Issue: Defeated a Mom’s attempt to move a 12-year-old child to rural Oklahoma.
Facts: Mom “just” wanted to move the child over 3 hours away to rural Oklahoma because she had reunited with an old HS boyfriend online and wanted to live where he was, which would have meant my Dad client would have lost all his Thursday nites and never get a chance to have lunch with his son at school, attend school plays, sporting events, etc.
At trial, Mom insisted on the Judge interviewing the child and since he was 12, the Judge had to do so even though he warned the parties he had no interest in it because he was not going to let a child dictate where he lived. Apparently, it backfired, however, because the child told the judge he did not want to move to Oklahoma. So that, combined with my cross-examination of Mom which showed quite a few discrepancies between her deposition and trial testimony and several flaws in her rationale for moving, resulted in the Judge letting us know he was ready to rule without me even having to call my Dad client to testify.
Result: In addition to denying her request to move the child’s residence to Oklahoma, the Judge granted us our two requests to modify certain other aspects of the order and also awarded us a judgment for over $10,000.00 in attorney’s fees against Mom.(!) (The Judge didn’t appreciate that Mom had bought property there and committed to the boyfriend BEFORE she got permission from the Court to move instead of after.)
If you have a relocation issue, give my office a call, and let’s see if I can help you with it!
– Jon R. Boyd
Issue: My Client, the Father, asked for the Court to order his two children to move back to Texas after their 3-year absence and residence in another state resulting when Mom legally moved them away.
Facts: In their divorce, the children’s residence with Mom was restricted to Tarrant and Dallas Counties as long as Dad lived in that same restricted area. After Dad failed to pay attention to his Decree and unwittingly moved out of Tarrant and Dallas Counties into a neighboring county and the restriction was lifted, Mom seized the opportunity and quickly moved the parties’ two young boys from DFW to the State of Washington. Dad further compounded his error by failing to act for the first eight months after the move, then finally hired me in the hope I could get them back.
We filed a Petition to Modify to seek a return of the boys’ residence to DFW. The first battle was interstate jurisdiction since the boys had lived in Washington state for about a year at that point, but I was successful in persuading the Court to retain jurisdiction here. The next battle was a temporary hearing, which was difficult because we had to prove ‘significant impairment’ in order to get the boys back at that stage, and the Court ruled against us on that. We then set the case for final trial before a Jury; however, in the meantime, the sitting Judge was ousted in the election and a new Judge came in. After meeting with the new judge, both sides agreed to waive a jury and try the case to the Judge.
Result: After a lengthy final trial involving thousands of pages of exhibits and numerous witnesses, the new Judge ruled in Dad’s favor and ordered the return of the boys to DFW, despite Mom and step-dad and the boys having lived in Washington at that point for almost three years. (!). This is a significant decision and very unusual!
Issue: The mother requested a jury trial in an attempt to persuade the jury to allow her to move the parties’ child to the foreign country where she was from.
Result: Won jury trial. Father was awarded joint custody and the jury denied his ex-wife’s request to move the child out of the country.
Issue: Represented wife in the divorce.
Result: Settled on eve of trial. Obtained 100% of community estate for W, including all of c/p H’s employment benefits. Had threatened suit for damages arising from abuse during the marriage.
Issue: War of the Roses divorce. Mother hired expensive lawyers, requested a jury trial, tried to intimidate father into accepting supervised visitation.
Result: We stood up to her, eventually maintained joint custody, extended standard possession, sharing of rights, restriction on her residence, etc.
Issue: Property Division.
Result: Husband gets to keep all of his retirement and gets unequal division in his favor after wife’s adultery and overall meanness shown.
Issue: The client who represented himself in a divorce involving an over five million dollar estate allowed himself to get defaulted by opposing counsel because he was served with process but did not answer the suit. (Client threw the papers away!)
Result: New trial obtained. We filed a Motion for New Trial and the motion was granted after a contested hearing, thereby reinstating the case and allowing our client another chance to obtain a fairer property division and better visitation with his children.
Issue: My multi-millionaire husband client and his wife had extensive international property and business interests. Unfortunately, the Husband had engaged in numerous indiscretions, including having a baby with a much younger woman.
Result: Even though the husband faced exposure to a disproportionate division of the estate against him, the case settled on an equal division basis.
Issue: My client, a young father of two infant sons, kept coming home from work after leaving his boys with his wife and finding that the boys were becoming more and more skittish, crying, clinging and scared.
Result: His wife claimed to have no idea why they would act this way. He suspected something was very wrong. He consulted with me. I suggested that he secretly set up video surveillance inside his own home (it was legal in this circumstance but always consult counsel before electronically recording). The video shockingly revealed much worse than he had ever suspected: his wife had been terribly physically and emotionally abusive of the boys while he had been at work! Using the video, we obtained emergency custody and won custody at the hearing. W was put on very limited, supervised visitation, ordered into Anger Management and made to pay guideline CS.
Issue: I represented Father/Husband in a very high conflict divorce and child custody case. H had married W and had a young daughter together, but H also had adopted W’s two teenage children by her prior marriage after she had had those children’s father’s parental rights terminated for “child, spousal and substance abuse”.
Result: W decided to go back to her ex-husband and moved out, taking the children. H filed for divorce and sought custody. This case involved a number of complex factors such as surreptitious parental alienation by wife (we eventually caught her on tape at my advice); allegations by W that H had severely abused her and her oldest daughter; W accusing her own son of sexual abuse of his own sister after the son sided with his adoptive father for custody of his little sister at the first hearing; W being very manipulative of the judicial system and insisting to various agencies she had been “abused” by H as a way to get Pro Bono representation from several lawyers; W trying to reconcile with her ex-husband and reintroduce him as their “real” father to the children my client had adopted, contrary to the Judge’s ruling; a mysterious and sudden appointment by the Judge of an Amicus lawyer for the children when no one requested it and the Amicus having an agenda to help W win custody; and numerous efforts by W to avoid complying with discovery. H wanted, and we won, custody of his youngest (i.e., birth) daughter.
Issue: Dad retained me when Mom was allowing the young son to be in presence of a bad boyfriend and her uncle was a threat of abuse.
Result: She initially agreed to just surrender custody but changed her mind. She was a creative and prodigious liar and came up with many wild allegations about Dad and his family, but all were proven unfounded and Dad retained custody with Mom ordered to pay child support.
Issue: Custody case between mother and father, involving 3 elementary school-aged children. Mother was a stay-at-home parent who home-schooled the children. Father was the income-earner who traveled half the month for work and who was found to be having an affair.
Result: Father won custody after it was proved the mother had mental health concerns and the children were being ignored.
Issue: Custody case between mother and father, involving a 4 y/o boy. Father was the only income earner as the mother had been a stay-at-home parent for the past 2 years.
Result: After raising concerns about the mother’s mental health, her use of synthetic substances, and probable affairs, the father won custody of his son.
Issue: Custody case between father and a stay-at-home mother, who accused the father of sexually and physically abusing daughter. Mother had CPS involved and had everyone believing that the father was abusive.
Result: Won custody for father. We proved the mother was alienating the child, improperly coaching the child to lie, and having an affair.
Issue: Custody case between father and mother, involving a 5 y/o girl and a 9 y/o boy in Collin County. Mother had been a stay-at-home mom before she filed for divorce.
Result: Won SMC/Sole Custody for father. Father got the kids and all decision-making rights; Mom got limited, supervised access and was ordered to pay child support. Father kept all of his 401K and was awarded attorney’s fees. Father has the right to move out of Collin County.
Issue: Custody case between mother and father, involving a 16½ y/o girl. The girl had decided she wanted to live with her father and signed a choice to that effect. Mom decided to fight to keep her daughter because she did not believe that living with Dad would be in the child’s best interests.
Result: We first transferred the case from Dallas to Denton County, believing a Denton judge would be more sympathetic to Mom’s case. Then, after a contested trial, the judge left the daughter with Mom even though the daughter strongly wanted to live with Dad.
Issue: Custody case involving a 17 y/o girl who did not live with either parent.
Result: Obtained custody for father. Stopped his child support from going to his ex-wife. Support now goes directly to the child.
Issue: Custody case between father and mother, who was believed to be using drugs.
Result: Custody won for father before the judge.
Issue: Custody case between out-of-town father and mother. Father had not seen his child much due to distance and the interference of the mother.
Result: Won custody for out-of-town dad.
Issue: Child custody issue between mother and father.
Result: Successful defense of Mom’s attempt to take equal custody away from Dad.
Issue: Custody Decision for Mom and Her Husband in Tarrant County
I inherited this case from another lawyer after it had been dormant for quite a while. Mom had lost temporary custody during the pendency of the case. A social study had been done and recommended no changes to the current schedule. Dad had the upper hand because of the violent reactions of Mom’s new husband to Dad’s seemingly “innocent” conduct. I obtained numerous videos, however, showing that Dad had been engaging in very bizarre and harassing behavior toward Mom and her new husband.
Result: I convinced the Judge that Mom should have primary custody and that Dad’s visitation should be supervised until he took and passed a psychological evaluation. I also obtained a judgment against Dad for over $15,000 attorney’s fees.
Issue: Custody case between father and mother, involving a 16 y/o girl after a two-day trial in a Dallas County case.
Result: Won SMC/Sole Custody for father. Even though the girl told the judge she strongly wanted to live with her mother, and her Father lived in another part of Texas, Judge found it was in her best interest to live with her dad. Mom was ordered to pay guideline support and we obtained judgment for $10,000.00 in attorney’s fees.
Issue: Custody case involving a 12 y/o.
Result: Won for father, a local dentist. Mother ordered to pay child support at the cap level of 20% of the first $7,500.00 of her net income, with health insurance.
Issue: Custody case involving two fathers who each had a child with the same woman. Mother had remarried to a man who had been violent toward her in the presence of the children.
Result: Handling the two cases together, we “teamed up” on the mother and won custody of both children.
Issue: Custody case between father and ex-wife. Dad lived out of state.
Result: Even though the court-appointed psychologist recommended in favor of the mother, the father won custody and the right to take the child back to his home state. The mother received long-distance visitation and was ordered to pay child support.
Issue: Custody case involving four girls.
Result: Won custody for dad despite the recommendation of social study evaluation.
Issue: The client received several hundred thousand dollars in a settlement involving another matter.
Result: Got child support cut in half for a client.
Issue: The client earned $86,000.00 last year, which was a big increase from prior years. Attorney General tried to increase support from the former level to guideline amount, which would have doubled the support.
Result: Jon argued the “additional factors” in the Family Code and no increase was ordered.Issue and Result: I defended a Dad against a child support increase. Mom had gotten Temporary Orders making Dad pay the full $1,800 per month maximum child support; however, after I took over the case and set it for trial, we got the support reduced to $1000 per month even though, on paper, Dad arguably owed the full amount.
Issue: The client had gotten himself in trouble with the local, rural judge after two years of being behind with his child support and being disrespectful. He had three prior attorneys. Jailed once before, he was about to go to jail again if he didn’t pay “all his paycheck except he could keep $100 for himself.”
Result: Jon saved the client from going to jail and obtained a fixed arrearage payment he could handle instead of paying his entire paycheck.
Issue: Child support cases in Smith County (Tyler) before a judge who is very hard on men who owe child support. Jon was asked to go to Tyler by these clients when they had a difficult time finding attorneys to represent them in this particular court.
Result: Jon successfully defended several child support enforcement cases in Smith County before the said judge. Successes included: getting clients out of jail, keeping them from going to jail, favorably amending their probation terms, etc.
Issue: Dad, divorced years earlier with one daughter, came to me seeking more visitation time with his child because he had finally gotten the chance to move closer to his ex-wife and daughter that he’d lived with for quite a while.
Result: We filed in court asking for “50-50” with realistically a goal of getting extended standard possession. Well, Mom fiercely opposed him getting any more time and it turned out the judge philosophically opposed “50-50” unless the parties lived in the same school area. After the suit was filed, his daughter began saying she wanted to live with Dad.
We amended our suit to ask for primary custody and requested a social study to have the girl interviewed. The study confirmed the child’s desire to live with her Dad. In addition, we also had uncovered some evidence against Mom and her current husband in the deposition. Dad, who started out just wanting more visitation, ended up winning full, primary custody, moving his daughter to a new school, with Mom having standard visitation and paying child support.
Issue: H and W divorced several years prior.
Result: Tensions built. Then, after his ex- W came to his house one time with her current police officer husband and caused an ugly scene, with cursing, name-calling, threatening Dad and his wife in front of the child, then denying possession for a month in the form of telling the child not to go with his Dad for visits while putting the child out on the front porch to tell his Dad “he didn’t want to go”, Dad finally hired me. We won Dad custody of the child.
Issue: Dad hired me because his son’s 2nd grade age child reported facts to his teacher indicating that he had been kicked out of his home in the cold by his mom, that mom had yelled at and slapped him, and other concerns.
Result: We filed for a modification of custody and got an emergency order followed by a temporary hearing. We subpoenaed the teachers and school counselor, who confirmed what Dad had been told. Dad won custody. Mom is required to undergo psychotherapy and pay child support.
Issue: Dad hired me bc his ex-wife, the primary custodial parent, had suddenly fallen in love with another man who lived in another city several hundred miles away and wanted to take the child with her.
Result: We stopped the move and eventually got custody. She chose to move away even if she couldn’t take her child with her. She now has standard possession and pays all her own travel expenses to visit with the child.
Issue: Dad decided to seek Modification of Prior Divorce Decree to Impose Geographical Restriction and keep Mom from moving the child to Tennessee.
Facts: Both parties were from another state (about 12 hours drive from Texas) but had moved to Texas in the early 2000s. After living in Texas for a few years, Dad and Mom divorced three years ago. At the time of the divorce, Mom wanted to return to the former state of residence with the child, Dad wanted to stay here. The parties compromised and settled in mediation for Mom to stay in Texas for three more years. After the three years elapsed, Mom said she was returning to the former state. Dad hired me to modify the Decree to keep the geographical restriction in place permanently.
After a Temporary Hearing Where the Judge Ordered the Child to Remain in Texas Pending Final Trial, Mom Demanded a Jury Trial for Final Hearing
Result: In a unanimous verdict, the jury found, as we requested for Dad, that there had been a material and substantial change in circumstances to justify modifying the Decree now to impose a restriction on the child’s residence and that doing so would be in the child’s best interest. As a result, the Decree was modified to impose a geographical restriction on the child’s residence to Collin County and surrounding counties.
Issue: Modification of two-year-old divorce. Father had obtained standard rights in divorce. Mother was a stay-at-home mom with no bad facts against her other than her refusal to co-parent with Father.
Result: Obtained modification to give father equal possession and rights.
Issue: Modification of custody in Dallas County involving 3 y/o and 5 y/o girls.
Result: Modified custody and won primarily for father. Mom was given SPO and ordered to pay guideline CS.
Issue: Father, an executive with a large company, wanted to achieve a more equal parenting status with his children than he received in his divorce. He wanted approximately equal time, lowered child support, more decision-making powers, etc. Before hiring us, the former spouse refused to consider any changes.
Result: We set the case for a jury trial. Just before trial, ex-wife agreed to a settlement, giving our client virtually everything he’d requested. Issue: Dad decided to seek Modification of Prior Divorce Decree to Impose Geographical Restriction and keep Mom from moving the child to Tennessee.
Issue: Father who has 2 children with different mothers, was given highly restricted, supervised access of his child with mother #2 in an adjacent county only when he represented himself without an attorney.
Result: Father got unsupervised standard possession for his one child in another county against mother #1.
Issue: Father was served by Mother with Petition to Modify, seeking to have his visitation supervised.
Result: We defeated Mother and kept visitation as previously ordered.
Issue: Wife contended Husband, who was mentally impaired due to a motor vehicle accident, which resulted in his allegedly being neglectful and abusive, should only get visitation for very short visits supervised by her or an agency.
Result: We hired a neuropsychologist to give expert testimony. The judge awarded Standard Visitation periods, to be assisted by Father’s parents.
Issue: When I took over this case from another attorney last year, my client had lost all visitation rights due to a protective order and was faced with owing an arrearage of $30-40,000 plus attorney’s fees.
Result: We won custody of the kids, put Mom on supervised visitation, ordered Mom to pay support, erased the entire arrearage judgment, and obtained an award of $11,500.00 attorneys fees against Mom.
Issue: “New Mother Syndrome”
Result: Successful defenses against what I call ‘new mother syndrome’, meaning a young first-time mother tried to severely restrict or limit the father’s visitation without real cause.
Issue: Dad denied visitation by the mother of his child.
Result: Held Mom in contempt for denial of visitation, got all make-up time and attorney’s fees paid back to Dad
Issue: W, the primary custodial parent, decided after her divorce from H to move the children to the state of Washington to join her fiancé and for the experience of trying a new city.
Facts: H had a Divorce Decree which restricted the children’s residence to Tarrant and Dallas Counties; unfortunately, H moved to a nearby county that was NOT in Tarrant or Dallas County, never dreaming that his Ex would move out of the area. W seized upon H’s mistake and relocated to Washington. H sought legal advice from a few attorneys and was told he could not know anything about it. He came to me almost a year after W had relocated and asked me to try to return the children to Texas. We filed a Petition to Modify in his Texas Divorce court, seeking to have the Court retain jurisdiction and order the return of the children to Texas.
Result: W filed a motion to dismiss the Texas case and to have the case heard in Washington since the children had lived there for over the requested 6 months. We argued that there was still a “significant connection” with the State of Texas and that Texas should retain jurisdiction. After a lengthy hearing, the Court ruled in our favor and ordered that the jurisdiction remains in Texas, notwithstanding that the children had lived in Washington that long.
Lesson to be Learned: This is an important ruling and lesson — do not allow your Ex to move with the children out of state, but if that happens, file to return them as soon as possible. But even if, for whatever reason, you have to wait a while before you can file, you still may have a good chance of retaining jurisdiction here if you still live here!