Custody Problems, Modifications, and Enforcements as Kids Grow Up

Custody Problems, Modifications, and Enforcements as Kids Grow Up

When parents divorce and negotiate or litigate child custody, the factors considered are in the best interests of the child at the time of the divorce, looking into the foreseeable future. However, things can change and the circumstances of the child and parents can lead to modifications and enforcements of the final divorce decree.

When custody problems arise as kids grow up, the parents can work together to make changes to their custody agreement. However, if the conflict is high, there might not be room for negotiation. If necessary, enforcement or modification cases may be necessary. Modifications and enforcements are new lawsuits and follow formal procedure, similar to a divorce.

A lawsuit for modification of what many call custody, is filed to modify the rights and responsibilities of joint managing conservators, as having possession and access, and for making the determination of the residence of a child. The entire arrangement does not need to change, and in many cases, the modification or enforcement may only be about one particular parental right, duty, or activity.

Custody Problems, Modifications, and Enforcements as Kids Grow Up

Call Wichita County custody lawyer Richard T. Sutherland if you have custody problems because your kids are growing up and you may need to change custody and visitation agreements. (940) 691-2100.

Listen to the Texas Child Custody and Conservatorship podcast to learn more!

Getting Into Good Schools and College

Admission standards are competitive on the path to best schools and educational programs. Parents frequently focus on college planning checklists in Grade 9 or earlier. In addition to getting the best possible grades is important. The level of classes matters and practice testing and courses preparing students for the SAT and ACT are common.

If the parent with the right to establish the child’s residence happens to move into a new school district, conflict can ensue. While the parent might find more house for the money in one district, the other parent worries the academic standards in that district do not measure up. When concerns about a long path to a great college could be comprised, a custody modification suit could be forthcoming.

Sports and Extracurricular Activities

The NCAA: What Prospective Student-Athletes Need to Know

Student-athletes have a range of goals. While some are focused on nothing more than being a starting player on a winning team, other young athletes are competing for college scholarships and the recruiters they want to take notice. Parents of student-athletes take on what seems like extra part-time jobs with the demands of coaches, practice, and game schedules, often involving significant travel and expense.

Custody problems can arise when both parents are joint managing conservators and have rights to make decisions about their children and participation in sports. When one parent does not want their son playing tackle football, a high-conflict disagreement can lead the parties back to court.

Children Hanging Out With the Wrong Crowd

See this Family Education article, What to Do When Your Kid Gets in Trouble at School

The last thing parents want to hear is that their child is getting into trouble at school, or off-campus because they are hanging out with kids who might not be the best influence. Toxic friends and changes in behavior can be a sign that something is going wrong with a child. It may be a reaction to something missing in their life, or something recently added, like a parent starting a new relationship.

Child behavior and trouble with toxic friends do not necessarily signal a failure in parenting. Despite the best childcare and parenting, children can cause conflict and problems. If there is a situation where the child is abused or neglected, a modification of conservatorship and possession and access may be vital to the safety of the child.

New Relationships Among Kids and Parents

Former spouses are not required to like their ex’s new partners. They may, however, have limitations on bringing the new partner around children. Children do well around happy and healthy relationships, and they also do well when they feel safe and secure with family. Depending on how long ago the divorce was, and the age of the children, they may take well to a new person. Whether the new love interest has their own kids can be another factor affecting peace at home.

As a parent watching your former spouse date and consider remarrying, the focus is on the new person we do not know. Are they good with your kids? Are they stable people? How do we know? What happens when we suspect they have substance abuse problems? While sometimes getting used to change takes time, change can also cause conflict and when more happens, parents can end up suing to change custody and parental rights and responsibilities.

Custody Problems as Kids Grow Up: Hiring an Experienced Lawyer for Enforcements and Modifications. Call Custody Lawyer Richard T. Sutherland, in Wichita County, Texas (940) 691-2100

Wichita County Custody lawyer Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas. Contact Mr. Sutherland’s office for a consultation today.

People in Wichita Falls and the surrounding areas call Richard T. Sutherland when they need an experienced and aggressive trial attorney for custody problems, modifications, and enforcements as kids grow up and circumstances change.

Rights and Responsibilities of Joint Managing Conservators in Texas

Rights and Responsibilities of Joint Managing Conservators in Texas

Texas courts apply a legal presumption that both parents should be appointed as joint managing conservators. Conservatorship is what most people would think of as child custody and their custodial rights as parents. In Texas, when two parents get divorced the court determines their parental rights by appointing one or both parents as joint managing conservators. Note that conservatorship appointments also take place among non-married parents in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.

The law presumes that both parents should be appointed as joint managing conservators with equal parenting rights. However, the judge can make orders about specific rights and duties. The judge may also make orders regarding restricted parenting time which is called possession and access, in Texas.

In cases involving family violence, domestic violence and other factors that could affect the best interests of a child, the judge can appoint one parent as the sole managing conservator, having certain exclusive rights and responsibilities while the other parent gets periods of possession with the child. During those periods of possession, that non-primary parent still has certain rights and duties during their possession, unless otherwise restricted by the judge.

Joint managing conservators

Listen to Richard T. Sutherland’s Texas Child Custody and Conservatorship podcast to learn about the issues involved in conservatorship and the rights and duties of parents in Texas.

Please visit Wichita County divorce lawyer Richard T. Sutherland’s blog for a library of articles about all kinds of Texas divorce and family law issues.  

The Standard Rights and Duties of a Parent Appointed as a Conservator of a Child

Parents appointed as joint managing conservators possess their rights and responsibilities as parents at all times, not only when the child is physical with them, in their possession. These rights are about access to and information sharing as well as rights about decision making. Information and decisions about a child and the child’s best interests involve health, education, general welfare, medical, dental, and psychological needs and development.

However, the rights of the parent who is not appointed as a conservator, the parent who only has periods of possession, may only assert those rights when the child is present with that parent. Those rights are duties are about the care, control, protection and reasonable discipline of the child. In addition, that parent has a duty to support the child and provide clothing, food, shelter, medical, and dental care when during possession and access. They also have rights to consent for basic medical and dental care and to direct the moral and religious training of the child, when in their possession.

Both Parents Exercising Rights and Responsibilities as Joint Managing Conservators

After a divorce or suit affecting a parent-child relationship, parents must work together as co-parents, and they should be focused on the best interests of each child. Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child at all times have the named parental rights and responsibilities. Being a good co-parent means working well with the other parent by sharing information and conferring with the other on decisions affecting the child.

You might like this HuffPost article, 10 Real-Life Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

A Child’s Health, Education, and Welfare

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the right to receive information from the other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child. It can lead to problems when one conservator withholds information about health, education, and the child’s welfare. When the other parent has a right to information, sharing that information is good for the child. If there is a problem, your attorney can ask the court to intervene.

A Child’s Medical, Dental, Psychological, and Educational Records

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the right to confer with the other parent before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child. Discuss these decisions with the other conservator parent. Both conservators should work together to avoid conflict.

Consulting with the Child’s Physician, Dentist, or Psychologist

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the right to access medical, dental, psychological, and educational records for the child. When access to records is denied or withheld, the conservator parent cannot exercise their parental rights and responsibilities.

Consulting with School Officials about Education, Welfare, and School Activities

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the right to consult with the officials with information about the child’s education, welfare, and school activities. A conservator parent has the right to know how their child is doing at school and in what activities they participate, such as extramural sports.

Know what your child is up to at school. Consider tips in this article, 4 Ways to Interact with Your Kids After School.

Attending School Activities

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has a right to attend school activities such as parent-teacher conferences, school plays, sporting events, and other events. If one conservator stands in the way of the other, preventing them from attending school activities, there can be conflict leading the parties back to court.

Being the Child’s Emergency Contact to be Notified

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the right to designated on the school records as the person who has a right to be notified in the case of an emergency. It should be possible for both conservators to be designated as emergency contacts. Parents have the right to know if their child is involved in an emergency.

Consenting to Medical, Dental, and Surgical Treatment in Emergencies

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has a right to consent to healthcare professionals to engage in medical, dental, and surgical treatments when there is an emergency causing an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child.

Managing a Child’s Estate Created by the Parent or Parent’s Family

A parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the right to manage a child’s estate, for the reasonable needs of the child, as set forth in any agreements such as a trust. The conservator parent can make an appropriate management decision in the child’s best interests.

The Standard Rights and Duties of the Non-Primary Parent During Periods of Possession

The conservator with periods of possession and access with the child can exercise certain rights and meet duties to the child. These rights and duties apply during the times that the non-primary parent is with the child during the set periods of possession and access. First, they have the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child. While with the child they also have the duty to support the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical, and dental care. In providing for the child’s needs and best interests, the conservator parent during periods of possession has the right to consent for medical and dental care not involving serious invasive procedures. As well that parent can direct the child’s moral and religious training.

What Happens When Conservator Parents Exceed or Interfere with the Rights and Responsibilities of Joint Managing Conservators?

While co-parenting and exercising parental rights and duties, even the best efforts of good joint managing conservators can lead to enforcements and suits for modifications of the Court’s order regarding conservatorship, and possession and access. For example, when one party remarries there can be new conflict about decisions involving the child. Decisions about schooling, vaccinations, religious choices, and more, can lead to a trip back to court.

An experienced Texas divorce lawyer can help parents in conflict. Resolving problems with parental rights and duties is possible outside of court. Mediation is one alternative dispute resolution option other than filing an enforcement or modification suit. When mediation doesn’t work, and when the best interests of the child are at issue and in jeopardy, you need a tough and aggressive lawyer to negotiate and litigate your enforcement or modification suit.

Richard T. Sutherland is a Wichita County Divorce Lawyer for Children’s Issues and the Rights and Responsibilities of Joint Managing Conservators (940) 691-2100

Wichita Falls Family Law Attorney Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas. Contact us today for a consultation.

Richard T. Sutherland can advise and represent parents with issues regarding the rights and responsibilities of joint managing conservators including new divorces, suits affecting the parent-child relationships among non-married parents, as well as the enforcement and modification suits.

Child Support Modification Because of Increase in Maximum Guideline Limit

Child Support Recipients Could Receive More Money

Texas child support increases are effective beginning September 1, 2019, and if affected, you might need a child support modification. Whether you are paying or receiving child support, you should be aware of the new amounts. While you are not required to file a child support modification, you must file one if you want to increase the amount in the child support order. There is no automatic increase in monthly amounts, and you must file a child support modification to receive an increased amount in child support.

A child support modification is a new legal action that asks the Court to make a new order for child support applying the new guideline amounts. This means that your lawyer must file a new petition that is served on the party paying child support. Your attorney can negotiate an agreed support order to save time and resources.

Child support guidelines apply the percentage of child support allowed per child to the net monthly resources of the child support obligor. A child support order and a withholding order is entered and tendered to the employer of the child support obligor in most cases, and the money is automatically withheld from the obligor’s paycheck.

Child Support Modification
Call Wichita County Divorce Lawyer Richard T. Sutherland for Child Support Modification Cases at (940) 691-2100.

Listen to our podcast: Child Support Calculations in Texas as Wichita County, Texas Divorce Attorney Richard T. Sutherland explains how everything works and what to expect.

The new maximum guideline amount is set at $9,200 monthly, replacing the current cap set at $8,550. The guideline for one child increases from $1,700 to $1,840.

Call Wichita County Divorce Lawyer Richard T. Sutherland to learn if you qualify for an increase in child support and can file a child support modification case. (940) 691-2100.

Increase in Child Support Guideline Maximum Monthly Payment

The maximum amount you can be ordered to pay in child support is the “cap.” Even if your net monthly resources (a calculated amount of your income amounts available to pay support) is more than $10,000, the maximum amount you can be ordered to pay is $8,550 monthly, which increases to a maximum cap of $9,200 monthly for child support orders entered on or after the effective date of September 1, 2019.

You could reach the maximum amount with a calculation based on one child and a high income earning obligor or when there are four or more children and the obligor is paying a larger percentage of net monthly resources for child support.

Contact Richard T. Sutherland for a consultation to determine if you qualify for a child support modification.

Modifications Available for Maximum Guideline Child Support

For one child, the maximum child support is determined by the guidelines. The guidelines are signed into law and included in the Texas Family Code. While most people follow the child support guidelines, you and the other parent can always negotiate other agreements that may be accepted by the Court when they are in the best interests of the child.

The Texas Child Support guideline amount of support that can be ordered for one child is twenty percent (20%) of the net monthly resources of the child support obligor (the parent ordered to pay support). The maximum of that amount is capped at $1,710 monthly, increasing to $1,840 monthly on September 1.

The Texas Legislature Increases Child Support Guidelines

To increase the child support maximum amounts to keep up with the cost of living and inflation, generally, the Texas House and Senate vote on increases to the caps for determining child support. The increases are voted on every six years. The guideline increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The last increase in child support laws was in 2013.

Learn more about the CPI: Consumer Price Index Frequently Asked Questions

September 1, 2019, is the Effective Date for New Child Support Guideline

In order to receive more money in child support, from the child support obligor, you must file a modification case on or after September 1, 2019. When a petition for modification is filed and served on the other party, your attorney can request their updated financial records to set a new proposed amount of child support to be paid monthly.

Even though the child support guidelines have increased, the income of the child support obligor may have changed as well. If the child support obligor is making less money, the child support amount the Court may order could reflect a lower monthly support order. Your attorney can help determine your rights and options regarding child support modifications.

Call Richard T. Sutherland for Child Support Modification in Wichita County, Texas (940) 691-2100

Richard T. Sutherland is a Wichita County divorce and family law attorney who can help you with a child support modification case. In his family law career, Sutherland has advised and represented many child support obligors and recipients at all income levels. He understands how and why it can be a good time to file a child support modification.

Wichita Falls Family Law Attorney Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas.

Wichita County Divorce: Sealing Divorce Court Records

Texas Law Regarding Sealing Court Records

The general rule in Texas is that court records are presumed to be open to view by the general public. In many counties, court records are available online. With advances in technology, it is easier than ever to look up information about people, including their divorce records. Despite the presumption that court records are public, there are exceptions where certain records can be sealed if the Court determines to grant a request to seal records or the whole file, in their discretion. Sealing divorce court records makes sense in many Texas divorce and custody cases.

Texas court records may be sealed when (a) “a specific, serious and substantial interest which clearly outweighs: (1) this presumption of openness; (2) any probable adverse effect that sealing will have upon the general public health or safety;” or (b) “no less restrictive means than sealing records will adequately and effectively protect the specific interest asserted.” Note that the Rules of Civil Procedure define “court records” to include any “documents filed in an action originally arising under the Family Code.” Rule 76a

There are many good reasons people want their divorce court records to be sealed from the public. It requires an experienced Texas divorce and family law attorney who has worked with complex divorce cases before, involving sealing records and keeping your private family information from public view and access. Richard T. Sutherland has represented families in divorce matters where people are concerned about preserving their privacy. For information about Wichita County divorce and sealing divorce court records, call Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas at (940) 691-2100.

Read this Reputation Defender article: Top 10 Reasons to Keep Your Personal Information Private.

Sealing Divorce Court Records
For Information About Sealing Divorce Court Records Call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas (940) 691-2100

Sealing Divorce Court Records by Agreement or by Court Order

There are several methods you and your lawyer can discuss regarding keeping your personal information private in your divorce, custody,  modification, or enforcement case. Your divorce lawyer can negotiate with your opposing counsel to agree to have certain court records about the divorce sealed. If your spouse and their lawyer don’t agree to seal records, your lawyer can file a motion with the Court and make the argument for sealing divorce court records at a hearing in court, with notice given to the opposing counsel.

The records you might want to be sealed could be whole documents or portions of the information contained in documents. Parts or whole documents in your pleadings and discovery could contain sensitive information you want to seal. Private information people don’t want the public to view or know can also be part of the final divorce decree. You may want your lawyer to negotiate an agreement that includes a penalty in the event that the other party ends up sharing, publishing, or otherwise leaking sealed court records.

Sealing Divorce Court Records About Personal and Finance Issues

In high conflict divorces with complex business and financial issues, sealing court records may be necessary to protect future interests. For example, if you have an interest in a family business, it may be in everyone’s best interests to protect private information. Competitors in business can take advantage of business relationships and cause problems when private information is public and gets into the wrong hands.

Another article tip: 8 Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation and How to Avoid it.

If there are allegations of facts that would be embarrassing and damaging to someone’s reputation, sealing court records can protect people from probable adverse effects. Imagine trying to get your children into a school, church, or sports program when people in town may have shared your private information about what is in your divorce records.

Sealing Divorce Court Records About Parenting and Child Custody Issues

Child custody cases and sealed record requests make sense when there are allegations involving the parenting or actions of one parent. For example, a parent’s history of DWI, drug, family violence, and other criminal charges can damage one’s reputation. Even though allegations and information offered as evidence are only about an arrest or charges, that may have been dropped or dismissed, the information is damaging.

Custody modification cases usually come about when there is something wrong with the current custody and visitation arrangement. The allegations involved can be anything from a job change requiring of plans, or a criminal or family violence situation. Depending on what is going on, you and your spouse and children might be better off asking or agreeing to seal the records and protect against others finding in using your private information against you or to gain an advantage in some other context.

Sealing Divorce Court Records With Wichita County Divorce Attorney Richard T. Sutherland

Richard T. Sutherland is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Wichita County. For decades, well-known families have hired Mr. Sutherland to represent them in divorce and to minimize information about their divorce becoming part of a public discussion. When there is a good reason to seek to protect sensitive divorce and family information, call Mr. Sutherland about sealing divorce court records by calling (940) 691-2100.

Wichita Falls Family Law Attorney Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas.

The Rise of Gray Divorce in Texas

Some Say Gray Divorce, Some Say Silver Divorce, at Increasing Rates in Texas

Baby boomers divorcing in Texas may have been married for 20 to 30 years or more. The term gray divorce or silver divorce applies to husbands and wives over 50. From couples who grew apart, realized different goals or have different needs, baby boomers are making mid-life changes in direction.

Some men and women have grown apart from their spouse with whom they live more like roommates than a couple. When the kids are raised and out of the house, what is the focus on your marriage? Are you still on an exciting journey through life with your husband or wife? People are learning many can divorce peacefully and stay friends and good parents while going in their own directions, on their own.

In a gray divorce, baby boomers over 50 may have many years they still plan to work, and others are retired or preparing to wind down work. When there are significant assets, money, and property to consider for division, it is important to use experienced divorce lawyer counsel and make sure your bests interests come first and foremost.

Gray Divorce in Texas

Listen to this Richard T. Sutherland podcast: Community and Separate Property in Texas

In Wichita Falls and around Wichita County and nearby communities, divorcing baby boomers may call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland for divorce over 50. For decades, Richard T. Sutherland has represented divorce clients in Northwest Texas with complex divorce, finance and property issues. To learn your rights and options in gray divorce in Wichita County, Texas, call Richard T. Sutherland at (940) 691-2100.

 

Gray Divorce Reasons

Different issues may lead to gray divorce, compared to younger couples. Parents over 50 have raised a family and watched their children grow. They may have increased focus on their own needs and goals. Over decades of adult life, men and women grow and learn about themselves and the world around them. When children are thriving as young adults, parents feel a sense of accomplishment. Baby boomer parents may also feel more comfortable getting a divorce.

After the kids are out of the house, couples tend to focus on their finances and how long they plan to work before retiring. Conflict arises during differences between savers and spenders. When you have limited time to earn and grow retirement money, the saver vs. spender issue can be one of the factors leading men and women in long term marriages to divorce.

Read our blog article: High-Net-Worth Divorce

Gray Divorce After 50

People are living longer and many healthy baby boomers over 65 today will live into their 90s. Increased life expectancy causes people to think about a few things:

  • Is there enough retirement money to cover me if I live that long?
  • Do I need to stay in an unhappy marriage?
  • How do my spouse’s health and concerns affect me?
  • Can I move closer to other family and spend time with them?
  • Where are my work and income opportunities?

Questions about how to hire a lawyer? Listen to this Richard T. Sutherland podcast: Help! I Need a Lawyer!

Gray Divorce in Texas: Critical Issues

A person paying spousal maintenance by agreement or by order of the court may have a complex income and compensation package with a variety of benefits, all of which have value. The total compensation a spouse receives must be determined.

Money and assets inherited and maintained as separate property should stay with that spouse in the divorce. However, when money has been co-mingled and assets bought and sold, it can be a challenge to prove something is separate and not part of the community marital estate.

The value of property and assets, both separate and marital, must be determined using appropriate professionals and experts. Also, finding and accounting for all the assets is important. Sometimes people find what they thought was there, is not. Sometimes spouses discover the wasting of marital money when one is cheating and spending money on a paramour.

Retirement account and life insurance policies are reviewed for division in divorce in Texas. How and when you can exercise your rights to these accounts and money depends on many factors in your divorce and retirement plans.

Forbes also has an article on these general topics: 4 Main Challenges of a Grey Divorce

Gray Divorce and Finances

So many couples made sound financial and retirement plans and worked hard for the future. Along the way, some gain and lose money for all kinds of issues. Many times there is nobody to blame for losing money, other times it is someone’s responsibility.

Regardless of fault, the question you need to ask is whether I will have a better or worse financial position if I get divorced. However you answer that question, it is one you should face. A secondary issue is your education and earning capacity. For many baby boomers, there are career change opportunities where experience and maturity are valuable assets.

You and your financial advisors can review your options in divorce and how your money will carry you into your senior years, and whether you may need to keep working, and for how long.

Those with education and experience can work with consultants who help repackage your background and skillsets for new opportunities. Depending on your financial needs, you may find you have a greater range in your next steps.

Call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland for Gray Divorce in Wichita County, Texas

Richard T. Sutherland is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Wichita County, Texas. Licensed in Texas (not Oklahoma), Mr. Sutherland is well-known for handling the challenging divorce, asset, and property division issues.

Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas. For a consultation with Mr. Sutherland, and information about gray divorce in Texas, call (940) 691-2100.

 

Divorce Filings in the Summer: How to Prepare

Problems in the Marriage and Spending More Time Together Can Lead to Divorce Filings in the Summer

When a marriage is strained by problems, being busy is the best way many people avoid dealing with their problems. When the summer months arrive and the children are out of school, many families prepare for busy summer schedules of short trips, vacations, weddings, and family reunions. Spending hours of time together in the car or out of town means couples have more time to talk, and more time for things to go wrong. Add the element of family and friends who may be on different sides of things and problems in the marriage can lead to one or both spouses wanting a divorce.

Divorce Filings in the Summer Because Children Are Out of School

Starting a divorce during the summer can be easier for families because the children are out of school. When kids are off for the summer, their school year is not disrupted by the divorce. Some parents chose the summer to start their divorce because it is easier to take time from work if necessary. The beginning stages of divorce and the discovery process can be more time consuming and easier to tackle over the summer.

Spending Time on Divorce Planning During Summer When Children are Away at Camp
For Information About Divorce Filings in the Summer, Call Richard T. Sutherland (940) 691-2100

How to Find a Lawyer for Divorce Filings in the Summer Months

A divorce is a major life event. When there are children involved it is important to get things done right. It is important to find an experienced divorce lawyer. The Texas Family Code is a challenging body of law and most general practice attorneys refer their clients to an attorney with specific expertise with Texas divorce and child custody issues.

Before you meet with the lawyer for a divorce consultation, prepare a list of questions. You should be comfortable telling the lawyer all your questions and understanding their answers. A retainer fee is charged that includes the filing fees charged by the county in which you reside. The lawyer tracks their time and applies it against the retainer amount that may need to be replenished.

Attorney, Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas offers helpful tips for finding and hiring a lawyer in this podcast, Help! I Need a Lawyer.

Having a Temporary Custody Orders Hearing Before Children Go Back to School

A temporary court order hearing for child custody is a common preliminary hearing in a divorce case, used to determine who is going to live where and who will pay for what during the divorce. Because the agreements of the parties and decisions by the Court that are included in Temporary Orders, often carry into the final trial and divorce decree. A new divorce filed in June and July could be in Court for a Temporary Orders hearing in August, ideally before school starts again in the fall.

Courts may limit the time allowed to conduct at temporary orders hearing for child custody. For example, Wichita County Court rules place a two-hour limit on these hearings. It is important to work with your divorce lawyer to work on settling any issues so that hearing time can be reserved to resolve conflict.

Listen to Another Helpful Podcast: Do I Need a Temporary Court Order for Child Custody?  

Spending Time on Divorce Planning When Children are Away at Camp

Your divorce lawyer needs to determine what money and property are included in the community marital estate. You may be asked to produce financial documents and statements that may take some time to organize. During the summertime, if the children are away at camp or spending time with other family members it can be easier to plan for divorce and get things together for the lawyer.

Learning About Co-Parenting and Sharing Custody and Visitation Time

At the beginning of your divorce, it can be awkward seeing your spouse as a soon-to-be ex, especially around the children. Your lawyer will tell you what to expect regarding temporary child custody and visitation. Keeping conflict away from children is important. The court where you file your divorce may use standing orders prohibiting certain conduct like talking bad about the other parent in front of children.

If you are preparing for a divorce filing in the summer, keep it off social media. The last thing anyone needs is the opposing counsel making anything out of social media posts. The more people stay under the radar, the more they can avoid unnecessary complications.

To Get Started with Divorce Filings in the Summer, Call Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita County, Texas

Richard T. Sutherland is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Wichita County, Texas for all divorce, property, and child custody issues. Licensed in Texas (not Oklahoma), Mr. Sutherland is well-known for handling the challenging divorce and child custody cases.

Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas. For a consultation with Mr. Sutherland, and information about divorce filings in the summer, call (940) 691-2100.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Father’s Day Weekend

Celebrate Dads on Father’s Day Weekend

There is more to being a dad in a child’s life than being their father. The important role of dad includes being there for the emotional development of their children and being caretakers and disciplinarians. Boys and girls look up to their fathers as the bearers of wisdom and strength. To children, dads know just about anything in the world. The respect children have for their dads is something that comes with great responsibilities for fathers not to disappoint.

Fathers influence our own relationships. How you interacted with your father as a child has bearing on your relationships with others. For example, loving and supportive fathers produce loving and supportive children who grow up to influence their own sons and daughters.

Texas courts and the Texas Family Code recognize the fundamental importance of fathers in the development of children. It is in the best interest of children to have the best relationships with their fathers. Divorce and child custody cases can make Father’s Day challenging for families, especially when changes in the family structure are recent.

Richard T. Sutherland, litigating countless divorce and child custody cases in his career, knows how much fathers love their children and on behalf of family law attorney Richard T. Sutherland, we wish you all a Happy Father’s Day Weekend.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Father’s Day Weekend from the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland
Wishing Everyone a Happy Father’s Day Weekend from the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas

History of Father’s Day

1972 was the year President Richard Nixon signed the law designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Celebrations honoring fathers originated many generations earlier in the 20th century to complement Mother’s Day. Early Father’s Day celebrations include a church service in West Virginia in 1908 and a claimed founding of Father’s Day in 1910 in Washington.

The History Channel offers an article on the History of Father’s Day.  

Watch this video: Military kids honor their dads deployed on Father’s Day

Celebrating Father’s Day After Divorce

Father’s Day after divorce can be rough on families. Children used to celebrating Father’s Day together with both parents have to adapt to time split between them. Most child custody and visitation orders give fathers the right to possession of their children over Father’s Day weekend.

What do dads and kids love doing together? Whatever that may be, Father’s Day weekend is a great time to take those special trips and enjoy time with dad going to or watching a game together. Traditional Father’s Day activities never seem to get old and as kids grow up they can look back at pictures and the great memories of fun times with dad.

Meanwhile, military fathers may be serving periods of deployment all around the world. Not being able to see your children on Father’s Day is tough on dads and their kids, especially when dad is on deployment. Hopefully, dad has an opportunity to talk to or video chat with his children if he cannot be there in person. When dad is serving in the military, he may have appointed a designated person, often another family member who will spend quality time with the children in his place. Even if dad cannot be there, his family are important to the children. After divorce, kids can get used to different plans and schedules, and the important thing is they feel love, safety, and security in their family.

You may appreciate this Richard T. Sutherland podcast about Military Deployment and Custody in Texas.

Best Gifts for Father’s Day and Making Memories

Moms may be involved in helping young children find the best gifts for Father’s Day. Even if mom and dad are no longer married and living together, mom may still have a few pointers about what dad may want for Father’s Day. Who doesn’t need a new coffee cup for work or a new tie to wear?

Outdoor activities on Father’s Day weekend are great memory-making. A trip to the driving range to hit a few golf balls can be fun, even if the kids have never held a golf club before. Anytime is a good time to learn a new activity.

Father’s Day Weekend is a good time for sons and daughters to catch dad up with everything they have been doing in school and with friends, in case dad missed anything. Asking children about their lives shows them how much you care and are equally as important.  

Father’s Day Weekend Getaways

The weather on the third weekend in June is usually favorable on Father’s Day. If you are a father with possession on Father’s Day Weekend, you may be taking the kids on a weekend getaway. Keeping any travel restrictions in your custody agreement in mind, there are all kinds of places to go with the kids to make some memories. The Texas Parks & Wildlife website is full of information about activities and programs kids and dads can enjoy.  

Whether it be for Father’s Day this year or planning a future trip, consider Father’s Day travel ideas in this Travel Channel gallery.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Father’s Day Weekend from the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland

To all fathers, we hope that you can spend a great Father’s Day Weekend with your children. We hope all children value their fathers and the opportunity to learn from dad. Richard T. Sutherland is a divorce and family law attorney who can help Texas fathers and advise them of their rights as fathers to custody, visitation, and raising their children.

Richard T. Sutherland is located in Wichita Falls, Texas, (licensed in Texas, not Oklahoma) and he represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas. Have a great Father’s Day Weekend and if you need, contact a father’s rights lawyer in Texas: Richard T. Sutherland by dialing (940) 691-2100.

Military Divorce Lawyer in Texas: Richard T. Sutherland

Military Divorces Lawyer in Texas: Richard T. Sutherland can Help Military Spouses with Divorces Where One or Both Spouses Serve in the United States Military

Service members in the military include the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In Wichita Falls, Texas there may be military husbands or wives living here in Texas while their spouse is deployed. Additionally, local residents in Wichita County may have a spouse serving military duty at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. People consulting with a military divorce lawyer in Texas such as Richard T. Sutherland should understand that it is important to hire an attorney with experience in Texas military family law.

Serving your country does not mean you need to sacrifice anything with your child. A designated person can be appointed to have visitation, otherwise referred to as possession and access with the child while you are away on temporary or longer military deployment.

Who would you appoint as a designated person to exercise your custody and visitation rights while you are deployed? If you were deployed a significant distance from the child, would you seek a temporary modification of the court’s orders during deployment? In all situations, the court applies the law in the Texas Family Code and considers what is in the best interest of the child.

Military.com has a great article about How Deployment Stress Affects Families, a recommended read.

Sheppard Air Force Base Families May Need a Military Divorce Lawyer in Texas

If a husband or wife housed at Shephard Air Force Base at Wind Creek Village, Heritage Heights, or Freedom Estates needs a family lawyer for issues involving marriage, divorce, property issues, child custody or support issues, they should contact an experienced Texas divorce lawyer in Wichita County, who is accustomed to working with families subject to the parts of the Texas Family Code that specifically address United States military service members.  

Military divorces in Texas are alleged on the same ground as divorces for civilians. Texas is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that you do not need to allege a fault ground to get divorced. The no-fault ground is called insupportability. For more information about the basics, please see our article, Divorce in Texas: What You Should Know.  

Military.com also published an article discussing how Months of Deployment Cause Increased Risk of Military Divorce.

How Military Deployment Affects Child Custody in Texas

Military service members frequently have child custody and visitation questions unique to their family member’s military service. In Texas, custody and visitation are properly called conservatorship and possession and access. Some of the questions are about visitation when the parties are divorced and one of the parents’ ability to see the child is affected by military deployment, mobilization or temporary military duty.

Click the link and listen to Richard T. Sutherland explain Military Deployment and Custody in Texas in this podcast. Mr. Sutherland understands how military deployment, mobilization or temporary duty can affect families.

How Military Status May Affect Property Division in a Texas Divorce

If you are deployed in military service and are located far from your family and are getting a divorce, there are challenges in the logistics of property division. In a divorce where everyone is local and available to communicate and interact during the divorce process, property division can be challenging enough. When you or your spouse is far away and deployed a short or longer-term period of deployment it can be difficult to communicate. Something as simple as work with appraisers for home and property can be delayed and difficult when one or both spouses is unavailable.

Additional issues in property division include property, land, real estate, vehicles, boats and so on, located in different states. To learn more about complex property issues, listen to our podcast, Community and Separate Property in Texas.

Richard T. Sutherland is a Divorce Lawyer for Military Spouses

When one or both of you is located in Texas and the other is a permanent resident of another state, questions about property division can be complicated. In Whicita County and surrounding Northwest Texas, people call Richard T. Sutherland for divorces involving property division and military service members. Also experienced in commercial litigation, complex family business structures, and incidentals making property division a challenge, Richard T. Sutherland can help you.   

Richard T. Sutherland is located in Wichita Falls, Texas, (licensed in Texas, not Oklahoma) and he represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas. Contact a military divorce lawyer in Texas: Richard T. Sutherland by dialing (940) 691-2100.

Taking the Sting Out of Divorce

Taking the Sting Out of Divorce

A Divorce is a Significant Life Event 

What are the first five words that come to your mind when you hear the word divorce? Most of us think first of our own divorce if we had one. We think about our family and friends’ divorces. Maybe we remember being worried about divorce and what would happen to the kids, family, and friends. Any way you cut it, a divorce actively dissolves a nuclear family in two.

Taking the sting out of divorce

Richard T. Sutherland is an experienced Texas divorce lawyer who meets good people at one of their worst times in life. He knows that people feel victimized, failed, angry and uncertain of their future.

Listen to Richard T. Sutherland explain a variety of topics in the podcast section of our website.

Often a newly divorcing couple say they are going to agree to work together to split property and child-raising responsibilities. But for various reasons, things that start peacefully can blow up into intense arguments and battles. Anyone going through major life stress can react differently than normal.

There are several ways to approach a divorce and child custody or child support case so that you are prepared for what may happen. Remember that the anticipation of the next step is often worse than taking it.

Tips for Taking the Sting Out of Divorce:

1. Being Mentally Prepared 

Like every family is different, so is every divorce case. Being mentally prepared for divorce requires being ready for whatever may happen. For example, your husband or wife might have told you the retirement accounts were worth significantly more. Are you prepared for finding out during the discovery process that they have been pulling money out without your knowledge?

When we look at our expectations in life and divorce, hypothetical questions may come up. Taking the sting out of divorce means being mentally prepared for whatever happens, even if it is shocking. In another example, how do you handle someone who was a mutual friend who is siding with your ex in a custody battle?

Because we recommend hiring the best divorce lawyer, we also suggest preparing to handle some challenging information, decisions, and attitudes from your ex that might shock you. Taking the sting out of a divorce can require armor at times. Know that before you know it, the divorce will be completed and life does continue, with you in the driver’s seat.

2. Hiring the Best Divorce Lawyer 

How do you know whether you need the best divorce lawyer you can find? Do you need to be of wealth and means with complex child custody issues? Certainly not. The experience of the best divorce lawyer you can find matters regardless of how complicated your divorce is.

A good divorce lawyer knows how to navigate challenging aspects of the divorce process and litigation. Meanwhile, a younger and more inexperienced attorney might get beat up in court more often which costs you more money. You want the best divorce lawyer who can win for you the first time at bat.

It is important to hire an experienced lawyer whose law practice is devoted to divorce and family law cases, as opposed to a general practice lawyer. The Texas Family Code is a challenging body of divorce and family laws and it takes many years of experience in and out of the courtroom to be effective for a client.

You might enjoy our blog article focused on high-net-worth divorces in Texas.

3. Remaining Calm and Collected when Communicating with Your Soon to be Ex 

When in doubt, let your ex freak out. A great plan for taking the sting out of divorce is never letting your ex see you sweat. Don’t let them know you are upset. Think of your best poker face and when to wear it. Whether you are communicating with your soon to be former spouse about kids, money, mediation or trial, you cannot let them assert dominance over you.

By remaining calm and collected, you do not let the other person push you around and control how you feel. Be prepared for them to call you names or tell friends or family that you are being cold. Once the dust settles you should be proud you didn’t get pushed around.

4. Organizing Information for Your Divorce Lawyer 

Being organized is great for taking the sting out of divorce. Every divorce is different and every family has different information about money, property, and children. Whether you are the one with the files and access to accounts, the more organized you keep everything, the easier your divorce lawyer can help you. Law offices are busy and lawyers have plenty of deadlines on their different cases. The less time your divorce lawyer and staff must spend organizing your information, the more time they have to represent you and work on the results you want.

5. Mediating Agreeable Property and Children’s Issues 

If you are preparing for mediation, understand the process of getting to the bottom line. If you asked for the RV in the divorce but your ex really wants it, are you prepared to go to war over the RV? If you don’t really care about the RV but want to receive your fair share of its value, mediation might be a place where that can be accomplished without spending time and money figuring that out in court when there are bigger issues at stake. The goal of mediation for property and custody issues is to identify the really important issues that matter the most to you, the ones you are ready to fight for.

6. Representing Well in Court 

Even though you may not feel your best, you can put your best foot forward with a smile on your face. It is helpful when a judge finds you pleasant and not particularly memorable. On the other hand, judges are more likely to remember the people who were overbearing and difficult.

Taking the sting out of divorce means understanding that the judge has seen and heard just about everything already and your situation is not particularly compelling to them. The better everyone lets the process work as it is designed, the better everyone fairs.

7. Creating Your Own New Life After Divorce 

After biting your tongue at the right time and wearing a smile while battling over hot button issues you may need a vacation! When you return, it’s time to start your new life as you want it. If you have children you are going to be a co-parent like some others you may know. If that is the case, remember that at some point everyone’s children turn into adults and graduate from high school to move on in their own lives.

While you are co-parenting, you have the opportunity to do it your way because it is your own life. Of course, you must adhere to the court’s orders and custody arrangement, but at least you won’t be married to that person anymore.

Richard T. Sutherland is an Experienced Texas Divorce Lawyer in Wichita County, Available at (940) 691-2100.

In Wichita Falls, Texas, divorce attorney Richard T. Sutherland is known for his experience in being a compassionate yet aggressive lawyer, especially in the tough cases with complex property and family-owned business interests. When you need to get things done right the first and only time, call Richard T. Sutherland.

Contact Richard T. Sutherland from the website or call the office at (940) 691-2100. Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas. When taking the sting out of divorce matters, call Richard T. Sutherland.

Handling an Angry Ex During a Divorce

Why We Anticipate an Angry Ex During a Divorce

Divorce and child custody cases are very emotional. In even the most amicable divorces, people are upset and might be feeling regret, fear, hurt, and anger. As some people refer to their soon to be former spouse as their “ex” before the divorce is final, we certainly understand that the other party in the divorce has turned from lover to likely enemy. Is there a good way to prepare for divorce without becoming overcome with emotion and turning into the angry ex during a divorce?

Even when divorce starts out somewhat agreeably, things happen and people’s attitudes can change quickly. For example, assume that the husband and wife agree to split the money and properly fairly until someone finds out that their spouse had been lying for years about how much or little money there really was. Now someone is mad and no longer agreeable.

People all need their own time and place to work through the stress of major life events like a divorce or child custody case. Even if the other person eventually becomes a good co-parent and someone with whom you can have a positive relationship, there are best ways to handle an angry ex.

Considering divorce? Consult with Wichita Falls family law attorney, Richard T. Sutherland. Call (940) 691-2100 for a consultation today.

Angry Ex During a Divorce
Nobody Prefers an Angry Ex During a Divorce

Empathizing with an Angry Soon to be Ex-Spouse

How would you feel if the shoe were on the other foot? Maybe your husband or wife cheated on you. You cannot imagine cheating on them, but you can imagine how guilty they must feel. Even if they don’t show their emotions, you know your spouse as well as anyone. If you and your husband or wife are in the middle of a divorce, there may be twists and turns with everyone’s emotions and likely you both want to get through the divorce in one piece.

Especially when there are children involved, remember that an angry ex is someone with shared custody and visitation with your children. Remember empathy, your ability to understand another and their feelings. By focusing on empathy for your ex, you may be able to de-escalate anger.

Communicating with an Angry Ex During a Divorce

You know what pushes one another’s buttons. Don’t do it during a divorce or child custody case. How you chose to communicate can set the tone for how you and your soon to be ex can communicate after the divorce. When your kids are involved, you should want to be able to communicate effectively.

Do not bring up the bad things that happened to you both during your marriage that led up to the divorce. Avoid talking about the new boyfriend or girlfriend you don’t like, it is not going to help anything. Effective communication with an angry ex can be done in writing and limited to what is necessary, such as visitation exchanges and reimbursement for medical expenses, for example.

Our Family Wizard software was specifically designed for co-parents who may not be communicating well one on one. Using this great program you can save information, send messages and much more.

Boundaries Define Your New Relationship with an Angry Ex

Your ex cannot tell you what to do anymore. Set clear boundaries they cannot cross. Let them know, politely if possible, when something is no longer their business, such as your love life. Unless you have a court order to exchange information, you are no longer obligated to share information with someone who is no longer your husband or wife.

Narcissist-types may be good at getting under your skin by commenting on and inserting their opinions on you and everything you do. The smart ones do it by telling things or suggesting them to the children, with the hope they will tell you what they said. Avoid these traps and if necessary, remind your angry ex that there are boundaries they may not cross.

Keep Kids Out of It: Not Acknowledging an Angry Ex During a Divorce

In many divorces with child custody issues, the court orders mothers and fathers to not talk disparagingly about the other in front of the kids. A divorce is stressful on children too and it is important to remind them that both parents love them and they are safe.

Even though you might be playing it cool, your angry ex might act poorly towards you, especially in front of the children. By not taking the bait and responding to taunting, you are showing your children restraint and maturity. Remember empathy and imagine that your angry ex is going to regret their behavior when things get closer to normal.

In-Laws and Angry Exes in Divorces

Not only are you getting a divorce from your soon to be ex, but also their family. All those in-laws you may love or not, are no longer related to you by operation of marriage. However, it is becoming more common to maintain relationships with people you have grown to know, like and trust. It is good for your kids to keep positive relationships with aunts, uncles, and cousins.

But, during the divorce, people may be sensitive and it can be a good idea to keep some safe distance. Especially if you are dealing with an angry ex, there may be negative talk going around the extended family about you and what happened to the marriage. Again, empathy, communication, and boundaries are good things to think about during a divorce or custody case. And if you once had good relationships with in-laws, you certainly may keep them in your life if and when appropriate.

Social Media Pitfalls and Angry Exes

People handle the end of relationships in different ways. A soon to be ex-husband or wife might take to social media to show the world how good they are looking, or they post to appear to hurt and need attention. First and foremost, follow your divorce lawyer’s advice on how to with social media during divorce. Second, be aware that people will be watching you during a divorce.

While people may be legitimately curious about what you are going through and how you are doing, keeping the divorce out of other people’s day is a good idea. Not posting about the divorce on social media is appropriate. Letting people know privately is better.

Meanwhile, your angry ex may be posting pictures of their new love and proclaiming how happy they say they are. Let them do that while you keep it classy and keep the divorce private.

Mental Health Professionals Are a Great Resource when You Have an Angry Ex During a Divorce

Good mental health is important. When a divorce and child custody case is pending, you may be experiencing stress and anxiety. Talk to a mental health professional who can help you feel better about yourself. They may be able to talk about how to deal with an angry ex.

Children also benefit from talking to a mental health professional who can help them understand their feelings and how they fit in with everything going on around them. The underlying feeling of safety and security are important to children. Especially if you have an angry ex who is acting out during a divorce, your kids may really benefit from talking to a safe neutral professional.

You may appreciate this article: The Roles of Mental Health Professionals in Divorce.

Richard T. Sutherland is a Divorce Lawyer Experienced with Angry Exes in Divorce and Child Custody Cases in Texas

Years of experience with all kinds of people and personalities is valuable. In his divorce law practice, attorney Richard T. Sutherland is able to stay steps ahead of your angry ex during a divorce. Knowing what another may be doing makes it easier to anticipate their next moves. Because every divorce is unique, the strategy can be adjusted to accomplish your goals.

Contact Richard T. Sutherland from the website or call the office at (940) 691-2100. Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas.