If you would like to contact me directly, the best way to reach me is to text me at (931) 217-7648.
Whenever I handle a divorce, it is usually in either Montgomery County or Davidson County, Tennessee. In the last few blogs, I have talked about needing to know your judge. The reason for this is that the most important person your life when you are going to trial is the person that has control over those things that are most important to you. And, if you don’t know it yet, the most important person in a divorce or custody case is the judge. One of the reasons it is important to hire an attorney, is because in attorney normally has experience and knows your judge. One of the main things that you’re looking for in any family law attorney is an advisor that can give you insight into what your particular judge is looking for when you get to the final hearing.
In Montgomery County, there are three Circuit Court judges and one Chancery Court Chancellor- where two Circuit Court judges handle family law. Both Judge Goodman and Judge Hicks are assigned family law cases on a lottery style basis. When you are filing for divorce or filing a custody case, you really don’t know who you’re going to get as your judge.
JUDGE ROSS H. HICKS
Judge Hicks is one of my favorite judges to practice in front of. He has a number of years of experience on the bench. One of the things that I frequently tell my clients is that is very important when you’re in front of Judge Hicks to treat each other with respect. Despite the fact that you’re fighting over some of the most important things in your life, your kids, your wealth, debts, assets in real estate, it is important to remember that Judge Hicks want you to play fair. He does not like nastiness between the two parties.
Watch what you say to the Kids
In a custody case, the parties are usually exchanging the minor children as part of Court ordered visitation. This leaves a lot of room for the parents to communicate with each other. This also leaves a lot of room for the two parents to badmouth each other. If you want to get sideways with Judge Hicks, the best way to do that is to talk negatively about the other parent in front of your minor children. Under the best interest of the child test, there is a requirement that each parent facilitate a relationship with the other parent and the minor children. In court, and at a final hearing, many lawyers in Montgomery County know that the best way to win a custody case in front of Judge Hicks is to pull out Facebook posts that are accessible to the children, testimony from witnesses that heard one parent denigrate the other in front of the children, twitter post that the children can read, and any other example of the parent bad mouthing the other parent in front of the minor children. Any of these types of behaviors, or something similar to this will severely damage a parent’s ability to be named the primary residential parent.
Watch what you say to the opposing parent
Another way for parents get themselves in trouble in front of Judge Hicks is through phone conversations, texting, and email. These conversations between the two parents should always be extremely civil. Using profanity, and lacing these communications with anger and violence and abuse will only get the originating parent in deep trouble with the court. This is also evidence that can be presented in court to show that one of the parents is not facilitating a relationship with the other parent. It is understandable that when two people are going through a divorce or custody fight that they will get angry at each other, but remember that any time you are putting your words into a public forum, you are putting that communication in front of the judge. Don’t do it!
Take a Parenting Class
Another way you can help your case, is that Judge Hicks believes that taking a parenting class is important for a parent that is going through a custody battle. If you are assigned to his court, you should seriously consider taking the online classes at www.uptoparents.org immediately. You want to have your attorney file the parenting class certificate with the court as soon as you complete the class. The one nice thing about this parenting class is it explains the rules of the game for you as a litigant. It will also give you an idea of the way the judge Hicks thinks.
Follow the Court Orders
Normally, in a custody fight, there is a temporary hearing to determine a visitation schedule. Whether Judge Hicks lays down a full parenting plan or a temporary schedule, he intends for this plan to be followed precisely by each of the parents. It goes back to the idea of playing nice. The best thing you can do for your case is to have your children at the drop off point when they’re supposed to be there. Have your children available for scheduled phone times. Do not have altercations. Do not have violent moments in front of the children. Treat the other parent with respect even if you don’t agree with what is going on. If there is something that you don’t like that is taking place at the drop-off/pick-up location for the children, you should record it in one form or fashion and leave the area quietly, and make an appointment with your attorney later to discuss what the implications are of the event. Your attorney needs to know what happened and he’s going to know what to do with that information. What your attorney is not going to want is to have to present ugly events to Judge Hicks.
These guidelines give you an advantage. Judge Hicks is extremely fair. He’s looking out for the best interest of your children. If it looks like you’re doing the same thing, looking out for your children, he will give you credit for that. Questions? Call me or text at (931) 217-7648 or check out www.bestclarksvillelawyer.com.