During custody battles, both parents often want sole custody of the children. But is that what’s best?
In this episode, Justin Sisemore and Andrea Jones discuss the Texas rules and regulations surrounding custody battles. They share personal and professional stories of custody battles, how Justin advises clients attempting to get sole custody and Andrea’s viewpoint as a mother on the impact custody battles have on children.
Justin and Andrea discuss:
- The difference between sole custody and joint custody
- Why sole custody is difficult to achieve
- How parents in custody battle should act when aiming for sole custody
- What children learn from custody battles
- And more
Connect with Justin Sisemore
- Sisemore Law Firm
- Facebook: Sisemore Law Firm, P.C.
- Instagram: Justin Sisemore
- LinkedIn: Justin Sisemore
- LinkedIn: Sisemore Law Firm
Connect with Andrea Jones:
Read the Show Transcript
[00:00:00] Nobody wants to end up in family court, but if you do, you want an honest, experienced family law attorney by your side to help minimize the stress, mental anguish, and legal costs that divorce and custody matters bring. Welcome to In Your Best Interest. Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur Justin Sisemore of the Sisemore Law Firm, entrepreneur Andrea Jones, freelance writer Mary Maloney, and guests share insight on what to expect and how to handle family law matters, the changing landscape of family law, and living the entrepreneur’s life. Now onto the show.
[00:00:40] While the best interest of the child is top priority in child custody cases, different states approach child custody differently. In this episode of In Your Best Interest, we’ll discuss how the Texas Family Courts approach child custody, what it takes to get sole custody, what parents need to do to reassert parental rights, and more[00:01:00]
[00:01:01] Thanks for joining us for this episode of In Your Best Interest. I’m Mary Maloney, and today, attorney Justin Sismore, entrepreneur Andrea Jones and I will be discussing the ins and outs of child custody in Texas. Um, Justin, let’s start off with the different types of custody arrangements available here in Texas.
[00:01:18] Can you explain the basic differences between sole custody and joint custody, for example, and then how Texas is different in the way they approach custody than other states? So sole custody and joint custody are really broken down into several different areas. One is the rights and duties. Two is the possession and access, and then you have the financial aspects.
[00:01:41] So when you’re talking about sole managing conservatorship, you’re really dealing with exclusive rights that don’t require you to get the consent of the other party. Uh, the big three, as we call ’em, are the right to establish residence, the right to make medical and psychological and psychiatric decisions, which are really lumped into one there.
[00:01:58] And then the right to [00:02:00] educational decisions. So when you have joint conservatorship, you’ll generally see, uh, provisions or language that is subject to the agreement of the other conservator. Uh, in the event that you want to change schools or change a scholastic program that your child or children are in or medical decisions.
[00:02:15] You’ve got a parent, uh, that has the right to make psychiatric or psychological decisions, uh, many times That involves whether your child is medicated for any kind of learning disability and in joint conservatorship, you would generally have subject to agreement provisions on those psych, psychological, and psych.
[00:02:33] You also see scenarios where one party has the Trump card, if you will, after consultation, and that that category can still remain in the joint conservatorship, uh, realm. But when you go to sole, you generally have situations where there’s been family violence or a total lack of cooperation from the other party.
[00:02:53] So when I hear people say, I want custody, uh, I want, you know, the, the children fully to me, or full [00:03:00] custody, that’s. They’re talking about the rights and duties and then the possession and access. And so with respect to sole, you don’t have to get the consent, uh, of the other party, and you generally don’t even have to consult with them because there’s been family violence or you’ve tried to consult with them and they never cooperate in the
[00:03:18] Consensual decision making for a child. So the court can actually change the order and allow for a sole managing conservator to exclusively have those rights. So that’s the conservatorship portion. Um, in a nutshell, and there’s, there’s several other enum enumerated rights in the order itself. Uh, many of them don’t come into play with the right to service and earnings of a child.
[00:03:40] We’ve talked before, unless your child is Macaulay caulkin or, you know, they’re going through some scenarios and even with nil or name, image, and likeness, um, many of those provisions don’t kick in, uh, until the age of 18 or they’re not supposed to. So we haven’t really seen that pop up as much, and many of those rights don’t really come into play.
[00:03:58] Um, there is the right to [00:04:00] religious and moral training of the child and or children. You don’t really see that coming into place a lot, play a lot either because courts don’t generally like to interfere with your right to, um, your first amendment rights for the child. Um, so those big three are really the ones we fight for in conservatorship and then possession and access.
[00:04:17] The, the family codes actually changed as of recent, uh, in the last couple years were used to have a standard possession schedule, which is your first, third and fifth weekends, Friday to Monday, uh, and then the Thursday from six to eight, uh, on each week. During the regular school year, that’s actually changed to the best interest of the child being presumed that the expanded standard is in the best interest, which is your Thursday to Monday on the first, third and fifth and your Thursday overnights.
[00:04:44] And so that breaks down to about 46% of the time, 44% of the time, depending on the calendar year. And, and, and then we hear a lot of calls on the 50/ 50 and what that looks like. So obviously seven days in a week, there’s a 2, 2, 3 schedule. One party has Monday, Tuesday, the [00:05:00] other party has Wednesday, Thursday, alternate the weekends, or you have a week on, week off scenario.
[00:05:04] So there’s, there’s different ways to structure that and it really depends on whether you’re filing for a modification or an original petition, uh, on what you can do. And whether those rights impact the parent with the right to establish the residence on the visitation and access. And then, the financial, uh, aspects of it are the third prong.
[00:05:24] Of the, the custody consideration is the child support. So obviously the possession and access schedule can impact the child support depending on, uh, the amount of time one party has. And even 46% of the time, I hear all the time, Well, I’ve got the child, you know, 46% of the time. And then, uh, You know, wife or ex-wife or mother or dad is asking me to come pick up the child on Thursdays and then I have ’em during the week.
[00:05:46] And so you see scenarios where parties feel that the statutory, uh, predicate that requires the 20% for one, 25%, for two 30% for three kids is unfair or unjust. And we’ve, we’ve [00:06:00] gotten into that before, but. The code really enumerates. If you have an expanded standard schedule, even if a party’s giving you more time with a child, that child support is statutory.
[00:06:10] And you know, we get into caps where if you make, you know, $20,000 a month, uh, the court still treats it as if you make 9,300 bucks a month. So what that means is if you’re multiplying the 20% for one or the 25% for two, that $9,300 is where you do the multiplier. So that can be unfair if you represent some athletes, um, who have, you know, or actually if you’re on the side of the mother or father of the non breadwinner, um, where those caps exist.
[00:06:39] Um, and also if you’re right at the threshold, but you’re getting about 50% of the time, it can feel very unfair because you’re getting 20, 25, 30% of your income dinged and you’re right there at that threshold cap. So those are the three aspects of custody in a nutshell. Okay. Yeah. You know, going back to sole custody too, a lot of people come into your office saying, I want [00:07:00] sole custody, but it’s not really that easy to get.
[00:07:02] Can you explain what people need to show or prove in order to get sole custody? In the family code, we have presumptions, and those presumptions are designated and dictated by statute. Okay? So, um, one of the presumptions is that joint managing conservatorship is in the best interest of the child or children.
[00:07:22] So because of that presumption, what you’re dealing with is a, is the court in order to go away from the joint managing conservatorship or JMC, as we call it, To get to sole, you have to show by clear and convincing evidence that joint managing conservatorship is not in the best interest of the child or children.
[00:07:40] And again, that goes back to family violence or situations where one party is just non-participatory in the, uh, in the child rearing. Or they just completely create roadblocks, uh, in scenarios where a parent is trying to make decisions in the best interest for a child. So when I hear people say they want sole [00:08:00] just out of the gate, I tell ’em, Look, we can, we can do a lot of things that create the sole environment where you have the Trump card, you have the parent with the right to make decisions, but you don’t have to call it sole.
[00:08:11] Um, so it’s more palatable or an. Easier for the court to make decisions to sign off on the order, and you don’t have the burden of proof, uh, with the evidence that’s necessary to get to that threshold, which saves clients money in the long run. All right. Well, I’d love to call Andrea into this conversation because she’s gone through some custody battles with you as her attorney and Andrea, you had to navigate a really, a challenging joint custody situation, um, where you shared custody with your ex, but you managed to make it work.
[00:08:40] So can you share any tips for parents in a similar situation? I think the most important thing is that Justin shared all the differences and what, where you can make decisions as a parent. The most important thing is that you have most of the rights. I think that’s the most important thing for me.
[00:08:56] I had the educational right. I had the, um, [00:09:00] decide to determine where we could live. Um, and then medical decisions. Of course we did. It’s always the most important thing. Always look at what the kids, what’s, what’s in the best interest of the kids. I think that’s the most important thing, and we forget that sometimes in thinking what we, what we would like to have or what would, would work for us.
[00:09:18] But the most important thing is what’s best, what’s in the best interest for the kids? And you have to take yourself out of the equation. I always, what helped me a lot, is to look at my own parents. How would I as a kid have felt if I would only be able to see my dad or only be able to see my mom, or if I’ll only be able to spend weekends with one of them.
[00:09:37] You don’t want that. You would want both of them. Kids love both their parents, and even if you disagree with what the other parent is doing. For example, we eat healthy at our house. The other house eats unhealthy food. Is it really gonna kill the kids if they have, uh, McDonald’s a whole weekend with the other parent?
[00:09:54] It doesn’t. It’s not gonna kill them. So you have to take yourself out of it and then just really see. Really [00:10:00] think about the kids, they’re gonna be different. And, and the difference is you’re not gonna fix them. You didn’t fix them in your marriage, so you’re for sure not gonna fix them now when you’re separated.
[00:10:09] So I think that’s the biggest part. And I made lots of mistakes and tried to control the situation. You can’t control the situation. So if you have a. Most of the decisions you can make yourself, that’s important. Um, and then, and then again, look at the kids. What, what do the kids need? And kids are very smart.
[00:10:25] They figured it out over time. So there were lots of issues that we had, but at some point, take a step back. Kids are smart, they’re gonna see who’s, who’s a good parent. Um, they’ll learn from bad situations too. And unless the kid is in any kind of danger they’re, they’re gonna be okay. Kids are very resilient.
[00:10:42] And, and, and again, if there’s danger, then you have me to step in. But otherwise, just let it go. The kid’s gonna be just fine. Yeah. Mary, I, I, I do want to, it’s really important that when we say sole managing conservatorship, or I want sole. That doesn’t mean a hundred percent of the time or a hundred percent of the rights.
[00:10:58] Those are different [00:11:00] tranches inside of the sole, right? So when someone says, I want sole conservatorship. What’s really important for them to get out of that from their lawyer, uh, when they’re doing a consultation is, what is sole managing conservatorship? Because it does not mean a hundred percent of time, and it does not necessarily mean a hundred percent of rights, it can be sole rights individually inside of that.
[00:11:20] Rights tranche, and it can be different in possession and access. So when they say sole versus joint, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s gonna change the possession schedule, and it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna get sole on all rights. Andrea pointed out, if you don’t have issues with medical or psychiatric decisions, specifically medical.
[00:11:38] Let’s just take that one, break that one down. Those are, those are medical rights that don’t, that involve invasive procedures that are non-emergency. Okay. So that’s really important to distinguish. That doesn’t happen very often. Hopefully it never happens to your child, but to, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars fighting over a medical right that doesn’t [00:12:00] involve an emergency, but an invasive medical procedure sometimes can really.
[00:12:05] Be just, I’m gonna use the word dumb. Um, because it doesn’t happen a whole lot. And if it is, if you don’t have a child with a lot of specific medical surgical, invasive procedure needs, then you spin your wheels and a lot of resources that you may not need to. And I can support that. We have four kids and, and, uh, in four, with all four kids, there was never a situation and they’re now, the youngest ones are 17.
[00:12:26] There was never a situation where we had to cross that bridge. Never. If anything happens, you take ’em to a doctor, you inform the other person what’s going on, they can come to the doctor or can come to, even if they have a whatever hole in the head, go to the hospital. You can let the other parent know, and then you take it from there.
[00:12:42] So it’s, it’s not really, not that important. But residence is important, for example, where you can live and, and, and, and educational decisions are important. In the medical field, we never had issues with that. So, so kind of as a follow up to you, Justin, too. Then, um, Andrea kind of shared some tips on [00:13:00] how, you know, she made it work and obviously she made some mistakes along the way.
[00:13:03] How do you counsel clients on taking certain steps or, or to keep themselves outta trouble or keep themselves from having a lot of challenges with the other parent? What are some good tips you could provide to your clients or that you. I think the biggest thing, Mary, is to remember that if you stop projecting and just start stating facts in your communications, you know, you, you’re crazy.
[00:13:30] This child, this child, you know, just goes over there and they can’t stand being over there. They don’t wanna be with you. You have that kind of communication, you’re gonna shut the other side down. So what I always encourage clients to do is say, it is just kind of take the wind out of the sails, as I call it.
[00:13:46] Ask the other parent, Hey, we’ve got these issues coming up with this school. I wanted to get your take on it. Even if you don’t care what the response is, simply asking that question and letting them know that they can participate in the communication is probably the biggest [00:14:00] key to allowing some form of open communication.
[00:14:02] And I tell clients this all the time. I don’t care if you’re completely faking this. The i If you want to have a bullet for the gun, I always use the bullet for the gun analogy. If you wanna have a bullet for the gun, ask them their opinion. Either they don’t respond, that’s exhibit number one, or they do respond well to pound sand.
[00:14:21] You’re a terrible mother. How could you do this? You’re a bad father. You’re not there. You don’t know. Uh, you know when you’re asking open ended questions and you’re presenting that Fact pattern to a court in the form of evidence. Hey judge, look on, On March 13th, I sent an email request asking the other party about their opinion of the doctor and, and who they would recommend, and they said, You know, you’re a terrible mother.
[00:14:44] That’s their response. How do you think that looks to a judge? Now all of a sudden we’re getting into the conversation of whether that parent even needs that right anymore because they’re putting up that roadblock we spoke of and now you have actual evidence of it. So, you know, I get, I get parties all [00:15:00] the time.
[00:15:00] They come in. And they think they have this evidence that is gonna be the deal breaker or deal maker, uh, in a custody case. And they say some very terrible things and then they’re, they’re like, Justin, look at this response. And I’m like, Well, did you see the first part of that text message or that email communication?
[00:15:16] So I really try to get people to follow the rules. Uh, I tell people all the time, The reason I do this job is not. To divide up toasters or decide on an extra Wednesday or Thursday is to make sure that kids are not involved in an environment where they have two parents that are going at each other’s throats.
[00:15:35] And when you get them out of the middle of that and you have one parent that’s doing the right thing, even if the other parent is not, but what we’re doing, our part and our clients are doing the right. At least we can do one of two things. We can either shut that other parent out of that decision making, uh, altogether, or we can show a court, Hey, listen, this other party is the bad actor.
[00:15:56] They’re the ones that need to go to co-parenting counseling. They’re the party that [00:16:00] needs these injunctions in place. Um, and so it is, those are the bullets for the gun and not that. I want people thinking, Well, how do I get the bullet for the gun so I can go shoot this person? But sometimes it’s necessary and sometimes you have to have that information, uh, available, uh, for clear and convincing evidence to show a judge that those decisions need to be made by one party.
[00:16:21] Um, kind of taking a little bit of a turn here. So there are some situations that you’ve dealt with as an attorney where parents want to reassert their parental rights. Um, they say they’ve been out of the picture for a while, maybe they’ve spent time in jail or they’ve had substance abuse issues. Um, what steps must they take to regain custody or at least get more access to their kids?
[00:16:43] So I’m gonna go, for example here, to one of my favorite clients of all time. And I have a lot of people that I really, really care about and think about, but one of my favorite clients of all times came into my office, uh, completely intoxicated multiple times. And you could tell he was a good guy, but he was really [00:17:00] struggling with addiction.
[00:17:01] And, you know, the tape recordings, uh, of his son and him in conversation really would make most people cringe. And over the years I told him, I finally said, Hey listen, you know, you can continue to pay me a bunch of money. Uh, but at the end of the day, if you don’t do what I say, uh, with and get yourself in check what’s gonna happen is you’re just gonna throw money at the wall and nothing’s gonna come to fruition.
[00:17:24] And your child’s gonna suffer from having you out of his life. And candidly, I don’t want you in your child’s life, uh, if this is how you’re gonna behave. Um, and you know, that may frustrate you cuz I’m your attorney. But I don’t, I don’t just walk around going, Hey, let’s put, you know, addicts and drug users and abusers in a position of control because I’m good at litigation.
[00:17:44] I don’t do that. And so in that sense, the situation. That client had to be basically reinstituted into the general terms of visitation and access. Um, and it started out with supervised and you know, it [00:18:00] started out with, uh, Saturdays and having some people watch him. And then it turned into more and more, uh, visitation because the client actually made it.
[00:18:08] Massive life change. Um, and you know, the other party is always gonna doubt whether that person is capable of that life change. But what I saw was a true change in not only the mindset and heart of my client, but how he actually interacted with the child, the quality of interaction. And you know, what actually ended up happening in that case was the mother just never let the past go.
[00:18:34] Um, and the court saw that over time and they said, you know, look, I don’t know what else you can do. He’s got, you know, he’s got all these stars from, you know, sobriety and he’s got these, these people and he is not trying to take this child away from you, ma’am. But you’re getting to the point where you’re crossing that alienation bridge where you are telling, uh, the child that the dad is a drunk and he’s never gonna repair and he’s never gonna be okay.
[00:18:56] And all the while you’re telling. A child that half of him [00:19:00] or her is, is a bad person, is a drunk, can never make changes. And so the court actually did a total custody flip in that case. Um, and it took a long time and it took a lot of resources and. A lot of patience and a lot of trust. But the reinstitution, we don’t like to just jump right in.
[00:19:17] If you’ve, if you’ve been a parent that has been uninvolved because of your own doing or because the other party has shut you out, the courts aren’t generally just gonna throw you back into the mix of that visitation and access, and that can feel. Like you’re watching paint dry on the wall and it can feel like too much time is going by, but the reinstitution is really important for the child’s sake, okay?
[00:19:40] Because you, the courts, don’t want to flip that schedule and make this completely stressful on the child. So take yourself out again of the equation and think about your child. If you haven’t been around your child for two years or three years, or you’ve been incarcerated, or you just have a substance abuse issue, or whatever else, the case may be
[00:19:57] The courts want to slowly integrate that in a [00:20:00] manner that’s healthy for the child so that the relationship is not forced. It creates a much better environment. And, you know, I’m not always saying that the courts are right on how long it takes, but, but certainly in situations where we’re doing that reinstitution, there are available resources, uh, and there’s ways to.
[00:20:17] If you’re on the other side of that though, Mary, where you’ve got a parent who’s been uninvolved, it’s natural to be like, Look, I don’t want to introduce this parent to this child. I don’t want this person around. They’re gonna do this again. They’re gonna go away again. They’re going to have substance abuse issues again.
[00:20:35] They’re gonna, you know, be in situations where they’re making statements to a child that are emotionally harmful. And, and the courts look at this like, Look, we’re gonna give people a chance. Um, and we’re gonna try to remember that the healthiest thing for a child is to have two parents involved and we have checks and balances.
[00:20:53] And if you have a good lawyer and you have some resources, we can make sure those checks and balances, um, are [00:21:00] protection measures for the child in the form of a remedy. So don’t always think of this from a standpoint of, Oh my gosh, if this guy gets Saturday from noon to two and then the next. Three months go by, all of a sudden he gets a Saturday overnight or she gets a Saturday overnight that’s harming the child.
[00:21:16] You have to think of it from a perspective of the best interest, which is to have both parents involved, and if you have two parents, loving parents, uh, a loving village, that’s the best thing for any kid in the world. And you can talk to any psychologist. On the planet and they’ll tell you that. And, we have to have trust that people can heal.
[00:21:35] And it’s very, very hard to represent the client where, you know, all of a sudden that new institution or integration of the other parent who’s been absent for a while, it’s hard for them to trust. And I get it. And those are the hard cases for me because I tell people, Look, you’re gonna pay me money and you’re gonna feel like the noose that has been put around them is loosening and loosening and loosening.
[00:21:56] And over time that gets frustrating cuz you feel like your lawyer is quote, [00:22:00] not fighting for you, or the court system is flawed. Uh, but at the end of the day, the goal is again, co-parenting. And so it’s, it’s, it’s a slow process, but there’s, there’s ways to do it. And I always encourage parents if you, if you’ve been absent, get involved.
[00:22:15] Start with step one, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Don’t wait. Um, you know, there’s nothing worse than what I see. Parents who’ve just given up on the fact that they can’t be around their child cause it’s been too long, or that other parent is getting in the way of a form of a roadblock.
[00:22:32] You know, I didn’t get to know my dad until later in life. And I am so thankful every day, uh, that I had that opportunity. And he was not one of those people that was uninvolved. I just never knew him as dad. And you know, when you learn those things over time, it creates a sense of confidence that you’re loved, you’re wanted.
[00:22:50] Um, I know how to love my kids now because of trips we took when I was in high school that I never got to do at a young age. And, I try to project that on my clients and let them know, Look, [00:23:00] I may not be the most normal or sane dude in the world, but, but I got a lot out of that relationship. And I think even Andrea can attest, she went through hell in a handbasket and they didn’t play nice in the sandbox together all the time.
[00:23:11] But, you know, those kids have part of their dad in them. From Birth and some of those things and some of those qualities and disciplinary tactics and, you know, toughness and all those things that you go through with same sex couples, uh, you know, man, woman, you know, whatever the case may be, it’s necessary to have the more love around them in that communication.
[00:23:31] So, , and then who are we to judge, right? I mean, who am I to judge the other person? That’s somebody else’s job? That’s not my job. And I think that bad situations also teach kids a lot. I mean, we are raising adults here. We’re not raising kids that are gonna be kids forever. They’re gonna learn from those situations too.
[00:23:47] Like I said, they’re smart. They figure it out. What’s right for them? And then, and in a situation when they’re getting a second chance, they might later on in life, be in a situation where they need a second chance and they see with their mom or their dad that they got a second [00:24:00] chance and they were able to make it.
[00:24:01] That gives them confidence. So again, we forget sometimes we focus on ourselves as parents and do not focus. They were raising young adults here. There might be only five or six right now, but they will be adults at some point. There’s always a lesson in those situations for the kids that we might not see right now.
[00:24:18] And I, like I said, I always say that I made a lot of mistakes in raising that cuz I, you wanna, as a mother, you wanna protect your kids, but sometimes you just have to let go. Cause daddy is. Very important too, in other ways. And again, I might not agree with him. And in this case, I didn’t agree with him at all.
[00:24:33] That’s the part of the reason we got divorced. But, they’re 50/50. They’re 50 mama. They’re 50 years old, and they figure out their own way. Never forget that. I love that. So, uh, just as we close out here, Justin, we promise that we tell people how child custody is handled differently in Texas than in other states.
[00:24:52] Can you just briefly touch on that before we close today? Yeah, so I, I don’t pretend to know the [00:25:00] laws of all the states in the union. Um, But what I can tell you is that Texas treats child custody in a very statutory way. And, people get frustrated by that. And, and when I say statutory way, when we talk about best interests and we talk about.
[00:25:19] You know, the situations that create, um, scenarios, for example, you know, the standard or expanded standard being a presumption, those presumptions in the state of Texas have to be overcome. So we start out with those boxes. And really good attorneys and, you know, really, um, creative thinkers in our space really try to get outside that box and think about possession schedules, uh, that really marry up with work schedules and quality time with a child or children.
[00:25:51] And I think that’s important because even though we have these boxes in Texas of expanded standard possession, scheduled child support, [00:26:00] um, and rights and duties, uh, which I don’t like boxes, uh, very much, but we have ’em. And it’s not always that way. In other states, you see other states with very, very minuscule uh, and limited.
[00:26:11] Possession and access schedules that don’t really have enforceability to them. Uh, and there’s pros and cons to that. Um, I get a lot of out-of-state orders that we have to try to enforce, correct and or modify. And I think it’s really important to, um, understand that in Texas, in order to have an enforceable order, the reason you want enforceability is if somebody doesn’t follow it.
[00:26:33] In order to have an enforceability or enforceable order, you need to have the who, what, when, where, and why, when the possession schedule is going to happen, where the exchange is gonna be, what time it is. Um, and think through those things so that you can gather evidence in the event that you have a party that is not showing up on time or doesn’t drop the child off where they need to be.
[00:26:53] In other states you see very loosely based custody orders. Possession and access will be, uh, a third of [00:27:00] the time as agreed by the mother. Well, or the father. Well, I mean, that’s not really enforceable, right? Parties disagree. They come to Texas, they move here and they say, Well, Justin, here’s my order that I’ve spent $20,000 for in California, but it doesn’t have, um, these very specifics.
[00:27:17] And we’ve been arguing about this a lot. And I said, Yeah, your, your order doesn’t really say anything. It just says that you can move and that you have the right to establish the residence and you guys are. Good luck working together for 30% of the time. Well, what is 30%? When is 30%? Is it during the school year?
[00:27:33] What? What’s contemplated in the event of travel? How do you do that with activities in school and all that? So I would say Texas has done a really good job of making their orders fatter or thicker, if you will, more pages to them, and that that’s kind of frustrating. To some, to some parents when you’re having to go through the 35 page order and you’re like, Wait, this is just, uh, Thursday to Monday, What is all this other language?
[00:27:57] All that other language has been fought through by [00:28:00] attorneys, and I know people think attorneys just make fights where fights don’t need to be sometimes, and sometimes they do, but at the end of the day, when you have those enforceable provision in those thick orders, And those boxes, uh, that we have are very imperative to create enforceability.
[00:28:16] It’s also equally imperative that a lawyer gets outside and thinks outside of that box to create a possession schedule. That’s really beneficial for the parties. I get so many calls, I’m like, Get that 50/50 or the calculation of a percentage out of your head. There are apps actually right now that you put in the days so that a party can know I have 44.2% of the time, and I’m like, What is that?
[00:28:40] Point two have a difference. What? How does that make a difference? Are you able to be there? Do you work nights? Do you have, are you a nurse or a firefighter that has a different possession schedule? Get the percentage out of your head, because if you’ve got 43% of the time, but 38% of that 43%, you’re not there.
[00:28:59] Then what is the [00:29:00] 43%? And now all of a sudden you have the other party saying, Well, stepmom or stepdad is raising the child. They bring you back to court. You pay the lawyers more money, all that. So we really try to think through so that you don’t return. And that involves thinking about the box and trying to get outside for the best interest of a child.
[00:29:17] And that, I think is the fundamental difference of custody provisions in the state of Texas. Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up today. Do you guys have any closing comments on child custody here in Texas? Not at the moment. I think, I think it’s really important that we continue these dialogues, not just to think about how to weaponize child custody cases, but really get people thinking about how to do the right thing and be the right people.
[00:29:44] And as long as we’re making some small impact in our little world here on, on the on, on the humans and the universe. And remember that you’re impacting and raising future generations. Um, this is more than just rights and duties. This is more than just family law. This is really thinking about [00:30:00] humanity, and especially in these times where humanity is all over the place.
[00:30:04] We have a duty here and I’m gonna do that duty. And whether you like it or not, I’m gonna do me. And if you don’t like it, Well, there’s plenty of attorneys who will do whatever you’d like them to do at a cost. Uh, but let’s just keep an open mind and let’s keep these podcasts flowing. And we want, uh, user input in the future, uh, to think about topics that, that they have questions about.
[00:30:24] We want participation, and we’re gonna continue to get better throughout this process. And thank you all for listening. And if you’d like to get in touch with the Sisemore Law Firm, you can call us at (817) 336-4444 or you can visit www.lawyerdfw.com . And of course, please follow the podcast. If you know somebody that could benefit from this information, um, please share it with them.
[00:30:45] And again, thanks so much for listening and have a great day. Thank you for listening to In Your Best Interest with Texas Divorce Attorney Justin Sisemore and entrepreneur, Andrea Jones. The content presented here is provided for information only and should not be [00:31:00] construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. Click the follow button to be notified when new episodes become available.