is usually a series of things that goes to show that a move would be good for the kids -- such as how they are doing in school -- such as grades, report cards, excessive absenses from school, tardies, teachers comments -- the in-person interview, testimony of people with personal knowledge, doctor's reports, those sorts of things. If the kids are doing good, then most judges won't move a kid and disrupt their lives -- especially teen-agers if it means moving them from their school & friends.
I highly recommend talking to a experienced family law attorney. In the Houston area, I recommend Patricia Bushman at 713-807-9405. Her first appointment is free. She takes payment plans. I rent space in her office. Please tell Pat that I sent you to her. I'm not taking cases because both of my parents are very ill.