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Family Law

What is Family Law?

It is a broad range of legal topics normally about family related issues consisting of but not limited to abuse/ neglect, annulments, children rights, dissolutions (divorce), child support, adoptions, issues of custody, modifications, alimony, delegation of parental power, father's rights, grandparent's rights, name change, and paternity.

These issues are difficult to deal with on your own.  Emotions can run high and cloud  a person's judgment.  You need an attorney who can real life test the situation.  You want someone to protect your interests in these matters.  The laws and procedures are always changing. The documents need to be done correctly to avoid further litigation and complications. There are new timelines and requirements that are being imposed on some family law matters.  If you are not aware of them or don't meet the timeline requirements you risk the chance of your matter being dismissed and may have to start all over (if you can). 

*Family matters can be highly emotional situations.  This will only add to the confusion of the legalities of the situation. Most of which can be defused by having a caring and knowledgeable attorney in your corner.

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Criminal Law

What is Criminal Law? 

It is the law that deals with crimes and punishments. Consisting of but is not limited to DUI, theft, drug related offenses, domestic assault, sexual assault, and traffic issues.

There are different types of criminal acts:          

Infractions are usually punishable by a fine. There is no jail time unless you do not pay the fine.  Infractions consist of traffic violations and non-traffic violations such as; speeding ticket, running a stop sign, not wearing a seat belt, disturbing the peace, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, and any violation of  City and County Ordinances (also called Municipal Codes) such as; no dog license, walking a dog off a leash, public intoxication, open container.       

Misdemeanors are criminal offenses that carry a potential sentence of up to a year in jail and can also include payment of a fine, probation, community service, and restitution. there are different classes of misdemeanors: Class I, Class II, Class III, Class IIIA, Class IV, Class V, Class W. Each class carries a different penalty. Some example of misdemeanors are: assault and battery, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, loitering, prowling, obstructing justice or petty theft, stalking another person, soliciting or prostitution, some DUI's, etc.

Felonies carry potential imprisonment that ranges a year in jail to life in prison without parole or even death. There are different classes of felonies they are: Class IA, Class IB, Class IC, Class ID, Class II, Class IIA, Class III. Some examples of felonies are: homicide, rape, arson, burglary, robbery, larceny, some DUI offenses, and drug related offenses, etc.

Trying to defend yourself without an attorney to defend your rights could be a costly mistake.  The laws are constantly changing.  Without knowledge of the new laws and punishments, you could find yourself in an even worse situation than you began with.  The laws governing criminal acts are complicated and each case is unique.

*NOTE: DUI laws changed in 2012 and keep changing each year. Criminal laws have changed. New penalties and classes have been created.

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Juvenile Law

What is Juvenile Law? 

An area of law governing children under 19 years of age.  You could find yourself in a juvenile court; if your child has been accused of a crime, if you have been accused of abuse or neglect of a child, even if your child has been out of control.  Not only do you have to navigate the legal system but in some cases you have to navigate the Department of Health and Human Services regulations. 

Has your child been removed from your home?

Do you know what to do?

Do you know your rights as a parent?

You may even qualify for services through the Department of Health and Human Services or your community. Let us help you in your situation.  The unique needs of our at-risk-youth must be met. We encourage parents, extended family, schools, law enforcement, and social service agencies to work together to keep our children in school and in safe homes.

*Some of the penalties in these matters can involve jail time or could result in other types of legal proceedings during this situation.   

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Estate Planning/Guardianship/Conservatorship

What is estate planning? 

It consists of Power of Attorneys, Wills, Trusts, Probates, Advance Directives (commonly called a Living Will) and Guardianships/Conservatorships.

Having an estate plan will help your loved ones through a difficult time and will ensure your wishes are carried out the way you want.  Without estate planning in place, you will have no say in what happens to you if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. You will not be able to have the person you want to take care of you or your children.  A court of law will decide everything (who receives or doesn't receive your property assets and even who will care for your children and/or pets).   If an estate plan is not done properly it can make things difficult and won't be legally binding in a court of law. 

Who will pay your bills when you can no longer pay them?

Unless you already have a Power of Attorney in place, you may not have a choice.

Who will make sure you get the medical care you need when you can no longer make that decision due to illness or age, what if I am in a vegetative state and I want my wishes followed?

Unless you have a Durable power of Attorney in place, you may not have any say in the matter.

Mom or dad can no longer take care of themselves, Do I need a Guardianship?

If they did not have a Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney signed when they were of sound mind, you may need a Guardianship.

I have minor children, I could have an accident tomorrow, who will take care of my children?

If you do not have a Will in place, the State can take them and place them with a non-family member or even a family member you may not wanted to raised your child(ren), if you had the choice.

I had a will made when my child(ren) where minors but now they are grown, do I need to change my will?

When you have major changes in your life such as marriages, divorces, births, children coming of age and deaths, you will need to update your estate plans. You may now have new family members that you want to leave that special something for or even to set up a trust for your grandchildren. The old Will may not provide for that. 


*Death is difficult enough without the added worry of who is going to take care of what and who. Give yourself that peace of mind. 

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Medical Malpractice/ Personal Injury/ Workers' Comp

What is a Medical Malpractice/ Personal Injury?

This area of law is known as "Tort Law".  It is a civil proceeding that occurs when a person has suffered harm from the wrongful act of others and seeks relief.  When a person files a "tort claim" they are seeking to be compensated for the injuries suffered. A claim can be filed if you have suffered physically, psychologically, and emotionally.  However, these injuries must include; permanent disability, pain and suffering, disfigurement, humiliation, embarrassment, distress, impairment of earnings capacity, lost of wages or profits, medical costs and out of pocket expenses. 

Have you been in an accident and not been fully compensated, have long term or permanent disability due to the accident, or even a death? 

Have you had medical treatment and still not full recovered or had complication after complication with no relief in site?

Has a family member died due to negligence?

Most of the time you have to deal with insurance companies. Insurance companies are very hard to deal with and each policy has loop holes and clauses the insurance companies use so they don't have to pay on a claim or at least not pay the amount you are entitled to. 

You have to prove negligence in Malpractice claims and you have to prove responsibility of the injury.  Most of these claims require consulting with an expert that is recognized by the courts. You need an attorney to get the experts and file the appropriate documents before the deadlines and before the statute of limitations runs out. 

What is Workers' Compensation?

Workers' compensation, often called "workers comp is a form of insurance your employer carries to provide wage replacement and medical benefits to employee who is injured or disabled in connection with work. It is a state-mandated program. Every individual state has its own workers' compensation insurance program. In most situations, injured employees receive workers' compensation insurance no matter who was at fault for the injury. Because these workers' comp benefits act as a type of insurance, they preclude the employee from suing his or her employer for the injuries covered.

Have you suffered an on-the-job injury or illness?  

Are you receiving a stipend each month for lost wages?

Are all of your medical bills and prescriptions being paid for by the employer's insurance?

You may be entitled to workers' compensation. Employees who are covered can receive partial pay for the time they are out of work, compensation for their medical bills, and more. You may want to consult an attorney if you are having difficulty with the employers insurance not paying all due benefits.

*It's difficult enough dealing with an injury.  Why add the stress of trying to deal with the insurance attorneys on your own.  

Business Formation

How can I form a business?

There are four different ways to form a business entity; Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company and Corporation. Depending on the nature of the proposed business, each choice has advantages and disadvantages. Some business owners start off using one type of business formation and then change to a different form as their businesses grow. Some are easy and inexpensive to form while others provide you limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from creditor claims and lawsuits stemming from your business operations. It is always best to discuss your options with a qualified and experienced attorney. Doing so will give you the peace of mind that comes with covering all the bases, for your own legal protection.

Why should I form a business entity?

Simple, to protect your personal assets. 

Will my home and family be protected from the business liabilities?

Depends on what type of business entity you choose to form.

What are the differences and how do I decide what type of business entity to form?

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the default option when a business has only one owner. You can do business under your own name or apply for a "doing-business-as" name.  However, the business and the owner remain as one. Which means your personal assets can be used to satisfy a business debt or legal judgment; you can lose everything you own.  If you make no other election and you have only one owner, you are automatically a sole proprietor.  The advantage to being a sole proprietor is its simplicity.

Partnership 

Partners usually have a partnership agreement drawn up between them stating how the partnership operates and how the profits and losses are shared.  Partnerships can be limited or general. In a limited partnership, you will have one or more general partners and the rest are limited partners. The limited partners cannot take part in the day-to-day management of the firm and the general partners can.  However they do not have the same protection from business debt or legal judgment as the limited partners do.   A general partnership, both partners are wholly responsible for all claims against the business. Each partner has unlimited liability for business debts, the actions of the other partners and lawsuits.

Limited Liability Company

Is a business entity that limits the liability of its owners. It can have a single member or multiple members.  LLCs provide their owners, who are known as members, with limited liability protection. The LLC is responsible for the accounts instead of the individual members. Members are protected from personal liability for business decisions or actions of the LLC. This means that if the LLC incurs debt or is sued, members' personal assets are usually exempt. However, "limited" liability members are not necessarily shielded from all wrongful acts, including those of their employees.

Corporation

Corporations are the most formal of the different business entities. Owners are called shareholders.  Shareholders have ownership of the corporation represented by their holding of common stock.  Shareholders elect a board of directors who appoint and oversee management of the corporation. The number of votes you get depends on the amount of shares you own. Shareholders and they are paid dividends from the company. The corporation retains the profits and losses,  Which mean the shareholders are not held personally responsible for debts and judgments against the company.