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How to Get the Most from Your First Meeting with a Family Law Firm?

The end of a relationship is always distressing. One of the first places to call when you are separating from your partner is your family law firm. How can you ensure that you get the most out of that important first meeting at a time when you are feeling vulnerable? Don’t be nervous, your family law firm is there to represent you and get you the best outcome that they legally can.

There are several things your family law firm can help you with:
• They can recommend other professionals like financial advisors, accountants, mortgage advisors and mental health practitioners to help you get back on your feet.
• They will represent you and your interests in negotiations.
• They will help you help you determine the best solution for your circumstances.
• They will explain your rights and responsibilities to you regarding the divorce proceedings, child custody and support, dividing property and financial affairs and spousal maintenance.

Have a goal in mind regarding what you would like to get from the meeting, perhaps you would like clarification of divorce proceedings or guidance on what steps to take next. Write a list of questions you would like to ask to remind you while talking to your solicitor. Your lawyer is there to do their best for you they will be happy to answer any questions you have. Keep in mind that the lawyer may not be able to answer the question immediately, and the answer may not be to your liking.

Preparation is essential for your first meeting to make the most of the limited appointment time. You should provide details of both spouse’s names and addresses, their occupation, dates of the marriage starting and details of the relationship breakdown. Also provide the names and dates of birth for any minor children. Try to review your finances before the meeting, know the marital assets (property, investments, and pensions) and debts (loans, credit cards and mortgages). Endeavour to bring as much documentary evidence with you are you can. Bank statements, pension statements, and property valuations will help your lawyer get started as soon as possible. You should also bring any paperwork that you have received from the other party, or their solicitor to allow your solicitor to read. Take time to work out what your household budget was before the separation and what it will be in your adjusted circumstances. Your lawyer can’t represent you fully without full and accurate information, so do not withhold any details and be as accurate as possible. Your solicitor can request disclosure of these details if you were not party to your household budget.

Discuss your budget for the case with your solicitor at the first meeting. Some solicitors will give a discounted rate for the first hour; others may give you the first meeting free. Divorces can be long and complex cases so your solicitor won’t be able to give you a final figure at this stage. If your budget is tight you should discuss it with your solicitor before it becomes an issue at a later stage. They will be able to tell you what costs are incurred at different points in the process. A good solicitor will be upfront and transparent with their fees.

 

For more information, visit: Martyn Prowel.

Changes for Child Support Payments in 2017

Effective July 1, 2017, the Illinois Legislature will change the current formula that’s used to determine child support. For parents who pay child support, the new ruling may have a significant impact on child support payments.

Currently, child support payments are calculated based on a “Percentage of Income” formula that considers the net income of the parent who pays child support. The current formula breaks down child support payments based on a percentage of net income per child:

* One child – 20 percent
* Two children – 28 percent
* Three children – 32 percent
* Four children – 40 percent

Under the proposed legislative changes, child support payments will be based on an “Income Shares” formula that combines the adjusted net income of both parents, even though only one parent pays child support. Under the new formula, combined net income will be considered “Total Family Income” and Illinois courts will consider child support payments based on the following conditions:

* The income of the residential parent
* Parenting time of both parents
* Additional expenses of both parents
* Employment history, including unemployment, of both parents

Calculating Total Family Income

After the court determines Total Family Income, child support payments will be compared to an average family with similar income and number of children. For example, if the Total Family Income is $75,000, and there are two children that require $25,000 for annual support, the court will consider each parent’s percentage of the total income. If the father is the parent who pays child support, and he makes 70 percent of the total income, annual child support payments would total 70 percent of the $25,000 spent on the two children, which would be $17,500 per year. The Court may also order money to cover a contribution to a child’s health care expenses, extracurricular activities, school expenses, and child care expenses.

Under the new law, spousal maintenance, formerly called alimony, Social Security, other retirement benefits, and Social Security Disability benefits will be considered income by the court. If either parent is unemployed, the court will look at the current Federal Poverty Guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In most cases involving unemployment, the court will award a minimum child support payment of $40.00 per month per child.

Calculating Parenting Time

Under new rules, calculating “parenting time” between both parents will also be based on a specific formula. To calculate a shared income obligation, the court will consider the percentage of parenting time for each parent spent with the child or children. If a parent physically takes care of the child or children for a minimum of 146 overnights per year, the basic child support obligation will be multiplied by 1.5 percent to determine Cook County child support enforcement.

5 Ways to Avoid an Accident with a Commercial Truck

In 2014, nearly 4,000 fatalities occurred on the highways as a result of accidents involving a commercial truck. And, according to the National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI), over 200,000 collisions involving at least one passenger car and a large truck happen annually in the United States. These large machines are hazardous, even in the hands of the safest drivers. Should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in an auto accident with a commercial truck driver, you have the right to develop a case against the driver of the vehicle, but also the trucking company or owner of the vehicle.

Safety Limits for Commercial Truck Drivers

The operators of commercial motor vehicles who have a commercial driver’s license are obligated to follow driving limits as set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As such, they should:

  • Not drive more than 10 to 11 hours consecutively.
  • Take mandatory rest breaks.
  • Cannot have more than a 60-70-hour work week.
  • Sleep for eight hours consecutively before driving again.
  • Drive no more than 14 to 15 hours total after 8 to 10 hours off duty.

Accountability is a stable for managing commercial drivers, and those with a CDL license and related occupation must maintain time logs that indicate when they have driven and when they have taken breaks. Third party lawsuits rely on these time logs when it is necessary to prove that a driver went over their mandatory limits for awake time or driving time. This choice results in being blamed for negligently operating a commercial motor vehicle.

Drive Defensively Around Commercial Motor Vehicles

While it would be easy to blame all accidents with commercial truck drivers on the operator of the larger vehicle, more than 60 percent of all fatal collisions involving automobile and large trucks note that the driver of the automobile contributed to the cause of the collision, says NTSI.

  1. Stay out of blind spots: Commercial trucks, by default, have large blind spots. Just because you can see them doesn’t mean they can see you. So it’s up to car operators to make themselves known and drive defensively and safely around commercial trucks.
  2. Pass safely: Large commercial trucks are much longer than a car and simply take longer to pass. Be sure to maintain a constant speed as you pass, and make certain of the room on the road ahead especially on rural roads. Do not pull back in front of the commercial vehicle until you can see the front of their cab in your rearview mirror. And remember, passing is not an excuse for reckless driving – your speed should not exceed the posted speed limit while passing.
  3. Do not tailgate: Some drivers think that aggressive driving is the only way to compete with commercial truck drivers for space on the road. Everyone has to follow the laws of the road, and there will be no excuse for antagonizing a truck driver by tailgating or using high beams. These passive-aggressive moves on the part of an automobile driver can have catastrophic results. Maintain at least a minimum of a four-second following distance.
  4. Give trucks extra space when turning: Commercial trucks simply need extra space when making a turn. Never try to squeeze by a truck before it completes its turn. Tragedy has struck and will strike again – the truck could drive over the top of your vehicle.
  5. Don’t cut in between trucks: Do not position your car in between two large vehicles. This puts you in both trucks’ blind spots, which exist on the side, rear, and front of the trucks, and you may be forced into the truck on the other side of you if one truck shifts lanes. Your best strategy for driving around commercial vehicles and minimizing the chance of being involved in an accident with a big truck is to simply stay away from them.

If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, contact your personal injury attorney immediately to get support for your case.

 

 

When You Can Handle Your Own Personal Injury Cases

Do you really need a lawyer to work on your personal injury cases? No, says Liberty Law. The average person can handle their own personal injury claims if they aren’t too complicated. All you need is basic knowledge of how accident claims work, organization skills, and a lot of patience. If you can work through it on your own, you won’t have to deal with an unruly insurance company later too. Depending on how minor your losses are, you can work the law in your favor and gain more compensation in the end because lawyer fees will not be an issue.

What Types of Claims Can You Handle?

The common claims you can handle on your own include car accidents, bike accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Slipping, tripping and falling at home or on the road are also minor enough to handle on your own. You can also go it alone if you suffered a minor injury from a bad product you were using. Now, you shouldn’t just take for granted that all personal injury claims can be handled on your own.

There are times when you need a lawyer to help you get the most out of your case. Serious accidents that result in trips to the hospital and possible disability are examples of these. If you weren’t hurt badly and you didn’t lose a lot in terms of damages, representing yourself might be a good choice, as long as you feel confident enough to do so.

Personal Injury Claims are Simple

While lawyers who want your money will try to convince you otherwise, personal injury claims are actually among the easiest to handle and settle. You typically won’t have to do much other than writing a few letters and making some calls to an insurance negotiator. Most of the people you talk to won’t know anything about the legal part of the proceedings, so you won’t even need technical knowledge.

Claims are Paid Out Procedurally

You aren’t paid at random for your claims. The amount you are paid is the product of a complicated, but structured, calculation that takes into account the details of your accidents, the injuries that resulted from it, as well as your medical costs in the end. Whether or not you employ a lawyer, the overall claim will be just about the same.

You’re the Only One Who Knows Your Claim

Since you were the person involved in the accident, you’re the person with the best knowledge of what happened. At the end of the day, you were present, and they weren’t. You know exactly how you suffered, what you suffered from, and what caused it. Use this to your advantage to gain the upper hand in a claim settlement negotiation.

Remember that hiring a lawyer is never a bad idea. It just makes more sense to do things on your own at times. That said, try to keep a lawyer on hand if you ever need backup, such as if your claim is challenged in court.

Tried And Tested Tips To Maximize Your Personal Injury Claim

Accidents can happen anytime anywhere. Often, it catches you unaware or when you least expect it. It can happen while at work or on the road or even while having fun with co-workers during a company event. Some may require a trip to the ER while others can require hospitalization. Though many preach about prevention, in-house lawyers in PaceLawFirm.com highly recommend that you gain knowledge about how to tackle a personal injury claim. Fortunately, there are various ways to maximize your personal injury claim.

1. Know your claim’s triennium. Illness or injury claims have a triennium or limitation period. Most of these carry a time limit of 3 years while those in behalf of children stretch as far as a child’s eighteenth birthday. A quick check at PaceLawFirm.com via its toll free number or free consultation form will help in this quest. Be reminded that different types of personal injury sustained also carry different time limits.

2. Handpick a reliable personal injury lawyer. Do not just settle for a general practitioner but rather, choose a specialist who has extensive credentials on personal injury cases. Before you choose, however, it is crucial that you carefully scrutinize the trustworthiness and reliability of the lawyer. Lawyers are quite aplenty these days. Picking the right one requires research and, if possible, recommendations from people you know. Also, make sure to hire one that’s accredited or living in your area for convenience and ease of access.

3. Always record the injury sustained at work in the company’s logbook. Most businesses have their own operational logbook. If there is none, feel free to consult a doctor or go directly to the ER. Take pictures or video recordings of the incident—and make sure to put a time stamp to it. Make sure to email concern to your employer or via the HR department to ensure that incident be put on record.

4. Do make sure that your doctor has all the necessary information on the incident or any previous mishaps and, most importantly, be committed to your medical appointments. Your lawyer will most likely arrange a specialist on your sustained injuries to help give an expert medical opinion. Aside from following the appointment calendar, it is also important to be as honest as you can with your attending physician.

5. Never lie to your attending physician during an accident. Insurance companies tend to

The Police Often Get It Wrong

You were stopped, asked questions, told to get out of your care, and subjected to all manner of tests and tasks. You were then arrested and charged with DWI. All that happened that evening comes back to you as a living nightmare. The charge still hangs over your head and threatens to ruin your reputation and career.

Don’t Let Injustice Rob You Of Your Future

There are many legal strategies that can be devised to resolve the troubles you face. And with the help of a good attorney, such as those found at Keller Law Offices, you can begin to pursue one or more of them.

You should not have to be penalized for an incident or action that you were not involved in. For the fact is that law enforcement officials often get it wrong. Let a lawyer who specializes in DWI cases help you out of your legal situation, so that you can go back to the pursuit of your dreams.

Contacting a lawyer is the best option when you’ve been taken into custody or have a summons to appear in court. The law regarding DWI can be complex and intricate and the penalties can be serious and severe. Let a lawyer help you. Lawyers are specifically trained to give you the comfort and advice you need to achieve a favorable outcome.

Lawyers are important in preserving your rights under the law. And when you are looking for someone to represent you, you want to ensure they are experienced, knowledgeable, and honest.

Why The Charge May Not Bear Scrutiny

Drunk driving is not a minor charge. The consequences of being convicted can be severe; it is therefore vital that you take the matter seriously. Your family is behind you. The few friends you’ve told are also supportive. What you need now is an attorney who can pick the prosecution’s case apart and show where and how they’ve gone wrong.

Police and prosecutors can sometimes rush to judgment when it comes to levying charges. They do not always follow the strict letter of the law when it comes to DWI cases. There are many actions that the person who pulled you over and arrested you had no right to take. You may have stood up for yourself at the time and not complied with everything he asked you to do. However, there are no grounds for convicting you of a DUI just because you refused a breathalyzer. And the officer may have acted illegally in stopping you to begin with. These are all things that need to be looked at closely. And your defense attorney is the one to do it.

If you are confronted with DWI charges, a lawyer can help you handle your case with thoroughness and professionalism. It is not an easy situation to be in. You must remember, however, that you are not guilty unless proven to be so. Fight your corner and get the legal help, advice, and assistance you need to do effectively.

Personal Injury Settlements – Advice from Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one was harmed in a car wreck caused by the carelessness of another driver, you probably have the grounds to file a personal injury claim against the other driver and seek financial restitution for your harms and losses.  If you are looking for a car accident injury settlement that properly compensates you for your medical bills, time missed from work, and pain and suffering, you will need to negotiate with an insurance adjuster. This is primarily because auto insurance companies do not make the “best” settlement offer at the beginning. In fact, they routinely take advantage of injured drivers by making low-ball settlement offers and convincing drivers that the low dollar amount is “better” than hiring an attorney and going to court. Always remember, an insurance company is focused on generating profit and they do this by minimizing their financial liability after an insured driver causes a serious accident and harms other drivers.

Never Forget – the Auto Insurance Adjuster is Not Your Friend

If you get seriously hurt in an auto accident, do not be surprised if an insurance adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company calls you within 24 hours. They may, initially, act quite friendly and sound like they are on your side.

Do not fall for this ruse.

The objective of an insurance claims adjuster is to get a personal injury claim resolved for the least amount of money as possible. This is why they often call you right away, even before you’ve had a chance to undergo a thorough medical examination by your primary care physician. They’ll ask to record your phone conversation in the hopes that you may say that you’re “feeling fine” (which they may try to use if your claim escalates to litigation).

If you want to avoid the hassle and stress associated with speaking to an insurance adjuster and negotiating a settlement, you should contact an experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyer to represent you. A personal injury attorney takes the burden of negotiating your claim off your shoulders and works to get you the compensation you deserve.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Personal Injury Settlement?

The length of time to settle a case depends on many factors, including the type of accident, the extent of your injuries, the amount of damages in question, the amount of available auto insurance coverage, and so forth. It is important to keep track of the amount of time it takes to try and settle your claim because if negotiations break down, you can only file a lawsuit if you are within the applicable time period prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Again, retaining an experienced car accident injury attorney in Virginia Beach will make your life easier because, once hired, they will keep track of all the necessary deadlines and ensure your lawsuit gets filed on time, if needed.

 

 

4 Celebrities that Show that No One is Above the Law

Whenever a celebrity is arrested, it’s easy to shrug off the convictions and assume they will never face any actual consequences. After all, how many times has Justin Bieber been stopped by the police and walked away scot-free? It seems like money and notoriety can get you out of anything. However, this isn’t always the case. Even if they don’t go to jail, many celebs pay for their crimes through hits to their reputations or lifestyles. Here are four celebrities who fought the law — and the law won.

Lindsay Lohan

Image via Flickr by Luca Venturi Oslo

Lohan is one of the first people who comes to mind when anyone talks about celebrities getting into trouble with the law. Lohan seems to constantly be in court for cocaine possession, disturbing the peace, and other questionable behavior. Needless to say, this one-time Disney star is not a role model that parents want their kids looking up to.

Lohan’s first arrest actually came from a DUI in 2007. It’s easily one of the most Memorable Celebrity DUIs of our time because it set off a laundry list of criminal problems for the star. Almost 10 years later, Lohan is still struggling to stay sober and on the right side of the law.

Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey is known to be a laid-back celebrity, so it makes sense that his criminal charges would center around him relaxing at home. Back in October 1999, police arrived at McConaughey’s Texas home with a call of a noise complaint. They found the actor sitting naked and playing the bongos. While that isn’t a crime (at least not in your own home), marijuana use is.

For the most part, McConaughey’s reputation has bounced back, but the star did learn a valuable lesson about respecting his neighbors’ right to sleep at two in the morning.

Robert Downey Jr.

Downey Jr. can give Lindsay Lohan hope for the future. If he can get out of his rut, she can, too. Between 1996 and 2001, the Iron Man star racked up a list of arrests related to cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. After the first arrest, RDJ was sentenced to three years of probation. The next year he violated his probation and was sentenced to six months in prison.

In 2015, the actor was officially pardoned for his crimes by California’s governor. Today, he is worth $180 million.

Stephanie Pratt

In 2006, The Hills actress was arrested for shoplifting more than $1,300 worth of clothing. Pratt was only 20 at the time, and she and a friend were taken to police headquarters where their bags were searched — and drugs were found. This added to her charges.

Even when she was filming on The Hills, the actress struggled with the law. She received a DUI and had to agree to a 30-day rehab program in order to continue on the show.

These weren’t the first celebrities to get arrested, and they certainly won’t be the last. Fame offers a lot of temptations, and it’s easy to think you’re immune from the law — until the law catches up with you.

Tips for Hiring the Best Lawyer

A lawyer is someone that most people hope they will never need to hire. However, it is basically inevitable that you will need to secure the services of competent legal counsel at some point in your life. It is critical that the lawyer you choose for this important task is very good at his or her job. Otherwise, the chances of you winning your case could go out the window. Hiring a lawyer is not an easy thing to do. There are so many lawyers and all of them claim to be the best at what they do. How can you tell which lawyers are best suited to represent you during your case? Here are several tips that should set you on the right path.

1. Will the lawyer agree to be paid on a contingency basis?

Lawyers have many different methods in which they are willing to be paid. You should try very hard to find a lawyer who is willing to receive his or her payment on a contingency basis. This is just a fancy way of saying that your lawyer will not receive any payment unless he or she wins your case. This gives your lawyer extra incentive to do the best possible job to win your case. Your lawyer might not be motivated to work very hard on your behalf if he or she knows that your payment will be coming regardless of the outcome of the case.

2. What type of track record does the lawyer have?

This is not the sort of info that you will be able to find out on the website of any lawyer. You will need to dig deep into their background in order to discover if they have ever been sued for negligence. Have they ever had their law license suspended for any reason. It goes without saying that this is very crucial info that you need to know before you hire a lawyer.

3. How many years has the lawyer been practicing law?

You should only hire New Port Richey attorneys who have been on the job for a considerable length of time. You should not consider being represented by a lawyer who has been practicing for less than six years. This amount of experience will be enough for you to have peace of mind that your lawyer will do a good job.

Getting Compensation Through The Law

The shock and suddenness of an accident can throw your world into complete upheaval. The process of recovery can take months, if not years. There is also accumulation of bills and the missed opportunities for work. All of this can take a toll on both you and your family.

The law offers remedies. A slip and fall, a pedestrian accident, a car crash, a bust or motorcycle accident—all can fall under the purview of the law, and you can get compensation is you have been involved in any of these accidents.

Getting Justice Is Not Always Comfortable

You have always tried to right by others. You have never been the kind of person to stir up trouble or disrupt other people’s lives. But doing what is right is not always comfortable. Your mild mannered nature should not keep you from getting justice. More importantly, you and your family should not have to suffer because someone else was reckless or people in business could not bother to take certain safety precautions.

Filing a personal injury suit against another individual or against a company is not about revenge or greed; it is about justice, it is about doing right by yourself and the people whose welfare you’re responsible for.

The Kind Of Attorney You Need

If you think you’re owed money for the pain and joblessness you’ve suffered, then lawyers such as those found at the Cogburn Law Office can provide you the services you require. A car accident, a bus or track accident, or even a slip-and-fall can lay you up in a hospital bed with bills to pay and time off work; indeed, such an accident may even lead to your losing your job. Don’t take it. Get the money you deserve for damages.

Personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to get you the money you have coming. Litigation in such matters can be quite vexing, but with the right lawyer on your side you can ensure that you receive a fair settlement. Litigators are important in preserving your rights under the law. And when you are looking for someone to represent you, you want to ensure they are experienced, knowledgeable, and honest. You also want service that is efficient and courteous.

Getting the right legal advice for your particular situation can help you pursue the justice you’re looking for in the right way. Litigators are trained to bring all of their knowledge and expertise to bear on your case. And they can help you get the compensation and closure you need to get on with your life. This can be of great importance during periods such a period of vulnerability.

Fight Back

It can be especially intimidating to take on a big company that has through negligence caused you to suffer. However, even rich and prosperous corporations must answer to the law. They may try to silence you or give you an inequitable settlement. You do not have to give in. Hiring an attorney will help you fight back.