I just finished reading a very interesting article on the impact of Dr.Martin Luther King on International Law and the effect the Civil Rights Movement had on the adoption of several major international human rights treaties. What started in Atlanta had a ripple effect on the international level. Dr. King impacted our whole world.
Conversely, what happens in the rest of the world impacts our lives with Atlanta, since we are such an international city. For example, according to the latest US Census Bureau, 9.7% of Georgia’s population is foreign born. Further, in 13.3% of our households, languages other than English are spoken at home. International affairs and law intertwine everywhere, and the Family Law arena in Georgia is no exception.
More and more often, we in The Manely Firm see cases where one or both parties are foreign citizens. More and more families live between two countries and have marital residences in vastly different parts of the world. Determining where to file for divorce or custody could greatly impact your rights and obligations.
For example, did you know that in Canada, stepparents (not a biological parent of the child pay) can be ordered to pay child support based on the close relations with a child? So, if a party “stayed in the place of a parent” the judge has discretion to order such party to pay child support. Never so in Georgia. Another good example is infidelity. While, under Georgia law, one party’s being unfaithful could affect equitable division of marital assets, infidelity is not a factor and would not negatively impact your divorce in many other states and countries.
The international aspect impacts us in other ways, too. Relaxation of relations with Iran has a direct impact on tens of thousands of families among us. How we welcome or shun refugees from Syria has more than a ripple effect throughout our community, considering how many of our friends and neighbors are of Syrian decent. When Paris was attacked, many in our community were directly affected. French is the third largest spoken language in Atlanta. In short, it is a variation on the butterfly effect. What happens in Atlanta (particularly from one of the most powerful men of the 20th century) can impact the world. What happens around the world inevitably impacts us here.
Bringing it all home, we at The Manely Firm have the wonderful opportunity to bring Dr. King’s teachings/American values to the international families we serve. Make no mistake about it, if you are here, you are subject to our mores, good, bad or indifferent. We get to blend how they do things in Sri Lanka into how we do things in Atlanta, which means that Dr. King’s vision, as implemented by our courts, prevail. But, thanks to Dr. King’s undeniable vision, even in Sri Lanka, they got a good dose of Dr. King.
If you are from some place else but your family law case is here, give us a call. We get where you are coming from and, very importantly, we know how that impacts where you are going to.
And how all of that is good and right is exactly what Dr. King was striving for, for each and every one of us.