family law

Thompson, Meier & King welcome a new family law attorney and paralegal to the firm

WELCOME! We’re pleased to announce that Cynthia L. Patton and Katie Crockett have joined our firm and will be assisting clients in family law matters including divorce, alimony, custody, child support, grandparent & family member visitation, contempt, modification, pre-nuptial agreement, and step-parent adoption.

Attorney Patton brings more than 16 years of experience advising clients in their personal family matters, is a Georgia Supreme Court Registered Neutral (mediator), was  recognized as one of Georgia’s Top Lawyers in 2009, and served the Cobb County Bar Association as President of the Family Law Section and on the Board of Trustees.  In addition, she taught the Family Law course of North Metro Technical College’s Paralegal Program for several years.

Senior Paralegal Katie Crockett also has more than 16 years of experience in family law matters, has managed a law firm office, and excels in guiding clients toward the best results possible while never losing sight of what is most important to their family.

Patricia King now a registered neutral with GAOC and Commission on Dispute Resolution

trish-kingThompson, Meier & King is pleased to announce that the firm has another mediator among the partners.  Patricia “Trish” King is now a registered neutral with the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts and the Commission on Dispute Resolution, following 90 hours of training through Henning Mediation and Arbitration Services, Inc., with an emphasis on Domestic Mediation.  Trish brings to her skill as a mediator over 25 years of extensive experience in family law, having concentrated her practice throughout her career in child custody and visitation, divorce, property division, separation issues, child support, alimony, modification actions, enforcement of court orders, pre and postnuptial agreements, paternity and legitimation, adoption and child welfare.  Over her career, Trish has represented parties, including as an advocate for children, in numerous mediations and knows from a litigant’s standpoint the benefits of mediating.  She looks forward to utilizing her experience in assisting the parties in their efforts to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to their dispute.

Child Custody Disputes

A person going through a divorce should always seek that advice of an attorney. The divorce process can be very complicated, especially when dealing with issues of child custody and child support.  As emotions are heightened during the divorce process, it is important to keep in mind how child custody and child support issues are handled in the State of Georgia.

In most cases, the Courts encourage an active and healthy relationship between both parents and the child(ren). In order to accomplish this goal, the Courts look at “best interest” factors when determining where a child should live primarily.  These factors help the Court determine which parent is the most appropriate to be the primary physical custodian of the child(ren).  In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3(a)(1), there is no presumption that the child should live with the mother or the father.

In many cases, parents are able to agree to the Parenting Plan that governs the visitation between both parents without the Judge having to make a ruling on the issue. The Parenting Plan also details which parent is the primary physical custodian, sole physical custodian, and whether the parties share joint legal custody or not.  If the parties are unable to reach an agreement about child custody and visitation, the Judge will be the one who will make the final decision.

In some cases, when the parties are unable to reach an agreement about child custody issues, the Court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL).  A Guardian ad Litem is usually an attorney who practices in the field of family law.  It is the GAL’s duty to conduct an independent evaluation of both the parties as well as the child(ren) involved in the case and make a recommendation to the parties and Court about child custody and visitation or parenting time.

There are many possible outcomes for a child custody disputes.  Please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our seasoned Family Law Attorneys to discuss your rights related to any child custody issues you may be facing.

King, Meier named among legal world’s ‘Elite’

John-Meier trish-kingPassion for practicing law is just one quality that boosted two Canton attorneys to the top. John Meier and Patricia King, who are partners in the Canton law firm of Thompson, Meier and King PC, recently were selected for inclusion in Legal Elite by Georgia Trend Magazine.

The attorneys were named as elite members of the legal field after a peer-review process where thousands of attorneys, who are members of the state bar, voted for the top attorneys in 10 different practices.

Meier was named Legal Elite in estate planning, and King was named Legal Elite in family law.

“I have to admit I was pleased to learn that my peers thought highly of me,” Meier said. “This also helped encourage me to continue pursuing my passion and broaden the services we provide so that we can be of greater assistance.”

King shared a similar sentiment.

“It was truly an honor,” she said of being named in Legal Elite. “However, I have the privilege of working with so many wonderful attorneys and staff that any accolades I may receive is really the result of a concerted effort.”

King, who has practiced family law since 1989, said going to law school was not a venture she had thought to pursue until graduating from college.

“I received my (bachelor of science) in psychology and criminal justice and was focusing my career on working with troubled teens,” she said.

It was an internship with a Connecticut juvenile probation department that opened King’s eyes to attending law school.

“I realized what a hard road many young people were faced with once they entered the system, whether it was because they committed a crime or because their parents could not care for them,” she said. “That’s when I decided to go to law school. After I graduated from law school, I entered private practice for a number of years but was offered the opportunity to become a child welfare attorney for the state of Florida.”

King’s career took off after that and with 15 years of experience in the courtroom, her passion for family law remains just as strong as it was when she started on her career path.

“Generally, family law deals with a number of family related matters, such as child welfare, adoption, delinquency, termination of parental rights as well as divorce, annulments, paternity and legitimization and issues tied to those matters,” she said.

“I knew very little about this practice until I became a child welfare attorney in Florida, and then it took off from there. I knew this was what I was supposed to be doing,” King said.

Meier said he enjoys practicing estate planning, which, he added, encompasses many different parts of the law.

“Certainly, it involves planning for the efficient transfer of assets in accordance with one’s wishes after death.  However, it also involves assisting clients with their long-term goals before death,” he said. “This can involve issues related to long-term health care, business succession, incompetence and planning for the care of a spouse or other loved ones, just to mention a few.”

Meier started his career as an attorney in 1985 and said he was inspired to pursue law by his friend’s father.

“However, I also grew up working on family farms. I went to college and furthered my love for farming and the family farm,” he said. “I was fortunate to have been hired by the University of Georgia’s Agricultural Economics Department (I ,think it is now the College of Environmental Sciences) after graduating. I worked for four years with UGA as an economic research associate. I spent those years working with hundreds of family farmers and agribusinesses across the state.”

When Meier was an economic research associate, he said it was a time of ultra-high inflation and oil embargos.

“I saw way too many families displaced from the only life they knew and lose assets that had been in their families for generations,” he said. “During this time my father died, and I was uncertain about the future of our farms. I decided that pursuing a career as an attorney assisting families and businesses build, retain and pass along assets was a way I could help others. Things have kind of morphed from there.”

Since embarking on a career that helps others plan for the future, Meier said one of his greatest accomplishments is “providing comfort to someone in a time of turmoil or anxiety.”

“This may not be a big accomplishment in terms of its effect on others but, for that person or family, it was one of the most important things in their life,” he said. “I believe my biggest blessing is my family.”

King said her greatest accomplishment is not tangible.

“I love what I do and the people I work with,” she said. “I have asked myself more than once, ‘how did I get so blessed, especially when it comes to the people in my office?’”

Similar to any career, there is always room for improvement.

pic-4-1aMeier said he encourages growth through professionalism in the courtroom.

“Fiduciary dispute matters are almost always complicated by very strong emotions,” he said. “In my opinion, attorneys certainly need to be zealous advocates for their clients, but they also should act in ways to try and maintain the focus on the client’s goals while endeavoring to limit the often adverse impact of decisions made based on emotion rather than reason or prudence.”

King agreed, adding that because family law matters can be highly emotional, she strives to treat everyone involved with respect.

“That’s not to say that I have achieved perfection in this area, although I can aim to do so one day,” she added.

 

The above news story was written by Jessica Lindley and published in the Cherokee Ledger News. The story can be found online here.