Civil litigation can become taut with tension and costly, but not even the most brutally fought civil case can wreck the financial havoc and emotional destruction as a contested custody/divorce trial. We all agree that no one wins in a divorce, but we do not often think about the guaranteed losers-the children. Often times the parties and their respective counsel lose sight of the fact that the children want to love and have a relationship with the only mother and father they will ever have. Ideally, we would want the parents to resolve their financial assets and their different parenting capabilities without attempting to destroy the other's relationship with the child. One solution to stop the damage to our children is to change the way we look at divorce. Instead of going into a divorce to win everything, we need to determine what really is in the best interest of the children. Placing the children's welfare first is the paramount issue. Their best interests are always served, with very few exceptions, in having a healthy relationship with both their mother and father. Counseling, mediation and arbitration are available to parties at the inception of each case which can reduce time of litigation and costs, but more importantly rescue the trauma and scarring that goes into a protracted litigation which can be transmitted to the children. We need to change the focus of divorce at its inception and attempt to resolve issues before they become the subject of courtroom warfare. This will allow the areas of custody and visitation to be resolved by the parents themselves who best recognize the special needs of their children. We also need to set up procedures to streamline cases with pertinent information so both sides can make informed decisions as to their choices in the dissipation of their marital estate.
Unfortunately, there are some cases that must be tried simply because there is a parent whose mental or emotional condition is damaging to the children. This condition usually involves some or all of the following: adultery, abuse, and/or addiction. In these cases it is impossible to reason with the other side and only the verdict of a judge will bring a resolution. In this case my philosophy is simple-shoot all the bullets you have and then throw the empty gun at them.
James R. Elder also brings over thirty years experience to the table. His primary focus is asset protection. Our statutes provide for "equitable" division of property. Therefore, there are cases in which one cannot simply draw a line down the middle of the marital estate for each of the parties. Emerging case law in Oklahoma shows that spouses may have a marital interest in property traditionally thought of as "separate" property. That is, property that was not acquired by joint industry of the parties during the marriage. We encounter more cases involving prenuptial agreements than historically has been the case. The impact of a valid prenuptial agreement has been recognized and incorporated into our property division statute. Case law has evolved to the point that prenuptial agreements not favored in the law years ago are now encouraged. The prenuptial agreement brings a whole set of issues to any property division litigation which can mean the difference of substantial sums in the values of shares of property in a dissolution case.
Our laws with respect to support alimony are also undergoing and have undergone dramatic change over the last twenty years. There was a time when support alimony was literally automatic but with the advent of two "bread winners" in a typical household, or the presence of inherited or trust assets eliminating the need for support, alimony is often a validly disputed issue. Without a "demonstrated need," there is no reason for support alimony in Oklahoma.
I believe it is important to explore all the issues, and scrutinize the evidence so that nothing is "left on the table" when the case is over. This belief applies equally without regard to gender, principal bread winner, age or financial considerations to be considered. At Fry & Elder, we put our experience and expertise to work for the client in a team effort to provide satisfaction in his case.
Mr. Elder also handles the firm's appellate work, providing further service to the clients when a challenge to a court ruling is appropriate.
Mr. Fry is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a past president of the Oklahoma Chapter; a member of the Tulsa County and Oklahoma Bar Associations; has been a CLE speaker on cross examining a psychological expert, 1998; divorce fundamentals in 2000 and 2001; examining a custody evaluation report, 2005, 2006. He is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Elder is a member of the family law sections of the Tulsa County and Oklahoma Bar Associations. He has lectured and participated in seminars concerning division of property and debt. He carries an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell and is admitted to practice in state and federal courts including the Supreme Court of the United States. Fry & Elder is located at 906 South Cheyenne Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119, telephone 918-585-1107, facsimile 918-592-2410.
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5.0/5.0 Review for Michael Shane Henry Esq. by a Of Counsel on 05/14/14 in Divorce
Shane Henry has impeccable trial skills. He is especially skilled at cross-examination of adverse witnesses. He is widely regarded as one of the top 5 family lawyers in northeastern Oklahoma.
5.0/5.0 Review for Michael Shane Henry Esq. by a Principal on 05/14/14 in Family Law
Shane is ethic, professional and an advocate for his clients. He is knowledgeable in case law matters.
5.0/5.0 Review for Michael Shane Henry Esq. on 03/06/18 in Divorce.
I would highly recommend Shane Henry for legal services. Mr Henry and his assistant Debbie Lauderdale skillfully navigated me through an exceptionally complicated divorce. Both Shane and Debbie gave me guidance and provided support that resulted in... Read more
I would highly recommend Shane Henry for legal services. Mr Henry and his assistant Debbie Lauderdale skillfully navigated me through an exceptionally complicated divorce. Both Shane and Debbie gave me guidance and provided support that resulted in a great outcome for myself, and more importantly, my children. Lea Henley Read lessRead less
5.0/5.0 Review for Aaron Duane Bundy on 09/02/16 in Criminal Law.
Mr Bundy was excellent at communication and walking you through the process of court and also understanding the ins and outs of working with the legal system to insure that you get the best deal possible.
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