Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Moving Day at The Goolsby Law Firm!

I am sorry that I haven't been around to dispense legal wit and wisdom this week! You see, I have been very busy. It's moving day at the Goolsby Law Firm!

No, this blog hasn't moved anywhere. But our "brick and mortar" location has changed! Our law firm is now located at 233C Davis Road, Augusta, Georgia. (I took the photo above early this morning with my cell phone!) For those of you outside Augusta, that information won't tell you much! But hopefully, most folks in Augusta will realize that our new law office location is more centrally located. In short, we are now located near the intersections of many of Augusta's major highways.

Also, we are now located about half-way in between the courthouses in Augusta and Evans, Georgia. These are the two courthouses where much of our legal business is conducted. So, it will now be much easier and quicker to hop on a horse and get to either courthouse! My son and I will continue to handle divorces, (along with child custody, adoptions, and other family law cases), personal injury and medical malpractice cases, defense of criminal law cases, (in both state and federal court), and other general litigation.

So, that's what we have been up to this week at the Goolsby Law Firm! (Now, I've got to get back to work!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Celebrity Divorces: Sandra Bullock

Have you seen the movie, "The Blind Side," starring Sandra Bullock? If so, then you know why the popular actress recently won an Academy Award. And who hasn't also been touched by the heart-felt expressions of love by Ms. Bullock for her spouse, Jesse James? They seemed to have a perfect marriage, didn't they?

As a result, I am sure that everyone is both shocked and very disappointed to hear the news reports that the couple has split. No one really knows whether or not the news reports are true. I don't need to go into all the sordid details here.

But here's hoping that Ms. Bullock, who seems to be a genuinely nice person, will go through this ordeal as painlessly as possible. It's no wonder that most of the public seems to be so supportive of Ms. Bullock, "America's Sweetheart."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrity Divorces: Kate Winslet

Perhaps the title to this post may be a little bit misleading. After all, publicists for British actress, Kate Winslet, and her director-husband, Sam Mendes, merely announced that the couple had amicably separated, or split. One can only assume that divorce might follow.
What is it about Hollywood marriages, or relationships, which make them so fragile, or, at least, less likely to succeed? Is it the long separations necessitated by the nature of their work? Or is it the healthy egos, in some cases?
In any event, it appears that another celebrity marriage may have bitten the dust, doesn't it? But as Winslet's character learned in the blockbuster movie, Titanic, life goes on, even in Hollywood!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Divorce "Tip of the Day:" Try Informal Mediation

Recently, we discussed the importance of utilizing mediation to attempt to resolve child custody or other issues in a divorce. In Georgia, many judges will generally require formal mediation before allowing the parties to schedule a final hearing.

But did you know that, even prior to formal mediation, (in which a court-approved mediator will guide the settlement discussions), it might be advantageous for both divorce attorneys and both parties to meet together, informally, to attempt to resolve any outstanding issues in your divorce?

Of course, every situation is different. For example, if your worthless spouse, "Sluggo," has a head made of thick concrete, and if he is not pre-disposed to logic, common sense, and reason, then this idea probably won't work in your case!

But in many cases, informal mediation--just between the parties and divorce lawyers--might be the perfect method for getting your divorce done more quickly and at a cheaper cost. Discuss this idea with your own divorce attorney!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Divorce "Tip of the Day:" More About Trusting Your Divorce Attorney

In the last post, we discussed ways in which the attorney-client relationship is like a friendship. In this post, I want to emphasize the importance of your trusting and telling your divorce lawyer everything about you and your case! And that means confiding in your divorce attorney about bad things which might be harmful to your divorce case, too!

No divorce attorney wants to be blind-sided in the courtroom by evidence against you which is presented by your worthless spouse, "Sluggo." So, tell your divorce lawyer everything -- the good, the bad and the ugly! For example, if you have openly confided in your own divorce lawyer about your poor judgment in signing up with a dating website, (while you are still married), then you and your attorney can be prepared to explain or rebut any false allegations of cheating made against you.

If you cannot tell your divorce lawyer everything, then maybe you have retained the wrong lawyer. And if you don't tell him or her everything, then be prepared to accept the consequences!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Attorney-Client Relationship: Trusting Your Divorce Lawyer--Like A Friend?

Can we be honest? The attorney-client relationship is not really like a friendship. After all, it is a professional relationship. But it is, nonetheless, a very special relationship which has some features of a friendship.

For example, as with a trusted friend, you should be able to confide in your divorce attorney about your most important, often secret, information. Also, you can count on your divorce attorney not to disclose your confidential, privileged information, or betray your trust. In addition, like a good friend, your divorce lawyer should not judge you harshly, even if you have made mistakes. Finally, like a good friend, you should be able to count on your divorce lawyer to help you, and advise you wisely, in your time of need!

Finding a good divorce lawyer, in the beginning -- someone you can trust, almost like a friend --is an important thing for you to consider when you plan a divorce.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Child Custody: A Goolsby "War Story" About Summer Smith

"Mr. Goolsby, if you will take our child custody case, I promise you I will get a second job and I promise I will do whatever it takes to pay you for your help!"
I will never forget this plea from a little girl's mother and maternal grandmother. At the time, I was right out of law school and still wet behind the ears. I was practicing family law in a small south Georgia law firm. The custody case involved Summer Smith, (not her real name*), a precious two year old girl, who was caught in the middle of a bitter custody battle between the little girl's mother and the little girl's paternal grandmother.
I had serious doubts about taking the case. First of all, the child's mother and (maternal) grandmother had no money and I realized this custody case would be very demanding. Also, at the beginning, the facts and the law didn't look too good for our side. For instance, I learned that the child's (paternal) grandmother had adopted the child in another state, albeit without serving or providing notice to our client, the child's mother. In addition, the child's mother had shown questionable judgment by going to the other state, where she had "snatched" her child and brought her back to Georgia.
The (paternal) grandmother had immediately come to Georgia, retained another attorney, and was seeking the return of her "adopted" child (and grandchild). Again, things didn't look good for the home team!
But I took the case and learned several lessons from it! For instance, we won the child custody battle! I was able to convince the judge that the adoption was bogus, and should be set aside, because our client had not been properly served or given notice. I also convinced the judge that it would be in the child's best interests for her mother to have custody. It was a resounding victory! We were totally successful in re-uniting the little girl, Summer, with her mom! I had learned that, generally, you don't always know what the courts will do!
However, I also learned another important lesson! In this case, even though we won, we never got paid a dime for our legal services! So, I learned that, sometimes, as a family lawyer, your only reward may be a job well done! And at least, looking back, I can be proud that I helped re-unite a little girl with her mother!
[* Facts and names have been changed in this illustration.]

Monday, March 1, 2010

Celebrity Divorces: Vivien Leigh

Today's "Celebrity Divorce" post is about Vivien Leigh, the Academy Award winning star of the movie, "Gone With the Wind," which, of course, was set in Georgia during the War Between the States. (No self-respecting blog about Georgia divorce law could fail to have posts about Ms. Leigh, or about "Gone With the Wind!")
You may have known that Ms. Leigh was married to Sir Lawrence Olivier, (from 1940 to 1960, according to Wikipedia). But did you know that this was her second marriage and second divorce, after she and Olivier split in 1960?
Sadly, Ms. Leigh suffered from manic depression and tuberculosis throughout her life. But we can always remember her fine acting work, not only in "Gone With the Wind," but also in "A Streetcar Named Desire," for which she earned a second Oscar in 1951.