Can the court order supervised visitation of children in a divorce proceeding?
Attorney Paul Newnum: Let’s go to Mike in Deltona. Mike, you have a question on divorce and custody; go ahead.
Mike: Yes. Hi. My brother and his wife, those have been married for couple of years and they’ve got a year and a half old little girl. They don’t live in this state, but this is a general question about divorce. He’s kind of a pushed over and kind of accepting whatever she wants. I talked to him about this. Their family has a lot of money and they are going to be able to afford a really good attorney. He can barely afford anything. My question is; he has weird thoughts in her mind that-- she’s worried about him having custody, even temporary custody. She wants to-- this is how ridiculous her comments are and I’m trying to get your point on this, if you think that they’re valid. She says she wants him to have unsupervised custody until she reaches like age 12. Her thoughts and mentality are very strange. My question is; would any type of attorney regardless of how much money they would put into it, would they be able to fight something as silly as that? My brother has no history-- he’s actually a police officer. He has no history of violence, he’s not a very good dad as far as being interactive with his daughter but that’s his only flaw. Can they do stuff like that?
Attorney Paul Newnum: In any state, the answer is they can try. But the other answer is as Jonathan and I know is; it depends. In Florida, unless a father is a truly bad father; a drug dealer out on the street –same thing goes for the mother- even people in prison, who are parents, have rights to see their kids. So, the short answer is “no”. The more concise answer is to find out what-- I would want to find out what state does [sic] your brother live in.
Attorney Paul Newnum: Texas. I don’t know Texas law but there are couple of states in particular, where the laws are very antiquated and from my point of view, outdated. Texas is one of those states. Texas and New York are two primary states which are just about the opposite of Florida, California and the like. Have your brother call a Texas lawyer? If he cannot afford a lawyer there’s probably something like legal aid wherever he is in Texas, and at least get in for a council. So that he understands what his rights are. He may not be able to take the entire case but your brother needs to understand more about what’s going on and--
Mike: And that’s what I told him. I’m just worried that-- they live with her parents, he makes-- literally he makes a million dollars a year. Her parents make a lot of money. Our family is poor. He’s a police officer, he doesn’t make a lot of money; pays bills, does those other things but as far as being able to afford an attorney, they can afford basically whatever they want and I’m worried about a high priced attorney persuading or doing whatever, politically whatever and giving my brother basically no rights whatsoever. I’m just worried about him getting a lower priced attorney versus--
Attorney Paul Newnum: Okay. Jonathan, go ahead.
Jonathan: Sorry, I think we’re getting close to-- I think there’s a break here but I’ll answer your question real quick. There is no amount of money that can change the law or can change the particular facts of your case.
Attorney Paul Newnum: That’s right.
Jonathan: I don’t care if Johnny rises from the grave; it’s not going to change whether or not the statute applies to the facts of your brother’s case. The best thing he can do as Paul said is, educate himself about the statute, know what his rights are and at least have a couple consultations.