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Family Law Attorney Cobb County Supports Military Appreciation Month

Military Family Appreciation Month History

Military FamilyEach year the President signs a proclamation declaring November Military Family Month. Last year President Obama said that our nation owes “each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support.”

This annual proclamation marks the beginning of a month-long celebration of the Military Family in which the Department of Defense and the nation will honor the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of the nation’s servicemembers.

Throughout the month of November, military families serving around the world are honored through a variety of observances and recognized for their commitment and the many contributions they make every day in support of the military and our nation. Efforts to recognize the sacrifices of the military family by Active, Guard, and Reserve leaders are being joined and supported by DoD organizations to include the Army Air Force Exchange Service, Defense Commissary Agency, and others.Community leaders, businesses, and military bases and posts are teaming up to recognize military families through special events such as: open houses, fun runs, family fun nights, and community dinners; discounts at MWR facilities, local business and sporting events; and special recognitions during community activities throughout the month of November.

Contact your local MWR or Family Services offices to learn more about events scheduled in your area.

Military Family Appreciation Month

Army Family Military Family Appreciation Month was established in 1993 by the Armed Services YMCA, with the U.S. Government recognizing the occasion every year since. Each November, ASYMCA celebrates Military Family Month to demonstrate the nation’s support and commitment the families of military personnel.


GCADV Partners with Saving Our Daughters to “Yell Confidence” and Raise Dating Violence Awareness and Action

Atlanta, GA (November 7, 2012) – Today the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) announces its partnership with Atlanta based teen empowerment organization Saving our Daughters (SOD). The partnership will raise dating violence awareness and action amongst young women and teen girls through media, celebrity advocacy, and education.

Guided by the voices of survivors, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence brings together member agencies, allied organizations and supportive individuals who are committed to ending domestic violence. It works to create social change by addressing the root causes of this violence, leading advocacy efforts for responsive public policy, and fostering quality, comprehensive prevention and intervention services throughout the state. To learn more about GCADV, visit

Saving Our Daughters creates the tools to get teen girls discussing key issues and fired up to take the power away from bullying, (cyber, gossip, face-to-face,…), dating abuse, hate crimes, school violence, violence against women, and other esteem slayers. To learn more about Saving Our Daughters, visit


Many of my clients have never had an attorney to represent them before and are sometimes unsure of how to best proceed with an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to prepare a list of “helpful hints”, so that my clients or potential clients of other lawyers can enter the relationship with a clearer understanding of how attorneys work and communicate, as well as how they can best benefit from the relationship, in the most cost-effective manner.

  1. Attorneys charge for talking in the phone and for reading and responding to e-mails. Attorneys cannot anticipate how much future time that will take. Clients control the amount of time necessary (costs to them) by the frequency and duration of their contacts. For example, daily phone calls and e-mail contact can become very expensive over a short period of time.
  2. Please be aware that all trial attorneys have more than one case pending at a time, and the longer a case has been pending the more actions are required to be taken in it. This is typically mandated and governed by court rules and the actions of opposing parties and counsel. Attorneys frequently have to meet multiple deadlines, in more than one case, the timing of which they have little or no control. Many people believe that attorneys control their own time, but this is a simply not true the majority of the time. Because of the lack of absolute control over time, I will also frequently block out available periods of time, in advance, in order to draft lengthy documents, prepare briefs, prepare for court hearings and trial, and to perform legal research in a case. It is only fair that I try to avoid unnecessary interruptions when working on a case. When I do this in your case, I am not available to other clients (and vice-versa).
  3. To borrow a medical term, I believe that attorneys must “triage” their cases and clients, much like the way a hospital emergency room must triage its patients when they assign colors to patients’ charts according to the severity and urgency of the patients’ medical conditions. For example, a divorce client who has a question on how to list an expense on a financial affidavit may have to temporarily wait on an answer if another client’s case is going to be heard in court the next day. To give another example, by law, a domestic violence case or a case involving a legal emergency must be resolved as quickly as possible, in order to protect a client and their minor children, and, therefore, that type of case would take temporary priority over the filing of a financial affidavit in a routine divorce case. Good lawyers have to do this all day every day, but also do a very poor job of explaining this to their clients (if it is ever explained at all). However, recognizing this “triage” is vital to communicating with your attorney and setting your own expectations. I think lawyers do not explain this because they fear that their client will think their case is unimportant. However, it has been my experience that clients need to know this and once they do, they are very understanding. All cases are very important. It is one thing to not to be able to reach your attorney when you have a very important questions that needs a timely answer, but is entirely another thing for a client to hammer their lawyer with emails and phone calls and messages over questions like “Have you heard from the lawyer yet?”, etc. Clients should realize that most lawyers want to close files and open new ones as quickly as they can, and if there is an important development in a case they do not try to withhold that information from their clients.
  4. I frequently provide my cell phone number to clients when we have a court date, in case they run late or have an accident that day, or in case they think of some last minute important question on the weekend before trial. I do this as a courtesy. However, if I do so, please realize that I otherwise (at other times) will not typically answer my cell phone or retrieve messages from it, especially when I’m driving or during the day when I am at my office. When I am at the office, I have many phone lines there, plus a fax machine and email, all of which keep me busy enough, without also answering my cell phone. As a result, unless I am expecting your call, calling my office or sending an e-mail is always the quickest and best way to contact me, even when I am away from my office. Additionally, I have a strong preference to not discuss a client’s case when I am not in my office because I usually need the case file in front of me, so that I can refer to and take and file notes, and otherwise have the case information and documents available to me. Having said this, some lawyers live on their cell phones and actually prefer for their clients to call them on it when they are not in the office. Other lawyers give out their cell phone number, but have a minimum charge (usually steep) for calling that number after hours or on weekends. You should clarify such matters with your lawyer at your initial meeting.
  5. Please be aware that I am not always quickly accessible by telephone, due to court appearances, depositions, meetings, impending case deadlines, or due to my travel schedule. My assistant will know my out of town schedules and can usually get the message of your call to me wherever I may be. When I am out of the office, my messages are typed and sent to my email. If I am unavailable when you call, please leave a detailed message either with my assistant or on the voice-mail system. You can rest assured that if you speak with my assistant or leave a voicemail, I am very quickly in receipt of your information, whether I can immediately respond to it or not. Also, if I am not able to personally respond to you, I may ask my assistant to do so. Again, she will typically convey to you my exact words. I will occasionally have to do this, simply to avoid a delay in getting back to you on an issue, especially when I am away from the office, on a break in court, or driving, and therefore have a very limited amount of time to respond to clients or return calls. Again, you should ask questions and clarify such matters with your lawyer at your initial meeting.
  6. The “new information age”, as I call it, has a great variety of technology for providing instantaneous communication: Smart phones, voice mail, text messages, instant messages, scanners, fax machines, email, etc., in addition to the traditional mail and telephone call. This is both a help and hindrance to lawyers and clients. On the one hand, we can reach out to a client rather quickly when need arises. On the other hand, just a single client can overwhelm any law office by simultaneously calling, leaving messages, faxing, emailing, calling the lawyer’s cell phone, text messaging the lawyer, etc., etc. Not only does that get expensive, it can be exasperating just trying to keep up. Most people like and use email on a daily basis. It is great with scanning and sending documents as well. The problem with email, however, is the sheer volume of it. In any given day, a lawyer may get 150 emails, of which 20 require a response or other action, and of which 5 are important. It would be easy for most lawyers to literally spend all day on emails. If a lawyer is in court or out of town, it does not take long for the volume to build. For this reason, my assistant reads my email, even when I can’t. I respond as quickly as possible. If you send an email to your lawyer and do not get a response within 48 to 72 hours, then you should call. Sometimes the messages get buried or hidden, which does not take long due to volume) and a “heads up” reminder is a good way to bring it to the forefront. Also, change the Reference or Topic Line on each email that is not specific to the last email discussion, because that tends to get it more easily recognized, moved up, and not tagged to old messages with the same “Re:” line. Text messaging is likely not a great way to communicate with your lawyer, because time constraints and driving, etc., simply do not permit an immediate response. Text messages also tend to be cryptic and therefore are not a good way of communicating detailed information. Plus, I like to print off and file emails, for later reference or note taking and filing, which I can’t do with a text message.
  7. Clients and attorneys alike all have individual preferences for communicating. If you have a preferred email address (home or work), preferred mailing address, or a preferred phone number (cell, work or home), or if there is a phone number you desire messages to be left on, then you should make that clear at your initial intake meeting with your lawyer. These preferences can be especially important in a domestic relations case.
  8. Please call your lawyer’s office first, before dropping off documents or coming by, so that we can insure that we will be available to make copies or meet with you, as needed. 9. If you encounter a communication problem with your lawyer, you should make it known to them as soon as possible (understanding the points I raise above). The bottom line is that most lawyers do not try to avoid timely communicating with their clients. Again, most court room lawyers are not always in control of their time and have urgencies and emergencies that are imposed by their cases and the civil justice system. These challenges can occur or change on a daily basis. Most lawyers also have kids and sports and the demands of a home life as well. All of that has to be carefully balanced with the rigors of a law practice.
  9. In conclusion, communication is the vital link in any interpersonal relationship and in the attorney/client relationship, communication is not only vitally important, but it costs money as well. Both lawyer and client should clearly establish their preferences and expectations early in the relationship. Hopefully, explaining things from a lawyer’s perspective will help you to understand that it is nothing personal against you when your lawyer can’t always return your call or email in a few hours. Again, any problems or expectations regarding communications should be discussed as soon as possible. If you have any comments or suggestions for this list, please let me know. As in any communication, there is always room for improvement.

Mark F. Milhollin, P.C.

Divorce rate after cancer diagnosis studied

FAMILY LAW in Metro Atlanta (Mark F. Milhollin)

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GA News Online – 19-October-2012
Title: Divorce rate after cancer diagnosis studied
Submitted By: Family Law Attorney Mark F. Milhollin
Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Although we hold the women (Mothers, Aunts, Sisters, etc.) who fight, survive and beat the odds as HEROS, a little know fact exists:

Men leave: Separation and divorce far more common
when the wife is the patient

SEATTLE – A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon
after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship
is the patient, according to a study that examined the role gender played in
so-called “partner abandonment.” The study also found that the longer the
marriage the more likely it would remain intact.

The study confirmed earlier research that put the overall divorce or separation rate
among cancer patients at 11.6 percent, similar to the population as a whole.
However, researchers were surprised by the difference in separation and divorce
rates by gender. The rate when the woman was the patient was 20.8 percent
compared to 2.9 percent when the man was the patient.

“Female gender was the strongest predictor of separation or divorce in each
of the patient groups we studied,” said Marc Chamberlain, M.D., a co-corresponding author and director of the neuro-oncology program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Chamberlain is also a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The study, “Gender Disparity in the Rate of Partner Abandonment in Patients with
Serious Medical Illness,” was published in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Cancer.
The other corresponding author is Michael Glanz, M.D., of the Huntsman Cancer
Institute at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Why men leave a sick spouse can be partly explained by their lack of ability, compared to women, to make more rapid commitments to being caregivers to a sick partner and women’s better ability to assume the burdens of maintaining a home and family, the study authors said.

Researchers at three medical centers — the SCCA, Huntsman and Stanford
University School of Medicine — enrolled a total of 515 patients in 2001 and 2002
and followed them until February 2006. The men and women were in three
diagnostic groups: those with a malignant primary brain tumor (214 patients), those
with a solid tumor with no central nervous system involvement (193 patients) and those with multiple sclerosis (108 patients). Almost half of the patients were women.

Chamberlain said the study was initiated because doctors noticed that in their
neuro-oncology practices, divorce occurred almost exclusively when the wife was the patient. The researchers enrolled groups of patients with other cancers and with multiple sclerosis to separate the impact of oncologic versus neurological disease. The results showed a stronger gender disparity for divorce when the wife was the patient in the general oncology and multiple sclerosis groups (93 percent and 96 percent
respectively, compared to 78 percent for the primary brain tumor group).

The study also found correlations between age and length of marriage and the likelihood of divorce or separation. The older the woman was the more likely her partnership would end. However, longer marriages remained more stable.

Researchers also measured some health and quality of life outcomes among the
patients who separated or divorced. They found that patients used more antidepressants, participated less in clinical trials, had more frequent hospitalizations, were less likely to complete radiation therapy and more likely not to die at home, according to the study.

“We believe that our findings apply generally to patients with life-altering medical illness,” the authors wrote. “We recommend that medical providers be especially sensitive to early suggestions of marital discord in couples affected by the occurrence of a serious medical illness, especially when the woman is the affected spouse and it occurs early in the marriage. Early identification and psychosocial intervention might reduce the frequency of divorce and separation, and in turn improve quality of life and quality of care.”

About Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, established in 1998, unites the adult and pediatric cancer-care services of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center , UW Medicine and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center .

GA Court of Appeals affirms Grandparents Rights

GA Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment awarding custody to the child’s paternal grandparents.


The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment awarding custody of Kyung Trotter and Michael Ayers Jr.’s minor child to the child’s paternal grandparents, holding that the trial court did not apply the wrong legal standard for determining when a third party can be granted custody of a minor child over the biological parents. In so holding, the Court noted that the custody dispute arose in 2009, when the child was being raised by the paternal grandparents, having been abandoned by the father, thus the standard is predicated on O.C.G.A. § 19-7-1 (b.1), which governs custody disputes between a biological parent and a limited number of third parties who are related to the child, including grandparents. The trial court’s final custody order reflected that the trial court properly applied the correct legal standard in ruling that the presumption in favor of granting custody to the mother was rebutted by clear and convincing evidence and that the child’s best interests would be better served by awarding custody to the paternal grandparents. The Court also held that, absent a transcript, the trial court’s rulings regarding the sufficiency of the evidence and several additional alleged errors were presumably correct. Next, the trial court did not err in granting the guardian ad litem’s request for a custody evaluation, as Superior Court Rule 24.9 (8) (a) authorizes the same. Finally, the mother failed to carry her burden of showing harm from the court-appointed custody evaluator’s failure to timely provide her with a written report of the evaluation; the trial court did not err in permitting the grandparents to intervene in response to the mother’s petition seeking a change in custody; the record belied the mother’s contention that the trial court did not rule on her motion to dismiss the grandparents’ motion to intervene; and the mother’s pro se brief violated Court of Appeals Rule 25 (a) (1), because many pages of the procedural and factual background section contained no ‘ “citation of such parts of the record or transcript essential to a consideration of the errors complained of.” ’

Trotter v. Ayers, A12A0702 (03/05/12)

Fulton County Daily Report, March 16, 2012

Fewer Wedded to Being married

Fewer Wedded to Being Married

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