4 Steps To A Do-It-Yourself Divorce

In some situations, it is possible to handle your own divorce. Before attempting to do so, it is important to carefully assess your situation. If you and your spouse are considering a do-it-yourself divorce, here are some steps you need to take.

Assess Your Situation

Not every divorce can be conducted without the assistance of an attorney. If you have children, custodial and support matters can be complicated and it is best to work with a divorce attorney. You should also consider seeking legal help if you and your spouse are unable to reach a consensus regarding the division of assets and debts. 

Working through a do-it-yourself divorce can also be challenging if there is anger on either side. You and your spouse do not have to be on the best terms, but you should be able to hold reasonable discussions about the end of the marriage without letting anger interfere. 

Create an Agreement

One of the biggest parts of a divorce is deciding how debts and assets are handled. To help speed up the divorce process, you and your spouse need to create a written agreement that you can use to complete your divorce documents. 

If you are unable to reach an agreement, consider mediation. During mediation, a skilled professional can sometimes help get you and your spouse towards an agreement. If you still cannot create an arrangement that seems fair to both sides, seek legal help from professionals at Garrett & Silvey Law Firm or a similar law firm.

Contact the County Clerk’s Office

Do-it-yourself divorces are handled differently in each county. Some counties require that you obtain the necessary divorce documentation from the office, while others direct you to other places, such as a law library. Before signing up for any document preparation service, you want to be sure that you have the right papers. 

Complete the Documentation and File

Once you have obtained the proper divorce papers, you and your spouse need to complete them. It is imperative that both parties read over the papers before they are filed. You want to be sure that both parties are in agreement with what is stated on the documents. 

You will need to file the papers with the county clerk’s office. The clerk will inform you if there are any additional requirements that need to be met. For instance, some counties have a waiting period that must be honored after the papers are filed. 

Even if you worked on your divorce yourself, it is a good idea to talk with an attorney before filing the papers. You want to be sure that the documentation is accurate and fair to both parties. 

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Child Support: How Is The Amount Determined?

If you are a couple divorcing with minor children, the issues of child custody, support and visitation are vital areas of concern with both you and the courts. While you are permitted to hammer out your own agreements about marital property, marital debt and visitation, child support is a different matter. For more information about how child support is determined, read on.

Federal Child Support Guidelines

The Federal government has established state-specific guidelines for child support calculations in an effort to provide some consistency for judges. Child support is usually awarded to the parent who gets physical custody of the child and is always based on the income of the parents.

The calculations, it should be noted, are rough estimates and may be offset by many factors such as types of income, shared custody situations, and special expense circumstances such as a child with special needs. The major factors used in calculating child support are:

  • The incomes of both parents are considered, and the higher-earner may be required to pay a greater share. The amounts are calculated using either net or gross income, depending upon the state.
  • The amount of any court-ordered child support payments for other children may be deducted from the income. Any voluntary payments cannot be deducted, and all payments must be up-to-date.
  • The parent who pays for any childcare may deduct that from their income.
  • One parent will be responsible for paying for the child’s healthcare coverage, and this issue will be included in the support order.
  • Other miscellaneous expenses may be included, if needed, such as travel expenses for custody arrangements and visitation and educational expenses for private school.
  • In some states, the best interest of the child doctrine necessitates that there be specific language to address college finances for the child and will specify the percentage or amount of contributions for each parent, which continues until the child is of a certain age. While the child cannot be compelled to attend college through a court order, the courts do want to make certain that the child is not put to a disadvantage due to being from a divorced family.

The courts never close issues that pertain to the health and well-being of a child. This allows both parents to re-visit custody, support and visitation issues when needed and gives courts the ability to oversee the best interest of the child on a continuing basis. The calculations for child support can be complex, so consult with a family law attorney in your state to get the most up-to-date and accurate information. 

For more information, contact Pagel Family Law or a similar firm.

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Defenses For A Marijuana Paraphernalia Charge

If you have been charged with possessing marijuana paraphernalia, this can result in some serious consequences if you live in a state that prohibits its use. However, there are some defenses that can help you successfully fight the charges.

Currently, it is against federal law to sell, transport in interstate commerce, or export/import drug paraphernalia. Marijuana paraphernalia can include these things:

  • Various types of marijuana pipes and bongs,
  • Measuring scales,
  • Packaging materials,
  • Roach clips,
  • Separation gin/sifters for refining it,
  • Carburetion masks, and more.

You could claim you had some of these things for other purposes, but if there is marijuana residue present on an item, you would still be charged with having paraphernalia.

“Police Procedures Were Improper” defenses

If the police violated your rights or failed to follow proper procedure when discovering your items, the evidence may not be admissible and this would result in your case being dismissed if there is no other evidence against you.

Police should have an articulate-able and reasonable suspicion that you are committing an infraction or other crime to stop and detain you as a pedestrian or pull you over while you are in a vehicle. They need a reasonable suspicion to frisk you for weapons, drugs, or drug related items.

If you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, then you should be allowed to leave the scene without a search being conducted unless the items are in plain view, there is a strong marijuana odor coming from the vehicle, or you are clearly impaired. An officer can’t claim your nervousness or the fact that your car has the smell of a deodorizer as reasonable suspicion to further detain you and call in a canine unit or to conduct a search.

Officers need probable cause to obtain a warrant to search a home for contraband materials and drugs, and they can’t search beyond the limits defined in the document.

“It Wasn’t Mine” Defense

If you borrowed an item of clothing or a vehicle that contained paraphernalia, or someone used your stuff/vehicle and left items in it, you could claim having no knowledge of the items being there and that they aren’t yours. Of course, you are more likely to be successful with this defense if you don’t have any prior drug related convictions. It also helps if you can pass a drug test, which your attorney might want to arrange for.

Legal Representation

A marijuana paraphernalia charge can result in jail time, a fine, or a driver’s license suspension depending on where you were received it. It can also affect your eligibility for student loans and employment.

You will need to consult with a criminal law attorney to discuss your options and to prepare a vigorous defense if needed. Contact a company like Brian Walker Law Firm, PC for more information.

 

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How to Get The Most Out of a Criminal Attorney’s Services

If you are about to undergo a criminal trial, one of the best things that you can do is work with a criminal lawyer to help you organize your case. Here are some tips about how to best work with a defense attorney. 

Choose the Right Attorney

The key to finding a great criminal lawyer is to choose someone with experience working on cases that are similar to yours. You can see what kinds of cases the lawyer has worked on in the past by asking them for a case history. From this, you can see the subjects of their recent cases along with the win or loss outcome. 

Another thing to consider is how much time the lawyer can devote to your case. When meeting with a potential lawyer, you may want to ask about or agree upon a schedule for meeting and discussing your case. Sometimes, having a team of lawyers working on your case can provide you with better access to legal counsel if there are more people available to answer your questions. 

Present Your Case Well

Your criminal attorney will do a better job of representing your case when they are given as much information as possible. Before you even approach lawyers for your trial, you should put together some information that will help them evaluate your case. For instance, gather information about who was involved with the arrest, the timing and circumstances surrounding the arrest, a list of your criminal charges, and any evidence against you. Then, the lawyer will work with you to collect more documentation that can support your case. 

Choose Your Services Upfront

A criminal defense lawyer can work with you in a few different ways, allowing you to customize your needs. Some may offer you a consultation before your trial, where they will help you prepare your evidence and the key points to bring up during your trial. This is a good option for those who cannot afford to seek full legal representation. However, it’s often a good idea to have the lawyer represent you in court. You can never fully foresee what points will be brought up in court, and a lawyer can help you put your best foot forward no matter what kind of evidence and questioning is thrown at you. 

A criminal trial is a tricky situation, and you need to be as prepared as possible in order to get a good result. Getting a great criminal lawyer and providing them with key evidence and support will help you to improve your outcome in a trial. Consider speaking with a representative from Edward Galang Law today to find the help you need.

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5 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Lawyer

Real estate law varies by state. Some states require that an attorney be involved in real estate transactions while others allow agents, title companies, private escrow companies, and lenders to perform various tasks involved in the buying and selling of property while others require that both parties be represented by a professional real estate lawyer. Even if your state doesn’t have this requirement, there may be circumstances where the services of a real estate lawyer will be in your best interests. Following are five situations where a real estate lawyer can be instrumental in smoothing transactions.

You’re Buying a Home in Another State

These transactions can be tricky because laws that are specific to your current state of residence may not be applicable to the state in which you are buying property. Depending on the state, you may be legally required to have an attorney for the transaction even if the laws in your current state don’t have that stipulation.

You’re Buying a Home Directly From the Seller

Because you won’t have an agent or title company working with you on this type of transaction, it’s advisable to hire a good real estate attorney to help ensure that the title is clear, that the proper inspections have been performed and that they have either been passed or the price of the property has been adjusted accordingly

You’re Selling Your Own Home

Selling your home without the assistance of a licensed real estate agent may save you substantial sums in commissions and fees, but it could also be more hassle than its worth if you don’t hire a real estate lawyer to help with some of the paperwork. For instance, a lawyer can write up a binding purchase agreement, arrange for transfer of title, receive the initial trust payment and hold it in a private escrow account, receive the final payment, and transfer the keys.

You’re Buying a Foreclosed Property

You can frequently get amazing deals on foreclosed properties, but navigating the requirements involved in their purchase is frustrating and time consuming. Availing yourself of the services of a  legal expert can mean the difference between a seamless transaction and an anxiety-producing tangle of red tape.

You’re Buying Commercial Property

Purchasing commercial property is generally more complex than buying a residential home. A competent real estate attorney with significant experience in handling commercial transactions works with customers throughout the entire process — from the initial negotiations to the final closing.

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Pipe Dreams: What You Should Know About The Law Before Investing In Cannabis Products

What sort of business grosses $1.7 million and pays $866,000 in taxes? Hint: It’s an old business that was once a thriving trade in the US. Search for images of this product and you’ll see just how common it was to find some form of it in American households until it was banned in 1937.

If you guessed cannabis, and you aren’t turned off to the idea of starting a cannabis company by the ridiculous tax rate, you should know about some of the other limitations of a cannabis-related business before making any investments.

Cannabis-related enterprises must make security their top priority.

There is one glaring concern in the requirements of the communities that allow cannabis sales and in the the demands of the US Justice and Treasury Departments. Security is the primary goal you will have to meet before obtaining final approval for any type of cannabis dispensary or other operation. This means lengthy waits between the initial application process and your grand opening, turning off any investors looking for quick returns.

Banks are reluctant to handle any cannabis-related cash or provide loans until the federal government makes up its mind about re-scheduling cannabis or legalizing it altogether. The huge amounts of cash generated by many cannabis businesses then create a massive security risk. You must prove you can provide a locked-down, monitored location before you open your doors.

The taxes on cannabis proceeds are exorbitant owing to an old drug law.

US Code 280E prohibits normal business deductions for income on sales of any controlled substances that are federally-classified as Schedule I or Schedule II products. This means that federal tax rates can be outrageous, even if state tax rates on cannabis businesses are progressive and fair.

There are efforts to change the Schedule I designation for marijuana and hemp products for tax purposes. Sales are through the roof in states where medical and recreational cannabis are legal, adding to the tax bases in those states and creating jobs and investment opportunities. Politicians want campaign donations and cannabis businesses are flush with cash, so more politicians will be getting on the pro-cannabis bandwagon. Still, until the IRS and the Feds get on the same tax page as the states, consult a knowledgeable tax attorney before buying any potential cannabis cash cows.

The laws are evolving and there are no experts.

There are no standard cannabis-business law specialties as of yet, although many attorneys have bravely jumped into the circus ring that is cannabis law. It may be difficult to locate a lawyer who understands all of the complex legal loose ends inherent in running a cannabis enterprise. You may have to contact corporate lawyers in other states who’ve handled similar issues as the ones you’re having, then pay to have them coach a local attorney on the nuances of your marijuana or hemp product company.

The good news is that more attorneys are showing interest in cannabis business law. One specialty is concerned with workplace cannabis policy. If an epileptic employee uses cannabis to control seizures, is it legal for the company to terminate him for failing a cannabis drug screen? Is that a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act? These and many other cannabis-fueled questions await business owners, employers and lawyers in the years to come. 

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Weigh The Disadvantages And Advantages Of An Uncontested Divorce To Determine If It Is Right For You

For most people, divorce is both a huge and tragic event. For this reason, many people want to begin the process and end it as quickly as possible. This desire often leads to an uncontested divorce, a divorce in which you and your spouse are in full agreement. The most important thing to understand about this type of divorce is that it is not for everyone. Take some time to familiarize yourself with both the disadvantages and advantages of this type of divorce to determine if this method is right for your situation.

Disadvantages

Complicated for business owners. If you and your ex owned a business, uncontested divorces are often just as complicated as contested divorces. Even if you and your spouse come to an agreement on the way you will split up your business ownership, many of these agreements must be reviewed in separate hearings that can prolong the length of the proceedings. You might find that your uncontested divorce is just as long and as expensive as a contested divorce.

Jurisdictional restraints. It’s also important to consider that uncontested divorces are not granted within every jurisdiction. Additionally, even if they are legal within your area, there are often additional requirements that come along with qualification. Simply stating that you and your ex agree on the divorce terms is not always enough to satisfy this requirement. Your attorney can inform you of the local requirements within your area.

Advantages

Increased privacy. All information from divorce proceedings ultimately makes its way into public records. With an uncontested, you don’t have to divulge as much background information and you don’t have to hand over as much of your personal information to the courts. With a contested divorce, you have to provide a substantial amount of information. The less information shared with the courts also means the less information disclosed in public records, protecting your privacy.

Less emotional turmoil. For some people, the feelings and sadness of divorce are prolonged when they have to go back and forth during a long and bitter divorce trying to agree on every single line item. With an uncontested divorce, all agreements have already been made. Compared to a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is much shorter. Being able to come to a resolve faster can help reduce much of the emotional turmoil.

Divorce is both a sensitive and large step, an attorney can help you make the right decision. Don’t hesitate to ask your attorney questions to help lead you in the right direction. To find out more about divorce, speak with someone like Madison Law Firm PLLC.

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