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2013 Family Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners: Materials Only

2013 Family Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners: Materials Only

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2013 Family Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners: Materials Only

Held Thursday and Friday, December 5-6, 2013

This two-day seminar offered an insider’s perspective on the most significant recent developments in Tennessee family law. Missed it? Order your materials today!

Highlights included:

  • Practice tips from judges and attorneys across the state
  • Material change in circumstances in child custody cases
  • Tips for drafting marital dissolution agreements, parenting plans, and mediation agreements
  • Clarifying the Child Support Guidelines
  • Perpetration of paternity fraud
  • Determining whether property settlement will remain equitable in the future
  • Impact of Gonsewski on alimony awards
  • Dividing specialty retirement plans
  • Enforcement of prenuptial agreements, MDAs, and post-nuptial agreements
  • Client’s use of social media
  • Same sex relationships in light of the DOMA ruling
  • Family law case law/legislative update
  • Following ethical guidelines in adoption law
  • How to handle dishonest or abusive clients

The Family Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners packed two days with judges and leading authorities delivering critical family law practice guidance on the hottest topics and some of the most complex issues you’ll face.

  • Practical tips for arguing motions and trying cases
  • Applying the parental relocation statute
  • Imputation of income to an underemployed parent
  • Use of qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs)
  • Suits against mother for paternity fraud
  • Enforcing marital dissolution agreements
  • How alimony has changed over the years, including the impact of Gonsewski
  • How to ensure that division of marital property remains equitable in future years
  • Cautioning clients on the use of social media
  • Constitutional challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
  • Identifying conflicts of interest in adoption cases
  • Handling an ethics complaint/grievance
  • Learn from one of Tennessee’s leading authorities about recent family law developments in the appellate courts and the legislature



  • Amy J. Amundsen, Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC, Memphis
  • Chancellor James F. Butler, chancery court, 26th Judicial District (Chester, Henderson, and Madison counties)
  • Judge Robert L. Childers, circuit court, Shelby County
  • Rosemary Frank, MBA, CDFA, CFE, financial services professional, Brentwood
  • David Garrett, Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, Franklin
  • Barry Gold, McWilliams, Gold & Grant, Chattanooga
  • James D. Helton, Helton Law Office, Brentwood
  • W. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., Wilkerson Gauldin Hayes Jenkins & Dedmon, Dyersburg
  • Marlene Moses, MTR Family Law, PLLC, Nashville
  • Judge Phillip Robinson, circuit court, Davidson County
  • Kevin Shepherd, Maryville attorney
  • Greg Smith, Stites & Harbison PLLC, Nashville
  • Jacob Thorington, Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, Franklin





Your Faculty

AmundsenAmy Amundsen is a partner in the Memphis law firm of Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC. Ms. Amundsen is a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys (2010 to present) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys (2008 to present). She has been recognized as a Family Law Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 2001. She has been a Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator since 2001, and she was trained in Collaborative Law by the American Academy of Matrimonial Law. She has been chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Alimony Bench Book Committee since 2000. She was president of the Leo Bearman, Sr. American Inn of Court from 2010 to 2011. She is a past president of the Memphis Bar Association (2007-2008).


ButlerChancellor James F. Butler has served as chancellor for the 26th Judicial District (Chester, Henderson, and Madison counties) since 2003. He is a member of the Tennessee Judicial Conference. He authored many articles featured in the Tennessee Lawyers on Domestic Relations Law and Developments Practice Tips. He received the Pro Bono Award in 1993 and 2000 presented by West Tennessee Legal Services Corporation. He served in the Tennessee Army National Guard for 28 years in the Judge Advocate Generals Corp, retiring in 2001, with the rank of Colonel.



ChildersJudge Robert L. Childers has been the presiding judge of Division 9 of the Circuit Court in Memphis since 1984 and chair of the Civil Pattern Jury Instruction Committee for the Tennessee Judicial Conference since 1991. Judge Childers serves on the American Bar Association’s advisory commission created to assist lawyers and other legal professionals with addiction and other personal problems. He is a past president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and has served as a Special Judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel.



FrankRosemary Frank, MBA, CDFA, CFE, is a financial services professional with a specialty in the finances of divorce, providing litigation support, expert witness testimony, collaborative financial neutral, or financial mediation services. As one of the leading divorce financial practitioners in the country, she was the first to earn three certifications in the specialty, was instrumental in the rewrite of practice standards, procedures, protocols and ethics for practitioner members of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners, and served as a subject matter expert for the accreditation process of the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) certification. She is also a Certified Fraud Examiner as well as a Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator and maintains her practice in Brentwood.


GarrettDavid Garrett, with Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett in Franklin, focuses his practice on divorce, post divorce and custody issues and has extensive experience with appellate practice. Not only is he dedicated to his practice but he’s dedicated to the Franklin community. Besides his more than 25 years of experience as a family attorney, he is locally recognized for his avid volunteer work, having served as the chair of the Nashville Bar Association’s Family Law Committee as well as two terms as the chair of the Nashville Bar Association’s Continuing Education Committee.



GoldBarry L. Gold, a founding partner of the firm McWilliams, Gold & Grant, has been practicing law since 1983. He practices almost exclusively in the areas of family law and mediation and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on family law and related topics before a variety of professional groups. Mr. Gold has been selected for inclusion in the 2010 and 2011 Mid-South Super Lawyers, in the area of family law. Only five percent of the lawyers in Tennessee are selected as Super Lawyers. Mr. Gold chaired the 2010–2011 Tennessee Bar Association’s Family Law Section, and was the 2011-2012 chair of the Chattanooga Bar Association’s Family Law Section.


HeltonJimmy Helton has focused exclusively on QDRO drafting since 2008. He also has extensive experience in other types of specialty retirement plans, including military retirement, university retirement, government retirement, and railroad retirement plans. He has prepared hundreds of QDROs and worked with dozens of plan administrators. He has also represented clients in QDRO litigations in state court, federal court, and in front of the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

W. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., is a partner in Wilkerson Gauldin, Hayes & Dedmon in Dyersburg, where he practices in the areas of civil litigation, commercial law, family law, civil appeals, trial practice and civil rights. He handles appellate matters both within his firm and as appellate counsel for other trial attorneys. He served on the Board of Directors of West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc. from 1996 to 2000. He is a member of the Dyer County and Tennessee Bar Associations, and member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Study Committee for the adoption of Tennessee’s Rules of Professional Conduct.


MosesMarlene Moses, founding partner of MTR Family Law, PLLC, focuses her practice in the areas of family law, mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law. Ms. Moses is Board certified as a Family Law Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. She was designated as the first Family Law Specialist in the State of Tennessee. The Best Lawyers in America ® has included her in its publication as a specialist in family law, and she is named as a Mid-South Super Lawyer in its yearly publications. She is a certified fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She has been Vice President of the National Board of Legal Specialization Certification/National Board of Trial Advocacy since 2009, and she is past president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.


RobinsonJudge Phillip R. Robinson was appointed to the Davidson County circuit court, Division III, in March 2012 to replace Judge Barbara Haynes, who retired. He was elected to the position in August 2012. Before taking the bench, Judge Robinson practiced almost exclusively in the area of divorce and family law for 34 years. He served as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Domestic Relations Committee of the Nashville Bar Association and is a member of both the Nashville and Tennessee Bar Associations. He helped draft changes in domestic legislation and has testified before various legislative committees on new domestic legislation. He is a frequent speaker at seminars dealing with divorce and family law.


ShepherdKevin Shepherd has more than 20 years of experience and is currently in solo practice with an office located in Maryville. He practices in the areas of family law and divorce, personal injury, criminal defense, appellate practice, and general practice. He is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 family law mediator.



SmithGreg Smith, a member of the Family Law Service Group of Stites & Harbison PLLC, focuses his practice primarily on divorce, custody litigation, support disputes and neglect cases. He has helped clients find and recover children abducted by former spouses and obtained help for children with disabilities. He has experience in international custody litigation in both state and federal courts. His appeals include a Tennessee Supreme Court case that set the standard for subject matter jurisdiction in child support cases. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America ® since 2008 in Family Law. He has been named to the "Best of the Bar" by the Nashville Business Journal and has chaired the Juvenile Court Committee and the Circuit and Chancery Court Committee of the Nashville Bar Association. He served on the board of directors of the Nashville Bar Association from 2002-04.


ThoringtonJacob Thorington, an attorney with Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett in Franklin, is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the Williamson County Bar Association, and the American Inn’s of Court for Williamson County. He enjoys staying involved in the community, participating and serving as chairman of the Staff Parish Relations Committee at McKendree United Methodist Church and playing an active role as a member of the Heritage Foundation in Franklin. A natural leader, he is an experienced litigator recognized for his extensive, innovative and thorough trial preparation, always being there for his clients, ready to help them resolve their family issues.


2013 Family Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners: Materials Only

Held Thursday and Friday, December 5-6, 2013

Day 1 (Held on December 5):

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Dividing Specialty Retirement Plans: A Primer for Tennessee Attorneys
James D. Helton, Helton Law Office

  • QDROs
  • Federal retirement
  • Thrift saving plans
  • Military retirement
  • State of Tennessee retirement

9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Tips for Your Client to Ensure That Use of Social Media Does Not Affect Divorce Settlement
David Garrett and Jacob Thorington, Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett

  • Think twice before you post
  • Don’t advertise your location
  • Keep you passwords to yourself and change them if necessary
  • Choose your “friends” wisely

10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: Morning Break

10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Case Law and Legislative Update
Greg Smith, Stites & Harbison PLLC

Get up-to-date on the most recent decisions in the family law area from Tennessee’s appellate courts on child support, child custody, visitation, alimony, and more. As the speaker says, “Most of the important cases and all of the fun ones,” including every case in which the divorce lasted longer than the marriage. Also, get the latest on the new laws enacted during the 2013 legislative session.

12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Lunch (on your own)

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tips from a Trial Judge
Chancellor James F. Butler, Chancery Court, 26th Judicial District (Chester, Henderson, and Madison counties)

Chancellor Butler will give useful tips for attorneys—those who have only been practicing for a few years as well as seasoned attorneys—to use in presenting motions or trying divorce cases. For example, what does an attorney need to show when seeking to withdraw from a case?

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Following Ethical Guidelines in Adoption Law
W. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., Wilkerson Gauldin Hayes Jenkins & Dedmon

  • Identifying conflicts of interest
  • Confidentiality in adoption cases
  • Guidelines for setting fair attorney fees
  • Observing the Rules of Professional Conduct

3:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.: Afternoon Break

3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Enforcement of Prenuptial Agreements, MDAs, and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Judge Phillip Robinson, Circuit Court, Davidson County

Judge Robinson will discuss problems he sees with the enforcement of prenuptial agreements, marital dissolution agreements, and post-nuptial agreements. What actions can attorneys take to ensure the enforceability of these agreements and to eliminate the need to return to court to iron out differences or seek enforcement?


Day 2 (Held on December 6):

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Dollars of Divorce: Avoid Financial Pitfalls in Divorce Cases
Rosemary Frank, MBA, CDF, CFE, Financial Services Professional

  • What is at stake financially for your divorcing clients
  • How to know if a seemingly equitable settlement will remain equitable years from now
  • Insight into the divorce financial analytical process
  • Case study, with illustrations

9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.: Morning Break

9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Change of Custody Issues
Barry L. Gold, McWilliams, Gold & Grant

  • Relocation
  • What constitutes a material change in circumstances?
  • Whether a change of custody is in the best interest of the child(ren)

10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Ethics in Family Law
Amy J. Amundsen, Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, PLLC

  • Attorney/client relationship
  • Researching and preventing conflicts of interest
  • Communication with adverse party
  • When your client is dishonest or abusive
  • Attorney fees
  • Handling an ethics complaint/grievance

11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.: Lunch (on your own)

1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Today’s Alimony
Amy J. Amundsen, Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, PLLC

  • Are the courts more likely to award no alimony?
  • Do the courts expect the “stay-at-home” parent to re-enter the workforce?
  • Have the courts embraced transitional alimony?
  • What has been the impact of Gonsewski v. Gonsewski?

1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Child Support Guidelines
Judge Robert L. Childers, Circuit Court, Shelby County

  • Is a parent underemployed?
  • Should income be imputed to an unemployed parent?
  • Who pays for private school or extracurricular activities?
  • Who pays for medical expenses or provides insurance?
  • When will a child support award be modified?

2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Afternoon Break

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Paternity and Other Disputes
Kevin W. Shepherd, Maryville attorney

  • Paternity fraud
  • Paternity rights
  • Emancipation of minors
  • Grandparent rights

4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Same Sex Relationships in Light of the Newest Supreme Court Decisions
Marlene Eskind Moses, MTR Family Law, PLLC

In United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined the term “marriage” under federal law as a “legal union between one man and one woman.” The court held that states have the authority to define marital relationships and that DOMA goes against legislative and historical precedent by undermining that authority. Ms. Moses will explain the impact of this and other court decisions.

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