A Passion for Community Service

The family law attorneys at Ward Potter LLC, share a passion for community service. Each attorney spends time outside of the office serving individuals and organizations in and around the Wichita community. Previous community service projects include leading a mentorship project with Hamilton Middle School. In 2012, Ward Potter (previously Ward Law Offices, LLC), was honored with the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education Good Apple Award for excellence in service to students. In addition to their collective community service work, each attorney at Ward Potter serves in various ways individually in Wichita and across Kansas.
Below is a sampling of some of the organizations our attorneys and staff work with to improve our community and help the people in our community in need of not only legal services but help in other areas of life.

Junior League of Wichita

Lynn Ward is not only the Managing Partner of Ward Potter LLC. She is a Past President of the Junior League of Wichita. Lynn and the staff of Ward Potter were pleased to support the Junior League of Wichita in their fight against child abuse by supporting the Junior League of Wichita’s 16th Annual Holiday Galleria, a shopping experience for the whole family October 3-6, 2019 at Century II in downtown Wichita.

The 3rd Annual Show Pride in Your Ride Car Show was an unforgettable evening! With the support of our guests and donors we raised over $2400 for OK Elementary School and Black Traditional Elementary! Special thanks to the following businesses who donated wonderful items for the raffle or provided support of our event: Hereford House, Plastic Surgery Center, Hall’s Culligan, South Central Kansas Mustang Club, Joe’s Car Wash, USD 259, Big Tool Store, and Janet Evans.

On Friday, March 29th Ward Potter LLC and the Wichita Thunder joined forces to support the Guadalupe Clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.

The 2018 Show Pride in Your Ride event was held on Friday, September 7. All proceeds from the 2018 event benefited Pando. The Pando Initiative has been successfully connecting with more than 200,000 students in area schools since 1990. Their core model focuses on individual students who are struggling with school and life. They position a dedicated staff member inside partner schools in Wichita, Derby and Haysville public schools.

On September 15, 2017 Ward Law Offices hosted the first annual Show Pride In Your Ride car show. Show Pride In Your Ride was an informal, non-judged car show for friends, neighbors and colleagues of Ward Law Offices, LLC. During the event, Ward Law partnered with officials from United Methodist Open Door who held a raffle. Car Show attendees were able to purchase tickets for a chance to win a Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. All proceeds from the evening’s raffle benefited Open Door. The focus of Open Door is to meet the basic needs of people in poverty. Their Homeless Resource Center, at 402 E. 2nd Street, is a daytime assistance center for the homeless, where individuals receive case management, a daily meal, access to showers, laundry and storage facilities, and mail service.

Passion Projects – Two Lives at a Time & The Refugee/Immigrant Outreach Team

Lynn Ward, Board of Directors of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Stephen Blaylock, fellow of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers present a check to Laura Roddy, President of Junior League of Wichita; and Jessica Williams, Junior League of Wichita grant writing  chair. Ward was presenting to Roddy a check for $5000 from the AAML Foundation for the JLW Two Lives at a Time project. The Junior League of Wichita and the Wichita Children’s Home will help teen moms develop crucial life skills, including how to build healthy relationships and effective parenting practices.

If It's Broken, How Do We Fix It?


Okay, so maybe broken is too strong. But, when a parenting plan is no longer in a child’s best interest, something must be done. When it comes to children, nothing is ever final. Parents change, children change, situations change, and modifications happen. At the same time, children usually do best with stability. But what if that stability is not what is set out in the current order? What do we do, and where do we start? Well, it depends (that all-time favorite lawyerly answer).

First, the Court always retains jurisdiction to modify parenting plans when it is in the child’s best interests to do so. In a nutshell, if life has happened, as life wants to do, and changes have occurred, the Court can change the plan. That change can happen by agreement of the parents, or by an order of the Court after a trial, but the final say is the Court’s.

Second, Court’s do not act until a parent asks for action. Meaning, that if a modification is to happen then a formal motion must be filed. That motion and proposal must be presented to the other parent, they must be given an opportunity to object, and to forward their own proposal.

Third, the procedure for filing the motion depends how the current parenting plan came into being. If the parenting plan was arrived at by an agreement of the parties, and the Court approved the plan based upon that agreement and without hearing evidence, then the request for modification should be sufficient to allow the Court to consider the motion. However, if the current parenting plan was established after an evidentiary hearing, then any changes to that plan can only occur if there has been a material change in circumstance such that the current plan is no longer in the child’s best interests. That concept is call res judicata, which is fancy lawyer-speak for only litigating issues once. If a Court heard evidence concerning parenting time, then that evidence is off limits for future motions.

Knowing all that, and understanding there is no one way to address a modification, we have found the best way to be:

  1. Make sure you identify the problems with the current parenting plan and develop a clear proposal to resolve the problems.
  2. Before filing the motion (if there is not an emergency) contact your lawyer and discuss the issues with her/him.
  3. If possible, discuss the issues with the other parent and see if you can come to an agreement.
  4. If you cannot come to an agreement, discuss with your lawyer how best to proceed. Usually, we contact the other parent, or their lawyer, and see if an agreement can be reached prior to filing a motion. While that may seem like an extra step, and possibly giving the other parent more time to prepare and respond, we find that being able to tell a Judge you tried to resolve the issue yourself before simply filing the motion is best. Judges like it when parents make the difficult decisions themselves, and it shows you are willing to try and co-parent, which is always good for the child.

Assuming you have tried all those steps, and you cannot come to an agreement, then filing the motion to modify will have to be done if the situation is to change. That said, filing the motion should not be something done lightly, and the old axiom of being careful of what you wish for because you may get it, rings true. If you ask a Judge for a change, she/he may make a change, but it might not be what you had in mind. That is not to discourage a parent from doing what they feel is in the child’s best interests, but rather to be certain that such motions are not done on a whim or out of anger. Judges favor the status quo when it comes to children, and Judges have considerable discretion regarding children. The last thing a parent wants after asking for a modification is a decision that essentially makes no change in parenting time or (gulp) lessens the parenting time prior to the motion being filed.

So, if you find yourself in a position where you need to modify the current parenting plan for your child’s best interests, you might keep the following points in mind:

  • Make sure you document what can be documented. Do not be obsessive and keep every text, email, or record all conversations. But if there is something you believe supports the point you are trying to make, then make sure you have a copy.
  • Do not overly involve the child or make statements about how you are going to try and change the situation. Oftentimes it is a parent saying they are simply doing what the child wants, and they in turn have had discussions with the child and promised to “fix” the situation. While the wishes of the child should be considered, involving the child in a battle for parenting time is not only not in the child’s best interests, but will certainly be frowned upon by the Court.
  • Be patient, calm and reasonable. I know, this is easy to say and sometimes impossible to do. And be realistic and forgiving of yourself when you are not always able to meet this goal. Try to make it your first, second and third steps though. Trust me, it will pay off with a Judge later at trial if you are consistently the parent that is being civil.
  • Don’t let the situation degenerate to the point of no return and remember that while the situation concerning the child is not ideal, or may even be bad, it can always get worse.

Above all, remember there really is no “fix”. You may end up changing the situation for the better. but it is important to remember the change is for the situation now. It is rare to find a case where no other changes occur. Again, life happens. As life happens, the Court always can make another change if it is best for the child. So, if you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to file a motion to modify, remain calm, keep the love you have for your child in the front of your mind, and take deep breaths. This too shall pass.


Tony A. Potter is a Member of Ward Potter LLC, where he uses his experiences in general civil, trial, and appellate practice to represent clients. Tony received his Juris Doctorate from Washburn School of Law in 1994 and has been continually licensed to practice law in Kansas since 1995. Tony is a member of the Kansas Bar Association, the Wichita Bar Association, the Northwest Kansas Bar Association, and Chair of the Wichita Bar Association Family Law Committee. His commitment to his clients was also recognized in 2018 when he was acknowledged as a “AV” attorney, peer rated for high professional achievement by Martindale-Hubbell, and he enjoys a 10.0 rating from the Avvo attorney website. Contact Tony

Ward Potter LLC is a family law firm located in Wichita, Kansas. Ward Potter handles divorce, child custody, parenting time, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, visitation by grandparents, and paternity cases. The firm also provides litigation alternatives such as collaborative family law, mediation and arbitration. The mission of Ward Potter LLC is to guide clients through changes in their families with empathy, excellence and expertise. We strive to calm chaos and focus on the resolution, not the battle.

345 N. Riverview Ste 120 | Wichita, KS 67203
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A Passion for Community Service

The family law attorneys at Ward Potter LLC, share a passion for community service. Each attorney spends time outside of the office serving individuals and organizations in and around the Wichita community. Previous community service projects include leading a mentorship project with Hamilton Middle School. In 2012, Ward Potter (previously Ward Law Offices, LLC), was honored with the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education Good Apple Award for excellence in service to students. In addition to their collective community service work, each attorney at Ward Potter serves in various ways individually in Wichita and across Kansas.
Below is a sampling of some of the organizations our attorneys and staff work with to improve our community and help the people in our community in need of not only legal services but help in other areas of life.

Junior League of Wichita

Lynn Ward is not only the Managing Partner of Ward Potter LLC. She is a Past President of the Junior League of Wichita. Lynn and the staff of Ward Potter were pleased to support the Junior League of Wichita in their fight against child abuse by supporting the Junior League of Wichita’s 16th Annual Holiday Galleria, a shopping experience for the whole family October 3-6, 2019 at Century II in downtown Wichita.

The 3rd Annual Show Pride in Your Ride Car Show was an unforgettable evening! With the support of our guests and donors we raised over $2400 for OK Elementary School and Black Traditional Elementary! Special thanks to the following businesses who donated wonderful items for the raffle or provided support of our event: Hereford House, Plastic Surgery Center, Hall’s Culligan, South Central Kansas Mustang Club, Joe’s Car Wash, USD 259, Big Tool Store, and Janet Evans.

On Friday, March 29th Ward Potter LLC and the Wichita Thunder joined forces to support the Guadalupe Clinic at Intrust Bank Arena.

The 2018 Show Pride in Your Ride event was held on Friday, September 7. All proceeds from the 2018 event benefited Pando. The Pando Initiative has been successfully connecting with more than 200,000 students in area schools since 1990. Their core model focuses on individual students who are struggling with school and life. They position a dedicated staff member inside partner schools in Wichita, Derby and Haysville public schools.

On September 15, 2017 Ward Law Offices hosted the first annual Show Pride In Your Ride car show. Show Pride In Your Ride was an informal, non-judged car show for friends, neighbors and colleagues of Ward Law Offices, LLC. During the event, Ward Law partnered with officials from United Methodist Open Door who held a raffle. Car Show attendees were able to purchase tickets for a chance to win a Richard Petty Driving Experience at Kansas Speedway. All proceeds from the evening’s raffle benefited Open Door. The focus of Open Door is to meet the basic needs of people in poverty. Their Homeless Resource Center, at 402 E. 2nd Street, is a daytime assistance center for the homeless, where individuals receive case management, a daily meal, access to showers, laundry and storage facilities, and mail service.

Passion Projects – Two Lives at a Time & The Refugee/Immigrant Outreach Team

Lynn Ward, Board of Directors of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Stephen Blaylock, fellow of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers present a check to Laura Roddy, President of Junior League of Wichita; and Jessica Williams, Junior League of Wichita grant writing  chair. Ward was presenting to Roddy a check for $5000 from the AAML Foundation for the JLW Two Lives at a Time project. The Junior League of Wichita and the Wichita Children’s Home will help teen moms develop crucial life skills, including how to build healthy relationships and effective parenting practices.

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