Rocky Pilgrim | Amicus Attorneys in Family Law Cases

Today on the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast, we are sitting down with attorney Rocky Pilgrim.

Rocky has been practicing law for over 18 years and owns Pilgrim Law Office, P.C., a family law firm with offices in Tomball and Richmond, Texas. With a focus on children, Rocky regularly serves as an amicus attorney in family law cases.

Rocky says that an amicus is most appropriate when you have a high conflict situation and the parents just cannot agree. One is saying black and the other is saying white, there are major communication issues, and the kids are stuck in the middle.

We’re sitting down with her today to discuss the role of an amicus attorney and when it’s appropriate to request one for your case, as well as:

  • The key differences between an amicus and an ad litem
  • The most important role of the amicus attorney
  • Five things an amicus attorney must do, their primary goal, and how to avoid the “gotcha” at trial 
  • And much more

Mentioned in this episode:


Rocky Pilgrim: We don’t want for kids to be put in the middle. And as an amicus, I feel one of the most important roles that I play is to be the buffer for the child.

Voiceover: You’re listening to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast, your source for the latest news and trends in family law in the state of Texas. Now, here’s your host attorney Holly Draper.

Holly Draper: Today we’re excited to welcome Rocky Pilgrim to the Texas Family Law Insiders podcast. Rocky’s been practicing family law in Texas for over 18 years and works with individuals, families, and other professionals to continuously develop and apply best practices in this critical area. Rocky owns Pilgrim Law Office, PC, with locations in Tomball and Richmond, Texas. In addition to practicing family law and running her own firm, Rocky does executive coaching and consulting. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Rocky: Yes, thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be here.

Holly: So why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

Rocky: So I am a family lawyer. I’ve been a practicing family lawyer in the greater Houston area for over 18 years. Um, I grew up in the valley of Texas. So if anybody’s listening from outside of Texas, of course, their minds going to go straight to California. But I grew up down in the Rio Grande Valley, didn’t realize that my parents accidentally gave me a very diverse upbringing. My mom’s Asian, my dad’s a redneck from Waco. Decided that law school was going to be my last chance to get out of Texas and get the natural education that comes from being in an area that’s different from you know, the people that you know. So I went to law school up in the Northeast, and then landed back in the Houston area. Back in home, back in Texas.

Holly: How would you describe your current practice?

Rocky: So my current practice is all family law. Um, I am branching into other areas. You know, we’ve, as family lawyers, you know, we know we have to know a little bit about every area of law, right? It’s one of the unique things about family law. We have to know a little bit about business and personal injury and criminal and everything. So my business area is kind of picking up a bit, but it is primarily family. I have, over the past few years really kind of been niched into an amicus and kid centered practice. Kind of a high conflict resolution sort of practice. I do a lot of mediations, I get tagged on a lot of high conflict cases. And so that’s kind of been sort of my niche area, although we do handle, you know, the property cases and things like that.

Holly: So today, we’re going to kind of focus on amicus attorneys, which I know you do a lot of that. When is it appropriate to request an amicus attorney in your family law case?

Rocky: You know, an amicus attorney, is really the most appropriate when you have a situation where there’s, you know, we think of amicus attorneys in high conflict situations where the parents just can’t seem to agree. One of them is saying black, the other one is saying white, and the kids are kind of stuck in the middle, right. There are major communication issues. And there are lots of different options, right for parents and attorneys, other than amicus attornies, so why pick an amicus attorney. And the factors that I would say are probably the leading factors are when you have a situation where the parents are still open minded enough, where they’re going to listen to that third party, where they’re going to be open to some suggestions and guidance.

Because I think a misconception that a lot of people have is that an amicus attorney is going to come in and be able to solve all the world’s problems. And while we can offer a lot of solutions, and we can provide a lot of tools, we’re not the boss of anybody, we’re not going to be able to tell anybody what to do. And it’s going to be up to the parents to utilize the tools that we’re suggesting and that we’re offering. So we are the the boots on the ground, where the eyes and ears for the court, and we’re going to be advocating for the kids. But we’re not going to be able to tell anybody what to do. So we’re not going to be the problem solvers in that respect. And so if you’re really wanting somebody to come in and testify, or something like that, then an amicus attorney is probably not going to be your best option.

Holly: So you mentioned representing the kids. In what ways does an amicus differ from an ad litem appointed for the children?

Rocky: So a lot of misconceptions come up because we have private cases where it’s two parents who have hired an attorney, that are in the middle of some type of custody litigation or an issue that has to do with the kids. And then we have cases that involve the state. So the most common situation are like CPS cases or termination cases where the state is involved. And in a situation where the state is involved, because the state is able to bring in all of the resources of the government, we want to make sure that that playing field is kind of leveled. And so we have ad litems.

And an ad litem can be either a guardian ad litem, or an attorney ad litem. And a guardian ad litem, in a CPS case that represents the children doesn’t even have to be an attorney. And so in Texas, those are usually going to be what’s called a CASA, a court appointed special advocate. And they represent the best interest of the children. An attorney at litem is actually an attorney who represents the children. They do what the kids ask them to do within the capacity that kids are able to do that. And they actually represent the children. An amicus attorney was a newly formed and I say newly. And that’s kind of a loose term, because they’ve been that the statutes been around for decades.

But it was a new role that was created as kind of a hybrid because we needed somebody to represent the best interest of the children, and to advocate for the children in private cases where the state wasn’t involved. But that could kind of bridge that gap. And so when we say that we’re representing the best interests of the children, we are advocates, and we’re acting as attorneys, but we’re not representing the children. The children are not our clients. And so we don’t have to do what the children ask us to do, although depending on the age of the child, it is absolutely important, what the feelings and the desires of the children are.

Holly: So in my experience, some courts lean towards liking to have an amicus appointed, and some courts lean towards wanting a child custody evaluation done. When do you think one is more appropriate than the other.

Rocky: So if a judge wants a recommendation, and they need somebody to go in and say, look, we’ve done a mental health evaluation, we have looked and done a forensic evaluation, and they need somebody to testify. That’s when a custody evaluation is going to be appropriate. A custody evaluator, depending on the jurisdiction, depending on the resources of the parents, and depending on who’s appointed because a custody evaluation, we have some exceptions, it doesn’t have to be a mental health professional anymore. The Domestic Relations Office can now do custody evaluations. And you need to be aware of what that looks like and how it’s different than when a custody evaluation is done by a mental health professional.

But when a mental health professional is doing it, then they’re doing testing, they’re able to do those evaluations. And that person is creating a report and by statute can make a recommendation with regard to who should have conservatorship, possession and access, recommendations, things like that. An amicus attorney is by code not permitted to make a recommendation. We can advocate, we advocate for a position just like any other attorney advocates for a position, but we are not permitted to make a recommendation. Sometimes it feels like that’s a little bit of a splitting of hairs.

Because as an advocate, you know, you’re making a recommendation is what it feels like a lot of times, but as an advocate, we are basing our advocacy on evidence. We question witnesses, we present evidence, and that’s very different than saying, I investigated. I went and spoke to these people. And it’s in my report, and based on that I, in my experience, am making this recommendation. And so as an amicus attorney, we cannot do that. And we should not do that. And so if if a judge or somebody at a party, an attorney wants a person to come in and make a recommendation, then they need a custody evaluation, not an amicus attorney.

Holly: So it’s been kind of a recent development where case law has said, you know, amicus attorneys can’t make recommendations. But from my perspective, when I’m thinking about advocating, you know, when I’m advocating for a parent, I’m telling the court what I want the court, how I want the court to rule. So when you are the amicus attorney, you are also telling the court how you want the court to rule. So isn’t that the same thing?

Rocky: Sometimes it can feel that way. And it feels a little bit disingenuous. I think and a lot of times parents may sometimes get angry, right, like and as an amicus attorney, we have to be very careful when we’re explaining our role to parents and to different people who are involved. Because when we are appointed, I think that the idea is people feel we come in, and we’re supposed to be the neutral. And we’re supposed to stay neutral and be the neutral through the whole case. But that’s not our job. We are advocates, we are attorneys in the case. And so when we’re saying we’re not supposed to make a recommendation, I think that the critical difference is we are advocating, and that we’re not bringing our personal perspective into it.

That we’re advocating as professionals. And so just like an opening statements or opening remarks, it would be inappropriate, and it would be stricken if we were to say things like, I believe, or I think, you know, like even as an advocate for a parent, we’re not permitted to say things like that. And so as an advocate for the best interest of the children, I wouldn’t come in and say, I think that what you should do is XYZ. I would say things like, the evidence will show XYZ, and then it’s my burden to show that the evidence is XYZ.

Holly: So I think a lot of attorneys will look at an amicus when they want to get in something that there’s really no other way to get in. Such as what a child wants and has to say about it. And in light of an amicus not not supposed to be making recommendations, can that really happen? Or do you have to go the custody evaluation route?

Rocky: That has been one of the most frustrating parts of my role as amicus, because I, I sometimes feel like just that very thing has happened. I’ve had attorneys ask for the appointment of an amicus, because they feel like they can backdoor things. Either they can get around the rules of evidence, or they can get in child testimony. This actually happens a lot with the appointment of some mental health experts. And there are ways to get in child testimony, there are ways to get in a child’s preferences. But there are right ways to do it and wrong ways to do it. And we have mechanisms under the law for that.

And if it’s done incorrectly, and I think the reasons that we have these mechanisms is is for this very reason. We don’t want for kids to be put in the middle. And as an amicus, I feel one of the most important roles that I play is to be the buffer for the child. My job is to help make things palatable, right. To help explain things at the child’s level, and to be that buffer so that the kids aren’t in the middle with the parents trying to explain it, or the parents asking questions or trying to elicit responses from the child. So that when the child has questions, and the parents don’t know how to answer, that, I can help provide that to them, right. And that’s completely undermined when the kids then are supposed to become witnesses. And so if the child’s perspective, which is very important, is needed, how do we get that in, while still trying to strike the balance of letting the kids be kids and not putting them in the middle, right?

So we have mental health care professionals, that’s one of the main ways that we can kind of get around this, what impact is this having on the kids? What treatment plan are the kids having, so that their feelings and what they’re experiencing can come through as part of that treatment plan because a therapist can testify to that. And then using something like a custody evaluation, or perhaps some other forensic mechanism to get that in. So we have other hearsay exceptions as well. And then depending on the age and the maturity of the child, we have other mechanisms as well. But for me to be able to say, well, Judge, the child said, um, would be wholly inappropriate.

Holly: A lot of times when I have had an amicus in a case, we see the amicus kind of doing their investigation into everything, and then the amicus is telling the attorneys, this is what I think. This is what’s going on, this is what I think will be best for the the child. Even though the amicus is not supposed to do that in court, is that appropriate for them to be making recommendations to the lawyers to try and help get the case resolved?

Rocky: I think that that’s one of the most critical roles that an amicus attorney can play. So, as an amicus, we have different hats. And I believe, actually that this is true as attorneys in general, as specifically as family attorneys. We wear many hats throughout the case, and we switch those hats as we go along. As amicus attorneys, and I explained this when I come on to a case, the hat that I wear when I’m first appointed, is very different than the hat that I wear when we’re sitting in a courtroom. And the very first thing that I’m trying to do is understand what the problems are, and then try to help problem solve with the parents to try to avoid court altogether. And I can’t do that, unless I’m able to make some suggestions and make some recommendations. And so making a recommendation to parents and making suggestions to parents, that’s why I’m there. I can’t help troubleshoot.

And I can’t take my experience to look at the system, right? Because that’s what we’re doing. We’re troubleshooting the family system right now. If I can’t do that, and look at the whole picture, then why am I there? You know, my my role is to help these parents see how their behaviors are impacting their child, to help the communication between parent to parent, and parent to child and flow that way, and also to help utilize every tool that we have available. So that could be the teachers. This is one of the reasons why amicus attorneys are charged with communicating, right.

And part of their due diligence is to talk to witnesses and teachers and everybody that’s in this child’s world so that we can get the perspective and hear everything. That’s where the boots on the ground comes in, right? So that we can hear all the different perspectives and use our judgment and our experience, to kind of say, okay, I kind of get the gist of what’s going on. Let’s try this, or it sounds like this is what’s happening, and provide those tools and solutions and use it as kind of the living, breathing, you know, work to see what’s working and what’s not, and absolutely critical to provide those recommendations. But that’s very different than going to a judge and saying in the courtroom context, hey, this is what should happen as a court order.

Holly: Are there certain requirements that an attorney needs to be appointed as an amicus, or can any licensed attorney be appointed?

Rocky: You know, every jurisdiction has different requirements. There are requirements under the code. So you either need to have training or have enough experience through your practice, to be able to do this kind of child work. Everybody needs right now, there are certain requirements that are set out in the family code. And I don’t have the code sections in front of me right now. And I never was able to remember specifics very well. But knowing the ABA standards of practice for child attorneys, is absolutely critical. Because even though they are not our statutes, they do provide very good guidance, and our statutes reference them. So by incorporation, we need to be familiar with them. A lot of the local jurisdictions, a lot of the local, your your courts will have local rules that will say whether or not you need to have undergone specific training for amicus attorneys and ad litems.

There is trauma training, that is now required that everybody needs to undergo. And I would say, just kind of as an aside, that if you’re a family attorney, that you should be getting this trauma training anyway. The work that we do is, there’s just no way to avoid it, not just with your clients, but with the trauma that we’re in experiencing secondarily, as well. There’s just no way that we can hear about the things that people experience daily, and the fear that accompanies going through divorce, going through custody things that are not going to impact you, and impact your clients. And understanding how that works with your body. And how that works with your processing is just going to make you a better lawyer and help you to really be able to set that aside at the end of the day. And it will just be a service to you and to your practice.

Holly: So what are the duties that you have as an amicus when you’re appointed?

Rocky: So as an amicus attorney, we have some very specific duties. Of course we have file your answer, make sure that you get that on board. And then we have the duty to make sure you meet with the child, that’s going to be very important. Part of our duties are to do home visits. Because you need to see the child with the parents. You need to be able to see the child with the parent in kind of a natural home environment. And so you will hear things like home visits, and things like that. If you have a situation where a parent or the attorneys are wanting to waive that, just do your diligence and make sure that that’s in writing.

I have been appointed on cases where there are no allegations that there’s anything wrong with the homes. It’s just maybe a preference case, the child’s turned, you know, 12, or 14, and they just want to see what it’s like living with the other parent. And it’s purely a preference modification. And so nobody really cares about what’s happening at the other side. And so, in order to keep fees down, they’re like, we’re going to waive the home visit. Well, that’s an obligation that you have. So just make sure that everybody understands, okay, we’re going to waive this and cover yourself in writing. Speaking to all of the relevant people in that child’s life. That’s going to be teachers and neighbors, significant persons. You need to be able to interview the child at the child’s level.

So you could be appointed to represent a six month old, you know, and you could be appointed to represent a 17 year old and the way that you handle those cases are going to be very different. The issues that are involved in the case, are going to be widely varied. I have been appointed on a case as simple as a preference case, I’ve been appointed on cases where the children have special needs, and eating disorders. And I may or may not have had experience with those types of things. And it is my job to make sure that I have either consulted with or have educated myself with regard to those issues. So it’s on a case by case basis, but just make sure that you’ve done your diligence, and educate yourself properly. And if necessary, confer with some experts, you know, just make sure that that you’ve done that. Make sure that you’re familiar with the local rules of your court.

There are some courts in different jurisdictions that are now capping your rates, capping your fees. There are some courts I know, like in Harris County that are capping the number of hours that you’re supposed to work on a case. And so just be very aware of what some of those parameters are. Because different cases are going to require different levels of diligence. You have a very basic list. There’s a laundry list in the code of basic things that you’re supposed to do, which is, you know, the interviews, the home visits, things like that. But you don’t want to be hamstrung, and you don’t want to look like you’re padding your bills, either. So those are those are just some of the basic things.

Holly: Is there immunity for an amicus attorney?

Rocky: There is immunity. Because you’re a court appointed, you’re going to have basic immunity from lawsuits and things like that. You’re not going to be immune from gross negligence or malpractice. So just because you’re immune from suit, because you’re technically government and appointed by by the court, doesn’t mean that you can just sit back and not do your job. So you can be immune, but not immune from malpractice.

Holly: So for attorneys who are looking to start doing amicus work, or who have recently begun amicus work, can you give some tips on how best to be an advocate as an amicus?

Rocky: Oh, so um, I remember when I was first getting amicus appointments, and I was appointed to represent a teen. And I was so worried that I was going to do something that was really going to mess this kid up. And what I did is I found some amicus attorneys that I respected, and that were respected in the community. And I reached out to them and said, look, what are some things that I need to do? So I think that mentorship is super important. I think that’s important with young lawyers. Anyway, I think that that’s important to be a mentor, you know, and to give back and to also seek out that mentorship.

And then honestly, I think that an underutilized sort of option is to reach out to some mental health professionals. I had reached out to a couple of mental health professionals early on, just to say, look, I understand that as an attorney, my experience, and my training is limited, and that there may be ramifications in this area. Is there anything that I should or should not do? Are there things that I should or should not say? And you can be appointed amicus in different capacities. I’ve been speaking a little bit in terms of custody and modifications. You can be appointed as amicus in an adoption, where it’s fairly straightforward. You need to go in and do your home visit, but they’re considered to be like kind of quick in and out, make sure everything’s okay.

But in this particular adoption, the parents said, look, don’t say anything to the child. They have no idea that they’re being adopted, they have no idea that this isn’t their parent. And in my mind, I was like, holy crap. Under the code, this child is old enough that they have to give consent. How are we supposed to get around that and what implications is this going to have and what ethical obligations do we have? Versus you know, am I gonna mess this child up. And so I reached out to a mental health care professional, because I didn’t know what kind of implications there were going to be. And so anytime you feel a little bit of a tickle, any kind of a hesitation, that’s a good sign that you should listen to your instincts and just reach out to somebody. Reach out to somebody that you respect, and just go slow. That’s that’s kind of what I would suggest.

Holly: I’m curious what kind of advice the mental health professional gave you on that adoption scenario, because I’ve seen that a number of times where, you know, bio, dad’s been out of the picture, since the child was very, very young. And this other, you know, stepdad or whoever, has been dad to them forever. So what were you advised to do?

Rocky: In that particular situation, the child had given some indications that they had suspected it, like even some of the questions that they had asked me, they were like, this is just weird, like, why are you here? You know, why are they making such a big deal out of this? And they had hinted enough that they had suggested look, create a some slight raport, and then just let the parents explain what’s going on. Break it to them beforehand, and then let them process it and then go through with the adoption. But let them process it through with a mental health professional with some guidance, because there’s going to be some anger. You know, there’s children that are in an adoptive situation like that. They almost always know that something’s up. They very rarely, are totally blindsided. Like they they have some indication that something’s different.

Holly: So when a family law attorney is advocating for the parent in the case, and you have an amicus, I know, we’re always we’re talking about amicus in the case, we’re saying, if you can get the amicus on your side, you’re golden. And sometimes we say you don’t have a shot. Unless we can get an amicus, and you can get that amicus on your side. So, how would you advise attorneys representing parents to work with the amicus and to make that as beneficial as possible?

Rocky: You know, um, that’s always such a difficult line, right? To, to dance, because with clients, you kind of dance with who brought you, right, and clients, we sometimes have great clients, and sometimes they have clients that have challenges. In my world as amicus, and an amicus attorneys we’re all different, and they do things differently. In my world, my primary goal is to get the parents as close to on the same page, and to be as close to as happy and functional parents as possible. And so if they have major challenges, that’s okay. I need to know that they recognize their challenges and that they’re dealing with them. I don’t want a parent who’s trying to like, fluff me up or pretend like they’re not there or, you know, be super buddy, I like to keep it real.

And so I understand that sometimes, you have a client that you can’t necessarily just say, show him all your warts, right? Because clients aren’t always able to do that in a way that’s not going to totally undermine their case. But for me, give me your warts, and then let’s work through them. Like I really prefer that version. As opposed to, you know, the, the scenario that comes up for me the most is if somebody like has a substance abuse problem, don’t tell me you don’t have a substance abuse problem. And that, you know, it isn’t there. Let’s deal with it, let’s get you some help, let’s fix it, or that you don’t have like a mental health problem. And so you’re avoiding seeing your therapist, because now you’re in the middle of litigation, and it’s going to be used against you. Like we can deal with that. Let’s work on it.

I think one of the most difficult conversations that we have with our clients sometimes is maybe it’s not in your child’s best interest to live with you primarily. Like sometimes that’s a very difficult conversation to have. As amicus attorney, that’s a very difficult conversation for me to have with parents to have that kind of come to Jesus meeting. But you have to remember that this is about the child right. And we were trying to give the child tools to be happy, healthy adults, and it’s the long game, not the short game of the current litigation, because to be real, we’re just gonna end up in litigation again in the next couple of years unless the child’s 16, 17 years old. And so for attorneys, understand who you’re working with, and be real with that.

And just depending on who your amicus is, honestly, just don’t fight them. And don’t punt. Um, I sometimes am working with attorneys who are like, oh, thank God the amicus is here. You take them. And then I can never get a hold of the attorney again. And I don’t mind because I like working, you know, I really do see this as kind of a team effort and being able to work directly with the parents and scheduling and stuff, like that’s important. But having everybody on board and on the same page is really, really important, because then we’re all kind of rowing in the same direction at the same time.

And we don’t have to play catch up with information. So if we’re able to kind of have regular, you know, calling them staffing for less, for lack of a better word, or regular kind of touch points to be like, okay, here’s where we’re at, here’s the next set of goals. Let’s kind of move this forward, here’s where we’re at here, can we fix this side? You know, we don’t always have to agree on everything. And and we won’t always, but just knowing that everybody is open about what the issues are, I think is the most important thing.

Holly: So, in your opinion, should attorneys representing parents allow the parents to meet with an amicus without them?

Rocky: I think it’s gonna depend on your client. Um, I am not the kind of amicus attorney who wants a gotcha. I don’t think that that is going to serve the parents well. And I don’t feel like even though it might make my job easier, because they will like, just let the stuff fall out. I don’t believe in undermining of an attorney’s case or their representation of their client, by saying, like, just let me have a free for all with your client. Because I don’t, I don’t think that that sets the client up for success. I don’t want them to feel like they’ve been betrayed by the system. And so when I go in, and I’m talking to parents, I make it very clear, when we’re talking to each other, I understand the importance of discretion, because I don’t want for them to be venting, for example, about the other parent.

And then I’m just repeating everything, and so they get their backs up, that’s not going to help a co parenting situation, right. But I let it be known that nothing that they tell me is confidential. So if we end up going to court, I’m going to remember that they aren’t ready to forgive, you know, a past wrong from 15 years ago, or something like that. And so that anything that they give me, you know, sometimes I have parents who want to give me evidence before they show it to their attorney. So I’m like, no, no, no, you have to vet everything through your attorney first, they have to filter it, they need to know what’s going on, like, they’re your attorney, they’re going to give you legal advice.

Because that’s a very important role. And they need to have faith in the system. And they need to have faith as to how things are going. Because if they don’t think that they got a fair shake, and they don’t, they don’t have faith in how things have gone, then they’re not going to be able to move forward. And it’s going to undermine everything that we’re trying to build. And then we just still have a broken family. So this system is meant to support the family. And if if we have that broken system and broken foundation, we’re not setting that family up for success once our role is finished, if that makes sense. Sorry, that was kind of a roundabout way of getting there, but.

Holly: So, you mentioned, you know, once once your role is finished, when you have final order, be it a divorce, or sapcr or mod, whatever. Is the amicus always terminated at that point, or do they sometimes continue on representing the child post litigation?

Rocky: So post litigation, I have never seen an amicus attorney stay on board. A final order always, in my experience terminates that role. Because without ongoing litigation, there’s no need for a litigant or a legal representation of the best interests. Right. What I have seen when there’s an agreement, and there needs to be an agreement, is for the amicus role to transition to a parenting facilitation role. But there has to be an agreement because there’s a potential conflict of interest there between the two roles.

Holly: So when you do transition to being a parenting facilitator, how does that change your role?

Rocky: So a parenting facilitator is a roll under the family code, and it has very specific rules and duties and obligations. And depending on if I’m a parenting facilitator or parenting coordinator, a parenting facilitator does testify. And so that’s, that’s something that’s important for everybody to understand how that transitions. And it’s super, super important for the children to understand how that transitions. So, we didn’t talk about this earlier but as an amicus attorney, even though I don’t represent the children, my communications with the children are confidential in the same way that an attorney client communication is confidential, with the exception that I may disclose it, if I feel like I have to, to represent the best interest of the children. It’s just very limited in those situations when I can disclose.

And so my communications are confidential, they are not confidential as a parenting facilitator. And so when you establish that trust with the child, they need to be super clear that that is no longer the case, especially as they get older, because it’s critical, especially for children, that you don’t breach that trust. Because once adults start breaching trust with kids, whether it’s a parent or a professional, like an attorney, or a therapist, or some other rule like that, teachers, it is so hard to rebuild it. And then they’re not going to be able to utilize tools, like a counselor or a therapist in the future, and it could set them back, being able to seek out help that they may need for years and years if they ever seek it out. And that is a true disservice and harm that you would be doing to the kids.

Holly: So we’re just about out of time. But one of the questions I like to like to ask everybody who comes on the podcast, is if you could give one piece of advice to young family lawyers, what would it be?

Rocky: Take a deep breath and ask a lot of questions. And I think, um, I would say seek out, seek out quality mentors. I cannot, I cannot thank the people in my life enough. Even today, the people that I have sought out as as an experienced attorney that I continuously seek out and ask questions to and bounce ideas off of. Just having a different perspective and different ideas is invaluable. And so being able to be vulnerable in that way. And having a safe space to do that. I think is is critical.

Holly: So where can our listeners go if they want to learn more about you?

Rocky: So they can find me on Facebook. They can go to my website, which is And they are always welcome to reach out to me by email which is [email protected] or my phone which is 281-516-7054.

Holly: Well, thank you so much for joining us today. For our listeners, if you enjoyed this podcast take a second and leave us a review and subscribe to enjoy future episodes.

Voiceover: The Texas Family Law Insiders podcast is sponsored by the Draper Law Firm. We help people navigate divorce and child custody cases and handle family law appellate matters. For more information, visit our website at

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