As an experienced Tulsa divorce lawyer with 50 years’ experience, Robert G “Hap” Fry Jr., has no shortage of legal perspective.
That said, the accomplished and experienced Tulsa divorce lawyer continues to embrace and seek out new opportunities to consult with individuals about the dynamics of family law.
Fry’s newest endeavor landed him in his church of over 50 years – First United Methodist Church – for a three-part seminar on the true cost of divorce titled “Put Me Out of Business.”
The concept for the series, which ran Jan. 11, 18 and 25 at FUMC’s The Culture Lab, stemmed from the first part of Fry’s decades-old philosophy on divorce which focuses on exploring mediation and resolution first.
Fry collaborated with former counselor Hal McBride on the seminar content, and the three-part “Put Me Out of Business” series was the subject of a feature story by Ralph Schaefer in the Feb. 22 edition of the Tulsa Business & Legal News.
“There are many people who might feel like that is hot air coming from a family law attorney, but I ask every prospective client who comes to my office if they have explored all options of resolution first,” Fry said. “A lot of people who make it to my desk have not completely factored in all that divorce entails. I want them to be aware of what is at stake not just financially but also emotionally.”
Unconventional Approach Nothing New for Experienced Tulsa Divorce Lawyer
That Fry chose to conduct a three-part seminar series seeking to educate young adults and college-age youths on the trials and tribulations of divorce may, on the surface, seem odd. But upon further review of Fry’s storied legal career, it really is not that out of character.
Fry has been a trailblazer of sorts in Oklahoma family law throughout his career. He helped pioneer the efforts of fathers being granted child custody when the “norm” was for the mother to typically gain custody of the child. He was then proactive in embracing and advancing the changes in child support guidelines in the 1980s, presenting CLE seminars on the changes to the Tulsa County Bar Association.
Still, even by his standards, his recent “Put Me Out of Business” seminar series was a little unconventional.
“My firm and myself have helped a lot of people get out of some very toxic relationships and bad situations over the years so I will always believe in the services and help that we are able to provide,” Fry said. “We do a lot of very good work that is needed. But I also want to see relationships last and probably even more so today because of where I am at in life and at this stage of my career. There is an enduring legacy that comes with divorce. You don’t have to make it to my desk.”
Part 1 of the series focused on the legal and financial side of divorce, as well as the emotional toll divorce can have on someone. Part 2 focused on how to build and have a lasting relationship. And Part 3 was a roundtable in which two married couples of 20+ and 50+ years answered questions about their respective marriages.
“I think it really went well, especially considering it was the first time we have held a seminar like this,” said FUMC College and Youth Adult Minister Rebekah Bled. “It was really good for some of our church’s younger members to be exposed to these discussions. The perspective and wisdom provided by Mr. Fry and others is invaluable. We had one older couple come in to film one of the seminars for their daughter. That really surprised me.”
Experienced Tulsa Divorce Lawyer at Home at First United Methodist Church
As comfortable as Fry is inside a courtroom, he is even more at home at his church – specifically with his Sunday school class, the Builder’s Class.
“They’re just wonderful people, who have taught me a lot and have helped me get through a lot over the years,” said Fry, who has been with the class for over 40 years. “We are there for each other through the good and the bad. We are each other’s support system.”
In addition to being actively involved in the Builder’s Class, Fry has served as an usher for a number of years and has volunteered in many other capacities for the church.
When Bled came calling for some of the church’s older and more experienced members from a variety of professions to take part in a series of adulting classes for FUMC’s college and youth members, the minister said Fry did not hesitate to commit.
“He told me he had been signing a volunteer sheet for a number of years, but no one ever called him,” Bled said. “He was excited, and I was excited to have him on board.”
It later donned on Bled that she never asked Fry what he did for a living. After the two talked for a bit, she finally got around to asking Fry what line of work he was in. Needless to say, upon learning that Fry was an experienced Tulsa divorce lawyer of 50 years, Bled was a little taken aback.
“I was shocked,” Bled said. “I think he just kind of thought everyone knew what he did, but I didn’t. When he told me, I couldn’t help but think how incredible it is for him to be taking a stand like this when his business is the opposite. Just really impactful to say the least.”
While Fry won’t be leaving his Fry & Elder Maple Ridge office at 1616 S. Main Street anytime soon, he is also not planning to vacate his newfound role at FUMC. Fry said he plans on holding another seminar series this spring at FUMC’s The Culture Lab.
“It’s going to be even better,” Fry said. “I got some really good ideas and learned a lot this first time around. I think the older you get the more some of the assumptions you once held onto fall by the wayside. I enjoy working with young people and am excited to be able to give back to the church in this capacity.”