Thursday, October 26, 2017

Characteristics Your Divorce Attorney Should Possess

Divorce can be a long, tedious process and unless you are in mutual agreement with your spouse, you will need the assistance of a divorce attorney. He or she uses family laws to guide you through the process and works hard to ensure that the decisions made in the divorce case are in your favor as much as possible. This makes it very important to select a divorce attorney that you can trust to handle your case with all professionalism. Several characteristics make a good and reliable divorce attorney and they are what you should look for when making your selection.
1. Qualification
It's only by getting relevant training that he will be familiar with divorce and family laws to be able to help your case best way possible. Apart from being trained and qualified he should have a license to practice too. Still under qualification, it is important for him to be a member of relevant law societies and at least have references from senior lawyers, judges, testimonials from previous clients and an impressive practice history.
2. Experience
Academic qualification is not enough. A good divorce attorney should at least have some experience in handling legal cases of all types to be confident enough to handle yours and meet your expectations. One who has handled child custody, property distribution, and alimony as well as divorce cases successfully in the past is better placed to handle your case smoothly. The wider and longer the experience the easier the divorce cases tend to be for them.
3. Communication skills
A divorce attorney can be qualified and experienced, but without proper communication skills, then it will be very hard to settle anything successfully. A reliable one is able to clearly communicate needs, expectations and concerns of the client to the presiding judge and other parties involved in the process. Skillful communication can make a huge difference in a case and can lead to quick settlements of issues that are related to the case easing the process for you.
4. Composure
This is another very important characteristic that your divorce attorney should have to fetch you the results that you expect from your divorce case. Divorce cases can plunge into extreme crisis, but that should not in any way scare the lawyer. A divorce attorney who knows how to maintain composure and calm even in the heated situations will always manage to negotiate or argue the case even if he loses in the end. They should remain professional, regardless of the turn the case takes.
5. Case building skills
The way your divorce attorney builds the divorce case largely determines the results that you are likely to get. Mediation and negotiations are some of the methods he can use to settle asset allocation, but there should be back-plans ready and waiting in case the first approach doesn't work. This is the only way to keep nasty surprises at bay and manage the case appropriately to the end.
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Monday, October 23, 2017

The Consequences Of Not Paying Child Support

A court orders the remittance of child support, making this a binding directive that you must follow. Although situations can arise that make it difficult to make ends meet financially, it's never advisable to fall behind with these payments. Before you make a decision that could have serious consequences, learn the risks you face.

Possible Court Actions

The court could take action against you if you cease regular payments. One possible outcome could be a contempt of court filing. If this happens, a court date will be scheduled, and you will need to appear before a judge to address the late payments. Failure to appear could result in a warrant for your arrest. During your appearance, you may need to demonstrate to the court that your finances have not allowed you to make your payments. This could require proof of income and employment or  unemployment dates.

The court could also proceed with a criminal charge of nonsupport. The custodial parent who should be receiving the funds could file a complaint that sets this process in motion. If this happens, you could face fines and even time in jail for not making your child support payments. These cases are typically tried by the district attorney of your county.

Child Support Lien

A lien of this type places a hold on any property you own, including cars or land. No court proceeding is necessary to complete this process, because it typically occurs administratively. Many states have specific dollar amounts in place to enact liens when the past-due amount reaches this point. For example, if your state has a past-due limit of $500, a lien would be placed on your car or your house when your past-due payments reach this dollar amount.

You will receive a notice of the lien in the mail telling you the amount and the effective date. The lien will remain in place until you bring your payments back to current. Once you satisfy the past-due amount, you will need to get a release document to cancel the hold on your property. Be aware that these holds are reported to the major credit bureaus. Consequently, your credit can be negatively affected by your lack of remittance, which means you might not be able to secure financing if you request a loan.

Garnishment of Wages

A court could order the garnishment of wages or other financial benefits to which you are entitled. This could include your paycheck, a tax refund, pensions, insurance settlements, and lottery winnings. If you have a bank account balance, mutual funds, or IRAs with a balance above a specific amount, a court could order seizure to satisfy the past-due amount.

Loss of Driving Privileges

Many states enforce an administrative loss of driving privileges for people who do not make timely child support payments. If this happens, you will not be able to renew your driver's license, and you could have your current license revoked so that you cannot drive lawfully in your state, both occupationally and personally.

Always call your local child support agency if financial problems prevent you from making payments. It's likely that you will be able to work out a plan to avoid court proceedings and liens.

Friday, October 20, 2017

What Is The Latest Research On The Effects Of Divorce On Children?

What is the latest research on the effects of divorce on children?
Read the transcript of this video below.

It used to be that we thought “divorce” itself was responsible for the negative psychological effects on children. Spouses stayed together “for the sake of the children”. Now we know differently. After years of studying the impact of divorce on children, we have discovered that it is the CONFLICT between the parents, not the divorce per se, that is so emotionally traumatic for children.

So, it is not better to “stay together for the sake of the children” if there is conflict between you and your spouse. When Mom and Dad are in conflict, children are confused about whether they can love both Mom and Dad. In their minds, if Mom doesn’t like Dad, then the child doesn’t think it is okay to love both Mom and Dad.

The child, therefore, feels the need to pick the “good guy” in the divorce, which leaves the other parent as the “bad guy”. The long-term effects of a child choosing one parent as the “bad guy” is that the child begins a life-long distrust of that sex. So, if they pick Mom as the “bad guy”, they don’t trust women. This distrust of one sex lasts long into the child’s adulthood and interferes with their ability to form trusting, long lasting relationships in the future. It can even doom them from having a successful marriage when they grow up.

I am sure this is not the legacy my clients want to leave for their children. They just don’t know that their conflict with their spouse has such a devastating impact on their children. Once they know how harmful conflict is to their children’s development, they can choose to love their children more than they hate their spouse.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Separation And Security Through Family Law

Going through with a divorce is one of the most difficult decisions a couple can make. Not only is it emotionally draining, but dealing with family law can also be an expensive and confusing process. Many people are unsure about the first steps to take when they're ready to separate legally from their partner, but if a separation really is the healthiest option, then there are a few things you should make sure you do to prepare.

Copy Your Documents

Go through your records and make copies of everything important, like tax returns, bank statements, insurance policies, mortgage documents, credit card statements, automobile titles, wills, etc. Scan these documents and preserve them digitally if you can.

Inventory Your Possessions

When it's time to split up the property, you'll want to make sure you're aware of everything you're splitting up. Create a list of valuables, and don't forget to include anything that might be in storage or in a safe deposit box.

Be Realistic About Your Earning Potential

In many marriages, one spouse ends up staying out of work for a while to hold down the fort at home. If this is the case, it may be difficult to get back into a job. You might consider furthering your education.

Be Aware of Your Own Credit History

Make sure you have credit cards in your name and that you know your credit score. If you have poor credit history, try to start building it up as soon as you can.

Know How Much Your Spouse Earns

If your spouse has a salary, look at pay stubs. If he or she owns a business, is self-employed, or earns a living in cash, do your best to keep an idea of how much money is coming in.

Consult a Family Attorney

Family law can be overwhelming. Make sure you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and don't hesitate to ask a lawyer before making any kind of move.

Make Your Kids Your Top Priority

It's often easy to overlook your children during a separation, but a divorce can be traumatic for your kids. Try to keep their routine as normal as possible, and do your best to avoid fighting with your spouse in front of them. If it's impossible to be around each other, set up a schedule of separate times for each of you to be with the children. Do not say bad things about your spouse to your children, and try to remain as active in their lives as you can be. Take care of yourself, but don't neglect your kids in the process.

Separating from your spouse is one of the hardest decisions you'll ever have to make, and it's a decision that shouldn't be rushed, but sometimes a divorce really is the healthiest option for you and your family. If that is the case, try not to be too bogged down by the logistics of family law, and do what you need to do to make sure you and your children are comfortable.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Were You Hurt At Work? Hire A Workers Compensation Law Firm Today!

People are injured or become sick while at work everyday. Each year 3 million people in the United States are injured or become sick from their workplace. Many of these people do not understand their  rights as an injured person. Many of them accept far too little in workers compensation or simply accept that their claim has been denied and suffer because of it. In other cases a workers compensation claim takes a lifetime to become approved. Sadly some injured workers never even file a claim.

This is why workers compensation law firms are so valuable. Your claim may be deferred because of an incomplete filing. Law firms understand the legalities surrounding filing a claim. They know what paper work needs to be completed and when and they have the knowledge to communicate in a way that will get your claim settled faster.

When you hire a workers compensation law firm your case will be settled in one of two ways.

1. Go To Court

In the event that you are unsatisfied the compensation your received and believe you deserve better or if your claim was denied it will be best to take your case to court. You will work with your attorneys to gather evidence of the incident and prepare the case that you will present before a judge. If the judge sides with you then you will be awarded weekly compensation for your injuries. This money will cover your medical expenses, lost wages and other costs associated with the injuries. If they judge does not side with you then you can work with your attorneys to appeal the case.

2. Settlement

The other solution that your attorneys will explore is a settlement. In order to reach a settlement both sides have to agree upon the monetary value of your injuries based on the necessary medical treatment and lost wages. You and your employer will agree to the amount by signing documents that  will then be presented to a judge from the workers compensation commission. It is important to be very happy with the settlement amount because as soon as it is approved by a judge than you can not ask your employer for any additional benefits or compensation.

The importance of getting adequate legal help after a workplace injury is exponential. For example, some workplace injuries alter your ability to continue working in the field. This can be true for farmers, construction workers, police and firemen. If an injury prevents them from doing the job they have trained to do and from receiving future promotions then they need to be compensated correctly.

A work place injury can be very stressful. In fact, it can cause depression. It is important to get a workers compensation attorney working for you to help you see things clearly during this difficult time and to make sure you are taken care of in the future.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Is A QDRO Always Required In A Divorce?

For many divorcing couples, retirement plans make up the majority of the marital estate. While some couples can agree to simply "each keep their own" in the asset division, for many other spouses a division of one of the accounts is necessary to ensure a fair distribution of marital assets.
When division of a retirement asset is required in a divorce, many people are unsure how to proceed. They may have heard the term Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), but have no idea if or how it applies to their situation. This lack of knowledge often leads to errors that can end up costing them more money in the long run.
This is why it is important to understand early on what type of retirement accounts exist. Once you know what type of accounts are in play, you can assess whether a QDRO - or a different, similar order - is required. You will also better understand the most effective way to distribute the assets in the final property division settlement.
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) - Since IRAs are not subject to ERISA, a QDRO is not required to divide this type of account. Pursuant to 26 U.S.C.A. §408(d)(6), a transfer from an IRA can be made to a spouse or former pursuant to a decree of divorce or a written instrument incident to a divorce. This written instrument can be either a separation agreement or divorce decree. In most cases, a letter of instruction and copy of the Final Judgment/Settlement Agreement should be enough to transfer money from the IRA.
Non-Qualified Plans - There are numerous types of retirement assets that cannot be divided in a divorce. Non-qualified plans fall outside the purview of ERISA and are not subject to division via QDRO (or usually any other means). These plans usually have names that include words like Supplemental, Excess Benefit, SERP or even Non-Qualified, and are offered to key, high-ranking employees as a means of providing additional retirement benefits beyond those allowed under ERISA. The language of many of these plans specifically preclude payments to anyone other than the employee, and no court order can change this.
Non-ERISA and Government Retirement Plans - ERISA specifically excludes any federal government retirement plans. While these accounts are divisible, it is done with a document other than a true QDRO. While the name QDRO may be used generically to refer to any order related to retirement account division, government plans each have their own mechanisms for division and it is important to understand each. You can learn more about these plans at and Rules governing state and local government plans vary by state, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules specific to your jurisdiction.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

How Does Your Age Affect Your Social Security Disability Claim?

Each year more than 2.5 million disability applications are filed with the Social Security Administration. Of these applications, only 30 percent are approved at the initial stage of the application process. The remaining 70 percent must appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits or give up hope of receiving benefits.

Many people wonder why applications are approved or denied and whether or not age plays any part in the SSA's decision as to whether or not they will award benefits. If you have considered applying for disability and wonder how your age will affect your disability claim, the following information will help you understand what role your age plays in your ability to qualify for disability benefits.

Age and Social Security Disability

Age is not always a determining factor when it comes to disability applications, but many times it does play a part in the SSA's decision on whether or not to award disability benefits. This is due to the medical and vocational guidelines that are set forth by the SSA.

When the Social Security office reviews a disability application, certain medical and vocational guidelines must be followed when deciding whether or not to approve a claim. There are guidelines set forth that pertain to one's age, but that does not mean your age will automatically disqualify you from receiving disability benefits.

When the SSA reviews your disability application, they must determine whether or not you are able to participate in gainful employment. Even if you have suffered a disability that prevents you from performing your usual job functions, your age may play a part in determining whether or not you can perform other types of work.

Let's say, for example, that you have no experience other than construction work. If you suffer a back injury and are unable to perform your usual line of work you may want to apply for disability benefits. Even if your condition falls under Social Security's Impairment Listings, this does not mean you will automatically qualify for benefits. Your age may also play a part in the decision.

Using the above example, if you are over the age of 50 your chances of being approved for disability benefits would be much greater than if you were in your twenties or thirties. This is because it would be much harder for you to enter into a new line of work. If you are younger, the SSA would expect you to obtain the necessary work skills to perform other types of employment. On the other hand, if your disability prevents you from performing any type of work whatsoever, you would likely be approved for disability benefits regardless of your age.

Determining the Role Your Age will Play

If you are applying for disability benefits, it can be helpful to understand how the SSA views the different age groups and work categories. If you are younger than 44 years of age, the SSA will view you as a young individual. Those who are between the ages of 44 to 49 are considered younger individuals and those between the ages of 49 to 55 are considered to be advancing in age. If you are over the age of 55 when you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA will consider you advanced in age.

Along with determining your age, the SSA will also determine what types of work you can perform. There are four categories into which Social Security groups functional capacities including sedentary work, light work, medium work and heavy-weight work. No matter how young you are, if you are unable to perform even the sedentary level of work due to your disability, you will likely be approved for disability benefits.

What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied

If you apply for Social Security Disability and your claim is denied, it is in your best interest to file an appeal with the Social Security Administration within 60 days of receiving the decision notice. If you feel that your age has played a part in your denied Social Security Disability application and that the Social Security Administration did not fairly take into consideration your inability to perform any type of work whatsoever, you should retain the services of a Social Security Disability attorney. Your attorney can increase your chances of a successful Social Security Disability claim and will ensure that all aspects of your disability are taken into account during the Social Security Disability appeal process.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What Is The Difference Between Social Security Disability Benefits And VA Disability Benefits?

Many of the individuals who receive VA disability benefits assume that they will also be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. When these applicants go on to apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), some are surprised to find out that their application for disability has been denied by the agency. Why is it that some people are eligible for VA benefits but not for disability from the SSA? To understand the answer to that question you must understand the differences between the two programs and how the regulating agencies determine whether or not an individual is disabled according to their guidelines.

The Determination Process

When an individual applies for VA disability benefits, he/she must prove that he/she is a military veteran who has not received a dishonorable discharge and that the injuries that caused his/her disability is related to his/her service in the military. The VA's two-step process qualification process is much less stringent than the SS Disability application process, which often makes it easier for applicants to qualify for VA benefits. Individuals who are applying for benefits from the SSA must go through a five-step qualification process, proving that they are unable to earn more than $1,000 per month, that their medical condition prevents them from performing gainful work activity, that the disability falls under the published SSA impairment listings (or that it is equal to one of the listed conditions) and that the specific condition results in a residual functional impairment, which prevents the applicant from performing any type of work in the national economy.

Since it is often harder to qualify for Social Security benefits than it is to qualify for VA benefits, it is not uncommon for individuals who are receiving VA disability to be denied disability payments from the SSA. On the other hand, veterans who do not qualify for VA benefits may be able to qualify for disability payments from the SSA in some situations. For example, if the disability that a person is suffering from did not occur as a result of service-related activities, but falls under the Social Security impairment guidelines, that veteran may indeed be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if the extent of their disability can be proven, even though they can not qualify for VA benefits due to the nature of the disability.

The Ability to Work

Another distinct difference between VA disability benefits and Social Security Disability benefits is that individuals cannot qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they are able to perform any type of work activity. If the individual is able to work, they will not be awarded disability benefits from the SSA. VA benefits work differently. The ability to work does not prevent an individual from being able to receive VA disability benefits. A VA disability beneficiary can maintain their benefits even if they are able to perform work and earn an income, although individuals who are not able to work are eligible for additional compensation under the VA disability program.

Benefit Amounts

In addition to distinct differences in how the VA and the SSA determine a disability, there is also a significant difference in the amount of benefits paid to the individuals who are eligible for benefits under these programs. VA disability benefits tend to provide more financial assistance than Social Security Disability benefits. The average VA disability benefit payment is approximately $2,700 per month while the average SSA disability payment is only about $1,100 per month.

Qualifying for Both

There is nothing preventing an individual who qualifies for VA disability from receiving Social Security Disability. If you have earned enough work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability payments and you meet the disability guidelines set forth by the SSA you could technically receive both VA disability benefits and Social Security Disability payments. Participation in one program does not prevent you from receiving benefits from the other.

Appealing a Denied Application

If you are receiving VA disability benefits and feel that you are entitled to Social Security Disability payments as well, you need to apply for disability through the SSA. If your initial application for benefits is denied, you will need to go on to file an appeal. Nearly 70 percent of applications are denied at the initial stage of the application process so it is not uncommon for an applicant to have to go through the appeal process.

If you need help applying for or appealing Social Security Disability you should consider retaining the services of a qualified attorney. Hiring a qualified attorney can help increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision during the disability appeal process.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Common Causes For Workers Compensation Claims

Regardless of your occupation, there exists the risk that you will sustain an injury in the workplace or in the performance of work-related tasks offsite. Though some kinds of employment come with a much greater likelihood of injury or possess the potential for more severe accidents to occur, even positions that seem at first glance to be completely safe are typically rife with hidden or non-obvious dangers. Workers' compensation benefits are intended to help you to receive the medical attention that is necessitated by your injury or occupational illness. They may also grant you a portion of the income lost due to missed time at work attributable to the injury.

Although one of the primary advantages of workers' compensation is supposed to be that it is quickly and readily accessible to injured employees, there are two factors that can complicate the claims process significantly. Firstly among these is that employers may be faced with elevated insurance rates and the loss of substantial money. Secondly, the insurance companies that offer workers' compensation policies are profit-driven enterprises that secure their own financial success by seeking to approve the fewest and least costly claims that they can. So, despite the spirit of the legislation enacting Iowa workers' compensation law, it is not always acted upon.

Frequent Sources of Occupational Injury or Illness

Physically intensive occupations expose workers to one sort of danger. Highly repetitive and low intensity tasks expose them to another. Typically, employment handbooks or standard industry instruction attempt to advise new workers about the hazards inherent in their chosen line of work and also how to prevent or reduce the likelihood of falling victim to occupational injury and illness. But even best practices and thorough training are not able to completely eliminate the threat of accidental or environmentally-based damage.

Some of the most frequently encountered forms of occupational injury that lead to the filing of a workers' compensation claim are:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Fractured bones
  • Strained ligaments
  • Severe lacerations
  • Lead paint poisoning
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Electrical injuries
  • Amputations
Overcoming Opposition
Though you do not have to work with an attorney initially to file your workers' compensation claim, legal representation is necessary if you need to file appeals or pursue the matter through litigation. Moreover, a skilled and experienced lawyer can help you to avoid making procedural errors that could delay your benefits.