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J une 2019
F ather ’ s D ay How We Support Fathers Every Day
T hanks to Father’s Day this month, I’d like to talk about the importance that fathers have in their children’s lives and how that relates to family law. I understand the significance of having a father figure in a family, as well as what the absence of a father can do to a child. It’s my goal to ensure that a child goes to the best home and parent, whether that be the mother or the father. Once upon a time, judges thought mothers could do no wrong and dads could do little right. Thankfully, in my 30 years of practice, we have worked hard to change that perception, and it truly has changed. The relationships between a child and parent don’t frame the law, but it can frame the way a judge will perceive it, and family history has a lot to do with that perception. The experiences, schedules, and interactions with a family will often color a judge’s final decision. A judge may see a father completely dedicated to their child and a mother absorbed in other activities even before the divorce begins. Ultimately, this can lead the judge to see that the father would be the better parent to have custody. Being full-time practitioners of family law, we are sensitive to this. The Manely Firm utilizes our collective knowledge to benefit our clients and give them every advantage in court. In one of our cases, our client was a father who was absolutely committed to his daughter. Anyone could tell he loved her with 110% of his heart and put all of his effort into supporting and raising her. The mother was work-oriented;
she focused much of her time on work and the gym and didn’t spend much time at home. When they filed for divorce, the mother took custody of the child, and the father was looking at only visitation rights. However, it was evident to us the mother relied heavily upon the father to take care of the child, and we wanted to show the judge what we could see. Our goal was to get both parties back to where they were before they considered divorce. To ensure that our client received custody of his child, we asked both parents to maintain a custody calendar that included their usual days and what they had done with the child. I told the father that within a year, he would have primary custody of his daughter instead of only having visitation rights. It turned out I was wrong — it only took two months. Dads come in all stripes, and their commitment to their children will influence the counsels’ approaches in helping both parties resolve matters. It’s been proven that the involvement fathers have in their children’s upbringings brings a lot into the child’s life, which is something I not only see every day but have also experienced personally. My own father was largely absent in my life. He went off to the Vietnam War when I was around 2 years old, and he later divorced my mom and was generally not around. Being in this situation helped me in my pursuit of family law. I understand the void that is felt in the absence of a father, and I will do everything I can to ensure
a child won’t be torn away from a loving father and a good home. From marrying Shelia, I also recognize the significance of being the father of a mixed family. We are a blended family of hers, mine, and ours, and I’ve seen how critical it is to help all family members blend into a cohesive unit that seeks harmony. I’ve seen firsthand the power an engaged father can give to their children and what happens when that is taken away. The commitment of a father leads to a happy and healthy life for the child, and that is what I aim to bring into court every day. It’s important to realize that Father’s Day is about much more than getting those good ties; it’s also about reaffirming the ties children have with their fathers. -Michael Manely 1
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E njoy Y our F amily T ime By Taking a Break From Your Phone
Setting some time aside to be with family is important, but it can be difficult when everyone is always on their cellphones. Constant cellphone use has become a global problem, and the habit is hard to break because we rely on mobile devices heavily for work, school, and keeping in contact with friends and family. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that can reduce how often you’re on your phone and minimize distractions. SIEMPO After you install Siempo on your phone, it will ask which apps are likely to distract you. Once you select them, the app will move those apps away from the home
screen and place the important ones, such as the messaging, contacts, email, and calendar apps, on the first screen. You can also designate times for specific apps to be used throughout the day. STAY FOCUSED Stay Focused is like Siempo, but there are some significant differences. You can set times to access certain apps and put the most distracting ones on lock. Stay Focused also has a “strict mode” that prevents you from uninstalling it, so be sure to think carefully before activating the lockdown because you won’t have access to those specific apps until the timer runs out. FOREST In the time that Forest takes control of your device for a set time limit, the app starts growing a tree. Once the tree is fully grown, your time is up, and it joins the other trees that were
grown during other breaks. If you pick up your phone and try to access an app, Forest will send you a notification asking you if you want to kill your baby tree by giving up. Who says guilt isn’t a good motivator? BESIDES APPS Aside from using these apps, silencing your phone and putting it in another room, leaving it in your car if you’re out at dinner, or keeping it in your purse or back pocket during a social event can also reduce your screen time. Having your phone out of sight and out of reach will keep the temptation of pulling it out at bay. Spending time with your family is crucial, and with these apps and tips, you’ll enjoy each other’s company without too many screen distractions.
M eet D avid P urvis
A Pract i t ioner and Partner in Fami ly Law
Our priority at The Manely Firm is family, and no one knows that better than David Purvis. David, a partner at The Manely Firm for almost three years, has gone above and beyond to achieve our goals in family law. David first joined us when Shelia called him in search of a new attorney for the Savannah office. Since then, David has grown to deeply cherish family law. “I can’t imagine practicing anything else,” he says. “Each of our cases is different. Every day there’s something different we work on, and we’re dealing with real people who are going through difficult situations. So, we need to have a strong desire to help people.” Helping people is a huge part of what we do here at The Manely Firm, and David understands exactly what that means. On the purpose of family law, David says: “You might hear that everyone who goes into law school does it to help people, but I don’t think that’s sincere. It might sound good to hear or to see on paper, but until you get into the flaws and messiness of other people’s lives, you don’t understand what it truly
means to get them through a difficult situation. We see that throughout our work in family law, which makes it incredibly challenging but also incredibly rewarding as a result.” David not only works tirelessly as an attorney but also as an adjunct professor at Savannah Law School. He’s taught for the past 4 years, and with each year, his knowledge grows. “Teaching others what family law is and how it’s practiced has certainly helped me as a practitioner. We’re always looking for areas to improve on and learn from, and sometimes, that learning comes from teaching. It’s funny because I’ve probably gotten more out of teaching those classes than some students have,” he adds. With rare moments of free time out of the office and classroom, David spends time with his family. A true family man, he’s hardly without his wife and sons by his side. “Family means everything to me,” David says. “I don’t know if I do a whole lot of anything that doesn’t involve my wife and my sons. The limited free time I have is spent playing with my two boys.”
Taking Precaut ionary Steps to Protect Your Fami ly I nternational T ravel When people plan to travel internationally, they usually do their research to ensure the place they’re visiting is safe. However, there is a problem that lies much closer to home than people might realize. In a tumultuous family situation, the biggest issue can be a parent taking a child to another country on the pretense of a family vacation and deciding: “We’re not coming back.” The Manely Law Firm sees these types of cases quite often, both in and outside of the United States. At first, it might seem like a harmless trip, but the parent could turn around at the last moment and refuse to return home. They could have everything planned out to the last detail without their spouse knowing what’s happening until it’s too late. A situation where a child is abducted by a parent to another country is terrifying and stressful. Many parents might not know what to do or where to turn. Often, the rest of the family perceives it as a normal vacation and doesn’t suspect anything amiss. If you’re traveling internationally, or if your spouse is planning to travel with your children, it’s important to have a wonderful time, but it’s also vital to prepare yourself. One of the best things you can do is establish a contract between yourself and your spouse outlining the expectations of the trip. This is especially crucial for parents who are divorced, going through a divorce, or having problems. Ensuring there is a document written up and signed by everyone will not only help you feel at ease but also eliminates the risk of your spouse taking your children away from home. If you draft up a contract, ask your spouse to sign it, and find they become highly defensive or accusatory, you may have just prevented an abduction from happening. Families need to be mindful of the risks associated with international travel and be preemptive in halting these terrible situations, especially during the summer break. Now is the perfect time to think about it and take steps to protect your family.
Z ucchini S alad W ith T oasted H azelnuts
3 small zucchini (3/4 lb.)
1/2 tsp lemon zest, grated
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Mint leaves, for garnish
Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice zucchini lengthwise into extremely thin, wide ribbons. Arrange zucchini ribbons on a plate, sprinkle with lemon zest, and drizzle with juice.
Drizzle oil over zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and toss.
4. Scatter hazelnuts over the top, garnish with mint and cheese, and serve.
Inspired by Food & Wine magazine
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What a Father Can Do for His Family
Take a Break From Your Smartphone
Team Member Highlight
‘We’re Not Coming Back’
Zucchini Salad With Toasted Hazelnuts
Amusement Park Trip Tips
H old O n T ight ! Prepare for Fami ly Fun at an Amusement Park This Summer On June 16, 1884, the first roller coaster in the nation opened to eager and brave participants at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. In the years since the first riders climbed aboard the Switchback Railway 135 years ago, roller coasters and the amusement parks that house them have changed dramatically. But the thrill that attracted all those first participants still remains. I’M LOST! Before you head out, review park maps and ride descriptions. Create a list of the attractions everyone in your group wants to see and plan out your route ahead of time. While some spontaneity can be fun — it’s a vacation, after all — the sheer size of many parks coupled with high anticipation can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. Planning ahead will save you a few headaches and disappointed family members. PACKTHE ESSENTIALS Find an over-the-shoulder bag or strap on a fanny pack to carry your cash, keys, snacks, water bottles, sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses. You’re spending the whole day outside, so make sure you’re considering the weather Celebrate the nation’s love of heart-stopping adventure by visiting an amusement park this summer. Follow these tips to make the most out of your trip.
when you head out and always slather on a generous amount of sunscreen. Lastly, wear comfortable walking shoes to prevent blisters and aching heels. You’ll have more fun if you know you’ll be prepared for anything. WATER COSTS HOWMUCH!? Amusement parks are expensive, and when you spend a whole day seeking thrills, you’re eventually going to need sustenance. Check the park’s rules before you leave, but most will allow your family to bring in a few snacks, like fruits or granola bars, and a reusable, empty water bottle. Many parks will have a drinking fountain near the entrance where you can fill up before exploring. If you plan to eat or drink at one of the establishments in the park, peruse the food options on the park’s website ahead of time to get an idea of what is available and how much money you should bring.
Adventure awaits this summer! Don’t let a lack of preparedness keep you from enjoying a 135-year-old tradition.
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