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Child Support: Family Comes First

Making sure that you have reasonable financial support in order to properly care for your child after divorce or separation, is of the utmost priority for many parents. If you are filing for support from your former spouse, we highly recommend seeking a child support attorney for a case evaluation such as the . We can talk with you more about your specific needs and how we may be of assistance during the child support case process.  

Child Support attorneys work tirelessly to award you the maximum child support possible, in order to allow you to take the best care of your child or children.

A judge can determine whether to grant you child support and exactly how much is due from your spouse on a recurring basis. The factors that may be involved in the judge’s decision may include the following:

1) Annual Income of Parents – a formula may be used to determine the financial obligation of the non-custodial parent. In this scenario, income is defined as a combination of the parent’s salary, pension, trust/estate and social security payments.

2) Yearly Expenses – the yearly expenses of each parent can play a role when calculating child support. Sometimes, the non-custodial parent may try to spend more money in order to prevent from having to pay more in child support. An attorney can help determine if this may be the case for you.

3) Needs of Children – a primary factor is how much will provide cost of basic needs and a comfort of living for your children.

4) Ages of Children – depending on their age, children will have different needs. The amount of child support may fluctuate depending on their stage of life and growth.

5) Education & Interests – a child may have education opportunities or interests (such as music, sports, dance) that require fees or cost for special clothing.

6) Health Insurance – a large factor is the cost of health insurance for the child, and which parent is able to provide coverage. A judge may determine how much each parent will have to contribute to the costs of medical care.

Children can become silent victims to their parent’s separation. By hiring a child support attorney such as the child custody lawyer Bloomington IL locals turn to, they can fight for a financial amount that will support your child, plus some. We believe family is the biggest priority. We want to see you and your children happy and healthy, due to sufficient support from your previous partner. If things change and you need more help, we can offer counsel on how you can go about submitting this request for an increase in support amount.

 

Thanks to authors at Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into Family Law.

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I have a mentally disabled child and he/she reaching the age 18.

        As any concerned parent, you are worried what is going to happen to your kid once he/age gets eighteen. Most parents worry that their kid may leave home, not continue education, may not get a job, and/or may get into a legal trouble. But, as a parent of a mentally disabled child that is reaching the age eighteen, your concern is how am I going to take care of my daughter or son? Will the school let my son continue with education? Will the doctor continue treating my daughter knowing she may be incapable to consent? An attorney, like a family law lawyer Texas trusts, understands how stressful these questions can be.

        If you have any of these concerns, you have options.

  1. Guardianship: Guardianship is typically over a child or an individual that has become incapacitated due to a disability or age. A parent is considered an automatic guardian over his/her child. A guardianship by the Courts is not necessary. It’s when the child becomes a legal adult at the age of eighteen (18) is when a guardianship is necessary. A Court in power has to give you the authority to be a guardian over another person, even your own son or daughter. Guardianship comes in two forms – over the person, and/or the estate. A parent or applicant has to file an application with the Court. The application requires the applicant to take the proposed disable person to a doctor that will provide a certified medical examination report which will be submitted to the Court. The Court will appoint an attorney ad litem that will represent the proposed disabled person’s rights. The Court will then evaluate everyone’s position and decide if a guardianship is suitable in a particular matter or not.
  2. Medical and/or Durable Power of Attorney: If your adult child is physically disabled but otherwise able to provide legal consent, the Court may not grant a guardianship. But to make things easier on yourself or your adult child, the adult child may sign a medical power of attorney to allow you to make decision about his/her medical treatment. Same for durable power of attorney. If your adult child is able to legally consent, he/she may grant you the power to handle his/her legal, monetary, and physical affairs via a durable power of attorney.

        If you have a mentally or physically disabled son or daughter nearing the age of 18 and you would like to discuss the options available in depth, contact a lawyer today.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into  guardianship and family law.

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How Can Being Under the Influence Impact Your Criminal Charges?

When a person is impaired or intoxicated, it is likely that they may make some pretty bad decisions due to lowered inhibitions. Being under the influence can result in a diminished mental capacity that could impact the likelihood that a person intentionally committed a crime. Being intoxicated when a crime is committed is not a solid enough defense by itself. However, in situations where a person is killed without forethought or premeditation, manslaughter may be an appropriate charge. For example, if a drunk driver were to hit and kill another person, the result may be manslaughter, which is murder charge of a lesser degree.  Although a manslaughter charge is serious, the repercussions are far less than a first-degree murder charge. Meaning, a first-degree murder charge could result in death penalty whereas manslaughter charge does not. There are two types of manslaughter:

  • Voluntary: is when a person claims that they were justified in the crime that they committed. For example, when a person claims self defense against their attacker.
  • Involuntary: is when a person is killed unintentionally due to the criminal negligence of another.  For example, if a person is driving while intoxicated and hits a person crossing the street.

Reasonable Doubt

The prosecution must be able to prove that a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that they must be able to convince the jury that a person is guilty based on the case that they present. In most states, an attorney may use the involuntary intoxication defense if you committed a crime when you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol involuntarily. The drawback is that it can be challenging to prove that someone was under the influence against his or her own accord. Examples include:

  • The unknowing consumption of drugs or alcohol
  • Being forced to take drugs or alcohol

Voluntary intoxication is when someone knowingly and intentionally consumes drugs and/or alcohol. This type of defense alone is usually not successful in discharging criminal liability.

If you have committed a crime and are in need of legal representation, contact a criminal attorney today such as the Criminal Offenses Attorney MD locals turn to. They may be able to help in an outcome that results in a lesser sentence. Accessing their knowledge will be vital when learning specific details as the laws around intoxication and criminal defense can vary depending on the state you live.

 

Thanks to authors at The Law Offices of Frederick J. Brynn PLC for their insight into Criminal Law.

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Infractions, misdemeanor, felony, what is the difference?

 

Infraction

Infractions are the least serious type of crime a person can commit, they are only punishable by fine. They typically occur when a law enforcement officer sees someone doing something wrong, write a ticket and hand it to the person. The person then must pay a fine for whatever action this might have been. Infractions usually involve little to no time in court (much less jail), and include things like traffic tickets, littering, walking your dog without a leash, jaywalking, and some minor drug possession charges in some states. However, if infractions remain unaddressed or unpaid, the law typically provides for an increasing range of fines and potential penalties. It is always advised to consult a Criminal defense lawyer Arlington, TX trusts to determine what else you need to do to address any infractions on your record.

Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions. They are usually defined as a crime which is punishable by up to a year in jail time. Sometimes that jail time is served in a local county jail instead of a high security prison. Other states define a misdemeanor as a crime that is not a felony or an infraction. Prosecutors generally have a great degree of flexibility in deciding what crimes to charge, how to punish them, and what kinds of plea bargains to negotiate. Depending on the crime committed, there are different levels to measure the punishment. Misdemeanors are typically put into three categories class C, B, and A. Class C misdemeanor is the lowest, punishable only by a maximum fine of $500 with no jail time in Texas. Class B is punishable with a maximum $2000 fine and up 180 days in county jail. Lastly, a class A misdemeanor is punishable with a maximum $4000 fine and up to a year in county jail.

Felony

Felonies are the most serious types of crimes. They are usually defined by the fact that they are punishable by prison sentences of greater than one year. Since the punishments can be so severe, courtroom procedure must be strictly observed so that the defendants’ rights stay protected. Felonies are usually crimes that are viewed severely by society, and include crimes such as murder, rape, burglary, kidnapping, or arson. However, felonies can also be punished in a range of ways so that the punishment matches the severity of the crime. Felony crimes are categorized to five different levels: capital punishments, first degree, second degree, third degree and state jail. Capital punishment is the death sentence which is used in the Texas criminal justice system. If the defendant was a juvenile at the time the crime was committed and the prosecutor chooses not to seek the death penalty, then a capital felony is punishable by life imprisonment if convicted. The first-degree felony can result in life imprisonment or five to 99 years’ imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. Second degree can be punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. Third degree felonies can punishable by two to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. Lastly, state jail felony in Texas are punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

 

Thank you to our friends and contributors, Brandy Austin Law, for their insights into criminal defense.

 

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Job Hunting During Divorce

 

Job hunting during divorce can be a result of job loss as well as the desire to make more money and be better able to afford life after divorce. Whether you have suddenly become unemployed or are thinking about making more money for the future, job hunting during your divorce can lead to more anxiety, time and expense if your change of employment.

 

Employment decisions can affect your divorce case

Job hunting during divorce could lead to extra time and resources spent setting things back on course when you change jobs. If a temporary hearing has already taken place, the issues of income, support and child custody might be affected by a significant change in circumstances. The temporary orders in your divorce case might need to be adjusted with a job change which can cost you time and money.

 

Employee benefits such as health insurance are aspects of divorce financials and the division of responsibility between parents with children. If you are job hunting and considering offers that no longer offer health insurance, you may be required to pay out of pocket if your divorce judge orders you to maintain coverage on your soon to be former spouse and for your children.

Where is the new job located? Is it within the geographical area your divorce judge expects you to be? If the new job is far away or in another state, you may need permission from the court to move with children.

 

The impact of major employment decisions during divorce

It might be a wise idea to postpone a job hunt until after a divorce several reasons. First, the pressure and anxiety and during a divorce proceeding may affect judgment and emotions. It may be better to make major decisions about changing employment when there are not already major life events taking place.

 

Maintaining the status quo during divorce and when children are involved, not disrupting them, is important in the eyes of the family law court that may be compelled to make important decisions about parenting and the best interest of the child.

 

Even if you are unemployed during your divorce, it might not be the best time to look for new work. Your attorney, like a divorce attorney Collin County, TX relies on, can seek interim attorney’s fees and costs to help you pay for the divorce and you may be able to receive temporary and permanent financial support depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. Seeking the advice of your divorce and family law attorney about job hunting during divorce is recommended.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Scroggins Family Law for their insight into job hunting during divorce.

 

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The Importance of Having a Will in Place

Many believe that they do not need to have a will in place because their financial situation may not appear to be one that warrants division of assets. This is a common myth of estate planning, you do not need to be wealthy to put a will in place. The following outlines some of the most important reasons writing a will is vital to ensuring that your final wishes are handled in the way you would like.

Appointing an Executor

You will not be able to have a voice in who will be appointed as your estate executor if you die without a will in place. Putting a will in place before you pass away will ensure that the person you would like to carry out your final wishes and abide by the laws within your state is appointed as executor of your estate.

Your Children

One of the primary reasons for creating a will if you have children is to determine a plan of care for them in the event that you pass away. You will be able to appoint a guardian to care for your children which will ensure that the wrong person does not assume this responsibility. If you have children, a guardian may be appointed by the court if you do not have a will in place.    

Beneficiaries

Determining who will benefit from your assets, will help mitigate contentious family arguments over your estate. When distributing your estate, you will also be able to indicate who you would not like to receive your assets. This will prevent people who should not receive portions of your estate from contesting your will.

Donations

If you would like to ensure that your legacy lives on in a philanthropic way, you can outline in your estate plan recipients of charitable gifts or donations.

Estate Taxes

You estate’s value will diminish when you distribute assets to charities, family and friends. This will ensure that beneficiaries do not have to pay as high of taxes.

Help Things Run Smoothly

It can be stressful for family grieving the loss of a loved one to be hit with the stressors of lawyer fees and funeral bills. While a family is grieving, having a will in place will protect your family from having to manage legal and financial issues.

Putting a will together will make sure that your assets are divided to your loved ones and distributed to them in the way that you would like. Contact an estate planning lawyer O’Fallon MO citizens trust to schedule an initial consultation if you have been considering writing a will.

 


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Legacy Law Center for their insight into estate planning.

 

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Probate, Wills, and Trusts: Common Misconceptions about Estate Planning

Sorting out affairs when it comes to end of life can seem rather elusive to most. It can feel like a daunting process to establish a plan of how your assets will be dispersed to loved ones, especially if you have gone through a divorce. Determining the details of your estate plan should be left to a qualified attorney that can help you decipher your final wishes. The following outlines the most common misconceptions when it comes to probate, wills and trusts.

  • Your Spouse Will Inherit All of Your Assets
    • Often a spouse or couple will leave all of their assets to their descendants.
    • If one spouse passes, the living spouse can change their estate plan despite the original plan made when their partner was alive.
    • Elective share entitles the surviving spouse to ⅓ of the estate
    • The amount that can be collected by spouse is contingent upon how long they were married.
  • There are Tax Exemptions When a Trust is Established
    • Although this is considered largely untrue, you may be able to create a plan that significantly lowers the amount of taxes that must be paid, with the help of a seasoned attorney.
  • Your Estate Will Be in Probate for a Long Time
    • A probate attorney may be able to help you completely stay out of probate court.
    • Probate can take a few months to a year- this allows for any creditors to be able to file their claims.
    • It is rare for probate to take any longer than a year but can take longer if there are family members who are disputing the will, the estate is of significant size or the estate produces income.
    • Once payment for debts have been dispersed, the details of the will can be carried out.
  • Everything Goes to the State
    • Often, those who stand to inherit assets are fearful that if there is no will in place that everything will go to the state.
    • The state may take everything if you don’t have any descendants.
    • While the state may become involved, it is to help disperse the assets to beneficiaries appropriately. 
  • Estate Planning is Only for the Privileged
    • Estate planning is not just something that the wealthy are entitled to.
    • There is much to consider even for the average person when it comes to creating their will.
    • You will want to appoint someone to take care of your children if you were to pass away.
    • You will want to have a plan in place should you unable to make decisions for yourself. Often estate plans will include power of attorney for both medical and financial decisions.

Retaining an attorney who is familiar with wills, trusts and estate planning, can ensure that you have the accurate information to put a plan in place that will work for you. An experienced attorney such as the estate planning attorney Scottsdale AZ who specializes in estate planning can help to draw up the appropriate documents that will make it easier for your loved ones to manage your estate following your death.

Thanks to authors at Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into Estate Planning.

 

 

 

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Reverse Mortgage Danger

Seniors living on a fixed income are often in a tough spot.  Costs keep rising, especially for healthcare and medication, and income does not keep pace.  Many seniors are taking advantage of reverse mortgages to provide supplemental income.   A reverse mortgage is attractive.   It allows a homeowner to access available house equity with no repayment obligation so long as he or she resides in the home.  But a married couple must take care when using a reverse mortgage.  If they do not, it is possible that their home will be foreclosed upon after the death of the oldest spouse.  We have run into this several times recently.  Here is what can happen.  

One characteristic of a reverse mortgage is that older homeowners are offered better terms.  This is because the lender knows that the loan will probably have a shorter term than a loan granted to a younger person.  This can lead to problems.   Homeowners want the best deal possible.  If one spouse is significantly older than the other, the older person will sometimes take out the reverse mortgage in his or her name alone to get the best terms.  To make this work, the non-borrowing spouse will need to deed his or her interest in the home to the borrowing spouse.  So far so good.  Now there is a reverse mortgage on the home with good terms and the spouses have access to funds.  The problem arises when the older spouse, the one who obtained the reverse mortgage, dies.   Now the loan becomes all due and payable.  This creates a tremendous hardship for the surviving, non-borrowing spouse who is still living in a home that he or she does not own.  This spouse does not want to sell the home and probably cannot refinance.  The reverse mortgage lender sees no option but to commence foreclosure.     

HUD has attempted to remedy this situation so a non-borrowing spouse can remain in his or her home.  HUD created a program that allows a mortgagee or mortgage servicer to assign a reverse mortgage loan to HUD provided the non-borrowing spouse can meet certain requirements.  These requirements include a showing of the ability to become the legal owner of the property within 90 days of the borrowing spouse’s death.  

This time limit is hard to comply with.  Legal proceedings to obtain title can happen within 90 days from the borrowing spouse’s death assuming the non-borrowing spouse can act quickly.  But, in most cases, the non-borrowing spouse is unaware of this requirement and the 90 day period expires.  An extension of time can be requested, but there is no clear path to a solution.  Foreclosures can occur.  

This result can be avoided if both spouses are borrowers on any reverse mortgage.  If only one spouse must be the borrower, a good practice is to identify the non-borrowing spouse in the loan documents and, after the loan is in place, transfer ownership of the home back to both spouses or to their trust.    

A real estate attorney should be consulted to supervise the reverse mortgage process and make sure that title is held correctly once the reverse mortgage is in place.  

Consult with experienced attorneys who have been practicing in the area of Real Estate, Probate, Trusts, Guardianship, Estate Planning, Estate Administration and Litigation for over 40 years such as the Real Estate Lawyer Phoenix AZ locals turn to. 

Thanks to Authors at Platt Westby PC for their insight into Estate and Probate Law.

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Visitation Rights for Grandparents

 

Families can be complex and, at times, there can be difficult relationships within them that could keep family from seeing one another. When children are caught in the middle of divorce or, there is a situation where family is estranged from each other, grandparents may suffer the consequences of this. As a result, they may not be able to have contact with their grandchildren. In recent years, visitation has shifted to include grandparents. Prior to this, most custody situations really only included the parents. Do grandparents have a legal right to see their grandchildren when faced with such a situation?

 

Who Makes the Determination for Visitation?

Grandparents do have the right to see their grandchildren. There are many factors to consider when it is determined how often visitation should occur. It may be helpful to discuss your situation with an attorney who understands family law and can discuss with you the options available. Each state varies, but, in most cases family courts are responsible for making a determination regarding the visitation rights of grandparents.

 

Settling Visitation Disputes Out of Court

It may be possible to come to a resolution through mediation rather than being required to endure the court process. If mediation occurs, grandparents may be able to develop a legally binding agreement with the child’s caregivers. When a mediator is involved, they will participate as a neutral third party, ensuring that all parties are able to share their information and hopefully, come to an agreement. Mediation can allow for both parties to come up with a plan of visitation together that will be beneficial for the child.

 

Visitation Laws

Primarily, there are two types of visitation laws:

  • Permissive Visitation Law gives the grandparents the ability to petition the courts for visitation. There are far less constraints in this situation because it allows the grandparents to do this regardless of whether the parents are married or alive. In order to determine if visitation rights are appropriate, they will assess whether or not visitation with the grandparent in in the best interest of the child. The following may be taken into account when the court is making a determination:

 

    • What does the child want?
    • The grandparents physical and mental health
    • Safety of the child
    • The needs of the child and their overall health both physically and mentally
    • Length of relationship and attachment between the grandparent and the child
    • Whether or not there have been allegations of abuse or neglect on the grandparents part.

 

  • Restrictive Visitation Law mainly applies when one or both parents have passed away or in the instance that the parents are divorced. Depending on the state that you live in, the visitation that could be granted by the courts can vary.

Visitation laws differ depending on the state where you live and your specific situation. Grandparents interested in taking legal action for visitation should look to their state regulations regarding visitation. Speaking with an attorney well versed in family law such as the family attorney Phoenix AZ locals trust to determine how to move forward.

Hildebrand Attorneys at law Scottsdale ArizonaA special thanks to our authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Family Law.

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Determining if You Should File for Bankruptcy

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy should never be taken lightly. It may be important to consult with a financial advisor and, if necessary, an attorney to go over the specifics of your situation. Financial health can impact so many aspects of your life. Determining how to move forward when sorting out your debt can help to alleviate stress you may be carrying with you as a result.

What is Bankruptcy?

It can be easy to find yourself in over your head very quickly when it comes to debt. Often borrowers lend more to a person than they are realistically able to pay back.  When a person has more debt than they can manage, it may make sense to go through the bankruptcy process. The most common type of bankruptcy that is filed is called a Chapter 7. A judge will go over all of the information provided and determine which debts will be forgiven and which will need to be resolved.

In this process, all assets are valued and then in some cases, liquidated in order to pay creditors. When Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is filed, the impact can be lasting. Your credit report will carry this for 10 years.

Financial Advisor

Meeting with a financial consultant is a good place to start when you are determining whether you should file for bankruptcy. When looking for a financial advisor, be sure that they are a certified financial planner. Having CFP qualifications ensures that you are working with a qualified, experienced adviser. They will be able to go over your finances with you and may even be able to offer some alternatives to filing for bankruptcy.  As alternatives to filing for bankruptcy a financial advisor may suggest one or more of the following:

  • Spend Less: Making small changes can help to keep some money in your wallet. Things like following a budget and cutting back on things like eating out or shopping can make a big impact.
  • Debt Consolidation: It may make sense to take out a loan to pay off your debt. This could be a way of encompassing all debt into one lump sum, making it easier to pay off.
  • Asset Liquidation:  If you have anything of value that could be sold, it may be advised that you sell those assets. Selling things like jewelry, or cars could help you to regain some cash in order to settle some debts.
  • Settling Debts: When you haven’t made payments on your accounts, you may be able to settle with creditors for a lesser amount. The drawback to this is that it would impact your credit score.

Consulting an attorney with Chapter 7 Bankruptcy experience such as the bankruptcy lawyer Phoenix, AZ locals trust will be important when going through the process. With their help, you will be rest assured that your best interests will be protected; and you will receive the best outcome possible.

 

Kamper Estrada Law Phoenix Attorneys Thanks to authors at Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into Bankruptcy Law.

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When You are Served with a Search Warrant

 

Search warrants allow for law enforcement to search property in the event that they have probable cause to do so. When they search the location, they are looking for evidence that can be incriminating. Without a search warrant, the police cannot access and search your home without you giving them the green light. If the search is in an effort to protect you or other innocent parties, authorities can search property without a warrant.

Requirements of a Search Warrant

There are four requirements that must be met in order for a search warrant to be valid:

  1. The warrant must specify the specific location and items that will be searched and seized in the event that the authorities find what they are looking for.
  2. The police must be able to prove that there is probable cause that gives them reason to search a particular location.
  3. A judge must approve the search warrant.
  4. It must be filed by the police.

 

When a Search Warrant is Served

Prior to allowing the police to search the area that the warrant specifies, you must first look at the warrant to confirm that it is valid.

The Date

A warrant can be valid for as long as items outlined in the warrant can be located. There is really no specified length of time that a warrant is valid for but generally, they should be less than two weeks old.

Address

When inspecting the warrant double check to make sure that the address is correct. There have been instances where the incorrect property has been searched. Not only is this a hassle to those involved, it is also a waste of time and resources.

Signature

It is important to check that the warrant was signed by a judge. When the judge has signed the warrant it is considered valid as they have consented to the search taking place.

 

When a Warrant is Invalid

Always inform the police if you notice an error in the police report. In the event that the warrant does not have the correct information, you have a right to deny them entry into your home or property. Despite this, the police may decide to search your house. If this occurs, any of the evidence that the authorities find in their search could be deemed inadmissible in court. An attorney who specializes in criminal defense, can help to protect your rights throughout this process.

 

Always contact a defense attorney such as the Criminal Defense Lawyer Baltimore MD locals trust  if you have concerns or believe your rights were violated when a search warrant was served.

 

Greenberg-Law-OfficesThanks to our friends and contributors at Greenberg Law Offices for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.

 

 

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Personal Injury – Assault and Battery

During the warmer months of year, I feel it is safe to say that more people are enjoying the warm weather and often partake in outdoor sports and recreations. Unique rides and rollercoasters offer thrills to those who seek them, and the games are playing basketball, football, walking your dog in the park or a friendly kickball games, are great way to engage with others and yourself. Despite your greatest efforts to remain calm and civil during the games, there is always the chance you could end up playing with someone whose middle name is Sour Grapes, a real hot head. When situations occur, no matter how much you anticipate cooler heads prevailing, there is always an off chance that a guy or girl is there with their significant other and want to prove a point.

 

While it is understood that you want to remain the civil party in the matter, resorting to turning the other cheek and being the bigger man, the simple argument could evolve into a dangerous situation.   It should be understood that no one has the right to put their hands on you and that you do have a right to defend yourself if you are or feel threatened.  If you are ever assaulted by someone without provocation, they could be found liable (at fault) for any harm that comes to you.  There is even a possibility that the venue could be partially to blame.  If a situation arises and it is not properly diffused or resolved by the establishment owner, whether it is an inside or outside court, you should talk to someone to find out.

 

With public venues, the owner has an obligation to its patrons. In a personal injury matter where there is an argument and a fight ensues, there is a duty that has to be afforded to patrons.  The obligation placed upon any business owner is to ensure that, in the event melee ensues, they have to take the safety precautions necessary to protect their patrons.  All businesses must be insured, just as we as drivers must be certain that we carry auto insurance; auto insurance may not seem important to some, but in the event of an accident, it’s best to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.  No establishment is free from the obligation of insurance because it also works to aid in repairs of the venue, in the event of a natural disaster, accidental fire, or a pipe that has burst, just to name a few. The party that does harm to you during the incident does not get without recourse; there is a civil as well as criminal route that lies before them, especially if their aggression or malfeasance is witnessed by others.

 

If you have been the victim of an assault or battery matter that caused you harm either physically, emotionally, or mentally, you should speak with an experience attorney in your area as soon as possible.  Because of the possibility of serious injuries, you deserve the best representation possible to ensure that your rights are protected.   An attorney with experience in both criminal and personal injury law could best direct you on your next step, be it civil or criminal.  An attorney, like a personal injury attorney Dekalb County GA trusts, may be able to find out what happened, explain the possibilities, and ensure you that he or she will do what’s in your best interest from beginning to end; laws are ever changing and no matter how smart or savvy you feel you are, just as when you have a broken leg you got to the doctor, you have been violated and need an attorney’s assistance to again be whole.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into assault and battery and personal injury.

 

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Bailed Out, Now What?

 

Either through your attorney’s skilled advocacy or sheer luck, you have been bailed out following arrest.  Back to normal, right?  Nothing could be farther from the truth:

Lawyer up: You are now litigating a criminal case against a practiced and skilled lawyer: the prosecutor.  You can’t enter that fight without a lawyer of your own.  Immediately apply for an appointed lawyer or hire one such as the Bangor ME criminal defense lawyer locals trust.  You need someone with the skill, experience, and expertise to protect your rights.

Silence: Don’t talk.  Simply the best advice you will ever receive.  Do not talk about your case with anyone.  Most defense attorneys don’t even want to hear much about your case at first and will wait until you review police reports before asking questions.  Even the truth can be used by a skilled prosecutor to make it seem like you are lying.  The only effective countermeasure is silence.  Resist the urge to ruin your defense.

Life under the microscope: Once you are released on bail, every police officer will know it.  Memorize your bail conditions. They are the key to your continued freedom.  Violations of bail conditions are new and separate crimes.  If your bail conditions include searches, have a friend come over immediately after your release and clean out your home and your vehicle.  All specifically prohibited items (alcohol, drugs, firearms, weapons, computers) must be moved to a safe place beyond your access and control.  The police will do a bail check when it is least convenient, so be prepared and avoid spending the weekend in jail or having your bail completely revoked.

No contact conditions: If your bail bond prohibits contact with certain persons, go out of your way to avoid contact of any kind, both direct and indirect (through third parties).  If you find yourself in their vicinity, like at a party or a store, just leave.  Avoid the risk of arrest and additional criminal charges.

Counseling: Ask your lawyer and, more importantly, ask yourself whether there is some counseling you will wish you had when you are next standing before a judge.  Whether it be at a bail amendment hearing or sentencing, taking responsibility for whatever personal issues may have landed you in trouble can’t hurt and almost certainly will help.  Look for counseling practices that use sliding scales if you are low income.  Consult with an attorney as to whether your statements to a counselor are confidential.  However, do not talk about your case in group sessions.  Seriously consider taking medications suggested by your counselor.

Work: Judges love workers.  Keep your job, get your job back, or find a job, it does not matter.  It’s a fact of life: Workers get better treatment than the unemployed.

Education: Making a start on your GED is a great idea while on bail because that program often can be finished while serving a sentence.  However, if it looks like incarceration is imminent, consult with your attorney about whether to start a new semester so as to avoid wasting money on tuition.

Jail information: If incarceration is likely, you may want to visit the website of your local jail or state prison’s for important information about medications you can bring in, money for commissary, visitation rules and schedule, good time jail credits, and work programs.  If the website is not helpful, give them a call.

Avoid criminally involved persons/places: This is obvious to some, but regarding your buddy who is on probation or any bar: steer clear.  Being in their vicinity multiplies your chance of police contact, search, and suspicion.  Not a good idea.  Lead the life you would want the judge to know about.

Child Support, restitution: Saving a substantial amount of money for restitution or paying down a child support obligation naturally will make a judge want to give you a lower sentence so you can continue doing the same.

David Bate Law GroupThanks to our authors at Bate Law for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.

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Is Bonus Income Considered When Calculating Child Support Payments?

Determining the proper amount of child support is one of the biggest pieces of any divorce that involves minor children. When a significant portion of one former spouse’s income is bonus-based, the calculations can become even more complicated, as a formerly married couple in Florida recently discovered. Consulting with an experienced attorney such as the child custody attorney Tampa FL locals trust is advised.

In 2014, Matthew and Jilla Barlow initiated divorce proceedings. During the trial, the lower court took into consideration Matthew Barlow’s 2013 annual bonus income when calculating the child support and alimony he owed his former wife. Significantly, the former husband’s bonus income in 2013 accounted for more than 50 percent of his overall compensation for the year. While Matthew Barlow did not dispute that part of his income was a discretionary bonus, he did object to the specific information that the trial court relied on and appealed their judgment.

In Barlow v. Barlow, the Second District Court of Appeals sided with Matthew Barlow, ruling that the trial court erred when it did not consider the most up-to-date bonus information available. In this case, Matthew Barlow’s bonus dropped significantly between 2013 and 2014, from approximately $133,000 to $45,000. Furthermore, the appellate court noted that the cause of this dramatic reduction–the loss of a number of large business clients–was likely to continue to affect Matthew Barlow’s bonus in future years as well.

In general, the appellate court asserted that current income should be used as the basis for any calculation of child support and other required payments following a divorce. More specifically, because there was no indication that Matthew Barlow’s bonus figures would increase in future years, relying on a former year’s bonus amount resulted in a significant miscalculation of the former husband’s ability to pay the ordered child support.

For the Barlows, the appellate court’s decision resulted in an order for the trial court to reconsider its child support determinations. Any other couple attempting to work out child support should be aware that bonus income can only be considered in child support determinations when it is up-to-date and representative of future ability to pay.

 

McKinney Law Group Thanks to authors at Mckinney Law Group for their insight into Family and Divorce Law.

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What’s an Examination Under Oath (EUO)?

If you make an insurance claim, you may be asked by your insurance company to submit to an Examination Under Oath, or “EUO.” What is an EUO and why does the insurance company need it? Before we talk about that, you first need to understand that even though an EUO is not part of a lawsuit or court proceeding, it is taken under oath. Anything you say can (and likely will) become a part of the record if your claim ends up in court. Therefore, it is critical that you understand the importance of an EUO in relation to the claims process as well as how the insurance company may use it to deny your claim.

Your policy has a section that requires you, as the insured, to cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation, including submitting to an EUO. Make sure you cooperate with your insurance company or your failure to do so may result in the denial of your claim.

Sometimes an insurance company will use its own adjusters to conduct EUOs, but because of the legal nature of the questioning and the consequences, EUOs are now almost exclusively conducted by attorneys for the insurance company. The attorney will ask you to bring certain documents and you will be asked questions about those documents. The attorney will also ask you specific questions about the loss itself. EUOs are typically demanded when the insurance company has identified certain red flags in connection with a claim, such as fraud, odd circumstances, very large claims, or misrepresentations on the insurance application. A court reporter will be there, you will swear to tell the truth, and the lawyer will ask you questions, often for many hours.

As an experienced insurance attorney Memphis, TN trusts, we recommend that anyone who has been requested to submit to an EUO be represented by an attorney experienced with the examination under oath process. An experienced attorney can prepare you for the kinds of questions you will face, help you in the gathering and presenting documents, coordinate communication with the insurer, and help you in making important decisions in connection with your claim.

Insurance companies receive thousands of claims every year, and they initiate the EUO process for a variety of reasons. Some reasons are more serious than others. Some reasons are legitimate while other reasons seem to be trivial. That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced insurance attorney who knows the EUO process to be sure you are receiving the best advice possible. The outcome of your claim may depend on it.

Wiseman Bray PLLC Thanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience fighting for insurance policyholders in Tennessee. Contact Wiseman Bray PLLC today if you need an experienced insurance attorney Memphis, TN trusts for help with the insurance claims and Examination Under Oath process.

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