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Practice Areas

Domestic Law

The law of domestic relations is the intersection of law and family.  It is a broad practice area that includes: divorce, post-divorce, custody and visitation, spousal support, parental rights, termination of parental rights, grandparents’ rights, adoption, and in some cases juvenile delinquency.  Unfortunately, some relationships are too strained to reconcile.  When that happens, you need an honest and ethical attorney with the experience to navigate the intricacies of human relationships. The attorneys in our firm understand how painful a broken relationship can be and we pride ourselves on helping people through these difficult times.

Criminal Defense

Criminal law, as the name suggests, is the body of law that relates to crime.  Thousands of laws are passed at the federal, State, or municipal levels and many of them prohibit certain types of behavior.  They also set forth the punishments to be administered for the corresponding crime.  To be proven guilty, the prosecuting attorney must prove each element of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.”   Many people are familiar with that phrase but few understand the challenges associated with defending an accused against a charge.  If you have been arrested for a crime, your freedom or even your life may be at stake.  At that point, you need an attorney with effective and proven trial skills.  Each of our attorneys feels a calling for trial work and zealously defending the rights of others.


Contracts


The law of contracts governs interactions between two or more parties and the agreements that they make.  Contract law also embraces such concepts as contract formation, disputes, enforcement, and review.  Certain kinds of contract must be in writing.  Others can be formed verbally.  And while most contracts are relatively simple, others can be very complex with very specific provisions for what the parties are trying to achieve.  When parties disagree as to what a contract might require, and they cannot resolve it themselves, they often resort to use of the courts.  Whether you are selling a piece of land, or making your company available for certain services, a well-drafted contract is essential to the success of the agreement.


Business Formation

 There are several types of business structures including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs).  The type of structure you choose will depend heavily on the kind of business you are in as well as what you want to achieve.  Though certain kinds of business begin very informally, they can easily progress to the point that more formal organization becomes necessary.  Business owners must consider what happens if someone gets sick or dies, how the business will acquire new assets, and who will be in charge.  These ideas are essential to ensuring that the business has the best chance at working to everyone’s benefit.  We help our clients take the steps necessary to form businesses and advise them as to what structure may best suit their needs.


Wills & Estate Planning


Estate planning is an act of love.  It provides a way for you to handle uncertainties in your life, and usually includes a will.  Wills are the means by which people dispose of their assets at their death.  But from a legal perspective, a will is only one part of an estate plan.  Estate planning can also address such issues as what happens if you are unable to manage your business interests due to an illness or injury.  In many cases, an estate plan can provide for what will happen if you are unable to make certain healthcare decisions for yourself.  It can your provide your preferences for end of life decisions.  There are many reasons to have a basic estate plan, but one of the most meaningful is that it helps to ensure that our loved ones are not burdened with making important decisions for you that might be contrary to what you want.  We provide basic estate planning services to include the drafting of wills, power of attorney, power of attorney for healthcare, and living wills.


Mediation

 Mediation is a voluntary way to resolve disputes.  When two or more people have a dispute, they can use mediation to reach an agreeable settlement.  The mediator is a third-party neutral, and they work with the disputing parties to help them reach an agreement.  It is a confidential and inexpensive way to reach a solution that everyone can tolerate.  Traditional litigation involves lawyers and courts, and can lead to an outcome that no one appreciates.  With mediation, the parties craft their own solution, one on which they both agree.  Mediation can be used to settle a variety of disputes including divorce issues, custody, contract, and tort.  We provide mediation services to those looking for a low cost, and generally more positive, alternative to traditional litigation.

 * In addition to being a licensed attorney, George Clark Shifflett, III is approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission as a Rule 31 General Civil Mediator.