Manely Firm - October 2019

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O ctober 2019

C elebrating H alloween The Perfect Exper ience Every Year

Halloween embodies the spirit of giving and mock mischief, and, for many children, it’s one of the best times of the year. It allows them to get a better sense of community, provides a chance for neighbors to show kindness and generosity, and presents the perfect opportunity for parents to show off their kids. I remember going around the neighborhood trick-or-treating with my mom right behind me and doing the same with my three boys when they were young. It was always wonderful to drop by the different neighbors’ houses and watch the kids interact with them and witness their generosity. Growing up, I enjoyed Halloween as much as any kid my age. My mom was big on trick-or-treating and tended to go all out with our costumes, which she made from scratch. One year, we went as “The Wizard of Oz” characters; I was the Scarecrow, my sister was Dorothy, a good friend of mine was the Tin Man, and our Doberman was the Cowardly Lion. My mom’s enthusiasm influenced me when I had kids, and I tended to go all out for them, as well. During one memorable Halloween, my middle child went trick-or-treating as a decapitated fellow. We made a coffee table that was light enough for him to carry on his shoulders and cut out a silver piece of plastic to use as a dinner platter. In the center of the table, we cut a hole and glued the “platter” around it with enough room for his head to slide through. At every house, he’d ring the doorbell and sit down so the table’s legs would rest on the ground. He looked like a decapitated head.

Remembering how much fun I had both as a kid and then with my own kids is something I’ll always cherish. But for many parents, Halloween can be a little more stressful, especially for separated spouses or parents. In settlement agreements, it’s not unusual for parents to put in the time and effort to ensure they will have their kids during the holidays, but, not infrequently, Halloween is one that tends to get overlooked. Typically, parents want to make sure they each get their turns with their child during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. When Halloween isn’t considered in these plans, parents might try to split it up by alternating every year or both decide to spend time with them that day. The problem is that there is a very small window of time when kids can go out trick-or-treating. Often, this holiday will become increasingly crucial to a parent when they don’t have it. They might not think or care about Halloween at first, but when Oct. 31 comes along, they’re unable to take their kids out and genuinely start missing that experience.

These types of situations can become even more tricky depending on custody. If we create a circumstance in which the mother has primary custody and the father has the child every other weekend, and if Halloween were to fall on a Thursday, the dad couldn’t take his child out trick-or-treating. Even if it landed on a weekend, the dad would only have the chance to take them out if it happened to be his weekend. In cases like these, the father isn’t going to get to spend Halloween with his child almost ever. Halloween is a beautiful time of year and just one of the many “little things” in life that tends to be more valuable once it’s gone. For parents, it’ll be well worth the effort to think about how important this holiday is and to make sure everyone involved has a wonderful experience year after year. –Michael Manely


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H alloween C ostumes to T hink T wice A bout How to Steer Clear of Looks That Might Offend photo that appeared under his name and showed two costumed figures, one wearing a KKK uniform and the other in blackface. Northam’s role in the photo was never clarified, but it caused permanent damage to his reputation and friendships. Make sure your family avoids similar strife this Halloween by steering clear of costumes associated with racist, sexist, or politically divisive groups. Teach your kids that it’s best to rule out costumes imitating another race or culture, particularly if they promote stereotypes, to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings — famous sports teams facing criticism for their Native American mascots are canaries in the coal mine on that point. Finally, encourage your kids to avoid hamming up symptoms of mental illness or addiction in their costumes. Dressing like a “mental patient” can hit too close to home for real-life sufferers, some of whom you likely know and love. Dierdre was excited to join our team. “When I first met with Mr. Manely, I was completely blown away with his expertise and experience.” It wasn’t long afterward that we welcomed her as part of our team. Since joining the firm, Dierdre has found her place. “Working here has been amazing. This firm has really felt like home to me. Mr. Manely genuinely cares about his clients and every person on his team. He likes to encourage people to think outside the box and likes to hear about everyone’s opinion on the team and how we can contribute to helping our clients. It’s really mind-blowing how he can rally everyone together.” When she has some time to spare, Dierdre enjoys traveling to the mountains with her husband and spending time with her schnauzer, Shotzie. “I also try and spend as much time with my family as possible,” she says. “Family is very important to me.”

If you’ve ever taken your kids trick-or- treating for Halloween, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen a costume that made you feel a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps it was something too sexual or gory for your 4-year-old’s eyes or a satirization of a political figure you admire. Odds are you didn’t say anything, but such encounters can be unsettling, even for the most laid-back among us. This Halloween, help others avoid that discomfort by thinking twice about the costumes you and your family choose.

audience. A skimpy Jessica Rabbit or Poison Ivy costume might be fun for an adults-only party, but it’s inappropriate for a family gathering. Similarly, you might not want to go the political route for an office party, where putting your opinions front and center could cause friction with your coworkers or boss. Instead, opt for a fictional character or a classic Halloween monster. No one is going to argue with you about your support or disdain for werewolves. While some costumes have their time and place, others are off-putting in any setting, and it’s never too early to explain that to your kids. Consider the case of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who came under fire earlier this year for a 1981 yearbook This month, we want to highlight our persevering senior paralegal, Dierdre Reagan, who is celebrating her fifth year with our team! Dierdre is a diligent individual who takes leaps and bounds to ensure our clients are always taken care of. Initially, Dierdre’s goal was to go to law school and become an attorney. However, she changed her mind and decided to pursue a career as a paralegal. “Paralegal school fit me far better,” Dierdre states. “Doing what I do now, I can help people, and I don’t regret that choice I made so many years ago.” By following her passion, Dierdre puts all her efforts into helping people. “It’s so rewarding when you can help a mom or dad secure custody for whatever reason. Just knowing you helped put the child in a better situation helps you realize that all your hard work pays off. It’s incredible.” Before Dierdre started at Manely Law Firm, she had heard a little bit about what we do here. “I knew they focused on family law, and that was an area I’d always felt like I belonged in. When I saw they were looking for a paralegal, I decided to give it a shot.” Upon her first meeting with Michael Manely,

When dressing for Halloween, remember that it’s important to consider your

M eet D ierdre R eagan An Unwaver ing Senior Paralegal

From all of us here at the Manely Firm, we wish you a happy fifth-year workiversary, Dierdre!


T emporary P rotection O rder

The Compl icat ions When Chi ldren Are Involved

A temporary protection order (TPO) is a court order that protects a victim of violence from their significant other, either between a boyfriend and girlfriend or a married couple. The TPO is drafted when one spouse harms another, and the victim goes to court to protect themselves from further violence. A court-ordered TPO may state that the attacker needs to remain 500 yards away from the victim at all times and cannot contact the victim in any way. Typically, a TPO can last from 30 days up to 12 months. If the TPO is just between two people, it’s very straightforward. The people involved understand what the rules are: The attacker cannot talk to or approach the victim within the specified time under any circumstance. But when children are involved, the situation becomes far more complex. The children of the couple are not subject to the TPO, especially when the attacker didn’t harm the child or harm the victim in front of the child. These types of cases create dicey situations; the attacker still has the right to see their children, but they can’t come close to or contact the victim to spend time with their kids. In cases like these, it’s essential to plan ahead. Figure out how communication will occur and if there needs to be any modification to the TPO. The court may change it to state that there will be no contact between the two parties involved unless it is the exchange of information related to their children. Often times, these exchanges occur at a police station to ensure communication runs smoothly with no further confrontations. Everything becomes more complicated when children are involved. The overall well-being of the children needs to be considered when these types of situations occur. If you find yourself having to make difficult decisions concerning your children and are unsure which path to take, call the Manely Law Firm. Our team is ready and willing to help you in every way we can.

M iso C aramel A pples

Inspired by Bon Appétit

I ngredients 4 Granny Smith apples

1/2 cup raw pistachios

1 1/2 tsp plus 1 cup sugar

3 tbsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp white miso, divided

4 Popsicle sticks

2 tbsp light corn syrup

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp kosher salt

D irections


Heat oven to 275 F.


In a food processor, pulse pistachios and 1 1/2 tsp sugar. Add sesame seeds and 1 tbsp miso, pulsing until miso is fully broken up. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15–20 minutes and let cool.


Meanwhile, insert a Popsicle stick into the center of each apple.

4. In a saucepan, bring corn syrup, 1 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp water to a boil. Boil for 5–7 minutes, swirling infrequently, until caramel is a light amber color. Add cream and salt to caramel, whisking to combine. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and quickly whisk in remaining miso. To assemble, first roll apple in caramel, then in pistachio mixture, before resting on greased baking sheet. 6. 5.


Let cool 30 minutes and serve.


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


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How Important Oct. 31 Is to You Halloween Costumes to Think Twice About

Team Member Highlight

TPOs With Children

The Meaning of Dia de los Muertos

Despite the common misconception, Dia de los Muertos is not an offshoot of Halloween. While the two holidays often happen simultaneously, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that originated with the indigenous people of Central America, including the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. Each year, they gathered and gave offerings to their dead. When the Spaniards came to Mexico, they fused the indigenous celebrations with their traditions of All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2). ANCIENT BEGINNINGS Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations viewed death as a beginning rather than an end. This was likely tied to agricultural practices and the seasons, with crops dying in the winter and being reborn in the spring. Dia de los Muertos evolved from those roots and is now observed throughout Mexico and the United States. It’s a time of remembering your loved ones by celebrating their lives. FULL OF LIFE Though the name might lead you to believe differently, Dia de los Muertos is a joyous

time. If you visit Mexico during the holiday, the air is filled with music, and the streets are full of dancing and color. Instead of a sorrowful mourning of the dead, it is a vibrant, joyous celebration of life. Intricate altar displays, called ofrendas, honor the spirits of relatives who’ve passed. Families fill them with photographs and the relatives’ favorite food and drinks. It’s believed that during Dia de los Muertos, the boundary between the living and the dead is lifted, and for one night only, spirits come back to visit and enjoy what their families have set out for them. Today, the multiday celebration takes place throughout Central and North America. As tiny Batmans and Skywalkers add the final adjustments to their costumes, other families clean their homes and prepare to honor the spirits of their loved ones. And in today’s beautiful blend of cultures, many families celebrate both holidays.

D ia de los M uertos A Celebrat ion of Li fe


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