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.

The Five Tenets: An Introduction

 

Warning: this might not be a legal article.

I don’t have any letters after my name (Ph.D., etc.) that give the following any scholarly weight. Granted, I took nine whole hours of psychology in college, but that was (gulp) 30 years ago and I don’t think I aced the classes. But, contrary to some opinions, I am a person and have dealt with other persons. And, after practicing family law for more than 25 years I come to the realization that while all cases are different, they all have a common theme: communication. Or more precisely, bad communication. Okay, maybe bad is too strong a word, but in my experience communication can always be better. That is probably true in all aspects of life, but a divorce or custody case is usually where months or years of faulty communication come to a head. After observing similar patterns for so many years, it seemed to me the best way to address the problem would be proactive.

I started thinking about why parties to a case, particularly a case that goes to trial, are so opposed to one and other. Granted, some of the blame goes to the lawyers. Lawyers can be bad communicators, which is odd given that is what we are paid to do, but it is true. Knowing the law, and being able to communicate that knowledge with clients, judges and other lawyers, are two separate issues. But lawyers cannot be totally to blame, and the fact is lawyers come into the situation after the problem already exists. After the communication has already broken down and created the problem.

If communication could/should be better, is there a model that could be followed in a family law case? One that might work better in such a stressful situation? I think so. Again, I am not a psychologist, and there are thousands of books, programs, websites, apps, and seminars on this subject. That information can be helpful, and I encourage you to review it along with this article. But the one thing that I found lacking was the legal perspective, and the model I think works best in a legal case is being positive.

I know, I know, how can a lawyer dealing with child custody cases think of anything positive? Actually, about 15 years ago I noticed most custody cases involved telling a judge why a parent did something wrong. Sometimes the evidence did support that position, and while anything a parent does that negatively impacts a child should be addressed in a custody case, it does little to help a judge understand what the other parent is doing that is positive. That is really the thing to remember: a judge needs to know good things about a parent if the judge is going to make a decision that is in a child’s best interests. So I started focusing my clients and cases on being positive.

I find that the positive quality judges tend to value most is how well a parent supports the relationship between the child and the other parent. The reason I think that factor weighs more than others is because it is difficult to attain. If a parent can put aside their personal feelings about the other parent so the other parent has a good relationship with the child, then clearly the first parent is thinking about the child’s well-being and not their own agenda. When a judge is trying to determine if one parent is working towards making sure the child has a good relationship with the other parent, usually the judge is paying close attention to how the parents communicate. To be fair, positive communication can be difficult with people that you like. If we change that to communication with someone you don’t like, then positive communication is sometimes non-existent. But parents must communicate, and judges believe that fact. That said, most judges handling family law cases understand the reality of the situation. Most judges expect communication will be bad. So, what better time to show a judge that you can communicate positively?

I know, I know, it is easy for me to lecture about positive communication. I don’t have to deal with the #@!%! (other parent). True. You can ignore this article and keep doing what you have been doing for months or years. But ask yourself this: has it been working? If not, why not try something different? If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to yelling and name calling.

The idea is what I call the Five Tenets, and they should be the first things you think of before you communicate with the other parent. They should govern how you communicate. So before you respond to that text message, that email, or say something during a parenting time exchange, consider:

  • Speaking/listening with kindness
  • Holding your boundaries
  • Being positive
  • Being honest
  • Showing grace

In the coming articles I will try to expand on these tenets, and why I think they are important. I will give some relatable examples that hopefully you can use in your communications with the other party. Heck, you might even find something you can use in dealing with a friend, co-worker or stranger. The point is this: all of us can communicate better. We are all unique and have our own viewpoints, and trying to convey some of those ideas to another person with their own unique viewpoints can be difficult. The above tenets will not solve problems with communication, but they might make it better. They might help to get your point across, and even help reach an agreement. They might relieve some stress, and really, wouldn’t that be nice? If the past year has taught me nothing else, it is that anything that can take away some stress is worth considering. Thanks for reading.


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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