Sollows Family Blog

William E. Gene Sollows

8 months ago

Parental Alienation -- the Time to Act is Now

There are few things as pervasive and frustrating in family court as parental alienation, the actions of one (or both) parents to try to harm the other parent's relationship with the child. In bad cases, it is simply awful for the other parent and of course for the child.

Strictly speaking, it is a form of child abuse.

Yet many alienated parents do nothing for too long, allowing the alienator to continue to work on the child, disparage the other parent, and ingrain the child in false and damaging beliefs. In time this becomes the child's "normal," and the child, fearful of the alienator's reactions, goes along with it and may even start to believe it.

So the time to act is now, before it's too late to alter the course of your child's life. If you are an active parent and the other parent in your child's life is provably engaging in alienation, call me and let's figure out a game plan to end it and keep your child in your life.

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William E. Gene Sollows

11 months ago

Drugs & Alcohol in Tarrant County Family Courts

Substance issues are unfortunately common in family law matters, particularly in child custody disputes and in cases involving family violence and criminal conduct. It is important to know that courts' treatment of these issues varies greatly depending on the judge and the circumstances.

The main thing to keep in mind is that courts are looking for parents to act in their children's best interests. When parents put their substance issues ahead of their kids, judges act to protect the children and appreciate those parents and relatives that bring the matter to the court to get control of the situation.

Alcohol is usually addressed differently than drugs by local courts. If a person's conduct while drinking is problematic (violence; DUI; public intoxcation; neglectful parenting), the courts will generally order that the offending parent not use alcohol while in possession of children and often order testing as a means of policing that order. Violations of such injunctions often lead to supervised possession by the parent that can't stop drinking while with the kids. Some courts will suggest (or even order) that the parent go to courses or treatment for their drinking issue.

Illegal use of controlled substances (including using legal prescription drugs without a prescription) are dealt with more harshly. Supervision of their parenting time is usually ordered until the person is clean on a hair strand drug test, often with monthly spot-testing to ensure compliance.

Alcohol testing is typically done with urine tests (with a roughly 72-hour lookback period) and breath tests, some of which require rental of equipment. Testing protocols can be expensive and embarrassing.

Drug testing is by nail (toe or finger), hair strand, or urine, and the lookback period for testing is generally longest (and most expensive) for nails, followed by hair, followed by urine. Some drugs (marijuana, notably) stay in our nails and hair longer than others. Courts and drug testing facilities are very aware of the many methods people use to try to cheat drug tests; I have never seen a situation where a test was successfully cheated. Courts take a dim view of people that attempt to skew the results.

Hiring an attorney that understands how your particular court deals with these issues is a critical consideration. If you are dealing with these issues in your family law matter or would like to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at 817-548-5696.

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William E. Gene Sollows

1 years ago

It is unclear whether the leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs case will become the majority ruling of the Court. We'll just have to wait and see.

In breaking down Justice Alito's draft opinion, it is important to note that not only does he strike down Roe v. Wade, but all of its intellectual underpinnings found in prior precedents of the Court that have fundamental effects for many Americans. He expressly rejects the logic of many watershed cases including Loving v. Virginia (which struck down laws against interracial marriage), Lawrence v. Texas (striking down sodomy laws used to persecute non-heterosexual persons), and Obergefell v. Hodges (striking down laws against same-sex marriage). In Alito's opinion, if a right is not found in the Constitution (or its Amendments), then it is a matter left to the States.

Which is of course, what gave rise to Loving, Lawrence, and Obergefell in the first place.

Each of these prior rulings were based on the Court's establishment of fundamental rights to privacy and to make decisions for ourselves as Americans. This is the cascading potential effect of the Dobbs decision; in the long run, it will likely not just be about abortion, but also about all of the other cases establishing federal rights not found in the Constitution.

If Dobbs becomes the law of the land, then these issues would likely be addressed by state legislation once again and challenged through the federal judiciary. In Texas, our state legislature and governor's mansion are controlled by Republicans who are aggressively trying to roll back the clock on fundamental rights for a large number of Americans. It seems likely that many of our fellow Texans are likely to lose many of their protections they have increasingly enjoyed (with the rest of us) for the past 50+ years.

If you or a loved one need assistance with a family law matter and are concerned about your rights as a spouse or parent, I invite you to contact me at (817) 548-5696.

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William E. Gene Sollows

1 years ago

From a client ...

"Hello sir,

It was pleasure to work with you and your team. I am always thankful for your effort on this case. You worked tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome on my behalf and assist me with my financial circumstances. As a foreign citizen, it was hard for me to understand some laws and order but you were always there to help me out. I am hopeful that your other clients will also be satisfied with your work."

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William E. Gene Sollows

2 years ago

**Manifesto; Associate Wanted**

(This is long. I apologize. Executive summary: growing Tarrant County Arlington/family practice looking for an associate. Drop me a private message if you're interested 🙂)

About You

I am looking for a family trial associate, either a finished product or one in the making. You need to be the kind of person that is persistently advocating because it just who you are. I need someone with the moxie to be a courtroom lawyer. Because you absolutely can’t do this job unless you believe in your soul that you can, and that you are unfulfilled when you are not in court doing your thing.

I need you to genuinely care about people and their families, and have an interest in the subject matter of family law. I need you to bleed a little for our clients. I need you to treat other people like human beings. I need you to hate losing. I need you to go home and put this job to the side every night. I need you to be honest when you screw up. I need you to be cocky enough to believe you can actually do this for a living, but not be a know-it-all or insufferable egomaniac. I need you to understand that the firm getting paid is what enables me to pay you. I need you to listen and learn and speak up and shut up as necessary.

I need you to be creative, but also grounded in reality. We’re going to have our hearts broken, we’re going to get stiffed from time to time, and we may have our faith in humanity crushed occasionally. It’s part of the deal. Because we get to ride the white horse and do the right thing and be the righteous instrument of justice here and there. That's right, I said that. We are the good guys. Which is why you went to law school, yes?

Because there is nothing like the glory and personal satisfaction of winning a hard case for a deserving client.

I need you to want to be the best version of you possible. I need you to want to become a better attorney than me.

On a scale of 1 to 10, you are:

**Confidence **8+ -- You gotta believe you can do it, because if you don't, you can't.

**Ego **5-8 -- A healthy amount, but not too damn much

**Communication **7+ -- We are in the explanation and persuasion business.

**Fashion sense **4+ I simply need you to (a) look like a lawyer and (b) not be the subject of Walmart memes.

**Fire in the Belly /Moxie** 8+ where the rubber meets the road. You do want this, right?

**Integrity & Reliability 10** this is non-negotiable. I need to trust you with our client's lives; you gotta bleed fiduciary duty

**Empathy** 7+ We do this for other people. It's not about us.

Does this sound like you?

About me

I am loyal, goofy, honest, earnest, over-analytical, excitable, straightforward, a little thin-skinned, and sincere.

I'm a trial lawyer. I take winning cases to court. I believe that the quickest path to resolution (either in settlement or in court) is by preparing for trial and advancing the case forward.

I ... See More

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William E. Gene Sollows

3 years ago

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Texas Family Law

The virus didn't stop your family law problem. In the Metroplex the virus has, however, limited our ability to get to the courthouse for non-emergency matters.

But what about child custody when you are forced to shelter at home? What about the other parent unreasonably withholding your child at this time, or unnecessarily exposing your child to social contacts? What if you are forced to shelter at home with an abuser?

The short answer: give us a call.

If you have any questions concerning the effect of the coronavirus on your particular family law matter, or need immediate action on a divorce, child custody, or other family law matter, I invite you to schedule a consultation over the phone. (817) 548-5696. I appear in family courts throughout the Metroplex.

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William E. Gene Sollows

4 years ago

Enforcement of Court Orders

Any litigating attorney -- one that goes to court for his or her clients -- has the main job to obtain, modify, and enforce court orders. Often, getting the court order is difficult. But once that's done, it is natural for the prevailing party to think, "it's all resolved now." If only that were always true.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is (and conflict being a pervasive part of family law cases), many clients find themselves in need of the court's assistance in enforcing the orders they've previously obtained. Maybe the other party won't let you see your child, or won't pay child support, or won't sign legal documents to transfer property after the divorce is over. What then?

It's frustrating but necessary at that point to get a lawyer that isn't afraid to hold your opposing party's feet to the fire. Penalties for not following final court orders can include attorney's fees, modification of the final orders, and even jail time for the offending party.

Yes, disobeying court orders is taken seriously by the courts. But it requires you to have the fortitude to take the other party back to court and hold them accountable. You can't get despondent; you can't give up on "the system." You simply have to act to protect the court order that you previously worked so hard to get.

I'm available to help in these situations, and will work to aggressively enforce your court orders. I invite you to call if you or a loved one are dealing with a disobedient party.

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William E. Gene Sollows

4 years ago

I’m hiring. I’m looking for a family attorney who wants a long-term professional home. I am looking for someone with a high ceiling — someone with ambition and character and heart, and someone who wants to build something with me.

If you know someone that may be a fit, or have questions, please PM me.

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William E. Gene Sollows

4 years ago

Proud to sponsor the inaugural Trinity Pride Fest!


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William E. Gene Sollows

4 years ago

Life is largely about dealing with other people. This is especially true in family court - an entire legal subsystem devoted to resolving difficult personal problems that people can’t work out for themselves.

Smart litigants figure out a few things:

  1. You can’t change other people.
  2. Other people rarely change themselves, and when they do it’s usually only after great difficulty and major life changes
  3. The underlying personal dispute is the maddening, ridiculous, and expensive part of a family law case.
  4. The issues that the court can actually resolve - about the welfare of children and the division of property - are things that reasonable people should be able to figure out.
  5. ... and this is the hard one ... it only takes one crazy person in the case to make it ten times harder on everyone else.

So if you’re in a family case - make sure you’re not the crazy one. Make sure you have an attorney that will listen to you AND give you independent advice. Focus on the things you can address - your own behavior. And keep your kids’ needs ahead of your own, understanding that it’s not your child’s fault that you made a baby with the other parent, and that the child needs the other parent.

Stop banging your head against the wall

trying to get your ex to be a better spouse, a better parent, or heck just a better person. Let it go and accept that they are who they are. Adjust your expectations to meet reality, not your own hopes, anger, or fears.

Call me if you need help. A good lawyer will help you assess that reality, set reasonable expectations, and guide you to resolution by settlement or trial to the court.

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