The Manely Firm, P.C. - December 2021

Al l fami ly law. Al l around Georgia. Al l around the wor ld.

D ecember 2021

‘T is the S eason

TO HELP OUR NEIGHBORS This is the season of giving, and in our office, that extends well beyond our individual families. We support a variety of community service organizations. Service is at the heart of what we do as a family law firm. Our passion for serving children and families extends well beyond business hours. For many years, The Manely Firm has been a supporter of the Center for Family Resources (CFR) in Marietta, Georgia. I was first introduced to them about 20 years ago through church, when we set up a summer reading program in CFR’s basement. It was located near a housing project for low-income families. We brought in volunteer readers, books, and food for the children who were out of school. A lot of the families who visited our reading program also needed additional services — and they found them at CFR. The organization provides rental assistance as well as access to a food pantry; for families experiencing homelessness, they also have housing units. A family with children can receive their own private apartment or home, along with a caseworker who will work to identify and mitigate the underlying issues that resulted in housing instability. I’m proud to say that this is my fourth year as a board member. This year I served as the board chair for CFR, and I see the change the organization makes in children’s lives all the time. There are five primary reasons families experience homelessness: lack of education, lack of employment, lack of affordable housing, lack of childcare, and lack of transportation. CFR works to prevent childhood homelessness by providing services to families. Through the GED, job readiness, and interview coaching programs, we help families get on the road to self-sufficiency and housing stability. We don’t consider it a handout, but rather a hand up — and it can change the trajectory of a family for generations. In 2019 alone, we provided housing to 654 parents and children, and 55% of the people exiting our Rapid Re-Housing Program acquired permanent housing. Further, 170 families were kept out of homelessness through the Rental Assistance Program. With housing costs continuing to rise rapidly in Cobb County, many more people still need assistance. If you’d like to help, you can find out how to donate or volunteer at

playhouses to auction off, with the proceeds preventing childhood homelessness. We also sponsored CFR’s annual Thanksgiving food drive, Thanks for Giving; boxes are built to provide not only Thanksgiving dinner but also a week’s worth of food for a family of four. Many families rely on school lunches to help feed their children, and when school is out, too many kids go without meals. This food drive helps to close that gap. Now in December, we’ll be helping with Toys for Tots. CFR Isn’t the only community service organization we support! I, and several of our firm’s employees, belong to the Kiwanis Club of Marietta. We’ve served as a drop-off location for Boos & Briefs, a Halloween-themed project where we collect new underwear and socks for the homeless. Also, through Kiwanis, we support the annual Cobb Diaper Drive and help contribute hundreds of diapers to our neighbors who are in need. We have organized and contributed to coat drives, auctions, flag subscriptions, charity golf events, and charity runs that funnel money and resources to meet the basic needs of local students by giving them laptops and college scholarships (among other things). The Manely Firm considers itself a part of the community, and we want to be a good neighbor. For us, that means helping others. We’re so grateful to be in the position to make a positive difference in the lives of our clients and our neighbors. I hope you and your family will have a safe and happy holiday season and that you’ll also find ways to enjoy the satisfaction and joy of serving others.

Serving as Board Chair isn’t the only way we support CFR. We’ve sponsored the Parade of Playhouses, in which community architects and builders create children’s

–Shelia Manely


Cal l for a Consul tat ion: ( 866) 245-5685

S pending the H olidays A lone ?

Boost Your Mood Wi th These Tips Many Americans spend the holidays alone every year, and the pandemic has only made it more difficult for people to see their loved ones, as travel has become more restricted and strenuous.

If you’re one of these people who are spending their first holiday season alone this year, here are a few strategies you can try to make the situation a little easier.


One of the best things about spending the holidays alone is that you can do things your way. You don’t have to worry about meeting everyone else’s standards. Instead, you only have to make yourself happy. Simply telling yourself that you are not going to have the usual holiday environment can slightly help, but redefining what the holiday means to you can remove a huge weight. Trying new things or looking toward the future are great ways to reduce the stress of spending the holidays alone. Keeping up with old traditions may remind you of what you’re missing out on, so it can greatly help to create your own traditions.


Just because you’re not seeing people during the holidays does not mean you should forgo your basic needs. Stick to your regular hygiene habits and do not let them get away from you. The same goes for eating and sleeping. Staying clean, well-fed, and well-rested goes a long way toward improving your happiness.


If you know in advance that you’re going to be spending the holidays alone, planning ahead can prevent negative feelings. While being spontaneous can sometimes keep things fresh, it could leave you with a feeling of hopelessness about what to do next. There’s no need for your list to be extensive or highly detailed, but even just planning to watch a movie or cook some of your favorite dishes can give you something to look forward to.

As with all mental health advice, what works for some does not work for everyone. Do what you think will work best for you and help you keep your thoughts happy.

B alancing the B ooks Meet Accounts Receivable Specialist Arnissa Galloway!

Instead, fresh out of school, she found a job with an auto finance company. Though she started as a customer service representative, she says, “I got a lot of experience in accounts receivable and accounts payable, and I worked my way up the ranks and became an underwriter.” Looking for a change, Arnissa found her way to The Manely Firm about a year ago. She was drawn to the firm when the application asked what she had done to bring diversity to past workplaces. “I’d never been asked that question before,” she says. “And after I met Ron and Sheila, it was love at first hello! I said, ‘I want to work for people like this.’” She’s now responsible for billing and ensuring payment on client accounts. “What I enjoy most about my job,” Arnissa says, “is building rapport with my clients. I go through some of the toughest parts of a client’s life with them. We get angry, laugh, cry, or sometimes all three on one call.”

When she’s not at work, Arnissa enjoys spending time with her fiance, Dontay, and her 2-year-old daughter, Harmony Love. Her entire family shares a love of basketball — Arnissa attended KSU on a full athletic scholarship — and they spend a lot of time at the State Farm Arena watching the Hawks play. Another passion is cooking, which she indulges with Dontay through their satellite kitchen, Big Eats. “On weekends, we take orders and deliver plates in the community,” she says. “I think cooking is a real bonding experience, and you can literally taste the love in the food!” Asked what she likes best about The Manely Firm, Arnissa says they’re “the best, not only to represent clients but also as an employer. At a lot of jobs,” she continues, “you just feel like a number, but it’s not like that here. When my daughter was in the hospital, Mr. Manely called me every single day. It’s one thing to have an employer, but it’s more like a family here — and that’s rare.”

Accounts Receivable Specialist Arnissa Galloway is originally from Mississippi. After graduating from Kennesaw State University, she planned to return to assist with her family’s business, but her father’s illness changed those plans.

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Parental Child Abductions An Unhappy Holiday Tradition

When the topic of child abductions arises, most people’s minds go immediately to stranger danger. Fortunately, those cases are very rare. About 99% of abductions are committed by family members — 78% by non-custodial parents, and 21% by other relatives. In about 82% of those cases, the abductor intends to change custody permanently and never return the child. And the likelihood of abduction tends to increase around the holiday season. Just like with summer vacation, the holidays present time for potential abductors to plan and create opportunities for travel. Parents who are unhappy with the current custody agreement and don’t get along with their co-parent are more likely to abduct their child. Particularly at risk are children with parents who are not from the U.S. and wish to return to their country of origin. “Coming out of COVID, people are behaving in very unexpected ways,” Michael Manely explains. “People are seriously reevaluating their lives — and that’s a good thing. They’re getting to the bottom of who they are and what they want to do. Sometimes that leads to altruistic ends and people give back to their communities. Other times, they decide they really want to take their kids back to their country of origin and really don’t want to deal with the other co-parent.” Parents can protect themselves and their children from an abduction by ensuring an iron-clad agreement is in place before any planned travel, especially if that travel is international. Most custody agreements outline exactly what steps need to be taken to travel with a child, and they generally require that a detailed itinerary be provided to the other parent. An additional legal agreement for the specific trip can provide even more protection, and one is essential if the custody agreement does not lay out travel guidelines. If a parent does not want their child traveling out of the country at all, they can also request their passport be surrendered to the court. Such a step is wise in particularly volatile co-parenting relationships. While an abduction is always a traumatic experience, a firm legal agreement generally results in a swift reunion. If you need a supplementary travel agreement, or if your custody agreement does not include provisions for travel, don’t delay in contacting The Manely Firm to get your documents in order. It’s the best way to protect your child.

“W hen someone tells me ‘ no ,’ it doesn ’ t mean I can ’ t do it ; it simply means I can ’ t do it with them .” — K aren E. Q uinones M iller

DIY H oliday E ggnog

Inspired by

Making your own eggnog is easier than you think! This creamy, delicious drink will be a hit with your holiday guests.

I ngredients

• • • •

6 egg yolks

• • • •

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar

1 pinch salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups milk

Cinnamon and whipped cream, for garnish

D irections 1.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy. Set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cream, milk, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to a simmer. Add a spoonful of the milk mixture to the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously and repeat, one spoonful at a time.


When most of the milk is whisked in, add the egg mixture to the saucepan. Whisk until the liquid thickens slightly or reaches 160 F. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Pour the eggnog into a glass container and cover. Refrigerate. When the eggnog has thickened, pour it into glasses, garnish, and enjoy!







Cal l for a Consul tat ion: ( 866) 245-5685


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

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Being a Good Neighbor This Holiday Season

Tips for Spending the Holidays Alone

Meet Accounts Receivable Specialist Arnissa Galloway!


What You Need to Know About Parental Child Abductions DIY Holiday Eggnog


Reading to Your Children Reaps Benefits Galore!

T he B enefits of R eading to Y our C hildren

Even at a young age, reading to your children is an important tool to help them grow and learn while sparking their creativity. Your child will help develop their early literacy skills and ability to focus, plus increase their social skills and communication skills. When you begin reading to your child, they gain a greater understanding of the world, which allows them to make sense of the things they see, hear, and react to in their daily lives. But the benefits of reading don’t stop there.


Reading to your child when they are an infant can help strengthen their language acquisition skills. If you continue reading as they get older, these skills will only grow. They begin to latch on to spoken communication. Improving their vocabulary and grammar skills through hearing the written word is even more effective than what they gain from everyday conversation. Why? Because the human brain comprehends written communication differently than spoken communication.


The best way to create a special bond with your little ones is simply by spending time with them, and reading to your child on a routine basis is a great way to do that. Plus, reading stories provides a positive and educational experience where they can talk to you and vice versa. This will help you learn more about your child’s developing interests so you can find new ways to encourage them to learn and explore their passions.


According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 1 in 3 American children enter kindergarten without the necessary reading skills to succeed in school. But if you read to your children, you expose them to new words and help develop their listening skills as they listen to you read. You can also ask questions about their reading comprehension along the way to ensure they understand what is happening in the story. These skills are vital to academic success.

No matter which way you look at it, reading to your children provides a positive experience that will help them grow.

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