Manely Firm - April 2020

All family law. All around Georgia. All around the world.

A pril 2020

T ake I ntuition to H eart Don’t Get Fooled Again

April Fools’ is a holiday meant for a few friendly jokes between friends and family members, but sometimes when we’re made the fool, the humor isn’t just lost; it can also hurt. We all risk being made the fool or being tricked throughout our lifetimes, even if the warning signs were obvious. It’s very much like watching the movie “The Sixth Sense.” Once we get to the end of the film and (spoiler alert) discover that Bruce Willis’ character has been dead the whole time, it comes as a shock. But when you think back through the movie and replay certain scenes in your head or rewatch the film, you realize that all the evidence proving he was a ghost was right in front of you the whole time. This is often how it works when people are getting fooled in their relationships. The warning signs are there; we just don’t want to see them. “The warning signs are there; we just don’t want to see them.” There can be many reasons why you don’t see the evidence before you. Maybe you don’t want to see those signs because you’re in denial, or maybe you don’t want to think about the unpleasant reality that would unfold once you confront the facts. Maybe you don’t see them because your spouse is good at gaslighting. No matter the

circumstances, by avoiding the truth before you, you’re simply pulling a blanket over your eyes and hiding those truths. One example that comes to mind is a former client’s husband who was keeping a mistress in Manhattan. The amount of money he had sequestered from family funds and spent on this woman was outrageous, somewhere near $1 million, and he had her living in a rather large condo. But he was not the type of person who would typically spend big amounts of money, and his mistress was eventually discovered. When the client unearthed what had been going on, she looked back and admitted that all the signs had been there. The missing money, how he was missing, and the way his conduct and character had changed were all signs that she did not see, although they were obvious after facing the truth of the situation. There were plenty of warning signs she didn’t see until it was too late.

Often, we are placed in a situation where our gut or intuition is telling us one thing, but our heart, or even our brain, is telling us something else. It is so important for you and your happiness to not ignore or brush those feelings away. If you feel like something doesn’t sit right in any one of your relationships, then it usually means you’re right. I once heard a saying that went something like, “Looking at someone with rose-colored glasses means all the red flags just look like flags.” Even though it’s hard to see those red flags, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. While it might be difficult, it’s crucial to ask yourself the hard questions: Why does their behavior bother you? Where are they going for such long periods of time? Why are they so secretive? Where is that money going? The answers might not be what you want, but they are what you need for a better and brighter future. –Michael Manely 1

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E ncouraging Y our L ittle G irl

Tips for Raising Strong, Confident Women

Trust your daughter while teaching grit. Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth studies successful people in a wide variety of fields, from business to the military, and has found that the quality most successful people share is grit. The ability to stay engaged with tough tasks for a long period of time is a skill that takes a long time to build, but it’s not impossible for your girl to begin developing grit right now. Duckworth believes the growth mindset can start young girls on a path to embracing failure and moving forward from it. However, a lack of trust in your daughter can suffocate her growth. Despite all the adult- directed activities we give our kids, we need to step back and let them make some of their own decisions. We can give them encouragement and help along the way, but for the most part, we need to trust they can solve problems on their own. When you put faith and trust in your little girl to handle her most difficult problems, she’ll learn to do the same for herself. improve the experience for the employees and our clients. We’re like a big family, which is something you don’t enjoy just anywhere.” Another aspect of working in our firm that Senceria has come to cherish is building relationships with our clients. “I can relate to some of the clients in certain areas of their case. I’m a child of adoption, and seeing the steps of that process firsthand is really informative. Knowing everything my parents went through also allows me to relate to that aspect for any clients going through something similar. I can help them with this process, and just being there for them in that small way fills me with joy.” Whenever Senceria has free hours on her hands, she enjoys spending time with her husband walking their dog, watching movies, or playing a video game or two. “We enjoy spending time and playing together,” she says. “Currently, we like to play World of Warcraft when we can, and we have a Dungeons & Dragons group we meet up with every Saturday night to nerd out.”

In a time when it’s so easy to let technology and school run your child’s life, what’s your role as a parent or guardian? We often hear motivational quotes talking about the importance of risk- taking and resilience, but it can be tough for little girls to learn from just YouTube videos and school alone. Here’s how you can encourage your daughter to spark her own confidence during her toughest moments. Encourage bravery and a growth mindset. Even children can feel pressured to perform to high standards yet stay within their comfort zone. They might think, “I’m not strong enough to climb this tree.” But whether it’s climbing trees or building things with others, small feelings of bravery can grow larger as they grow older. Self-empowerment will be a crucial skill in their lives, so encourage a mindset focused on growth through the process of learning. Teach them how the brain grows and adapts rapidly whenever we encounter failure and that failure and mistakes are a part of life. Once they understand that failure isn’t permanent, they’ll be inspired to take risks and solve their problems.

S enceria L evesque

Building Meaningful Relationships in Every Aspect of Her Life

Before Senceria Levesque joined our office two years ago, she was working in the pharmacy field but knew it wasn’t her true calling. “It wasn’t what my heart desired,” she reflects. Hoping to expand her horizons and work with her history degree from Georgia Gwinnett College, Senceria started looking for other opportunities, which led her to our firm. “I’ve always been interested in history,” Senceria says. “I view it like this: If you don’t know your past, how can you move forward and have a brighter future? That’s something The Manely Firm encompasses. They help families see the bigger picture and how one act can really impact the future.” Senceria has worked hard since joining our team; her eagerness to learn and grow shows in every aspect of her work. “It’s been a learning experience,” she admits, “but I’ve expanded my horizons thanks to everyone here. Michael, Shelia, and everyone else have been more than gracious whenever I’ve had to ask a question, and they’re always more than willing to go in-depth with the answer too. Communication is huge here and always revolves around how the team can


Through Internat ional Adopt ion The Manely Firm has always handled adoption cases that bring children into better environments to grow and flourish. Family, friends, stepparents, and other third parties who want to adopt in the best interest of a child reach out to us to help them through that process. Typically, we work with uncontested adoptions, which may also include the termination of parental rights. However, this occurs when the previous parent has passed away or by an agreement with them if they are alive but no longer involved in the life of the child. Most of these cases involve children born and living inside of the U.S., but not always. In certain situations, we have cases in which a family member, friend, or parental figure cares for a child who is not a citizen. When a child is born in another country but a third party — usually a family friend or a member of the extended family — wants to bring them into the U.S., they may wish to adopt that child. They want to create a better life for the child, but this obviously adds additional responsibilities. They move to adopt this non-U.S. citizen with the intention of creating a permanent home for that child. By doing so, they also need to keep in mind the requirements regarding immigration law to give the child a path toward citizenship. It just so happens that our team was faced with a case that involved this set of facts, which led us to become more involved with the international adoption process. While including this aspect of adoption into our services was a natural step for us, our attorneys who handle these cases need to be extremely cognizant and thoughtful about immigration implications. Just like our clients, we want the best lives for these children; we don’t want them or their legal guardians to run into any immigration issues down the road. For this reason, our attorneys who are working cases of international adoption work closely with our international attorneys. G iving C hildren a B etter C hance at L ife

“Embrace the present moment fully and with passion, because only through the present moment do we truly live.” –Richard L. Haight

B eet , G oat C heese , and A rugula S alad

Inspired by

I ngredients

Giving a child a bright future is an incredible gift, and our team can help them get there. Call our office today at (866) 687-8561.

6 cups fresh arugula

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries

3 tbsp shallots, thinly sliced

1 tbsp honey

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 avocado, cubed

6 beets, peeled and quartered

2 oz crumbled goat cheese

D irections


Place coated beets on baking sheet and roast them for 12 minutes. Set the beets aside and allow them to cool. In a large bowl, toss arugula, walnuts, and berries with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Top salad with beets, avocado, and goat cheese. 3

1. Heat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, shallots, and honey. Gradually whisk olive oil into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. 4. In a small bowl, toss the beets in dressing until they are coated. 2. 3.



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211 Roswell St. NE Marietta, GA 30060 (866) 687-8561


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Fool Me Once, Shame on You

Tips for Raising Strong, Confident Women Discovering Where Senceria’s Heart Lies

The Promise of a Better Home and Future

Laughter Yoga’s Rise as a Global Health Movement

Kataria developed the initial idea after coming across research into the benefits of laughter on overall health and well-being. He began to put the research into practice by telling jokes to his patients, and after seeing the positive effects, he took his material to a local park. Parkgoers, who were initially skeptical, joined in on the practice, and the first laughter yoga club was born. The laughter meetup had everyone in high spirits — until the group ran out of jokes. Unsure of what to do next, Kataria found another medical book suggesting the group didn’t need jokes to laugh. Fake laughter is just as beneficial as the real thing because the body can’t tell the difference between the two. Collaborating with this wife, Madhuri, Kataria combined common yoga warmups and breathing techniques with facilitated laughter to create the form of laughter yoga that is practiced worldwide today. If you’re interested in trying laughter yoga for yourself, then you’re in luck. Laughter yoga clubs exist across the United States and the world. Videos on YouTube can teach the basics, but laughter yoga tends to be most beneficial in a group setting. Just think about the last time you found yourself in a fit of giggles with a group of friends or during a comedy show. Didn’t it feel great? Rather than wait for a silly situation to trigger laughter, use laughter yoga to promote laughter and alleviate stress on any day at any time.

L augh W ith M e ! A Lighthearted Approach to Decreasing Stress

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it turns out that human physiology supports this claim. When we laugh, our body releases a flood of feel-good chemicals and neurotransmitters. Our blood flow increases, and our production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, decreases. Oh, and laughing also burns calories! The feel-good, endorphin-inducing benefits of laughter are exactly what prompted Dr. Madan Kataria to develop laughter yoga in 1995. Laughter yoga incorporates breathing, stretching, clapping, and of course, laughing.


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