The Inner Workings of a Law Firm

Can You Be Forced To Pay Support For A Child That’s In College Or Vocational School?

Child support is both a legal and moral obligation—but many people feel that the obligation should stop once the child turns 18, or at least when the child graduates high school, if that’s a little later. However, not all courts agree on this issue—some will order parents to contribute to a child’s college expenses as well. Learn more about when college support is ordered and what that might mean. Your state’s laws may determine whether or not college support is an issue. Each state has its own laws regarding child support, which can greatly affect whether or not you have to be concerned about any legal order to pay college support. For example, in Arizona, all legal duty to provide support ends once the child turns 18. However, Connecticut law allows the court to order support through the age of 23 for the purpose of obtaining a bachelor’s or vocational degree. College support may be a conditional order, not automatic. Even in states that can impose a college support order, the order is usually conditional. That means that the court looks at several different factors before deciding if the order is appropriate: Would you have been likely to contribute toward your child’s college or vocational education if you hadn’t gotten divorced? What is your educational level? What about your ex-spouse? If you and your ex-spouse both have college degrees, you’re more likely to be expected to contribute toward your child’s education as well. Did you and your ex-spouse have an agreement regarding college or vocational expenses? Are your child’s academic goals and achievements likely to result in a degree?... read more

Three Types Of Property You Cannot Distribute In Your Will

If you’re beginning of the process of estate planning, you may be surprised that there are a number of things that your will cannot dictate. Below are three types of property that, for the majority of cases, cannot be distributed in your will. Of course, each type of property has its exceptions, so it’s important to speak with your estate planning attorney, someone like Seiler & Parker PC, for a more accurate overview of your situation. Jointly-Owned Real Estate As the joint owner of a piece of real estate, depending on the type of joint ownership, you may or may not have the right to pass your share of the property to your heirs. So, how can you tell whether your share can be distributed or not? The first type of joint ownership is tenancy in common. This is the type of joint ownership that allows you to pass on your share of a property to your spouse, children, or whomever you choose. The second type of joint ownership, known as joint tenancy, usually does not allow for the passing of property shares. Why? When a property is considered a tenancy in common, each owner has a share of the property. In some cases, the shares may be equal (50/50), but in other cases, one owner may own more than the others (60/30/10). When it comes to joint tenancy property, however, each owner has an equal share of the property and cannot sell their share unless all owners want to sell the property. This means that your share of joint tenancy property can only be passed onto the other owners,... read more

Three First Steps to Take If You’re Considering a Mediated Divorce

Although a divorce always has the potential to involve some uncomfortable discussions, choosing mediation can help reduce any unpleasantness and ensure the most beneficial outcome for everyone. Here are three steps to take in order to get the process started on the right foot.  1. Decide if this is truly the best choice for your situation (and get your spouse on board) In order for a mediated divorce to work, you have to not only have a relatively amicable relationship with your spouse still, but you also need to be in a place emotionally where you don’t automatically disagree with everything they say. The mediated divorce process requires you both to make compromises in order to achieve a fair settlement without involving the court. This means not everything can go your way and not everything can go your spouse’s way. If you’re not comfortable with being part of the decision-making process in this situation, you may not be emotionally able to participate in a mediated divorce. And your spouse needs to be ready to participate amicably as well in order for the process to work.     2. Find the right people to help you through the process In addition to finding a reputable, well-trained, and highly-rated mediator, you need to consider whether you’ll have lawyers involved in the process. The mediator is, by definition, a neutral third party, and not able to give legal advice to either you or your spouse because that could be construed as taking sides. So, once you’ve agreed on the right mediator, discuss with your spouse whether you’ll each have a lawyer or not... read more

FAQs About Divorcing A Mentally Ill Spouse

Mental illness can have a profound impact on every aspect of a person’s life, including his or her marriage. When your spouse suffers from a mental illness, sometimes, it can be challenging to remain in the relationship. If you are considering divorce from a mentally ill spouse, here is what you need to know.   Can You Divorce Someone for Mental Illness? In some states, citing mental illness as a reason for divorce means taking extra steps to get through the court system. For instance, you might be required to obtain a doctor’s certification stating that your spouse is mentally ill to rely on this reasoning. The steps necessary can vary by state. Check your state’s laws to determine what steps are necessary.   It is important to note that many states offer the option of filing for a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce does not require that any reason for the breakup be stated. If you and your spouse do not share children or if you do not have concerns about him or her helping to raise the children, this is an option.   What If You Share Children? If you share children with your spouse, whether or not he or she is able to positively contribute to their rearing can be a concern. Regardless of how you and your spouse feel about the situation, it is important to remember that the family court’s focus is what is in the best interests of the children.   The court will take into consideration your spouse’s mental illness, treatment, and mental history to determine how it influences custodial matters. If you are concerned about your spouse’s... read more

What Rights Does A Teacher Falsely Accused Of Child Molestation Have?

Chances are pretty good you’ve seen it on television or read about it in the newspaper – a teacher has been convicted of sexual misconduct with a student. In 2005, Debra Lafave, an English teacher at Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, Florida was convicted of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year old student. She plead guilty and was sentenced to three years of house arrest and seven years of probation, and she must register as a sex offender. However, what happens if you weren’t guilty and have been accused of something you didn’t do? Would you know what steps to take? Know the Laws The Education Commission of the States keeps a database on the education policies of all 50 states. Currently, there are no state laws that fully protect teachers against false allegations of child molestation. However, there are a couple of states that provide some sort of protection, although limited. In Connecticut, teachers should not be held responsible for damages and legal fees for lawsuits filed against them which are not malicious, deliberate, or intentional. In Iowa, teachers who are wrongfully accused in a civil suit should be awarded monetary compensation from the party who filed the civil suit. Know Your Rights If you are questioned by law enforcement, and you will likely be, it is important that you understand your legal rights. You don’t have to answer any of their questions or make any statements to them. In fact, unless you are being detained, you can leave the police station. Even if you are arrested, you do have the right to remain silent as... read more

Are You A Single Parent With A Young Child And No Will? What To Know

If you haven’t created a will in your lifetime and you have a child that doesn’t have another parent in their life, it’s imperative that you sit down with a wills and trusts attorney. You want to know that your child isn’t going to become a child of the state and that one of your family members won’t have to fight with the courts to get custody. You also want to make sure that you have everything in line financially to help care for your child if something does happen. Life insurance is something that should be considered, along with wills and trusts. Talk with a lawyer about the following things. Guardian Candidates Deciding who will become the guardian of your child is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Here are a few of the things you’ll have to take into consideration when picking someone to care for your child if something happens to you: Who has the same morals and religious values What person can afford to take on the responsibility of your child Is there someone that your child already feels close and comfortable with These are the three main factors that you have to evaluate, along with the location of the person, their connection with your family, and their age. Money Management You don’t want to worry about the person that gets custody of your child using the money you leave behind irresponsibly. Talk with the lawyer about having them, or an accountant, manage the trust you leave behind. They can do this until the child is a certain age, and they... read more

Prerequisites For Getting Workers Compensation Related To Preexisting Injuries

If you are injured in a workplace accident, and you have a preexisting injury, you are entitled to compensation just like other victims without preexisting injuries. However, there might be a few legal conditions for your compensation. For example, depending on your jurisdiction, you might only be compensated if: Your Work Has Aggravated Your Prior Injuries In most states, employers are required to hire employees on an “as is” basis, so to speak. For example, if you are hired with a back pain, the employer is responsible for any injuries that might occur due to your back pain. However, this is only the case if you suffer an aggravation or re-injury due to your work. Don’t expect to be compensated for a preexisting injury if it hasn’t been made worse by your work. Consider the example of two employees hired with back pain. Suppose one of them engages in lifting heavy boxes that end up aggravating their back pain while the other only has to deal with the injury they had at the time of their hiring. In such a case, it is only the employee with the aggravated back injury that is entitled to compensation. You Followed the Doctor’s Orders You need to prove that you followed your doctor’s recommendations to the letter to show that your actions or inaction didn’t contribute to your injury. This includes abstaining from works restricted by your doctor. For example, if you have back pain, and you have been advised not to carry heavy boxes, then you shouldn’t carry them. In such a case, your employer has the right to deny your... read more

2 Common Methods Of Divorcing

The various challenges of relationships can make seeing eye-to-eye a real struggle.  This may eventually cause the end of a legal union. If you and your spouse aren’t getting along, you may want to consider the types of ways to put an end to the marriage. This can assist in preparing you for the inevitable and enable you to be well prepared in advance. Contested divorce One of the most challenging ways to legally end a marriage could be the contested divorce. This is when one of the spouses wants to be relieved of the union, and the other spouse wishes to remain in it. It’s ideal to avoid getting this type of divorce unless you have no other alternative. This could take much longer than some other ways and listed below are the challenges of choosing a contested divorce: 1. Legal fees – You will be forced to pay higher legal fees because this divorce will typically take longer and cause more work for you attorney. In fact, studies show that the cost of contested divorce is $15,000 -$30,000. However, in some cases, this could be much more. 2. Emotional aspect –Fighting with your spouse over all the property you own jointly can take a serious toll on your mentality. You may suffer a great deal emotionally, and this is never ideal. 3. Public – When a contested divorce case goes to court it will be on record for all other people to view. Uncontested divorce When both of the spouses are in agreement the marriage should end, it’s ideal to select an uncontested divorce. This is likely to... read more

3 Circumstances Where You Should Consider Running A Background Check

Background checks can provide a lot of useful information. Many people wonder if they should be using background checks to their advantage but aren’t sure about the appropriate time to use a background check. Here are some circumstances where it would be beneficial to run a background check. 1. Hiring a New Employee In a perfect world, everyone would be perfectly honest about their credentials and experience on their resume, but sadly that is not necessarily the case. Many people falsify their credentials to make them more appealing to employers. In addition, you might not only be worried about the qualifications of the person, but also if they have had problems with past employers, co-workers, and so forth. By running a background check, you can get the information that you need about the individual to determine if they are who they say they are. You can collect valuable information about their past and decide if they would be a good fit with your company. 2. Renting Property If you are renting property to someone, it is imperative that you run a background check. Even though you have a renter on the property, you are still personally liable for the property. This means if they fail to pay their rent, you are still on the hook with the mortgage company. This is why it is important that you get as much information as possible on the individual before you sign a property lease. In the background check, you can determine their financial situation, if they are up to date on all of their credit, and if any formal complaints that... read more

3 Areas To Challenge In A DUI Case

An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) does not automatically mean that you will be convicted. A number of things can occur before the trial, including the prosecutor might offer you a plea deal or drop the charges altogether. If you are planning to fight the charges, it is important that you carefully review the validity of every step from the arrest to the evidence. To help you properly prepare for the defense, here are some aspects to review. The Police Stop Your review of your case should always start with reviewing the details of the arrest. Law enforcement officials do not have the right to pull over a driver without probable cause. In this instance, the officer would have to state that you exhibited some behavior that led him or her to believe that pulling you over was justified. For instance, if the officer claims that he or she witnessed you running a traffic light, this would be considered probable cause. However, if there was not sufficient reason for him or her to stop your car, your attorney could argue that the stop was illegal and the charges should be dropped. The Field Sobriety Test Most people have seen field sobriety tests administered on television, and they appear to be very straightforward. What many miss is that there are certain criteria that must be met for a test to be properly administered. In addition to that, certain factors, such as the driver’s age and shoes, can impact the results of the test. The accuracy of field sobriety tests have been challenged in the past because they can... read more

About Me

We all know that lawyers are professionals who help people interpret and work with the law, but do you know how a law firm works from the inside out? I am a professional paralegal, and I have worked in both large and small law firms during my career. I can tell you that a successful law firm needs more than just lawyers to keep it running smoothly, and sometimes things can get really crazy! Take a tour through a law firm in my blog, and find out what really goes on behind the scenes of an active and successful law firm.