How to Get the Legal Help You Need Now

When Is It Advisable For The Child To Testify During Child Custody Hearings?

Posted by on 11:27 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When Is It Advisable For The Child To Testify During Child Custody Hearings?

There are two main reasons children don’t usually testify in custody hearings. For one, testifying can negatively affect the children, especially when they have to say negative things about a parent (whom they love). Also, custody determination is up to the judge and the law, and not the kid. Still, your kid may have something to contribute to their custody case. Here are three cases in which it’s advisable and reasonable for a kid to testify: When Parents Give Contradictory “Facts” Judges rely on the facts of the case when making custody rulings. Due to the controversial nature of custody hearings, however, parents cannot always be relied upon to tell nothing but the truth. If a judge suspects that the parents are lying (for example, if they are giving contradictory “facts”), then the judge may seek the truth from the child. For example, when each parent claims that they have been cooking dinner alone every day, the testimony of the child may be necessary to break the deadlock. When the Child Is Old Enough To Choose Their Guardian  In some cases, it might be best to hear the child’s preference on the custody issue. This may be the case if the parents seem to be evenly matched and the child’s preference may sway the decision one way or the other. Unfortunately, children can’t always be relied upon to make good decisions as far as their welfare is concerned; they might not even know what is good for them. The younger a child is, the more they are unlikely to make good decisions. Therefore, a mature or older child is likely to be allowed to state their preference than a younger (immature) one. In fact, some states have minimum ages (in Vermont it is 14) for allowing kids to testify as to their preference. When the Court Can’t Get the Evidence Any Other Way Lastly, it’s also reasonable for the child to testify if the court can’t get the testimony via any other means. In this case, allowing the child to testify is rationalized by the fact that the value of their testimony outweighs the harm of allowing them to testify. For example, in a suspected case of abuse where nobody else has the information, it might be necessary to get the testimony from the child. In such a case, the judge will take the child’s testimony in chamber – away from the prying eyes of other people.  For more information, talk to a professional like Gomez May...

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Dealing With an Alcoholic Spouse? Separation and Divorce Options May Be Best

Posted by on 8:46 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dealing With an Alcoholic Spouse? Separation and Divorce Options May Be Best

If you think your spouse has a drinking problem and you can’t get them to reach out for the help they need, you may be considering a divorce. If you think that you want to try to get them help, and that you want to see if things could work out if they stopped drinking, you want to talk with a lawyer to see what your options are. You may want to take some space from your spouse to let them know you are serious about their drinking problem and that it has to stop, and that you have met with a legal expert about possibly separating. Here are a few of the things you need to speak with the lawyer about. Filing for Separation One of the best ways to separate from your spouse without filing for a divorce is to file for a separation. This will allow you to legally move, have your own life, and separate from your spouse, without having the marriage completely ended in court. You can give the separation a set amount of time while your spouse tries to recover or deal with their drinking problem, and then after that you can move forward with divorce or end the separation. Creating a Mediation Agreement A mediation agreement that you and your spouse create with a lawyer about the terms of the separation or divorce can make the processes much easier. When you sit down with your spouse to tell them you’ve met with a lawyer, tell them you want to create a mediated agreement so you can split amicably if necessary. Rehabilitation Options To stop drinking and to get back on track your spouse will have to go to a rehabilitation center or get some type of help. You can have your lawyer draw up a contract that states your spouse is willing to commit to a drinking program to help with their addiction, and if they violate the contract then the mediation agreement is void. There is a lot to think about when you are dealing with a spouse that has a drinking problem, and it may be best to sit down with a divorce attorney, such as those at Madison Law Firm PLLC, to talk about your options and the different things going on in your marriage. You don’t want to stay in a bad marriage, but with separation and divorce threats, your spouse may come...

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Eyewitness Testimony: Why Defense Attorneys Don’t Trust It And How They Counter It In Court

Posted by on 10:49 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Eyewitness Testimony: Why Defense Attorneys Don’t Trust It And How They Counter It In Court

Is seeing believing? Should courts believe witnesses when they testify to what they claim they saw with their own eyes? Maybe not, if the scientific evidence about eyewitness testimony is any indication. Here is why eyewitness testimony is something that your criminal defense attorney is likely to challenge in court and some examples of how he or she can do so. Eyewitness testimony is often wrong In three out of every four cases where DNA evidence has later been used to establish someone’s innocence and overturn their conviction on appeal, that conviction relied largely on eyewitness testimony. Unfortunately, juries tend to believe people when they say that a particular event is stuck in their mind because of how terrifying it is—even though research repeatedly shows that the opposite is actually true. People who are shocked or scared or afraid of violence are actually less likely to have a clear memory of events than those who aren’t. There’s a strong relationship between confidence and accuracy One area of attack that your attorney may have on any eyewitnesses used to identify you in a photo or physical lineup is the relative confidence exhibited by the witness from the very beginning. Studies have shown that there’s some relationship between the confidence level of a witness during early identification procedures, not the confidence shown at an actual trial, and the actual level of accuracy of that witness. For example, a witness who is confident from the beginning of her identification of her rapist when shown an array of suspect photos is more likely accurate than the witness who hesitates and expresses doubt by saying something like, “I think this is him.”  The relationship is significant enough that experts believe that juries should be instructed to consider the confidence level shown by witnesses during early testimony and identification procedures, not the confidence that they exhibit during the trial after they have had months to convince themselves that they made the “right” identification early on. Your attorney may be able to argue this point in front of a jury or convince the judge to give those instructions before the jury deliberates. Witnesses may also be subtly influenced by others. Witnesses can also be subtly influenced by others during the early identification process in ways that neither they nor their interviewers realize. For example, some city and state police forces have taken measures to improve the accuracy of eyewitness testimony by doing such things as making sure that the investigator controlling the lineup of people from which the witness is asked to identify the perpetrator doesn’t actually know who the suspect is. That can help ensure that the investigator doesn’t give off any micro-signals, unintentionally or not, that could guide a witness toward identifying the “right” person in the lineup. Your attorney is likely to ask a lot of questions about what procedures were used during early witness examination to make sure that their memories weren’t contaminated by the investigators. He or she may be able to argue that a witness is only “sure” of his or her identification because he or she feels validated by the fact that you were the person the police suspected. For more information on how a criminal defense attorney can attack seemingly strong evidence in a criminal case against you,...

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3 Things You Need To Know About Workers Compensation Claims And Lawsuits

Posted by on 11:17 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Things You Need To Know About Workers Compensation Claims And Lawsuits

If you have been injured at work, you might be worried that there is no restitution for all of your pain and suffering. A work related injury that is severe can affect your ability to carry a job, live your life normally, and can negatively affect your finances. This is why many people choose to file a workers compensation lawsuit. Here are some things you need to know about filing a lawsuit. 1. File A Claim First Before you go to an attorney about a lawsuit you should file a claim with your employment first. You may file the claim to your boss, or you will file it to the company’s insurance provider. In many cases this will be as much as you need to do to get what you deserve. In the claim, you will itemize all of your expenses because of the accident, and, hopefully, the company and the insurance will simply pay out. If you can get the insurance provider to cooperate with your request, there will be no need to file a lawsuit. This is ideal seeing that it will save you money in attorney’s fees and will save you time. So make sure you try to work it out with a claim first. 2. Keep Documentation Of All Of The Expenses Whether you file a claim or a lawsuit, you will need to have proof of all of the expenses from your injuries. For example, if you had to go to physical therapy, needed surgery, missed work, and so forth because of the accident, you will need to keep all the medical bills and doctor notes explaining that the surgery was because of the accident. You should also keep pay stubs and any correspondence you had with your employer. If they fired you because of the injury, or if they failed to pay you for time off because of the accident, you can use this in the lawsuit. Keeping every piece of correspondence will be the best thing for your situation. 3. Don’t Wait To Resolve It Because of your injury you may not feel emotionally ready to fight on payment for the injuries. The problem is that there is a time limit to how long you can wait to file a claim or a lawsuit. Thus, if you wait too long, you might lose your chance to get the money that you deserve. Start the process as soon as the injury occurs. For more information, talk to a workers compensation lawyer like Wolter, Beeman, Lynch & Londrigan...

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3 Things To Do To Keep Your Liquor License

Posted by on 6:15 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Things To Do To Keep Your Liquor License

If you have a restaurant and you want to sell alcohol, you need to make sure that you have a liquor license. Without that, you aren’t allowed to sell liquor and run the risk of being arrested or fined if you get caught selling any kind of alcohol. When you get your license, there are things that you need to do to make sure that you can keep it.  Check ID For Everyone You don’t want to sell any alcohol to underage people. The best way to make sure that you don’t do that is to make sure that everyone is carded. Some places will card people unless they appear to be over a certain age. If your establishment is a bar, then people should be carded before they get in the bar, so servers shouldn’t have to worry about that. At a restaurant, the servers should card the person who orders the drink, and you may have rules that anyone at the table will also have to be carded.  Learn About Fake IDs There are always going to be people who get fake IDs so that they can go out drinking. If you are in a college town, you probably see more fake IDs than other places. Make sure that your employees know how to tell a fake ID from a real one. You can post flyers and pictures near workstations so that your employees will see them regularly so that they are aware of what the fakes look like. You can also ask the police to come in and teach your employees how to recognize fakes. The police may also be willing to share what the new trends in fake IDs are.  Go to Continuing Education Classes When you get your license, your state may require that you go through classes. Those classes can teach you things like how to tell if someone is too drunk for you to serve any more alcohol to. In order to keep your license, the state may also require that you and your employees take classes every few years. That way you are familiar with any changes that may happen in the law.  If you want your restaurant to sell alcohol, you can’t just start selling liquor. You have to make sure that you are doing the things you need so that you can keep it. If you do lose it, then you may have to do a lot of work in order to get it back. For more information, contact local professionals like Arizona Liquor Industry...

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Do You Really Have The Right To Remain Silent?

Posted by on 10:01 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do You Really Have The Right To Remain Silent?

You’ve undoubtedly seen countless television dramas where a suspect is cuffed and “read their rights,” beginning with those memorable words, “You have the right to remain silent.” Many of us, however, probably don’t really understand what those words mean. These words, known as the Miranda warning, must be spoken to anyone about to be arrested and must be conveyed before they are questioned. A somewhat puzzling situation can occur, however, when a suspect is being questioned at a police station, but has not actually been arrested. Do you still have rights? Powerful rights afforded by the Fifth Amendment As the warning goes, anything you say from the time you are “Miranda-ized” could be used against you in a court of law. This warning is meant to put a person on formal notice that they are not required to answer questions without having their attorney present. This affords people an opportunity to have a legal professional on hand, advising them on what to say, or what not to say, to avoid self-incrimination. If you wish to evoke your right against self-incrimination, you simply must state “I invoke my right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself.” It’s worth noting that this phrase may be paraphrased; it’s not necessary too recite it word-for-word. Being questioned without arrest On the other hand, if you are told that you are free to go at any time and are not held in a locked room, there are no such protections available. There are no laws that require police officers read you the Miranda warning or anything else. However, you should know that if you are given the impression that you are not free to simply get up and walk out, you must have been given the Miranda warning. Failing to do so could cause any subsequent questioning, testimony or even confessions to be “thrown out” and nullified. Keeping quiet What if you simply clammed up and refused to answer questions? A 2013 Supreme Court ruling surprised the legal world when it proclaimed that keeping silent, and thus not evoking your Fifth Amendment right, could be interpreted as a sign of guilt. The bottom line, in light of this ruling, is that even those who are not read their Miranda warning, be they under arrest or not, should make a concerted effort to speak the phrase and evoke your rights to keep silent, if you wish to do so. To learn more about your rights against self-incrimination, consult with a criminal attorney like Abom & Kutulakis...

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Three Factors You’ll Need To Have In Place To Avoid A Court Divorce

Posted by on 6:21 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Factors You’ll Need To Have In Place To Avoid A Court Divorce

A court divorce, or litigated divorce, is the most highly publicized type and the one that the media loves because there’s so much fighting and drama going on. But court cases are enormously expensive and can have very negative effects on children and their relationships with their parents, and to save your children from that (and spare your budget from collapse) you may wish to choose some other type of divorce. Here are three things you’ll need to have in place in order to settle the divorce without a judge. 1. A working relationship with your spouse If you’ve seen court divorces on TV, you’ve seen some pretty bad relationships between spouses. You may think that your relationship isn’t anywhere near that bad, but the truth is that in order to agree with your spouse about divorce settlements that are bound to be a compromise, you need to have some interest in his or her happiness as well as your own. If you don’t care for your spouse at all anymore or if you have some simmering resentment about his or her annoying habits or other character flaws, these issues could come up during the process and sabotage the plan. 2. A plan for splitting assets and custody If you go into the process with a plan that you’ve already talked over with your spouse, there will be less to hash out and fewer surprises will crop up to upset you. If you have many assets, especially ones that aren’t easily split or liquidated, and/or children or pets, you’ll need to discuss in advance what each of you would ideally get out of the deal, what’s the minimum that each of you would settle for, and which assets or custody rights are the most important to each of you. If your pet dachshund is so important to you that you’d trade custody for the ownership of your beachfront property, it’s important to know that up front. 3. A flexible attitude  You should realize at the start that you won’t get everything you want. Your “ideal” list would likely leave your spouse very shortchanged, so be prepared to make concessions. The best compromise will allow each of you to obtain the most important things on the “ideal” list while stretching a few points by taking “minimum’ on some other things. Remember, you won’t be the only one making concessions, and this process isn’t supposed to be easy; it involves splitting up a shared life, and it’s (probably) not all your spouse’s fault. These three essentials should be present if you wish to settle the divorce between the two of you, whether it’s a mediated divorce, a collaborative divorce, or a DIY divorce. For more information, contact firms like Healy and Svoren Attorneys at...

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How To Prevent A Denied SSI Application

Posted by on 10:14 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Prevent A Denied SSI Application

Have you suffered a disability that will prevent you from going back to work? If so, you should apply for SSI benefits. These benefits are provided to those who are no longer able to make a living due to a debilitating illness or injury. However, it can be very hard to win an initial SSI claim. Many initial cases are denied and will require an attorney to push for your benefits. There are some things you can attempt to do on your initial application that may prevent a denied claim: Use of Drugs and Alcohol Your SSI application will have a section asking about any uses of drugs or alcohol. You should always be honest in this section, but be careful how you fill it out. You can initially be denied due to drug and alcohol abuse, particularly if it had a prominent role in your disability. The Social Security Administration can say that had you not been irresponsibly using these substances, you would have been able to prevent your disability. If you are asked to have a physician make a statement about your drug and alcohol abuse, be sure to be truthful in your answers. If you are suffering from liver disease, and you are not honest about drinking alcohol, the SSA may think you are being dishonest. Always provide accurate records regarding your disability if they are requested. Marriage Getting married is a major milestone, but it can have a negative role when it comes to your SSI case. The SSA has very strict income limits. If you get married to someone who makes a good income, it can reduce your odds for winning your initial case. The SSI system is based on providing benefits to those who are the most in need first. If you get married, you can risk having your application being denied or at the very least delayed because it appears that you have access to enough cash to meet your daily living expenses. Unemployment Benefits You may also be receiving unemployment benefits for a period after your disability. This is seen as income in the eyes of the SSA. There are some instances in which the unemployment benefits will not have an impact on your SSI application. If you were disabled after you left your job, it should not have an impact on your application. In addition, if you have a disability that keeps you from doing your prior job but you can do other forms of work with additional training, the SSI should not penalize you for that. Getting a positive outcome from a Social Security disability case can be very hard. However, working with a great attorney can greatly help your chances for getting access to the money you need to live your life. For more information, contact Bruce K Billman or a similar legal...

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3 Divorce Related Financial Mistakes To Avoid

Posted by on 5:56 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Divorce Related Financial Mistakes To Avoid

It’s only natural to be stressed and emotionally fragile during your divorce, but keeping your head clear when it comes to making financial decisions could make a positive impact for some time to come. You can take some steps right now, while you and your spouse are still negotiating your divorce agreement. Be sure to take some time to consider the impact that making these 3 mistakes could have on you and your childrens’ future. Read on to learn more about the 3 financial mistakes to avoid during your divorce. 1. Not making a realistic budget. Many married couples prepare a budget, but that particular piece of work is likely now useless. Not only must you make a new budget, but you should do it as soon as possible. Your living situation may be in a state of flux, but you should create a workable plan that not only helps you ensure that you have adequate income for each month, but for the future. While you are working with your financial issues, take a few extra minutes to complete a statement of net worth. A net worth statement probably sounds a lot more intimidating than it really is. It’s just a list of your assets, which is any real estate, vehicles, personal property, bank and investment accounts, and a list of your debts, which include loan balances, credit card balances, etc. The debts are deducted from the assets, creating your net worth. Knowing what you own and what you owe is vital all the time, but especially before you begin making financial decisions during your divorce. 2. Automatically asking for the family home. With divorce being a time of great upheaval, knowing that you, and your children, can stay in a familiar and secure home is a natural desire. While you may think getting awarded the home is a good thing, it may not necessarily be so. If you fail to take into account the financial ramifications of being a single parent homeowner, you may be in for some unpleasant surprises when it comes time to replace that roof, pay the home owner’s insurance, or ensure that the property taxes are paid. Being awarded the family home could mean being responsible for a large mortgage payment each month, so take into consideration all costs associated with that responsibility before you automatically ask for it. 3. Not taking advantage of the financial benefit of a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order). If your spouse has a retirement retirement plan, taking money from that fund can really impact the net amount available. Retirement funds, like a 401(k), are only meant to provide withdrawals (prior to retirement age) for true emergencies and the penalties charged for early withdrawals are often steep and punishing. During a divorce, however, the funds added during the marriage are considered marital property and are available for withdrawal without penalty. You, as the alternative payee, must still pay any taxes owed on the funds, unless you deposit the funds into a new qualifying account.  Talk to your divorce attorney about more ways to help you have a better financial future after your...

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Did Another Company Steal Your Idea? Know What Will Happen

Posted by on 8:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Did Another Company Steal Your Idea? Know What Will Happen

You may have just started your own business or been running one for many years. In either situation, you will have invested plenty of money, time, and effort into building your own company and the products that you sell. If you see ideas that you made being stolen by competing companies, it can feel devastating. If you have not taken the time to trademark or copyright elements that are crucial to your business, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do about this legally. Can You Take Legal Action for Stolen Ideas? When you were starting your business, your initial thoughts may not have been about protecting the publicity material or products that you were creating. However, there are some things you can do early on in the creation of your business to help you take action against perpetrators that might want to steal from you. This can be done by filing for a patent, trademark, or copyright. If you did not go through the process of protecting your ideas or products, it’s possible to request that a court forces the other business to refrain from copying what your company is doing. This requires gathering evidence that your company first developed those concepts in addition to evidence that proves the perpetrator knew what they were doing by copying from your company. In addition, you can request financial damages that will help give you compensation for lost revenue directly related to the theft as well as legal fees. You will also need evidence that demonstrates the extent of your losses. Can the Perpetrator Claim Fair Use as a Defense? It’s possible that the perpetrator may claim that the use of your ideas should be considered fair use. Fair use is a doctrine that states how a person can use intellectual property, logos, or promotional materials without any penalty if the purpose of using it was for education, journalism, or nonprofit purposes. For instance, a journalist could report on your business in the newspaper and use your logo. Thankfully, fair use does not apply if your property is used for the purpose of making a profit. If this is the situation, you will need the help of an attorney that can help defend your copyrights, patents, or trademarks. This will help ensure that the perpetrator is forced to stop using them and then compensate you for the loses that you incurred. Schedule a consultation with a trademark lawyer for more...

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