Thursday, November 4, 2010

Familiarity has a value.

Tonight is a post authored by our own, Jeremy Abernathy.

Recently, I made the trek northwest to Cherokee County Superior Court.  Our firm had several cases on the Court’s calendar.  At 9:17 a.m., the Judge called the uncontested cases first.  Uncontested cases involve parties that have entered into an agreement on all issues.  Typically, these matters are short and sweet- but not in Cherokee County!

My client and I sat on the wooden pews in the Courtroom, and witnessed the uncontested case immediately preceding our case.  The lawyer firmly, but respectfully walked to the lectern, and his client gingerly and nervously approached the witness stand, seemingly dressed in his finest suit.  After being given the nod from the Judge to begin, the lawyer swore his client in and began asking him very short leading questions while simultaneously presenting evidence for the Judge.

Out of nowhere, the Judge interrupted and exclaimed to the client, “Would you appreciate being shifted back and forth between two households as often as you are asking your child to do so in this settlement agreement?”  The courtroom silenced.

In fact, the only thing you could hear was my client’s sheepish and nervous rhetorical question, “ Hopefully, the Judge won’t ask us all of that, will he?”

The lawyer and his client were frozen by the Judge’s barrage of questions.  They emotions seemed to go from amazement, to disgruntled, to desperate.  In fact, the client’s wife, who appeared for the uncontested divorce hearing was sworn in as a witness!  (This rarely occurs at an uncontested divorce hearing because only one (1) party, or in some case, neither party (like in Paulding County), is required to appear!)

Despite the wife’s testimony, client’s testimony and lawyer’s argument regarding the appropriateness of the custody arrangement, Judge asserted, “I refuse to approve of this agreement without expert testimony regarding how this arrangement provides stability for this child”  A disappointed client, opposing party and lawyer left the Cherokee County courtroom dismayed and utterly bewildered.

Perhaps if the lawyer on that case was familiar  with Cherokee County uncontested cases, he would have known that they can become quite eventful.   He would have known how to steer clear of that pitfall.

Our law firm, The Manely Firm P.C., provides the value of familiarity.  We handle only family law cases all around metro-Atlanta.  Our familiarity and specialized knowledge is the product of our commitment and focus to only family law cases.

Oh, by the way, the uncontested case that we had on the calendar that morning was done in 7 minutes.

Like I said, familiarity has a value.

Jeremy Abernathy

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