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One of the reasons why some divorce cases become contested is because of the issue of division of properties and assets, the results of which will have a direct major impact in the spouses’ lives right after divorce. Due to its effect, being assured of a substantial share of assets (and lesser marital debts) will be important, especially for those who have sacrificed their own career and professional growth to spend their time in support of their spouse and to care for their children instead.
To save couples from the stress and worry that this divorce-related issue usually brings, many financial experts, legal professionals and even marriage counselors advise those planning to get married to consider entering into a pre-marital (or pre-nuptial) agreement. Besides the fact that a pre-nuptial agreement is never aimed at spoiling marital unions, it can also really provide lots of benefits if the marriage eventually fails.
Before attempting to decide “who gets what,” the judge (if the divorce is contested) or the mediator (in mediated divorce) will first need to determine which of the couple’s properties and assets are marital assets and, therefore, subject for distribution. Properties identified as an inheritance or gift to one spouse during the time of marriage, profits earned from properties which one of the spouses got to own before the marriage, a property purchased by one of the spouses using the money that he/she earned before marriage, and all other properties mentioned in the pre-marital agreement are considered as personal and, therefore, cannot be divided between the spouses.
With regard to those that may be distributed, courts apply one of these two basic systems: equitable distribution or community property. In equitable distribution, marital properties and assets are divided fairly and reasonably (not necessarily equally) between the spouses. This system of distribution takes into account the following factors: the income and earning potential of each spouse; the age of each spouse; the spouses’ emotional and physical conditions; the tax consequences of the assets, properties and debts; the value of the personal properties [like retirement plans, 401(k) plans, business, business interests, bonds, stocks, financial incentives] of each spouse; child support (if there are children) and/or alimony requirements; the future financial needs of each spouse; the degree of contribution of each spouse in to the acquisition of marital properties; and, length of marriage.
The community property distribution system, on the other hand, is based on equality. In this system, the spouses are considered equal owners of all the properties and assets earned and acquired during their marriage even if only one of them had been employed. This legal position is also applied with concern to debts, rendering both spouses equally liable for all unpaid balances on car loans, home mortgages, credit cards, and so forth.
The community property system or equal distribution system is currently observed in nine US states (all other states observe the equitable distribution system: Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, Idaho, California and Arizona.
According to the website of the Beauchamp Law Office, P.C., it is important, for those who may be undergoing a divorce procedure, to protect their financial future as well as ensure their capability to continue to provide for themselves and their family. Thus, being represented by a highly-capable property division lawyer who can help them secure this protection will definitely be among their best interests.Read More
There is no real difference in the legal qualifications and aptitude between a public defender and a private lawyer generally speaking. Both had gone to law school and are licensed to practice in their state as attorneys. In fact, public defenders probably have more extensive experience in criminal defense than most lawyers because they handle a lot more cases. However, it is precisely because a public defender is given a heavy case load that a defendant may not be properly represented in their case, and why a private lawyer that can pick and choose their cases is the better option.
The best criminal defense lawyers are those that do not necessarily have an extensive practice, but those that focus on specific types of cases. As pointed out on the website of the Flaherty Defense Firm, lawyers with expertise in handling particular crimes are peculiarly suited to protecting the rights and interests of the defendant to the full extent of the law. Public defenders are obliged to handle the cases that are handed to them, and this can turn them into a Jack of all trades but master of none.
A public defender could be juggling more than 20 cases at any one time. Because their case loads are typically not as heavy, private lawyers have more time to prepare for each case and focus on the finer points of the cases they handle that could spell the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
Public defenders use state resources to prepare their cases, and in most cases they have to make do with what the budget will allow them. Private lawyers have access to investigative, documentation, and expert services that can help them build a more thorough defense than a public defender can hope to with their limited resources.
Public defenders serve an important purpose; to represent defendants that do not have the financial means to retain a private lawyer. However, if you are charged with a crime and you have the means to pay for your defense, you will find that the results will be worth the expense of retaining the best possible criminal defense lawyer in your area that you can afford.Read More
Theft is primarily defined as the illegal appropriation of property. According to the website of criminal defense lawyer Ian Inglis, the penalties for a theft conviction can be quite serious under the Texas Penal Code. When charged with theft and the property had actually been taken by the defendant, there are a few defense that a defense lawyer may apply depending on the circumstances.
One of the requirements for a charge of theft to stick is that there an intent to steal. If the defendant can prove that at the time of the incident he or she was under the influence of an intoxicating substance (drugs, alcohol, etc.) and had no mental capacity to form intent, it may succeed in having the charges dismissed or reduced.
If the property is the defendant’s obviously a charge of theft will not stick. However, there are circumstances when the defendant did take someone else’s property in the belief that he or she had right of ownership. The defendant took someone else’s luggage from an airport carousel, for example, believing that it was his or hers to take because it was similar or even identical to their property. The defendant has to prove that it was an “honest mistake” such as by producing their luggage and demonstrating that it does indeed look similar enough to have been switched.
This is a rather complicated defense for theft because the defendant has to prove that the property owner had induced the defendant to take the property in order to substantiate a charge of theft. A shrewd defense lawyer will have to show that the plaintiff had lured the defendant to commit the crime for whatever reason.
In most cases, returning the property cannot be used as a defense against a theft charge unless the defendant can prove that there was intent to return the property when it was taken. The defendant can claim that the property had merely been “borrowed.”
If you are facing a charge of theft, it is important that you understand your rights and protections under the law. Engage the services of a reputable defense lawyer in your area to help you avoid a conviction.Read More
With recent events leading to widespread discussions about activism and the internet, I’ve been thinking about what people can do in their communities to raise awareness about the issues that impact their lives. I mean in addition to taking to hashtags, Facebook, and other homes for “slacktivism,” there are real physical actions you can take to help foster change in your community.
There are many classes of people that can benefit from organized help, including the homeless, the elderly, and children. Organizing events to help a group of people can do a lot to raise awareness of the problems that group faces as well as brighten someone’s day. It doesn’t have to be anything major. I once went to a video game tournament at a local library. It had a great turnout and all the kids had a blast. They got to compete and cheer in a safe environment and many of them made new friends.
There are tons of ways you can try to bring your community together. Building a community is not easy, but it’s well worth the effort, as a strong community where everyone knows and trusts one another can work wonders.
The criminal defense lawyer is more than an officer of the court and a necessary personality in a trial. There are many roles that a criminal defense lawyer plays way before the courtroom drama commences. In fact, many cases don’t actually get to that point at all, and in general, that’s how defense lawyers prefer it.
A defendant can tell his or her lawyer everything without fear of it being used against him or her. This is the main purpose of the attorney-client privilege. In fact, if the lawyer breaks confidentiality, it can be grounds for the lawyer’s license to be suspended or revoked, and the leaked information still cannot be used against the defendant because it is “tainted” except in some circumstances. A criminal defense lawyer is still required to build the best possible defense for the client even if he or she knows the client is guilty of the crime, although they are barred from lying to the court.
The lawyer is also there to provide the client various scenarios that may pan out for a particular case, the client’s legal options, and to advise the client about the best course to take from a legal standpoint. In most cases, the defendant is clueless about the law, and the lawyer is there to elucidate matters.
The criminal defense lawyer is there to defend the client, if only to introduce reasonable doubt in the case presented by the prosecutor. The burden of proof is on the prosecution; the defense can introduce reasonable doubt by challenging any statement that is damaging to the client, and to present an alternate theory of the case to that presented by the prosecution.
When it is apparent that the evidence against the defendant is overwhelming, the lawyer can take on the role of negotiator during a plea bargain. Prosecutors generally prefer to settle the matter out of court because it saves on trial costs, but the defendant must bring something to the table to justify a more favorable deal. A good Houston criminal defense lawyer will know how and what to offer to minimize the severity of the punishment of the client and to indicate to the defendant when a deal is as good as it is going to get.Read More
One legal and moral obligation that all health care providers owe patients is provision of quality care. This means timely treatment, correct diagnosis and effective medication. Besides the commitment to save lives and treat patients well, the level of trust that patients give doctors ought to be more than enough for them to live up to patients’ expectations, and so provide fast and effective treatment to patients’ health concerns.
The ideal, however, is often deviated from by what is real, as hospital negligence, which leads to medical malpractice that often inflicts more severe harm in patients, is a reality in the US, as well as in all parts of the globe. Every year, more than a million individuals either suffer worse medical conditions or die because of medical malpractice, which can very well be prevented from happening.
The causes of medical mistakes vary; some of these are miscommunication between nurse and doctor, not enough time to really listen to a patient’s health complaints, wrong interpretation of a laboratory result, mix-up in patients’ records, wrong diagnostic tests, and so forth. Some of these mistakes lead to major medical actions, like surgery, but which actually only puts the patient in greater harm than on the road to recovery.
Negligence is often the reason why mistakes take place. While others may mention overworked nurses and medical personnel, or whatever excuse one may think of, the root cause of it all is still negligence. This negligent behavior usually results to surgery being performed on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong site of the body, injecting the wrong dosage of anesthesia, and many others.
New Hampshire medical malpractice lawyers are just a few of the many highly-competent legal minds who can help victims of hospital negligence and medical malpractice file a civil case (for damages) against the liable party, fight for the victim’s rights and interest and help him/her earn the full compensation that he/she is legally entitled to receive.Read More
With cars becoming the most common means of transportation in the US, their steady increase on all US roads and highways has also given rise to the number of automobile accidents every year. Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show, at least, five million road tragedies annually. While drunk-driving, overspeeding, and reckless driving figure to be the main reasons for accidents that seriously injure or kill innocent people, there is another culprit, which majority of drivers may not be totally aware of but are surely guilty of committing – driver error and driver distraction.
Often, when driving has become a daily chore, drivers end up becoming too complacent on the road, committing traffic violations with the excuse or thought that they are in full control of the wheel, anyway, and can avert danger in the event that it shows itself. Thus, many never slow down or stop when making turns, try to beat the red light, fail to use signal lights, fail to check for incoming motor vehicles, especially at intersections, overtake other vehicles improperly, tailgate other vehicles (trucks, worst of all), fail to use the seatbelt, make sudden lane changes, and so forth.
As for driver distractions, though most common among young drivers, it can probably be safe to say that all have been distracted, at least one or a couple of times in their whole driving career. Though driving distraction has many forms, all these cause the very same thing – take a driver’s attention off the road. The many different forms of driver distractions include: looking at a map for directions; adjusting a GPS or a radio; playing the car stereo at full volume; chatting with friends while driving; taking, or having a picture taken, while driving; fixing a tie, grooming; drinking and eating; and, worst of all, texting or using a handheld phone while driving, which is now illegal.
Whether the cause of an automobile accident is driver error or driver distraction, one sure thing is that it is a result of negligence and carelessness on the part of the liable driver. Seeking the help of legal professionals, such as Los Angeles car accident lawyers, would be advisable in order to bring to justice the at-fault driver and to make him/her compensate the victim for all the damages resulting from the injury which he/she has caused.Read More
The Willow Island disaster in April of 1978, which killed 51 construction workers who were all working on a scaffold, is considered the largest construction accident in the history of the United States. So many more construction site accidents happened before and after this one tragic event, all severely injuring scores of workers and taking the lives of many others.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics records about 150,000 job-related injuries annually in construction sites alone, making industrial jobs the most dangerous of all types of works. To ensure safety in construction sites, in particular, and in all workplaces, in general, the US government passed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSH Act, in 1970 which, after a year, established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHS’ main concern is to implement the mandate on safe and healthy working conditions in every working environment for the benefit of all employees.
In 2012, of the 4,175 deaths involving employees in the private sector, 806 were construction workers. The top four causes of deaths, which OSHA came to call the “Fatal Four,” include: falls; being struck by something, such as a truck, crane, a falling wall, a falling object or other heavy tool or vehicle; electrocution; and, being caught-in/between.
On its website, Hach & Rose, LLP, points out the necessity of construction jobs, yet also affirms the many dangers construction workers are regularly exposed to. Thus, property owners, contractors, machinery manufacturers and all workers have the responsibility of doing their part in keeping working sites as safe as possible to avoid untoward incidents, which, in reality, can be avoided.
When an accident occurs, however, then hiring a highly-competent legal counsel, such as a Milwaukee construction accident lawyer, would be much advised. He or she would be able to help the accident victim assess the extent of the injury, correctly fill out claims forms and file everything within the statutory period.Read More
In April of 2010, an explosion caused by a wellhead blowout or a failure in the pressure control system engulfed the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in flames, sinking it and resulting in the release of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the sea. This sea tragedy, which occurred off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, took the lives of 11 persons, injured 16 others and was regarded as the biggest ecological disaster in the United States.
Aware of the severe harm that spills can cause to marine life, the health of coastal residents, and the gulf’s economy, BP made an estimation that the total amount necessary to cover settlement claims, clean-up costs and other legal fees would be approximately $7.8 billion.
It has become quite obvious, however, that the settlement administrator has interpreted the terms BP’s settlement agreement in a way that BP believes approves claims by people and businesses who were not even harmed by the spill. A New Orleans U.S. District Judge agreed with the administrator’s interpretation, while the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined BP’s request to deny an injunction on the judge’s decision.
While BP has raised its appeal to the US Supreme Court, the order to continue paying settlement claims, which have ballooned to at least $9.2 billion stays. Among the claimants that BP needs to pay are non-profit organizations, such as educational organizations, disease research organizations, pildlife preservation organizations, and historical societies. Obviously, these types of organizations depend greatly on charitable donations made by individual benefactors and a number of business owners who, in turn, may have suffered economic losses themselves due to direct or indirect effects of the spill.
While it may be understandable that BP is trying to save itself from paying business economic losses (BEL) which are not traceable to the spill, authentic claimants will have to wait indefinitely until the court’s decision is made. For organizations making non-profit oil spill claims, “indefinitely” can mean great harm to their operations, even existence. This is why many legitimate claimants have deemed the services of a BP claim appeal lawyer a necessity in helping them acquire the settlement payment, which they legally deserve, much faster.Read More
Business firms, especially small and developing ones, are always faced with legal concerns that make operations and overcoming competitions and obstacles really challenging. Hiring the right (and competent) employees, employee benefits and compensation, purchasing better equipment for improved business operations, taxes, company debts and, sometimes, company losses – all these will have to be addressed, and on time too. But to remain competitive and to ensure the timely payments of all financial matters, business firms will have to have a steady flow of cash or should continuously make profit.
This is not the case with a slowed-down economy, though. And with not enough profit, a number of small, developing firms will find even keeping their heads above the water a much greater challenge. Some, which find the challenges simply overwhelming, decide to close, while others, in order to survive, apply for business loans until they lose control of financial matters and end up in debts too big for their company to settle.
While quitting at this time may already be too late, seeking legal advice may just be the means to solve all financial problems, with the chance of saving the company too. A business lawyer, for instance, can advise a company owner to solve his/her company’s overwhelming financial problems through legal means, that is, by filing a case of bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy, which is a federally authorized procedure, gives individuals and businesses the chance to regain control of their finances, while enabling creditors get some measure of repayment. The US bankruptcy law forgives debtors of their dischargeable debts, while allowing them to liquidate some assets or design a payment plan which will enable them to settle their debts that are non-dischargeable.
Through bankruptcy, business and individuals are given a fresh start. It is, however, necessary to determine which particular chapter of the US Bankruptcy Code ought to be filed for the debtor to enjoy the full benefits of the bankruptcy law.
The US Bankruptcy Code offers business firms, especially small ones, the option to file for Chapter 7, which is liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 11 or business bankruptcy, or Chapter 13, also known as Repayment Plan or Debt Adjustment Plan.
For small businesses with no intent to continue operations, then Chapter 7 may be the appropriate legal option. Chapter 13 can be filed if the type of business is sole proprietorship (since this chapter can only be filed by individuals); thus, corporations, limited liability companies, and businesses owned by partners cannot file for this particular chapter. There is a cap, though, to the amount of loan, which an individual should not exceed, to be able to qualify for this chapter.
Owners of small firms that have intent of recovering can file for Chapter 11, which allows them to restructure their finances, modify payment terms or downsize by selling all or a part of their assets. Though Chapter 11 may help owners continue business operations, regain profitability, and balance their income and expenses, it is risky, expensive, complex and time-consuming.Read More