Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Offer Tips to Have a Stress-Free Co-Parenting Summer

Let’s face it, co-parenting is not always easy, and sometimes it can be quite stressful. However, that does not mean because you are a divorced parent that you should be singing the summer time blues! In fact, summer can be a great time for both you and your children. First, you will get some extra summer parenting time, and your child will hopefully have some wonderful experiences with their other parent. Sure, there are bound to be some minor hiccups along the way, but if both parents are on the same page and follow a few simple tips, this summer can be nearly stress-free!

  1. Plan ahead. Do not wait until your child is out of school to plan for the summer. It is important to drag out and review your parenting agreement well in advance of summer break Depending on how many years ago your plan was written, certain things may no longer work as written. For example, if your child is now old enough to attend a three-week summer camp, your parenting agreement may not account for this type of activity. You do not want to wait until the last minute to discover this kind of an issue!
  2. Keep the focus on the children. The best tip is always to put your child’s needs first when considering any problem. Sometimes, even the best of parents can find themselves in an argument with their ex over combatting ideas. However, sometimes in these situations, if a parent considers what the child would want, the problem may just resolve itself. Remember, childhood is fleeting, and a parent’s goal should always be for a child to have the best summer he or she can have with both parents.
  3. Be flexible. Flexibility is the key to any successful co-parenting relationship. The more you and your ex can work things out between the two of you, the better for you, your wallet, and of course, your children.
  4. View summer as a time to recharge. If you are feeling a bit sad that you will miss out on several weeks of time with your children, it is important to take a look at things from another perspective. First, be happy that they will have some quality time with the other parent and that you will enjoy some quality time solo. Use this time to do something fun or simply to recharge your batteries.
  5. Find creative (and respectful) ways to stay connected to your child while he or she is with your ex. Depending on the age of your children, find a way to connect with them while they are spending time away. Maybe if they are on a 2-week vacation with your ex, you can send them letters or postcards in the mail. If your children are older, regular texts may be nice in addition to your regular phone calls.
  6. Stay positive. If you are sad or anxious at the thought of your child spending several weeks with your ex, your child will pick up on your vibe. While it is okay to tell your child that you will miss them, it is important to follow up with something to the effect that “the fact that the time will go so fast.” It is important to stay positive and prepare your child for the separation.

If you encounter a problem with your summer parenting schedule, the experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys at Handley Law Center can help. A skilled Oklahoma Family Law Attorney will not only address your concerns but also explain your legal options. At The Handley Law Center, we understand that even though your divorce is completed, problems with parenting agreements can still arise. To see what our team of family law attorneys will recommend for you, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924. No matter if you need someone to mediate a dispute or to zealously defend your rights in court—our attorneys are ready to step in!

Oklahoma Divorce Attorneys Say Do Not Run From Your Child Support Obligation

Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments are often unaware of the severe repercussions for their actions. Not paying child support in a timely fashion is something the state of Oklahoma takes very seriously. In fact, the following actions can be taken against a person who has become delinquent with their child support payments:

  • Denial of a passport
  • Suspension of vehicle (car, boat, motorcycle, truck, ) registration
  • Placement of liens on property
  • Interception of tax returns
  • Held in contempt of court and sentenced to time in jail
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Suspension of professional license
  • Issuance of an order allowing employer to withhold income from paycheck
  • Seizure of assets

In February of this year, an Oklahoma County man made headlines when the District Attorney’s office there announced that it was attempting to track the man down for his failure to pay more than $84,000 in child support for seven of his children. The man now faces felony charges. That is because, in the state of Oklahoma, the failure to timely pay child support in some instances is a felony criminal charge. Per state law, a person can be charged with a felony if he or she fails to pay child support for a year or accrues more than $5,000 in back child support.

A felony charge is a very serious crime. If convicted of a felony, a person faces up to four years in prison. However, this is not the only consequence of a felony charge. In Oklahoma, a person with a felony on his or her record cannot: vote in a federal election, sit on a jury, or own or possess a firearm. A convicted felon is also prohibited from holding certain professions such as a chiropractor, funeral direction, surveyor, physical therapist, bank officer, corporate director, realtor, liquor dealer, or an executor or administrator a person’s estate. The following occupation areas are also not available to someone with a felony conviction: accounting, architecture, cosmetology, dentistry, engineering, nursing, pharmacology and veterinary science, just to name a few. Put another way, depending on your profession, not meeting one’s child support obligation could put into jeopardy one’s employment.

The important thing to remember is that if you have a child support order it needs to be paid in full and on-time until such time as the order has been changed. Sometimes, parents who have stopped paying child support believe that they have a valid reason to stop making the payments. For example, the payor has a dispute with the custodial parent over how he or she is spending the child support money or payor is denied visitation. However, neither of these situations are valid reasons for the payor to stop paying his or her child support. Rather, if you encounter a situation where you think your child support amount should be reduced, speak with an attorney who can help.

If you have found yourself in a situation where you have fallen behind on your child support payments, it is important that you make an appointment to speak with an Oklahoma Family Law Attorney. A person who fails to timely pay child support may not only be in violation of a court order, he or she could also be charged with a felony. It is important to seek out the advice of an experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorney who can help you before you face serious consequences. At the Handley Law Center, our trusted team of Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys will take the time to answer your questions. To see how The Handley Law Center can assist you with your child support and other family law related matters, contact us at (405) 295-1924. We offer completely confidential consultations.

Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Warn Divorced Parents Not to Get Spooked by Holiday Parenting Time Schedules

It is officially fall. The kids have been hitting the books for some time now and are fully acclimated to being back in school. Parents, however, are busy juggling work schedules, school schedules and of course, the never-ending list of extracurricular activities. Before a parent knows it, it is time to carve pumpkins and pick out costumes. Even if Halloween is not the biggest holiday in your home, October 31st is often the unofficial starting point of the holiday season. Because even though every lawn in town may still be littered with orange and black décor, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just lurking around the corner. Which means for many divorced parents a frenzied to do list that does not end until New Year’s Day! Before you get bogged down in the holiday madness, you will want to make sure you add one more thing to that never-ending to-do list—and that is to review your divorce documents regarding holiday parenting time. The last thing any parent needs right after Halloween is to be spooked by a disagreement over the holiday parenting schedule.

It happens every year, not just in Oklahoma, but across the country. Parents, who have been operating under a regular parenting schedule for some time are going along great and then “BOO” – the holiday’s strike! Parents, especially the newly divorced, forget that during the holidays a different schedule supersedes the regular parenting schedule. For example, you are your ex may have a fairly common schedule where you alternate spending weekends with your children. Now according to the regular parenting schedule, Thanksgiving weekend (often considered to be the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving until Sunday evening) falls on mom’s regular weekend. However, per the per the parenting agreement, 2016 is an even-ending year, and dad is to have the kids for Thanksgiving weekend. This holiday schedule would also give dad three weekends in a row with the kids.  Which means mom would not have a weekend with the kids for almost a month (November 13th to December 10th).

An abrupt change like the one above may not only come as a big surprise to a parent who has not looked at his or her divorce documents in quite some time but also to a child. Children may become upset at the thought of not spending quality time with one parent (in this case mom). Often this sort of situation can lead divorced parents to attempt to remedy the situation themselves. For example, one solution to this problem may be for the parents to switch alternating weekends after Thanksgiving going forward. Most divorce documents have provisions that expressly allow parents to make such agreements. Courts also want divorced parents to work together to serve their children’s best interests.

If you and your ex agree to change a portion of your parenting schedule, the key is to make sure that the terms of the new agreement are clear. No one wants a squabble so close to gobble, gobble day! One way to do this is to make sure that all agreements are in writing and signed and dated by each parent.

If your review of your parenting agreement unearths a problem, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment to meet with experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys right away. Only a seasoned Oklahoma Family Law Attorney can review your parenting agreement and advise you on your legal options. At The Handley Law Center, we understand that even when your divorce is completed troubles over parenting issues can still pop up. To see how our team of family law attorneys can help you, either through a modification or enforcement of the terms of your existing parenting agreement, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924.

Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Suggests Three Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Divorce Attorney

When you married your spouse, you were certain that you had found the right partner for you. Now, your marriage feels like a sinking ship, and you are ready to jump into a life boat. You know that your next step is to hire an attorney. Not just any attorney, but a good one. However, what does that mean? How do you find the right attorney? Will you know when you meet the “one”?

While these questions may sound a little strange, most people do not have a strategy in place when they begin to search for a divorce attorney. Tragically people sometimes do not even put much thought into how to go about hiring an attorney. Rather they rely solely on a recommendation from a friend or family member. Alternatively, they go to the only attorney that they know, like the attorney that prepared their will. Both of these common ways that people go about finding a divorce attorney can be problematic. So before you hire an attorney, you need to ask yourself three questions:

  1. Does this attorney focus a large area of his or her practice on divorce? You are hiring an attorney to represent you in your divorce, so the attorney you hire needs to be experienced handling divorce cases. Just like you would not want to be the first surgery ever completed by a surgeon, you do not want to hire a divorce attorney who has never handled a divorce case. Plain and simple, experience matters. This means, even if you liked the attorney that drafted your will, take a pass if he or she does not regularly handle divorce cases.
  1. Have you had a researched this attorney? Before hiring an attorney, you need to do your homework. A referral from a friend or family is a good starting point, but it should not be the end of your research. It is imperative that you meet with an attorney before you hire him or her. You can learn a lot about an attorney during a face-to-face consultation. First, you get an idea as to how the attorney conducts business. During a consultation, you will have the opportunity to meet his or her staff, who would also be working on your case. Second, you can gauge how interested this attorney seems in your case. Does he or she listen to your concerns and make you feel heard? It is important to find an attorney that can communicate well with you.
  1. Is your overall impression of this attorney positive? After meeting with an attorney, you should have a feeling about whether he or she seems like a fit. Trust your gut! Remember, you will be meeting with and talking to your attorney frequently for several months to well over a year, depending on how long it takes to complete your case. Therefore, it is important to choose someone whom you can trust to take your case seriously.

A divorce is a difficult time in a person’s life. That is why it is so important that if you are contemplating filing for divorce, that you find the right Oklahoma Family Law Attorney for you. You need an attorney that you trust, to be by your side throughout the process. At the Handley Law Center, you can rely on our skilled Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys to take the time to answer your questions and make sure you understand all of your legal options so that you can make the right decisions to move forward. Our firm can assist you with your divorce and any other family law matter related matters. To schedule a consultation with one our attorneys, contact us at (405) 295-1924.

Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

Ending a marriage is never easy. However, for victims of domestic and intimate partner violence leaving a marriage or relationship may be the most dangerous thing they ever attempt to do. It is estimated that 75 percent of women who are killed by their intimate partners are murdered at the time they attempt to leave or just after they have left the abusive relationship.

Sadly, domestic and intimate partner violence is no stranger to the State of Oklahoma.

  • It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men in Oklahoma have experienced violence by an intimate partner.
  • According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, Oklahoma ranked 3rd in the country for the largest number of women killed in domestic violence related homicides for the past two years in a row.
  • A 2013 Center for Disease Control’s National Violence against Women Survey found that the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner to be greater in Oklahoma than any other state.
  • It is estimated that a third of all women murdered in Oklahoma are killed by their husbands.
  • A study by the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Task Force found that 41 percent of all homicides in Oklahoma were linked to domestic violence.

Despite its prevalence, often people are not necessarily familiar with what domestic or intimate partner abuse looks like. Most individuals tend to think of domestic abuse as an act of physical violence. While physical violence, like hitting, punching, shoving, kicking, biting and throwing of objects, can and does occur, it is not the only type of abuse from which victim suffer.

Just as serious as physical abuse is emotional or verbal abuse. Emotional abuse can include things like yelling, trying to control the victim, belittling the victim, tearing down the victim’s self-esteem, and threatening physical violence or other forms of abuse against the victim or her children. Sexual abuse is another form of abuse. Abusers may try to force their victim to engage in sexual behavior that victim does not wish to do.

The scariest part about domestic and intimate partner abuse is that it knows no boundaries. Individuals of both sexes, all races, and of any age can and do become victims. Domestic violence does not discriminate against education level, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or religious beliefs. Intimate partner violence can strike in urban, suburban and rural communities alike. No one is safe.

The most important things to remember if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship are:

  • Victims are never to blame for the abuse. The abuser alone is responsible for his or her behavior.
  • Abusers do not necessarily act awful all of the time. Abusers can be nice and do nice things. However, over time victims notice that these periods of niceness or calm only occur right after an abusive episode and do not last long.
  • If you or your children are in danger, get help. Contact a domestic violence hotline, reach out to a trusted friend or family member, or call the police or 911.

If you are in abusive or violence relationship and are considering leaving the marriage, it is important to seek the counsel of one of our experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, if at all possible. Domestic violence is not to be taken lightly and leaving an abusive relationship is a dangerous time for a victim. In speaking with an Oklahoma Family Law Attorney, he or she can advise you how to best protect yourself and your children. To make an appointment with one of our skilled Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation.

Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Dispel Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence Myths

Separating fact from fiction is not always as easy as it seems. Certain beliefs or ideas are so widespread in our communities that they take on an air of truth, despite being completely false. These beliefs or ideas often spread because in some sense they seem logical. Take for example, “lighting never strikes the same place twice”. While it seems to have a kernel of truth to it, it is actually a myth! Lighting tends to hit the same places, like tall structures or trees all the time. In fact, the Empire State Building gets hit around 23 times a year. While this is a pretty harmless example of a myth, most myths are not so innocent.

Myths about domestic and intimate partner violence not only hurt victims of abuse, but they also inhibit others from taking supportive action to help victims. It is important to be able to dispel these myths because incidents of violence are so widespread in Oklahoma and across the country. The following are just a few of the many common myths about domestic and intimate partner violence that need to be corrected:

Myth #1: Alcohol, drugs and stress cause domestic violence.

While an abusive partner may also have a drinking or drug problem or be under stress, these problems do not cause abuse. An abusive partner may try to explain to his or her victim that the reason for the abusive incident was due to stress or alcohol, but it is only an excuse. Stopping a batter’s drinking will not stop the abuse. Keep in mind batter’s abuse their partners and maybe even their children, but they usually do not harm individuals outside of their home.

Myth #2: What happens between intimate partners is their business alone.

The truth is that domestic violence and child abuse are crimes in every state. Men do not have the right to hit or make unwanted sexual advances on their intimate partners or wives. A woman is not a man’s property and marriage does not give a man special rights to treat his partner differently from any other woman he meets.

Myth #3: If a person was truly in an abusive relationship, he or she could just leave.

This is probably the most damning myth related to domestic violence. Often outsiders think that if the relationship was “that bad” the victim would simply leave. And the truth is the victim may have tried numerous times to leave. What many people do not know realize is that leaving is a very dangerous time for a victim. Women are more likely to be killed when leaving the relationship that at any other time. A woman may also feel like she has to stay in an abusive relationship, for numerous reasons including:

  • She has nowhere else to go
  • May have the belief that it is best for the children to stay in the home with both parents
  • May be financially dependent on the abuser
  • Feels that no one will believe her about the abuse
  • Is scared that the abuser will come after her
  • Worried that abuser will take away the children
  • Thinks the abuser may take his own life

If you are in abusive or violence relationship it is important to keep in mind that you are not in any way responsible your abuser’s actions. Our experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys can help you protect yourself and/or your children from an abusive partner. He or she can advise you of your legal options, such as filing a protective order or a dissolution action.  No matter what you decision, a skilled family law attorney can help you make the best decision for you. To make an appointment with one of our skilled Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation.

What Must a Non-Custodial Parent Show to Obtain a Post-Judgment Change of Custody in Oklahoma?

While there are times that people can count on more than “one bite at the apple,” this typically is not the case with respect to child custody determinations.  If you are a parent seeking primary physical custody in a divorce or contested paternity dispute, the time to pursue this claim is prior to a judgment that includes custody orders.  However, some parents defer contesting custody case based on the assumption that the non-custodial parent can always return to court at a later time to request a change.  The reality is that once there has been an initial determination that one part is the sole or primary custodial parent, the other parent usually will find it difficult to seek a change in custody through a subsequent modification of the judgment.

The case of In re the Marriage of Varbel, 321 P.3d 1012, decided by Division No.1 of the Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma reversed the trial judge’s ruling, which modified the divorce decree and changed primary custody.  The divorce decree between the parents provided that the mother would be the primary custodian of the minor child subject to frequent and liberal visitation of the father according to the Kay County Standard Visitation Schedule.  The judgment also indicated that once the child reached the age of two a plan of alternating weeks of shared visitation would be implemented.  The divorce decree included provisions encouraging cooperation but did not designate any form of shared decision making.  The court noted that the language of the decree did not amount to an award of joint custody.  The court noted that this distinction is important because the showing that must be made by a party seeking a post-judgment modification of primary custody must satisfy a more exacting standard.

The court indicated that the test for a change of permanent custody are as follows: (1) substantial, permanent, and material change in circumstances; (2) the change must have had an adverse impact on the best interests of the child; and (3) the moral, temporal, and mental welfare of the child would be improved with the change.  The court further clarified that the paramount consideration under this test is the best interest of the child with respect to the child’s mental, temporal, and moral welfare.  The evidentiary burden is on the party seeking to change a permanent custody order to establish a substantial change in condition that will have a direct and adverse effect on the minor’s interest.

The primary basis for the disagreement over custody arose out of competing positions about the child’s pre-K education.  While the mother favored enrolling the child in private school, the father preferred to have the child home schooled.  The parties had multiple disagreements over this issue.  Father indicated that mother “made every effort” to undermine his involvement with the minor child.  While the father only planned to home school the child until 1st grade, he contended the mother’s decision to enroll the child in public school was intended to undermine his alternating week visitation.  Further, he contended that the child’s mother failed to observe the schedule during a period when the child was being treated for lice.

The court first noted that the father must establish a change of condition by clear and convincing evidence to justify modification of permanent custody in the decree.  The father indicated that both the child’s attainment of school age, and the dad’s increased availability for visitation constituted such a change of condition.  The court noted that these issues might be relevant to an initial determination of the best interest of the child, but neither factor adversely impacted the child’s temporal, moral and mental welfare.  Without this showing of adverse impact, the changes were not sufficient to justify disturbing the existing custody arrangement.  The court noted that while cooperation regarding educational decisions was a worthwhile goal, the final decision was within the purview of the mother as the primary custodial parent.  Further, the enrollment did not occur prior to a court ruling changing the father’s visitation from alternate weeks to weekends.

While the court acknowledge that a pattern of non-cooperation with visitation can constitute a basis for a change in custody, the facts did not support such an outcome.  Under Section 112(D)(1) of Title 43, the court noted: “[e]xcept for good cause shown, a pattern of failure to allow court-ordered visitation may be determined to be contrary to the best interests of the child and as such may be grounds for modification of the child custody order.”

The court rejected the application of this provision because the decision of the mother to place the child in public school was reasonable and within her rights as the primary custodial parent.  Further, the one short period where the alternate week visitation schedule was disrupted was based on “good cause” because the mother was attempting to eradicate the minor child’s lice infestation.

 

A final argument made by the father to justify a change of custody is worth mentioning.  The father attempted to raise alleged incidents of violence of the mother toward the child prior to the divorce decree.  However, the court refused to consider these allegations since neither the incidents nor the father’s knowledge of the events occurred post-judgment.  In other words, these issues should have been litigated prior to the entry of the permanent custody.

The important takeaway here for parents is that the time to contest custody is before there has been a judgement in your divorce or paternity action.  If a parent concedes primary or sole physical custody to the other parent prior to the judgment, the non-custodial parent will face significant challenges attempting to justify a change.  Even if it can be established that the best interest of the child might justify a change, this will not occur without a finding that a material and substantial change has adversely impacted the minor’s moral, temporal, and mental welfare.  This can be difficult to show especially if the other parent is not engaged in unfit parenting practices that threaten the child’s well-being.  Further, pre-judgment facts that might raise concerns about the other parent being the primary custodial parent generally will carry little or no weight if raised post-judgment.

If you or your loved one is involved in a contested custody dispute as part of a marital dissolution or paternity action, our Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys understand the importance of maintaining your relationship with your child.  We work diligently to protect the interests and rights of the parents we represent while avoiding the creation of unnecessary stress for their children.  Our law firm is prepared to pursue the best outcome for you and your kids, so call us at (405) 295-1924 for your free initial consultation.

Oklahoma Divorce Attorneys Ask: Are You Starting to Research Your Options?

January has earned a reputation to be the month to divorce. One reason why January has become synonymous with divorce has to do with the media coverage of celebrity relationships. What could make for a juicier January magazine cover than a photo, taken over the holidays or better yet on New Year’s Eve, depicting a couple looking much in love, with a headline announcing the “shocking revelation” that the couple has filed for divorce.

But like any reputation, there is more than a hint of truth behind January being “divorce month.” January is often a contender for the month with the highest number of divorces filed. But even though divorce filings usually rise in January, there are months with higher or even higher rates of filing. However, January is the month where people contemplating divorce truly start to research their options. But why January you ask? There are two main reasons why the “spike in splitting” strikes in January. First, the start of a new year is a time when people examine the past year and set goals for the new year. If a person is unhappy in his or her marriage, the question often contemplated, Is divorce the next step? The other reason that divorce filings increase in January, is that people do not want to be seen as the The Grinch that filed for divorce during the holidays. So once the holiday trifecta (Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukah, and New Year’s Eve) is over, what better time to start anew than January.

But if you talk with veteran family law attorneys, there are practical reasons to file for divorce in January. These reasons include:

  1. Taxes. If parties wait until January 1st to file for divorce it can make tax preparation easier knowing that they were married on December 31st. The other convenient aspect of after December 31st, is that it gives the parties 12 months to complete the divorce, which often is enough time so that the following year each party can file separate returns.
  1. Less emotional: Obviously if your spouse is not expecting the divorce, there is no “good” time to file. A surprise is a surprise. That being said, filing for divorce just before or in the middle of the holiday season can make matters a whole lot of worse. A spouse that may be willing to be reasonable and be willing to enter into a settlement agreement, may be too agitated or emotional to think clearly. This can prolong the divorce and be much more costly. After the holidays, when life is a bit calmer, is usually an easier time to let him or her know of your intentions.
  1. Money. Many companies give employee bonuses at year end. If your spouse is to receive such a bonus, it is often better to wait until he or she receives the bonus before filing for divorce. Bonuses or even tax returns are often used in part as retainer fees.

Remember, that even though January may be a popular month to file for divorce month it does not mean it the best month to file. People file for divorce in every month of the year, so pick the time that meets your needs. If you are contemplating filing for divorce, there is no rush so to speak to file in January.

If you are contemplating divorce, it is important that you obtain all the information possible before making a final decision. The best way to start researching your options is to speak with experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys. He or she can answer your questions and provide you with valuable insight into the divorce process. At The Handley Law Center, our attorneys understand that making the decision to file for divorce is one of the most consequential decisions a person can make. To schedule a meeting with a one of our compassionate family law attorneys contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.

Oklahoma Divorce Attorneys Offer T-Day Survival Tips for Divorcing Parents

There is never an “ideal” time to get divorced. Depending on other events going on in one’s life there are often better times and worse times, but never a great time. Even if a person files for divorce during a month that appears to be a “good” time, a divorce can often continue for several months or even a year or more. What this means is that while a person is trying to become divorced—life continues. Work, events and of course, holidays continue just as before. While not the stuff of dreams, being in the midst of a divorce during the holiday season does not really have to give one nightmares either. Keep the following tips in mind this season and you and your children will have a much merrier holiday:

  1. Acknowledge the positive. Although you wish your divorce was finalized, give yourself credit that you are at least moving forward and doing what is best for your family in the long run. Being in “divorce limbo” is only temporary and like other not-so-fun times, will not last forever. When you feel yourself becoming frustrated remind yourself that “this too shall pass.”
  1. Smile and keep your chin up around your children. If this is your first holiday without your children you may be feeling a little emotional. However, it is important not to let your children see that you are feeling sad about the fact that they cannot be with you. Remember, your children had no say-so in whether you and your spouse divorced. So it is your job as a parent to make this difficult transition as easy as possible on them. Tell them how much fun they will have while they are gone with your spouse and you cannot wait to hear all about it!
  1. Think twice before sharing the holiday with your spouse. From time to time parents think that even though the divorce is looming, they should try to spend one last holiday together as a family for the sake of the children. In many situations this can be a bad idea. It is often difficult for parents to put away all of the tension and emotion of the divorce during a time that is already stressful. Also if the parents get along too well during this time, the children may be given false hope that parents will get back together.
  1. Allow your children to contact the other parent. A good rule is to always allow your children to contact the other parent, even if the day is technically “your” parenting time with them. Kids are used to spending time with both parents on major holidays, so help them by allowing them to reach out to the other parent.
  1. Start new traditions. The best recipe for having a successfully holiday season is to not worry about trying to keep the old traditions, but to start fresh. You could even pardon the turkey this year for a pizza!
  1. Be thankful. Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks. While your marriage may be over, acknowledge the positives that came out of it and the things you have learned throughout the process. Take the day to focus on the positive and leave the negative for another time—or behind you completely.

If you are contemplating divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorney who can help you navigate through the process. A seasoned Oklahoma Family Law Attorney can answer your questions and review your legal options. At The Handley Law Center, our compassionate attorneys understand how difficult divorce can be on a family and can help make the process easier on you. To meet with a member of our team of family law attorneys contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation.

Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Contempt Proceedings

In a divorce or child-related court proceedings, emotions on one or both sides are often running high. That being said, it is especially important during these types of proceedings not to let one’s emotions interfere with one’s better judgment. When a Judge makes a ruling or signs off on an agreement reached by the parties, that piece of paper that bears the judge’s signature is known as a court order. It is not just any piece of paper—it a document that has the full force and effect of the law. Failure to follow a judge’s order can result in severe consequences. These consequences usually stem from what is known as a contempt proceeding. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions that Oklahoma residents have about contempt proceedings in family law related matters:

What does it mean to be in “contempt of court”?

Oklahoma law recognizes two main types of contempt. First type is known as direct contempt, which occurs when a person acts out inappropriately or in violation of courtroom procedures in the courtroom in front of a judge. The second type of contempt is known as indirect contempt. Indirect contempt occurs when a person willing fails to follow or obey a court order.

What type of actions constitute indirect contempt of court?

A person can be held in contempt for a number of actions in all different types of proceedings. In family law matters, however, the following are a few common examples of the types of actions that would trigger a contempt proceeding:

  • Unwillingness to pay child support or other child-related expenses as set forth in the order (i.e. daycare, medical, and/or school expenses)
  • Not having child/ren available for visitation at times and/or places specified in the order;
  • Violating a provision of a child visitation order (i.e. taking a child/ren across state lines);
  • Failure to turn over personal property as specified in the order;
  • Unwillingness to pay support as set forth in the order for alimony/spousal support; and
  • Failure to submit to DNA testing in a paternity matter.

Does it matter if the order violated was a temporary order?

No. All orders regardless of whether they are temporary or final orders, need to be followed. If not, the person risks being held in indirect contempt of court.

What are the penalties for being found in contempt of court?

The penalties for being in indirect contempt of court can vary from a small fine to jail time. A person found in contempt of court can also be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees, which could easily amount to be more than the amount of the fine.

What should you do if you receive notice of contempt proceedings against you?

If you receive notice that contempt proceedings have been filed against you, the first thing you should do is contact an Oklahoma family law attorney. Your attorney will review your case, including the documents filed, and determine what defenses you have. After reviewing the charges with you, your attorney may determine that the allegations against you are unfounded. Even if you did violate the court order, your attorney may be able to show that you did not do so willfully. However, only an attorney can properly advise you as to your defenses and properly present them before the court.

If you received notice that you are the subject of a contempt proceeding in a divorce or child-related proceeding, it is vitally important for you to contact an experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorney. With more than 30 years of experience handling family law related matters, the attorneys at The Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys at the Handley Law Center can help. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.