Last night I had the honor of being recognized by The Mediation Center of Coastal Georgia for having the highest settlement rate for domestic relations cases in 2018. 70% of my cases that were mediated at The Mediation Center resulted in settlements. Mediation is mandatory in Chatham County for contested family law cases in all but the rarest circumstances. That's a lot of cases that did not require a trial to resolve. That's a lot of cases that the parties decided to keep control of their future by coming to an agreement.
The terms "co-parenting" and "best interests of the child" are phrases that are part of our daily language in the world of custody and family law. They are also commonly thrown around as weapons between divorcing parents, often without any real tie-in with their intended meaning. As a professor once told our class, they are terms of art, so we should use them artfully!
"She's done it again! We have a Parenting Plan that sets out the schedule. It's supposed to be my weekend with the kids and here comes some other reason I shouldn't have my weekend. Sure, last month, I needed to switch weekends because I had family coming and they wanted to see the kids, but she's now asked me to switch weekends six times this year and it's only May! And now this weekend, she wants to get the kids 3 hours earlier than she's supposed to! This is absurd!"
I'm a huge fan of football. College and pros. One of my favorite players to watch was Peyton Manning. I was never a particular fan of any of his teams, in fact, I was pretty neutral about all of them. But I really enjoyed watching him in action. His offensive coordinators must have had the easiest jobs in the world. In the summer they give Peyton the offensive playbook and by the first game, he had it memorized and was calling plays from the line. Not in the huddle, not getting them from the sideline (though both of those happened from time to time), but the vast majority of the time, Peyton was deciding the plays at the line of scrimmage based on his wealth of knowledge and understanding about famil...er...football. Even in the instances where a play was decided on the sidelines, by the time the ball had been snapped, "Omaha" had been yelled and a new play was chosen based on what the defense was showing when it lined up.
daddy, don't go.
Practicing in Savannah and Southeast Georgia, the pool of family law attorneys is rather small. I don't know the last time I had a case where opposing counsel in a divorce, modification or contempt was "new" to me. In most cases we go back quite a way in our professional relationship. I try and keep those relationships professional and congenial. Life's too short, and we are going to wind up against each other again and again.
At the beginning of the month, I had the distinct honor of being named to the Rising Stars list for the 2018 Georgia Super Lawyers magazine in the practice of family law. Less than 2.5% of eligible attorneys in Georgia are selected for this honor. To qualify as a "Rising Star", an attorney must either be under the age of 40 or have practiced law for less than 10 years.
I just have to brag here for a moment. The 2018 Super Lawyers magazine just came out and our own David Purvis is recognized as a Super Lawyer in family law. Yes, that Mr. Purvis of Savannah fame. Yes, that Mr. Purvis who is the family law professor at the Savannah College of Law. Yes, that Mr. Purvis who is an Administrative Law Judge for Southeast Georgia. Yes, that Mr. Purvis who has been recognized as the most successful lawyer in Savannah at settling his clients' divorce and family law disputes. Yes, that Mr. Purvis who heads up The Manely Firm's operations for Savannah and all points near. Yes indeed, that Mr. Purvis.
Divorces filed in Savannah Chatham County Georgia are handled a bit differently than in other counties in Georgia. When a divorce is filed in Chatham County Georgia Superior Court, the case is automatically and randomly assigned to one of four Chatham County Superior Court Judges.
I recently had the privilege of representing some divorce clients that shared some characteristics: lengthy marriage, my client was the homemaker and raised the children, opposing party worked and controlled the finances, and at some point after the nest emptied, the marriage disintegrated.