Legal Question in Family Law in Texas

I'm in TX and really need help. I've been trying to divorce since fall of 2001 - ex is evading child support by threatening visitation with his estranged daughter each time we go to court (as long as he didn't have to pay support, he was happy and we never knew where he was. I left TX for work in VA in 2001 after filling - huge mistake, I know now. (I was forced to come back to TX from out of state over and over until I lost my job in 2004 and had to move back to TX - ex's attorney said he would never let me leave the state if I got orders for child support) He's never paid child support - court says he was "morally obligated" to pay back child support, so he had no incentive to finalize anything (discovered in court that he never divorced his previous wife in CA either) - he's asked multiple times to relinquish parental rights, I even paid for the GAL and he approved, but judge eventually refused (says "all dads are 'good' dads) and I was asked to pay for a jury trial (this was 2006) - which I could not even afford due to my mounting debts as the sole caregiver. I've just been left in limbo ever since. My daughter is now 12 and even though we had to move back to TX and in spite of being only a 20 minute drive away from him - he's never so much as called her on the phone, came to see her, sent her a card or letter etc. She wouldn't know him if she met him on the street. I don't know where to start - we want to move but

A. If we go ahead and move and I want to file in another county, do I need to get a "change of venue" or anything with the previous/last court

B. if I have not had any contact with my "attorney" in 7 years, does she still "work" for me? Do I have to contact her before I hire another attorney

C. Now that my daughter is now 12, will the courts let her choose whom she visits/lives with?

D. Do I have the right to ask for the 11 years of unpaid support that he's never paid?

E. If I try to move/buy a house (I already owned this one prior to being married) - would the normal, community property laws still apply even though we haven't been together in 11 years? could he ask for 1/2?

Asked on 7/19/13, 11:48 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Fran Brochstein Attorney & Mediator

Ok - you are asking a lot of questions. It's impossible to address them all:

1. Your attorney of record is your attorney until the judge removes them as your attorney. So you either need to contact your attorney and get your current attorney working on this case or hire a new one to "replace" your attorney.

2. Are you sure your divorce is still pending? Many courts will "close" a divorce after a certain amount of time.

So the first thing I would do is go to the court and see if your divorce is still active. If not, you have to start over. This might actually be a good thing because you could file it where you currently live.

If it's pending then, if you don't like your current attorney hire an aggressive attorney to get this case finalized. Either use this website or to find an attorney in your county.

Do not buy anything, it would only complicate matters. You've waited this long so wait a bit longer.

This man has not had any contact, so quit worrying about "custody".

To have a court order retroactive child support, you have to plead for it.

Quite frankly, it appears that your case is a total "mess". It does not appear that you even have any temporary orders. If a judge said that he is "morally obligated to pay child support" then you have nothing enforceable that he can be held in contempt with -- I assume that you have no signed Temporary Orders that orders him to pay child support.

I suggest that you hire an attorney & "get it done"! Just move on with your life.

I cannot tell what county you live in.

You can email me at [email protected]

I no longer litigate but I can certainly send you some referrals if I know someone in your county.

Good luck,

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Answered on 7/20/13, 10:30 am

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