Thursday, April 28, 2016

Three Ways a Child Support Lawyer Can Help With Collection

Court orders established for the monetary maintenance of your children are generally very straightforward. The non-custodial parent is typically required to pay a specific amount to the custodial parent every month or face legal consequences. Unfortunately, some parents don't routinely follow these orders, or they ignore them altogether. If you're not regularly receiving the money you're due each month, here are three ways a child support lawyer can assist you with collection.

1. Automatic Withholding of Income

In many states, court orders set in place over the custody of minor children are registered directly with the local enforcement agency and then paid out automatically through income withholding from the non-custodial parent's employer. If you're not receiving your payments from the other parent, a child support lawyer can help you register your order with the agency, which will help to relieve a lot of the hassle that comes with collection.

In addition, the local agency can also be utilized to collect any overdue payments by forcing payment of both current and overdue amounts. It's important to note that a judge could potentially reduce the make-up payments so that the non-custodial parent isn't subject to an overwhelming financial burden, but an experienced child support lawyer can help you collect up to 50% of a parent's pay.

2. Withholding of State and Federal Tax Refunds

The IRS can also be an asset for your case if you're not receiving your court-ordered money. A child support lawyer can help you intercept the non-custodial parent's income tax refund once the past-due balance has reached a specific amount or greater. Once again, it's crucial that your court order is registered with the local enforcement agency so that the agency can start the process of notifying the other parent and giving them the chance to pay their balance. If the parent still does not pay, the agency and your attorney can notify the IRS and automatically withdraw the overdue amount from the tax refund.

3. Use of Alternative Methods of Collection

Parents who refuse to pay or ignore court orders face significant consequences. Your local enforcement agency has multiple alternative ways to enforce collection of any money that's overdue. If income or tax refund withholding has failed, then a lien can be placed on the delinquent parent's personal property. This lien will stop the parent from being able to sell property like a car or a home, unless they've first paid what they owe. Another method an attorney can recommend involves revoking the parent's driver's license until they pay. In some cases, your local agency can even place a hold on the parent's personal bank account and force payment before the hold is removed.

Dealing with financial and legal issues when it comes to supporting your children can be difficult and confusing. There are legal actions you can take when a parent who is required to provide you with financial help neglects to pay. An experienced child support lawyer can be a huge help as you navigate through the confusion and attempt to collect what you're owed.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Filing for Social Security Disability: When to Get a Lawyer Involved

Out of all government programs offering assistance to individuals with disabilities, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability are the largest. The two, however, differ. SSDI provides benefits to an individual and family members if the individual has worked long enough and paid social security taxes. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) issues benefits based on financial need.

In the application process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requests medical and other information about an individual's condition and makes a decision if he or she meets the SSA's definition of disability. The definition covers three points: an individual cannot do the work he did before, he cannot adapt to another form of employment with his condition, and the condition is expected to last for at least a year or result in death.

65 percent of the time, however, the initial claim is rejected, and the claimant has to go through an appeals process. Because of the application's convoluted nature, a lawyer should likely be involved at this point.

Social Security applications are denied for both medical and non-medical reasons and are reviewed through a multi-step system. First, to be considered disabled, an applicant cannot be making $1,040 per month to be considered disabled. If he meets this criteria, his or her condition must interfere with basic work activities. If it does, the condition must be found on the SSA's list of severe medical conditions. If it does, it must interfere with his previous type of work and any other type of employment.

Most of the time, the notice of denial includes an explanation; however, the SSA typically denies claims for insufficient medical evidence.

Once a lawyer gets involved, and at the appeals stage once is essential, he or she can assist with gathering all materials for the application. Additionally, a lawyer's involvement increases the chances of claiming past-due benefits by 600 percent. Consultations with social security lawyers are free; however, if a case is won, he or she receives a fee, which is typically about 25 percent of all back pay.

In these cases, a lawyer attempts to prove an individual can no longer work and knows how to clearly prove a condition is a disability. Because of this, attorneys in this field take on cases involving individuals who meet the SSA's criteria but have been denied. Similarly looking at the SSA's guidelines, a lawyer will determine if a client is currently engaged in activity, has a severe impairment, has one or more impairments meeting or equaling the listed impairments, can perform past relevant work, and if there is any other work he or she can perform.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Five Good Reasons to Get a Family Law Attorney

Family law attorneys are more than just divorce mediators. These domestic relations specialists also deal with a range of domestic issues, including domestic violence, child custody, child support, spousal support, adoption, and surrogacy.


If you've ever known someone who has gone through an ugly divorce, then you know how bad things can get, especially without proper legal representation. In many cases, alternatives such as mediation aren't nearly as effective as having a representative of the law fighting for your rights. Attorneys that specialize in domestic relations are exactly the types of legal experts that you need to fight for your rights should you or your spouse decide to dissolve your marriage.

Domestic Violence

Most people aren't aware that family law attorneys handle cases involving domestic violence. Whether you want to bring charges against your legal spouse or former partner or you want to legally fight allegations of domestic abuse, these types of cases fall under the jurisdiction of a domestic relations lawyer. These legal experts will walk you through the entire process, from filing the restraining order and helping to enforce it, to fighting to recoup any damages or loss that you may have incurred.

Child Custody

In many instances of divorce, there is often a subsequent legal battle over who should have custody of the children. Family law attorneys specialize in handling these types of cases with the intent of helping to place the children in the best possible environment, which should be the most important goal. The lawyers are also there to help ensure that your visitation rights are honored.

Child Support and Spousal Support

Much like child custody, child support and spousal support are often byproducts of a divorce, although they may not always go together. Child support is typically sought by a parent of a minor child in an effort to help with the financial responsibilities associated with raising that child. On the other hand, spousal support, sometimes called alimony, is typically sought by a spouse who is seeking financial independence upon the dissolution of a marriage. Whether you need child support, spousal support, or both, family law attorneys work to get you the most amicable solutions in your case.

Legal Separations

Depending on the family law firm, the attorneys may take on legal separation cases. Often confused with divorce, legal separation is not an end to a marriage, but a court order enabling couples to live separately while remaining married. The court order details the rights and duties of each spouse, allowing both parties to work out any financial, personal, or emotional issues that have had an effect on the marriage. Fairly uncommon, legal separations may entail issues of property division, child custody, child visitation, and spousal support, and the complexity of these conditions and the relevant state laws usually require the expertise of an attorney.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Social Security Disability: How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved

If you find yourself dealing with a long-term disability, one of the first places you should turn is the Social Security disability program. The benefits are essential for those who need them, but this highly complicated federal system can be difficult to navigate. There are things you can do to improve your chances of successfully establishing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and I hope to cover those in this and upcoming articles.

First, it's essential to understand SSA's eligibility requirements. Social Security does not allow for partial disability benefits-you are either disabled or not. You also must meet certain technical requirements regarding your work history and payment of Social Security taxes. You must prove that you are unable to perform any of the work you have done in the 15 years before you became disabled, and you must prove that you are unable to sustain the physical or mental demands of other jobs.

You must also have medical evidence and opinions about the symptoms and limitations caused by your condition, specifically how it affects your ability to work. The SSA will have its own doctors assess you, and to prove your disability claim, you must also present evidence, preferably from your treating doctors, concerning those limitations. You are strongly encouraged to enlist the services of an attorney who specializes in disability law. They have "been there/done that" time and time again and are in the best position to prove your case.

Beyond proving your disability, there are other factors that may affect the likelihood of approval of your claim and your long-term financial well-being. With 30 years of legal experience, I have learned that there are ways to improve your chances of winning a disability claim.

One key factor is your doctor's determination that you are in fact disabled and unable to work. If your claim is denied, it's because the SSD-assigned government doctors determined your medical conditions were not disabling. Under SSD law, the opinion of a treating doctor is given greater weight than those of government doctors. Therefore, it's essential that your doctor supports your claim and makes an accurate assessment of your limitations.

Second, it's important to continue seeking medical attention. Many disability claimants have difficulty affording continued medical care due to lost insurance or income. Nonetheless, you should seek the opinion of your treating physician, and provide a current record of treatment to prove your symptoms and limitations. You may also want to talk to your doctor about whether you should be evaluated by a specialist.

It's also important to follow your doctor's orders, as a failure to continue treatment can negatively affect the outcome of a disability claim. Likewise, be open and honest with all parties - including your doctor and the SSA. Inconsistent records will cause issues when it comes to getting your claim approved.

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Four Essential Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney

Deciding to officially file for the legal dissolution of your marriage is generally a painful and difficult process. If you're ready to proceed with filing, you may be contemplating representing yourself in court instead of hiring a lawyer. Before you make this potentially life-altering decision, it's important to understand that most people dealing with the end of their marriage have a plethora of complex legal issues to resolve that would be best handled by an experienced divorce attorney. Here are four essential reasons why you should let a professional handle the proceedings.

1. You Need Help With the Complexities of Family Law

Once you're in court, judges don't have any special standards for clients who choose to represent themselves. If the other side has representation while you don't, you will be held to the same standards, which would be difficult if you don't practice family law. An experienced divorce attorney knows exactly what to say to make your case seem most reasonable. It's also imperative to consider that you could actually jeopardize your entire situation by doing or saying just one thing incorrectly.

2. You Need Assistance With Large Amounts of Paperwork

Paperwork is an unfortunate aspect of any court proceeding, and large volumes can be crippling for any layperson. A divorce attorney has expertise in all of the required paperwork and knows the best way to fill out everything persuasively and properly, which ultimately increases your chances that the judge will look at your side in a favorable manner. Using the wrong numbers, the wrong tone, or accidentally omitting important information could be an irreversible and costly mistake.

3. You Need Objective Advice During an Emotional Time

Typically during this stressful time in your life, there are many emotions that you experience and may have trouble managing. When your emotions are heightened, it's even more difficult to stay objective and make rational decisions. Not many people take the time to work through their rapidly evolving emotions about their spouse during the divorce process, which can harm their ability to attempt to work collaboratively with the other party. If you've been considering representing yourself, you need to be cognizant of your emotions and know that they could prevent you from making sound decisions. An experienced divorce attorney is an objective third party who separates themselves from the emotions involved in the case and focuses on finding the most optimal resolution for all involved.

4. You Need to Know When to Settle

Couples who are breaking up rarely see things the same way. Although it would be highly beneficial for all involved, most parties are not able to come up with a settlement agreement on their own because neither individual wants to give up and agree with the other's position. This back-and-forth could go on endlessly. With the assistance of a qualified divorce attorney, you will likely be able to come up with a mutually agreeable settlement much more quickly.

With professional help, you can avoid making harmful mistakes that could negatively impact your interests for the rest of your life.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Worker Compensation Attorney: What to Expect

If you've been injured on the job, a qualified worker compensation attorney will help you understand your rights and guide you through the complicated legal process of obtaining workers comp benefits. This is a legal matter that should not be attempted without proper legal advice. This article will explain what you can expect from hiring a professional.

Many worker compensation attorneys perform free initial consultations, so it is advisable to take advantage of this offer. Also note that workers comp cases are very time sensitive and contacting an attorney right away will allow you the best chance at a successful case. Since laws vary from state to state, local law firms may offer you more convenience.

At your first consultation with your chosen one, you will learn what your rights are in your specific circumstance, and how you can go about pursuing your rights. Also, your lawyer will discuss with you your options after reviewing the facts of your injury and your workplace's role.

After you learn about how your state's law applies to your claim, you will be presented with your options on how to secure your benefits. It is important to note that by contacting a worker compensation attorney, you aren't necessarily suing your employer. Oftentimes, you are requesting benefits based upon your injuries and debts related to your trauma.

When an employer carries workers insurance, they are obtaining liability protection from any injuries sustained by their employees while on the job. This insurance provides payment for medical care of injured employees in exchange for not being sued in court for monetary benefit.

The next step that will be taken by your worker compensation lawyer will largely depend on your state law as it relates to your injury and your employer, but will likely involve gathering the necessary paperwork before contacting your employer's workers comp representative to work out the details of your case, and then moving forward.

If your employer does not carry comp insurance, the process is different. If your employer is resisting reimbursing your medical bills and/or wages, your worker compensation attorney may have to sue to secure your benefits. Either way, having a workers comp lawyer is a proactive step in ensuring the protection of your rights.

Contacting your local worker compensation attorney will put this complicated matter in qualified hands, allowing you to focus on recuperating. Trust the advice of your attorney, and you'll find the process much easier than you thought.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Divorce Mediation Not Working? When to Get a Lawyer

When facing the difficult decision to divorce, many couples consider either litigation (each spouse uses their own attorney), or mediation (both spouses work with one neutral divorce mediator to reach an agreement) and usually believe these two options are exclusive of each other. While mediation tends to encourage cooperation and communication between spouses, an experienced mediator will never advise separating partners against seeking legal advice at any time during the divorce proceedings. In fact, family law attorneys are often involved at one step or another of the mediation process.

Unlike litigation, which puts both spouses on the defensive from the beginning, divorce mediation establishes a neutral and non-adversarial environment where spouses can reach a final marital settlement agreement (MSA) by resolving the many issues particular to each couple, such as division of assets, debts, bank accounts and retirement or pension plans, child custody, child support, and spousal support (aka alimony). The divorce mediator acts as a third-party negotiator, who guides separating spouses and helps them resolve any areas of conflict by encouraging cooperation and compromise. While divorce mediation can be a very effective way to handle divorce, it's essential to remember that a divorce mediator is not acting as an attorney and can't provide independent legal advice. Even if the mediation process goes very smoothly, the mediator will usually encourage couples to have separate attorneys review and explain the marital settlement agreement to them before they sign it.

Another time when consulting a lawyer may be useful is when spouses aren't sure they're getting the right results. They may seem to agree on an issue but still wonder if that decision will work long term for the specific situation. Additionally, an attorney is sometimes necessary when couples are left with a few issues they can't seem to agree on during the divorce mediation process. While litigation of these issues in court will be a lot more expensive than mediation, sometimes a judge will need to step in and help couples reach an agreement.

Since trust is an essential part of the mediation process, it's important to understand that mediation shouldn't be encouraged for couples who have been involved in domestic violence or substance abuse, couples who have been affected by mental health issues, or if one spouse is trying to overpower the other. When a divorce mediator is asked to help those couples facing these sensitive issues that may require a lot of legal advice and possibly legal protection, he/she will advise them to seek individual attorney representation before attempting mediation.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Workers' Compensation Attorneys Can Help You Determine Your Eligible Benefit Payments

One area of the workers' compensation claim process that is not well known is that when an employee is injured on the job, the employee must prove that he/she is entitled to and is eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. Since the initial burden of proof of eligibility is on the injured worker, an experienced workers' compensation attorney can provide extensive assistance in compiling the necessary information at the very beginning of the claim process and making timely submittals.

In general, the items that must be proved in filing a workers' compensation claim include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • That the injured employee notified the employer of the accident or injury within the time limit set by law.
  • Showing that the employer was and was required to be covered under the Workers' Compensation Act on the date of the accident.
  • That the medical conditions for which benefits are being claimed was caused or aggravated by the on-the-job accident.
  • That the injured was employed by the employer when the injury occurred. This is especially important for independent contractors.
  • That the injuries were sustained while performing authorized work for the employer.

As with any program in which potentially large sums of money may be paid out, significant disagreements over initial level of eligibility or the continuation of eligibility can arise even after the initial proof of claim is properly documented and submitted.

Eligibility for initial or continuing benefits may be disputed over issues regarding, but not limited to:

  • The type and severity of the injuries or disability
  • The extent to which the employee's claimed work restrictions are related to the claimed injury
  • If the prescribed treatments were justified/required
  • The submitted costs of treatment, therapies and medications
  • If or if not the employee can perform his/her former job and what work is the employee capable of performing
  • Terminated benefits and/or termination from employment

Providing counsel and expertise to resolve these and other areas of dispute is where a workers' compensation lawyer can be of invaluable assistance. It is in any employee's best interest to retain an experienced workers' compensation attorney to advise and help the employee through the claim. A workers' compensation lawyer is the advocate who has the expertise to help obtain the benefits to which the employee is legally due.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Four Times You Are Going To Need A Family Law Attorney

Families are beautiful and wonderful things. They can bring great joy and happiness, but they can also cause stress and anxiety. When legal problems arise in the family structure, it is often necessary to consult with somebody who has experience in the field of family law. They can guide you through the issues that arise and help you avoid any others that might come up. Here are four instances where you should consult with an experienced attorney.


For those couples, or individuals, who want to have children but cannot for whatever reason, adoption is a possible solution. However, the process is very long, difficult, and fraught with obstacles. Recent data suggests that there are roughly 125,000 adoptions in the U.S. every year. While that may seem like a lot, in a country of over 300 million, it is a small number. A lawyer with a strong background in adoption law can both speed up and ease the adoption process in many cases. They may also help potential parents avoid any pitfalls during the application process, as well as handle any unexpected obstacles that arise.


The divorce rate throughout the U.S. is estimated to be anywhere from 33% to 50%, depending on the source. As of 2014, there are nearly 60 million married couples in America. That means that between 40 to 60 million people who are married right now will be involved in a divorce at some point in their lifetime. A good lawyer can help your divorce go smoothly with as few legal issues as possible.

Child Custody

With so many divorces occurring, there are bound to be battles over the custody of children. In cases where one partner is abusive or has substance abuse issues, the safety of the child or children can be at stake. In these cases especially, the law is very complex and difficult to navigate. An attorney who has practiced in this field before can help you understand all of the issues and decide the best path to follow.

Spousal and Child Support

Divorce is never easy. Not for the couples, and not for the children, if there are any. In many cases, one spouse or parent is left at a financial disadvantage for a variety of reasons. They may have been the homemaker or watched the children while the other spouse worked. When they separate, most people have no idea how much money they are entitled to, for how often, and for how long. A family law attorney can help figure this out. They can also go after a spouse or parent who owes support and force them to make good on their obligation. A lawyer will know the fastest and most effective way to ensure payments are made.

In conclusion, when legal issues arise between spouses, siblings, or other family relations, it is often necessary to consult with an attorney who has experience in family law. They can help you navigate many different situations while trying to save you time and grief along the way.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Filing For Social Security Disability Can Be Tricky

If you know anyone who has ever attempted to try their luck at applying for Social Security Disability (SSD), chances are you have heard a horror story or two about how much "fun" it can be. It would seem that if any of those stories are remotely true, you would probably rather be hand cuffed and escorted down your community's busiest street, in nothing but your birthday suit and a pair of 7" acrylic stilettos, than to single-handedly wrestle all of the invasive prying and the mundane paperwork involved in applying for SSD. Of course this sort of feeling is magnified when you find out that the majority of applications are turned down the first time. Numerous appeals can be required in order to finally qualify to begin receiving Social Security Disability payments.

During the application process it is necessary to provide medical records that will help you to prove your disability does in fact exist. For some individuals this can mean collecting medical information from multiple doctors, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, specialists and so on. The phoning, faxing and running around just to retrieve all of the necessary medical documentation can be not only exhausting, but frustrating as well. In addition to medical information, you will need to supply a certified or original birth certificate, W-2 forms, a valid Social Security Card and your work history for the previous five years.

While you are eligible for SSD from the moment you become disabled, benefits will not begin until six months after this date. That is, assuming of course, that you apply immediately and that you are fortunate enough to be one of the few who are not denied at first. Keep in mind that only certain types of disabilities will qualify you for benefits. Also, if you typically earn more than approximately $500 per month through any other form of income, you will more than likely not be eligible to receive payments from Social Security Disability. Those of you in this category may need to look into applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is based on your financial need rather than your disability.

If you or someone you know has applied for SSD and have had your claim denied then you may wish to seek the assistance of an attorney to help you file an appeal. Unfortunately this is often what it takes to be approved. As a matter of fact, there are those who have had to file multiple appeals before seeing any benefits come their way.

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