Shawna M. Woods joined Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC as an Of Counsel Attorney in 2018, adding more than a decade of family law experience to our team. Prior to coming to Kitchens New Cleghorn, Shawna was Partner at a law firm in Forsyth County specializing exclusively in family law. She also had successful solo family law practice in Fulton County and had worked several years with the Special Assistant to the Attorney General for Child Support Enforcement. Shawna received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of New Mexico, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico, School of Law. While at UNM, Shawna was a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorney Moot Court Team and interned for the United States Attorneys’ Office. Shawna is an active member of the Georgia State Bar, the Atlanta Bar Association Family Division, the North Fulton Bar Association; National Association of Professional Women and The Forsyth County Bar Association. Shawna is an experienced and aggressive advocate for her clients.
The FCC is designing several auctions right now that could be of interest to any telecommunications provider. While dates for these auctions have not been set, there is significant activity at the FCC regarding these matters right now.
The attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn can help you understand these opportunities. They can guide you through the auction process. And they can assist you in matters such as corporate formation, partnership arrangements, or acquisition of or access to spectrum or fixed facilities.
In Auction 903, the FCC will award on-going high-cost universal service support through competitive bidding in a multiple round, reverse auction. Telecommunications providers who are willing to deploy high-speed broadband and voice services to fixed locations in unserved communities using either wire facilities or radiofrequency spectrum are eligible for this auction.
Of course, there are still many details being worked out by the FCC at this time concerning this auction. For example, the FCC is considering application requirements, reserve prices, bidding procedures, and many other items. Reply comments can be filed by interested parties in October. Thereafter, the FCC will digest these comments and then issue the necessary orders to establish the auction and set dates for filing applications. There will be a lot to do during this period, so getting a head start makes sense. You can start now with the help of Kitchens New Cleghorn attorneys.
The second upcoming auction will involve spectrum above 24 GHZ. This is also referred to as millimeter wavelength spectrum. Historically, this spectrum was not attractive because of the degradation in technical performance over relatively short distances. However, people now think that, with smaller cell sites contemplated for 5G wireless and the Internet of Things (IoT), these characteristics are actually assets rather than liabilities.
The FCC is currently establishing necessary rules for the new wireless service and for clearing some of that spectrum or establishing safeguards for protecting existing licensees or for permitting licensees to share portions of some of these spectrum bands. In July of last year, the FCC issued a lengthy and detailed Report and Order (R&O) and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM).
In the R&O it established a new service: Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service or UMFUS. It designated the service as either fixed or mobile, and assigned portions of the 28, 37, and 39 GHZ bands to that service. It also established the necessary rules for an auction and set eligibility, license term, license areas, and technical rules for UMFUS. All of this was required to conform to international radiofrequency regulatory rules, among other reasons.
In the FNPRM the FCC is currently proposing to add portions of the 24, 32, 42, 47 and 50 GHZ bands (and maybe the 70/80 and 95 GHZ bands) to the new UMFS. (There also were petitions for reconsideration of portions of the R&O, and these are also active and will likely be resolved in conjunctions with the FCC’s actions on the FNPRM.)
A third auction will involve the 3.5 GHZ Band (3550-3700 MHZ). At its October 24, 2017, Open Meeting the FCC will consider a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in GN Docket No. 17-258 to take steps necessary to make the spectrum available, to set the license areas, to set the license term, etc. A draft of the NPRM was released October 3, 2017. Assuming the FCC adopts the NPRM, Comments will be due 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register (and Rely Comments will be due 60 days after that publication).
Finally, like many other nations, the FCC is beginning to focus on spectrum between 3.7 and 24GHZ. In a draft Notice of Inquiry (NoI) released August 3, 2017 (GN Docket No. 17-183), the FCC sought detailed comments on three specific bands: 3.7-4.2 GHZ; 5.925-6.425 GHZ; and, 6.425-7.125 GHZ (although at also seeks comments on any of the spectrum between 3.7 and 24 GHZ). Comments were filed October 2, 2017. Reply comments are due November 1, 2017. This proceeding is in the very early stages, but it has already received the attention of significant entities, so interest is high.
The attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn have the experience to help you understand these matters and to help you participate in these auctions if they are right for you. Just call us at 678-244-2880. We can provide you with some preliminary information to help you determine if and how you might like to proceed.
If you’re interested in having your Georgia driver’s license or state ID changed to better reflect how you identify, the state allows you to modify both your name (Official Georgia Code Section § 19-12-1 through § 19-12-4) and sex designation (Official Georgia Code § 31-10-23(e)). While it’s not as simple as walking into a Department of Driver Services office and making a few changes, Georgia law makes it fairly easy for folks to make sure their identity is accurately reflected in state documents.
To change a name on a driver’s license, you will first need to file a petition for a legal name change in the Superior Court of the county where you live. This is typically about a two-month process that requires you to file a petition and affidavit stating that you are not seeking to change you name in an attempt to defraud others, then publishing a legal notice of your name change in the county legal organ (usually a newspaper). Once the notice has run for four weeks and the judge signs an order granting the name change, you will simply need to take a certified copy of the judge’s order to the DDS office to have your license updated.
A separate legal action is required to amend one’s sex designation, but again Georgia law makes the process relatively simple. You will need to file a petition to amend your birth certificate in the Superior Court for the county in which you live, but you are required to include a certified letter from your doctor attesting that you have undergone irreversible sex reassignment surgery (SRS).
With this petition and letter from a physician, a judge can sign an order amending the sex designation on your birth certificate as early as a month after you file the petition, although it may take a little longer depending on the county in which you reside. A certified copy of the judge’s order amending your birth certificate can be used at the Office of Vital Records, Department of Driver Services facilities, and any other government agency where your sex designation needs to be updated.
- Transgender applicants do NOT have to have undergone any type of surgery or treatment to apply for a name change.
- A name change and a sex designation change are two separate actions, and require separate court petitions to be filed.
Despite its (rightly earned) conservative reputation, Georgia has a surprisingly liberal policy for changing sex designation on birth certificates and other vital records. According to section § 31-10-23(e) of the Official Georgia Code, a person’s sex designation can be amended on his or her birth certificate, “Upon receipt of a certified copy of a court order indicating the sex of an individual born in this state has been changed by surgical procedure.” The person applying for the name change in Georgia is required to submit a certified letter from their doctor or physician stating that the individual has undergone irreversible sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). If you have not undergone SRS, you are not eligible to change the sex category on your birth certificate.
However, applicants who have undergone SRS simply need to file a petition to amend your birth certificate with the Superior Court in their home county. The petition must include a Verification from the applicant swearing that all of the information in the petition is accurate, along with the aforementioned letter from a physician attesting to SRS.
Once the petition is filed, the judge may issue a Final Order granting the change in sex designation without the applicant having to appear in court. Some judges in Georgia, particularly those in more conservative counties of the state, might require an applicant to appear in court, which may add to the stress and cost of this process, but shouldn’t interfere with the end result.
Once a Final Order has been issued approving the change of one’s sex designation, you will need to take a certified copy of the Final Order, along with your driver’s license, to the Georgia Office of Vital Records, which will officially change the sex designation on your birth certificate.
NOTE: To amend the sex designation of a birth certificate in Georgia, the applicant must have been born in this state. Also note, a name change and a sex designation change are two separate actions, and require two separate court petitions to be filed.
When a lesbian couple had a child through artificial insemination, the non-birth mother adopted the child in Georgia. The couple then moved to Alabama and later split. The birth mother wanted to end the parental rights of the adoptive mother by saying that Alabama didn’t have to recognize the Georgia adoption. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed with her and refused to recognize the Georgia adoption saying that Georgia should have never allowed an adoption by a same-sex couple.
In an unprecedented ruling, the United States Supreme Court, on March 7, 2016, summarily reversed the Alabama Supreme Court decision. One of the attorneys for the adoptive parent, Cathy Sakimura, wrote, “It was unanimous, with no dissenting opinion from any justice… sending the strongest possible message rejecting the Alabama Supreme Court’s attempt to unsettle the stability of adoptions by LGBT parents.”
The Alabama ruling is unique in that it was the first time in the history of our nation that a state failed to recognize the adoption of a child that was done in another state. Knowing that allowing that type of decision to stand risked creating disharmony (and even chaos) in our legal system, the United States Supreme Court had to step in and reverse the decision. Otherwise other lower courts might similarly completely disregard the parental rights of adoptive LGBT parents.
In its ruling, the US Supreme Court summed it up this way: “A State may not disregard the judgment of a sister State because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits.” In other words, just because you don’t like it doesn’t give you the right to say that it doesn’t exist.
This unanimous decision sends a crystal-clear message that same sex parents are entitled to equal protection under the law.
Do Your Homework!
When people in our area have a legal need, they usually start by asking who the best Atlanta lawyers are. After all, nobody wants someone who isn’t at the top of their game. We’ve all heard horror stories about incompetent lawyers and the damage they can do. Since clients are usually asked to pay for the work up front, it’s wise to find out ahead of time who the best Atlanta lawyers really are.
Look For These Qualities:
- A Good Reputation – The proof is in the pudding. Do your research and see if they have any complaints filed against them or are under review by the Bar association.
- Experience – Nothing can take the place of having years of experience under your belt. Not only does it equip the lawyer to know how to handle different cases, but knowing other lawyers and judges can help in having a positive outcome.
- Continuing Education – It’s no small feat to have a law degree. But just as important is for a lawyer to stay updated on changes in the law. Make sure your lawyer participates in continuing education through classes, seminars and special training.
- Volunteerism – Why is this important? Because the best Atlanta lawyers are going to care about the community that they live in. They will spend their talents helping clients as well as their community. They will also understand that they have valuable skills that they can share to improve the lives of those around them and be generous with those skills.
Here in our Atlanta law firm our reputation speaks for itself. Our lawyers have decades of combined experience. We value continuing education and all of our lawyers serve in the community in a variety of ways. When you want the best in Atlanta, call Kitchens New Cleghorn.
Finding An Adoption Attorney In Atlanta – One only needs to type in the phrase adoption attorneys near me to see a list of law firms pop up. They may or may not have experienced lawyers ready to help guide a client in the adoption process. The most important thing that a person or couple can do when searching for an adoption attorney is to check their level of experience to ensure that the process goes flawlessly.
The six types of adoption in Georgia are:
- Public or private agency adoptions – this is where the State of Georgia or a licensed private agency places the child with the adoptive parents.
- Adoptions by third parties – this is done by someone who is not a stepparent or a relative adopts the child. These adoptions do not involve an agency. This is typically where foster parents or other caregivers adopt the child.
- Stepparent adoptions – this is when a stepparent steps in when a biological parent has forfeited their rights to the child and then adopts the child.
- Adoptions by relatives – this is when a relative from this child’s extended family (grandparent, aunt, uncle, or a sibling of the child adopts the child. The child may be related to the person adopting the child either by blood or by marriage.
- Adoptions by foreign decree – this is when the child has already been adopted in another country. The child must have a valid visa.
- Adult adoptions – this is rare but still happens and takes place when the person to be adopted is already a legal adult (over 18).
The next time you start to type adoption attorneys near me, be sure that you remember that a successful adoption begins with choosing the right lawyer. The attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn are ready to help you add to your family.
Clients at our Atlanta divorce practice often ask for ways that they can keep their divorce bill to a minimum. We do have set fees but there are several things that clients can do to keep their costs down. Our paralegal, Ryan Lee, came up with a list of the top 4 ways that clients often run up their divorce bill and shares tips for how they can prevent that from happening.
- They allow their emotions to cause them to lose sight of the big picture: getting divorced and moving forward. They may end up paying a lawyer $2,000 to fight over a $200 painting. It’s not worth it.
TIP: Ask yourself if you’re arguing over something really important to you or are you just frustrated with your soon-to-be ex and just don’t want to let them “win.” Adjust accordingly.
- They are unorganized. This comes to light when they submit documents or financial information. If they simply hand us documents with no sorting or organization, then they will be paying us to organize for them, which is much more expensive than if they did it themselves.
TIP: Be sure that all of the documents you turn over to your lawyer are sorted and organized.
- They call their lawyer over minor issues, or simply to vent. They forget that they are billed any time they speak to their attorneys or staff, and so some issues they can probably work through on their own without incurring fees.
TIP: You should determine whether it’s something worth involving an attorney, or whether they simply have hurt feelings.
- They are unresponsive. Sometimes, clients will avoid attorney calls or e-mails in the belief that if they do not respond, they will not incur fees. However, if an attorney or paralegal calls requesting information, it might be something that can be resolved in two minutes, costing the client only a few dollars. However, if the law firm has to call the client Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. about the same issue, then the client is being charged for each of those attempts to reach him/her and their divorce bill goes up.
TIP: Return all calls from your lawyer as soon as possible so they don’t need to call you again.
Try to stay focused on getting the divorce over with and moving forward so you’re not paying for emotional decisions. You can also rely on your friends and family for emotional support so you aren’t being billed to vent to your attorney. In addition, try to be as organized and responsive as possible. Work with your lawyer to make things go smoothly and remember that your new life is just ahead.
It is a well-documented phenomenon that January is divorce month, seeing an estimated one-third jump in filings when compared to other months in the year. There are many reasons why people decide to seek the advice of an attorney and, ultimately, file for a divorce, in the month of January. In our Atlanta law practice, we notice that our clients have some similarities in why they want to file in January – “divorce month.”
- Couples who have been thinking about a divorce toward the end of the year tend to wait until the holidays are over before they start what can sometimes be a stressful process. This is especially common with our clients who have children. They want their children to have “one last holiday as a family” before they decide to pull the plug. This makes January an ideal time to file for a divorce.
- People tend to view the New Year as a time to start with a clean slate. As a new year rolls in and resolutions are made, people are more likely to take actual steps (such as making an appointment to consult with a lawyer) in order to bring about the changes that they feel need to be made in their life.
- Holidays can bring about conflict in some marriages. Sometimes, there is a greater amount of stress around the holidays due to travel, family gathering conflicts and the additional financial strain that the gift-giving season can add to already difficult budgets. These events can be the catalyst necessary to end the marriage for already disgruntled partners.
- Spending more time with family and friends around the holidays can reveal much-needed support. When people are reminded that they have people in their lives to be a part of their support network, they feel safer making big changes like a divorce. They may also have the time to speak with their support network during holiday visits to let family and friends know of the upcoming divorce plans.
This month, our law office is experiencing a surge of divorce cases. If you are considering a divorce, or are even just wondering the ways that a divorce might impact you, it is important that you speak with one of our attorneys so you will be prepared for possible eventualities. 2016 can be your best year ever.
In past years, the prenuptial agreement carried a stigma with it that made some people believe that the couple wasn’t really committed to staying together. After all, the agreement was to protect assets in the event of a divorce. Today, however, the prenuptial agreement has proven its value and savvy couples are using them to establish expectations before there is ever a conflict. After all, most people wear their seatbelts not because they expect to crash their car that day, but because they’ve learned that accidents (even ones that aren’t their fault) can and do happen.
At Kitchens New Cleghorn, we advise our clients to consider a prenuptial agreement before they get married. There are many reasons to do so, depending upon your assets and unique situation. We would like to offer 3 reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement before you say “I do.”
- As part of the process of creating an agreement, you get a picture of your partner’s financial responsibility (or lack thereof). Credit scores, assets, liabilities, debts, insurance policies, property deeds, loans, etc. – they all need to be shared and discussed. A partner who is reluctant to disclose this basic information about their financial picture may be hiding information for a reason. It’s better to know before the wedding than after, when it might be your problem to solve.
- A prenuptial agreement can prevent expensive negotiations between lawyers during a future divorce. Things such as asset and debt division, as well as spousal support, can be discussed and agreed upon before the marriage. This can be especially beneficial if one of the partners earns considerably more than the other.
- A prenuptial agreement can also establish the terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of a divorce on the grounds of adultery or cruelty. This can offer peace of mind for the couple that behavioral standards are in place.
When considering marriage, there are some things you should know that could have a legal impact on you in the future. For more information about prenuptial agreements and other similar pre-wedding help, Kitchens New Cleghorn has prepared this informational video for you. When you are ready to start preparing for a more secure future, call us to schedule your consultation.