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2015 Family Law Conference for Alabama Practitioners: Materials Only

2015 Family Law Conference for Alabama Practitioners: Materials Only

Product Code: T15FALM

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2015 Family Law Conference for Alabama Practitioners: Materials Only

Held in Birmingham: Friday, May 8, 2015

This conference featured Jefferson County Circuit Judge Patricia Stephens and a faculty of leading Alabama family law attorneys discussing the latest changes and decisions of critical interest to your successful practice.


  • Judge Dorothea Batiste, Jefferson County's Circuit Court
  • Charles Dunn, Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C., Birmingham
  • Gwendolyn Thomas Kennedy, The Law Office of Gwendolyn Thomas Kennedy, Montgomery
  • Laura Montgomery, The Crittenden Firm, P.C., Birmingham
  • Donna Wesson Smalley, Donna Wesson Smalley, P.C., Jasper
  • Judge Patricia Stephens, Jefferson County circuit court, Birmingham
  • Joan-Marie Sullivan, Law Office of Joan-Marie Sullivan, Huntsville



  • Custody and time-share issues – from a judicial perspective
  • Discovering assets and income in divorce cases
  • Military divorces – parenting issues, child support, military pension, and continuing health care
  • Handling social media, e-mail, video and other ESI
  • The latest e-discovery precautions, risks and advice
  • Same-sex marriage -- asset division, custody issues for divorcing same-sex couples, dissolution alternatives, and more
  • Ethical considerations such as conflicts of interest and attorneys changing firm affiliations
  • Case law update from Alabama’s appellate courts on termination of parental rights, adoption, child custody modification, and alimony
  • A panel discussion on “hot topics” in Alabama family law



  • Outstanding faculty. The faculty includes seasoned speakers who are recognized as the best in their areas.
  • Judge’s perspective. Attendees will hear from Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Stephens on child custody and time-share issues.
  • Valuable updates. A top authority will update attendees on recent case law developments in family law.
  • Practical topics. Attendees will get practical tips on how to make electronic discovery usable in the courtroom.
  • Current topics. Attendees will get an in-depth treatment of issues arising in military divorces and same-sex marriages.
  • Useful resource. Attendees will receive a binder of the materials covered during the seminar.
  • CLE. Attendees can satisfy over half of their annual CLE requirement, earning 6 hours of GENERAL credit and 1 hour of ETHICS credit.



  • Family law update
  • Child custody and time share issues
  • Military divorces
  • Same-sex marriages
  • E-discovery precautions
  • Handling social media
  • Discovering assets and income
  • Conflicts of interest


Get your materials today!



Your Faculty

BatisteJudge Dorothea Batiste is Jefferson County's Circuit Court Judge. Judge Batiste was elected to a full term in 2010 and was sworn into office January, 2011. After transferring from Louisiana State University, Batiste earned her bachelor of science in social work at UAB in 1998. She later completed her juris doctorate at the Birmingham School of Law. She was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 2003 and opened a practice, Batiste & Associates at 2015 1st Avenue North.

DunnCharles Dunn, with Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C. in Birmingham, concentrates his practice in the areas of divorce, matrimonial law, family law and child custody. He grew up in North Carolina and earned his B.S. in 1993 from a small, liberal arts college named Guilford College, located in Greensboro. He attended Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and obtained his law degree in 1998. Since his graduation from law school and admittance to the State Bar, Mr. Dunn has been a practicing attorney at the firm and became a shareholder in January 2006. He is a member of the Birmingham Bar Association and serves on the Entertainment Committee. He is a frequent lecturer on family law issues, and often teaches and speaks to other lawyers at continuing legal education seminars. He teaches Family Law as an adjunct faculty member in Samford University’s Paralegal Studies Certificate Program. He has written and published numerous articles on a vast array of subjects pertaining to his field of practice. His trial practice takes him to Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties, and he has a statewide appellate practice.

KennedyGwendolyn Thomas Kennedy, with the Law Office of Gwendolyn Thomas Kennedy, is a native of Montgomery and a graduate of George Washington Carver High School. In 1980, she graduated from the American University with a B.A. in Music and in 1983 received a J.D. with Honors from Howard University School of Law in Washington D.C. In 1985, Ms. Kennedy relocated to Montgomery and began her employment with Dr. Joe L. Reed at the Alabama Education Association where she was the Special Assistant for Legal Affairs to more than 60,000 members statewide. In 1988, she began private practice in family law and personal injury. She was appointed Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection for the State of Alabama Office of the Attorney General in 1992, where she remained until 1995. She reentered private practice, continuing to assist families and to recover large settlements for personal injury victims. During her 20 years as an attorney, Ms. Kennedy has continued to mentor and motivate youth through her teaching at Alabama State University and her school based non-profit organization, Rise and Walk. She is a married mother of five and an ordained pastor.

MontgomeryLaura Montgomery is with The Crittenden Firm, P.C. in Birmingham. She grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, but has already deemed Birmingham her second home. Ms. Montgomery is a 2006 cum laude graduate of The University of Alabama where she also earned her J.D. While a law student, she was a member of multiple national trial advocacy teams and the recipient of the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 George Peach Taylor Award for outstanding trial team performance. Ms. Montgomery began working at The Crittenden Firm as a Family Law Attorney in September 2010. Professionally, she is a member of both the Alabama and Tennessee Bar Associations and is actively involved in the Birmingham Bar Association family law section and young lawyers section. She is also a member of the American Bar Association. In addition to her work, Ms. Montgomery currently serves her community as the Social Director on the Board of Directors for the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, Birmingham's premier young professional organization. Prior to being selected as Social Director, Ms. Montgomery served as the Director of Membership Development. She is also a member of the Birmingham Zoo Junior Board, Junior Patrons of the Museum of Art and a founding member of the Delta Zeta Birmingham Alumni Chapter.

SmalleyDonna Wesson Smalley is with Donna Wesson Smalley, P.C. in Jasper. Ms. Smalley is recognized throughout the state for her family law knowledge and expertise. Her previous experience in working for an insurance company gives her an advantage in negotiating and settling personal injury claims from auto accidents. She was named to National Trial Lawyers Top 100 in 2013. In 2009, she was named to Super Lawyers by Birmingham Business Journal. She was named in the 2008 Who's Who in American Law.

StephensJudge Patricia Stephens became a circuit court judge, Domestic Relations in Jefferson County, in January 2013. She is a graduate of Auburn University and the Miles College School of Law where she graduated cum laude. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Stephens served as a prosecuting attorney for the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office. She had a general practice law firm, where she represented litigants in criminal and civil defense, family law and personal injury. Judge Stephens is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association, the Birmingham Bar Association, the Magic City Bar Association, and the Birmingham Inns of Court.

SullivanJoan-Marie Sullivan, with the Law Office of Joan-Marie Sullivan in Huntsville, has been in private practice in Huntsville since 1996 and concentrates mainly on family law and appellate matters. She is a 1985 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Alabama and earned her law degree from the University of Alabama in 1988. She previously practiced law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and worked at Lanier, Ford, Shaver & Payne and Wolfe, Jones & Boswell in Huntsville. She has also served as editor for Alabama Law Weekly, a weekly newsletter published by M. Lee Smith Publishers®, a division of BLR®, since 1996. She is certified by the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution in Montgomery as a mediator in civil and domestic matters.

Full Agenda

8:00 A.M. to 9:15 A.M.
"Family Law Update"
Joan-Marie Sullivan, Law Office of Joan-Marie Sullivan

Ms. Sullivan, editor of Alabama Law Weekly, will review family law cases from Alabama’s appellate courts, dealing with such issues as:

  • Whether, in the absence of any showing that father presented any harm to the child, maintaining the status quo was a viable alternative to termination of his parental rights
  • Whether mother could have impliedly consented to adoption when custody of child was removed from her by court order
  • Whether an action to modify a divorce decree based on a material change in circumstances can be filed even though the original divorce remains on appeal
  • Whether an award of alimony was excessive
  • Whether another state had jurisdiction in a child custody matter even though the children had been temporarily absent from that state during the six-month period prior to the filing of the action
  • Whether the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to proceedings for termination of parental rights
  • Whether the fact that the husband’s signature was submitted electronically affected the validity of an agreement

9:15 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.
"Same Sex Marriages"
Charles Dunn, Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C

  • Same-sex marriage: A national perspective
  • Same-sex divorce: Jurisdiction and asset division
  • Custody issues for divorcing same-sex couples
  • Dissolution alternatives
  • The future of same-sex marriage

10:00 A.M. to 10:15 A.M.: Morning Break

10:15 A.M. to 11:15 A.M.
"Electronic Evidence"
Laura Montgomery, The Crittenden Firm, P.C.

  • The latest e-discovery precautions, risks and advice
  • Handling social media, e-mail, video and other ESI
  • Making your electronic evidence usable in the courtroom

11:15 A.M. to 12:15 P.M.
"Ethical Considerations for Alabama Attorneys"
Judge Dorothea Batiste, Jefferson County's Circuit Court

  • Attorney speech – what lawyers can and cannot say
  • Conflicts of interest: Recent developments
  • Attorneys changing firm affiliations

12:15 P.M. to 1:30 P.M.: Lunch (On your own)

1:30 P.M. to 2:00 P.M.
Panel Discussion of "Hot Topics" in Domestic Relations

Panelists, led by Joan-Marie Sullivan, will discuss some of the problems and issues they have encountered. Attendees are invited to ask questions and present their own scenarios for discussion.

2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.
“Custody and Time Share Issues”
Judge Patricia Stephens, Jefferson County circuit court

Judge Stephens will discuss what issues come before the court in child custody cases and what factors courts consider in resolving those disputes.

  • Is a joint custody arrangement feasible?
  • What is in the child’s best interest?
  • What will be the child care arrangements?
  • Are the parties willing to cooperate with the other parent?
  • What about holidays and vacations?

3:00 P.M. to 3:15 P.M.: Afternoon Break

3:15 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
"Asset Discovery"
Donna Wesson Smalley, Donna Wesson Smalley, P.C.

A fair result in the division of marital property depends on complete financial information. Take the guess work out of your negotiations by getting tips on how to discover all of the parties’ assets and income.

4:00 P.M. to 4:45 P.M.
“Special Issues in Military Divorce”
Gwendolyn Thomas Kennedy, The Law Office of Gwendolyn Thomas Kennedy

  • Statutory changes and current case law
  • Rules of practice and procedure for family court
  • Parenting issues
  • Child support
  • Military pension, retirement and benefits
  • Survivor benefit plan for retired military personnel
  • Military reservists’ retirement benefits
  • Survivorship and military disability benefits
  • Continued health care
  • Contempt

Our guarantee

Your 100% satisfaction is guaranteed. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied, simply let us know within 90 days, and we will issue you a complete refund.

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