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Family Law Conference for Tennessee Attorneys

Family Law Conference for Tennessee Attorneys

Product Code: T18FN
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13th Annual
Family Law Conference for Tennessee Attorneys

Nashville School of Law: October 11-12, 2018 OR December 6-7, 2018

To attend one day in both programs, please contact for concierge service.

Leading domestic law attorneys from across the state will address significant developments in the family law area and will provide practice tips for Tennessee attorneys. There will three 1-hour ethics sessions on Thursday as well as an update by a prominent CPA on valuing and dividing marital property in Tennessee on Friday. Topics presented by attorneys include discovery and evidence in divorce, procedures for terminating parental rights, modifying child custody/visitation, adoption law, relocation and child abduction issues, settlement negotiation, trial strategies and drafting final orders, and avoiding discipline.

Featuring an all-star cast of prominent Tennessee judges and attorneys and 15 hours of CLE credit, including 3 hours of ethics/professionalism.

This powerful program will cover the latest updates and strategies on:

  • Business court docket. Get an overview from Staff Attorney Charlie Baldwin about practice and procedures for the state's business court docket.
  • Updates. Get up to date on the latest developments in the areas of privacy law and real estate.
  • Bankruptcy. Learn effective methods for spotting relevant issues and representing your client.
  • Malpractice. Learn the ins and outs of handling malpractice cases in Tennessee.
  • Timely issues. Get information on the new standards and laws surrounding the opioid epidemic and developments to the Tennessee Uniform Limited Partnership Act of 2017.
  • Patent law and trade secrets. Learn the basics of patent law and trade secrets so that you know the best way to direct your clients.
  • Probate/estate planning. Get tips on improving your probate practice, as well as tips and techniques to use in estate planning.
  • Lawyer advertising. Get tips on how to market yourself and your law firm ethically and effectively.
  • HIPAA. Be sure you know how to remain compliant when dealing with HIPAA and HITECH.
  • Business valuation. Understand the process of valuing a business or business asset.

 Attendees will receive a binder of the materials during the conference and will be able to download the materials after the seminar.

Your Distinguished Faculty

Paula Blair

Paula Blair is the owner of the Law Office of Paula Ogle Blair. Ms. Blair has been in private practice more than 20 years. Her primary focus is family law, including divorce, child custody/visitation, mediation, appeals, adoption, probate, guardianship and conservatorship, as well as other matters that affect families. Ms. Blair is admitted to practice in Tennessee and before the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee. She is a member of the Nashville Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association. Ms. Blair earned her from Stephens College and her J.D. degree from Nashville School of Law.

Rebecca McKelvey Castañeda

Rebecca McKelvey Castañeda is an attorney in the Nashville Office of Stites and Harbison. She practices primarily in the field of domestic relations, assisting with divorce, child custody, adoption, relocation, child support, and Hague Convention international child abduction cases.

Ms. Castañeda serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Justice Center, served as a member of the Belmont University Young Alumni Council for three years and now serves as a member of Belmont University Alumni Board of Directors (past president) as well as volunteers in the Nashville community. Rebecca was awarded the Tennessee Bar Association's Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award (2015). In June 2011, she was chosen as a 2011 Nashville's Top 30 Under 30 by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Professional Accolades: 

  • Mid-South Super Lawyers®, Rising Star (2012-14) 
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award (2015) 
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Nashville's Top 30 Under 30 (2011) 

Community Involvement: 
  • Tennessee Justice Center, Board of Directors 
  • Belmont University Alumni, Board of Directors 
  • International Child Abduction Attorney Network (ICAAN), Referral Attorney

D. Michael Costello

D. Michael Costello, CPA, ABV, ASA, CFF, CFE, is a shareholder and practice leader for fraud, forensic and litigation services with Elliott Davis Decosimo in Chattanooga. He is a certified public accountant (accredited in business valuation and certified in financial forensics), a certified fraud examiner, and an accredited senior business appraiser and consultant. He has more than 30 years’ experience in business valuations, forensic accounting, business acquisitions and divestitures, exit planning and related fields.

Mr. Costello provides expert testimony in lost profits, fraud, bankruptcy, patents and licenses, personal injury, wrongful death, wrongful termination litigation, and marital dissolution. He is qualified to serve as an expert witness in U.S. District Courts, Circuit Courts, and Chancery Courts.

He has been appointed by the Hamilton County Circuit Court as a Special Master and as a Custodian to liquidate a business; by the Hamilton County Chancery Court as a Custodian/Receiver to manage and sell a medical practice; and by a Federal Bankruptcy Trustee to sell a business. His appraisals have been used in various courts and in connection with buy-and-sell transactions between corporate shareholders.

David Garrett

David Garrett, with Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett Law 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. He also directly led the effort to purchase, restore and re-open the Franklin Theatre for which he received The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County’s 2011 Patron Award.

Barry L. Gold

Barry L. Gold, a founding partner of McWilliams & Gold in Chattanooga, has been selected for inclusion in Mid-South Super Lawyers®, in the area of family law, an honor bestowed on only 5% of the lawyers in Tennessee. Mr. Gold 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 chaired the 2010–2011 Tennessee Bar Association Family Law Section, and the 2010-2011 Chattanooga Bar Association’s Family Law Section. He was the chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Family Law Section 2003-2004, and was a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee from 2002 - 2015. Mr. Gold served as a hearing officer for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility from 2007 - 2013. In 2005, Mr. Gold served as a member of the Tennessee Department of Human Services Income Shares Advisory Committee. Since 1983, Mr. Gold has been licensed to practice in Tennessee and Georgia. He received his A.B. degree magna cum laude and his J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Georgia, where he was elected to the Order of Barristers and Phi Beta Kappa.

James (Jimmy) D. Helton, II

James (Jimmy) D. Helton, II, with the Helton Law Office in Brentwood, focuses his practice on domestic relations order drafting and litigation in state and federal court. In that capacity, he works closely with family lawyers and their clients in the post-divorce division of ERISA, federal, military, and state retirement plans. Mr. Helton also advises family law attorneys during mediation on the best practices for their marital dissolution agreements and on specific issues that are unique to each parties’ retirement. Mr. Helton graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2005.

Theodore Robert Kern

Theodore Robert Kern is a partner in the firm of Eshbaugh, Strange-Boston, Metcalf & Kern. He is a graduate of Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University College of Law. His first career was in public interest law, including serving as litigation director of Knoxville Legal Aid Society (now Legal Aid of East Tennessee). In 1999 he started a solo practice which he continued successfully until October 2009, when he moved to his current position. Mr. Kern has handled numerous adoption cases, including interstate adoptions, contested parental rights terminations, and cases before the Court of Appeals. He is a member of the Knoxville and Tennessee bar associations, a fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, and is a Rule 31 listed mediator.

Sean J. Martin

Sean J. Martin is a family law and personal injury attorney with Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC in Nashville. Sean built his firm’s tech infrastructure from the ground up and MHPS is one of the most tech-forward firms in the Southeast. Sean, his partners and the entire team at MHPS leverage the latest legal technology to keep up with and serve the real-time needs of their clients.

Miles Mason Miles Mason, Sr. JD, CPA, is a husband, father, and divorce lawyer. Married for over 28 years, he and Sharon are the parents of an industrial designer, a U. S. Marine, and a budding singer/songwriter. He is also the founder of the Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, selected as a Super Lawyer by peers, and rated 10.0 out of 10.0 by Avvo. Miles is a nationally recognized speaker on divorce trial practice, forensic accounting, and business valuation. He is the author of four books on divorce, including the Forensic Accounting Deskbook, published by the ABA Family Law Section, and the Tennessee Divorce Client’s Handbook. All four are available on Amazon. Leadership positions have included Chair of the TBA Family Law Section, President of the CBHS Alumni Association, and Fellow of the Memphis Bar Foundation.
Joanna McCracken

Joanna McCracken is an attorney, yoga instructor, and meditation teacher. She is one of the two managing partners of Piper McCracken, PLLC, a Nashville law firm that focuses on family law.

Ms. McCracken is also the founder of Mind Your Business, LLC – an organization that puts on workshops for business professionals in all fields teaching meditation and yoga techniques to overcome occupational stress.

Earlier this year, Ms. McCracken and her law partner Heather Piper, who is also a life coach, co-founded The Balanced Life Movement – an advocacy group that promotes the cultivation of a balanced life through the use of multiple tools and techniques. The movement holds balanced life events, hosts seminars, and creates balanced life initiatives that provide encouragement, support, and accountability.

Ms. McCracken’s passion for the promotion of a healthy, balanced life stems from personal experience. She divorced when her daughters were just one and four years old. As a single parent, she put herself through night law school, working three jobs during the days and weekends, with no family around for support. It was during this time of immense struggle that she turned to meditation and yoga, both of which transformed her life and gave her the tools she needed to cope with the demands of her life and to prioritize her wellbeing.

Ms. McCracken understands first-hand the pressures and strain of working in a high-stress profession. Her primary area of practice is divorce - one of the most emotionally-charged areas of law. However, Ms. McCracken’s law firm embodies work-life balance. The firm is proud of its short work hours, long vacations, and the daily fulfillment of the promise that each employee’s personal wellbeing comes before anything else. The result is a firm of rested, healthy, and happy individuals who, in turn, have the energy and focus needed to provide the best client experience. Piper McCracken, PLLC attorneys are the recipients of multiple client- satisfaction awards.

Ms. McCracken is an active committee member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Wellbeing Committee. She gives wellbeing presentations at law schools, legal seminars, and CLE conferences.

Marlene Moses

Marlene Moses, Marlene Eskind Moses, an internationally recognized family law expert and founding manager of MTR Family Law, PLLC is President-Elect of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.

Moses is a past-president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and was awarded the organization’s Outstanding Fellow of the Year Award. She is a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Association Foundation and the Nashville Bar Association Foundation. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers and serves as secretary. She is a past president of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society, the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners, and Lawyers Association for Women. She is a former vice president of the Nashville Bar Association. She has served on the Tennessee Bar Association’s Family Law Code Commission. Moses has also been recognized by Mid-South Super Lawyers for her family law practice since 2006.

Moses graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Social Work. In 2012, she received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from the Newcomb Alumnae Association of Tulane University. Moses received her law degree from the Nashville School of law and has been honored with the Nashville School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award.

R. Linley Richter, Jr.

R. Linley Richter, Jr., is an attorney at the law firm of Richter Family Law Group, P.C. in Memphis. Mr. Richter began the private practice of law in 1992. He currently concentrates his practice mainly in the area of family law; which includes divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, adoption and dependent and neglect. He developed a sub-practice focusing on the area of military divorce and family law. Mr. Richter earned his B.S. degree from Middle Tennessee State University and his J.D. degree from the University of Memphis. He is a member of the Memphis, Tennessee and American bar associations; and the past president of the Solo/Small Firm Section of the Memphis Bar Association.

Preston Shipp

Preston Shipp is currently Disciplinary Counsel at the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Prior to joining the Board, Mr. Shipp served as an appellate prosecutor in the Tennessee Attorney General’s office from 2004 until 2008. Before working as an Assistant Attorney General, Preston clerked for two years for the Honorable Judge David H. Welles on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy of Lipscomb University, where he has taught Criminal Law & Procedure, Ethics & the Laws of Compliance, Judicial Process, Restorative Criminal Justice, and Street Law.

Mr. Shipp received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2002, and his Bachelor of Arts from Lipscomb University in 1999. He has been licensed to practice law in Tennessee since 2002, and in 2006, he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Kevin W. Shepherd

Kevin W. Shepherd has more than 28 years of experience and is the owner of Shepherd and Associates, PC, with an office in Maryville. He practices in the areas of family law, divorce, personal injury, criminal defense, appellate practice, and general practice. He is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 family law mediator. Mr. Shepherd is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and is a well-received speaker at legal seminars. He earned his B.S. degree from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas; and his J.D. degree from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Siew-Ling Shea

Siew-Ling Shea has been with the law firm of Rogers, Kamm & Shea since May 2001. Ms. Shea attended high school in Singapore and came to the United States for her undergraduate studies at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, as a scholarship student. She later transferred to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and obtained a B.A. degree with a double major in communication and sociology, and her J.D. degree from the Nashville School of Law. Ms. Shea is a member of Cooper's Inn, an honorable society reserved for students graduating in the top 10% of their class. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee and in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee. Ms. Shea is a Rule 31 listed civil mediator and a trained collaborative divorce lawyer. She is also a Rule 21 approved mentor attorney. Ms. Shea serves on the board of the Middle Tennessee Collaborative Alliance and is a member of the John Marshall American Inn of Court. She is also a member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators, Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association Family Law Executive Council, Nashville Bar Association, Williamson County Bar Association, and Robertson County Bar Association. Articles written in the Tennessee Bar Journal include: "When a Child's Best Interests Are At Issue: Privacy of Mental Health Records in Divorce and Custody Proceedings" (July 2013); and "New Statutory Parental Rights: Play Nice and Fair or Be Punished for Misconduct Toward The Other Parent" (November 2014). (Nashville location)

Jacob Thorington

Jacob Thorington, with Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett Law in Nashville, eagerly jumped right into practice after earning his JD degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in May 2007. With an impressive breadth of knowledge in the areas of divorce, post-divorce, contempt, child support modification, alimony modification, paternity, and custody cases, it’s no surprise he graduated magna cum laude. An Eagle Scout hailing from Manchester, Tennessee, and a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the Williamson County Bar Association, and the American Inn’s of Court for Williamson County, he is very dedicated to serving others. 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 with his guiding advice and personable smile. Mr. Thorington has been named as a 2015 Super Lawyers Mid-South Rising Star. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Mid-South Super Lawyers® to receive this honor.



DAY 1 — Thursday, October 11 

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Ethics in Mediation
Marlene Moses
MTR Family Law, PLLC 

  • Confidentiality
  • Model standards of conduct for mediators
  • Recent cases and advisory opinions
  • Mediator's ethical dilemmas

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Special Issues in Military Divorce
R. Linley Richter, Jr.
Richter & Rasberry, P.C.

  • Practice and procedure in military divorce
  • Child custody
  • Special issues in child support
  • Survivor benefit plan (SBP) a/k/a single biggest problem
  • Benefits for spouses and former spouses
  • Military retirement division

10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Morning Break

10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Show Me the Money! An Overview of Alimony and Child Support
David Garrett and Jacob Thorington
Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett Law

  • Tennessee child support guidelines
  • Unemployment/underemployment
  • Imputing income
  • Alimony in futuro
  • Transitional alimony
  • Emancipation issues
  • Cohabitation with third party
  • Preserving the record for appeal

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. 
Best Apps for Attorneys – Ethics 
Sean Martin 
Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC

VoIP: The Future of Your Firm’s Phone, Texting for Lawyers & Apps, Apps, Apps!

In this app-packed hour, Mr. Martin will show you the technology practicing attorneys should be using to maximize their efficiency and increase their bottom lines. He will also address TBPR Rule 1.1 and 1.4 and present tech processes and workflows which help attorneys comply. A fun, informative way to get ethics credit. 

12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
LUNCH (included with registration)

1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Avoiding Discipline from Start to Finish
Preston Shipp
Disciplinary Counsel, Board of Professional Responsibility

Mr. Shipp will cover common mistakes that attorneys make from the initial consultation all the way to closing the client file. He will also cover how to avoid common violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct along the way.

2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Ethical Considerations
Kevin Shepherd
Maryville attorney

  • Attorney fees and engagement agreements 
  • Preventing conflicts of interest 
  • Protecting confidentiality 
  • Effective and ethical client communication 

3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Afternoon Break

3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Parental Relocation
Kevin Shepherd
Maryville attorney

If your client is petitioning to move with a custodial child, or if your client wishes to prevent the other parent from moving with the child, what are their options? What factors will Tennessee courts consider in deciding whether to allow the parent to relocate with the child(ren)? Will the parent’s relocation result in a change of custody?

4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Meditation Techniques for Family Law Practitioners
Joanna McCracken
Piper McCracken, PLLC

UNDERSTANDING THE FUNDAMENTALS: Meditation and mindfulness in theory and in practice 

  • What is meditation? 
  • An overview 
  • The benefits 
  • Mindfulness 
  • Mindfulness of what? 
  • The origins of mindfulness 
  • Brief history 
  • Brief philosophy 
  • Breaking down mindfulness 
  • Four mindfulness meditation techniques to cultivate awareness of different aspects of your daily experience 
  • Trying them out 
  • A few minutes of each technique 
  • Complimentary meditation techniques 
  • Why they’re at least as, or more, important than mindfulness 
  • Trying them out 
  • A few minutes of other techniques 

OFF THE CUSHION: Using and applying meditation skills 

  • How can these practices help with your professional life? 
  • How can these practices help with your personal life? 
  • When and how can you use 
    • Practical tips for incorporating into your work day and home life 
  • Experiencing the results of practice 
  • Resources


DAY 2 — Friday, October 12

8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
Advanced Discovery and Evidence in Divorce
Paula Blair
Law Office of Paula Ogle Blair

  • E-Discovery 
    • Home and work computers (E-Mail Chains, Deleted Files) 
    • Smartphones and tablets 
    • Social media 
  • Tracking down hidden assets and income 
    • Major sources of information 
    • Reading tax returns 
    • Evidence of under the table income 
  • Discovery abuses and remedies 
  • Depositions 
  • Preparing effective sworn financial statement 

8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

Valuing and Dividing Marital Property in Tennessee: An Accountant’s Essential Update for Attorneys
Mike Costello
Elliott Davis

  • Marital vs. non-marital assets
  • Dividing real estate
  • Business assets and interests in closely-held entities
  • Employee benefits, stock options and executive compensation plans
  • Other sources of assets
  • Dividing debt between spouses
  • Bankruptcy's impact on divorce
  • When and how to use financial experts

9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Morning Break

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where Family Law and International Issues Collide: Relocation and Child Abduction Issues
Rebecca Mckelvey Castañeda
Stites and Harbison

  • Relocations 
  • Child abductions 
  • 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions 
  • Two-country parenting plans 
  • Considerations for attorneys 
  • And more! 

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Modifying Child Custody/Visitation
Barry Gold
McWilliams & Gold

  • Major determining factors to consider 
  • What information the adjudicators need to make the decision 
  • Creative custody arrangements 
  • Child testimony 

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Lunch (included with registration)

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. 
Tackling Retirement in Tennessee Divorces 
Jimmy Helton 
Helton Law Office 

Mr. Helton will address best practices for drafting MDA language to divide retirement plans in Tennessee divorces and will cover the recent changes in Tennessee law allowing state and local governments to accept Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs).

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Adoption Law: What to do if Something Goes Wrong
Theodore Kern
Eshbaugh, Strange-Boston, Metcalf & Kern

  • Rights of the biological parents vs. adoptive parents: who takes precedence? 
  • Proving a parent is unfit in contested adoptions 
  • Tackling third-party challenges 
  • Procedures for dissolution of adoption 
  • Withdrawal of consent? What to do next 
  • Correctly handling an appeal of the adoption decree 

3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Afternoon Break

3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Strategic Use of Forensic Accountants in Mediation
Miles Mason
Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC  

  1. What forensic accountants can do
  2. Marital balance sheet
  3. Critical discovery: identification, classification, and valuation of assets
  4. Pension and retirement settlement planning
  5. Settlement document preparation
  6. The Mediation Notebook contents
    1. Factual narrative: grounds, fault, and gripes
    2. Key pleadings
    3. Statement of income and expenses
    4. Marital balance sheet
    5. Memorandum of law on key issues
  7. Negotiating tactics and the black arts
  8. Avoiding buyer’s remorse

4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Settlement Negotiation, Trial Strategies and Drafting Final Orders
Siew-Ling Shea
Rogers, Kamm & Shea

  • Best arguments to make in negotiations
  • Preparing for and going to mediation
  • Hearings and trial: what to expect and how to prepare
  • Direct and cross examination in divorce
  • Drafting final orders


Nashville School of Law
4013 Armory Oaks Dr.
Nashville, TN 37204 

*Convenient access to 1-65 and 1-440 

Need directions? CLICK HERE


  • $497 full program 
  • $347 (One day only – choose either Thursday or Friday)
  • $247 for materials
  • $50 early bird discount until September 1 – (October conference) 

15 hours of Continuing Mediation Education (CME) credit, including 1 hour of Continuing Mediation Ethics
15 hours of CLE (11 hours of GENERAL and 4 hours of DUAL)
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The conference begins at 8:00 a.m. and concludes at 5:00 p.m.
Lunch will be provided with registration!

To sponsor this event, please contact Olivia Al-Sadi at



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