Category Archives: Law

Individual Disability Insurance: The Basics

Man with arm in cast signing a documentThe most valuable asset you have is not your car, retirement account, or even your home. It is your ability to work and be able to make a comfortable living for you and your family. Disability insurance pays a particular portion of your income if you’re unable to work for a long time due to an injury or illness.

Find out how it could help you and why you need one.

What Disability Insurance Covers

While you are disabled, your income would be paid to you in the form of disability insurance either every week or month, as a predetermined dollar amount or portion of your income. The exact payout period would be dependent on whether your disability was a result of an illness or accident.

In general, individual disability insurance policies usually come in two types:

  1. General Disability Insurance — This provides benefits to individuals who are unable to perform jobs they’re qualified for due to injury or sickness. This means that as long as you’re still able to perform specific jobs you’re qualified for, you won’t be able to recover.
  2. Occupational Disability Insurance — This provides benefits to people who can’t perform their regular jobs due to injury or sickness.

According to one of the top attorneys at Haffner Law in Los Angeles specializing in disability insurance claims, the distinction between the two types is immensely crucial.

For instance, if a neurosurgeon loses his hand, he might not be able to do surgery again, but would still recover benefits if he were covered by occupational disability insurance, even if he could still work as a doctor, just not as a surgeon. However, if he were only covered by general disability insurance, he won’t be able to recover benefits, even if his only job alternative is to become a salesperson for example.

Potential Legal Issues

Some individual disability insurance policyholders get denied when they file a claim after being injured since their insurance plans don’t cover specific injuries or their insurance provider disagrees that the policyholder is indeed disabled. Additionally, some policies, usually those that employers provide, are regulated by complicated procedures and rules that must be followed, and if an individual fails to do so, his or her claim might be denied. When this happens, the denied policyholder would need to file an appeal and if that doesn’t work out, a lawsuit.

With this in mind, if you’re having issues recovering from your disability insurance provider, your best recourse is to consult a lawyer to find out the best strategy for your claim.

How to Come to a Parenting Agreement

child undergoing a divorce

child undergoing a divorceDivorce is hard on the whole family. However, it is especially hard for children. Many children feel that the divorce is their fault. This feeling becomes stronger when parents fight about parenting rights. It is important to try to come to a parenting agreement without going to court.

Family lawyers in Wellington can help by keeping the child’s best interest at the centre of the discussion and get approval from the court. If you need advice on how to come to a parenting agreement, find out what you need to do.

Choose Neutral Ground

Talking about parenting time with your ex-spouse can be emotional. You do not want to do it where the child can hear you. You should choose a place that does not put either of you at the defensive. It could be at a quiet restaurant or a mutual friend’s house.

Have someone at hand to keep the conversation on point, such as a mediator. The important thing is to focus on finding the best way to make the situation as easy for the child as possible.

Avoid Pointing Fingers

It can be hard to keep tempers from flaring when talking with an ex-spouse. This is especially true if your divorce was not amicable. Pointing fingers and placing blame is very tempting.

However, that is not constructive. This is about the well-being of your child. You should put your differences aside so that you can talk about how the child can spend time and have a relationship with both of you.

Look for Compromises

A child needs to have a good relationship with both parents. Try to find ways to make sure the child spends quality time with both you and your ex-spouse without making the child feel like a ping-pong ball.

A way is to arrange a schedule — for example, you could have them on weekdays, your ex-spouse on weekends. You could also have alternate weeks with the child. Also consider trades for holidays. For example, you can have them on Christmas; while your ex-spouse could have them on New Year’s Day.

Coming to a parenting agreement without fighting is a big step in the right direction. It will help your child come to terms with divorce. Family lawyers can help create a parenting agreement that the court will approve.

How You Could Lose Your Timeshare to Foreclosure

Solicitor Mortgage Lawyer

Solicitor Mortgage LawyerThose who take out a mortgage to purchase a timeshare fully intend to make good on their payments. However, in difficult times, such as losing your job or unexpected healthcare expenses, making good on your timeshare payments could become a low priority. Do note, though, that failing to pay your monthly payments could result in you losing your timeshare to foreclosure.

Could I Lose My Timeshare Due to Foreclosure?

If you own a deeded timeshare, the interest you own in that property could be foreclosed if you fail to keep up with monthly mortgage payments. Likewise, if you fail to pay the utilities, maintenance fees, taxes, and other related costs, you stand to lose your timeshare to foreclosure. While it’s state law that governs timeshares, the specific process for foreclosure would differ from one state to another.

Depending on the laws in your state, the foreclosure process could be judicial. This means that your lender would go through the state court and make their case against you, or non-judicial, meaning that the foreclosure process won’t go through the court.

In addition, the timeshare foreclosure procedure might differ from the usual procedure for residential property foreclosures. In some states, for instance, residential property foreclosures always go through court, but state law might enable lenders to go through non-judicial means for timeshare foreclosures.

Deficiency Judgments After Foreclosing on a Timeshare

During a foreclosure, your total debt might be higher than the sale price of your foreclosed timeshare. The difference between your foreclosed timeshare’s sale price and your total debt is known as a deficiency. For instance, your debt is $12,000, but your timeshare only sold for $8,000, then your deficiency is $4,000. Fortunately, it’s up to state law to determine if you would be facing a deficiency judgment following foreclosure.

It’s crucial to note that once the foreclosure procedure for your timeshare has started, it would move fairly quickly. That being said, if your timeshare is up for foreclosure, get help from a lawyer experienced in timeshare cases to learn about the options and laws that would apply to your foreclosure case.

4 Key Factors When Hiring a Lawyer

Client consulting with lawyer

Client consulting with lawyerWhen it comes to any legal proceedings, you need to find a seasoned lawyer to help you. The question is how would you know if you’re dealing with the right professional to work on your case? While the hiring process may not be too complicated, it’s important to be cautious when talking to your prospects.

To find the right lawyer in Macon, GA, consider the following factors:

1. Profile Check

First thing you need to check is their credentials and work experience. Keep in mind that you can’t leave one aspect out. That means their work experience should validate their credentials. Check out their portfolio and job history. What is their educational or professional background? How’s the win-loss rate? What was the result of the previous case they’ve worked on? These things should help you decide whether you want to continue working with them or not.

2. Specializations

Just like doctors, lawyers have different specializations. For example, some lawyers are well-versed in family law matters, such as child custody or divorce. On the other hand, some attorneys specialize in business processes, criminal cases, personal injury or road accidents, and so on. As much as possible, find a lawyer who has worked on cases like yours.

3. Personality

Choose a lawyer you’re comfortable working with. There should always be a chemistry between you and your attorney. If it’s hard for you to trust them, then it’s better to look for other options. However, you should still consider their expertise. So, spend more time talking to them and ask the right questions.

4. Costs

Usually, the entire process can take a long time. That means more consultation with your lawyer and court visits. Ask your prospects about their rates and preferred payment schemes. This will help you prepare your budget. While some lawyers may charge you per hour or per session, others prefer the sum for the entire case. Be sure to put everything on paper to avoid disputes in the future.

Finding a good lawyer shouldn’t be that difficult if you do your homework. Use your network. Get referrals from your family and friends.

Paralegal Specializations: What is a Corporate Paralegal?

Woman typing on laptopAbout two out of 20 paralegals work as a corporate paralegal. Corporate paralegals are paralegals that work for corporations, instead of law firms. They are still however supervised by lawyers and work under them. The job responsibilities and work setting of corporate paralegals, however, vary significantly from paralegals that work in private law firms.

If you’ve recently completed an online paralegal degree or are about to enroll in one, The Center For Legal Studies notes you need to know about your options, one of them being a corporate paralegal, so you’ll have a plan after finishing your degree.

Basic job responsibilities and work environment

Depending on the type, size, and specific location of the workplace, the work environment of corporate paralegals could be relatively similar or different than that of paralegals who work in law firms. Huge corporations with usually have big legal departments with a couple of lawyers and paralegals, while smaller corporations might only employ two to three lawyers and one to two paralegals.

Aside from assisting lawyers with legal research, administrative tasks, preparing documents, and interviewing clients, corporate paralegals also perform various tasks that are specific to business and corporate law such as:

  • Drafting corporate documents – These documents typically include organizational documents require for forming partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations, as well as stock certificates, license applications, meeting notices, withdrawals, amendments, and dissolution and merger agreements. Corporate paralegals also sometimes help create and maintain corporate minute books.
  • Helping in various corporate transactions – Corporate paralegals work directly with their supervising lawyers to prepare and close corporate transactions including initial public offerings, acquisitions, and mergers. Primarily, they work on due diligence investigation inquiries for these transactions. They likewise conduct SEC filings, prepare audit letters, and draft UCC or Uniform Commercial Code agreements.

An important note on salary

The corporate paralegal specialization is among the most in-demand paralegal professions within the field mainly due to the higher salary. Generally speaking, standard paralegal salaries would differ depending on the size of the corporation or law firm and the location, but corporations and law firms in large cities generally offer higher salaries than those in small cities, and large firms and corporations offer higher salaries than smaller ones.

Also, corporate paralegals would earn more than paralegals who work in a law firm in the same location, that’s about the same size of a corporation. This is something you need to mull over when going the corporate paralegal route.

Why Hiring an Asset Protection Lawyer is Important for a Divorce

Lawyer explaining separation of assetsDivorce can place a great deal of stress that most people tend to forget the importance dealing with debt, whether or not it originated from you. However, there is a need to hire an asset protection lawyer or attorney to take care of your finances, especially if you are nearing retirement.

Otherwise called a gray divorce, elderly couples that plan to dissolve their marriage may put their retirement funds at risk.

Community Property States

The place where you live will be a major factor to determine how you and your spouse would settle debt payments. The community property states in the U.S. comprise Arizona, Idaho, California, Nevada, Louisiana, Washington, New Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The law in these states generally dictates that all accumulated debt during a couple’s marriage will fall under the responsibility of both parties, whether or not you were unaware of it. Couples who live elsewhere in the United States, which are called common law states, have to pay debt according to the beneficiary.

For instance, if your spouse has credit card debt solely under her name, then you no longer have to worry about it.

Legal Loopholes

Even if you live in a common law state, that does not mean lenders would simply avoid chasing after you for your spouse’s financial obligations. A divorce decree would not stop creditors from contacting you for missed or late payments.

In cases of collateral debt, the spouse who keeps the asset would normally have to pay for any outstanding balances. This becomes complicated when both parties signed up for the loan such as a mortgage since it would involve removing you or your spouse’s name from the contract.

Conclusion

Life during and after divorce can be a stressful experience, but you can try to make it easier by trying to keep your assets under your name. Consult an asset protection attorney to know how you can still start over after a failed marriage.

Common Types of Domestic Contracts

Couple reading a document

Couple reading a documentOne element that most couples do not consider is domestic contracts. This is an agreement between cohabiting partners or spouses regarding the boundaries of their relationship.

For the contracts to be legally binding, they should be in writing and signed in front of a witness. Getting a family law attorney in Boulder to advise you is the best way to protect your rights in the contract.

Here are some types of domestic contracts.

Cohabitation Agreements

For couples planning to cohabit for an extended period without legal marriage, a cohabitation agreement is prudent.

This agreement outlines the couple’s rights regarding property and support after termination of their relationship. Should a couple decide to marry later, the cohabitation agreement becomes a marriage contract.

Marriage Contracts

Typically known as prenuptial agreements, this contract includes the conditions of a separation or divorce should it happen. They define the terms of spousal support and property division after divorce.

The couple typically signs this contract before entering a marriage, though in other instances they sign in the course of a marriage. Some of these contracts include the religious, educational and moral training of children born during the marriage.

Separation Agreements

These domestic contracts are for after termination of a cohabitation relationship or marriage. It outlines the division of property and responsibilities of the partner after separation.

These also include the custody and rights of the parents for any children born during the relationship. Courts might, however, disregard the provision for child custody in these agreements if they are not in the child’s best interest.

There are some instances where the court might disregard domestic contracts. These include cases where one party failed to disclose assets at the time of the agreement or contracts signed under undue influence. If one partner did not comprehend the consequences of the contract at signing, the court might disregard it as well.

What Happens with Spousal Health Insurance After Divorce?

Health Insurance ApplicationYou can learn online how to get a divorce in Utah, and you could find a legal practice that can help you through the process. With all the procedures, documents, and tasks that need to be done in a divorce, Kelly & Bramwell, P.C. noted that you might forget the small details. Child custody and asset division may be important in a divorce, but the management of your health insurance coverage matters too.

Divorce Ends Health Insurance Too

In a divorce, you may think that you can continue to rely on a spousal health insurance coverage that you have through your spouse’s employer. Unfortunately, you lose that coverage once you finalize your divorce. Post-divorce, you will have to apply for coverage for yourself, and that can be quite a hassle if you fail to deal with it early in the divorce proceedings.

Option 1: Extend the Coverage

To extend your insurance coverage, you can appeal to a federal law called Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Under this law, you can qualify for continued coverage through your spouse’s employer if the company has 20 or more employees. You can give the health plan administrator notice within 60 days post-divorce to avail of COBRA coverage.

Downsides of COBRA

Now, for some people, COBRA coverage can be expensive. Under it, you shoulder the entire premium because your spouse’s employer is not required to subsidize the costs. In fact, you may even be charged an extra 2% for administrative costs. At the same time, COBRA coverage only lasts for 36 months.

Option 2: Get Your Own Insurance

An alternative to COBRA coverage lies in the health insurance provided by your employer. You can look if the provision will only cost little or nothing. If it is, then you’re better off with your employer’s coverage plan. For self-employed individuals, private insurance can also be viable choices that have lesser costs with lengthier coverage than the COBRA option.

Your marriage may end soon, but your health insurance can still stay as long as you replace your current policy with a new one.

 

Child Custody: 4 Pitfalls You Should Avoid

parent holding hand of childFor most couples, the child custody case is the most critical part of their divorce. This is because they view children as the only good thing left from their split marriage. However, there are some mistakes you can do, and you’ll end up sabotaging your case.

Read on and discover some of the pitfalls you must avoid in your child custody case.

Not obeying a courts order

Most parents refuse to follow a court’s order because they think it is not right or it is unfair. Others give an excuse that they thought it was not in the best interest of their children. However, most family attorneys in Wellington will tell you that most judges do not take this lightly. They will take it as disrespect of the court as an institution, and that you undermine their authority and qualification.

So, no matter how it seems unfair to you, just make sure you obey the court’s order to avoid any further legal problems.

The silent treatment

You may be emotionally drained following a nasty break up. It is, therefore, understandable if you desire to keep it to yourself. However, you will still be required to keep your communication lines open with the other parent on matters regarding the children. Failure to update them on the children’s welfare, be it school, health, or routines, could hurt your case.

Remember that this is not just about you anymore; it is likewise about the children’s well-being.

Not keeping your cool

The split up can be so overwhelming and sometimes may push some buttons you never knew you had. But it is important that you remain composed and avoid any incidences that could be detrimental to your case. Being abusive verbally or physically to your ex-partner could cost you your custody case. Avoid any drugs and alcohol abuse, especially during your visitations, as this could cost you more than your custody rights.

Absconding your parental rights

Failure to exercise your parental rights shows lack of seriousness and commitment. If you have been granted some visitation rights, make sure you take full advantage. Spend quality time with your children. Do not be late for the visitations and do not keep procrastinating. Prove to the court that you are responsible and willing to do anything for your children’s welfare.

Knowing what to and what to avoid during your child custody case will go a long way in ensuring that you get a favourable result. By avoiding the above pitfalls, you will be setting yourself up for a successful custody case.

Three Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Family Lawyer

Man holding Family Law signFinding the right family lawyer to handle your case, be it divorce, child custody, or mediation can prove to be a herculean task. Many people have lost claims, time, and money because they hired the wrong attorneys to represent them. Below, see some mistakes you should avoid when hiring a family lawyer.

Settling for the first lawyer you meet

This could be a grave mistake unless it’s a lawyer you have known for some time. It’s prudent that you take time and check out the other lawyers, suggests the Law Office of Gordon N. Shayne, a law office based in Colorado. By doing this, you can compare their experiences, service fees, and other factors that make up the right lawyer. You also need to be sure that the two of you click since this is a person you are going to work with for long.

Hiring a close friend or relative

You are under pressure to get a family lawyer to handle your divorce case. Then, hurrah! You have a eureka moment and remember that your best friend or uncle is a lawyer. While hiring a close friend or relative can be easy and cheap, they may have little to zero experience and expertise to handle your case. You need to make sure that they meet all the requirements necessary to take your case.

Choosing a lawyer based on cost alone

As much as the cost is important, choosing an attorney just because their service is cheap or discounted can be a costly decision. It is possible that the low price is for enticing clients and to compensate for their lack of experience. At the same time, hiring a lawyer because they ask the highest fees in the state doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best option. You still have to consider other factors.

Hiring the right family lawyer for your case is important since it will affect the outcome of your case. Make sure to avoid the above mistakes in finding the right attorney to represent you.