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Alimony and Cohabitation: What to Know

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Alimony and Cohabitation: What to Know

If you and your spouse are divorcing, you likely are deeply involved in the resolution of several related issues, such as child custody and visitation, child support, the division of marital debts and assets, and more. While many people just assume that alimony (also known as spousal support) is a largely forgotten benefit, it still exists and can make a huge financial difference for the spouse that deserves and needs it. While every divorce is different, the spousal support provision in most divorces dictate that the support payments end when the receiving spouse gets married again. Cohabitation can present a confusing issue for those receiving spousal support, however. Read to learn more about spousal support and cohabitation.  Just Living Together  More couples than ever before are moving in with each other and living together for an extended period of time without the “benefit” of a legal marriage. Couples who live together often site the need to get to know one another better before committing to a legal marriage. It’s also easy to imagine that some people who have experienced a failed marriage are not very eager to make the same mistakes again. While it may be far fetched to allege that cohabitation is fully accepted, it has now become so commonplace that few people view the situation scandalously anymore. Is Spousal Support Still Needed? Since the main purpose of spousal support is to allow a spouse who may have given up a chance for a career or a more advanced education the opportunity to gain some financial equity, the issue of the appropriateness of spousal support for those cohabiting comes into question. The answer likely depends on whether or not the former spouse is in a relationship that now includes the support that spousal support was meant to provide. A former spouse who is receiving spousal support and living with a partner should not necessarily raise an alarm that the party is “double dipping”. The only type of support at issue is financial support, and a careful examination of the financial situation of the cohabiting couple may be called for. The financial arrangements of couples can vary widely, and there may be little to no financial support being contributed from the ex-spouse’s partner to the living arrangement. If you are paying your ex-spouse support and they are living with another person, regardless of the relationship, you may need to request a reevaluation of your spousal support order. Spousal Support Alterations If the judge has to make a ruling on just how financially “supportive” your ex-spouse’s living situation is, several questions may be asked, such as: Are both of the couple’s names on the lease agreement or mortgage? Does the couple spend nearly every night together? Does the couple have joint bank accounts or other joint debts? If you have questions about spousal support and cohabitation, talk to a family law attorney like those at Baudler, Maus, Forman, Kritzer & Wagner, LLP for more...

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Plan Ahead and Have a Financially Savvy Divorce

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Plan Ahead and Have a Financially Savvy Divorce

The entire divorce process can wear you down, leaving you feeling too emotionally drained to cope. Don’t allow yourself, however, to fall victim to the below common divorce financial traps. If you can take the time to put into practice better financial actions, you can help pave the way for you and your children for the future. Read on to learn more about these common financial traps.  You put off financial planning and making a new budget. Your income and debts are likely in a state of flux, but don’t let that stop you from creating a new budget. Budgets are meant to flexible, and should be updated frequently whether you are divorcing or not. Make a list of your debts (car loans, credit cards, mortgage, etc) and a list of your assets’ value (home, savings account, etc). The difference in these two figures is your net worth, and you can judge how healthy your financial situation is at a glance just by viewing this number. This number, and the lists that you made of your debts and assets, will come in handy when you begin dividing up those things with your spouse. You automatically desire the family home. There is something appealing about owning real estate, and we have all been taught that “they aren’t making any more of it.” The issue is not necessarily that getting ownership of the family home is bad, but that you may fail to take into account the associated expenses that come with owning a home. Paying the mortgage is only the beginning; be sure to budget for other expenses like property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, repairs, and maintenance. A single large repair bill, such as for a roof or HVAC system, could be disastrous if you don’t have a house emergency fund at the ready. Be sure that you are not going to end up being house-rich and otherwise poor. You don’t see past the face value of assets. Property is not just property, it can sometimes represent far more in terms of future worth and value. For example, some assets come with heavy taxation burdens, and some are virtually tax-free. Additionally, some assets will grow in value, and some will decline. Be sure to understand exactly what you are getting when the marital property is divvied up. For instance, while you may not initially desire to get awarded the mountain cabin in the settlement, you must take into consideration the income that could be generated by renting it out. To better understand how property and debt is divided, consult with a divorce attorney like those at Gordon Liebmann Attorneys at...

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A Guide To Understanding Probate

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Guide To Understanding Probate

Probate is the process of liquidating an estate after the owner has passed away. This includes everything from paying off any outstanding debts to the disbursement of material goods as detailed by the will or state laws. The process can vary depending upon the state in which the deceased resided in, but the following guide can help you understand the basics. Does every death require probate? Generally, no. Probate usually only occurs when all the assets are only in the name of the deceased. This means that there usually isn’t probate if there is a surviving spouse, since most assets will likely have both of their names on them. In some cases, certain assets may be exempt from probate, while others are not. For example, if a married couple own a home jointly, then the home is exempt, but any bank account solely in the name of the deceased may end up in probate. Are there other ways to avoid probate? In some states there are other ways that probate can be prevented. The most common method is to create a living trust instead of a will. With a living trust, the assets have already been bequeathed to the beneficiary before death, although they cannot have them until the owner has passed away. Another option may be to name beneficiaries on different accounts and assets. How is probate enacted? A personal representative is appointed to oversee the estate. This person is usually named in the will as the representative, although the court will have to approve this naming. They will then liquidate the estate as needed to pay off any outstanding debts. The remainder of the estate will then be divided as detailed in the will. In some cases, probate is as simple as changing the name on asset paperwork from that of the deceased to that of the inheritor. What if there isn’t a will? The division of the estate in the event of no will varies greatly between states. Some states have a detailed hierarchy set up for inheritances in the event of no will. Most common is that the surviving spouse inherits everything. In the event there is no spouse, then the assets may be divided amongst the children of the deceased. From there, it may go to siblings or parents if there are no children. In rare cases, the state may be able to take the inheritance, generally when there is no relative to make a claim. Talk to a probate attorney if you need more...

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What Are Your Options For Dealing With A Probation Revocation Request?

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Are Your Options For Dealing With A Probation Revocation Request?

Ideally, you should follow the rules of your probation so you can complete your sentence and move on with your life. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If you have violated your probation terms, here is what you need to know.   What Consequences Could You Face? After your probation officer files a revocation motion with the court, a judge is tasked with reviewing the circumstances of your case and determining whether or not to grant the officer’s request. When the revocation motion is filed, an arrest warrant is typically issued. Depending on your county’s laws, you could be forced to stay in jail until your case is heard by the judge.   Once the judge has reviewed your case, he or she can choose to either send you to jail or prison to serve out the suspended sentence or extend your probation. If the judge allows you to continue on probation, additional terms might be added to your terms. For instance, the judge might require you to report to the probation officer more often.   The judge could even add time to your original sentence. You could additional fines for the extended period.   Can You Fight It? As with your original legal matter that resulted in the probation order, you can fight the revocation motion. The best argument that you have against the allegations of the probation order is that you did not do whatever prompted him or her to file the motion with the request.  For instance, if the officer filed because you failed to obtain employment, you could present evidence to show that you are employed. If you are self-employed, you will need to show that you are generating income to support yourself and that your business is considered legitimate.   If the allegations are true, you have to argue that you should be allowed another chance to follow the terms of your probation. Your argument should be shaped to fit the allegations.  For instance, if the officer requested the revocation because you were not attending drug abuse counseling as directed, you could argue that you did not have transportation to attend or that you were working during the available counseling hours if those arguments apply to your case.  Due to the seriousness of a revocation motion, it is important that you consult with a criminal defense attorney from a law firm like Abom & Kutulakis LLP. The attorney could potentially work with the probation officer to settle the matter without even going to...

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The Logic Of A Slip And Fall Injury Case

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Logic Of A Slip And Fall Injury Case

Slip and fall injury cases commonly have a specific logic that they follow. In order to have a successful trial, you will need to work with your personal injury attorney to make sure that they key points of a slip and fall claim are met. Here is a guide to the parts of a great slip and fall liability claim. An Overview Overall, your first responsibility is to show that the defendant had an obligation to protect you at the time of the accident. This could mean that you were on their personal, private property or that you were a paying client of theirs and were injured as a customer. Your personal injury attorney will also need to prove that the other party was negligent; you’ll need to show that they didn’t do a reasonable job of preventing injuries in the scenario. The final piece is to show that the injury was their fault as a result of these other key points. While this will give you some idea of what the overall argument will look like, you’ll need to delve into each part to pull out the most important details. Differing Levels of Liability For one, there are some caveats to liability. Even if you were on someone else’s property or acting as a customer, you may be in a limited liability situation. For instance, if you weren’t invited to be in the area that you were in, such as if you were intruding on private property or were in a restricted access area of a restaurant or business, then some of the liability is on you. If you signed any waivers for using a service and got injured anyway, there may be a limited return on your claim as well. Proving Negligence Proving negligence is key in these slip and fall injury cases. If there was poor lighting, or the ground conditions were poor or unlabeled, then you have an easy reason for your fall. If the cause of the fall isn’t as obvious, you might need to hire an engineer or other specialist to show the mechanics of your fall and point out potential causes that are the company’s fault, such as ground that is slightly uneven or distorted to the eye. Proving Responsibility Finally, you’ll need to be sure that the problem can be pinned on the company or other party, and not yourself. Showing that your behavior was level-headed will be a big part of a successful argument. Click here for additional...

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Can Your Employer Force You To Take A Polygraph? Can You Be Fired For Refusing Or Failing It?

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Can Your Employer Force You To Take A Polygraph? Can You Be Fired For Refusing Or Failing It?

When something important goes missing at work—whether it’s money, merchandise, or intellectual property—can your employer demand that you take a lie detector test? If you fail it, can you be fired? These are the facts you should know in order to protect yourself from what essentially is little better than junk science. Polygraphs simply aren’t reliable. While proponents of the test say that they’re about 90% accurate, some rather reliable sources disagree. Critics point out that the test relies not only on a person’s physiological response to stress but the assumption that everyone physically reacts essentially the same way to lying. It’s been proven several times over, however, that polygraphs can be beaten by skillful liars—or even ordinary people that have trained themselves to be calm when faced with nerve-wracking questions. The National Academy has said the scientific evidence of the accuracy of polygraph test for employee screening is extremely limited and doesn’t support the idea. The American Psychological Association has said that while they may be slightly better than flipping a quarter to determine the truth, they have significant error rates with a lot of false positives and false negatives. Government employees or contractors have little protection against forced testing. Government employees or contractors who have to obtain (or keep) a security clearance in order to get (or keep) a job are stuck in a difficult position if they’re asked to take a polygraph. if this applies to you, you can technically decline to take the exam—but don’t expect to pass the security clearance check. Most of the time, you’ll be given more than one chance to pass the exam, but you may want to consult with an attorney who deals in employment law and security clearance matters after the first failed test. He or she may be able to help you through the process. Employees of private companies have more protection. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 gives employees of private firms more legal protection against these devices: There has to be an identifiable economic loss to the company that’s not explainable through ordinary business operations. There has to be reasonable suspicion that you are somehow involved in the loss. Your employer must notify you in writing that he or she wants you to take the polygraph test. The written notice has to explain that the test is voluntary. The notice must also explain that you cannot be fired or disciplined for refusing to take the test. You have to be given a minimum of 48 hours notice before the test to consider your choices. You can also stop the test at any time. Even if you take the test and fail it, you still can’t be fired unless your employer has additional supporting evidence to back up his or her belief that you were involved in their losses.  Consult an attorney if you believe a polygraph led to your dismissal or another adverse action at work. You need to consult an employment attorney if you believe that you were terminated either because of your refusal to submit to a polygraph exam or because you failed one. Your attorney can help you get an injunction that forces your employer to give you back your job, promote you (if you were denied one over the polygraph), and compensate you...

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4 Tips for Dealing with an Auto-Accident Injury

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Tips for Dealing with an Auto-Accident Injury

If you have been involved in an auto accident in which another party was at fault, and you were injured, you will want to know what needs to be done to ensure that your injuries are compensated. When your injuries are compensated, you will be able to pay your medical bills, make up for missed time at work because of hospital stays and doctor visits, and do any future rehabilitation you may need. Here are four tips on how to handle receiving compensation for injury after an auto accident. Know Who to Contact: It’s a good idea to have an idea of who you can contact after you have been injured in an auto accident. It’s best to research lawyers in your area and write down their numbers so you know who to go to first when you need a consultation for your case. Be sure that the lawyer you choose is fluent in auto-accident laws and has dealt with cases involving serious injuries as well.  Go to the Doctor Right Away:  As soon as the accident has occurred, even if you do not feel like you have any injuries, you should visit your doctor or go to the emergency room to get checked out. This way, if there are injuries, they will be taken more seriously if your case against the other party involved goes further because you need compensation for injuries.  Listen to Your Doctor: To ensure that your injuries are taken seriously even further, you need to be sure that you go to all of your doctor appointments and do not miss any. At this point, you need to be sure that you also listen to your doctor. If your doctor suggests that you do not return to work, then don’t return to work. Also, if your doctor refers you to another specialist, follow through by making an appointment with that specialist right away and not missing that appointment.  Document the Injuries: All paperwork that you receive from your doctor needs to be saved and given to your lawyer to use however they need to. You also want to keep track of medical bills that you receive in the mail. Give these to your lawyer as well so that your lawyer can determine a fair compensation settlement amount so that you can avoid having to take your case to court.  When you utilize these four tips for dealing with an auto-accident injury, you can be sure that you are much more likely to be compensated for what you deserve. For more info, talk to personal-injury lawyers near...

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Keep Your Options Clear After Workplace Injury

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Keep Your Options Clear After Workplace Injury

Workers compensation can do a lot to help you get back on your feet after a workplace injury, but it doesn’t cover everything. Your injury may have complications that neither you nor the compensation insurance system could have expected, and in the months or years it takes for you to figure things out, it may be too late to put in an easy claim for more benefits. Before signing anything, have a look at what could go wrong by simply taking a standard workers compensation agreement. Compensation Is Temporary Or Limited The point of workers compensation is to help workers recover after injury and get back to work without suffering major financial hardship. Especially if the injury wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to be without a paycheck for weeks or months at a time. Unfortunately, workers compensation only pays a certain percentage of your paycheck by default. Although there are different rates depending on the state, such as South Carolina’s 66 2/3% pay rate (listed under How Is The Compensation Rate Determined?), this can be harmful to workers already barely making ends meet. Agreeing to the workers compensation rate is binding, but negotiable. Even with the negotiation chance, you still put yourself in a long period of hardship while filing the necessary extra paperwork. Instead, be sure to contact a workers compensation attorney at the beginning of the process. You’ll need to sign agreement paperwork and meet with a representative at some point no matter your decision, so adding a lawyer to the beginning of the process can alleviate a lot of the confusing additional paperwork and and corrections. A lawyer can also handle much of the official paperwork for you in addition to negotiating rates, making meetings easier since the attorney can deliver required paperwork to you. If being required to meet with workers compensation officials, safety officials, your employer, or other parties is a physical hardship, make sure to talk about compensation and accommodation with your attorney. Talk About Other Parties Involved Not every injury is a perfect accident with no one at fault, and depending on how severe your injury is, you may need more than what workers compensation has to offer. Was the injury caused by someone’s negligence? It could have been a coworker, a lack of safety equipment, incorrect or insufficient safety measures, or even equipment malfunction caused by the manufacturer. For major forms of injury that could lead to disability and high costs either immediately or throughout your life, you may need to seek a personal injury claim. Some legal actions may invalidate or jeopardize others. To make sure that you’re within your rights and not double dipping benefits–or to find out if you’re qualified for programs such as Social Security or even Veterans Affairs disability, contact a workers compensation attorney, like one from Thompson Legal Services, to map out a strategy and start with workers compensation as a road to...

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What Workers’ Comp Claimants Need To Know About Independent Medical Exams

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Workers’ Comp Claimants Need To Know About Independent Medical Exams

While getting injured at work is no picnic, it’s nice to know that your employer provides you with a valuable benefit: workers’ compensation insurance. This benefit, available at no cost to you, can provide you with access to medical care at no charge and a partial wage while you stay home and recover from your injury. After you have been receiving benefits, you may be contacted by the insurance company and asked to undergo a specific type of medical exam, the Independent Medical Exam (IME). Your ability to continue to receive workers’ comp benefits could rest on the results of this important event, so read on to learn more about the IME to be better prepared for it. Why am I being asked to undergo an IME? This request normally comes after you have been out of work for a while, and the insurance company needs to get more in-depth information about your injury. Most injuries heal in time, but some take longer and some are more permanent. An evaluation of your medical status will let the workers’ comp insurance company make a decision on your continued benefits or on the possibility of your claim being converted to a permanent injury. Who will be performing the IME? This exam is performed by a doctor of the workers’ comp choosing and you are not expected to pay for this exam. You should understand that in most cases the IME doctor “specializes” in performing these exams almost exclusively, and you should treat the doctor with respect but with an awareness that this doctor is not a normal doctor, and is not necessarily on your side in your quest to continue receiving workers’ comp benefits. How do I handle the IME? Your medical information is protected by HIPAA laws in most traditional settings, but the information garnered from an IME is done so expressly to share with the workers’ comp insurance company, and in fact from the moment you step from your car until you leave, your every movement will be scrutinized. Keep in mind that this is your moment to communicate how the workplace injury has affected your ability to do your job. You can best prepare for this exam by reviewing your paperwork, reports, medical records and notes about the accident and the medical treatments you have been receiving. What happens after the exam? The IME doctor will prepare a report for the insurance company and make recommendations about your case. Normally, your case will result in 3 possible outcomes: 1. You will be deemed well enough to return to your job. 2. You will given more time to recuperate from your injuries. 3. You will be deemed to be permanently disabled, and your benefits will convert to a different type of claim. If you are worried about your ability to continue to collect benefits, contact a workers’ comp attorney for assistance as soon as possible. Contact a business, such as Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP for more information. ...

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Prenuptial Agreements: What To Know

Posted by on Jul 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Prenuptial Agreements: What To Know

A legal document that can cover you in the event of a separation may not be on your list of things to do before your upcoming wedding, but it should be. A prenuptial agreement should be made several months before your big day, and it can be custom-made to address the financial issues that matter to you and your soon-to-be spouse. Read to learn more about prenuptial agreements and what should and should not be on yours. What Should Be In The Agreement? There are very few rules about what a prenuptial agreement should look like, but you should stick to financial issues that matter to both of you. Consider including the following: How property jointly owed will be handled in the event of a divorce. Keep in mind that “property” means everything from real estate to vehicles to pets. How property owed by one party will be treated after (during) the marriage. How the household bills be paid (who pays for what?). How savings will be funded, such as funds for the childrens’ education, retirement accounts and emergency savings accounts. Financial arrangements for children of other relationships in the event of death. While a will is also mandatory, a provision in the prenuptial agreement could serve as a reinforcement of a contested will. What Should Not Be In The Agreement Some issues involving minor children of the relationship, such as child support and custody, should not be addressed in this manner. State law supersedes privately-held agreements like prenuptial agreements and the family court system will preside over this issue in the divorce decree. Leave frivolous, non-financial issues out of the agreement, such as where you will live, who does what chores, where the children will attend school, etc. Though it varies somewhat by state, the issue of spousal support should not be addressed in this manner. More Don’ts Any of the “don’ts” below could nullify your prenuptial agreement. Don’t conceal assets from your future spouse; be open and honest about your holdings. Don’t force or coerce a party into signing an agreement; both parties must be willing participants. Don’t create an agreement that is conspicuously and obviously unfair to the other party. It’s no surprise that the issues that should be included in a prenuptial agreement are also issues that most couples need to discuss and agree upon before they say “I do”. Consider the creation of a prenuptial agreement an opportunity to talk about these issues with your fiancé. Discuss your prenuptial agreement with a family law attorney today. Contact a law firm, such as Novenstern Fabriani & Gaudio, LLP, for more information.   ...

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