Episode 3 - Back to School Custody Edition

Good morning and welcome to the Deep Pockets podcast. I’m your host, Brian Abercrombie, and with me as always, co-host Nida Wood and co-host Samuel Sanchez. How are you guys doing?

Good, How are you?

Oh, good, good.

It’s been a second since we’ve recorded. How’s your summer been? Because it looks like you’ve got some sun. Sand? Yeah. Yeah. Always surfing. You always look perfect.

It’s the bad lighting.

Looks like we all got a little sun. Yeah. Think we all went to Florida this year, didn’t we? Different times.

You all went to Florida? I went to Hawaii. So that’s fun there. Yeah, yeah.

Yeah. I’d trade you. Let’s. Let’s flop.

That, right. I’ll definitely do.

I’d definitely rather go to Hawaii than Florida. All right. Well, it is back to school time. Today is the first day of school for my youngest daughter. I know, Nada. You’ve got some kids at the first day of school, so we could talk about that. We can talk about, you know, how that applies and family law and the different things that come up, as best as we could call it, a smorgasbord of back to school issues for family law. Um, because there’s a lot of stuff that always comes up after summer vacay and after summer visitation, summer possession schedules end and all the different things that come up with school. We can talk about that. But first, we always go into the celebrity deep divorce situation. So we got to we can’t can’t disappoint the listeners and do something different. So, um, Sam, you want to talk about Britney and Kevin?

Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Favorite our.

Favorite girl, pop.

Star Britney.

Our favorite girl, Britney, you. I tell you, you know, obviously, you know, she continues to just figure out ways to complicate her life. I feel like, um, you know, a polite way of putting it.

I think.

You know, her and Instagram, they have, like, this, this funny relationship. I feel like that she uses it as a medium to, like, keep herself in the news. But unfortunately, that isn’t always a positive thing. Obviously. Most recently, it’s that, you know, her ex, Kevin, with her children is like, Hey, I’m leaving LA, I want to get out of this environment. And he’s actually going to Hawaii some place that really loves to hang out with and so can’t blame him that way. But yeah, no, and that’s a huge modification, you know, and it’s something that we’ve talked about in the past, like, you know, changing a geographic restriction because they have one, which is, you know, the kids have to stay within a certain parameters of where she lives. Um, you know, and they haven’t always had the best relationship. So it’ll be really interesting to see how that plays out. Obviously she’s already conceded to letting them go, but that’s not something that happens very often. Most parents are really like adverse to letting their children get further away from them because we know how distance affects the relationship between parents and children. Courts know it. That’s why they impose these geographic restrictions. So, you know, she’s, um, she’s always a hot mess. And I know this is not going to be easy on any of them, but it does seem like probably, you know, the dad is really kind of trying to get the kids out of the whirlwind tornado. That seems to be Britney Spears.

Yeah. And you may you bring up a good point. I mean, the the the court’s determinations on geographic restrictions, they always seem to be very, very fact intensive. So you’re talking about how often is the other parent seeing the kids? What’s the relationship like? Um, you know, is it going to be best for them? What’s it going to, what’s their living conditions and friends situations and all the things that go on with kids going to be at the new place? It’s just such a fact intensive inquiry. It’s it’s very, very difficult to to forecast these for clients or tell clients how they’re going to go. I mean, you know, it’s one of those things where you opt on the side of it’s likely not going to happen. But sometimes there are some extenuating circumstances where the court will allow it. You know, and a lot of that depends on the non-custodial parents relationship with the kids.

Yeah, agreed. Um. And didn’t know she had conceded. So that’s that makes it easier for him. But I guess in some other cases that I’ve seen, the parent moves that’s supposed to have the geographic restriction and then the other parent is fighting it to see do we need to make them move back or not? And that’s going to be, like Brian said, very fact intensive also. And they’re looking at what makes the place that they move to a better place than where they were. And they’re looking at the doctors, the friends, the parents relationship with the kids, and how is that going to make their life better. And, you know, how is it going to impact their relationship with the parents versus the kids? And obviously, if the parents not seeing the child that much, that’s not going to affect it that that much at all.

I would also I would also say that if you’re Britney, it helps to have a private jet. So the fact that the fact that Britney has a private jet, I don’t think that makes the geographic restriction a little bit easier. Right? Yeah, for.

Sure. You know, in that best interest inquiry, you know, I think it’s really kind of applicable across the continental United States, regardless of what jurisdiction you’re in, at least the Florida and Texas ones that we know so well. Yeah, it’s absolutely the way the judge looks at it. Right. So they just kind of you know, they they’re going to weigh what that relationship looked like to this point. But I think they also counterbalanced that with like, you know, what’s the best environment for them. And obviously, Ella and Britney, they have this pretty toxic relationship, you know, no pun intended, toxic. But, you know, I think that, you know, anytime a judge gets involved, you know, parents have to worry. Yeah. Because to your point, Brian, you just never know. It’s a fistfight, right? You get into something like that and people don’t agree and they get sideways and you just don’t know what’s going to be the little thing or the big thing that convinces a judge to either open it or close it down.

Yeah. And, you know, it’s it’s it’s tragic either way. I mean, most people don’t have a private jet, so when you’re a workaday parent, you know, and you want to see your kids on a regular basis, these geographic restrictions, that’s what they’re there for. They’re not designed to punish anyone. They’re designed to give everyone an equal shot at, you know, having a good relationship and a and a meaningful quality relationship with their kids. But it obviously doesn’t always work. All right. Next, celebrity divorce. Let’s move on. Kevin Costner, you want to tell us anything about Kevin?

Well, you know.

Mr. Costner, Mr. Dances with Wolves. Mr.. Mr. Star of a thousand movie. Yeah, Mr. Yellowstone.

He’s the king of the world right now, except for in his home, which he can’t get into. You know? You know. You know, celebrity divorces. They’re always a trip. But I will tell you, one of the things that, you know, we talk to clients a lot about is when you leave your house, Right. Whether it’s a multi freaking 10,000 square foot mansion in Wyoming or it’s, you know, your 2500 square foot, you know, castle in Dallas, wherever it is, the second that you leave, you open yourself up to very complicated litigation. And I think that’s what Kevin did right. Kevin was like, I’m out, you’re freaking crazy nut job and I can’t deal with you. Well, the problem that he has now is, like, he’s like, I want my house back. And she’s like, you know, fuck off. This is not your house until the court says it’s your house and I’m gonna stay here. And so then you go into these like, you know, massive negotiations and there’s these huge expenses. And that’s just for him in regular life, everyday people, you know, you’re sitting there going, Hey, I’m paying this mortgage.

I have to pay rent. I can’t keep paying on both fronts. I’m not Kevin Costner. I don’t have like this unlimited wealth that’s, you know, stacked, piled them and, you know, residuals that are getting paid to me, you know, and that’s a tough spot to be in. But yeah, Kevin, boy, like he he picked a doozy. She’s a she’s a trip I love the there was like some story which is kind of silly but she was going to like, you know, like Target. Right. And she’s like carrying like a $25,000 Birkin bag or some crap like that. And. And she’s like, I need money. I’m so broke, I have to shop at Target. And I was like, you know, that’s smart lawyering. Let’s just give it to the lawyer. The lawyer is like, Look, I don’t want to see you in freaking Neiman’s. I don’t want to see you in frickin Nordstrom’s. I don’t see you at Barneys or Bloomingdales. I want to see you at Target. But she’s like, hell yeah, with my Birkin bag. Know, I’m like, what the. You know, Okay, whatever.

So broke. I have to shop at Target. Yeah. Oh, What was me?

Such a terrible place.

Yes, it was me. Have to shop down with you peons folk at Target in.

Her brand new like Lambo. I think she went out and like before, he was so pissed off because before she filed or they filed, he filed. She knew it was going to happen. So she went out and bought like this crazy, expensive car and she was like, Yeah, you know, you’re paying for that. And taking my chunk of the house. I mean, he’s got a rock solid prenup. So, you know, he wasn’t an idiot. His lawyer was looking out for him, which is something we’ve talked about in the past. But, you know, when you’re a celebrity and you just, you know, you drop out and then you’re like, you know, that happened to Kelly Clarkson, too. Remember where she was like, hey, I can’t get my fricking soon to be ex-husband out of the house. He’s like, f off. I’m not fucking leaving. You know? Like, I’m like, You’re going to bomb me out. I’m going to stay. Yeah. Until the judge tells me otherwise. And even then, maybe I won’t leave. So, you know, it’s just a it’s a colossal mistake that I think they make a lot, but they have the luxury to be able to do that.

So, yeah, most people don’t have the finances to fight on both fronts. I mean, Kev could go down the street and get himself another 10,000 square foot house and and you know, put a big middle finger in the yard pointed at her house if he wants to. But most of us can’t do that. Right?

True. True.

All right. And let’s talk on the child custody front. Let’s talk about Bennifer, the new the new incantation of Bennifer. We got we got Ben Affleck. We got Jennifer Lopez. We got Jennifer Garner. He he likes him. He’s got a tight. Ben’s got a type. So it’s a name type at least.

Jennifer type.

Yeah, exactly. He likes a name. He’s like, he got the tattoos, So I’m just going to stick.

With what’s going on with what’s going on with Mr. Affleck.

Well. So obviously, you know, the good news is he’s remarried. He seems to be doing much better. He seems to be, you know, dealing with his addiction. I think we use you know, we talk about Ben Affleck in the Jennifer’s in the context of like a good, you know, relationship to look at this is, you know, blended families on multiple fronts. They seem to be working well together. They you know, they take vacations together, spend time together. They seem to communicate very well, very supportive of one another. And that’s atypical.

Do we think that that’s the publicists work or, you know, spinning that yarn or do you think we actually think that they’re doing doing this co-parenting thing, which looks like it looks like it’s a, you know, a benefit to all these kids, you know, or do we think that’s the publicist spin on, you know, what is what’s really going on?

Yeah, that is the intuitive one. Just kind of read stuff and say, yeah, that’s pretty much what’s going on.

But I mean, I think it’s I think they’re good at co-parenting because for as far as like a publicist goes, I think they can probably and it might be a little bit of both, I don’t know. But I mean, they don’t have to take vacations together. They can probably do other things where they’re showing in the public image that they’re co-parenting. But a vacation, I think, is something that a lot of times like parents, they’ll do it for the kids and making sure they’re having making memories with the family and whatnot. And as far as you know, when think when Ben and Jennifer got married and whatnot, I think they kind of coordinated that so that the kids could be around or not be around for the different things and working together on that. So hopefully it’s a good co-parenting thing because that’s always a good thing for the kids.

So let me ask you a question. So have you ever guys ever been down to the Atlantis in the Bahamas, the resort have multiple towers. Okay. So my my question is this okay, if if Ben and Jennifer are over in this this tower and the other Jennifer is over in this tower with whoever her husband is, whatever the situation is, are they really vacationing together? I mean, there’s 50,000 rooms and 50,000 people between the two of them. They’re technically at the same resort, but they might as well be in a, you know, two different cities.

Well, that probably makes it more palatable because it is very atypical to vacation with your ex and the new spouse and whatnot. So maybe some things they would do together with the kids and hopefully the other things they can have their own vacation.

Yeah, a little dinners together, you know, don’t don’t think that you know, when you look at co-parenting in any any context, whether you’re a superstar or just regular person, it doesn’t have to be huge. You know, a lot of times it’s these little things that at this point allow the family unit to continue to coexist in a new way. Right. It allows kids to be the central focus for both families and understand that they can be comfortable in either environment. And it doesn’t have to be all or none. It can be some and some, which I think is kind of what I see at least between these two families, which is they’re like, you know, obviously they’re super famous and have their own kind of agendas and things that are going on in their lives. But at the same token, they do take moments and plan out moments to say, you know, we’re going to share some of these so that we have these common memories that I think are really important to kids. You know, when you think about it as a family unit, you know, they kind of really want to feel like, hey, it doesn’t matter where I’m at, wherever I’m at with my family, I’m going to be comfortable and they’re going to be comfortable with me. It’s always the most uncomfortable thing. Like I would tell you, like it’s a personal story. Like my my parents got divorced and you could not get the two people in the same room. It was like, I mean, freaking daggers like choo choo, choo choo, you know, like everybody was like, oh hell, this is going to turn into a freaking disaster. So to know that you can, like, have both parents in the same room and it be calm and everybody like just kind of enjoy their time regardless of how long that is or what you’re doing. I think that’s a great thing.

So some therapist out in the LA area or wherever probably deserves a medal or a raise or did one heck of a job. But that’s a good segue into kind of where we’re talking about. The co-parenting piece, at least is a good segue into talking about, you know, okay, we’re going back to school. You know, we’ve got blended families. We’ve got all kinds of, you know, of these kinds of issues coming up. Kids are going back to school. They’re starting the, you know, the school possession schedules back. The school activities are kicking into full gear. Um. If ever there was a time for co-parenting. I think it’s when it’s when school’s in session and the kiddos you, especially when you have multiple kiddos are in activities. I think nobody can nobody can be all things to all people, especially if you got two working parents. Um, you know, what are kind of, what are some of the things that you guys have seen come up that are issues that, you know, have come up in these, these, you know, going back to school, you know, all that kind of stuff. The first thing I’ve noticed, obviously, is people getting the calendar wrong. You know, it takes some sometimes take some a good discussion with their lawyer or a thorough reading of the calendar to understand, you know, especially if they’re newly divorced or whatever, what the Thursday night, you know, overnight looks like and this Texas standard possession order and you know, some of that stuff and then you know. What are the simple things with activities like are you required to take the kiddo to soccer practice on your night? You know what? If you don’t like soccer, what if you don’t want to do that? I mean, you know, what are all those kinds of issues? What have you guys seen?

There. You want to take that first?

Yeah, sure. I mean, I’ve seen several different things. So for one, like after long breaks with one parent, um, they may not be very happy with the way things are going or, you know, maybe they’re having more fun with the other parent, the the fun parent. During the summer break, we saw that a lot during the Covid lockdown, too, where we saw a lot of modifications after that long lockdown where they’re sick of being with one parent or they want to flip custody or maybe try to do more of a 50 over 50. And then some other issues I’ve seen is are some schools they do have a fall break in October for about a week. But the standard possession order doesn’t really have that fall break built in. So what are you doing during that time or are you treating it like a normal regular school term and alternating the days? Or are you guys going to work together and co-parent to figure out how we’re going to split this fall break and something that we probably need to think about and or modify if we can’t reach an agreement on how we’re going to split this fall break moving forward. I’ve also seen some people, in addition to having some schools having a spring break, they’ll have some kind of other break in the February months or somewhat around there. Um, and same issues with that the um the extracurricular activities. I mean that’s always an ongoing issue regardless of whether it’s after summer break or during the school year. Because what if one parent wants to sign the kiddos up for one activity and the other parent doesn’t agree to that, then how is that going to be paid for? How is that going to be split? And if the other parent doesn’t agree, are they going to take the child to that activity and practices, even if it’s their time? And, you know, that’s something that that comes up a lot? Well, it’s my time. I don’t need to be taking the child to this activity. What if I want to go do something else?

Um, that reminds me of the case you had, Sam with the. The poor kid that wanted to play football, and Dad was pro football. Mom was anti football. So the kid went to exactly, what, less than half of the practices, right? Yeah.

Yeah. It was a train wreck. Yeah.

Mean and the poor kid couldn’t even go in the games because he didn’t know the plays. He didn’t know what to do and the coach couldn’t play him because he couldn’t risk it.


Well and you know, like. Go ahead.

I’m sorry. That just I feel like that just doesn’t benefit the child. Like the child’s the one that’s losing there.

Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, you know, I mean, to this point, like when the challenge for a parent is, you know, and for a judge, right. You know, your child comes back to you after 30 days with their dad or mom, 45 days, 42 days, whatever it is. And they’re like, hey, I don’t want to go back. Like I had a terrible time. You know, they don’t they don’t have rules or they come back in the reverse like, I want to stay there. I don’t want to come back. Like they don’t have rules or they, you know, I love their atmosphere. They have a pool. You know, they you know, they let me do what I want or, you know, I just like the structure or they have siblings. And this other place where I’m at, I don’t have siblings. You know, the myriad of things that can come up that cause modifications are limitless. The challenge really for parents, I feel like, is trying to evaluate what’s grounds to modify. Right? In every state, there’s a there’s a minimum, there’s a there’s a threshold that you have to meet.

You can’t just come in and say, like, I want to change it unless you’re agreed. Right? If you have an agreement freaking change everything you want to do. But if there’s not an agreement, there’s a threshold. And that threshold, that legal threshold is is a challenge, you know, because what a judge looks at is like one, obviously, is it this child’s best interest to change this order? But two, like what? What is the history? Right. What is the circumstances? Yeah. Like so give it to them as this like an example. Like a river, right. You know, river rivers flow the way they flow for hundreds of years. You can look on any map and see how the Mississippi has been flowing for for a hundred years. That’s the way a judge looks at your life. They look at the map of your life and the way the water’s been flowing to decide whether or not I want to change the course of that river. And it usually takes something substantial, not just a little log in the freaking way. It’s like a major, you know.

A boulder in the water, huh?

Yeah. To change the course of that water for them. And it still has to be, you know. So that’s one a big thing. And two, that it also that big thing is what’s in the child’s best interest. So it can’t just be like, Hey, they hate you now because they love having pizza and no homework at Dad’s. And so I’m going to change it. No, no. So, you know, you know, modifications are a lot more complicated than I think people really anticipate when they try to go in and get them. And, you know, parents, a lot of times that’s where they’ll get sideways to Nitti’s point, right? You come in and you’re like, hey, you know, that’s that’s all well and good, but that’s not going to work, you know, don’t like it. And so how do you talk to your kids? Because then that makes you nobody wants to be around a pissed off teenager. I’m sorry, like, pissed off teenagers are like, tough. And so as a parent, you’re like, well, don’t piss them off. You don’t want them to be here but don’t want to give that up either, because there’s financial implications, right? You’re talking about child support, too. Hey, you flip time, you flip child support. Well, you know, people like live to their means most of the time don’t care how rich you are. And so if you’re taking that money in and you’re spending it on a monthly basis and now somebody says, hey, we’re going to change it and you’re gonna have to pay the other person, Holy shit, that’s not the way my budget is built. So, you know, those are those are all things that modifications really deal with. And parents should really kind of contemplate and talk to a, you know, a competent lawyer about so that they really know their footing.

And sometimes and sometimes it’s not just the custody flip. I’ve had cases where and this judge is a lot of times don’t necessarily like these kind of modifications, but they do come up where you’re just modifying some of the terms of the conservatorship where you’re asking for. I mean, I’ve had I’ve had cases where people have asked for specific things, like there was one where this girl was really, really good at like, I think it was horse dressage or equestrian, some kind of some kind of horse activity. And she had to do it every day. I mean, she didn’t go to school. She was homeschooled. One parent was all about it. The other one wasn’t. But she was like, you know, going through the Olympic level, um, at this sport. And, you know, we, we had to go get an injunction on this thing and, you know, and get an order from the court that required both parents to take the child to the activity. And then we had another kid had another time where the kid was really good at good at track. And he was, you know, on the scholarship level. And, you know, Dad didn’t think it was important. And because Dad wanted to go fishing in Rockport and the kid had track meets and, um, they, we ended up, you know, we ended up with an order from a judge that said, Dad, we’ll take the child to activity.

So there is the like, I guess there’s the slider modification where they’re just modifying certain things where they where the custody is not flipped. But, you know, most of the time judges are going to err on the side of, you know, parents can do what they want during their time. I think it’s the extraordinary circumstances where you get an order that requires a parent to do something, extraordinary circumstances. So I would tell you that if you’re going to go down there and file a modification and say, Hey, I don’t really want to flip the custody, but I really want him to take, you know, take little Johnny to soccer practice, you know, every Tuesday and Thursday or whatever it is. I don’t know that you’re likely to get that order unless it’s some kind of, you know, really extenuating extenuating circumstance. I just think I see typically at the end of summer, you know, like you’re talking about at the end of a long summer break, you’re seeing things like, well, everything’s crap over at the one place, and especially if there’s. Toxic parents. If there’s toxic parents on either side, there’s normally one parent spending the bulk of the time just absolutely propagandizing the child about how bad it is at the other place or whatever to try to get that custody flipped.

And obviously, that’s, you know, just a, you know, alienation form of manipulation that’s that’s terrible for kids. And so you see that a lot and you see modifications arise out of that. Um, but. You know it’s it’s a tough it’s it’s it’s a tough either way. But like Neda was saying that school districts, you know, they’ll change their policies and some of them have fall break, some of them don’t. You know, there was a situation that came up that, okay, what if the what if the kid gets out of school and the standard possession order says, okay, from school, um, release on Thursday to when school resumes on Friday, this is this is actually a real world thing that’s come up. However it’s not their weekend but they get the Thursday night overnight right because they’re the non-custodial parent under the under the possession order you get the Thursday night right um until school resumes is what the order says. What if school doesn’t resume until the following Monday because of the because of the holiday? But it’s not your weekend. You know, that’s that’s been a source of contention for many, many, many families. Um. Or they or they they put in some kind of a break where there’s a carryover to Tuesday or whatever. What about those things?

Yeah. Guess you just have to look to see how your order is worded. Um, specific language as well. But if you know, then there’s that that catchall where if there isn’t a specific time for the possessory parent, then the parent. That doesn’t have the possession order has all times not designated for the possessory conservator. And then some people just default on that.

Yeah, but when do you give that kiddo back? It says at the time. School resumes. Yeah. You get on Thursday?

Yeah. Just depends on how your order is worded, because I’ve seen some that say that if there’s no school in session, then it’s going to be at 8 a.m. that morning and then you drop back off to that parent. I’ve seen some that say at 6 p.m., so it just depends. Very specific, I think, to your order.

Yeah. Just to your point, Brian, I think, you know, you said like you can modify, you know, orders in a limited fashion. I think that’s one of those times, right? So if you encounter these issues like parents will come up against something that they’re like unanticipated. Right? You know, we as lawyers would love to tell you that we get everything right that, you know, from the first draft, everything is perfect and we anticipate all the freaking problems that you’re going to have. And in 16 years, everything. Right. But I will tell you that this is not the case. Like parents continue to create new and fascinating problems for themselves that lawyers have to fix. And so if you run up against something like that where you’re like, damn, our order fricking is not clear, but frickin fix it, You know what I’m saying? Like, it doesn’t help you in that initial situation, but then, yeah, absolutely follow modification to say, hey, we need to resolve that because that’s just a problem that we’re solving for ourselves in the future. Right? It’s not going to come up again. The worst advice I think parents get or that they do and maybe they’re not advised to do it, but they have a terrible order and they don’t fix it. They just keep fighting. They just keep having like these encounters and it’s just miserable and then they just get sideways. And the person, you know, obviously both families suffer, but the children hate that. Like when you talk to kids. And a big part of that, too, I guess I wanted to make this point is, you know, a modification.

You know, depending on the age of the child, they’re going to get to participate in that process. You know, their perception, their perspective is going to be utilized by the court, depending on their age. Right. If they’re smaller, maybe you get an attorney ad litem who’s going to come in and be able to tell the court, this is my perspective for the children and what you should do. If they’re over a certain age, then they get to talk to the judge directly. Now, the judge doesn’t do exactly what they say, but they use it as a backdrop, a very important backdrop to kind of listen to them and discern what’s happening in the world, because everybody tells their story from their perspective. Best case, you go to court and holy man, you’re like the best Disneyland parent. Everything is perfect. This child loves their time with me. Oh, my God. Like they love eating their broccoli. They love asparagus. Like if there’s, you know, like they always make their bed, you know? No, that’s not a kid, you know? And the other side is like, hell no, this kid hates broccoli. He’s allergic to asparagus. They’re freaking mom is torturing them, you know, And it’s like so that that really that experience with the children that the judge gets, whether it’s from an ad litem or directly from the child, is very important in this process. And modification. Right. They get to use that backdrop to kind of figure out like, what do we want to do? Who do I believe? And so, you know, it’s you know, it’s a kind of poison pill.

I tell parents this all the time. You never know what a kid is going to say. They could love being at your house. They could love you to death. But they get in front of a judge and their adrenaline’s pumping and they’re nervous and they don’t say a word about having problems at Dad’s house or mom’s house because they don’t want to talk bad about them. Right. Even though they’ll tell you all these problems, they’re not going to tell an outsider. And so then the judge comes back and makes an order and you’re like, how could they not rule in my my, my favor? Well, because they never really heard what was going on because she wouldn’t say it or he wouldn’t say it. So, you know, you know, those are things that I think that, you know, as you encounter these, I do encourage parents to fix problems within themselves if they can, you know, fix an order, if it’s a bad order. But always keep in mind that just because your child tells you something doesn’t mean that they’re going to say it in court and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to say it the way they say to you. They’re not going to say it the same way they say it to the judge. It just doesn’t happen that way. Most of I.

Would also say on the on the on the thing of modifying a bad order, I mean, a lot of times these orders, you know, it’s the it’s the best laid plans. Right. Um, a lot of times these orders work when they first, you know, when they first sign them way back at the time of the divorce. But three, four years goes by, everybody moves on with their lives. So people get remarried, the different things happen. And then, you know, sometimes the relationships deteriorate even more. And then you’ve got two toxic parents going at each other all the time, and you have an order that worked when they initially, you know, but you live in a real world and you live in a world where everything’s changing and people’s relationships are changing and things are evolving and things like that and things are always changing. So and stuff with kids change and stuff with parents change. So, you know, you had an order that worked, but now it doesn’t work. So what do you do? You got to go back and deal with it, right? Um, you know, I think that it really takes a set of mature parents to to co-parent and order a very detailed, you know, we negotiate them every day, right? We negotiate very detailed orders that have 5050 possession schedules and, you know, different things where, you know, certain holidays are shared, where, you know, we depart from all the normal all the normal stuff. Right? And I and I say that. Those things only really work whenever the parents can can really take a back seat and co-parent and kind of put their egos on the side and put their, you know, hurt feelings to the side and and co-parent because creative orders are great.

Don’t get me wrong. I mean, if that’s your life and it works for you, then God bless you and go do it. But you know, things change. Circumstances change, people’s lives change people’s, you know, attitudes change. Everything like that is kind of evolving. So if you don’t have an order that works, you got to go fix it. But at the same time, you know, you want to try to negotiate as much stuff in the order as possible and avoid the courtroom. Because if you end up in a courtroom, you’re most likely going to get a judge that follows what the legislature has given, given him or her to follow. And you’re going to get a standard possession order with standard child support, standard rights and duties, because that’s what the the legislature said is safe for these judges to do. And they don’t like to think outside the box unless you absolutely have a really good reason to do so. And so, you know, you got to you got to you got to co-parent for a changing world. And you’ve got to you’ve got to put your feelings aside and you’ve got to account for the changes that are going to going to come, you know, especially if you get divorced with young children.

Yep. And to add to that, the creative orders part and 50 over 50 time. How are you doing? Child support, you know, with those creative orders and 5050 times. So there’s different ways to do it and what do you guys splitting And so you have to make sure and I’ve seen this so many times, your order isn’t enforceable the way it’s written. And so either people start backing out or they don’t want to contribute their 50% to whatever they were doing. Or some people, they just say, I’m not going to do splitting certain things 5050 or however they want to do it. We’ll just stick to the standard child support and I’ll cover this and you’ll cover that. But again, if that’s not stated in your order, um, then that can backfire as well. And of course with that, if you’re doing creative orders and agreeing to splitting expenses for the kids a certain way, if your financial is changed, that’s a contractual agreement. So that’s that’s something that’s going to have to be relooked at potentially as well. And we’ll see what the judge wants to do about that at that point, I.

Would I would also say that if you’re if you’re you’re a parent and you find yourself in a situation where you’ve got a kid that wants to modify an order, is adamant about it, say they’re over 12 years old, they’re adamant about it. Really, really look at the circumstances and really, really, really look at, you know, what’s going on in this kid’s life. What are the motivations? Is the child going to have to, you know, all of the rudimentary things that you don’t really think about, is this child going to have to change schools, our friend groups going to change our activities, going to have to change all of those kinds of things are what the judge is going to look at as a best interest test as to whether or not it’s appropriate to move this child from one parent and flip the custody and give it to the other. So if you’re in a situation where your child is adamant about wanting to come live with you or you’re adamant about wanting to change the custody, I would really tell you to take the time to really look at all of the circumstances surrounding that child.

Is the child going to have to do something that’s as silly or I wouldn’t say silly, but guess that’s the wrong word. But something like changing doctors or dentists or, you know, changing, like I said, changing activities, changing schools, all of those things are very, very big for a for a young child. Those are the biggest events in their lives, like the friends at school, their activities, whatever, whatever’s going on. So you really need to not just look at, you know, how your relationship is with your child. And it may be fantastic, but you also have to look at how that move is going to affect that child and what what that looks like. If you’re if you live on two streets over from your your spouse and you know you can go to the same school, then, you know, that’s that’s a little bit different situation than than having to uproot a child and all of that kind of thing. So really, really look at what these factors look like before you go down that road.

Yeah, without a doubt. You know what I mean? We know. Guess the other piece of what modifications come to light is schedules. Right? So we’ve talked a little bit about support. We’ve talked a little bit about situations. But, you know, I think a big part of that, too, is scheduling schedules, children’s schedules, parents schedules. Right. So like vacations, I know everybody’s like, Hey, we just finished summer vacation. We don’t think about anything else. But I would tell you that, like, now’s the time to really review your order and think about the fall, right? These fall breaks, whether it’s fall, you know, fall, the reverse spring break, fall break or it’s Thanksgiving, it’s Christmas, it’s you know, what does that holiday sequence look like?

Halloween is a big one.

Yeah. I mean, you know, there’s so many young kids. Yeah, Yeah. And there’s so many holidays now that I think that parents don’t really take into account. And even the big ones that are normally there, they want a change. Right. You know, and clearly, if you’re a good parent, you have the Bennifer relationship where you guys can work it out, then who cares what the order says? Nobody gives a shit. Just freaking agree and do what you’re going to do. That’s great. But if you’re on the flip side, you’re the Kevin Federline Britney relationship. Then you better freaking start thinking about it now. And if it needs to change because there’s issues with it, then anticipate them, you know, modifications. You know, everybody always asks the $2 million questions for us, Right? How much is it going to cost? How long is it going to take? They’re interrelated and you don’t get to control either one. Yeah, it can take freaking a month to do a modification and it can take years to do a modification. So if you’re like, Oh, I want to modify this and the other person isn’t probably going to agree, but have a trip plan for me and my child to go to the to a resort in Mexico and the other parents like, bullshit. You’re not taking him out of the country. And the order is like confusing or unenforceable. Like you don’t file three weeks before you’re the freaking trip. You’re not going. You’re not going now without an emergency order.


Yeah. And so, like. And in those situations, the judge is like, Really? Your vacation is an emergency. Exactly. Maybe not. Yeah. So the judge is.

Dealing with abused children and your vacation to Mexico is an emergency. No, no, not to that.

Not to that judge. Lose my deposit for my child. Well, yeah, you should have thought about that months ago. So really, take a look at those orders, those issues we’ve been kind of talking about, like how, you know, you already know as a parent, you’ve experienced the issues. And if you haven’t really kind of tried to anticipate them, plan it out. Look at, hey, you know, this is Dad’s, you know, Christmas holiday and he wants to go to Europe and he’s going to need more than the ten days that the first part of the vacation. He’s going to bleed into my part of the vacation but don’t want to give it to him. Well, he’s already booked the trip. Well, look. Yeah, you’re like, yeah, I’ll deal with that in November when the vacations in December. No deal with it now, you know, really talk to a lawyer and figure it out and try to get some resolution of that because it does take a long time for you to litigate these matters. You know, courts are obviously still pretty backed up post Covid. And so I would tell you.

That judges are human beings. They’re not unreasonable like like your Europe example. Most likely, if it’s a trip that’s going to be beneficial to a child, you know, for a life experience, they’re probably going to allow it. But but like you said, if you don’t get in there fast enough, then you’re you’re going to be as my the great Dirty Harry used to say, you’re going to be shit out of luck, you know?

So, you know, that would be my advice. You know, modifications. We’ve kind of touched on all these different points, but I really think, like, you just have to, you know, really review your order, the all encompassing facets that need to be changed and then really try to get ahead of it if you can.

And to add to that on a modification where you’re asking for some kind of temporary relief mean that burden of proof of even is even higher. And a lot of counties they’ll make make it an uphill battle for you to even get into court on a temporary basis on a modification. So you really have to know your Davids and.

Judges, all kinds of you got to have affidavits and all kinds of stuff. That’s a great point because, yeah, if you even want to get a temporary something, change the bars even that much higher. It’s even higher than getting it changed on a permanent. You know, you’ve got to have some good because courts don’t really like handling the handling and handling temporary hearings all the time. They don’t like wasting their days on on those kinds of things. So they want they want you to mean something when you go in there, right? Yeah.

Well, all right.

I think we’ve killed this horse. So if you want to speak to any of us, you can go to our website, w-w-w. Law office.com. And you can. All of our numbers are on that website. It’s probably easier to do it that way. All of our emails are on there, all of our contact information, fancy bios, all that kind of stuff. Um, we are getting into the realm of mediation, so all three of us are going to be mediating cases so we can, you know, we can mediate pro se cases, we can mediate cases with lawyers. We all three have extensive family law experience, decades meaning decades of family law experience. So, you know, we’re going to jump into that realm, um, you know, more significantly as mediators, which I think we can, we feel like we can help a lot of families, um, solve some of their problems and.

You know, we’re.

Going to tackle that room. So am I missing anything?

I don’t think so. Always am.

Yeah. Think you nailed it? Think we. You know, everybody knows where to find us and think we’re going to have a lot of good topics to talk about through the fall. Think this is a good way to kick it off. Get back.


Need a school and everything? There’s always a lot. A lot of stuff. A lot of stressors that go on in people’s lives. Especially this morning.


And last night.

Exactly. Yep. Yep.

That coupled with a massive heat wave. And you got a recipe.

For let’s just keep the grid alive.

Let’s just keep the grid alive. And I think we’ll avoid major problems.

We’re only 90 degrees right now, so we’re. We’re a little bit of a a little bit lower today.

So 90 in H town with like 90% humidity is like 115. Yeah.

And we barely have any live grass in my yard.

We’re on. Oh, yeah.

My backyard is dead.

Water restriction.

We can only water a couple of days a week and it certainly just burns off that fast. Even if you water like really like early in the morning or whatever. And yeah, like so there’s splotches in the yard.


Our water restrictions were allocating our water to the front yard because people see that the back yard not so much.


Dead back there.

Yeah. I always tell people, you.

Know, I’m a rancher’s kid, so like, you know, people would complain when it rained. It’s like, can’t believe, don’t want another day of rain. I tell them, like, I’m never, ever going to complain about rain being from Texas because frickin I’ve lived through these summers where you’re just like begging for a drop of rain. So hopefully, you know, we’re getting through August, which is the worst of it, and it’ll just frickin pour because we all need it. We all.

Need it. Yeah.

Well, thank you guys for the time today and enjoy the rest of your week and we’ll talk soon.

Sounds good. Sounds good.

Thanks for listening to the Deep Pockets podcast brought to you by Abercrombie Sanchez and Wood. You can find us at aswlawoffice.com, slide into our DMS, or go old school and give us a ring at (888) 981-7509. This podcast is for informational purposes only and all views are the opinions of the hosts. It’s not designed to provide legal advice for your particular legal manner and should not replace the advice of competent counsel. So tune in next time, because with over 40 plus years combined experience, these dockets go deep.

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