Handling an Angry Ex During a Divorce

Why We Anticipate an Angry Ex During a Divorce

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

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

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

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

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

Empathizing with an Angry Soon to be Ex-Spouse

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

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

Communicating with an Angry Ex During a Divorce

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

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

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

Boundaries Define Your New Relationship with an Angry Ex

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

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

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

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

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

In-Laws and Angry Exes in Divorces

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

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

Social Media Pitfalls and Angry Exes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money and Property Issues in a Texas Divorce

Money and Property Issues are Common in a Texas Divorce

Money problems are leading factors leading to divorce. Always being worried about money, spending habits, and investment decisions can break a marriage. People with significant money and property can also be the unfortunate targets of people with a hidden agenda. It can be really easy to spend money that another person earned or inherited.

At some point, people may conclude that their spouse is motivated more by money than love, respect, trust or mutual adoration. When it is time to terminate the marriage it is important to protect money and property for your future, and the benefit of your children and any other dependents.

Some common questions people ask about divorce:

  • Are assets split 50/50 in divorce?
  • Does the wife get half in divorce?
  • How are assets divided in a divorce?
  • Can you settle property before divorce?

Listen to our podcast discussion: Community and Separate Property in Texas.

Money and divorce issues in divorce
Money and divorce issues in divorce

Attorney Richard T. Sutherland is an experienced Texas divorce attorney in Wichita Falls, serving clients with complex money and property issues all over North and Northwest Texas. Contact the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland at (940) 691-2100.

Identifying Property in a Texas Divorce

Texas is a community property state. In a community property state, the property owned during the marriage is presumed to be the community property owned equally by the spouses and subject to division in a divorce. Separate property is any property that is not community property. For example, separate property can be property owned by one spouse before the marriage or property acquired during the marriage in one spouse’s name, not used for the benefit of the other spouse or the marriage, such as an inheritance.

The discovery phase of a divorce case includes the process of exchanging information and document requests and demands to identify property owned by the spouses in the marriage. Both the husband and wife identify and disclose their knowledge of property they own or in which they have an ownership interest.

Dividing Property in a Texas Divorce

In a community property state like Texas, people assume that all property is split 50/50 in divorce. The court uses several factors in determining how community property is divided. The standard is a “just and right” division of assets and debts. Judges weigh all the facts and allegations in the divorce to determine what is “just and right.” How the Court may evaluate factors in property division can also be influenced by case law, involving similar facts and allegations in previously decided and published divorce cases.

It is important to note that property subject division in divorce includes not only currently owned and identified property but also retirement accounts and employee benefit plans.

Property identification and division can be challenging, especially where the details of ownership are complex, such as when one or both spouses have an ownership interest in family businesses and trusts.

People contact attorney Richard T. Sutherland for complex money and property issues in a Texas divorce, as attorney Sutherland is also experienced in complex corporate and business law and litigation, which is relevant to complex property issues in high-net-worth divorce.

Allocating Debts in a Texas Divorce

Addressing debt in divorce can lead to conflict. Even though there may be significant assets in a marriage, there may be significant community debt, and for good reason. For example, if invested money earns more interest than the interest on debts, it makes better financial sense to assume reasonable debts. In addition, there can be tax incentives associated with certain debts that can be deducted at tax time.

Community debts of a marriage can be divided by negotiation and agreement by the parties or the Court can order which spouse shall assume which debts. There are options when addressing debt. Community assets can be used to pay down or pay off community debts. For example, using money from investments to pay off a mortgage is one solution. Another is to continue paying the mortgage and the party living in the house assumes the payments. Maybe the other spouse is assuming the payments.

An experienced attorney like Richard T. Sutherland creates a specific financial strategy in every divorce to work towards the financial goals of the client. And when one party suspects the other will fail to make payments on debts, as ordered by the court, another option may be a better idea.

Planning for the Future After a Texas Divorce

When considering divorce financial strategies, the future of parties after the divorce is a primary focus. A high-income earning spouse has different future money and property concerns compared to a non-working spouse.  

A divorce financial expert can help analyze a money and property settlement and forecast how assets can generate future income. When there are opportunities for your money to work for you and your future, it makes sense to implement the appropriate strategy in your divorce.

This article offers information about the role of a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst).

Security, Stability, and Control of Money and Property After a Texas Divorce

People generally dislike uncertainty in life. Security is a psychological need and being in control of yourself and your future can provide the feeling of certainty and security.

Divorce at any stage in life can give people a sense of security in an uncertain world. Being secure with money and property after divorce is important.

Read, Life After Divorce, an article about the process of moving on after divorce.

Richard T. Sutherland is a Texas Divorce Lawyer Experienced in Complex Money and Property Issues

Attorneys all over North and Northwest Texas refer complex and challenging divorce cases involving money and property issues to Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas when they need to recommend an attorney they know will execute the best strategy for the client’s financial goals.

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.

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

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.

Wichita Falls Domestic Violence Lawyer: Recognizing and Stopping Abuse

Wichita Falls Domestic Violence Lawyer
Wichita Falls Domestic Violence Lawyer Richard T. Sutherland – (940) 691-2100

Defining Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic violence is behavior pattern through which the abuser keeps power and control over their partner in an intimate relationship, regardless of whether the individuals are married. Domestic violence affects people regardless of their race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation. People right here in Wichita Falls, from all walks of life can be victims of domestic violence, regardless of financial status and access to a Wichita Falls domestic violence lawyer for help.

Physical abuse can include hurting another directly by pulling hair, hitting, biting, choking, slapping, kicking or using weapons to cause harm. Not all physical abuse leaves scars. There are plenty of abuse cases where victims are held captive, abandoned in strange places or are forced to participate in harmful situations including forced use of drugs or alcohol.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Anytime 24/7: 1-800-799-SAFE / 1-800-799-7233

Common strategies abusers use to keep control over their victims:

  • Intimidation – that look, gesture, display of force, weapons and acts of destruction
  • Threats – making threats to leave, hurt, harm, or act to cause harm or embarrassment
  • Isolation – preventing the other from talking to or having access to friends and family
  • Economic Abuse –withholding money, preventing the other from making money
  • Emotional Abuse – put downs, name calling, guilting behavior, suggesting insanity
  • Undermining the Other Parent – using the children, harassing, threatening to take children
  • Using Children as Pawns – talking bad about the other, using leverage to earn favor
  • Strong Expectant Behavior – treating the other like a servant or subservient human

Why Do People Abuse Others?

To maintain power and control, domestic violence abusers hurt their intimate partners. Abusers are often internally insecure and lack feelings of self-worth and control in their lives. Some people say that abusers likely have been victims of abuse at some point in their lives. Some also say that abuse is learned through society and culture.

There is never an excuse to abuse another or commit acts of domestic violence towards your intimate partner. Regardless of the source of or reason people commit abuse, it is never acceptable.

Protective Orders and Domestic Violence

Protective Orders are available for victims of domestic violence when those victims decide to leave and get help. A protective order, based on a sworn statement and evidence by the applicant, can be ordered by the court to order the abuser to stay away from the victim, with a list of restrictions. Violating a protective order may earn the abuser a one-way trip to jail. In cases where the abuser and victim are married, a protective order is part of the initial proceedings in a divorce.

Be prepared when you seek a protective order because an already angry and agitated abuser can seek revenge including serious bodily harm and death. To be as prepared as possible, talk to your attorney, counselor, clergy member or any other who may be helping you plan to leave an abuser safely, with much attention paid to protecting you and your location and travels.

Richard T. Sutherland is a divorce and family law attorney in Wichita Falls, Texas, representing men and women with legal issues involving allegations of domestic abuse and family violence. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you need a Wichita Falls domestic violence lawyer, call the Law Office of Richard T. Sutherland in 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.

There is no good time to say, “I want a divorce.”

There is no good time to say, “I want a divorce.”

I want a divorce
Before you say “I want a divorce,” call Richard T. Sutherland (940) 691-6100

Uttering the infamous four words keeps people up at night in fear of saying, “I want a divorce.” As adults aware of consequences, we start to fully understand how much those four words will affect not on your life but also the lives of others around you. Not only your immediate family will be affected by those four words, but so also will the extended family, friends and people who find out at work. Taking the right amount of time to prepare and act helps people understand what they are getting into when announcing they are terminating the marriage.

Steps in preparing to terminate your marriage

When you decide you are done with the marriage, you have probably thought about it as a possibility for a while. Everyone has that moment they know it is time to ask for a divorce, and that is when to take the right steps in a process that will be a unique time of your life.

The more prepared you are, the easier it can be:

  1. Letting people close to you know your plan;
  2. Planning when you want to break the news; and
  3. Find the best lawyer you can so it’s done right.

Set and execute the plan to tell your spouse

Where are your children going to be? If you can, come up with a plan to have the children out of town or otherwise busy and not around when you are going to have a real conversation with your spouse.

Is it difficult to prepare for someone’s unknown reaction? Yes, but you can at least prepare for the worst when you know how they tend to react to serious news. Of course, if you are leaving your husband or wife because of family violence, you might not tell them in person and let them learn about the divorce when they get served. Never knowingly put yourself in harm’s way.

Be prepared for questions about how, why and what if anything could they do to change your mind. They might suggest marriage counseling and if that is something you can agree to, at the very least it could help make your divorce less contentious.

The anticipation of change is worse than the actual experience

Like many things in life, the anxiety of anticipation is often more stressful than the actual event of filing for divorce. Also like so many times in life, people count the days and then suddenly, the day has come and gone. Divorce, like so many big life events is very manageable and with enough preparation and the best attitude you can muster.

Richard T. Sutherland, Wichita Falls divorce lawyer, certainly understands that you might not find the best possible time to say, “I want a divorce,” but once you do, Mr. Sutherland and his staff will advise and represent you with the experience necessary to get you the best possible results in your divorce. Call Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls by dialing (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.

Kids, summer and social media

Kids, summer and social media

Kids, summer and social media can be challenging for parents. Use some tools in this article to keep up.
Kids, summer and social media can be challenging for parents. Use some tools in this article to keep up.

This summer there are many social media apps and conversations going on in your children’s cell phones and devices keeping the kids preoccupied and parents wondering what they are doing and to whom are they talking?

Whether they are playing video games, texting a good friend about going to the pool later or they are heavily involved in a large group message about who knows what, all a parent can see is that the kid is glued to their phone. While this may seem innocent enough, the potential for mischief is there, and even more prevalent when kids are out of school for the summer and have too much time on their hands.

Do you know what social media apps your kids are using?

Most parents with children old enough to have a phone or device understand that kids use different social media than their parents, on purpose. While many teenagers have a Facebook account, they only post things there for parents and the more adult crowd. Among peers, kids are using everything from Twitter to Snapchat and Instagram, as well as many more social media apps to which you have never been introduced.

See this article with a list of popular social media apps for teens.

The engineers who design social media apps for teens must understand a child’s concern for privacy from spying eyes when the images on the app button on the phone looks like something other than a social media app. For example, there is an app that looks like a calculator and is actually an image storage app. Maybe the thought is that if mom or dad is looking into their kid’s phone, they will not bother to check the calculator app to see if it adds and subtracts correctly.

Find your son or daughter’s username/handle/screen name

The key is finding your son or daughter’s creative username. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where most people use their real names in their profile, in many of the other social media apps like Instagram, the user makes up their own unique profile name, like a personalized handle they will use on all the other sites. Most people, younger and older use the same personalized screenname so because their peers will recognize them on a variety of social media apps.

Monitoring your kids’ usernames and social media profiles this summer

There are apps you can use to see what your kids are doing.

Once you find your child on Instagram, for example, and make a note of their username, you can then create your own profile on different apps to monitor your kid and figure out what they are up to on their phones all day this summer while they otherwise might be playing sports and other activities.

Most parents pause to consider whether they are breaching the parent-child trust by spying on their kids, but those concerns are quickly alleviated by concerns about bullying and all the other awful segments of humanity to which children can be exposed online and on their social media apps.

During summer break kids have lots of time on their hands and as parents it makes sense to not only pay attention to how much time they are in their phones all summer, but to also monitor their activity the best you can.

For information about Wichita Falls Divorce and Family Lawyer, Richard T. Sutherland, please call (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.