Fry & Elder

For 30 years, Robert G. 'Hap' Fry, Jr., has been practicing law in Tulsa, devoting 25 years exclusively to the areas of divorce and child custody litigation. He received his undergraduate degree on a wrestling scholarship at Michigan State University and received his juris doctorate degree from The University of Tulsa College of Law.

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.

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