HELP! I NEED A LAWYER!

Helpful Tips and Finding and Hiring a Lawyer: A Richard T. Sutherland Podcast

In this podcast with attorney Richard Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas answers the questions most people ask about how to go about finding a lawyer. This blog article serves as a summary of key points. Anyone who needs a lawyer should listen to this podcast and learn the questions and answers about the process of finding a lawyer, meeting with them for a consultation and about elements of the attorney-client relationship.

Listen to Richard T. Sutherland’s Podcast About How to Find and Hire a Lawyer
HELP! I NEED A LAWYER! Helpful Tips in Finding and Hiring a Lawyer
HELP! I NEED A LAWYER! Helpful Tips in Finding and Hiring a Lawyer

Common Questions and Issues in Finding and Hiring a Lawyer for Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and Modifications.

If you needed to hire a lawyer, how would you go about it?

Financial professionals such as CPAs are also good sources to finding lawyers. They might give you a referral to call a lawyer they know, like and trust. If the lawyer, you call works in a different area of law practice they can make a recommendation and give you the name and number for a lawyer who can help you.

What if no one you know has hired a lawyer or they didn’t like the person they hired?  

One way to find a lawyer is to ask family and friends if they know any lawyers and find out what their thoughts were about the person they hired.

Many people search the Internet and find an attorney in Google search results. If you are looking for a lawyer in a specific practice area you can search that way, for example, “divorce lawyer Wichita County” or more specifically for divorce, child support, child custody or adoption.

You can also use some attorney specific sites such as Lawyers.com or Martindale Avvo where you can find attorneys who are rated by their peers. For example, an AV rated lawyer is deemed to have the highest legal ability and ethical qualifications. Simply search in the filed of law you need a lawyer and where.

What if the attorney I found doesn’t have any recommendations by former clients or has been given poor recommendations, should I avoid that lawyer?

Unfortunately, poor online reviews of lawyers may be a result of a disgruntled client who failed to achieve what may have been a completely unrealistic goal. Worse, it may be a review by the spouse of the lawyer’s client who didn’t like the result and blames his or her spouse’s lawyer for the outcome. Worse yet, the negative review may be placed by the other lawyer.

Note that a lawyer cannot use their client’s name for a review without the client’s express permissions since the lawyer is ethically required to keep the client’s identity confidential.

Are all initial consultations free?

No, all initial consultations are not free and there are reasons why. A lawyer’s advice, as another famous attorney, Abraham Lincoln once observed, is their stock and trade. Giving their trade away for free makes no sense. Lawyer’s advice has value. In a consultation, when the client gives the lawyer confidential information, the lawyer is disqualified from representing anyone ese in their case. So, if the husband has a consultation, lawyer is disqualified from talking to the wife because of the attorney client privilege with the husband.

Unfortunately, there is a common practice by some lawyers, encouraging clients to go and speak with other lawyers to disqualify them from being hired by the other party to the divorce. Some call this an “X out.” So, if husband hires a lawyer and is worried the other lawyers in town might represent wife, they might encourage husband to go talk to the competition law firms so they can’t represent his wife.

Consultations have value. Some lawyers provide a minimum period of free advice such as 30 minutes or less for consultation and other lawyers agree they won’t charge a fee unless the person doesn’t hire them. If the lawyer is hired, the consultation will be charged since the lawyer obtained information necessary to represent the client.

How do I know whether I am going to be charged?

Ask the lawyer when you make the consultation appointment.

I don’t think it’s fair for the lawyer to charge me when all I did was ask him questions.

Lawyers provide legal advice, most often in the form of answers to questions. As you expect to pay a doctor for their advice, you should appreciate paying a lawyer for theirs as well.

What should I expect when I meet a new lawyer?

Prepare a list of questions. You should be comfortable talking to the lawyer about your questions and receiving their response and advice. The lawyer may describe the substance and procedure involved in their situation. If you do not understand, always ask for clarification.

There are no guarantees about the outcome of any case, and you should beware of anyone who claims they can guarantee an outcome. Your lawyer should explain fee and billing practices, so you understand what to expect when you receive a bill for attorney’s fees and costs.

What is a retainer?

A retainer is an amount of money determined by the lawyer as a deposit against costs and fees. There is no a standard retainer and every lawyer may determine their retainer agreement with a client. Filing fees, such as the $630.00 filing fee in Wichita County for a restraining order case, can be paid from the retainer.

As the lawyer works on your case and tracks their time, they apply the hours they work against an hourly rate and bill your retainer. The retainer may need replenishment as the case continues. No lawyer or client knows how long a case will take or what it may cost since there are so many things that can happen.

What is a non-refundable retainer?

Non-refundable retainers are fees paid in advance to secure a lawyer’s services and compensate them for the loss of opportunity to accept other employment. Listen to this podcast and learn why the better rule for practice for family law attorneys is to avoid having non-refundable retainers, for reasons including ethics and professional conduct rules.  

I don’t really have a lot of money to hire an attorney, could he represent me on a contingent fee basis?

No, contingent fees are not allowed in divorce and family law matters. It is prohibited. Richard T. Sutherland explains the unique conflict and conflict of interest between a lawyer and client if contingent fees were to be allowed in family law matters such as custody and adoption.

Can my attorney refuse to release my file to me if I haven’t completely paid him?

No, they cannot hold your file hostage for payment. Doing so may result in damage or prejudice to your rights, prohibited by Texas rules of conduct for lawyers.

I want my mother, father, sister, brother, best friend or someone to come with me when I first consult with an attorney, is that permissible?

Yes, it is common. First the attorney must explain the attorney-client privilege, that it belongs to the client, not the attorney. Richard T. Sutherland routinely explains attorney-client privilege issues and situations to clients who can make an informed decision whether to allow another to be present during their consultation and why they may be exposed to potential danger. Listen to him explain on the podcast.

Are all conversations between an attorney and a client legally protected?

No. If the client were to tell the lawyer that the client intends to engage in criminal behavior after leaving the lawyer’s office, the lawyer is required to report to law enforcement the client’s intent to commit a crime.

There are other times a lawyer must report the abuse or neglect of a child or indecency with a child. Also, changes in testimony can result in the client withdrawing from the case in open court if the client has told the attorney about some act or event and when testifying in court and denying the act or event occurred.

What if I want to change attorneys? How do I do that?

Write your attorney a letter letting him or her know he or she is discharged immediately as your attorney. If you hired someone new, as the new attorney to prepare a motion to substitute counsel and an order of substitution and to send the motion and order to your former attorney for signature. Your former attorney should be given a reasonable amount of time to copy your file before returning original documents to you which must include his notes.

Do I even need an Attorney? Can’t I just get some forms from the Internet and represent myself?

You are not required to have an attorney in Texas. If your case is going to court, you should be familiar not only with the Texas Family Code but also with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and the Texas Rules of Evidence. There is not a separate set of rules and procedures for people who represent themselves and no one at the courthouse can give you legal advice.

In this podcast, Richard T. Sutherland explains in detail the pitfalls of trying to do your own divorce using information and forms you find on the Internet.

If you say “Help! I need a lawyer!”, call The Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland at (940) 691-2100.

Located in Wichita Falls, Richard T. Sutherland is an experienced divorce and family lawyer for divorce, child custody, adoption and other marriage and divorce matters. Contact him 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.

High-Stakes Divorce in Wichita Falls, Texas

What Do We Mean When Talking About High-Stakes Divorce in Wichita Falls, Texas?

A high-stakes divorce, child custody or family law matter is one requiring experienced, aggressive and detailed legal counsel and representation. In Wichita Falls, families with high-conflict and high-net-worth concerns are best represented by a divorce and child custody lawyer who thinks outside the box and uses years of experience to their advantage. Maintaining privacy and dignity in divorce and custody cases is also important when sensitive issues become the focus of negotiation and litigation.

The issues involved in a high-stakes divorce can be issues of money as well as custody and parenting. Every custody case is unique as is every family. While determining child support can be straight forward, making decisions in the best interest of the child is not always so easy.

Especially when there are unique family circumstances and dynamics involved, high-conflict custody cases require a seasoned family law attorney with the experience to successfully strategize and navigate a challenging case. A well-experienced divorce and family law attorney, Richard T. Sutherland, is an asset in a serious custody case and high-stakes divorce in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Use this link for podcast summaries for a variety of divorce and family law topics explained by Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas.

High-Stakes Divorce in Wichita Falls
For High-Stakes Divorce in Wichita Falls, Texas, Call Richard T. Sutherland (940) 691-2100

Complex Income and Assets in High-Stakes Divorce and Custody Cases

When you divorce in Texas the assets acquired during the marriage are community property to be divided based on what is just and equitable. There are many factors affecting property distribution and how property is characterized as community property or separate property which was owned or claimed by one spouse before the marriage or was acquired by gift, devise or descent.

Meanwhile, separate property, not subject to division in a Texas divorce also includes a spouse’s recovery from a personal injury award, except for recovery for loss of earning. Determining what is separate property and what is community property can be complex and involve serious conflict and is certainly considered a high-Stakes divorce. Listen to our podcast, Community and Separate Property in Texas for additional details.

Issues involving complicated income and assets also affect how income and net resources are determined for purposes of child support and for spousal maintenance if it applies. Many people have variable income, own business and have other unique income. It is important to use an experienced high-stakes divorce attorney who knows how to address unique income and assets.

Business Ownership, Shareholder Agreements and Liability Challenges

There are many family businesses in North and Northwest Texas where large families share ownership of shares in a business and have business assets and liabilities to consider when getting divorced. There can be premarital agreements, postnuptial agreements with duties and obligations affecting the party in a divorce or related family law action involving money.

Consider the setting where your soon to be former spouse is a seated member of a board of trustees for the family business in which you and your spouse both own shares. Buying out your spouse and negotiating their exit from the board can challenging.

The more complicated things are the more there is to win or lose. The experienced high-stakes family lawyer has seen a few challenges in their years of practice and has an important grasp on what it takes to make sure they have all the facts, use the best business professionals and anticipate tax strategies people may have, all to avoid negative consequences of important decisions.  

You may also enjoy this Forbes article, 5 Crucial Steps to Make Your Divorce Less Painful.

A High-Stakes Custody Lawyer in Wichita Falls Who Does Not Back Down Easily

Children only get one chance to grow up right and be ready for a successful transition to early adulthood and their best interests must always come first. Issues regarding children involve parents having rights and duties to make decisions for them, and determine where they reside, go to school and church and more. Medical and mental health issues can also be issues of conflict between parents who do not agree. When parents cannot or will not come to a unique settlement agreement on custody issues, these decisions will be made in Court. Judges prefer parties to come to their own agreements, and while one might not like the other parent’s offer, the judge or jury decisions could be less appealing.

Richard T. Sutherland explains Texas child custody and conservatorship

In Texas we call custody, conservatorship and visitation refers to periods of possession or access to the child. While many co-parents are appointed as joint managing conservators, cases involving family violence and child abuse affect conservatorship and can result in one parent being named sole managing conservator and the other a possessory conservator. These are high-stakes child custody issues.

The determination of which person or parent has the right to exclusively determine the primary residence of a child is a contested issue that is the center of many custody trials before a judge and/or a jury. A trial on this issue alone can involve several witnesses, experts and evidence.

For Every Divorce, Modification, Enforcement or Custody Matter, Be Ready for Conflict and Surprises

When a couple decides to divorce, or the divorce become inevitable, they may start the process with the intention of being agreeable on several divorce and custody issues. As cases are ongoing during the process of exchanging discovery and participating in a temporary orders hearing, things can break down.

When agreements break down and conflict grows, it is important to have the advice, counsel and representation of a divorce lawyer with strategy experience. When it gets to the point two people cannot agree on the color of the sky, they rely on their lawyer to help them through the process and help them know their bottom line.

When there is so much to lose, getting it done right is important. When children are involved, their best interests must be the top priority in Wichita Falls family law.

Call Richard T. Sutherland at (940) 691-2100 for your consultation for high-stakes divorce in Wichita Falls, Texas.

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.

Divorce, Modifications and Enforcement Cases in 2019

Why People File Divorce, Modifications and Enforcement Cases after the New Year

Families look forward to the holidays and couples in challenging marriages and co-parenting situations hope for the best. While being optimistic that the holidays will bring out the best in people, too often they are reminded why they are having conflict in their marriage or with the other parent of their children.

Because Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are so important to children, many parents who know their marriage is on rocky ground, chose to put conflict aside. Many people who were thinking about a divorce, child custody modification or case for the enforcement of court orders are ready to move forward after the holidays and when the kids are back in school.

Divorce Modifications and Enforcements
For Divorce, Modifications and Enforcement Cases, Call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas at (940) 691-2100.

Family Violence and Protective Orders

Family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse and spousal abuse are serious matters. People who don’t leave dangerous marriages and relationships put themselves and their children at increased risk.

The first move when getting out of harm can be a protective order. Your divorce lawyer can help you obtain a protective order on an emergency basis when warranted. If the other party, the respondent, violates the terms of the protective order, they can be arrested and jailed. Protective orders are serious business and should only be used when necessary to protect family members from the threat of or continued harm.

What to Look for When Searching for a Divorce and Family Lawyer

When divorce is inevitable, and the marriage is broken, it is important to be well-prepared. It is important to hire a divorce lawyer focused on divorce and family law issues, an experienced trial attorney with the experience and strategy to produce results.

Whether the matter is a new divorce, modification or enforcement suit, an experienced family law attorney will create a unique strategy in the best interests of the family and children involved. Richard T. Sutherland is a seasoned Wichita Falls divorce lawyer with a career of leadership among divorce and family lawyers in Texas.

Our website offers a growing library of blog articles and podcasts. Listen to attorney Richard T. Sutherland and learn the elements of a variety of divorce, custody and family law topics in Texas.

First Steps When Filing for Divorce in Wichita Falls

There are resources online including the content on this website to help people learn about divorce and what to expect. When someone knows they are ready to start the process and file, they must be ready to move forward. Hiring a divorce lawyer they can trust is important.

Divorce attorneys like Richard T. Sutherland appreciate that divorces can be difficult and emotional. They are accustomed to seeing good people going through rough situations.

It is important to be organized and give your divorce lawyer the information they need to create the best negotiation and litigation strategy to help you and your family.

Being Prepared for Custody Modification Cases

Custody modifications are original suits filed to change the terms and conditions of a court’s temporary or final orders regarding conservatorship and possession or access to a child. When modifications are filed within one year of the last order regarding conservatorship or possession or access, there are several factors that can be alleged to demonstrate that it is in the best interests of a child to make a modification to the custody orders.

In cases including family violence and child abuse, the court may presume a material and substantial change in circumstances required to modify the rights and duties of persons or parents having conservatorship and possession or access to the child. For example, an order naming both parents as joint conservators can change to one parent being the sole conservator. The terms and conditions of possession and access can also be restructured.  

Exclusive rights to determine the residence of the child may also be modified based on grounds and factors for modifications including the above, as well as economic situations, such as a new job requiring a parent to relocate.

Enforcing Possession or Child Support Orders

As children grow older their needs change. As parents pursue new relationships, dynamics change. Sometimes what worked well for years becomes a conflict. When possession schedules become a problem and conflict increases it can become necessary to file an enforcement suit, seeking the court’s intervention in high conflict situations. The court can find people in contempt. They court can also order additional periods of possession or access to make up for an interference with possession or access.

Failure to pay child support also leads to enforcement cases. When a child support obligor changes jobs, loses a job or has a change in employment generally, child support payments can be interrupted. Issues with child support payments and arrearages can be resolved out of court, or a new enforcement case can be filed with the court and served on the non-compliant child support obligor.

Richard T. Sutherland is a Wichita Falls Divorce and Family Lawyer for Divorce, Modifications and Enforcement Cases

In the new year and after the dust has settled, or at any time of year, things can change for people and their families and a divorce, modification or enforcement case is necessary. Richard T. Sutherland is a well-experienced divorce and family lawyer in Wichita Falls, Texas and he has a career’s worth of experience negotiating and litigating cases requiring everything from out of court agreements to significant trials before a judge or jury. He is licensed to practice law in Texas, not Oklahoma.

For a consultation for divorce, custody modification or enforcement of possession or child support, contact us online or call the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas 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.

Why Do People Divorce After the Holidays?

divorce after the holidays
Need to finally file for divorce after the holidays end up being the last straw? Call the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls at (940) 691-2100.

Five Reasons People Divorce After the Holidays

There are several reasons divorce increases after holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. In many instances people trying to keep things together can end up falling apart over the holidays and realizing their life is short and they need to make a change. But why now, during what should be the happiest time of the year?

  1. Happy Holidays for Children

Holidays are especially important to children. Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time to see grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. When parents divorce and kids may not see their extended family in the same setting. For many parents this is a reason to stay together for one more holiday season, depending on the situation and age of the children.

Divorce after the holidays gives children time to accept that things are going to change. While their extended family may still be there, things will be different. A divorce right before the holidays might be difficult for children. When the divorce comes after the holidays there is much more time for kids to adapt to change.

  1. Hope for Holiday Miracles

Life gets busy and the problems in marriages can easily be ignored. Couples in conflict know they have issues to work through. Arguments get postponed and remain unresolved. People grow apart. There is always hope, however that a Thanksgiving or Christmas miracle will spark the love and pave the way for healing.

When the miracle doesn’t come, and the conflict is reinforced by negative statements or behavior, people may realize that the marriage really is over. People are good at pretending things are okay and conflict will be resolved, but others may be able to see past the image of happiness. When the miracle saving the marriage doesn’t happen many consider accepting their feelings and seeking a divorce after the holidays.

Questions about the process? Please review this page of podcast summaries and links to all the important topics in Texas divorce, custody and family law in general: Divorce and Family Law Explained by Richard Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas.

  1. Truth and Flaws Exposed and Realized

Is it time to admit reality? The flaws that are already there seem more apparent over holidays. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, we spend more time with people. Increased interaction with a spouse with whom you have unresolved conflict is challenging. The things that bother you are inescapable. Have you ever been on a long car ride with someone you just wanted to be away from?

When couples realize they no longer love each other or even like one another, it may be time to call it quits. At times people simply grow apart. At other times people change. Things the other may do that are irritating can become so obnoxious that it drives you crazy. You start realizing you can no longer stand the former love of your life. That is when you know it may be time to file for a divorce after the holidays.

For more thoughts on post-holiday divorce, see the article on the Today Show website: Is divorce more common during the holidays?

  1. A New Year, a New Life

Do unhappy people want to spend another year in a bad marriage? A better question may be whether people spend another year trying to fix something beyond repair. As New Year’s approaches, we all look back. What did we do this year to make it great? Was it not so great? How many more years do we spend being unhappy or unfulfilled?

New Year’s resolutions for many include divorce and taking back one’s life and independence. Especially when people have wonderful children they love, they believe their marriage was not a waste. That said, a choice for happiness and personal journey may overcome the desire to remain together as a married couple.

Read our blog article, January Divorce Filings in Wichita Falls, for more thoughts on point.

  1. Support of Family and Friends

Around the holidays people seem tend to be more emotional and may talk to family and friends about marriage issues they might otherwise keep to themselves. And when the wine may flow, and emotions pour, some people may be telling someone else about their troubles in a way they can finally admit it to themselves.

It is painful admitting problems in marriage, when the holidays do not go as planned, or are not what they were in years past. Coming to accept conflict means you have an option to address problems and fix things. Accepting the reality of the situation might also trigger an avalanche of emotion leading to the decision to call a divorce lawyer and file for divorce after the holidays.

People also divorce after the holidays for additional reasons including substance abuse, family violence, cheating, financial problems and everything else that can go wrong in a marriage and family.

A post-holiday divorce might also be something that has been coming for a long time. Depending on the age of children and circumstances in the family, there could be challenges with child custody, spousal maintenance and issues over property and who will live in the marital residence.

Richard T. Sutherland is a Wichita Falls area divorce lawyer with decades of experience in high conflict divorce and custody issues. Whether you expect your divorce to be messy or you no longer know what to expect from your spouse, it is important to hire a divorce lawyer with the experience to anticipate the unexpected. Contact Mr. Sutherland via the website or call the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls today 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.

Enforcing Child Support in Texas

Enforcing Child Support in Texas
Enforcing Child Support in Texas. Need help? Call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls by dialing (940) 691-2100.

Establishing Child Support and Enforcing the Order

When parents divorce and have children, the court will determine and order monthly child support. Child support is also ordered when the parties are not married but paternity is established. Child support is usually set by state statute based on the net resource income of the parent ordered to pay support. The customary practice once child support is determined is to prepare a child support withholding order which is sent to the employer of the child support payer so that the child support money is withheld for distribution to the parent receiving the child support on behalf of the child.

Please listen to our Wichita Falls Family Law Podcast episode: Child Support Calculations in Texas. Attorney Richard T. Sutherland continues building a library of podcast interview content to help parents understand Texas divorce and family law issues including child support.                                                                                                                              

Enforcing a child support order is necessary when the parent responsible for paying, stops making payments. There could be several reasons child support is not being paid. The child support payor might have lost their job or there was a change in employment that caused the withholding process to fail.

Why Would a Parent Stop Paying Child Support?

There are many reasons a parent would stop paying child support. They may think they are above the law. They might believe that the other parent has enough money and does not need support. They might also believe that their personal needs are more important than complying with the court’s order to pay child support.

In high-net-worth divorces the income of the party ordered to pay might exceed the maximum guideline amount of child support to be ordered. To learn more, read our article about High-Net-Worth Divorce.

The parent with significant resources who may not need regular employment cannot simply refuse to work and use their voluntary unemployment as an excuse not to pay their child support obligation.

Parents Not Paying Child Support Say They Are Not Working

When a parent responsible for paying child support loses their job there is no paycheck from which to deduct child support payments. Too often there are people who either elect not to get a new job, or they hide where they are working from the other parent and their attorney who may be trying to enforce the child support order. There are also situations where a parent responsible for paying child support is working for cash that is not reported or withheld from pay.

Refusing to work is not a justifiable excuse to not pay child support. Where the parent can work and is not otherwise physically or mentally impaired, they must seek work to pay support.

Enforcing Child Support in Court

The court ordering the payment of child support retains jurisdiction to summon the non-paying parent to answer as to why they should not be held in contempt of court. There could be a simple reason that support was not being paid, such as an issue with the wage withholding order.

State of Texas Enforcing Child Support

Another way to enforce a child support order is to rely on the State of Texas Attorney General to enforce the support order through it’s Child Support Division (CSD). The CSD uses state resources to collect child support. The state has a long list of options it can use to collect unpaid support, including working with other states is the parent ordered to pay has moved outside of Texas.

Contempt Proceedings for Enforcing Child Support

A contempt proceeding can be initiated, seeking to find the child support obligor in contempt of court for failure to pay child support as ordered. Any other failures to comply with court orders can be including in the contempt proceeding.

The party failing to pay child support can be summoned to appear in court and address the judge, explaining why they are not in compliance with the child support order and why they are not making payments. Judges have discretion in penalizing a parent for failure to pay support and for refusal to comply with the court’s order.

The Court Can Put a Parent in Jail for Not Paying Child Support

If the court finds a parent in contempt of court for failure to pay child support, the judge has several options:

  1. Order the party in contempt to be jailed in the county jail for up to six months for every violation of the court’s orders;
  2. Order the party in contempt to pay a fine up to $500 for each violation of the court’s orders;
  3. Order the party in contempt to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees and court costs; or
  4. Place the party in contempt on community supervision and require them to comply with all the terms of a community supervision order.

There are additional remedies to recover unpaid child support including placing liens on personal property and real estate and foreclosing on the lien. The parent seeking unpaid support can also obtain a money judgment and wage withholding order to be sent to an employer.

In Texas, child support amounts more than 3 months past due can trigger a driver license suspension by the State of Texas. Professional licenses may also be suspended, as well as fishing and hunting licenses when child support is not paid.

About Richard T. Sutherland, Attorney at Law for Enforcing Child Support in Texas

Richard T. Sutherland is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Wichita Falls, Texas with over 40 years of experience. Mr. Sutherland negotiates and litigates divorce, custody and child support matters. Call the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland if you need help enforcing child support in Texas. Contact the firm online or call (940) 691-2100 to schedule a consultation and learn your rights and options.

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.

High net worth divorce

High Net Worth Divorce

There are a variety of complex issues in high net worth divorces cases in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area. Attorney Richard Sutherland offers an overview of some of the high conflict problems people have involving complex finances, child support and spousal maintenance, and how to isolate differences that can be resolved in mediation and what needs to be litigated in court.

Complex Finances

High net worth divorce lawyers frequently address valuation issues involving investments and family shares in business interests. In a divorce, there may be questions about what money was earned during the marriage and is community property versus separate property. Complex calculations and valuations are often accomplished by your divorce lawyer hiring business and divorce financial professionals.

Hidden assets may be traced by a legal investigator trained in high net worth divorce asset issues. In some cases, the assets could be at risk of transfer or disposal and a restraining order might be needed to prevent disturbance to assets. Safe deposit boxes and their content alone can be the subject of contested litigation.

Child Support & Spousal Maintenance

In a high net worth divorce case, financial issues involving child support and spousal maintenance can involve the exceptions to general Texas family law rules. For example, in Texas there is a maximum cap on guideline child support. There is a limited exception where the court can order additional support for the proven needs of a child, which may be involved in cases where a child might have a limiting disability.

Spousal maintenance can be ordered in marriages of ten years or more and are absolutely limited by the Texas Family Code to 20% of the paying spouses average monthly gross income or $5,000, whichever is less. The maximum duration of spousal maintenance is 10 years for marriages of 30 years or more. Shorter marriages have shorter durations of payments if they are ordered.

Mediation & Litigation

An experienced high net worth lawyer can evaluate complex divorce issues and work with their client on a strategy that makes the most sense and considers the client’s bottom line. While some issues can be settled in mediation, others may require a trial to a judge or jury. During the discovery process where the parties in the divorce exchange income and asset information there may be questions about certain asset valuations and other assets that seem to be missing from discovery disclosures. It is important to hire a divorce and family law attorney who knows how to untangle a web of complex issues.

Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Habeas Corpus, Modifications, Enforcements, Interstate Family Law, Pre & Post Marital Agreements, Child Support, Interstate Family Support, High Net Worth Divorce in Texas
Richard Sutherland Attorney at Law Family Law Practice Areas Including High Net Worth Divorce

For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.

You can follow Attorney Richard T. Sutherland on social media and find useful articles and resources for you and your family. Richard Sutherland is on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. For a virtual library of blog articles and podcast interviews about Texas divorce and family law please visit WichitaFallsFamilyLaw.com.

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.

Do I need a temporary court order for child custody?

You might need a temporary court order for child custody.

Parents researching and preparing for divorce quickly learn they might want a temporary court order for child custody. If you and the other parent agree about all the issues involving the children, you may not need a temporary order. For most, however, issues involving children including custody and support are handled in temporary orders hearings not long after a divorce case is filed. In Texas family law what is loosely referred to as custody is called conservatorship. To learn more about managing conservatorship, listen to our recent podcast about Texas child custody and conservatorship.

Do I need a temporary court order for child custody?
Do I need a temporary court order for child custody?

What is a temporary hearing for divorce?

A temporary hearing is for temporary orders for child custody, child support and other issues that need to be resolved so that everyone knows where they are going to be and how they will be supported during the divorce case. After the temporary hearing, the temporary orders issued by the court will be binding on you and the other parent until the divorce is concluded after a final trial or settlement agreement with a parenting plan.

Preparing for a temporary custody order hearing:

Local courts have time limits on temporary custody order hearings. For example, in Wichita Falls, the Wichita County Court rules limit hearings regarding managing conservatorship to two hours. Preparing for a temporary hearing for divorce, attorneys and their clients work to find areas where the parties can agree on certain issues. For example, if you can agree on certain issues involving the children, the attorneys and court can focus more time and effort on resolving the high conflict problems.

For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.

You can follow Attorney Richard T. Sutherland on social media and find useful articles and resources for you and your family. Richard Sutherland is on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. For a virtual library of blog articles and podcast interviews about Texas divorce and family law please visit WichitaFallsFamilyLaw.com.

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.

January divorce filings in Wichita Falls

January divorce filings are popular for several reasons. Many of the people filing for divorce this month knew that they were going to get a divorce well before the holidays.

While it might not be ideal driving to the homes of friends and family knowing you plan to divorce your spouse right after New Year’s, many people decide to make it past the holidays before they file in January. In some cases, spouses are on the fence and take a wait and see approach, and when things happen that justify suspicions and instinct, January may be an ideal time to file for divorce.

Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Habeas Corpus, Modifications, Enforcements, Interstate Family Law, Pre & Post Marital Agreements, Child Support, Interstate Family Support, January divorce filings
Richard Sutherland Attorney at Law in Wichita Falls, Texas – Family Law Practice Areas

January divorce filings are popular for several reasons:

  • January is a quiet month. Without holidays there is more time to gather information and work with a divorce attorney in identifying key objectives and issues in the divorce;
  • Children are back in school. As soon as kids go back to school, parents seeking divorce can concentrate without the disrupted schedule and routine often associated with the holidays;
  • Early divorce filers get earlier Temporary Orders hearings. Court calendars and early hearing dates fill up quickly when many people are filing new cases. When you file early, your chances are better that you can have your Temporary Orders hearing completed before spring.

Note that while many divorces are planned some time in advance, in other cases, unexpected events and occurrences can lead to a divorce people never saw coming.

January can be a stressful time for many trying to pay the credit cards and bills after overspending during the holidays. Financial distress is a common reason people divorce.

After the holidays people who were on their best behavior might sour after New Year’s. When the fights among couples are stirred back up after the holidays are over, it can be bad. In cases involving family violence those filing for divorce may have not been able to prepare for a divorce and can need extra help and support. Where one spouse lacks access to money, they may ask the court for an order of interim attorney’s fees, where the court can order one party to contribute to the attorney’s fees of another.

Please feel free to review several pages on our website dedicated to a variety of family law issues.

For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.

You can follow Attorney Richard T. Sutherland on social media and find useful articles and resources for you and your family. Richard Sutherland is on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. For a virtual library of blog articles and podcast interviews about Texas divorce and family law please visit WichitaFallsFamilyLaw.com.

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.

Child support in Texas

A Texas court may order either or both parents to support a child until they are 18 years old or graduate from high school, whichever occurs later. In certain situations, paternity of a parent may need to be established before they can be compelled to pay child support. Medical support orders and health care coverage may also be ordered by the court. Generally, when a court orders child support payments, a withholding order is completed and sent to the parent’s employer and the child support money is automatically withheld from their pay and distributed to the custodial parent through the state disbursement unit.

Family Law, Dirovrce, Child Custody, Habeas Corpus, Modifications, Enforcements, Interstate Family Law, Pre & Post Marital Agreements, Child Support, Interstate Family Support
Richard Sutherland Attorney at Law Family Law Practice Areas

How is child support calculated in Texas?

In Texas, the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay a fixed monthly amount of money for support of a child (called the obligor) based on the number of children the parent is supporting and the obligor’s net resources. The court determines the child support obligor’s net resources by calculating their total earnings and reducing that amount by how much they pay in income tax, social security as well as their contributions to the child’s health insurance and medical support and so forth. The calculations are more complex than simply take-home pay less taxes.

Once the net resources are determined, the child support amount is based on the number of children. For one child, the parent will pay 20% of their monthly net resources. The monthly amount increases with more children: 25% for two; 30% for three; 35% for four; 40% for five and not less than 40% for six or more children.

How does child support modification and enforcement work in Texas?

When the parent ordered to pay support loses a job, receives a significant change in pay or otherwise is not paying child support for a variety of reasons it is possible to modify the child support and ask the court to assist in enforcing the child support order. Where there is a change in income, the court may review the net resources of the parent in a hearing to modify support or accept an agreement by the parties. In an enforcement case, the court may impose penalties including contempt of court and possible jail time for failure to pay court ordered child support.

Please also review the pages on our website dedicated to a variety of family law issues.

For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.

You can follow Attorney Richard T. Sutherland on social media and find useful articles and resources for you and your family. Richard Sutherland is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For a virtual library of blog articles and podcast interviews about Texas divorce and family law please visit WichitaFallsFamilyLaw.com.

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.

 

Welcome to The Wichita Falls Family Law Podcast

Richard Sutherland Podcast: Welcome to The Wichita Falls Family Law Podcast

This is The Wichita Falls Family Law Podcast, a monthly Internet radio podcast program with featured host, Attorney Richard Sutherland who shares information and thoughts about Texas divorce, family law and commercial litigation.

Common Divorce and Family Law Topics:

  • Introducing Attorney Richard Sutherland;
  • Common concerns in divorce and family law cases;
  • Children’s issues and child support and custody information;
  • Richard Sutherland is also experienced in commercial litigation.

Attorney Richard T. Sutherland practices family law and commercial litigation in Wichita Falls and all over Texas. Since being licensed by the State of Texas in 1976, Richard Sutherland has been an active member and leader in many legal organizations including the State Bar of Texas. He is a frequent speaker and continuing legal education contributor. Sutherland is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin and the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.

Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Habeas Corpus, Modifications, Enforcements, Interstate Family Law, Pre & Post Marital Agreements, Child Support, Interstate Family Support, Family Law Podcast
Richard Sutherland Attorney at Law Family Law Practice Areas

You can follow Attorney Richard T. Sutherland on social media and find useful articles and resources for you and your family. Richard Sutherland is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For a virtual library of blog articles and podcast interviews about Texas divorce and family law please visit WichitaFallsFamilyLaw.com.

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.