Georgia Lord Teaches Family Lawyers, Chairs Judges Panel Discussion

Photo of head table with speakers Dawn Smith, Debbie Gold, Georgia Lord, and Eileen Shuman.

Program faculty included (L to R) Dawn Smith, Debbie Gold, Georgia Lord, and Eileen Shuman.

Georgia Lord recently served as one of the faculty in a training seminar for family lawyers, family court Judges and family therapists. The seminar provided information on Advanced Child Custody Litigation. It was convened by the DeKalb Bar Family Section, Ms. Lord chaired a panel discussion by DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams, Fulton Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick, and Henry Superior Court Judge Arch McMarity. In another segment of the program, Lord also presented detailed recommendations regarding the best structures to use for Guardian ad litem investigations, including ways that parties and counsel can help minimize the Guardian ad litem’s fees while still gaining important insights from the   investigation.

Georgia Lord Gives Divorce Advice to Atlanta Women’s Network

At a recent meeting of the Atlanta Women’s Network, Georgia Lord was invited to present her advice to those who are going through a divorce or child custody dispute.

Child Guardians | Guardian ad LitemShe explained that women should not assume that if they divorce they will receive alimony. Nowadays, an award of alimony has become the exception, rather than the rule. Even when alimony is awarded it is usually for a very short period of time. Most judges now expect able-bodied individuals to largely support themselves after divorce, even if they have not worked outside the home in recent years. Counsel must be prepared to lay out convincing evidence regarding the relative financial and life circumstances of the parties in order to make a case for alimony. [Read more…]

Collaborative Law Institute of Georgia Selects Georgia Lord for Office

The Collaborative Law Institute of Georgia recently selected Georgia Lord to serve as an officer of the organization. The group (which is also known as CLIG) is an organization established to set the standards for collaborative practice within the State of Georgia. CLIG provides ongoing professional training regarding collaborative practice techniques, as well as instruction concerning how professionals can better serve families undergoing divorce or other transitions and disputes. CLIG’s officers are instrumental in educating professionals and the general public about the benefits of using the “Collaborative Process” to resolve conflict.
Georgia Lord will serve the group as its Recording Secretary. She explains that she is eager to accept this post because she strongly believes that collaborative practice can have a very positive impact in many situations. “During my years as a Family Court staff member,” she says, “I witnessed cases in which one of the parties ‘won’ their case, but did so at the expense of draining their accumulated assets to pay for the litigation – and inflicting lots of emotional wounds upon themselves and their children. Collaborative practice offers an alternative. Its methods focus on reaching a solution that works for everyone involved. The process is non-adversarial and respectful. The parties use their energy and resources to craft a plan for their future rather than spending them on refueling the litigation battle.”
Further information regarding the Collaborative Law Institute of Georgia and collaborative practice generally can be found on the CLIG website.

Child Custody Rules for Same-Sex Separations Described by Georgia Lord in Professional Journal

FamilyLawReviewCoverThe recent “Marriage Equality” decision by the US Supreme Court (Obergefell v. Hodges) has left Georgia lawyers and Judges struggling to figure out how the state’s prior rules regarding child custody disputes should be applied to same sex couples who are separating. Georgia Lord recently authored a scholarly article addressing this topic for The Family Law Review, a professional journal for Family Law attorneys in Georgia.  A copy of that article can be seen HERE. As Lord explains in this article, for the short term, there will continue to be uncertainty regarding the extent to which many individuals who are or were in same-sex couples have standing to seek custody of the children born or adopted into those relationships. One factor which will likely be very significant is whether the parents entered into a state-licensed marriage before the child’s birth or adoption (whether in their state of residence or elsewhere). For now, the safest course of action for a nonbiological parent will, in most cases, continue to be adopting a child via a step-parent adoption. [Read more…]

Contempt Motion Filed Against MARTA Mobility

Advocates pressing for adequate, accessible public transit for persons with disabilities charge in a federal court action that MARTA is in contempt of court. The action sets out evidence that MARTA’s paratransit service — MARTA Mobility – fails to provide the level of service required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and by an injunction previously entered against the system. They argue that MARTA has failed to take reasonable steps to improve the system’s performance. As a result, they say, those who rely upon the system for transportation to work, to medical appointments, or to special occasions are often left stranded. MARTA Mobility’s own statistics regarding whether its vehicles show up on time — or even show up at all – show that the system’s performance has recently been worse than it has been at any point in the past twelve years. [Read more…]

Georgia Lord Teaches Child Custody Lawyers

PanelPresentationOnGuardianAdLitemService

Georgia Lord (fourth from left) on Panel Providing Instruction On Guardian Ad Litem Service. Other panelists were attorneys A. Bernadette Olmos, George P. Shingler, Dawn Elizabeth de Klerk, Lila N. Bradley, and Robert A. Burnett.

Georgia Lord recently joined other custody litigation experts to teach child custody lawyers from Atlanta, Decatur, and DeKalb. Lord served as faculty at a Continuing Legal Education Seminar on “Advanced Issues Facing Custody Litigators and Guardians ad Litem.” Lord presented a scholarly assessment of the potential impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Marriage Equality decision. She reviewed the rules Georgia’s courts are likely to apply when deciding custody disputes between spouses or domestic partners of the same sex.

Georgia Lord also provided advice to prospective Guardians ad litem during the training. Guardians ad litem investigate custody disputes and make recommendations to the Judge regarding who will get custody. The Guardian works to provide the Judge with an objective assessment of which custody arrangement would best serve the child or children; she represents the “best interest” of the child or children whose custody is at issue. Lord is frequently appointed to serve as Guardian ad litem by local family court Judges. [Read more…]

Georgia Lord Elected to DeKalb Bar Family Law Section Board

On June 4th, 2015, Georgia Lord of Georgia Lord Law was elected to the Board of the DeKalb Bar Family Law Section.  The Section regularly presents educational programs on Family Law to attorneys who practice in DeKalb County.  It meets monthly at the Historic DeKalb County Courthouse, in downtown Decatur, and periodically hosts more extensive continuing legal education seminars or other special events. During the June 4th election meeting, Lord thanked her fellow family law attorneys for selecting her to this leadership post and said she was looking forward to planning many training programs for the group.

The program for the September meeting of the DeKalb Bar Family Law Section featured Georgia Supreme Court Justice Carol W. Hunstein. Justice Hunstein both reminisced about her eight years on the DeKalb bench and shared some practical tips for practitioners litigating in the Georgia Supreme Court. [Read more…]

Cobb Judge Praises Accountability Court Programs

At a recent meeting of the Atlanta Bar’s Family Section, Georgia Lord heard Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley praise the work done by Cobb’s Accountability Court programs. These programs are designed to meet the needs of criminal defendants who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction or mental illness. Judge Staley explained that these Accountability Court programs are intended to address the problems underlying a defendant’s criminal actions. She believes such programs are far more effective than traditional criminal sentencing: she gave examples of how Accountability Courts can make a dramatic difference in both the defendants’ lives and the lives of those around them.

Traditionally, a court sentencing a defendant accused of theft would simply decide whether the defendant should be locked up, put on probation, or released. Incarceration is expensive, both for the community and for the defendant. Past experience teaches that a defendant who steals to fund a drug habit will probably keep stealing unless he or she either stays locked up or breaks the drug habit. Accountability Courts are designed to help defendants change the condition that is prompting them to commit crimes. Cobb’s Accountability Courts include a Drug Treatment Court for defendants addicted to drugs or alcohol; a Mental Health Court for defendants with severe and persistent mental health issues; and a Veterans Court, for defendants who are honorably discharged veterans with mental health issues.

Other metro counties have similar accountability courts, and their generally positive impact is becoming increasingly recognized. Governor Nathan Deal has become an enthusiastic supporter of Accountability Courts and, with his support, Georgia now offers financial incentives to counties that use such courts.

Georgia Lord Meets Supreme Court Justice Thomas

Following her recent admission to membership in the Bar of the United States Supreme Court Georgia Lord had the opportunity to chat with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Clarence Thomas personally greeted Georgia and congratulated her. Although Justice Thomas is known for his silence during the Court’s oral arguments, he was very gracious and welcoming on this occasion. He good humoredly responded to the many, many questions posed by those present. The admission ceremony itself took place in the Supreme Court’s courtroom and five of the current Justices participated: Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan, along with Justice Thomas. As a member of the Court’s Bar association Georgia is eligible to represent parties in Supreme Court cases.  Luckily, a photographer captured the moment when Georgia Lord meets Supreme Court Justice Thomas.

GABAR at SCOTUS

Georgia Lord Admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court

us supreme court buildingOn January 26th, 2015, Georgia Lord was accepted as a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. As a member of the Court’s Bar association she is eligible to represent parties in Supreme Court cases. The admission ceremony took place in the Supreme Court’s courtroom and five of the current Justices participated. Justice Clarence Thomas personally greeted Georgia and congratulated her following the ceremony.