Consider Haiti: We are the Difference

Consider HaitiConsider Haiti is a not-for-profit organization founded in Asheville 15 years ago.  I serve on the Consider Haiti Board as Treasurer.  Many in the Asheville community have had a role in the operations of Consider Haiti.  If you have purchased a pumpkin from Grace Episcopal on Merrimon (the pumpkin patch on the hill), you have supported Consider Haiti.  If you ran the Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore Estate in 2015, you supported Consider Haiti.  Doctors, nurses and lay people from Asheville have been running medical clinics for Consider Haiti throughout the organization’s existence.  The program reflects the good will of Asheville.  In May, I visited the Consider Haiti program in Mountrois, Ivoire and Fond Baptiste, Haiti.  I made the trip with my Dad, the Consider Haiti Board Chair, and his son.  Consider Haiti is staffed by seven Haitian men and women living in the communities they serve.  This video was made during my trip, and it does a better job describing the program than I can do with words.

Loving Our Children Unconditionally

Here is a piece by David Brooks, a social commentator that I appreciate.  His point is that our love for our children should not be conditioned upon their achievements.  The piece resonates for me as a parent, and as a professional advising parents in the process of separation and divorce.  It could be that children affected by separation and divorce are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of love conditioned upon achievement and perhaps an expressed preference for one household over another.  Read Brooks’ column, “Love and Merit,” on The Opinon Pages:

Redefining Child Support

Siemens Family Law Group - Child SupportChild support can play an important role in helping families with children move on after a separation, but it can also contribute to a host of related problems for some parents. A less traditional view of child support can mean different types of support for different families. Read about how one single mother redefined what child support is for her family and forgave $38,750 in arrears from her ex-husband. “We focus on money, when ‘child support’ also means emotional support, academic support and the supportive power of a male influence in a child’s life,” she says.

Read her story on The New York Times Motherlode blog here: Forgiving $38,750 in Child Support, for My Kids’ Sake

Local Attorneys Supporting Consider Haiti

10360441_10152635429143001_8058354947429754920_nSiemens Family Law Group has formed a charity partnership between Consider Haiti and the Biltmore Marathon. Local bar members Ana Prendergast, Katie Fisher, Patrick McCroskey, Jennifer Moore, Jessica Walters, Matt Roberson, Bryant Webster and Jason Wilson are participating in the race on March 15 along with other members of the community.

Consider Haiti is a local non-profit that provides 110 children Sustainable Nutrition, Clean Water, and Community Health Agents. More information about the work being done in Haiti can be found on the Consider Haiti website,

To support the charity partnership, visit and click ‘Donate Now’ or select a runner to help us meet our goal!

Please also consider supporting the Consider Haiti/Biltmore Marathon partnership by volunteering. We need 40 volunteers on marathon day (3/15/15). Volunteer opportunities and sign-ups can be found on the website:

Thank you for supporting the great work being done by Consider Haiti!

Also see the partnership featured on the 28th Judicial District Bar website.


SFLG Running for Consider Haiti

Consider Haiti

On March 15th, Siemens Family Law Group is taking a little field trip to the Biltmore Marathon/Half Marathon. Dorothy and Ana will be running, and the rest of our team will be there volunteering. We will all be there in support of Consider Haiti, a cause Jim has supported for years and traveled to Haiti with in 2013.

Join us in supporting an amazing local non-profit that is doing incredible and valuable work.  Click on over to to help us meet our goal!

Jim Siemens honored in 2015 Legal Elite

Siemens Family Law Group - balanceSiemens Family Law Group is pleased to announce Jim Siemens’ inclusion in the Family Law section of Business North Carolina magazine’s 2015 Legal Elite.

Legal Elite recognizes the state’s top lawyers in business-related practice areas, chosen by their peers. Members of the North Carolina State Bar are invited to nominate lawyers whose work they have observed firsthand and would rate among the best in their respective categories. Fewer than 3 percent of the state’s lawyers are honored in this year’s Legal Elite. The complete list can be found on the Business NC website.

Siemens Family Law Group celebrates marriage equality under the law

Siemens Family Law Group - NCSiemens Family Law Group has always advocated for equal protection under the law.  Same sex marriage in North Carolina will offer same sex couples the equal protection of the law of marriage that benefits heterosexual couples.  From a legal perspective, this is a just and proper result, and one we fully support.

See The Citizen-Times for the story and pictures from Friday’s Buncombe County marriage celebrations:

Supreme Court paves way for same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriages begin in Asheville Friday, Oct. 10

Shared Parenting for Parents Living Apart

The opinion of Robert E. Emery, PhD, on the benefits of shared parenting is consistent with the perspective I have heard expressed by psychologists in North Carolina educating the Judges we appear in front of. These paragraphs in his recent New York Times article are particularly significant:

“Today, close to half of first marriages end in divorce. About 40 percent of children are born outside of marriage. Custody is routinely shared by parents living apart. Many states have dropped the term ‘custody’ altogether for more family-friendly terms. You no longer win or lose custody. You develop a parenting plan.

Psychologists and decades of research support this shift. Cooperative parenting benefits children, whether parents live together or apart. Just ask any kid whose divorced parents are at war, ‘What are three wishes for your family?’ You can bet that one will be a version of ‘I wish my parents would stop putting me in the middle.”

We see that shared parenting and parenting plans are favored by the Buncombe County Family Court. There are exceptions to that trend, and we can help you evaluate whether your situation might be exceptional.

Read the full New York Times article, “How Divorced Parents Lost Their Rights”: