Florida Women's Law Group - March 2020

the

WOMEN’S

Advocate

March 2020

AWHOLE NEWKIND OF COURT

Discovering Basketball

I’ll admit, I never thought I’d be one for March Madness. Basketball just never interested me while I was growing up — tennis has always been my passion. But, as often happens in parenting, my kids have ended up teaching me a thing or two. Thanks to them, I’m now a proud basketball mom. It wasn’t an easy transition. When I went to watch my eldest daughter’s first game, I was mortified — the physicality of the sport is unbelievable. Compared to tennis, where you enjoy a degree of separation from your opponent on the court, basketball seemed like an all-out brawl. Thankfully, as I’ve grown more familiar with the rules and fast pace of the game, I no longer cringe; I just cheer. In fact, we’ve started to go to college games as a family now. Coincidentally, while my daughter and son both really got into the sport, FSU began establishing themselves as a formidable basketball team — it’s a good thing, too, given their recent football performance. So, now we’ll make the trip to Tallahassee to root on the Seminoles, which is always an exciting bonding experience. But the most profound experience I’ve had from the stands has been watching my daughter grow as a player. She was initially recruited for her height, having previously been a cross-country runner. As she adopted the sport, she’s had to learn to deal with setbacks and work through injuries. Watching her push past these obstacles and succeed has

been an incredible experience. It’s clear she’s learned a lot along the way.

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My daughter and I actually had a conversation about athletics recently, and how hard work isn’t always rewarded the way it is in academics. In school, we’re taught that as long as you put your nose to the grindstone, you can get A’s. But in sports, some elements are always beyond your control, including referees and the way your body is built. Sometimes people are just gifted, and you have to work twice as hard to keep up with them. It’s a very adult lesson to learn and one I think better prepares kids for adulthood than any standardized test. Even in an academic field like law, you have to learn there will always be unknowns. Adjusting to different judges and even to facts of a case mean attorneys have to be flexible; they aren’t in control of everything. More importantly, they have to learn how to push through despite factors that may work against them. Watching the way my daughter has learned to roll with the punches has made me realize how much she’s grown. She’s gained a better sense of herself, and that maturity shows both on and off the court. So, I’m more than happy to be cheering her on from the bleachers — regardless of the sport, she’s already won in my book.

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On March 17, Irish folks commemorate the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to pagan Ireland during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Historically, these religious origins make for a more somber observance of St. Patrick’s Day. Many Irish families go to church and eat a modest feast as the extent of their celebration. However, St. Patrick’s Day in America is not so much about venerating Ireland’s patron saint as it is about celebrating Irish heritage in a foreign land. When Catholic Irish immigrants first came to the United States, they faced persecution from a largely Protestant population. In response, Irish Americans began using March 17 as a day to publicly declare and celebrate Irish heritage with parades and demonstrations. The observation of St. Patrick’s Day grew in popularity in cities with large Irish populations, like Boston, New York, and Chicago. Then, in the booming post-World War II economy, various businesses aggressively marketed the holiday to Americans of all heritages. Thus, it became a day when anyone could celebrate Irish American heritage, or at least it gave everyone an excuse to drink like they believe the Irish do. Ironically, imbibing was not a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland until relatively recently. Due to the religious nature of the holiday, pubs and bars closed down on March 17 until 1961. Additionally, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage is another American addition. In Ireland, pork and cabbage was actually more common, but impoverished Irish immigrants substituted less expensive beef for pork, and the tradition stuck. Even though the most widely observed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations originated in America, many of them have found their way back to Ireland. Starting in 1996, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin now attracts over 1 million attendees with all the drinks and revelry that Americans love. You’d be hard pressed to find a green beer, though. In the hallowed birthplace of Guinness and whiskey, some traditions may be better left across the pond.

Completely Different Roots

Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland vs. America

From extravagant parades to green-dyed rivers, something about St. Patrick’s Day feels quintessentially American — despite its Irish heritage. That’s because many common St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually originated in America, evolving beyond their roots in the Emerald Isle in a few key ways.

CO-PARENTING GOALS Supporting an Athlete After Divorce As Heather touches on in this month’s cover, school sports can be fun and exciting for the whole family. But for those who’ve been through a divorce, supporting your star player can feel more complicated. Here’s how you can navigate the challenges you may find on the sidelines. HAVE A GAME PLAN Ideally, your divorce agreement will have included a section on sport participation. After all, many financial and time commitments are tied to parenting an athlete — sorting out the responsibility for these duties with your ex is crucial. Sometimes these agreements can be covered by larger agreements on extracurricular activities. However, if your children were too young for such activities at the time of divorce, there’s a chance clear agreements weren’t set in stone. CALL AN AUDIBLE When a child decides to take on a sport, or any extracurricular activity for that manner, they should be celebrated and supported. Of course, this decision can complicate existing factors in your divorce, so it’s important to take steps to make this change as frictionless as possible. Sometimes this can be accomplished by simply talking things over with your ex — but others may require significant changes to your original divorce agreement.

PLAY FAIR If practice significantly eats into your side of a time-sharing agreement, or if you find yourself bearing the costs of gear, travel, and participation, it may be time to revisit the paperwork. Time sharing and financial support can be changed to fit your child’s new activity, ideally with the willing cooperation of your ex. If you aren’t comfortable communicating with them, lawyers can take the lead in these conversations. Agreements surrounding attendance of sports games can also be made if you don’t want to run into your ex in the bleachers. Divorce can complicate many aspects of life others take for granted. But with the right planning, and hopefully some cooperation from your ex, you can free yourself to cheer on your athlete without concern. If you do need to change your initial agreement or hold your ex accountable to their co- parenting responsibilities, call a lawyer you trust.

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Women Speaking Wisely

“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” – Madonna

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Meet Karen Smith

Since hiring her a little over a year ago, she’s proven to be a talented, knowledgeable, and open-hearted member of our team. We sat down with her to talk about her experience. “I got into the legal profession right after high school,” Karen recalls, reflecting, “The field has always interested me.” She got her start at a firm that dealt with foreclosures but found it wasn’t very fulfilling. “Once you learn it, it’s repetitive work,” Karen explains. “Then I found family law.” It was when Karen made the leap over to our practice area that she really connected with her job. As she puts it, “It’s more personal than what I was doing before. I get to work with people, not banks … you get to help during their toughest time.” For Karen, this personal connection is deeply important. It’s actually what led her to find this firm.

and her husband made the move to Florida, and she found our firm shortly thereafter. We weren’t even hiring at the time — she just came in and dropped off her impressive resume, and the rest is history. “I’d heard really good things,” Karen says with a smile, remembering the day she walked through our doors. “I’ve had attorneys represent me, so I know what to look for … I liked that this firm has very high standards,” she explains. “Our lawyers actually take the time to listen to what you have to say — they even have clients write down their goals for divorce rather than set them themselves! That’s just not something you see at other firms.” For our part, we’re glad Karen found us. When she’s not here at the office, she can be found spending time with her family or out on a jog with her workout partner, a very friendly golden retriever.

At the Florida Women’s Law Group, we know it’s not enough to hire experienced professionals — they need to be compassionate, too. Karen Smith, our star paralegal, is the embodiment of this ideal.

After 15 years of working as a paralegal and a decade of living in Pennsylvania, Karen

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Inside

The Madness of Basketball

The Evolution of St. Patrick’s Day

Kids, Sports, and Divorce

Meet Karen Smith

Meditation and Pain Relief

PRACTICE PAIN RELIEF

The Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has different meanings for different people. Traditionally, the act of focusing one’s mind has been used in religious and spiritual practices around the globe. More recently, it’s become a popular method of relaxation. Now, new research shows that this ancient practice may have yet another benefit: pain management. In 2008, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found that over 100 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain due to conditions like arthritis and debilitating injuries. Because of this, care providers have become focused on finding ways to help patients manage these persistent aches. The sensation of pain is caused by a complex interaction of biological and cognitive factors, leading scientists to study how mental exercises like meditation can aid in pain relief. Anecdotal evidence regarding meditation’s ability to reduce pain has existed for as long as the practice itself. However, modern

technology has given researchers the means to accurately measure the effectiveness of this age-old tradition. The Department of Health and Human Services has cited MRI brain scans as proof that meditation can lead to moderate pain reduction. These scans revealed that the same areas of the brain stimulated by painkillers are activated when the mind is in a meditative state. This supports the accounts of those who have reported better functionality after meditative sessions. strategies that are noninvasive and not habit- forming, such as physical therapy. Meditation is easily accessible and can be used in conjunction with other pain relief strategies. Whether you sign up for guided meditation sessions, download one of the many mindfulness apps on the market today, or simply make time to sit and clear your mind for 30 minutes, it’s easy to add meditation to your normal routine. With the ongoing tragedy of the opioid crisis, there is a dire need for pain management

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