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  1. #1
    melrhea is offline Junior Member
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    jury trial for custody case

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? texas

    I lost temporary custody of my daughter last year duet to the fact that i was court ordered to rehabilitation facility. i now believe that going to rehab saved my life. I will have 18 months sober in January. A Jury trial has been set for March 2010. I currently volunteer my time at the same facility I was in and help motivate the women there that Recovery is a total life style change and is possible to achieve. I have numerous character witness's including my Judge and The program director of my probation. I am graduating from my probation Star drug court in the beginning of march 2010 - 2 years earlier then sentenced.I also work for a non profit organization helping women in Recovery. Is a Jury trial the best way for me get custody back of my 8 year old daughter that i have solely raised since she was born up until last year?
  2. #2
    Ronin is offline Member
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    What will the jury be asked to decide?

    Is this a custody dispute where the other parent currently has custody of the child?
  3. #3
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    What is the substantial change in circumstance in the life of the child? And, who has custody of the child right now?
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  4. #4
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    Have you been criminally charged with something?

    I think you need more specifics in your post.

    Kudos for pulling your life together.
  5. #5
    melrhea is offline Junior Member
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    custody case jury trial

    Yes her dad currently has temporary custody of her. The jury trial is to decide if he will get to keep custody or If I can get custody back. I am asking for custody back. Her father works weekends and until 9pm during the week. I am home at 3:30pm and have more time to be available to her.
  6. #6
    melrhea is offline Junior Member
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    custody case jury trial

    Yes i was Charged in 2003 with possession of a controled substance but so was her father. I lost custody last year because I violated my probation and was court ordered to rehab. Her dad's record isn't good either but he already completed probation and I am still on probation.
  7. #7
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    How did you violate your probation?
  8. #8
    melrhea is offline Junior Member
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    custody case jury trial

    i failed drug tests. I got sober when I was first arrested then relapsed.
  9. #9
    Ronin is offline Member
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    I would guess you did not feel comfortable that a judge would rule in your favor, so you opted for a jury trial.

    There are just too many unknowns about your case to even try guessing which way a jury will decide. As these things go, it will likely boil down to how well each of is able to present themselves to the jury, and how the jury sees each of you as a parent.

    The father has a home court advantage, since he has had the child for over a year now. If the child is doing fine with him now, that will make it even harder. Unless you can convince the jury allowing the child to remain with the father is a bad thing, it may be inclined to leave things as they are.

    While all of your recent activities are commendable, this is only recent history. It is not necessarily a reflection of your life as a parent for your eight year old daughter. Your issue with relapsing may be painted to the jury as indicating since this happened once, it can just as easily happen again.

    If you can, you really need strong character references from people outside your rehab and recovery program.
  10. #10
    Zephyr is offline Senior Member
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    I- being in Wisconsin, have never heard of a jury trial for custody between parents, how common is this?
  11. #11
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr View Post
    I- being in Wisconsin, have never heard of a jury trial for custody between parents, how common is this?
    I dont' know how common it is but I found this on [url]http://www.texasfamilylawyers.com/articles/updated2003custodyoverview.pdf[/url] and I do not vouch for the website itself nor am I trying to promote the website:
    Right to Jury Trial
    Except as provided herein below, Chapter 105 of the Family Code provides that a party
    may demand a jury trial in a custody case. In a jury trial a party is entitled to a verdict by the jury
    on the issues of:
    • the appointment of a managing conservator;
    • the appointment of joint managing conservators;
    • the appointment of a possessory conservator; and
    • the determination of the which joint managing conservator will have the
    exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child.
    • the determination of whether to impose a restriction on the geographic are
    in which a joint managing conservator may designate the child’s primary
    residence; and
    • if a restriction describe above is imposed, the determination of the
    geographic area within which the joint managing conservator must designate the
    child primary residence.
    The court may not submit to the jury questions on the issues of:
    • child support;
    • a specific term or condition of possession of or access to the child; or
    • any right or duty of a possessory or managing conservator, other than the
    issue of which joint managing conservator will have the exclusive right to
    designate the primary residence of the child.
    And also [url=http://texas-family-case-law.blogspot.com/2007/08/jury-award-of-primary-custody-to-father.html]Splittsville Appeals: Jury Award of Primary Custody to Father Affirmed; Morality Issues Considered[/url]

    Those are provided for informational purposes only.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  12. #12
    las365 is offline Senior Member
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    Generally, in civil cases in Texas either side can demand a jury, pay the jury fee, and have a group of strangers decide the outcome of the case. It works fairly well in other kinds of disputes, but the idea of a jury deciding custody of children is pretty awful to me.

    In this case, neither parent may have the moral high ground. As usual, I am baffled as to why two people whose first concern should be for their child's well-being would take a path that leads to total strangers making their parenting decisions for them instead of working it out as a (divided but still) family.
  13. #13
    Radia is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by las365 View Post
    As usual, I am baffled as to why two people whose first concern should be for their child's well-being would take a path that leads to total strangers making their parenting decisions for them instead of working it out as a (divided but still) family.
    I dont get that either but sadly it happens thousands of times a day in family courts all over...

    OP Grats for getting your life straightened out, regardless of the outcome I hope your continue on that path and eventually you kids will respect you for that!
    Last edited by Radia; 12-22-2009 at 06:56 PM. Reason: spelling error
  14. #14
    Ronin is offline Member
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    Texas does offer a parent an inviolable right to a jury trial on custody matters. The only issues a jury may decide are the terms of conservatorship, who the custodial parent will be, and any geograhic restrictions. Visitation, support, and other matters are only decided by a judge.

    Although juries are total strangers, in many ways a judge is arguably no less of a stranger, as you are just one of dozens of family's on the judges docket.

    In most states, when a parent feels they are not going to get a fair shake from a judge, thats just tough luck, because they really have no options but to live with it. And to live with the consequences of the judges rulings. Judges have far to much discretion, and the judge will almost never be overturned on appeal in a custody case for abuse of discretion in deciding the weight of the evidence and the merits of the case.

    In some cases a jury trial is a viable means of leveling the playing field, and taking away the judges discretion to make a custody determination. Call me naive, but I still feel that most folks (jurors) inherently want to do the right thing, and often will if empowered to do so. As with everything else, there are exceptions. On the other hand, there are many judges in Texas who are lazy and shoot from the hip with custody rulings based more on their personal feelings than adhering to the law. So assuming that a judge will fairly weigh all the facts and fairly apply the law is in many cases an incorrect assumption.

    In the landmark Lenz v Lenz relocation case that went to the Texas Supreme Court, a judge overruled a jury that allowed a mother to relocate. The Supreme Court slapped that judge down, and slapped down the San Antonio Court of Appeals for rubberstamping the judge in this case, and went on to set precedent by establishing relocation guidelines. The Supreme Court indicated the jury decision was proper for the given facts in the case.

    Beyond this, many attorneys in Texas will advocate their clients choose a jury trial if they can afford it in suits for modification, since typically judges tend to resist changes in such suits.

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