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Which Experts Can Help You During Your Divorce?

Posted on: September 15th, 2015

17737-business-man-hand-pvOur divorce attorneys are accomplished at what we do. In addition to being compassionate listeners who help our clients navigate the sometimes confusing waters of divorce, we also associate with other professionals who can help during a divorce. We have identified some of the most important experts:

  1. A financial expert or forensic accountant can assist in identifying and defining marital assets, and whether there may be separate, non-marital (pre-marital) assets. They can also help to find “hidden” assets that one spouse may have not known about as well as offer specific advice. Sometimes in marriages where spousal roles are “traditional” – with one spouse working full time and the other being the homemaker – the homemaker spouse often is not as familiar with financial matters or marital assets. A financial expert is often able to assist.
  2. A private investigator can sometimes be helpful in finding out specifics about your spouse’s conduct and misconduct. This could include infidelity, drug use, or other behaviors that would have a bearing on the divorce case, especially when children are involved.
  3. A therapist is or mental health counselor can be very beneficial for the person going through the divorce, and possibly even for the children. They can help with attachment/detachment issues, self-worth, making positive choices and dealing with grief.

If you are going through a divorce or plan to, you should start with an expert divorce attorney, such as the lawyers at Kitchens New Cleghorn. You should also consider what other professionals you should recruit to your team based on your anticipated needs. Ask for recommendations and hire the professional that you feel would do the best job for you. Divorce can be difficult so having a team of professionals is a great way to insure that you have all of the support you need until you move into the next chapter of your life.

Prenuptial Agreements and Their Importance

Posted on: July 31st, 2015

Prenuptial Agreements

We often have couples who come in to consult with us about prenuptial agreements. Although it doesn’t seem like a very romantic thing to do before a couple decides to marry, we think it saves time, money and heartache on down the road if the marriage doesn’t work out. It’s not a sign that the marriage isn’t going to be strong, it’s a sign that the couple are thinking ahead and trying to resolve potential conflict before conflict ever happens. After all, about half of all marriages end in divorce.

A simple prenuptial agreement is a document that a couple can use to establish property and financial rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce. This can be particularly important when one or both parties have accumulated property or money on their own and would like to keep the things that they have earned or inherited in the event of a divorce down the road.

In some case, couples also agree to certain penalties if one of them is unfaithful in the marriage. Because infidelity can lead to divorce, this type of clause in a prenuptial agreement is not uncommon. Actress Sandra Bullock had a prenuptial agreement with her fiancé, Jessie James, which stated that if James cheated on her, he would no longer be entitled to any of her assets. The couple divorced in 2010 after James admitted to an affair with tattoo model Michelle “Bombshell” McGee.

In Georgia, prenuptial agreements are valid and upheld by the courts. They serve as a protective barrier from one person taking from the other what they did not have a hand in helping to produce, thus minimizing legal expenses during a divorce.

When you are getting ready to plan your future with that person you want to grow old with, think about the wonderful life you will have ahead of you as well as any potential pitfalls. Then, consider making an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys to discuss how you can show your love for each other by protecting each other’s assets.

Meet Our Newest Of-Counsel Attorney, Stephen Scriber | Atlanta Attorneys

Posted on: July 25th, 2015

Atlanta Adoption Law FirmOur law firm has specialized in family law, business law, divorce, adoption, and LGBT legal protections by some of the most skilled Atlanta attorneys. In our quest to offer more services to our clients, we are happy to announce a new of-counsel attorney, Stephen Scriber. Stephen specializes in Estate Planning (wills, trusts, tax planning) as well as Probate Litigation.

We sat down with Stephen and had a “Getting to Know You” session so we could help acquaint you with him and his work.

Stephen, where are you from?

I grew up in a military family (Army) and moved around a lot. I was born in Texas and eventually moved to Maryland, Virginia, Texas (a second time), and Alaska before my dad retired. I went to high school in Cobb County and consider the Atlanta-area to be my home.

Tell us a bit about your family/friends.

I am married. My husband’s name is Lance. We live in Atlanta (Edgewood/Candler Park area) with two dogs and three cats. My parents live near Greenville, SC with their dog. I also have an older brother who lives in Oklahoma City. He’s a Linux Administrator for a for a DoD-affiliated web hosting company.

What are your hobbies and interests?

Running, brewing beer, marathon Netflix watching (particularly House of Cards, it is amazing!), building and upgrading computers and playing with the newest gadgets.

What is your education?

I graduated from Campbell High School in 2002, Amherst College in 2006 with a BA in Political Science and History, then from University of Mississippi in 2008 with a Master of Arts, Curriculum and Instruction. Finally, I graduated from Duke University School of Law in 2011, Juris Doctor.

What type of work have you done in the past?

Before law school, I was a high school teacher in Jackson, Mississippi and Byhalia, Mississippi as a member of the Mississippi Teacher CorpsIt was an amazing, stressful experience that really makes me appreciate all teachers and the fantastic work they do on a daily basis.

What clubs or organizations do you belong to?

I’m a board member and the Treasurer of the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, I serve on the Lambda Legal Atlanta Steering Committee, and am a member of the Metro Atlanta Association of Professionals and the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

What is your legal specialty?

In broad terms, I specialize in estate planning and estate litigation. More specifically, anything related to Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning, Probate, Administration, Year’s Support, Will Contests, Trust and Estate litigation, and Asset Protection.

What are you looking most forward to in working at KNC?

I look forward to collaborating and working with an excellent team of attorneys. I am continuously impressed by their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the community. They are some fantastic Atlanta attorneys.

If you would like to know more about Stephen, you can visit his website here:



Gay Divorce in Atlanta

Posted on: July 10th, 2015

Contemplating divorce

We got a call from a client asking for a gay divorce in Atlanta. Then another call came in. Then one came in from a client who had 2 other Atlanta area law firms hang up on them when they asked about getting a gay divorce. We knew this would be coming because gay marriage has been legal in many other states for some time now.

Our Atlanta law firm has begun processing a number of gay divorces since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality last month. Calls came from gay and lesbian couples who had traveled to other states (and sometimes countries) to get legally married where it was legal. As sometimes happens in marriage, people find out that they were not compatible after all and want to divorce. These particular couples were stuck in “marriage purgatory” where they were legally married but not able to obtain a legal divorce in Georgia until the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed it.

Over the past week, we have initiated divorces for several Atlanta area gay and lesbian couples. We remain focused on our clients during what can be a very emotional and stressful time. Our job as their lawyers is to protect their rights and guide them through the process in a confident and knowledgeable way. Whether it is a gay divorce or a straight one, the attorneys at Kitchens New Cleghorn are ready to represent you.

Legal Gay Marriage in Atlanta is Here

Posted on: June 30th, 2015

As of June 26, legal gay marriage in Atlanta is here to stay. Our law firm, who has an almost 15 year track record of supporting the rights of LGBT Georgians, is thrilled. In the past, our lawyers advocated for protections of our gay and lesbian clients in creative ways, given that same-sex Georgia couples were not able to access the same legal privileges that heterosexual married couples were automatically granted. Now that marriage equality is the law of the land and, and the law in Georgia, same-sex couples now have access to the legal protections as have long existed for different sex couples.

Atlanta Lesbian DivorcePrenuptial Agreements may offer some peace of mind. Prenuptial legal counseling is just one of the services that we encourage all couples to seek in advance of their wedding. One of our attorneys will meet with you to assess the types of protections available, and work with you to craft a Prenuptial Agreement that best suits your individual needs. We will prepare a plan to help you protect yourself and your assets before you say your vows.

Gay or straight, marriage involves significant legal rights and responsibilities. Before you prepare for the ceremony, prepare for the life after marriage. Call one of our attorneys to schedule a consultation to ensure that you are armed with all of the important legal knowledge you need to know before linking your life to someone else. Then, walk happily down the aisle with your beloved.

We’ve Always Been an Atlanta LGBT Law Firm

Posted on: June 19th, 2015

Cover PhotoKitchens New Cleghorn, LLC has always been an Atlanta LGBT law firm. That is, we’ve been serving the individual and business legal needs of Atlanta’s LGBT community since 2001. Our lawyers have represented LGBT people and their families inside and outside of courtroom across the State of Georgia, on legal issues as diverse as our clients. Specifically, we have assisted same-sex couples in putting their relationships together, via adoption, domestic partnership agreements, powers of attorney, advance health care directives, and Last Will and Testaments. We have also represented gay and lesbian people in taking their relationships apart, via domestic partnership dissolutions, property division issues, and child custody and support issues.

In recent months, our family law attorneys have assisted many same-sex couples in preparing pre-nuptial agreements, in advance of their traveling to a pro-marriage State to be married. Sadly, we are also now representing some LGBT individuals in their divorce actions, working within the legal system to do what is possible as we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, expected any day now.

Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC has represented, pro bono, LGBT clients on behalf of Lambda Legal and Immigration Equality. Specifically, we successfully represented a lesbian mother in retaining her parental rights to her child, and we represented a gay man seeking asylum by fleeing his home in a dangerous, “kill the gays” African country.

Our lawyers have served on Boards of Directors at various LGBT advocacy groups, including Georgia Equality. We also currently serve as pro bono legal counsel for Atlanta PRIDE and the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

One of our partners, Jeff Cleghorn, received HRC’s Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award for his work in helping the LGBT community through his volunteerism in the Servicemember’s Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and for helping to pass the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Our LGBT clients have turning to Kitchens New Cleghorn, LLC for almost 15 years to help them secure protections for themselves and their families or their businesses.. We have always been here for the LGBT community and we always will be.

Gay Marriage Purgatory | Atlanta Gay Divorce

Posted on: June 12th, 2015

Atlanta Gay DivorceOur Atlanta firm handles a lot of legal issues for our clients, including divorce. What we are now gearing up for (with the pending U.S. Supreme Court decision about marriage equality) is Atlanta gay divorce. Our office has been receiving a lot of calls from couples living in what we call “gay marriage purgatory”. In fact, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution recently interviewed one of our partners, Jeff Cleghorn, about this topic.

Gay and lesbian couples from Georgia traveled to other states (where same-sex marriage is legal) and were married there. As sometimes happens with marriage, couples decide to part ways and want to divorce. The problem is, Georgia doesn’t recognize their marriages as legal and, therefore, will not grant them divorces.

All states have residency requirements as a condition of using their divorce courts. In other words, the general rule is that a person may get divorced only in the state where they live. For married same-sex couples whose states do not allow them access to their divorce courts (states such as Georgia), it can be frustrating because most people cannot afford to move to a different state simply to be able to get divorced. As a result, married same-sex couples in Georgia are trapped in limbo and have only very expensive (and inconvenient) options for relief.

Our Atlanta law firm has provided personal and business legal services to the gay and lesbian community for over 13 years. We eagerly await a landmark ruling that will soon allow our Atlanta law firm to begin to serve these couples in standard divorces through established channels. If you or someone you know feel trapped in “gay marriage purgatory”, please call our offices to speak with an attorney to better understand your legal options.

Meet Our Legal Assistant, Wanda Melton | Atlanta Divorce Law Firm

Posted on: June 8th, 2015

Atlanta Gay Divorce AttorneyOur Atlanta divorce law firm hires only the most talented and competent individuals. We often get compliments on our attorneys and their superior legal work, but we also get compliments on our amazing support staff. Wanda Melton, our legal assistant, is someone that our clients absolutely LOVE. She is professional, personable and she does an amazing job at supporting our team. We thought it was time that those of you who don’t know her get a chance to meet her.

Wanda, how long have you been at KNC?

Wanda: I’ve been here for 4 years and a week!

Tell us a bit about your family.

I’m the proud “Grammy” of two little girls – ages 2 and 9. They are so much sweeter than their mothers – my daughters!!

Where are you from?

I’m a North Carolina native and still have older family there – East of Raleigh. My parents brought me to GA in 1967 (I was a mere babe.)

Where did you get your education?

I have a degree in Education from Brenau University and a Paralegal Certificate from Clayton State University.

What type of work have you done in the past?

I’ve been an administrative/executive assistant for most of my career. I “retired” as an AT&T employee in 2007. I was officially an AT&T employee for 6 weeks after the AT&T /Bellsouth merger. I was at Bellsouth for a little over 18 years. While there, I worked in Treasury, Accounting, Mergers & Acquisitions and Legal departments.

In the interval between BellSouth and KNC, I worked at Emory University and GulfStream Aerospace in Savannah.

What is the best part about working at KNC?

I really enjoy the interaction with our clients – something I never did at BLS. Also, it’s good to know that we (the team) are really helping folks with difficult problems that greatly impact their lives.

What do you like most about the KNC clients?

I enjoy being able to contribute to the resolution of serious problems. Folks are genuinely grateful for the assistance. That’s a very gratifying thing to experience on a daily basis.

What do you like most about the KNC staff?
I have the utmost respect for the intelligence and capabilities of the attorneys. It’s a pleasure to work with such exemplary people.

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Divorcing? What You Should Know About a Standing Order

Posted on: June 3rd, 2015

gavel-568417_640When we are advising in divorce cases, our Atlanta law firm goes out of our way to make sure that our clients know some of the very basics of divorce. One important issue that comes up in Georgia divorce is something called a “standing order”.

This order, also known as a “mutual restraining order”, automatically goes into effect upon filing for a divorce. It is designed to “restrain” one party from disadvantaging the other by suddenly accumulating “marital” debt (by buying cars, jewelry, etc.), selling off marital assets, or hiding assets from the court.

The courts understand that sometimes doing something out of the ordinary with finances is necessary so it allows for an exception when the other party gives consent. Otherwise, parties should not change (increase) spending habits, remove assets from the home or jurisdiction of the court or to sell marital property without the consent of your spouse.

As a side note to hiding assets, this article by Forbes details the most common ways that spouses hide assets from each other and it’s not what you might think. Undervaluing property, overstating marital debt and fudging actual income and expenses are all ways that someone can cheat their soon to be ex. The best advice is for you to retain legal counsel to assist you in ensuring that all marital assets and liabilities are properly documented.

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6 Things You Should Look For When Choosing A Divorce Attorney

Posted on: May 19th, 2015

Woman Looking Into SunsetBy: Shannon Hames

When I was going through a divorce a few years ago and looking for a divorce attorney, I had no idea what to look for when it came time to choose one. My main concern was my ability to afford the retainer. I chose my lawyer based on his low retainer and I have spent the rest of my time regretting that decision. I now advocate for people (especially women) to do their research and look for these 6 things in a lawyer before hiring one:

  1. EXPERIENCE – What kind of experience does the lawyer have? How much time has he spent before a judge in a courtroom? If not much, he may steer you to settle to avoid arguing in front of a judge. If he lacks in negotiation skills or can’t use knowledge of the law to your advantage, you may end up giving up more than you can afford to lose. Education is not the same thing as experience.
  2. WISDOM – As we progress in life and have experiences, we gain wisdom. We start to pick up on subtleties and that helps us avoid the pitfalls. A wise attorney can use their experience to help steer you away from those pitfalls. Wisdom is a difficult thing to gauge, but look for it nonetheless.
  3. COMPASSION – It’s not always about the money. There are few things worse than a heartless lawyer who lacks compassion. I know because I hired one based on his cheap retainer. After he forgot about my case until the night before, showed up unprepared and made me call friends from the courthouse to testify for me (causing me to lose all of the important things), he then asked the judge to have my ex pay him an additional sum and never returned a call to finish my case.  How do you know if a lawyer has compassion? Find out if he volunteers his time? Does he take indigent cases? Does he have a good online reputation? He may be a member of a legal or social club, but a lawyer with a good heart will be using his legal talents for business as well as for helping those who cannot help themselves.
  4. TOUGHNESS – This is important. There are some lawyers out there who are “bulldogs” and can be very tough. They have a way of intimidating other lawyers and scaring them into settling an issue that could have a different outcome with a tougher lawyer who can give it right back. Find one who knows how to stand strong for you.
  5. KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW – This cannot be overstated enough. A lawyer who knows the law and keeps up with the changes and understands the importance of continuing education can easily outsmart a lawyer who doesn’t put in the same effort.
  6. KNOWLEDGE OF THE LOCAL COURT / JUDGE – When a lawyer spends time in the courtroom arguing his cases, he gets to know the style and temperament of other lawyers and judges. If you hire a lawyer who doesn’t know your county court or judge, you could be doing yourself a huge disservice.