The Family Lawyer
An Official Publication of the Family Law Section
In This Issue
Next Section Breakfast
Case Law Updates
Kristen M. Lewis Discusses "Special Needs Trusts"
Listening Skills for Attorneys
New Evidence Code Cheat Sheet
Parenting Time & Shared Residential Custody
2012-2013 Family Law Section Annual Sponsors
2013 Family Law Institute Sponsors
Quick Links



Follow Us
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn
February/March 2013
Family Law Section 2012-2013 Board of Directors

Newsletter Editor: Rachel Miller

Chair: David N. Marple
Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Eileen Thomas
Secretary: Gary P. Graham
Treasurer: Anita H. Lynn
Immediate Past Chair: Daniel A. Bloom

Members at Large:
Hannibal Heredia
Rachel Miller
Melinda (Mindy) C. Pillow
Louis J. Tesser

Next Section Breakfast Meeting
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 7:30 am
at the Buckhead Club

"View From the Bench"

Speaker: The Hon. Wendy L. Shoob
Superior Court of Fulton County

Section Members:

$18 in advance, $25 at the door
Non-Section Members:
$25 in advance, $30 at the door

register online or return the registration form
Case Law Updates
by Rachel S. Shockley, Kessler & Solomiany, LLC and
Michael D. Deeb, Intern, Kessler & Solomiany, LLC
Hamner v. Turpen

2013 WL 336736 (Ga. App.)
January 30, 2012

Husband and Wife were divorced in Gwinnet County in 2002.  Subsequently, in 2010, Husband, acting pro se, filed an action for contempt against Wife for violation of the terms of the divorce decree, as well as a consent order modifying custody.  A few weeks later, Wife filed a modification of custody action also in Gwinnett.  In the modification action, Wife alleged that Husband resided in Florida, but she served him at his residence in Rabun County, Georgia.  When Husband responded to the modification action, he did so pro se, and he denied the allegation that he lived in Florida, but he did not specifically object to venue in Gwinnett. Husband later hired counsel.

At a hearing to consolidate the two cases, counsel for Husband argued, for the first time, that venue was improper in Gwinnet and moved to transfer venue to Rabun County.  After the hearing, Husband filed a brief in support of his oral motion to transfer venue.  Wife filed an objection, arguing Husband waived any defense of improper venue.  The trial court granted the motion to transfer and Wife appealed.

view entire article


Kristen M. Lewis Discusses "Special Needs Trusts" at the February Breakfast
by Julia N. Haesemeyer, Lawler Green Prinz & Gleklen, LLC
Kristen M. Lewis, Esq., addressed the Family Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association at the February, 2013 breakfast meeting. Ms. Lewis is counsel in the Tax Practice at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, and has extensive experience in the following areas of law: estate planning and wealth protection, "special needs trusts", trust and estate planning and administration, guardianships, fiduciary matters, trusts for pets, and charitable giving techniques.  Ms. Lewis focused her presentation on "special needs trust" planning for persons challenged by disabilities, an issue that many family law attorneys will encounter, if they have not already. 

Ms. Lewis began by explaining the frequency with which family law cases may require "special needs trust" planning.  She noted that more than twenty percent of the population has some kind of disability.  Ms. Lewis further explained that the divorce rate of parents of children with disabilities is significantly higher than of parents of children without disabilities.

view entire article
Listening Skills for Attorneys: Can you hear
me now?
by Howard Drutman, Ph.D. and Marsha Schechtman, LCSW
When you ask many attorneys what skills make them successful, they might respond "knowledge of the law", "attention to detail", or "thinking on your feet".  What they rarely say is "listening".

Effective communication creates understanding.  Information is shared via body language, tone of voice, and words.  Some studies have shown that approximately 55% of our communication is transmitted via body language. Another 38% of information is imparted through tone of voice, and the remaining 7% is imparted through words.  If one only focuses on words they will likely miss important pieces of information. Body language and tone often provide the context of information being imparted in words.  A statement that is meant to be funny may only be funny when delivered with a specific tone or body language.

view the entire article
New Evidence Code Cheat Sheet
by Kevin J. Rubin, Boyd Collar Nolen & Tuggle, LLC
On January 1, 2013, the new Evidence Code (Title 24) went into effect.  Like most of you, I spent my New Years Eve reading the entire code section front to back, and updated all of my forms that contain the various evidence code sections.  In case you (or your staff) did not do the same thing, attached is a list of the most frequently used evidence provisions in family law litigation with the new and old code section numbers, for ease of reference.

view cheat sheet
Parenting Time & Shared Residential Custody: Ten Common Myths
by Dr. Linda Nielsen, Wake Forest University, Professor of Adolescent and Educational Psychology
What is the best parenting plan for most children of divorce? Should infants and toddlers spend overnight time with their nonresidential parent? If not, why not? If so, how much time?  Is shared residential custody better for children than  living with one parent and varying amounts of time living with their other parent - mainly on weekends? Isn't shared residential custody only successful for a small group of well educated, higher income parents who have very cooperative, conflict free relationships, and who mutually agree to share without mediation, litigation or lawyers' negotiations?       

Questions such as those generate much debate among the judiciary, policy makers and mental health professionals. Unfortunately they also generate myths and misconceptions that are frequently presented as "the research" at conferences and seminars, on the web, or in non-academic articles. At best, those myths far over-reach and exaggerate the findings from only a few of the existing studies. At worst, they have virtually no grounding whatsoever in current research. Either way, misconceptions that are not grounded on a broad spectrum of recent, methodologically sound, statistically significant empirical data have an impact on custody decisions and custody laws.

view entire article
 2012-2013 Family Law Section Annual Sponsors 




2013 Family Law Institute Sponsors
The Family Law Section would like to recognize the 2013 Family Law Institute Sponsors. 

Please Contact Eileen Thomas at (770) 818-0301 or if you would like to join this year's list of sponsors.

view Family Law Institute sponsors as of January 31, 2012