The family law firm of Stearns-Montgomery & Associates announced today that Ryan Proctor has been named partner, and that the firm name will be changed to Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor. The new partnership announcement is another sign of the firm's continued growth and success in the Atlanta area.

"Ryan's clients have always been impressed with his high level of enthusiasm and maturity," said Founder Mary Stearns-Montgomery. "Ryan is well-known for his practical advice, creative solutions, and ability to fight and win when it's necessary to go to court.

In his expanded role, Ryan will lead many of the firm's most difficult cases and assist in firm management. He has helped hundreds of individuals and families with their divorce, family law, and other legal needs, and looks forward to sharing that experience with other associates.

In an initial custody dispute between the parents over the custody of a minor child, the sole question to be determined is what is in the best interests of the child. This question can only be answered by a judge, as Georgia law prohibits juries from determining custody matters. Essentially, there are no boundaries as to what a judge may look at in determining a child’s best interests, as the law provides that the judge may consider “any relevant factor.”

If you have watched any television over the holiday season, you have undoubtedly been subjected to the seemingly never-ending barrage of jewelry commercials portraying husbands and boyfriends surprising their wives and girlfriends with fine rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc.  Of course, the jewelry companies are hoping to convince their male audience that the answer to happily ever after lies in their ability to give their significant other a perfect (and hopefully expensive) piece of jewelry.  What the jewelry companies don't worry about is this¦who gets to keep the jewelry if things do not work out as expected?  In 2009, I was involved in several cases where I had to answer that question.

The three most common scenarios that could lead to a dispute over who gets to keep expensive jewelry that was given as a gift during the course of a marital or premarital relationship are as follows:

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