What Does Family Mean to Me?

As an adoptive mother, I believe it has very little to do with blood relations. Family are the people with whom we choose to spend our time making memories, who we will support unconditionally through thick and thin. This may include step-parents, step-siblings, Godparents, old friends, or long time neighbors, in addition to those related by blood.


When my son was three, my ex-husband and I separated and began the divorce process. Our marriage had been unhappy for years and we tried a significant amount of marriage therapy, but in the end we had differences that were insurmountable. However, the one issue where we always saw eye to eye was putting the best interests of our son first. We knew this meant putting our differences aside to parent as a team even after the divorce.

The divorce process is never pleasant, and of course there were some difficult times during the divorce and the transition to shared custody of our son. However, we knew that his happiness depended on us insulating him from the conflict between the two of us. We both learned to put on a happy face for the sake of our son, and eventually the faked happiness turned into genuine happiness as we both moved on with creating a new and happier life for ourselves.

My ex-husband is now remarried, and our son loves his new step-mother and she is a positive influence in his life. We are both actively involved parents and give each other flexibility with schedules and do everything we can to foster a positive relationship between our son and his other parent. Our son is extremely well adjusted and happy because of this, and I enjoy a full life with a career I love, travel, dating, and pursuit of hobbies without the stress and sadness of an unhappy relationship. Divorce can be a blessing for all involved!

Professional Resume

After Jeanette Soltys graduated from the University of Georgia and then Wake Forest University School of Law, she held a position representing the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services in abuse and neglect cases. This gave her extensive courtroom experience that enables her to litigate the most complex child custody cases. She has worked for a decade focusing on divorce and custody cases, handling hundreds of family law matters throughout metro-Atlanta.

Her achievements in advocacy began in law school, when she exposed that the Atlanta Municipal Court was restricting public access to weekend hearings. Her work was highlighted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and her efforts caused the Atlanta Municipal Court to reevaluate its practice of barring the public from the courtroom on weekends. Additionally, she earned two CALI Awards for Academic Excellence and received a 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO.

Jeanette is a member of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, Atlanta Bar Association, and Cobb Bar Association. She regularly presents to the public on topics pertaining to family law, and has presented at Continuing Legal Education seminars for the Atlanta Bar Association and the National Business Institute.

Jeanette has taught multiple Continuing Legal Education courses on family law for other attorneys. She is often invited by other organization and professionals to speak on issues involving divorce, child custody, and adoption. To catch Jeanette at her next speaking engagement, follow our calendar on our newsletter.

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