Family Law

Recent Posts in Family Law

  • 25-Apr-2017

    Perception is Reality

    When it comes to communicating, perception is often reality. How one side views the other often shapes how they perceive the communications (verbal and non-verbal) that they have with that person. Let’s take John and Jane Doe for example: In ...
  • 16-Apr-2017

    Grasping Family Law's Moral Center

    People are often angry in family law. That's expected. Trust is crushed. Hearts are broken. Hopes are shattered. It is seldom a good time. How that anger plays out in litigation is critical to success, affordability and survivability through the case ...
  • 10-Apr-2017

    An Unconstitutional Spring Break

    For the past several years, Tybee Island, just down the road from our Savannah office, has been the site of what’s called “Orange Crush.” “Orange Crush” is a word-of-mouth event with no official promoters that is ...
  • 16-Feb-2017

    "But I Signed the Birth Certificate!?"

    Let’s talk administrative legitimation. I work with a lot of men who are dads-out-of-wedlock, and are seeking some visitation (or at times custody) rights regarding children they had with women they weren’t/aren't married to. We now ...
  • 12-Feb-2017

    Family Values

    A friend of mine posted on Facebook tonight, “Honesty is the most important ingredient in a relationship. Honesty. Honesty. And I’m going to keep typing this until my wife stops looking over my shoulder.” I know this friend to be ...
  • 6-Feb-2017

    Macon Bolling Allen

    Macon Bolling Allen Black History Month Spotlight Every week for the month of February, I’m going to be writing a blog post focusing on African American attorneys and the contributions they’ve made to the practice of law. I’ve ...
  • 6-Jan-2017

    Hubris

    You would think that staring at four gray walls in an 8 x 12 for three months with several of the least friendly guys you are ever likely to meet would sober you up, would cause you to take a bit more humble stock of yourself. Not so for this guy. ...
  • 21-Dec-2016

    A Christmas Mediation

    I will never forget that day. It was cold, wet, gray, even dreary and just a few days before Christmas. The couple were gathered with their attorneys and the mediator in the small conference room. They looked across the table at each other with some ...
  • 15-Dec-2016

    Refocus and Engage

    It’s easy to lose sight of the important things in life throughout the year, but particularly during the holiday season. A time of year that was once nothing but fun as a child can very easily become the most stressful months of the year for ...
  • 12-Dec-2016

    Too Late

    Timing is everything in family law. “The early bird gets the worm,” and “you snooze, you lose,” operate like comandments in our arena. 1) Mom had handled almost all of the case by herself. She had worked her way through ...
  • 7-Dec-2016

    Ownership of Money

    Twenty year marriage. Two children, both still under the age of eighteen. Husband has worked throughout the marriage. Wife has been a stay-at-home mother, raising the children and maintaining the house. That was the agreement, way back when the ...
  • 5-Dec-2016

    The Supreme Court - Four Years Later

    Four years ago today, I argued before the United States Supreme Court in Chafin v Chafin. When the Court issued its opinion, it agreed with me 9-0. Yes, it was a unanimous Supreme Court with a Concurring Opinion by Justices Ginsburg, Scalia and ...
  • 3-Dec-2016

    International and Interstate Holiday Travel With Children

    Often in post divorce, children travel extensively through the holidays. If Mom lives in Marietta and Dad lives in Lawrenceville, the travel may be just a few hours as they traverse around I-285. If Mom lives in Savannah and Dad lives in Los Angeles, ...
  • 30-Nov-2016

    My First Consult

    On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 I was officially sworn in as an attorney in the State of Georgia. One week later I had the privilege of handling my first consultation. To be candid, I was nervous. Family law is a delicate area of the law. Mothers and ...
  • 28-Nov-2016

    Tick Tock

    Her child was missing. The child’s father had suddenly shown up at her mother’s with the police, demanding his son. They were still married. There were no orders which gave either one of them superior rights so they had equal rights to ...
  • 23-Nov-2016

    The Thankful Thanksgiving

    Jack rested back into his chair and took in the scene. At the other end of the table sat his lovely wife, Sylvia. Between them were gathered his eldest, James, his bride and their two little ones, Jack’s middle child, Stephen with his serious ...
  • 20-Nov-2016

    Tips and Tricks to Survive A Family Thanksgiving

    So, I am one of those lucky ducks that has an amazing family to visit with on Thanksgiving. We’re all fairly like-minded regarding the usual holiday table fodder, such as politics and social issues and economics. We play the song Alice’s ...
  • 16-Nov-2016

    The Secret Stash

    Last Tuesday, while Americans were casting their votes, India’s government declared 86% of its currency illegal. 500 and 1,000 Rupee Notes, worth about $7.36 and $14.72 respectively, were outlawed overnight. The same piece of paper was worth ...
  • 14-Nov-2016

    International Family Law Agreements; Making It All Work.

    I'm not sure how many Americans will move to Canada as a result of the elections, but we, at the Manely Firm, P.C., have an astounding number of clients that need help with prenuptial, post-nuptial, or separations agreements that are enforceable ...
  • 10-Nov-2016

    Murder-Suicide

    Murder-suicide is an act in which someone kills one or more other persons immediately before or at the same time as killing oneself. Unfortunately, murder-suicides are rampant now. They are all the rage. Hardly a week passes that the news ...
  • 7-Nov-2016

    Madam President

    Allow me to wax poetic for a moment here. And honestly, this has nothing to do with what party I support or where I fall on the constantly evolving political spectrum. This is about me as a woman. As a woman practicing law. As a woman pushing ahead ...
  • 6-Nov-2016

    Women Empowered

    We have only one day left before the election. It looks very much like we will have our first woman president. Some voters are elated about that. Some voters are as angry as perhaps they have ever been in their lives. One thing is for sure, most ...
  • 2-Nov-2016

    Mediation Myths and Realities

    Mediation is one aspect of the beast that is family law. Mediation is a necessary evil in certain respects and a welcomed respite from litigation in others. We settle cases at mediation. Or we don’t. Mediation is the process of using a neutral, ...
  • 31-Oct-2016

    No More Supreme Court

    The Senate is fully within its power to let the Supreme Court literally die out.” Cato Institute, October 26, 2016 The United States of America has had an incredible run. Our American experiment has performed admirably well in the past 200 plus ...
  • 28-Oct-2016

    No More Judges

    Imagine no more judges. On-line legal services companies are increasingly advocating for the use of algorithms to resolve legal disputes. No human in the decision making process. What could possibly go wrong? Three times the number of claims are ...
  • 25-Oct-2016

    Live to Fight Another Day

    There is a saying in family law, “marriages end, families do not” which rings as a reminder to parties with children, that despite your divorce you will never truly be “rid” of your former spouse. You have to work together to ...
  • 23-Oct-2016

    Looks Like We’re Going to Have a Woman President

    Even Karl Rove threw in the towel today. Everyone but the misogynist who-would-be Chief and his entrenched minions see the hand writing on the wall. The axe will fall on November 8 and the United States of America will have its first woman president. ...
  • 19-Oct-2016

    Man Without a Booth

    For well better than a decade, a distinguished older gentleman has been collecting our parking fares as we exit the garage in Atlanta. We hand him our ticket, he calculates the cost, you hand him your payment, and he raises the gate so that you can ...
  • 16-Oct-2016

    Man vs. Machine; Battleground Courthouse

    There was a recent piece on 60 Minutes about advances in artificial intelligence where computers have advanced to the point of being capable of learnong and can react and respond to their environments. It is fascinating stuff, but it also reminds me ...
  • 13-Oct-2016

    La Ti Da

    The aggressive lawyer is integral to the composition of our modern adversary system. The idea is, each side has an aggressive lawyer that makes the other side look as sleazy as possible and the judge tries to figure out who disgusts him the least? As ...
  • 11-Oct-2016

    Locker Room Talk

    What passes for man talk these days? We are told that asserting that you just walk up to women and just kiss them, you don’t even wait, and that you grab their genitals is normal, natural, common. It’s just locker room talk. It’s ...
  • 5-Oct-2016

    Sometimes it is Rocket Science: Service of Process on Defendants in a Foreign Country

    As you probably know, we handle a lot of international family law issues from international divorce to division of international property to international custody to international child abduction. In short, at The Manely Firm, we do a lot of ...
  • 2-Oct-2016

    Bring Your Daughter to Work Day? Bite me.

    This is a post about “mansplaining” and misogyny in the courtroom. This is a post dedicated to all the women out there who come in and crush it in the courtroom, oftentimes in heels or itchy pantyhose, oftentimes after dropping their ...
  • 28-Sep-2016

    A Different Form of Child Abuse

    We are all familiar with traditional notions of child abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse. It unsettles us. It enrages us. It rouses evolutionary protective instincts to get involved; to do something. But what about child abuse when ...
  • 26-Sep-2016

    The Spouse Who Cried Wolf

    Last week we were rocked by breaking news out of the Entertainment Industry - Brangelina is no more. Angelina Jolie-Pitt filed for divorce and for custody of the minor children, followed soon after by her allegation that Brad has abused the minor ...
  • 22-Sep-2016

    Building Bridges, Not Burning Them

    The Manely Firm, P.C. has six locations so far. We are continuing to grow. Our founding attorney is Michael Manely, the only attorney to have a unanimous win before the United States Supreme Court on a family law case. His wife, Shelia Manely, was my ...
  • 20-Sep-2016

    Failure to Launch

    Boy grows up with everything he ever wanted. His family was well connected in this small town; donating to all of the local politicians, including the Sheriff and the Judges, so when boy got to be a teenager and got into some mischief resulting in a ...
  • 18-Sep-2016

    Return of the Nasty Divorce

    For decades, I have been fighting against the nasty divorce. Over 27 years ago, when I was first licensed to practice law, the aggressive divorce, also known as the nasty divorce in today’s parlance, was the norm, standard operating practice in ...
  • 14-Sep-2016

    Revenge Porn: A Dish Best Served On-Line?

    For those not in the know, revenge porn is the sexually explicit portrayal of one or more people distributed without their consent through any kind of medium. A couple of weeks ago, I watched a Lifetime movie called “Revenge Porn”. It was ...
  • 12-Sep-2016

    Football and the Timeline of Your Divorce Case

    One of the most common questions clients have for me in discussing their divorce case is “how long will this process take?”. Unfortunately, this is one of the most complex answers in a contested case. If the parties have a total ...
  • 8-Sep-2016

    Can You Marry Your Cousin?

    I have several friends who recently took the Bar Exam. In part, the Bar Exam requires exam takers to memorize laws and then take an intense exam based solely off of their memory. Many joke that this is just a hazing ritual, because in the real world, ...
  • 6-Sep-2016

    Savannah Family Law: New Digs, Same Shovel

    We recently relocated our offices in Savannah. Gone is the grand old ballroom on Broughton. We are now located at 427 E. York Street, occupying the first floor of a three story federal-style home. The new space is much better suited for our ...
  • 5-Sep-2016

    Georgians, We Have a Big Problem.

    We were working on a case the other day which involved the degrees of consanguinity. You know, how close relatives are in relation to each other. The issue was whether the husband and wife were prohibited by law from marrying, and thus entitled to an ...
  • 1-Sep-2016

    Foreign Divorce

    At The Manely Firm, P.C. we have clients from all over the world –from Mexico to Malaysia, from Malta to Morocco, from Moldova to Maldives, from Monaco to Mongolia. We are often asked whether or not a divorce from a foreign country is ...
  • 30-Aug-2016

    Revenge of the Nerds at DragonCon

    It’s coming, my friends. No, not winter. DragonCon 2016 is this week! If you’re out of the loop, and I can’t see how considering it’s one of the largest draws to the city of Atlanta of the entire year, DragonCon is a ...
  • 28-Aug-2016

    Feelings

    Feelings trump logic, every day, in every circumstance, always. I’ve been working on this issue for a long, long time. And I’ve decided, unequivocally, that feeling trumps logic. Of course, that's how I feel. No one has cornered on ...
  • 25-Aug-2016

    Baby Factories

    I’ve noticed a recent trend in May/September romances which create children. Like many, those relationships end, perhaps more often than others more evenly matched. When they end, there is the inevitable question of who should have primary ...
  • 22-Aug-2016

    Trapped in Georgia, a Divorce Story

    Sally moved to Georgia after she met and fell in love with Joe. Sally left everything behind: her home, her family, her friends. She was young and in love. All she needed was Joe. Joe had a stable job and owned his own house. They talked about their ...
  • 18-Aug-2016

    Unlucky ladies

    Misogyny in our culture is alive and well. Men are rewarded for their success. They are celebrated as virtuous, dominant, excellent providers. Women, not so much. Here’s a fact pattern. A husband is offered a job half way around the world. Wife ...
  • 15-Aug-2016

    Emancipation Proclamations in Family Law

    Anyone who was around in the 90’s and kept up with popular culture probably remembers when Maculay Culkin became “emancipated” from his parents after accusing them of embezzling some of the fortune he amassed as a child actor. ...
  • 7-Aug-2016

    Family Law - How Much Courage

    My colleague Megan McClinton recently shared a quote from a Stephen King book that she’s reading that has really stuck with me because it rings so very true in family law: “How much courage does it take to fire up your tractor and plow ...
  • 3-Aug-2016

    Family Law Oral Agreements, Not Worth the Paper They're Written On

    Amy showed me the final written order, which consisted of a settlement agreement between the parties that was signed off by the judge. It clearly stated that she would get every other weekend, but she was now upset that she was indeed only getting ...
  • 1-Aug-2016

    New Developments in Georgia Family Law 2016

    I am a few weeks behind in getting this written, but if you follow our blog regularly, you may remember a similar posting in July 2015. After the Georgia General Assembly passes legislation during its term that gets signed into law by the Governor, ...
  • 10-Jul-2016

    The Power of Team in Family Law

    Last week, I found myself deep in the heart of Tennessee, trying an international divorce case. There is no one else who actually handles international family law and divorce cases full time in the south eastern United States. A lot of attorneys ...
  • 5-Jul-2016

    Family Law: Burning Bridges

    Human nature never ceases to amaze me. One aspect I see regularly first hand in my Savannah practice is how people terminate relationships, employment relationships, marital relationships, friendships, and collegial relationships. Some take the ...
  • 28-Jun-2016

    Family Law: The Judge Can't Tell Me What To Do!

    Divorce and Contempt trials happen when people do not agree. They need the services of the neutral, the judge to decide an issue for them. They have been unable to decide it for themselves. So what do you do when a party says, "The Judge ...
  • 23-Jun-2016

    Family Law: To Unring the Bell

    Often, the toughest consultations are the ones where the client comes to us after attempting to handle their own case. It’s a lot harder to fix what’s been done than it is to handle the case the right way to begin with. It’s ironic ...
  • 20-Jun-2016

    Fan Service in Family Law

    What is Fan Service in Family Law, you ask. If you don’t speak nerd you’ve probably never heard the term “fan service”. Allow me to elucidate. Fan service is material in anime and manga that (duh) services fans by often ...
  • 16-Jun-2016

    Opposing Counsel, The Sabers, They Rattle!

    The “it’s going to get ugly unless you...” is a phrase from opposing counsel I may never tire of. I saw that in an email to a junior associate of ours. It seems silly to me. I’m not one for saber rattling, myself. Walk softly ...
  • 13-Jun-2016

    Family Law: We Live In A Dangerous World

    They say most accidents occur within five miles of the home. This saying points out that while the world outside the home is a dangerous and unpredictable place, you need to be aware of domestic dangers as well. Of course, there are accidents and ...
  • 8-Jun-2016

    Parental Alienation - but by whom?

    Daniel was always close to his daughter Kelly. Even though he was divorced from Kelly’s mom, Amy, he and Amy got along well and divided their time with Kelly almost 50/50. Rather than alienating each other, Daniel and Amy supported each other ...
  • 5-Jun-2016

    Trial Practice: Playing Above the Umpire

    We have three boys. All the boys were/are quite involved in sports. When the boys would complain about a bad call, one of my wife's favorite sayings was that a player has to play above the umpire. Don't give the umpire a chance to call a ...
  • 2-Jun-2016

    Domestic Violence: The Ahimsa House

    I am really excited to write this blog post and to share information about an amazing and rare organization I recently learned about. I am in utter disbelief that I only now found out about this organization and I am thankful that they exist and are ...
  • 29-May-2016

    The Safety Word

    I wanted to continue exploring the idea of mutual combat, and take you into what’s likely to be controversial and/or taboo territory. But, if you find yourself in the position of needing a family law attorney for a nasty divorce or custody ...
  • 26-May-2016

    (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Daddy) - A Legitimation Song

    You break up with your girl, man you don't want to go You ask your [baby] mom, please?, but she still says, no! You missed visitation, ‘cause there’s no court order But your ex preaches parenting like you're some kind of jerk You ...
  • 24-May-2016

    Dear Daughter (A Fictional Letter from the Mother of a Former Divorce Client)

    Dearest Daughter, As I’ve told you countless times over the last two years, I never really liked him. I wanted you to marry a nice boy from your hometown, preferably one from an important family. You chose to meet and marry him, instead, and, ...
  • 22-May-2016

    Legitimate or Lose Out

    I have a sad story to tell you. I hope that it will crystallyze just how critical it is to legitimate your child as soon as possible, without delay, without waiting, without wasting one more minute. I talked to a fellow who had a beautiful, bouncing, ...
  • 19-May-2016

    Terminating Parental Rights: A Rose By Any Other Name

    What do you want to accomplish, terminate parental rights? Then how important is a name? It may not be as important as you think. William Shakespeare wrote the very famous lines, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other ...
  • 16-May-2016

    The Man with the Golden Tongue, Part V

    They met. One last time. Though he didn't know it was the last time. It was a public place, just for coffee. She insisted on that. We arrived early and prepared the setting, well wired. He arrived late. He dropped into the open chair across the ...
  • 12-May-2016

    Trial By Combat

    Recently, I’ve been hearing the term “mutual combat” a lot. This terms refers to “combat between two persons as a result of a sudden quarrel or such circumstances as indicate a purpose, willingness, and intent on the part of ...
  • 10-May-2016

    The All Powerful Word, "Like."

    Maybe I am channeling my inner Andy Rooney, but I remember a time when the word “like” was about as vanilla of a verb as it comes. You probably really only “liked” your junior high girlfriend, even if you carved the word ...
  • 8-May-2016

    Mothers, Through Thick and Thin

    Happy Mother’s Day to all my colleagues, clients, and friends! As Family Law attorneys, we get a chance to see different families and different relations every day. But one thing is constant – mothers’ love support, heal, nurture, ...
  • 5-May-2016

    The Ring Didn’t Mean A Thing!

    This is it! The moment you have been dreaming of since you were a child. A ring has been purchased and exchanged. You and your betrothed are parading around town shining your love light as far as you possibly can. There are dozens of heavy bridal ...
  • 3-May-2016

    As if Divorce Weren’t Hard Enough: Losing Friends

    When you go through struggles, you figure out very quickly who your real friends are. This is especially true when you’re getting divorced. What is always surprising to my clients and what was surprising to me personally when I got divorced ...
  • 1-May-2016

    The Man with the Golden Tongue, Part IV

    We knew we had a player. We just didn't know how much he played. First order of business, we assembled our team. "We need to know this guy," I told our folks. "We need to know him inside and out. Who is he? Where is he from? What ...
  • 28-Apr-2016

    Spy vs Spouse, Part II

    My last blog post was about a spouse “spying” on the other, using recording techniques and hacking software. I think that the main theme of that blog post was to emphasize the fact that just because something seems like a good idea, ...
  • 24-Mar-2016

    What Is Common Law Marriage?

    Georgia will only recognize a common law marriages that were established before January 1, 1997. There are many misunderstandings about common law marriages. One of the commonly held beliefs about common law marriages is that a couple is ...

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