shutterstock_74974012-1-300x300When I first started programming many years ago, there was a BASIC program known as “Eliza” that employed early natural language processing — you could enter sentences on the keyboard, and Eliza would output her response to you on a monitor.  Essentially, the program’s premise was that Eliza was your psychotherapist and if you made certain statements or asked certain questions it would respond, sometimes eerily, in a manner like what you would expect during an actual therapy session.  There were limitations to Eliza, however.  If you interacted with the program for more than a brief period, you would soon get an answer that was nonsensical.  Eliza could emulate intelligent behavior but could not learn or adapt.  With those restrictions, the possibility for Eliza to cause humans any actual harm was extremely limited, and Eliza would in hindsight have been better categorized as simulated, rather than artificial, intelligence.  If a programmer had maliciously modified Eliza’s code to somehow poison the simulated therapy session causing the “patient” emotional distress, it would have been a rather simple exercise to find the programmer who entered the malicious code at fault for any resulting harm. 

Fast forward to the present day, and the release of “chatbots.”  According to IBM, “Modern AI chatbots now use natural language understanding (NLU) to discern the meaning of open-ended user input, overcoming anything from typos to translation issues. Advanced AI tools then map that meaning to the specific “intent” the user wants the chatbot to act upon and use conversational AI to formulate an appropriate response. These AI technologies leverage both machine learning and deep learning—different elements of AI, with some nuanced differences—to develop an increasingly granular knowledge base of questions and responses informed by user interactions.” (   

When I asked the chatbot ChatGPT about AI, it responded that: 

pexels-ketut-subiyanto-4246187-300x200How do I get my ex to move out?

Legally speaking, I cannot recommend you harass your ex or engage in any threatening or harassing behavior to remove them from your home. Engaging in such behavior may have negative legal consequences. However, there are legal ways to get your ex to move out.

Breaking up is never easy, and when you live under the same roof as your ex-partner, it can make a difficult situation worse. If you can no longer co-exist in the same space, finding a way for your ex to move out peacefully and legally is essential to maintaining your own well-being as you begin the next chapter of your life.

ANDY-HEADSHOT-SEPT-2022-1-6-1-2-240x300Cole Law is proud to announce that Managing Shareholder Andy Goldstein has been selected to the Super Lawyers 2023 Mid-South Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in Tennessee are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit


pexels-oleksandr-p-2781814-300x200With the return of the school year, most parents are no doubt excited to have some peace and quiet around the house during the week. Understandably, many parents pay close attention to what their children are learning in public schools, particularly those with younger students going through key formative years. In recent times, increased attention has been drawn to public school curriculums and precisely what educators are teaching the future generations of this country. As part of this process, many parents have made their thoughts known.

What rights do parents have in directing their children’s education?

In 2000, the United States Supreme Court, in deciding Troxel v. Granville, reaffirmed the longstanding precedent that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution includes the right of parents to “establish a home and bring up their children” and “to control the education of their own.” The Supreme Court cited longstanding decisions such as Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), in reaffirming that the Due Process Clause includes the right to direct the education and upbringing of one’s children. Given this longstanding and extensive line of precedent, the Supreme Court pointed out that it could not be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. In other words, when it comes to the education and upbringing of their children, parents are constitutionally entitled to have their say.

Copy-of-Copy-of-Kids-are-expensive-paul-blog-post-YouTube-Livestream-Video-1-300x169What Is a Military Letter of Reprimand?

A military letter of reprimand (LOR) is an administrative censure given to a servicemember for alleged failure to comply with military rules or regulations. A letter of reprimand is a serious matter, and servicemembers subject to receiving one should carefully consider their options. A letter of reprimand is important because this letter might stay in a servicemember’s file and impact the ability of that servicemember to be promoted, selected for new training and assignments, or lead to administrative discharge in some circumstances.  Any servicemember that is committed to the military as a career could find an LOR in their record to be seriously problematic.

Letters of reprimand are often issued by General Officers and may sometimes be referred to by the acronym ‘GOMOR’ for General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand.

image-2-300x167No engaged couple goes into a marriage planning to get divorced—but maybe they should. As a Tennessee bride-to-be I am certainly more concerned with flower arrangements and dress fittings than I am with whether the marriage will eventually sour. Unfortunately, the romance and excitement of planning a perfect wedding often overshadow the harsh reality that divorce is a common outcome of modern marriages, and it can be beneficial for you and your significant other to have an asset division plan in place before saying “I do.”

Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” are probably the most well-known premarital contract thanks to their widespread use by the rich and famous. Because of their association with society’s elite, prenups notoriously suffer from a negative reputation and are commonly believed to be an indication that the marriage is not expected to last. This common (albeit misguided) characterization of prenups means that it can be difficult and awkward to broach the topic with a partner.

Tennessee residents wishing to protect their individual property can avoid the delicate discussion altogether. In 2007, the Tennessee Investment Services Trust (“TIST”) Act established a new form of domestic asset protection by allowing a person to unilaterally transfer property into an Investment Services Trust (“IST”). Tennessee is one of only seventeen (17) states to offer this type of trust, thus making it a fairly unique method for local residents to shield their property from future ex-spouses.

Copy-of-Kids-are-expensive-paul-blog-post-YouTube-Livestream-Video-300x169With the average age of marriage increasing, people are bringing more and more assets into a marriage. With that in mind, you should consider how to protect those assets in the event of a divorce. People have a tendency to scoff at the idea of a prenuptial agreement, also known as an antenuptial agreement or ‘prenup.’ Prenups are viewed as a sign that you do not think your marriage will work out or that you do not trust your future spouse. But I will ask you this: Would you rather decide how your assets and liabilities are divided when you are in love with your partner and have each other’s best interests at heart, or would you rather wait to have that discussion until the worst-case scenario has occurred and you now despise each other?

What goes into a prenup?

A prenup helps ensure that you and your future spouse have a clear understanding of the division of finances and property if a divorce were to occur. It can also be used to outline how income will be utilized during the marriage, i.e. who pays what bills. In addition, a prenup affords you the opportunity to discuss various scenarios, such as whether you will receive additional finances at the time of divorce if you stayed home to take care of the kids.

Kids-are-expensive-paul-blog-post-YouTube-Livestream-Video-300x169Kids Are Expensive $!$

It is commonly said that one of the most expensive choices that can be made in life is having children. According to CBS News, the cost of raising a child from birth to age seventeen is approximately $310,000![i] In Tennessee the payment of child support is mandatory in cases where the child is born out of wedlock, where the parents are divorced, or where there is a domestic violence order of protection. The Tennessee child support guidelines may be found in Chapter 1240-02-04 of the Rules of the Tennessee Department of Human Services Child Support Services Division. The Social Security Act located at 42 U.S.C. §§ 651-669 requires states to establish guidelines for setting and modifying child support. Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 36-5-101(e), 71-1-105(a)(15), and 71-1-132 implement these requirements and direct the Tennessee Department of Human Services to establish guidelines to enforce those provisions of federal law.

In general, a child support order is based on the alternate residential parent’s earnings, income, and other evidence of ability to pay. The Child Support Guidelines define important terms in 1240-02-04.02 including Adjusted Gross Income, Adjusted Support Obligation, Alternate Residential Parent, Days, Pro Rata, and uninsured medical expenses.

BLUE-2023-Facebook-Post-Landscape-300x251Custody Determination and the Permanent Parenting Plan

Throughout Tennessee, courts are often tasked with rendering an initial child custody determination regarding one or more minor children between parents. These custody decisions – which are ultimately enshrined in the law in the form of court orders issued by a Tennessee court of competent jurisdiction – may occur between parents regardless of whether they are married. At the conclusion of a case where child custody is at issue, the courts in Tennessee will enter a Permanent Parenting Plan, setting out the parenting schedule between both parents for their children, and making provisions for the payment of child support, health insurance, and other important matters pertaining to the parties’ child(ren).

Once a Tennessee court has made a child custody decision, a parent displeased with the custody decision can appeal. However, if there is a significant change in the circumstances surrounding the child custody decision such that the Permanent Parenting Plan needs to be modified in order to continue to serve the best interests of the child or children, then a parent may seek a modification of the Permanent Parenting Plan by a court of competent jurisdiction. Circumstances giving rise to a basis for modification are myriad and may include one or both parents relocating from the original jurisdiction where the child custody decision was originally made.

Servicemembers that are in the process of determining if they are fit to return to duty or should be medically separated or discharged from the military due to their illnesses or injuries participate in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). The military calls it integrated because this process is done in conjunction with the federal department of Veterans Affairs to also determine the servicemembers entitlement to VA disability at the same time as determining the servicemember’s entitlement (if any) to military disability for retirement purposes. More information regarding the IDES is located on the VA website here, and the website here.

The possible outcomes from IDES for the military are:

  1. Finding the Servicemember is fit for duty and is returned to duty. There is therefore no medical separation or retirement for the servicemeber. Presumably the servicemember will continue his military service until later separated or retired.
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