News

AOC Updates Parenting Plan Forms

The Administrative Office of the Courts has revised the Permanent Parenting Plan and Temporary Parenting Plan Forms. Copies of the revised forms are available for download here.
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Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

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Elder Law Forum 2017 This Friday

The Elder Law CLE Forum will be held this Friday at the ATT Building in downtown Nashville. This full-day forum offers essential and practical material for practicing Elder Law attorneys and those interested in Elder Law. Registration is still open, so sign up or get more information now

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Disability Rights TN Conducting Survey on Needs and Resources

Disability Rights Tennessee is conducting a survey to gather information from people with disabilities, family members, service providers and professionals to help shape the work of the organization. Attorneys working in the disability rights field are asked to contribute their thoughts. Others are asked to share the survey with friends and colleagues in the disability rights field, so an accurate picture of the needs of those with disabilities can be compiled. The deadline to respond is July 15. For more information contact DRT at (800) 342-1660 or gethelp@disabilityrightstn.org.

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July TBJ: Mentors, Annuities and the Challenges of Change

Covington lawyer Amber Griffin Shaw writes about how having a mentor in Houston Gordon made all the difference in her law practice. Read her story — and his advice — in the July Tennessee Bar Journal. Knoxville lawyer Glen A. Kyle writes about planning options for spousal annuities. President Lucian T. Pera writes about the challenges of change – whether it be in the changing of leadership at the helm of the TBA, the need for improvements in indigent defense for Tennessee’s least-privileged citizens, or how lawyers respond to the dramatic changes “facing not just the profession or the business of lawyers, but the whole market for the delivery of legal services.”

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Loving v. Virginia Turns 50

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, turns 50 today, and NPR has collected several audio clips from the dramatic trial. Many of the clips document arguments made by Bernard Cohen and Philip Hirschkop, two young lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union who represented Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and a black and Native American woman whose marriage was considered illegal in Virginia.
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Court Orders Minor Modifications to Certain Divorce Forms

The Tennessee Supreme Court has approved minor modifications to the plain language forms for uncontested divorces with no minor children, as recommended by the Access to Justice Commission. These changes were necessary to ensure that the plain language forms adopted in 2011 for uncontested divorces with no minor children are consistent with the same forms that were adopted in 2016 for uncontested divorces with minor children, according to the court documents. The order as well as the changes can be found here.
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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.

How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines at http://www.tba.org/submit-an-article, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.

If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Commission on CLE & Specialization at http://www.cletn.com/.

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TSC: Prevailing Party Entitled to Contractually Agreed-Upon Attorney’s Fees

The Tennessee Supreme Court has reversed a decision of the Court of Appeals, which declined to award attorney’s fees on appeal in a post-divorce proceeding. In a divorce case, the husband and wife agreed to a provision that would award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in any subsequent legal proceedings. A trial court awarded the wife, as the prevailing party, the attorney’s fees she requested, but the Court of Appeals declined to award fees for the appeal. In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeals must apply standard rules regarding contractual interpretation and enforcement.
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Sentenced to Debt: When You Can't Pay Your Fines

In the current issue of the Journal, Nashville lawyer Vidhi S. Joshi looks into what happens within the criminal justice system in Tennessee when a person cannot pay their fines. Read the feature “Sentenced to Debt.” Columns this month include "Redefining Relocation," by Marlene Moses and Benjamin Russ; John Day writing about "Mothers, Minors and Medical Bills"; and Bill Haltom following the saga of where the bodies of President and Mrs. James K. Polk will land for eternity.

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TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

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Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

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Knox Judge Grants Woman Rights of Husband in Same-sex Divorce

A Knox County judge has granted a woman the legal rights of a husband as part of a same-sex divorce proceeding, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. In a reversal of his decision in the case last year, Judge Greg McMillan approved the divorce of Erica Witt and Sabrina Witt, and designated Erica Witt as the father of the couple’s daughter, who was conceived through artificial insemination. The ruling appears to contradict a recently passed Tennessee law that was inspired by the Witt case. That law requires courts to define terms in state law by their “natural and ordinary meaning.” 
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Suit Challenges New ‘Natural and Ordinary Meaning’ Law

Just four days after Gov. Bill Haslam signed it into law, the legislation which requires undefined terms in state law to be interpreted with their “natural and ordinary meaning” is facing a lawsuit, the Tennessean reports. Four same-sex couples filed suit in Davidson County Chancery Court today, naming the governor, Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner and the Tennessee Department of Health as defendants. Each of the couples have conceived a child via a sperm donor, and are concerned that the new law could threaten their parental rights.
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Court Considers What’s Real, What’s ‘Fake News’ in Jones Child Custody Case

Lawyers for Alex Jones, conservative radio and YouTube host, and his ex-wife are battling in a child custody case about whether his online persona is who he really is, the ABA Journal reports. Jones, the personality behind Infowars, is famous for promoting conspiracy theories, but his attorney is arguing that the views presented on his show are all an act, calling him a “performance artist.” Attorneys for his ex-wife have submitted multiple Infowars videos as evidence to prove that Jones is “not a stable person.”
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CLE Outlines How to Change Your Practice to Meet Market Demands

The fourth and final CLE in the “Modern Law Practice Series” will explore emerging trends in the delivery of legal services and how focusing on consumer behavior could benefit your law firm. This session will examine the ways in which consumer-facing companies like Avvo and LegalZoom have capitalized on tailoring services to the needs of the modern legal client and how you can adjust your practice to meet those same demands. The program will be held April 13, and will be available in person and on-demand.

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Wedding CLE Looks at Everything from Prenups to Blended Families

Last chance to register! On March 29, experience a special wedding CLE at one of Nashville's premier wedding venues, the Cordelle. Sessions will touch on a variety of nuptial-related considerations, such as what to do pre-wedding, how to handle blended families, and the ins and outs of tax planning. Brunch will be included, with all the cake, mimosas and darling wedding mints you could want.

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Supreme Court Clarifies Parental Relocation Statute

The Tennessee Supreme Court has clarified a law on divorced parents relocating with their children and held that Tennessee’s Parental Relocation Statute’s legislative intent was to make parental relocation with children clear cut. This statute applies to parents with a court-ordered parenting plan. In the case, Cassidy Lynne Aragon v. Reynaldo Manuel Aragon, the court held unanimously that the parent spending the majority of time with the child would be allowed to relocate with that child unless the opposing parent met a high standard of proof on one of three grounds: (1) that the proposed move would pose a threat of serious harm to the child; (2) that the relocating parent’s motive was vindictive; or (3) that the move did not have a reasonable purpose. The decision reversed Court of Appeals and trial court decisions.

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Supreme Court Clarifies Parental Relocation Statute

The Tennessee Supreme Court has clarified a law on divorced parents relocating with their children and held that Tennessee’s Parental Relocation Statute’s legislative intent was to make parental relocation with children clear cut. This statute applies to parents with a court-ordered parenting plan. In the case, Cassidy Lynne Aragon v. Reynaldo Manuel Aragon, the court held unanimously that the parent spending the majority of time with the child would be allowed to relocate with that child unless the opposing parent met a high standard of proof on one of three grounds: (1) that the proposed move would pose a threat of serious harm to the child; (2) that the relocating parent’s motive was vindictive; or (3) that the move did not have a reasonable purpose. The decision reversed Court of Appeals and trial court decisions.

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Wedding CLE at the Cordelle

Experience a special wedding CLE at one of Nashville's premier wedding venues, The Cordelle. The faculty will lift the veil on a variety of nuptial-related considerations, such as what to do pre-wedding, how to handle blended families, and the ins and outs of tax planning. Brunch will be included, with all the cake, mimosas and darling wedding mints you could want. Learn more and register here.

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New Alimony Bench Book Available

The 15th Edition Alimony Bench Book is now available. TBA Family Law Section members can download the book free from the section's resource page after logging in. Others can purchase a loose-leaf printed version of this publication for $40 per book ($50 in a 3-ring binder) from the online TBA Bookstore or by contacting the TBA at (615) 383-7421. The book, which includes published and unpublished cases from Aug. 8, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2016, is compiled by the section's Alimony Committee under direction of its chair, Amy Amundsen.

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Now Available: 15th Edition Alimony Bench Book

The 15th Edition Alimony Bench Book is now available FREE in downloadable format to the members of the TBA Family Law Section. The 15th Edition Alimony Bench Book includes Published and Unpublished cases from Aug. 8, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2016. To download your FREE copy of this publication, please follow these steps:

1. Go to the TBA.org website and log in. If you have not used the website before, please use your email address as username and request a password.

2. Go the the Family Law Section web pages and access the 15th Edition Alimony Bench Bar Book

You can download the full Alimony Bench Book in PDF format or individual chapters in PDF or Microsoft Word format.

A loose-leaf printed version of this publication may also be purchased for $40 per book ($50 in a 3-ring binder) from the online TBA Bookstore or by contacting the Tennessee Bar Association at (615) 383-7421.

The TBA would like to thank Alimony Committee Chair Amy Amundsen and all of the members of this committee for their hard work and commitment to this publication. The committee's hope is that this book will assist judges in their attempts to award consistent alimony in cases across Tennessee.

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What Would You Like to See in Family Law Section Connect?

Are you interested in reading about a particular topic in the next TBA Family Law Section Connect?  Do you have an article you would like to submit?  The section is looking for contributors to submit articles, case law updates, legislative updates or recommendations for topics. If you would like to submit an article or an idea, please feel free to contact TBA Section Coordinator Christy Gibson.

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Join Us at The Cordelle for the TBA Wedding CLE

Join us on March 29 for the TBA's Wedding CLE at one of Nashville's premier wedding venues, The Cordelle, with all the cake, mimosas and darling wedding mints you could want. Sessions will touch on a variety of nuptial-related considerations, such as what to do pre-wedding, tax planning, marital assests, adoption and more. Don't forget about those "tortes" and contracts for venues, photographers and entertainment that keep the guests happy! 
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TBA Mashup and Mini Legal Hackathon this Friday

In conjunction with the Law Tech UnConference CLE this Friday, the TBA is also offering a variety of free events and programs for lawyers we’re calling a Mashup. One program will teach you about Legal Hackathons and see one in action. A Legal Hackathon is a collaborative effort of experts in the legal profession collaborating with a computer programmer to find a technology assisted solution to a problem in the legal industry. Join the TBA Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market for a mini legal hackathon that will demonstrate the power of collaborative minds at work. We will have tasty beverages and snacks to help you get your collaborative juices flowing.  
 
Other programs that will be a part of the Mashup include Pro Bono In Action which will show you various pro bono programs you can participate in to help your fellow Tennesseans and Member Benefit Programs that will provide you information on  Fastcase 7, health insurance options for small firms, ABA retirement funds and professional liability insurance.
 
Please sign up now to let us know you are coming.

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