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.

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.

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. 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. 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.

Important Facts About Divorce in Texas

Divorce in Texas: What You Should Know

Before men and women are ready to file for divorce in Texas, they can learn about how a Texas divorce case works and what they might expect in their own case. People who move to Texas from other states should understand that Texas family law is different from other states. What you may have experienced in a divorce or family law case in another state may not prepare you for Texas law and procedure outlined in the Texas Family Code.

Hire a good lawyer. Your divorce lawyer is there to represent your legal rights and help protect you and your family’s best interests. Divorce can be frustrating and downright nasty. People get upset. Divorce and child custody cases are a process and your lawyer’s job responsibility is representing you during the process. When results and your future are at stake, you need a strong and smart divorce lawyer who gets results.

Listen to Richard T. Sutherland talk about how to go about finding a lawyer in this recent podcast, Help! I Need a Lawyer! Call Wichita Falls Family Law Attorney Richard T. Sutherland at (940) 691-2100 if you need help.

Divorce in Texas

Be ready to compromise or prepare for litigation. When people who once loved one another and married are no longer in love and on good terms, it can be difficult to remain calm and rational, especially when emotions are running high. Also, be prepared if your opposing party and their lawyer may challenge your patience at the very least. While divorce in Texas takes time, there will be a final day when the judgment is final, and you can move on.

Divorce in Texas Takes Time

A Texas divorce case follows an ordered procedure that takes time and resources. It takes time to collect the necessary information to address issues involving children, parents, property, assets, and liabilities. Even if you and your husband or wife agree on everything, a final judgment of divorce is not allowed until at least 60 days have passed from the time the petition for divorce is filed with the court clerk in the proper county.

Especially in a long marriage with children and assets, there are many potential issues to resolve in a Texas divorce. Depending on the level of conflict and ability to negotiate, a settlement can take a long time to reach, and a trial by judge or jury can take longer. While families in divorce and child custody cases may wish the process was quicker, it is important to address and resolve contested issues correctly the first time, to avoid return trips to court and modification and enforcement cases in the future.

Legal Separation Is Not Recognized in Texas

In Texas, married couples are married until their divorce judgment is granted. There is no such thing as a legal separation in Texas. Married husbands and wives can live apart and maintain separate residences, but they are still married and everything they acquire is still community property. It does not matter how an asset is titled during a marriage in Texas because it will still be community property owned by both spouses and subject to division in a manner the court deems just and right.

Texas is a No-Fault Divorce State                 

Husbands and wives cannot force the other to stay married, nor need they prove wrongdoing and fault-based grounds to qualify for a divorce. Texas is a no-fault divorce state with no requirement that either party in the divorce is at fault. There is a requirement that the man or woman seeking a divorce states one or more grounds upon which the petition for divorce is based. The no-fault ground in Texas divorce is called insupportability.

Other grounds for divorce include cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart, and confinement in a mental hospital.

On insupportability, The Texas Family Code states: “One the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.[i]

You Should Not Try to Do Your Own Divorce in Texas

There are some things in life that should be left to the hands of experienced professionals, such as a divorce in Texas. Child custody, for example, involves a specific process and appointment of conservators with specific legal rights and duties as parents. Visitation likewise is a process involving periods of possession of and access to the child. Many general practicing attorneys refer cases to and hire experienced divorce attorneys to represent family law clients because the practice of divorce and family law is determined by very specific rules and orders in the Texas Family Code.

People who try to do their own divorce often get things wrong and end up coming back to court and hiring divorce lawyers to fix the problems they caused by trying to do their own divorce in Texas.

Divorce in Texas Does Not Need to Be Expensive

The best divorce lawyer you can find may end up saving you money in the long run when they know how to get results more efficiently than another who may drag their feet or get tossed around by the opposing attorney.

When it comes to your family and future, it is important to divorce with a strategy and plan that works. The strategy can involve compromise and out-of-the-box thinking. The experienced family lawyer who has litigated the most difficult and complex cases is an asset when it matters to your family.

Richard T. Sutherland is an Experienced Lawyer for Divorce in Texas                            

Focused on parents, children and the best outcomes for the families he represents, Richard T. Sutherland has earned a strong reputation among lawyers, judges and members of communities in Wichita County and the neighboring Archer, Baylor, Clay, Foard, Hardeman, Jack, Montague, Wise, Young and Wilbarger Counties.

When results matter to you and your family, call Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, for divorce in Texas, by calling his office at (940) 691-2100.

[i] Texas Family Code, Grounds for Divorce and Defenses

Interstate Child Custody and Visitation

Interstate Child Custody and Visitation Issues in Texas

When a parent with custody relocates to another state, needs to enforce child custody and visitation orders from another state, or needs a modification of parenting plans and visitation agreements from another state, that parent needs an interstate child custody and visitation lawyer like Richard T. Sutherland.

Lawsuits and modifications involving interstate child custody and visitation are understandably emotional. Children are only young and grow up once, and the distance separating parents, children and families can be overwhelming. Every case is different and requires the best strategy for the family to accomplish their custody and visitation goals. Along the way the Court focuses on the best interest of the child.

For an expanded look, please visit the page on our website dedicated to Interstate Family Law.

Call Richard T. Sutherland at (940) 691-2100 for Interstate Child Custody and Visitation Issues.

Richard T. Sutherland Texas Divorce and Family Law Attorney for Interstate Child Custody

Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, not Oklahoma, Richard T. Sutherland has represented many families with divorce and interstate child custody and visitation issues.

Located in Wichita Falls, the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland, is not far from Sheppard Air Force Base, where military members are stationed, coming from all over the United States.

When families move to Texas from another state or are leaving Texas to move to Oklahoma, they may have interstate child custody and visitation issues requiring the legal advice and representation by an experienced Texas divorce and child custody lawyer.

Listen to Richard T. Sutherland’s podcast: Military Deployment and Custody in Texas

Federal Laws Apply to Interstate Child Custody and Visitation Cases

The UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act), UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act), and PPKA (Prevention of Parental Kidnapping Act) are federal laws applied in child custody and visitation case with multi-state issues. These laws are about uniformity and cooperation among courts in different states. The Hague Convention is a federal treaty adopted by various countries, setting forth guidelines for cooperation among international courts and government agencies.

What is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act?

Used only for original suit or modification or enforcement for custody and visitation and possession not for child support, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is about which court keeps original subject matter jurisdiction, thus having the authority to enter court orders affecting the family.

If for example, a child is born in Oklahoma where the family resides, and the child has been in Oklahoma for six months preceding the filing of a case involving child custody, Oklahoma is the home state that keeps jurisdiction to hear the case and make modification and enforcement decisions.

One purpose of the act is to prevent people taking or abducting a child to another state to file a custody case there, where the parent thinks they might have a better outcome. This practice is called forum shopping and it is prevented by the UCCJEA.

So long as one of the parties remains in the home state, that court keeps original and ongoing jurisdiction in the custody case. If everyone leaves Oklahoma and is now in Texas, for example, the Oklahoma court may be petitioned to move the case to Texas.

Do people ever ignore the UCCJEA? They sure do. Richard T. Sutherland has litigated many cases involving interstate child custody and UCCJEA issues and he is well-versed in the law, its application and exceptions.

Read all about the UCCJEA on our website page dedicated to Interstate Family Law.  

What is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act?

The federal law used regarding interstate family law and child support is the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. UIFSA applies to child support, medical support and child support arrearages when the custodial and non-custodial parents live in different states. Under this law, states can work together to establish and enforce child support orders across state lines. This prevents one parent leaving the state to avoid support obligations.

What is the Prevention of Parental Kidnapping Act?

The Prevention of Parental Kidnapping Act is a federal law used to enforce custody determinations by courts in other states. To prevent parents taking a child to another state with an intention not to return the child. A parent can seek relief from court, in the form of specific court orders to prevent the other parent from fleeing with children, preventing parental kidnapping.

Richard T. Sutherland is an Experienced Interstate Child Custody and Visitation Lawyer in Wichita County, Texas

Richard T. Sutherland has focused his practice on divorce and family matters, helping Texas families with complex and challenging divorce and family law problems for many years. He is experienced in interstate child custody and visitation cases and is often hired on by other lawyers with clients who need an experienced Texas divorce and family lawyer to assist with one of the complex interstate child custody and visitation issues identified in this blog article.

To schedule a consultation, call the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland today by dialing (940) 691-2100. Richard T. Sutherland is licensed to practice law in Texas, not Oklahoma.


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 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.