Answering A Couple Of Custody Questions Divorcing Parents May Have

Being a parent going through a divorce can be a stressful experience due to the questions surrounding custody of the children from the marriage. These issues are often a source of great contention, and as a result, it is important for you to be as informed as possible when going through these proceedings. After you have the answers to the following couple of questions, you will be in a better position to understand what to expect from these proceedings and your rights as a divorced parent.

Will A Drug Test Be Required During The Custody Proceedings?

There are some individuals that may be surprised to learn that it can be required to undergo a drug test during these proceedings. The exact rules governing whether this will be required can vary from state to state and even judge to judge. As a result, you should make sure that you are sober before going to court. While failing the drug test will not automatically disqualify you from visitation or custody, you will have to show that you are taking steps to address the problem. Once you have completed counseling for the drug problem, your visitation rights may be reviewed by the court to ensure you are able to spend time with your children.

What If The Other Parent Denies Your Visitation Rights?

Unfortunately, issues relating to child custody often arise over the course of time. A common problem can stem from one parent attempting to deny the other visitation. Often, this is done to as a way to get back at the other parent, and the courts are aware of this. As a result, if you are going through this type of dispute, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

It may be possible to hold the other parent in contempt of court. This can result in expensive fines or jail time until the parent relents and allows you to see your children. While you may not want to resort to this approach, it can be the only option for ensuring your rights as a parent are protected.

Custody issues can be particularly bitter for divorcing parents to resolve. To ensure these proceedings go as smoothly as possible for you, it is important to understand that drug testing may be required by the judge when deciding custody. Also, you should be aware of how to handle if the other parent is denying your visitation rights. Being armed with this information will make you better prepared for going through the divorce process and living life as a divorced parent. An attorney like Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC can help answer any other questions you may have.

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The Role Of A Patent Attorney

The legal field has a myriad of professionals who deal in a wide array of legal facets from criminal to divorce. Patent attorneys specialize in cases where people or companies are making a claim that someone has either stolen or interfered with an exclusive patent that they’ve created. This is also commonly known as trademark infringement, and it requires a lawyer who fully understands the current United States trademark and patent laws.

What Patent Attorneys Do

If someone has invented a product and applied for a patent, the idea is then considered their own, exclusive to that patent. If someone else decides to use that idea for a profit without express permission, this is known as patent or trademark infringement. The inventor then has the right to sue the offending party for such crime. A patent attorney, like one from Lingbeck Law Office, is there to represent the patent holder and protect their intellectual property. Well-versed patent attorneys stay up to date on the latest technological developments so they have a working knowledge of what exists and what is considered to be infringement.

How Patent Attorneys Get Their Title

A patent attorney is very specialized type of lawyer, so they must first receive a Bachelor’s degree in a specific scientific field. These fields have to be approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Some examples of approved fields include engineering, biology, or chemistry. If the attorney plans to represent a client, they have to have a solid understanding of the field in which their clients operate. They must also pass the Patent Bar Exam. After receiving their bachelor’s degree, patent attorneys need to complete a Juris Doctor program at an accredited law school in order to begin practicing. They must also submit an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to receive an official license.

Who Needs Patent Attorneys?

Not everyone who has an invention needs to hire a patent attorney. Here are some instances where it would be prudent to call one and enlist their assistance:

  • You’ve confirmed that your patented idea is completely original, and you see a similar product being sold where the idea appears to be taken from yours.
  • You see a product being sold without your permission that has used your patented concept to make a profit without your consent.
  • Someone you once worked with has “stolen” your idea and is attempting to claim it as their own.

Using an attorney who specialized in this type of law can protect you and the hard work you’ve put in to make something out of your own ideas. It is worth it to use these kinds of lawyers in order to make sure your intellectual property remains yours, and stays protected. 

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Probate Explained In Four Steps

The very word “probate” has taken on a negative connotation in recent time, with a great deal of information available advising people on “how to avoid probate,” as if it were a dread disease. There is some benefit in planning your estate to keep some of your property out of probate, which will allow it to pass quickly and seamlessly to your heirs in privacy, but you must still probate some assets. In fact, the probate process can seldom be avoided entirely, and it pays to understand what probate is and how it works. Read on for the four main steps involved in probate. 

1.  File the probate petition in court.

This step signals the official beginning of the probate process, with the last will and testament of the deceased becoming a public document. An executor will be named, who will partner with the estate attorney to oversee the probate. Beneficiaries will receive notice of the filing, and will have an opportunity to challenge any part of the will in court with a hearing. Additionally, a legal notice to any potential creditors who may have a claim on the estate will be published in a local newspaper for a specified period of time.

2.  Take inventory.

An inventory of all debt and assets is performed by the executor, who is also referred to as a personal representative in some states. The inventory of assets may include stocks, bonds, bank accounts, retirement and pension accounts, real estate, vehicles, art, jewelry and more. For larger or more complicated estates, a professional appraiser may need to be hired to compete the inventory.

Additionally, the executor performs an accounting of all taxes and debt owed. Assets such as bank accounts may be used by the executor to pay taxes and bills. For estates with no liquid assets, the executor has the power to sell assets to bring debts and taxes up to date.

3.  Distribution of assets.

Once the waiting period for any interested parties (creditors) has passed, the executor is tasked with ensuring that the estate is distributed according to the wishes of the deceased. The estate now becomes final in court and includes an accounting of all financial transactions carried out by the executor on behalf of the estate. 

4.  Official transfers.

In this final part of probate, paperwork to reflect new ownership of all assets in the estate is accomplished. Quit claim deeds are completed to show real estate transfers and vehicles are retitled to show new ownership. The executor’s responsibility now largely passes to the beneficiaries, who will simply need to show a copy of the probated will to accomplish the documentation changes necessary to have a property be in their names. 

A legal and valid will that is updated on a timely basis can help ensure a quick and efficient probate process. Your financial planner and a local estate attorney (such as Edward G. Foster) will serve as invaluable resources when completing your will and keeping it current.

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Post-Divorce: Can You Limit Your Extended Family’s Visits With Your Kids?

If your relationship with your ex-spouse’s family turns sour after your divorce, you may wish to limit their visits with your children. Although it benefits your kids to spend time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, it can also harm your kids if their extended family tries to manipulate them into hating you. Because you want to protect your relationship with your kids, contact a family lawyer for help. A family law attorney discusses the best way to handle your situation without harming your children’s mental and emotional health. Here’s why you need legal assistance and how an attorney helps you protect your kids.

What Happens When Family Relationships Sour?

Most people get along with their extended family members after divorce and continue to spend time with them during holidays, birthdays and other special events. If your extended family developed an immediate dislike for you after the divorce, you avoid family gatherings to keep the animosity down.

However, your ex can still expose your children to their family whenever they pick up your children for weekend visits, vacations and other events. When the other parent returns your kids, your children seem distant and even angry with you. Your kids may also blame you for the divorce or speak negatively against you. In some cases, your kids repeat the hateful things their extended family says about you. 

If you don’t ask a family law attorney to make changes in your custody agreement, the problem becomes worse.

Should You Request Changes in Your Custody Agreement?

Family court originally awarded you and the other parent joint custody of your kids because it was in their best interests to have two active parents in their lives. But if the other parent refuses to step in and put a stop to their family’s abusive tactics against you, a family law attorney can ask the court to change the custody agreement.

One of the things an attorney may do is ask a family court judge to limit where the other parent takes your kids when they have physical custody of them and who they take them around. Although it may seem extreme to place limitations on the other parent, it may be the only way to keep your children mentally and emotionally safe from the extended family. 

If you need more help with protecting your kids from their extended family, contact a family law attorney for assistance. 

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Important Points To Consider With Your DUI Charge

Facing a driving under the influence charge can be quite scary due to the repercussions that you might face. Since 28 people die every single day as a result of drunk drivers, courts will have little sympathy for offenders who are proven guilty. For that reason, there are some keys that you will need to consider so that you are able to understand what you are up against and what you will need to do in order to avoid the harshest penalties. Consider this guide as you build your case and exercise your rights. 

Consider Taking A Plea Bargain If One Is On The Table

If the evidence against you is too strong, one of the best things to do might be to simply take a plea bargain. With drunk driving, the plea bargain you would take is called a wet reckless charge. Wet reckless is an acknowledgment that alcohol was involved in your charge but is downgraded to a reckless driving charge, which is a lesser offense than a DUI. Not all states accept wet reckless plea-bargains, so you would need to speak with your attorney about this possibility.

Know The Potential Penalties You Face

Understanding the potential penalties you face gives you a realistic outlook as you begin building your defense. The sooner you come to grips with this information, the better you will be able to put the pieces together with your attorney. As an example, being found guilty of a DUI in Virginia gets you a fine between $250 and $2500, along with a mandatory five days in jail. In California, you pay a minimum $390 fine and a two-day jail sentence.

Know What To Look For In A Criminal Defense Lawyer

When hiring a criminal defense lawyer, be sure that their specialty is DUI cases. When you hire a criminal defense lawyer with this specialty, you will have the best chance possible of getting either the plea bargain or acquittal that you need to protect your rights. Such a lawyer will also have relationships within the municipality that will help compile the best possible evidence to prove your case.

Above all, make sure that you do all that you can to fight the charge to keep your record clean. Never drink and drive, but if you face a charge, you will need to come to court prepared. For more information, contact Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys or a similar firm.

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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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