Attorney and Guardian ad Litem
Meriwether & Tharp, LLC
I have been practicing law for 28 years. I began as a solo practitioner in Cobb County and continued that practice for 16 years, concentrating on family law. This concentration included becoming certified as a Guardian ad Litem. Once certified, I served as a GAL for the entirety of my solo practice yearsin both Superior Court family law cases and abuse and neglect cases in several juvenile courts. In 2009, I had the honor of being appointed as a Supreme Court Fellow on Georgia’s Cold Case Project, which still continues today; this led to me earning the specialty certification as a Child Welfare Law Specialist in 2010. I later served as theEducational Attorney for the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children, developing and presenting training for attorneys and judges on Child Welfare Law. Following that, I served as Staff Attorney for the Georgia Child Support Commission, where I helped update and develop the Georgia Child Support Calculator, and made it available online to attorneys and the public. I also trained attorneys and judges about all aspects of establishing and enforcing child support orders
, and testified before legislative committees on legislation regarding child support.
In 2018, wanting to go back to the active practice of family law, I applied to one firm – Meriwether & Tharp, LLC. My primary motivation in applying to M&T was the firm’s solution-
When serving as a Guardian Ad Litem, my primary focus is the child and healthy relationships. I approach everything I do when appointed to a case – investigating, interviewing, making recommendations – with the well-being of the children in mind. I take this seriously because I am a mom and a grandmother, and I have been through a divorce with custody issues. My personal background allows me to have a deeper understanding of how a custody dispute can affect the children involved. The children in many of these cases are already dealing with the new reality of not seeing both parents every day as accustomed. When this sudden change of routine and circumstances becomes commingled with the children’s own emotional reaction to the situation – feelings that likely include stress and guilt – it can be a very difficult time for them. As the Guardian Ad Litem, I ensure that I am the advocate first and foremost for these children’s interests, and I make it my absolute priority in my work to assist the Court with how best to keep their lives safe and stable. I have recently “refreshed” my Guardian ad Litem skills by attending the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyer Foundation’s GAL Training, and I look forward to using my updated skills in future custody cases to ensure that the best interests of the children involved are effectively and efficiently met.
Office of Pat Buonodono is located at:
145 Towne Lake Parkway, Woodstock, GA 30188