Child Custody & Visitation
Kid-Focused Custody Is In Our DNA
Your child is standing in the middle of a fight he or she did not choose. How do you shield kids from the trauma of a custody battle?
If you’re a parent considering a custody fight, you’re at the end of your rope. You’ve fought all of the fights with the other parent – about money, school, healthcare… You haven’t been able to resolve things on your own.
Now you’re looking at a court fight. Why? Why go to court? Why not just keep trying to work it out with your other co-parent?
Going to court seems so aggressive. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and drama-filled. But you know you need more help.
Maybe you’ve heard horror stories from other parents who didn’t seek a lawyer’s help with custody. Perhaps a single mom friend who’s receiving no financial help and is facing down with an aggressive ex-husband. Or a father who’s been kept out of his child’s life and has no order to help enforce his rights.
No, you won’t be that person. You know you need help. But you don’t want to start a fire that burns your child’s world down. Your focus is your child, and you want a lawyer who understands that.
You Need A Different Kind of Guide
Lawyers are not all the same. We’re human beings. We bring our personalities, perspectives, and priorities to the job. Even good lawyers disagree about what matters in a custody case.
Our priority is clear: we protect your kids.
That may sound obvious, but it isn’t. Our ethical responsibilities require us to put our clients first. Your children will not be our clients, you will. But we never work with parents who won’t put their children first. With that standard, we know that protecting your children means we are also protecting you.
Our method is simple: KidFirst Decision Making.
Using KidFirst Decision Making, we obsessively work to reduce drama. That leads to reduced costs, reasonable timeframes, and – most importantly – healthier children.
If you are a KidFirst parent, you can feel confident that you’ve found the right firm to help guide your family through this difficult time.
It Begins With Our Founding Attorney
Angela Faye Brown is definitely a unique lawyer. Long before considering law school, Angela cared about how law and policy impact kids.
She earned two public policy degrees from the University of Texas at Austin before returning to law school at U.T. During law school, she took up children’s issues as student counsel in the Children’s Rights Clinic.
Under the supervision of such legal luminaries as Jack Sampson (he literally wrote the book on Texas family law), Angela represented children who’d been removed from their homes in Child Protective Services cases. These children showed Angela the courage, confusion, and concern found inside every child in trouble.
Now, as a new mother herself, Angela appreciates the importance of the parent child relationship in a special way. It’s natural for a parent to shield children from unnecessary harm, and she gets why you want that so much. Angela’s experience and priorities make her a uniquely qualified guide for you and your family.
The Path You’re On
A child custody fight doesn’t have to be complicated. Angela and her associates guide you on an 8-step path that gives you the best chance to reach a peaceful and effective solution. This requires KidFirst Decision Making and focused expertise. Here’s a simple outline of the KidFirst custody process:
- KidFirst Custody Strategy Session: Every new client receives a Strategy Session with the firm. These are more than just meet and greets with your attorney. You’ll walk out with a plan, a look into potential responses from the other side and the best answers, and a budget. You’ll get the information needed to make good choices.
- New Client Welcome: All new clients will receive in-depth instruction from the firm on what to expect as your case moves forward. We will educate you on the issues you’ll face, the decisions you’ll need to make, and the roadblocks to look out for. We’ll also help you identify which issues are best solved through the law and which require specialized expertise outside the firm. We’ll connect you with qualified providers to help you on this journey.
- Expert Drafting: Custody cases begin with a petition, but this is no form letter. A properly crafted petition begins a narrative that will unfold throughout your case. It is a document that protects you and puts the other party on notice.
- Temporary Orders: Many custody cases require a temporary orders hearing. This is a contested court visit, a sort of mini trial. It sets the rules for the litigation and orders the parties to reveal certain information. The hearing allows you to take control early and not let the other party dictate terms. Temporary orders give you defined powers and responsibilities.
- Discovery: If you’ve ever seen a lawyer show, you’ve seen someone drop a big box of papers on a courthouse table. Those documents come through a process called discovery. It’s a tool that allows the parties to see the other side’s hand and begin to formulate a plan. Not every case requires full discovery, which can become quite expensive, so we use only the levels of discovery needed to make informed decisions.
- Settlement Conference/Negotiations: During this phase, we engage in informal negotiations for you. We exchange proposals with the other side in an attempt to focus the issues. It’s common in custody cases for lawyers to stir up trouble by overcomplicating the negotiation process. We’ve handled so many agreements that we know how to get you what you want without letting the fog of war throw us off track.
- Mediation: A mediation is a way for parties to negotiate more formally with the help of a neutral third party. They often take a full day, but can cover every issue that remains after informal negotiations. We will prepare for mediation with an eye to resolution. If a case closes at mediation with an agreement, you could avoid significant litigation fees. Studies show that mediation participants are also more likely to follow a court’s order, helping you avoid years of drama in the future.
- Agreed Custody Order: If informal negotiations or the mediation work, we’ll have the outline of an agreement. Your lawyer team will then turn those few pages into an effective, enforceable decree with a long-term view. This includes defined powers for decision-making, a clear visitation schedule, and required child support documents. We want you to avoid future fights, and a properly drafted and entered custody order helps you do that.
Nearly every custody case follows this 8-step path. Because we know how that path usually unfolds, we can give you helpful estimates of timeframes and budgets. If things don’t go as planned, however, our billing structure will allow you to move forward with more intense litigation. We’ll have gathered the information needed to tell your story well before the court.
- Litigation Phase: Some cases require a court to finish. We cannot fully control whether this happens because we can’t control the other side, but the steps we’ll have taken before in drafting, discovery, and negotiations will help limit the drama. Be assured that KidFirst Decision Making will continue to inform how we work during the Litigation Phase. We won’t push you into more fight than you need to take care of your children.
Always Choose For Your Children (We Do)
Now you have to make a decision. You have to trust someone. You have to invest that trust, which has both personal and financial implications, in an attorney who will guide you on this journey.
What will you choose?
If you believe you can be a KidFirst parent, we’d like to talk to you. We can’t tell you that contacting us means you qualify for our services. We don’t take every prospective client that wishes to hire us. We take only KidFirst parents. Is that you?
Avoid The Drama, Win For Your Kids
We don’t know yet what “winning” means for you. It could be a matter of visitation, parental decision-making, financial support, or just clear rules that encourage peace. Whatever your reason to stand up for your child before a court, we want to stand up with you.
The KidFirst Custody Strategy Session is your next step, but it’s not your final step. At the end of this journey, you will know your definition of success and you will be closer to it. You’ll have more independence, personal power, and peace for your children.
If these things motivate you – if you are ready to discover what KidFirst Decision Making means for you – schedule a session with us now.
(Before you go, check out the form on the right side of this page. It’s for people who aren’t yet ready to talk to an attorney about their custody roadmap. We’ll give you a list of 5 simple tips to keep your kids safe and protected RIGHT NOW. So go get that list, and we’ll talk more later.)