Video Highlights

  • When you are sued with a child custody lawsuit such as a petition to establish the parent-child relationship or a petition in suit affecting the parent-child relationship, or even a divorce with children, it's likely that the lawsuit may contain a request to have the court make a decision on which parent should have primary custody of the child and which parent should pay the other support.
  • What happens next after your served depends on what your goals are. If you seek to just defend against the lawsuit or if you don't object to the lawsuit, chances are you'll just need to get an answer filed on your behalf within the proper legal time frame and commence onto negotiations and prepare for court hearings. If however you completely disagree with the lawsuit, then you can countersue back via counter petition. Depending on how far the parties are from each other, there may or may not be a reachable compromise. Statistics do show that the great majority of custody cases go on to be resolved by the parents’ agreement. Only a small percentage of cases actually go to a final trial before the judge.
  • In Harris County, an even smaller percentage of custody cases make it before a jury for resolution. Some lawsuits die completely because the parties reunite and dismiss their case. When served with any lawsuit, it's usually normal to have some fear, because there are a lot of unknowns about where things go after one's served. It’s wise to first seek out the advice of a competent family law attorney on what the next best course of action is and what their experience shows may or may not happen in your type of case.
  • In my experience, there is always a possibility, though not likely in the beginning, that engaging the other side first through negotiations will diffuse tension and help wrap up the lawsuit amicably. There is also the great possibility that no amount of talking, even via formal mediation, will bring the parties close to agreement, in that case a court’s ruling will conclude the lawsuit and resolve the questions pled for in the petitions.

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