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Mary Margaret Oliver Gives DeKalb Bar Family Section Legislative Update

The Family Law Section welcomed Mary Margaret Oliver as the guest speaker for the May breakfast

Georgia Lordby Georgia Lord
Georgia Lord Law

Long-time Georgia legislator (and Decatur family lawyer) Mary Margaret Oliver shared her insights regarding this year’s Georgia Legislative session with those attending the May 5, 2016, breakfast meeting of the DeKalb Bar Association’s Family Law Section. She described some of Governor Nathan Deal’s recent actions, and shared her thoughts regarding the factors that had prompted them. She noted that, at present, Republican members constitute almost a two thirds majority in the General Assembly. This limits the extent to which Democrats, such as Ms. Oliver, can achieve a legislative agenda.

FLS members gather for breakfast
FLS members gather for breakfast


Some of the legislation passed this year included HB52, which provided that a parenting plan can be incorporated into a settlement agreement (and need not be in a separate document). Another bill, HB229, expanded the list of relatives who are authorized to seek visitation via intervention in a pending custody action, and codified the relevant evidentiary standard for such actions. Other legislation impacted the administrative legitimation process and the manner in which a child in a dependency proceeding may be placed with an adult relative or fictive kin.

Representative Oliver described the sweeping changes that had been made in the jurisdiction of Georgia’s appellate courts with regard to family law matters. All family law appeals will now go to the Court of Appeals, and the Georgia Supreme Court will be a court reached by certiorari. Georgia Court of Appeals Justice Christopher McFadden, who was also present, added that he did not believe that the Court of Appeals would be overwhelmed with this new work.

The section’s sponsor spotlight featured Steve Shewmaker of Shewmaker & Shewmaker, LLC. Steve noted that the services the firm provides include assistance with QDROs and pension division. He also praised the beauty and brilliance of his wife, and law partner, Patty Shewmaker.

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