Category: General

SFLG Moves to Patton Parker House Oct. 3

Siemens Family Law Group is proud to announce its move to the Patton Parker House.

95 Charlotte

Siemens Family Law Group’s new office at 95 Charlotte Street.

The Patton Parker House, at Charlotte and Chestnut St., offers a distinguished history and character that suits the firm’s clients and style of practice.  The history of this location will be thoughtfully displayed, and available to you and to our community.  We look forward to greeting you there.

Siemens Family Law Group will be open for business at the Patton Parker House October 3rd, 2016, with parking and entry from the front or the back of the home.  The firm’s new mailing address, effective October 3rd, will be 95 Charlotte St., Asheville, N.C. 28801.

Plans for SFLG and Patton-Parker House

Patton-Parker House

Citizen-Times photo

The Patton-Parker House and plans for Siemens Family Law Group were featured in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Sunday. The article highlights the history of the house, the Preservation Society’s involvement, and Jim Siemens’ plans for the future. Read the story, Historic Patton-Parker House finds new owner, to learn more about the historic building that will house Siemens Family Law Group in 2016.

 

 

 

Historic Landmark to be New Home for SFLG

Patton-Parker House

Jim with the keys and plans for the Patton-Parker House at 95 Charlotte Street.

Siemens Family Law Group will be moving its office to the historic Patton-Parker House in 2016. Located at 95 Charlotte Street, the Victorian-style home was built in 1868 by Thomas Walton Patton, who served as mayor of Asheville in the 1890s.

The Patton-Parker House has been a part of various notable events in Asheville’s history. During the Civil War, the site served as a military encampment known as “Camp Patton,” used by both Union and Confederate forces. In 1894, Helen Morris Lewis conducted a meeting at the Patton-Parker House for a community rally that led to the formation of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage Association. Thomas Walton Patton and his sister, Frances Louisa, worked to reform jails and prisons and to improve the welfare of women, children and people living in poverty. They were also instrumental in the formation of Mission Hospital, the public library, and the YMCA and YWCA. The African-American community known as “Mountainside” was originally part of the Patton holdings, and the Patton family donated land to establish several local churches, including First Presbyterian Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and St. Matthias Episcopal Church.

The Patton-Parker House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a Local Historic Landmark by the City of Asheville. Siemens Family Law Group looks forward to becoming a part of the history of this Asheville landmark!

Brenda Coppede joins Siemens Family Law Group

We are pleased to announce that Brenda Coppede has joined Siemens Family Law Group.

Brenda attended North Carolina State University where she graduated cum laude in 2002, with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Spanish Language and Literature.  She then graduated from The Dickinson School of Law at The Pennsylvania State University in 2006 where she was a member of the Woolsack Honor Society.   Brenda received several distinctions and awards in law school for her pro bono work at the law school’s Family Law Clinic, including the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Eric D. Turner award.

Upon her graduation from law school, Brenda was privileged to have a one-year clerkship with three family court judges in Sussex County, Delaware.  In 2007, Brenda was admitted to practice law in the state of Montana and clerked for the Honorable Holly Brown, a district court judge in Bozeman, Montana, working again primarilyon family law cases.  Following her clerkships, Brenda began private practice with Kasting, Kauffman & Mersen in Bozeman, with a primary focus on family law.  In 2010, Brenda was admitted to practice law in the state of North Carolina.  She has practiced family law in Asheville since November of 2010, joining the Siemens Family Law Group in February 2013.

Brenda resides in Asheville with her daughter and German shorthair pointer, Clem.

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Welcome Judge Dotson-Smith

Susan M. Dotson-Smith was sworn in as District Court Judge in the 28th Judicial District on Thursday, November 8th, 2012.  Judge Dotson-Smith has been assigned to Family Court and will assume the case load historically carried by the Honorable Rebecca B. Knight, and for a temporary period, by the Honorable Fritz Y. Mercer, Jr.

The swearing in was remarkably well attended.  Among the participants in the oath of office ceremony were Chief District Court Judge Calvin Hill, Resident Superior Court Judge Alan Thornburg, N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Cheri Beasly and N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.  This attendance connotes the importance of the position and the fact that Judge Dotson-Smith will touch the lives of many in Buncombe County.

We at the Siemens Family Law Group welcome Judge Dotson-Smith’s presiding in the Buncombe County Family Court and look forward to advocating in her courtroom.

Choices

Recently, my husband and I were in a counselor’s appointment with my middle son. He has been struggling and we were all looking for a little guidance. The counselor told our son he is at a crossroads and now must make a choice on what kind of person he wishes to become. He can go down a dark path, feeling as though everyone is out to get him, lashing out because he feels angry and alone, and dwelling on the perceived unfairness of life, or he can choose to focus on building his strengths, moving his life forward, maybe outside his comfort zone, and make a choice not to feel like a victim.

This made me think of the choices we all have every day. I hear people say they “don’t have a choice” or he/she “made me” do something, but the reality is we always have a choice. One of the most important choices we have is how we react when other people’s actions affect us.  This could be as simple as choosing to ignore a friend or colleague when they behave rudely, or as difficult as choosing not to play the role of victim when a spouse seeks to end a marriage. When a marriage ends, it seems to create an endless stream of choices, thrust upon us at a time when we are at our most vulnerable and scared.  What’s next? Which lawyer do I choose? Is mediation an option? Who gets what? Where to live? What about the children? The list goes on and emotions run very high, possibly clouding the choices available to us along the way. We can choose to react from a place of pain and hurt, lashing out at a spouse who no longer chooses to share a life with us. Or we can nurture ourselves, and make the difficult choice to try to resolve each of the upcoming issues with respect for those we have loved or who have loved us.

I feel certain, in time my son will make the right choice. He has already taken steps toward improving his life. I believe it can be empowering to “take the high road” and try our best to make choices from a place of knowledge and compassion, rather than choose to strike out from a place of pain and emotional reaction. What choices will you make today?

by Kathleen F. Abbott, NCCP

Finding an Asheville Divorce Lawyer

If you are reading this entry, you are probably contemplating separation from your spouse.  Or maybe you have already done that.  You probably have questions about the law, and how the law applies to you.  You are likely under a tremendous amount of stress from the life changes you are experiencing.  You are looking for a lawyer to answer questions, to solve legal problems, and to provide wise counsel.

Finding the right divorce lawyer at this stage in your life is critical.  Take control of finding the right divorce lawyer in Asheville by following some of these tips.

  1. Interview divorce lawyers until you find someone you are confident understands you and understands your case.
  2. Ask yourself whether you like the lawyer you are meeting with.  If you don’t feel that you have established a rapport with your lawyer during the initial consult, you may want to move on.
  3. Remember, if the lawyer you are consulting doesn’t stand out to you, chances are your lawyer is not going to stand out to the opposing party, or the Court.
  4. When you interview divorce lawyers, assess whether they have time for you and your case.  Too much time is a bad sign.  Too little time can also be a problem.  Your divorce lawyer is working for you, ask if they can commit to provide you the time and attention you deserve.
  5. Pay attention to your divorce lawyer’s office.  Do you get the impression that the office is organized?  Is the atmosphere professional?  Is attention paid to confidentiality?  Do you get the sense that office staff is happy and ready to serve you?  If your answer to any of those questions is no, you may want to move on.
  6. Being a divorce lawyer is hard work.  But that doesn’t excuse your lawyer from explaining what he or she is doing for you, in as much detail as you desire.  Your lawyer should be able to articulate a strategy to achieve your goals, at every step of the process.  Your lawyer should be able to demonstrate competence under pressure.
  7. Determine how your divorce lawyer is going to communicate.  Some divorce lawyers in Asheville still don’t use email.  Some don’t have smart phones.  Being able to communicate with your lawyer is going to be important.  Determine how that will happen.  Determine how quickly the divorce lawyer you are going to hire can return your call or email.

These seven tips should empower you to choose your Divorce Lawyer in Asheville.  Make the right choice at the outset.

Buncombe County Family Court Changes

The Buncombe County Family Court and Offices have moved to the third floor of the Courthouse in reasonably renovated space.  The Family Court offices are accessible, functional and seem comfortable for the Family Court case managers.  There are 2 new courtrooms on this floor which are equally comfortable and functional.

The Family Court bench has changed as well.  The Honorable Ward D. Scott, Andrea F. Dray and Rebecca B. Knight now preside exclusively in Family Court.  Judge Julie M. Kepple, who began her career as a District Court Judge in Family Court, is now handling criminal matters primarily.

Conference space for lawyers and clients remains inadequate on the 3rd floor in our view.  There are also no wireless signals available in the Buncombe County courthouse.  We typically solve these deficiencies by meeting with clients on the 10th floor of the courthouse in library conference rooms.  We bring our PCs and portable printer in order to deliver services that are not otherwise readily available in the building.

We continue to support the efforts of the Family Court program and believe it is the right paradigm.  We appreciate the hard work of the Family Court case managers and staff.  And we appreciate the dedication, competence and patience demonstrated by the Family Court bench and clerks on a daily basis.

Caesar’s Head

On April 10th, 2010, I joined approximately 600 cyclists to participate in a bicycle ride sponsored by the Brevard, NC Rotary Club known as the “Assault on the Carolinas.”  This event, which celebrated its 11th year in 2010, includes a metric century (65 miles) course as well as some shorter options.

The ride begins at Brevard High School, and continues through downtown Brevard, up a steep climb at Walnut Hollow, and then along the French Broad River Valley.

The Assault is notorious for “Caesar’s Head,” a punishing climb that begins at mile 45.   From the intersection of Hwy 8 and Hwy 276 in Pickens County, S.C. the ascent covers six miles to its terminus at Caesar’s Head State Park. All riders, regardless of strength or experience, are challenged at Caesar’s Head to one degree or another.

This year marked my third “Assault” and my third climb up Caesar’s Head.  Old memories of the climb include snow, rain, cramps, and too many rest stops.  My goal this year was to climb Caesar’s head at a smooth, consistent pace, without reliving the drama of past years.

To reach the goal, I worked on an indoor trainer a few times a week throughout the winter months.  When work and parenthood allowed, and the weather cooperated, I got in as many miles on the road as I could.

To build strength for the climb, I initiated a series of strength/endurance rides close to my office, during court recesses, and other holes in my schedule.  These rides were all about slow, steady climbing in lower gears, to simulate the resistance of a steeper climb.

This year’s climb up Caesar’s Head wasn’t fast, but it was smooth and consistent. At the top of the climb, I had strength to gear down and increase my cadence.  I finished the last miles of the climb with a fast group of riders and erased the painful memories of prior finishes.

A little bit of forethought, preparation, and persistence made the difference for me on Caesar’s Head this year.  This approach has always worked in my law practice, and it turned out to work on the bike too.  Looking ahead, it’s time to set new goals for the bike and for the practice.