Manely Firm - October 2020

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

O ctober 2020

Y our M ental W ell -B eing : H ow W e C an H elp

In October there are quite a few events and holidays that take place, but the one that caught my eye is World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10. This is an important topic, especially in our work here at The Manely Firm, P.C.. In the practice of family law, we see a lot of individuals who are either struggling with mental health or coping with mental health concerns. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, many of these issues have been exacerbated. The pandemic, paired with the stress of divorce, child custody, or any other family matter, can make things really difficult for our clients. I recommend counseling to almost all of my clients. Even in uncontested divorces with no children involved and few assets or debts, there is still a sense of loss that can feel like the death of a loved one. Once the divorce decree is signed, that person you spent every single day with is suddenly no longer part of your daily universe. There is an undeniable sense of loss attached to that experience. I also always recommend clients seek counseling for their child. Divorce is tremendously stressful for a child because it doesn’t make sense to them that the two people they love unconditionally no longer want to be together. The parents are usually unable to provide the kind of guidance needed for them because they are in the midst of the divorce themselves. When a child can speak to a professional who is neutral and trained to help children through a family crisis, it substantially reduces the trauma experienced by the child. It helps the child process what has happened, gives them expectations of what will happen, and also assures them that they are not alone.

leads clients to try to incorporate their attorneys as a mental health counselor. That is not something we’ve been trained to do and why seeking therapy from a trained professional is so important. At The Manely Firm, we work with a lot of these professionals to help our clients. In the Savannah area alone, I utilize several therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors who have done amazing work for my clients and their unique needs. I believe that these services are very important and something we need to be aware of now more than ever. Due to the pandemic, we are all living in a stressed- filled time and being aware of your day-to-day mental health is essential. With news coming at us from all angles, it can overtake our thoughts and mental well- being; in addition to counseling, it’s also important to take breaks from it all. Finding ways that allow you to

mentally refresh is a great start. Go on a vacation that allows you to practice social distancing, incorporate a daily run into your routine, or practice yoga. For myself, my wife, and my children, we’ve found that these things help immensely. All of us have found ways to unplug from our day-to-day activities and focus on each other and our hobbies. I have found great pleasure in running, while my wife became a certified yoga instructor during the pandemic. Whatever it is that can help you through this, take it one day at a time — it can make all the difference. If you realize you would like counseling, talk to your attorney about your needs, and we can get you in touch with a mental health professional.

It can be easy to not realize just how emotionally taxing a pending family law case is. Sometimes, this

–David Purvis


Cal l for a Consul tat ion: ( 866) 687-8561

H ow to S top P rocrastinating at B edtime And Get a Good Night ’s Sleep

Though there are very real medical conditions, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, that deprive people of sleep, the reason most of us probably don’t get enough sleep is simply because we put off our bedtime. Instead of getting into bed, we opt to check off another item on our to-do list or watch another episode of our favorite show. This is sometimes called “bedtime procrastination.” We all know a good night’s sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, so how can we stop putting it off? A good place to start is by keeping track of your day. The human mind isn’t meant to internalize checklists and task reminders, so use your phone or journal as a scheduling assistant. However you decide to keep track, make sure to give yourself a set amount of time to accomplish your tasks, like letting yourself watch TV for just one hour or blocking out three hours to help your kids with their homework. It might even help to set alarms on your watch or on your phone to let you know when your time is up on any of your activities.

Another big part is creating an environment that is conducive to a good night’s sleep, and that starts with turning your electronic devices off well before you get under the covers. Smartphone screens, computer screens, and even some energy-efficient lightbulbs emit blue light, which reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time to go to bed. Instead of looking at your phone, try reading a book before going to sleep. If your screens prove to be too big of a draw for you when bedtime comes, it might be a good idea to move your devices to another room so they’re out of sight and out of mind. Finally, don’t get discouraged if you don’t start getting better sleep right away. Setting up good bedtime routines takes time. But if you stick with it — and maybe have someone else in your house hold you accountable to your commitments — you’ll start to get better sleep and have more energy to take on the day in no time.

M eet K ourtney B ernard -R ance A Li fe Dedicated to Fami l ies

This month we celebrate Attorney Kourtney Bernard-Rance’s one-year anniversary with The Manely Firm! Over the past year, we’ve seen some challenges come our way, especially with the coronavirus pandemic, but Kourtney never wavered. She took each day as it came and worked toward helping our clients and their families. Even before she joined our firm, Kourtney was determined to help families in need. When she was younger, her mother worked as an early childhood education teacher at the local YMCA, and Kourtney would often go to work with her. Eventually, she got her first job there as a summer counselor, and the experience gave her a deep desire to help people. Kourtney said, “I felt like I could do this, and do it well. Even working with children at the YMCA as a child … talking with them, sitting with them, and learning that some of them had a really rough go at an early age — I had a bleeding heart for them.” Over time, that desire to help changed from helping children to helping entire families. At first, this led her to pursue an education in child psychology at Montclair State University, and she switched her major to family and child studies (with an

emphasis on family services). However, things changed when she took up an internship at a child advocacy organization: Advocates for Children of New Jersey. “I worked with a bunch of attorneys there, and it put me on this idea that maybe I actually wanted to practice law. That internship definitely shaped my viewpoint, and I knew this is where I wanted to go.” By joining us here, and by pursuing her passion in family law, Kourtney now finds her work completely fulfilling. “I’ve been here 12 months, but I’ve already started and completed cases for a lot of clients, and many of them come back to tell me how grateful they are that I helped them. I was able to provide a level of service and help my clients in a way that they couldn’t help themselves. The fact that I can see that return on a weekly and daily basis is definitely rewarding.” As Kourtney continues to work hard this year, she’s also had a tremendous amount to celebrate. In April, she and her husband got married, and, though most travel plans were put on hold and businesses have been closed, the pandemic has given them an opportunity to spend a lot of time together exploring the city.

From all of us at The Manely Firm: Happy one-year anniversary! We look forward to many more to come!

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V irtual H earing C hecklist

Doing Our Part to Guarantee a Successful Hear ing

In these times when virtual hearings are becoming a norm in the legal field, a checklist is extremely beneficial. It not only helps the attorney and client prep for the meetings but also ensures everything runs as smoothly as possible. In order for a virtual hearing to be successful, a lot of planning and thought must go into them — that’s what our firm does. We know how important these hearings are, and The Manely Firm puts a lot of thought and detail into being sure our virtual hearings are clear and well presented. Here are a few items we check off our checklist before holding our virtual hearings. The Right Virtual Platform – ✓ The biggest step is ensuring that each individual who will be involved with the hearing has access and can operate the hearing platforms that will be used. Some of these platforms include videoconferencing programs (such as Zoom) that are easily available and accessible on most mobile devices, computers, tablets, or laptops. Document Sharing – ✓ This is an important step to consider, especially in terms of the virtual platforms. Having the ability to share information, or even share screens, can help every person involved follow along and understand exactly what is being discussed. As we saw recently in a trial, having the documents prepared and in the right place prior to trial makes all the difference in whether the court will accept them and consider them at trial. Transcription and Translation – ✓ As an international family law firm, it’s our duty to ensure all parties can understand and follow along with what is being said during the hearing. We are able to locate and retain certified court translators for our virtual hearings. And just like with in-person hearings, we have court reporters present to transcribe the virtual proceedings. Experience– ✓ As much as I am tired of this term now, virtual hearings are our “new norm.” Our attorneys have now conducted dozens of these hearings in the past few months in several jurisdictions throughout Georgia. We’ve seen what works and what does not work in the presentation of a client’s story. Our offices are all set up with state- of-the-art technology to present your case in the best possible light.

“It always seems impossible unti l it is done.” –Nelson Mandela

C lassic P umpkin S oup

Inspired by

I ngredients

• • • • • •

1 cup canned light coconut milk

• • • •

1 tbsp olive oil 2 shallots, diced

2 tbsp honey 1/4 tsp sea salt 1/4 tsp pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/4 cups pumpkin purée (homemade or canned)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 tsp nutmeg

D irections

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté olive oil, shallots, and garlic for 2–3 minutes. 2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. 3. Transfer the soup to a blender and purée. Pour the blended soup back into the pan. 4. Cook over medium-low heat for 5–10 minutes. Taste and add additional seasoning as desired, then serve!

Know that if you have a virtual hearing, we have the experience, know-how, and production to present your story to the judge in the best possible way.


Cal l for a Consul tat ion: ( 866) 687-8561

211 Roswel l St . NE Mar ietta, GA 30060 (866) 687-8561 l fami


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The Signi f icance of Wor ld Mental Heal th Day

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Shining the Spot l ight on Kourtney! Our Vi rtual Hear ing Checkl ist Classic Pumpkin Soup

Wei rd and Wacky Hal loween Laws

S pooky C ity R egulations Halloween Laws Across the U.S.

Halloween can be a mischievous holiday. The most innocent of us reserve it for backyard parties and trick-or-treating, but some like to get a little rowdier than others. That’s exactly why various city councils across the U.S. have passed some seemingly unusual laws to regulate spooky festivities. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware: No Sunday Trick-or-Treating If Halloween falls on a Sunday, children in Rehoboth Beach are required to trick-or-treat the night before. The explanation in the city code is simple, but ambiguous: to prevent children and their guardians from going door to door on Sunday evenings. Rehoboth Beach law also forbids children from roaming the streets on Halloween “with the intent to cause trouble,” but what exactly that means is ambiguous as well.

on Oct. 31 until noon on Nov. 1, no one is allowed to spray, sell, or distribute Silly String in public locations. Use of Silly String got so popular in the city on Halloween that the mess left behind became a strain on sanitation workers, and the city sympathized with them. Belleville, Illinois: No 9th Graders Trick-or-treating is most often viewed as an activity reserved for younger generations, but how do you determine what age is “too old” for this type of generally good-natured fun? Well, the city of Belleville settled the ambiguity by passing a law restricting teenagers who are past the eighth grade — generally older than 13 — from going door to door on Halloween. Walnut, California: No Masks Without Permits In a simpler time, there was no paperwork required to celebrate Halloween to the fullest. But in the city of Walnut, no one can wear a mask or other disguise on public streets without a permit from the sheriff. The law doesn’t specify any exceptions, so residents are left to assume that everyone from age 5 to 100 must abide. Whatever your Halloween celebrations might look like this year, it’s important to have fun, but remember to abide by any rules or laws your city might have in place in an effort to keep its citizens safe.

Hollywood, California: No Silly String The Los Angeles City Council has banned Silly String and all other brands of aerosol string from use on Halloween in the Hollywood area. From midnight

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