Patrick L. Meriwether

Patrick L. Meriwether

Meriwether & Tharp, LLC
  • Divorce, Family Law, Domestic Violence
  • Florida, Georgia
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Summary

I co-founded Meriwether & Tharp, LLC with Robert “Bob” Tharp in 1998. In the beginning, the firm was just two young lawyers who thought that they could make a difference by teaming up together. At present, we are the largest family law firm in the state of Georgia. The firm has over 40 lawyers dedicated to helping clients get through difficult times.

In 2009, we surveyed the family law landscape and decided to make a change. We began to develop a vision of a better way to practice family law. As our vision became a reality, the firm grew.

As the practice grew, our team honed our courtroom skills to zealously advocate for our clients. But, more importantly, we learned that lawyers should work to resolve most family law cases. In some respects, working to resolve cases is much more challenging than litigating the cases. It requires digging in to find out where the problems are and looking for solutions. Often solutions are found outside of the confines of the legal system.

In addition to working to resolve the case, we also help our clients perform a three step cost-benefit analysis of their situation to help them make wise decisions. First, we help the client understand the legal strengths and weaknesses of a their case. Next, we discuss with the client the financial repercussions and costs of pursuing a specific litigation plan. And finally, we explore the long term 'emotional' price of any particular plan. The emotional price can include the value of ending a case earlier so that the client can move on with their life. The emotional price can also include the toll protracted litigation can have on children.

We are here to help. Sometimes that help involves giving the clients certain tools to save their marriage and never hire us. We love it when that opportunity comes along.

When I am not helping someone with their divorce, or trying to save their marriage, you will find me with my wife and kids or in my woodworking shop.

Practice Areas
  • Divorce
  • Family Law
  • Domestic Violence
Fees
  • Credit Cards Accepted
    Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Florida
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Georgia
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Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Partner
Meriwether & Tharp, LLC
- Current
Tax Consultant
Arthur Anderson
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His position at Arthur Anderson involved providing tax advice to a variety of large corporations. Mr. Meriwether, however, missed the personal satisfaction that comes with running his own practice and assisting small businesses and individuals with their legal needs. This is where he felt that he could really make the biggest difference.
Education
University of Florida Levin College of Law
J.D.
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University of Miami
B.A. | Marine Biology & General Business
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Awards
Super Lawyer
Thomson Reuters
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, we limit the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public.
Super Lawyer
Thomson Reuters
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, we limit the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public.
Georgia Legal Elite
Georgia Trend Magazine
Georgia Legal Elite
Georgia Trend Magazine
Professional Associations
Georgia Bar
Member
- Current
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Florida Bar
Member
- Current
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Publications
Articles & Publications
Reading and Interpreting Financial Documents
NBI CLE Matrials
Court Appearance Justifies Positive First Impression
Cherokee Tribune
Effect of Supersedeas in a Hotly Contested Divorce Case
The Family Law Review
Holiday Stress and The Courts
Cherokee Tribune
Top 10 iPhone/iPad Apps for a Family Law Attorney
Atlanta Bar Association, Family Law Section
Speaker
National Paralegal Institute
Speaker
National Business Institute
Speaking Engagements
113 - Pre-Nuptial Agreements - When Are They Enforceable?, Atlanta, Georgia
The New Talk 106.7
Certifications
Mediation
Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution
Arbitration
Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution
Legal Answers
8 Questions Answered

Q. Good evening I was just served with documents 30 minutes ago on 6/5/19 stating my husband wants a divorce
A: If the divorce is filed here in Georgia, you normally have 30 days from the date of service to file an answer. To get a better understanding of what is going on, you should at least have a consultation with a divorce lawyer near you. If the divorce was filed in another state, you should contact a family law attorney in the state and county where the divorce was filed.
Q. After judge signs final divorce and sets child support payment through the court how long does it normally take
A: Typically, the father is supposed to start making payments to the mother on a monthly basis immediately following the Court order. She has two choices at this point. Hire an attorney for file for contempt, or go to child support services. With child support services, Georgia will transfer it to Alabama, where he is currently working. As with most governmental agencies, this can take time. But, they can suspend driver’s licenses and seize IRS refunds to enforce an order. It may be worth it to you to at least consult with a lawyer to determine which option would be in your daughter’s best interest.
Q. Are there any family law attorneys that will accept payments to hire instead of a huge retainer?
A: In some situations, you may be able to handle a case on your own with the assistance of legal counsel through divorce coaching or 'ala-carte' legal services. To understand what this might look like, you can listen to this podcast episode - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/109-divorce-coaching-how-to-get-legal-help-without/id1276537655?i=1000428633720
Q. What can I expect going into court?
A: Based on the limited facts you just shared, it does not sound like he has a strong case on any of his requests. The statute that guides the Court in deciding parenting time and custody is OCGA 19-9-3. Here is a link - https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-19/chapter-9/article-1/19-9-3 The standard is what is in the children's best interests. This statute lays out the factors the Court should consider. If you have to go to Court, just explain to the Judge how awarding you primary physical custody is in your children's best interests based on these factors. Basically, these factors give you a framework or outline of what evidence you need to present to the Judge. If you are struggling with formulating what to say, consider having at least a consultation with a lawyer if you cannot afford to hire one full time.
Q. How can i petition the judge to get my children back? i cannot afford a lawyer and I have all the proof I would need.
A: If the father never legitimated, he has no legal rights. A lawyer cannot change that. Only a Judge can issue an Order Legitimizing your son. You should be able to pick up your son. If DFCS is involved, let them know your side of the story. Unless there is something else going on, I am not sure why they would keep your son from you. If there is an existing custody order, you should consider filing for contempt of court if he is refusing to return him. Representing yourself on a case like this is challenging. If you cannot afford to retain a lawyer full time, then consider having a lawyer that you can meet with on an as needed basis to give you guidance throughout the case. To get an idea of what this might look like, listen to our podcast, Episode 109 - How to Get Legal Help without Hiring a Lawyer. You can find it in most podcast directories by searching for Divorce Team Radio (the show covers more than just divorce). If you cannot even afford to have consultations with a lawyer, check with Legal Aid. Sometimes they can help if you qualify. You can also call the State Bar of Georgia to ask for their pro-bono referral list.
Q. How can I fight for my children without a lawyer?
A: Representing yourself in Court is possible. The Court cannot give you legal advice, however. What you should consider is having a lawyer coach. You just meet with him or her on an as-needed basis. To get an idea of what this might look like, listen to our podcast, Episode 109 - How to Get Legal Help without Hiring a Lawyer. You can find it in most podcast directories by searching for Divorce Team Radio (the show covers more than just divorce). If you cannot even afford to have consultations with a lawyer, check with Legal Aid. Sometimes they can help if you qualify. You can also call the State Bar of Georgia to ask for their pro-bono referral list.
Q. If my ex is having his new wife do everything for him and badmouths me to my son, what can I do? Back to court?
A: If you already have primary custody, I am not sure there is anything to gain by going back to court concerning the new wife. If he is disparaging you to your son and your agreement has an anti-disparagement clause (anti-'badmouthing' clause), you could bring a Contempt of Court action. One of the things to consider, however, is what evidence do you have. Some evidence is admissible and some not. It might be worth sitting down with an attorney for a consultation to discuss your options and review the evidence you have. You can also consider reaching out to him about the comments he is saying about your son. There is a way to do it, and a way not to do it however. For examples of what I am talking about, you can listen to our podcast Divorce Team Radio available in most podcast directories. It is episode 23. There are also good co-parenting shows there, like Episode 97 and 84.
Q. Can a threat to come to your residence be considered harassment?
A: Here are a few things to do. If you are represented, have your lawyer reach out to your ex's lawyer about this and ask for it to stop or you will seek other remedies. If your ex is using her sister and others to harass you, it could be considered a violation of the non-harassment provision of the domestic standing order (if one has been filed in your case). If your ex's sister is doing this on her own and she has threatened physical violence, this could be considered making a terroristic threat. That is a crime in Georgia and you could go to the police and show them the threats she has made. They might call her and strongly suggest she stop. They also might arrest her, which could create some serious backlash from your ex. The emotional response from your ex could expand your case making it more contentious. If you are represented, I would strongly suggest discussing your options with your lawyer before taking any action. If her sister suddenly shows up at your house, ask her to leave. If she does not, she is trespassing. Call the police. They will ask her to leave and they will most likely inform her that returning could result in her arrest for criminal trespass. Depending on the nature of the threats and the evidence you have that your ex is driving all this contact, you may have a basis for a family violence action against your ex. I do not have enough information to state whether this is a viable claim.
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Contact & Map
Woodstock Office
145 Towne Lake Parkway
Suite 300
Woodstock, GA 30188
USA
Toll-Free: (678) 879-9000
Telephone: (678) 527-5191
Cell: (678) 879-9000
Fax: (678) 298-8995
Meriwether & Tharp - Marietta Office
288 Lawrence Street
Marietta, GA 30060
USA
Telephone: (678) 879-9000
Alpharetta Office
11475 Great Oaks Way
Suite 125
Alpharetta, GA 30022
USA
Telephone: (678) 879-9000
Fax: (678) 879-9001
Atlanta (Midtown) Office
1545 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 300
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30309
USA
Telephone: (678) 879-9000
Canton Office
150 North Street
Suite F
Canton, GA 30114
USA
Telephone: (678) 879-9000