Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Representing the Mistreat-ee!

Tonight's blog entry comes to you from the "pen" of Jeremy Abernathy.


Needless to say, in family law, there are very few times where both parties agree to the same version of facts. There exists “his side,” her side, and, somewhere in there, the truth. Occasionally, however, we see facts where there is no denying that one party has terribly treated the other party. Representing the “mistreatee” presents unique dynamics.

Representing the mistreatee requires the lawyer to not overdo it. It is providential to argue less, and simply let the facts do their own talking. They reveal the monster for who he or she is.

If the mistreater has frustrated visitation rights, prop your feet up and enjoy the spectacle of opposing party trying to explain him or herself. If the mistreater has not followed a court order, stand back and let the Court “take the wheel” in enforcing its order.

Opposing counsels can take the wheel too. Opposing counsels are effective when they communicate to their clients why certain facts are ugly and unfavorable. This facilitates favorable settlement agreements for the mistreatee.

Does this mean that as lawyer for the mistreatee that you can shift gears into “easy mode.” Absolutely not.
It means you must prepare, and organize your case so it is readily apparent, with little embelishment by you, to Opposing Counsel and the Judge, that the mistreatee has been....mistreated.

As has oft been said, "The truth will out!"

Jeremy Abernathy

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I've been putting off writing this post for a week now. I've been avoiding it because the topic is too painful to fully comprehend. It is not on a family law topic, but it so deeply affects our family, our whole, Earth bound family.

A week ago tonight, my family and I were wrapping up our stay in San Destin. We spent the week there as I attended the Family Law Bar's annual seminar on family law topics. It's kind of a who's who of family law in Georgia.

So, Tuesday night, we took our last walk on the beach before we left for home the next morning. We watched couples walking hand in hand. We watched families chase crabs on land and in sea, often catching them only to scream as the crabs did their crabby best. We must have walked a mile east along the shore before we turned around and headed back.

And all the time, I tried to be mindful of what I was experiencing, the sound of the waves crashing endlessly on shore. The smell of the salty sea air. The feel of the sugar white sand beneath my bare feet and squishing between my toes, the water as it rushed to shore, sweeping over my feet and ankles. I tried to be mindful and to bore the experience deep into my memory. For I knew that far more likely than not, this was the last time in perhaps my lifetime, I would walk along these shores in this manner.

Though these were the shores of my childhood, they were within hours of being obliterated, ruined by the greed of big business, corruptness of government bought and sold, and our own pathetic expediency.

I felt very much like the Native American on that old Public Service Announcement. As he watched the pollution roll on shore, a tear trickles down his cheek. The pain in my heart felt immeasurable.

And so, as we reached the place in the sand where we headed back to the condo, I turned and faced the great ocean one last time and said goodbye.