The parents of a Texas teen who escaped incarceration through the use of an “affluenza” defense have filed for divorce for a second time. Fred and Tonya Couch, the father and mother of Ethan, obtained a legal divorce before the young man killed four bystanders while recklessly driving a vehicle in 2013. They had, however, remarried in 2011. In court papers filed recently in Tarrant County, Fred Couch has asked to court to dissolve his marriage, alleging mistreatment by his wife. According to the divorce complaint, Tonya allegedly took more than $25,000 out of their joint account and then called the father, telling him he would “never see her or their son again.”
Ethan Couch made national news three years ago when he struck and killed four people while operating a vehicle at approximately 70 mile per hour in a zone marked 45 mph. He was arrested and charged with drunk driving and intoxication manslaughter, and was convicted, but received a suspended sentence and 10 years probation after defense counsel offered testimony from a psychologist that he suffered from “affluenza,” a condition that allegedly led him to believe that money buys privilege and that there should be no negative consequences to bad behavior. The condition is not recognized by the medical or psychological professions as a legitimate illness.
According to sources, Tonya fled with Ethan in early November, after videos surfaced showing Ethan drinking at a party with friends. After Ethan missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer, a warrant was issued for Tonya and Ethan. They were arrested in Puerto Vallarta in late December, 2016. Tonya was extradited to the United States and held on $1 million bail, but Ethan remains incarcerated in a detention facility in Mexico.
In the aftermath of a divorce, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. You may, rightfully, feel a tremendous sense of loss or failure. Here are some suggestions to help you turn your divorce into a positive event in your life:
- Take time to get to know yourself again—Often, in an attempt to keep a marriage together, parties will give up many of the things they love for the sake of harmony. Sometimes, you can even lose touch with the activities that feed you. Now’s the time to reacquaint yourself with those things that feed your passion.
- Be open to new things—After a divorce, you don’t have to please anyone except yourself (though you do need to take care of your minor children). If there’s a new way of doing things that works better for you, now’s the time to give it a try.
- Don’t live in the past—You can learn from the past, but you have to live in the present. Continually revisiting what went wrong or who did what to whom only keeps you stuck in the past, where you can’t possibly find any happiness. Let bygones be bygones and move forward.
- Don’t keep it all in—Frequently, the principal cause of a divorce is an unwillingness to be open and honest in your communication. It may be too late to apply that to your marriage, but you can turn over a new leaf, so that future relationships start on more solid ground. If you have minor children, keeping open lines of communication can be critical. Be careful, though, that you don’t use your children as sounding boards for any complaints you have about your ex. That doesn’t benefit anyone.
When you are involved in a divorce and there are minor children, one of your worst fears, as a non-custodial parent, is that your relationship with your children will suffer. Even if your relationship with your ex is strong, or he/she encourages access, you may choose to stay close, so that your kids have regular and meaningful contact. The question, though, can be “just how close?”
Take, for example, the arrangement a couple in Brooklyn worked out. They had a three-unit brownstone and decided to keep the apartment, with one parent living in the garden apartment, the other on the top floor, and a tenant in between. Both parents and children acknowledged that it was initially a difficult arrangement, as the adults struggled to maintain some level of privacy. Ultimately, though, they’ve found that it works very well. The kids love that their stuff is close by, regardless of where they are. The parents appreciate that they don’t have to pack a suitcase and drop kids off somewhere, or worry about when they will be picked up. They also find it convenient when one of the parents has a work emergency or other unanticipated event.
Another approach that has been tried with mixed success is the concept of “bird-nesting,” where the children live in the same home and the parents alternate visits with the children. Many who have tried it find that it presents a lot of the problems associated with dropping off and picking up children—things get forgotten, times get mixed up, etc.
A compromise that has worked for many parents is locating within a few blocks or a couple miles of each other, allowing children to walk between the homes, or making a trip to pick up or drop off less of a burden on everyone.
Family Therapist Develops Workshop to Help Parents after Divorce
Marriage and family therapist Anne Buettner has spent a lot of time working with families of divorce, so she understands the unique challenges that parents and children face. Drawing on her experience, she’s put together a workshop entitled “Parenting from Different Homes,” which offers advice and guidance to minimize the challenges families of divorce face.
According to Buettner, there are a number of fundamental rules that parents of divorce must obey:
- Rule #1—Don’t speak negatively of your ex…period. You never know when your children may be within earshot, and you don’t know who will talk to whom. If the negative comments get back to your children, you’ll put them in a precarious position, where they are trying to make both of you happy, but don’t know how to do it.
- Rule #2—Your child is not a messenger between you and your ex. Anything that you need to say to your ex should be said directly to him or her, preferably when your children are not present. There’s no more painful experience than when your child tries to act as a peacemaker between you and the other parent.
- Rule #3—Be clear that your child was not, in any way, the cause of your divorce. Sooner or later, your child will discover that not everyone has parents who are divorced, and they’ll try to figure out why their life is different. They may ask you what happened or they may simply try to figure it out on their own. Often, unfortunately, they may conclude that it was their fault. It’s best to simply accept your responsibility for the breakup, no matter how large or small. Your kids won’t love you any less for it, and you’ll build a powerful bond based on your willingness to be honest with them.
GetLegal to rollout the innovative Bazaarify platform to thousands of law firms in U.S.
Sunnyvale, CA October 31, 2013
Bazaarify, an emerging leader in Business Reputation Management (BRM), today announced that it has partnered with GetLegal to provide reputation management to the legal vertical. GetLegal will rollout the innovative Bazaarify platform to thousands of law firms in the U.S. Several GetLegal clients and premier law firms have already adopted the best-in-class Bazaarify platform to gather real-time client feedback and proactively amplify their reputation on social media and search engines.
GetLegal is a comprehensive and reliable destination for online legal information and services. With a vision to become the “WebMD of Legal”, the company has assembled a veteran executive team with decades of combined experience at Thompson and Find Law. GetLegal, a recipient of 2009 Webby Award for best website, has a track record of launching innovative products and is now gearing to rollout yet another industry-first product.
“For law firms, reputation is everything. Our highly anticipated partnership with Bazaarify allows us to offer law firms a unique, cutting edge technology that leverages social media to amplify their online business reputation,” explained Jeffrey A. Rattikin, President of GetLegal.
“After a successful 12-location rollout at Bailey & Galyen, one of the largest consumer law firms in the State of Texas, we are ready to offer the Bazaarify platform broadly to thousands of law firms. Bazaarify’s vision and expertise in the digital marketing arena is very valuable to us as we become the pre-eminent source for online legal information, forms and legal professionals across the country,” echoed Phillip Galyen, CEO of GetLegal.
“Our strategy is very simple. We are partnering with category leaders and innovators,” said Naveen Gupta, CEO of Bazaarify, “We’d like to offer the Bazaarify platform to one million lawyers in US. For this, we need a partner who understands the legal industry much better than we do. GetLegal was a natural choice for us.”
Learn more about Bazaarify’s all-inclusive service at http://bazaarify.com.
Bazaarify (bazaarify.com) is an emerging leader in Business Reputation Management (BRM). Bazaarify’s innovative platform allows businesses to amplify their reputation to get more word-of-mouth referrals, leads and repeat clients. Businesses can monitor reviews from all major sites, gain new reviews, manage customer feedback and automatically promote their good reputation across the web, social media networks and search engines. The company is based out of Sunnyvale, CA, and led by entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds in Internet and social media from Silicon Valley companies such as Yahoo, Google, Amazon, and Cisco.
GetLegal is a comprehensive and reliable destination for online legal information. The company is creating the most innovative global platform for online delivery of legal content, forms and services to public. With a stated vision to become the “WebMD of Legal”, GetLegal has assembled a veteran executive team with decades of combined experience at Thomson and FindLaw. GetLegal, renowned for launching innovative products in the legal vertical, has been the recipient of Webby Awards for best legal websites.
Jeffrey A. Rattikin, a partner at Rattikin & Rattikin, LLP, has joined Dallas-based GetLegal.com/The Attorney Store as a partner, and as its new president. A commercial and residential real estate attorney with a quarter century of practice experience, Jeff also serves as co-owner, escrow officer, and general counsel for Rattikin Title Company, a privately-held title company that has served individuals and businesses in Texas for 70 years.
Jeff brings a wealth of business experience and acumen to his leadership role at GetLegal.com. In addition to his accomplishments as an attorney and title industry executive, he is also the founder, owner and president of Alliant National Exchange Services, LP and Rattikin Exchange Services, Inc., two highly successful companies that provide qualified intermediary services to regional and national clients involved in §1031 tax-deferred exchanges. Most recently, Jeff created and developed TexaLegalDocs.com, an online legal services company that offers legal advice and documents to consumers across the State of Texas.
Jeff’s experience and success in launching TexasLegalDocs.com led to his involvement with and decision to join GetLegal.com. A national leader in providing online legal information, products and services, GetLegal.com has been the recipient of three Webby awards for best legal websites.
“I am thrilled to join the team at GetLegal.com,” said Rattikin from his new office on Monday. “I believe we are well-positioned to expand into new markets, and am extremely confident that our firm will launch the most innovative platform ever developed for the online delivery of legal information, forms and services to the public”.
Jeff has long been recognized by his peers as an innovator and leader. Board-certified in real estate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, he is AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System, and was named a Top Real Estate Attorney for the 11th consecutive year in 2013. Texas Monthly Magazine has named him a Texas Super Lawyer, an honor accorded to only 5% of attorneys in the state.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a B.B.A in Finance, Jeff obtained his law degree from the Southern Methodist University School of Law. He has long been active in local, state and national professional organizations, and has volunteered his time and talents to local civic organizations, as well as faith-based initiatives around the world, from Ethiopia to Brazil. He is regularly in demand as a speaker, lecturer and presenter at meetings, workshops and conferences in Texas and across the country.
A father of four children, Jeff and his wife make their home in Fort Worth, Texas.