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Law Offices of J.G. Woodward

518 Georgia Avenue, Suite 100

Chattanooga, TN 37403

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 28011, Chattanooga, TN 37424

(423) 834-7166 or (706) 426-4132

Fax: (706) 426-4138

[email protected]

Reliable. Professional. Responsive.

My Blog


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What happens after foreclosure?

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 9:49 PM Comments comments (193)
If  we are foreclosed upon, do we have to immediately vacate the property?”  

The answer to that question isn’t as straightforward as one may think.
Generally, there are two different paths to remove the former homeowner after being foreclosed upon: (1) formal eviction process, and (2) informal negotiations between former homeowner and new owner (usually the lender bank or the highest bidder at the foreclosure sale). The first option of formal eviction can be costly and requires additional involvement of the justice system.  It is comparable to the process for evicting a tenant who has overstayed his/her welcome. The second route will generally take the form of the new owner making a monetary offer to the former owner in exchange for an agreement to vacate the premises peacefully and without causing any damage. This “cash for keys” option saves all parties from having to go through the hassle and costs of the eviction process.
Depending on the path chosen, a homeowner will be able to stay in his or her home for a short time period of perhaps a few weeks; others may continue to live in the foreclosed upon home for longer and even indefinite periods of time. Each case is different, and the length of time will depend on the laws of the state where the property is located, how aggressive the new owner is in ensuring the vacancy of the property, and any agreement entered into.

Grandparent's Rights in Tennessee

Posted on September 9, 2013 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (65)
The Administrative Office of the Courts made the following release today:

Nashville, Tenn. – A Tennessee Supreme Court ruling today clarifies that parents and grandparents must satisfy the same legal standards in disputes over modifications to existing court-ordered grandparent visitation.
In the Court’s unanimous Opinion, a parent or grandparent asking a court to modify or terminate court-ordered grandparent visitation must prove that a material change in circumstances has occurred and that a modification or termination of grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interests.
The Court reaffirmed earlier decisions that said parents are presumed to have superior parental rights in initial legal proceedings to determine grandparent visitation. The Court also reiterated that, to overcome this presumption and obtain visitation, a grandparent must prove: (1) that parents oppose grandparent visitation; (2) that a child will suffer substantial harm if grandparent visitation is denied; and (3) that grandparent visitation is in a child’s best interest.
Today’s Opinion goes on to say that, while parents are afforded the opportunity in an initial proceeding to rely upon the presumption of superior parental rights, the principle does not continue to apply in later proceedings to modify or terminate that grandparent visitation.
In the case before the Court, the grandparents received visitation through a court order that both parties agreed to. Not long after the order was filed with the court, the grandparents’ relationship with the child’s parents deteriorated. The grandparents asked the trial court to modify the visitation arrangement agreed to in court and grant them more time with the child.
The parents, in response, asked the trial court to end all grandparent visitation. The trial court declined to terminate grandparent visitation but also declined to increase significantly the grandparents’ visitation with the child. The trial court found that the decline in the parties’ relationship amounted to a material change in circumstances and that the best interests of the child required minor modifications of the previously agreed to visitation schedule.
The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment, concluding that the trial court should have taken into account the superior parental rights when considering the grandparents’ request to modify court-ordered visitation. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, concluded that the trial court applied the correct standard, and reinstated the trial court’s judgment modifying the grandparent visitation arrangement.
The Supreme Court did not agree with portions of the trial court’s judgment finding the mother in contempt of the initial order for grandparent visitation and requiring her to pay a portion of the grandparents’ attorneys’ fees. The Court cautioned that its decision should “in no way be understood as condoning the acrimonious and uncooperative relationship that has existed between” the parents and grandparents and urged them “to refocus on how best to foster the welfare of the child . . . and allow this goal to guide their future interactions with each other.”
To read the Neal Lovlace et al. v. Timothy Kevin Copley Opinion, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit

The keys to remember when it comes to grandparent's rights are:

The three part statutory test:

(1) that parents oppose grandparent visitation;
(2) that a child will suffer substantial harm if grandparent visitation is denied; and
(3) that grandparent visitation is in a child’s best interest.

And, that under this new decision the same requirements for any modification of a prior domestic order are required:

1.  A showing that there has been a material change in circumstances; and
2.  That the modification is in the best interest of the child.

As always, you should consult an attorney for advice and decision-making in any legal matter.  Give us a call today to speak with an experienced attorney regarding all of your legal needs. (423) 265 - 8804.

False Claims Act - Remedy for being put in a tough position by an employer.

Posted on August 24, 2013 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (166)
The False Claims Act, passed in 1863 to combat rampant fraud committed by government-contracted individuals and companies, is today the federal government’s most powerful tool in fighting fraud, waste, and other wrongdoing. Every year this type of fraud amounts to billions of dollars in lost taxpayer money.

The FCA’s qui tam “whistleblower” provision, which allows people not affiliated with the U.S. government to file lawsuits on behalf of the government when they witness fraud, gross waste, mismanagement, abuse of power, and other wrongdoing representing a substantial financial loss or threat to public health and safety.

Because whistleblowers take giant personal risks when they choose to expose fraud, often facing demotion, termination of job, and other forms of retaliation, the FCA awards plaintiffs who file lawsuits on behalf of the government. They may collect 15-30 percent of the recovery.

The most common type of whistleblower lawsuit involves defrauding the U.S. government by overcharging for goods and services. 

Many whistleblower protections have been strengthened under the FCA and other laws, such as those governing securities fraud under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and tax fraud under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Whistleblower laws often have the added advantage of empowering employees to police operations and transactions from the inside, which is almost always more effective and affordable than relying on federal regulatory officials to find and correct waste, fraud, and other wrongdoing.

If you have any questions regarding these type of claims or a particular circumstance you are in give me a call (423) 265-8804.

Local Court Links

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 8:59 PM Comments comments (29)
Here are some local court websites:

Hamilton County General Sessions (Civil):

Hamilton County General Sessions (Criminal):

Hamilton County Circuit Court Filing Fees:

Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit - Catoosa, Walker, Dade and Chattooga Counties:

Divorce in General

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 8:57 PM Comments comments (62)
Any divorce is a difficult situation.  I often tell my clients that everything in marriage has been about piecing two lives together.  Spouses focus on how to live together and, often times, approach every challenge and situation thinking about how two people will approach a situation.  When folks get divorced they are attempting to reverse that entire thought and action process by learning once again how to do things as a singular individual.  It can be a scary proposition emotionally, physically and mentally.  That is where a good attorney steps in.  By taking the time to understand my clients and learn where they are coming from in a situation I can help.  Sound legal advice that matches a client's objectives while at the same time protecting them from potential pit falls is a key to any good lawyer.  It is based upon trust, mutual respect, and confidence.  That is what I provide for my clients everyday.  I not only get to know them as individuals but I allow them to get to know me.  Set up a free consultation today and come discuss your issues with me.  We can work to resolve them together and you can have the peace of mind you deserve.