Category Archives: Law

How Courts Determine Child Support Payments

colorful child support letters over dollar bills and a gavelWhen parents separate or divorce, the non-custodial parent will have to make child custody payments. When neither of the parents has custody, however, both of them may need to pay child support to the one caring for the child. Courts follow child support guidelines with an aim to treat each party fairly.

Calculation of Child Support

Each state has specific guidelines and criteria in calculating the child support, like the income and expenses of both parents. This is why it is common for most courts to require each party to submit a financial statement before making a decision on the amount. Other factors considered are the needs of the children, the paying ability of the parent, and the child’s way of living before the divorce.

Child support attorneys in Kent note that when setting child support payments, the court considers the previous standard living of the family and tries to maintain it for the child if possible. It's important to keep in mind that this is more of an objective than an assurance. This is because in many cases, it can be hard to keep two households on a salary that originally supported a single home.

Modifying Existing Order

If there is already an existing child support and you wish to change it, you and your ex-partner may need to agree on a term. Even both of you agree to modify it, a judge will still need to approve. If you and your ex-spouse, however, cannot come up with an agreement, you can bring the case to a court to discuss the modification. 

In most cases, the court will only modify child support payment if you can show a significant change of circumstances. These may include:

  • A child’s medical expenses or changes in their needs
  • Your temporary inability to pay because job loss, illness, disability
  • Economic hardship of the receiving parent
  • Job/salary change (in either one parent)

If you’re dealing with child support issues, it is best to consult a family or a child support attorney. The right legal representation can evaluate the facts of your case and help you attain the best possible results.


Becoming an Adoptive Parent: 4 Things to Keep in Mind

Adopted childThe process of adopting a baby is an exciting one. There’s so much to do before your child finally arrives home. If you are doing this for the first time, here are some simple tips to guide you through the process.

Find a Competent Attorney to Help You

It’s a happy time for the family, definitely, but you’ll still need to cross a few legal hurdles before finalizing the adoption. Here’s where Albuquerque family law practitioners come in. Your lawyer should be able to explain everything involved in the process and guide you on how to make the best decisions.

Practice Patience

Hopefully, the adoption will be finalized as soon as possible. Be prepared for anything, though. Sometimes the process can take longer than you expected. So find things to do while waiting, stuff you may not have time to do when the child finally comes home. For instance, take a vacation or prepare the child’s room.

Learn About Your Child’s Past Life

When not adopting a newborn, it is crucial to know the child’s life before he or she becomes your child. Take the time to talk to their birth parents, orphanage staff or foster parents to find out as much about that life as possible. Information about their routines, hobbies, how they like to be soothed, and so on can be very helpful.

Don’t Overdo the Nursery

The urge to do everything while decorating your child’s nursery can be overwhelming, but you should never yield. Unless you are bringing a newborn home, filling their room with numerous toys, colorful clothes and bright shades can be overstimulating instead of calming.

No amount of information can prepare you for being an adoptive dad or mom. By educating yourself of the essentials of adopting, you can make the transition a smoother one for both you and the baby.

Why Do People Choose to Immigrate?

An Approved VisaThousands of people decide to immigrate to the United States every year. Even with strict immigration policies, many continue to pursue the chance to move to the US. In Utah, immigration attorneys help hundreds of clients in complying with their immigration requirements. But why do so many people choose to immigrate anyway?

Employment and Business Opportunities

In 2015, immigrants comprised 17% of the labor force. This is equivalent to around 26.7 million men and women. Many people migrate to the United States seeking better opportunities than what is available to them in their own countries. Others, on the other hand, move to the US to start new businesses. These foreign entrepreneurs then create more jobs not only for locals but immigrants too. Indeed, employment is a major reason behind immigration.


The search for higher education is another common reason for immigrants to enter the country. From 1995 to 2014, the number of immigrant students in the United States grew by 51%. Ivy League Universities are not the only schools that attract international students. As a nation leading the world in education, innovation and research, the US holds much promise for students who not only want a good college degree but also better opportunities for advancement beyond graduation.

Political Conflict and Violence

In some countries, violence is ever-present. Even today, many countries struggle to achieve peace and prosperity. To escape the political conflict and violence in their countries, many choose to flee to the US, where they hope to live in peace. Meanwhile, many others seek asylum to escape possible persecution due to various reasons.

Family and Friends

Another reason people migrate is to become closer to family or friends. Some have family that migrated before them while others have found extensions of their family in residents of the country.

There are many reasons people choose to migrate to the United States, though the process may be a burden to those unfamiliar with immigration laws. To better facilitate the immigration process, enlist the help of an immigration lawyer you can trust.

3 Reasons to Become a Nurse Legal Consultant

Stethoscope with a Gavel

Simply put, nurse legal consultants provide medical expertise in legal cases. They are part of a legal team who help lawyers, and other legal professionals read, interpret, and explain medical records in health care-related cases and topics. They also explain the medical terminologies involved in the legal cases. Here are three things you should know about this type of profession.

How Do You Become a Nurse Legal Consultant?

The first thing you need to do is to get your Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After which, you should pass your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). To become a nurse legal consultant, you need to spend five years working as a Registered Nurse (RN). Then, you should work at least two years in the field of legal nursing. After that, you can get your Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) by the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB).

Where Do Nurse Legal Consultants Work?

Certified legal nurse consultants work in various healthcare settings such as hospitals and insurance companies. They also work in several law firms. The majority of them work on a contract-basis, which is very favorable due to flexible work environment and schedules.

How Much Do Legal Nurse Consultants Earn?

When it comes to average salary, a certified legal nurse consultant can make between $49,000 and $64,000. The salary is often highly dependent on the terms of employment. But it’s good to know that many can build and enjoy high-paying careers. In fact, some of the legal nurse consultants in practice today earn higher than their RN counterparts.

Are You Ready to Become a Legal Nurse Consultant?

If you’re already a registered nurse, consider looking into the field of legal nurse consulting and see for yourself if this is something that you’d rather do. There are many perks to the job, including a more flexible work schedule and the environment. Consider these facts if you’re currently deciding to shift gears.

Legal Careers That Don’t Need a Law Degree

Gavel on Top of a Laptop

Gavel on Top of a Laptop

Let’s admit it, studying law is expensive. Apart from the tuition, the course involves tons of miscellaneous fees, including books, boarding, internship, and exams. According to CBS News, it costs around $43,000 a year to study in a top law school. That’s a huge amount of money that not every aspiring lawyer can afford.

Fortunately, there are still many opportunities for students who wish to take the legal route. Yes, you can work in a firm or a courtroom without spending too much on education. See our list of careers below.


Also known as legal assistants, paralegals work in the same vein as lawyers and attorneys. They typically work in law offices and even head to courtrooms when necessary. Paralegals carry out actions suggested by a lawyer: interview witnesses, study claims, and file legal documents, among many others. The demand for paralegals is getting higher every year, which is why many students choose to take paralegal degrees online.

Court Reporter

Are you well-organized and have a keen eye for detail? If yes, then you might as well be a court reporter. Also known as stenographers, court reporters record speeches, court testimonies, and other legal proceedings. The demand for the position is extremely high, considering the low number of people entering the profession. An associate’s degree program, license, and certification are required to become a court reporter.


Mediators, as the title imposes, mediate. By providing direction, resolution, and encouragement, this kind of legal profession aims to settle disputes between arguing parties. Mediators work outside the courtroom as they do not represent or advocate a lawsuit. One must have training in mediation as well as a certification to become a mediator.

The road to the law is hard and expensive. However, one should not lose hope and confidence because there are other ways to obtain a legal profession. Consider the abovementioned careers, and you’re off to a great start.

Probate Lawyers: How They Can Help with Your Case

Probate LawyerIf you have been named an executor to a loved one’s estate, you know it’s a lot of work. People usually know that they need a lawyer’s knowledge and their assistance to clear up matters, whether it’s a divorce, buying a home, or investing in a business. Working with a probate lawyer will likely be a better experience — working well together will require cooperation from both parties.

What to expect as part of the working relationship

Miller & Steiert, P.C. and other legal professionals explain that there are two things you can do if you are named an executor — you can let a probate lawyer in Denver handle the entire case or handle it yourself and consult them on issues.

More often, people choose to let a lawyer handle their case. Of course, you still need to be involved in gathering, monitoring, and safeguarding assets, paying bills related to the estate, and even manage the asset inventory. Where the lawyer can help is in handling all the court-related paperwork.

Doing some of the tasks, you will save you a lot of money as opposed to handing over the entire job to a lawyer. Some of the tasks involve going through all the papers and making calls to all kinds of agencies and also dealing with banks. For instance, it is good to know who will:

  • Order and get death certificates certified
  • Ensure that the original will is lodged in the right probate court
  • Inventory the estate and all property
  • Get property appraised
  • Prepare and also file the final tax returns of the deceased with the IRS

Consulting with a Probate Lawyer

If you, as the executor are willing to take on the job of handling the probate, there are probate lawyers who can help you. They can help with “unbundled services” and answer your questions and offer guidance through the process.

Most often than not, the majority of cases involve a lot of paperwork. If all the named beneficiaries in the will are happy with their share, the probate is easy to handle. As part of the process, it will be your job to keep them informed about the process and the timeframe. A lawyer can look over your letters or emails before they are sent out to ensure that they are in the right format.

Regardless of how you handle the probate and estate, make sure to share all documents with the lawyer so that the case proceeds smoothly. If you have doubts, don’t be afraid to ask questions so that you have what you need. When you are paying by the hour for their advice, keep the questions crisp. Stay in touch to find out how the case is progressing so that the beneficiaries have an idea and don’t get impatient.

Understanding the Impact of Divorce on Children

Divorce AttorneyIn a perfect world, all marriages would last forever. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Divorce do exist, and it occurs in many relationships around the world. A divorce can be frustrating for couples and their kids.

One of the most common misconceptions about divorce is that the parents might ruin their children’s lives.

If you’re worried that your divorce will have a negative impact on your kids, here’s what you need to know:

  • Studies show that small children and teenagers, with ample support and help from their divorced parents, could be very resilient and do well in life later on. Getting a divorce does not have to haunt your children for life.
  • It could be tough to determine how your divorce would affect your children and how you can deal with the situation. The good thing is your children could do well if you manage to get back to proper parenting after the divorce.
  • Any child would be distressed and confused when going through the divorce of his or her parents. But your relationship with your child and your continuing parental involvement would certainly contribute to your child’s ability to deal with all the changes going on.
  • The strength of your relationship with your ex-spouse, even if it’s purely for co-parenting purposes only, would also help your children during this emotionally taxing time. According to studies, children function best when their parents collaborate. Lewis & Matthews, P.C. suggests that you think of the best child custody arrangements during the divorce and keep your children’s best interests in mind.
  • You could also consider getting help from a child specialist so that your children have someone to talk to in case they’re being aloof or indifferent, or acting out.

For most divorcing parents, the top concern is easing the pain and consequences that the process brings. Ending a marriage is a tough decision and you must consider the welfare of your children when planning everything.

Unauthorized Practice of Law: What’s a Paralegal-To-Be Got To Do With It?

Books on Law

Your journey toward becoming a paralegal is not without hearing the term “UPL” every now and then. UPL (unauthorized practice of law) may be part of your Introduction to Paralegal Studies classes, law management course, and paralegal ethics course — practically all the courses you take.

Its appearance on all of your paralegal courses online and offline means one thing: understanding of the subject matter is important.

Understanding the UPL

Unauthorized practice of law occurs when an individual does not have the legal license to practice law or even offer legal advice. The policy applies to paralegals, too.

In most states, UPL is a felony case; for others, it is mere disciplinary matter. To get a better grasp of your state’s take on the matter, you can ask the local paralegal association or check the state’s statutes.

As a new or aspiring paralegal, doing research is not the only task you need to perform. You also need to learn about recent changes to the law or have knowledge of local paralegal associations.

How States Define the Practice of Law

While each state has its own definition of authorized law practices, it’s not always clear. In most cases, state law does not explain UPL in detail; what counts as unauthorized or not remains a blur to some practicing paralegals.

Fortunately, the NALA’s Model Standards and Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegals gives a brief but informative summary of activities paralegals should never do, including:

  • Set your personal legal fees
  • Establish the attorney-client relationship
  • Offer legal advice or opinion
  • Represent clients in court, except administrative courts

Legal Advice: Your Role

Paralegal experience from school and on-the-job provides you with a good grasp of the legal world. Naturally, family, friends, and acquaintances may want your opinion.

To answer them is tempting; after all, you’re just helping out.  But it’s one thing to be the armchair lawyer during light discussions or matters outside the school or firm. It’s another thing, however, to have your advice affect other individual’s legal rights. You’re not only potentially harming that individual, but also putting your career as a paralegal at risk.

As a future paralegal, you will have an important role that affects the lives of others. Avoiding UPL now keeps you from making mistakes that will impact your career, the lawyers you support, and their clients.

The Use of Solitary Confinement in North Carolina Prisons is Declining

Man in jail hoping to be releasedThe terms “prison” and “jail” are tricky. In fact, people often use them interchangeably. Although quite similar, there is still a marked difference between them. “Jail” is where a person stays while awaiting trial, while a prison is where felons serve their sentence.

While you have the choice to avoid jail time by posting bail or seeking assistance from a bail bondsman in Raleigh, NC, you can’t simply leave prison by paying a fee. You commit a crime; you do the time, or so the saying goes. What happens though when an inmate needs disciplinary action? Well, prisons can subject the incarcerated to solitary confinement.

Solitary Confinement in North Carolina

Prisons subject inmates to solitary confinement for various reasons. This includes separating an aggressive inmate, protecting another, or disciplining an unruly one. Offenses that range from fighting to spitting on someone can land an inmate a 60-day solitary confinement, in fact.

North Carolina prisons used to be notorious for their use of the disciplinary tactic, but they are slowly cutting down on the practice because they’re finding it ineffective. Out of the state’s 38,000 prisoners, 5,330 were in solitary confinement at any given day in 2015. Through the effort of authorities, they were able to reduce the number to 2,540 in 2016.

Increases Assault on Staff

State prison Commissioner David Guice said that cases of assault on staff members increase in the locked-down units. Upon observing a decline in these kinds of attacks in states that are moving away from the practice, Guice made it his goal to end North Carolina’s heavy use of the method.

Triggers and Worsens Mental Illness

Inmates with a history of mental illness who spend time in solitary confinement suffered from worsening symptoms. Psychiatrists also state that the prolonged isolation could trigger depression, anxiety, cognitive disturbances, psychosis, and paranoia in inmates who had no prior symptoms.

Government support for this move has come from the highest position. Former President Barack Obama has already banned the practice of subjecting youth offenders (17 years old and below) to solitary confinement in federal prisons, stating that the prolonged absence of human contact is counterproductive and could result in lasting psychological effects, especially in younger, impressionable individuals.

Inmates spend 23 to 24 hours a day in their cells, which have limited access to sunlight and fresh air. Taking away even the most basic of human contact on top of this has proven to result in negative changes in an inmate’s behavior. Actions to abolish the practice are a step towards rehabilitating, not punishing, people who have committed a crime.

When Marriage Breaks: Protecting Your Assets during a Divorce

Marriage BreakupAsset splits and lawyer fees during a divorce can be financially crushing to couples. Wisdom dictates, however, that people can prepare for worst-case scenarios such as these through proper planning. A spouse who wants to keep his or her assets protected in case their marriage isn’t working out may take note of the following.

Put Your Assets in a Company

The law recognises a company as a separate legal entity, which can act as a vessel to acquire and hold assets. Doing this, however, requires you to undertake precautionary measures. Thus, it is best to consult with a lawyer from a reputable law office, such as Connolly Suthers, before proceeding with this option.

Create a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement, otherwise referred to as the financial agreement under the Family Law Act 1975, can go a long way in preserving your assets if you want to seek a divorce. The agreement contains an arrangement on how partners will manage financial resources and property before, during, and after the marriage. Spouses can even specify which property is subject to the agreement. Both sides must sign the agreement for it to be effective.

Sort Out Your Superannuation

A good way to lock your investments until retirement is through superannuation. Your assets remain locked until you reach retirement age. It lets you acquire property through a self-managed superannuation fund. Discuss this option with your financial adviser or lawyer if you plan on doing this.

Form a Family Trust

A family trust deed establishes a separate entity that can hold an asset separate from the matrimonial assets. The deed will include the rights pertaining to the asset as well as beneficiaries of the asset. Ensure that the deed is well-drafted so you can save up money through asset protection.

Having a plan to safeguard your assets can help secure your financial future in the event of a marriage breakdown. Divorce, however, should always be a last resort as this process could be lengthy, complex and expensive.