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A Kinder Divorce

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Once the decision to divorce has been made, you have another choice to make that could influence the tone of your divorce proceedings. You can take steps to ensure that your divorce results in a more positive, hopeful beginning, instead of a stressful and negative mess, by being reflective about the causes of the divorce, by taking responsibility for your part and by the legal team you choose to handle the divorce. Read on for important steps toward a friendlier divorce. Take a dispassionate, non-blaming look at how your marriage failed As you can imagine, overly emotional and vindictive behavior can result in both time-consuming and expensive divorce situations. It’s very tempting to place blame on the other party when a marriage falls apart, but relationships don’t happen in a vacuum, and being able to come to terms with your part in the break-up will not only ease the stress between you and your spouse, but will serve you well as you move forward into a new relationship. Using the court system to exact revenge will cost you both time and money and will inhibit your growth and recovery process. View the ending of your marriage by considering how hot-button issues like health, work, infidelity, stress and mental health have affected your relationship. Communication differences can cause enormous problems that can sometimes be helped by marriage counseling, but are often too severe to overcome once years of misunderstandings pile up. It’s extremely difficult to have a successful relationship without proper communication skills from both parties. Life can throw you curves occasionally, and how you, and your spouse, handle those occasions can define your relationship. Handling the feelings associated with stressful events can make or break you, so take a look at how you both dealt with insecurity, anger, fear, and other unwelcome but common emotions when faced with an unusual situation. Mediation and collaborative divorces Some divorce attorneys are beginning to practice a new form of divorce, referred to as collaborative divorce, that fosters open communication, problem-solving outside of court and a less adversarial stance toward divorce in general. Additionally, a divorce mediator can be a valuable part of your legal team. Mediators are specially trained to help divorcing couples work through specific issues like property and debt division, child custody, support and visitation and spousal support. Any issues solved through mediation is one less issue for the courts to decide. You, your spouse and your children all deserve a more positive and less traumatic experience. Talk with your family law attorney like one from Law Office of Jeffrey Dragon today about more ways to make your divorce less acrimonious and more positive....

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Surviving Assault Or Battery: A Personal Injury Case Can Help You Get Back On Your Feet

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Even if the police have already dealt with someone who intimidated or attacked you, it can be hard to get your life back on track. Lost wages, medical bills, or residual emotional trauma can all make daily living more difficult. If you feel you’re still struggling with the effects of the incident, it may be time to consider exploring your options for a civil personal injury case against your attacker. At the very least pursuing a civil suit against the person who wronged you may help you live your life more comfortably. Assault Does Not Require Contact Though being assaulted is commonly taken to mean being physically attacked, the legal definition of assault is simply being threatened by another person. This threat does not have to be verbal: someone pointing a gun at you could be considered assault if you have reason to believe the gun is real and they might shoot you. The threat also does not have to be violent specifically. Threats of unwanted sexual contact or other forms of offensive contact, such as contact with bodily fluids, can also be considered assault. Outcomes for assault victims in civil court typically involve small damages. Unless the incident was particularly egregious, or the same person has assaulted you previously, the cost of going to court may exceed the damages awarded to you. On the other hand, pursuing an assault case in court does significantly increase your likelihood of receiving a restraining order against the person who assaulted you. Battery Can Happen Without Assault You might be used to hearing assault and battery mentioned together, but each can happen without the other. If you had no threat or indication that harmful touch was imminent, you may have suffered battery without assault. Direct and immediate battery is defined as an unwanted contact intended to harm the victim. What constitutes harm is up to your judge, but violent contact and unwanted sexual contact are commonly accepted examples of harmfully offensive touch.  Damages in direct battery cases will typically cover any medical costs or lost wages incurred as a result of the incident. If the battery was emotionally harmful to you, the judge may also award you damages for pain and suffering. Defendants who are repeat offenders, especially if this is not their first offense against you, may also be forced to pay punitive damages. In all but the least serious of battery cases, a restraining order is virtually assured if you choose to request one. You don’t have to go it alone after being victimized. If you need help making up for the costs of your recovery, talk to your lawyer about a civil suit. You might be able to get the protections and damages you need to get back on your feet and regain your peace of mind. Contact a local attorney, like GSJones Law Group, P.S., for more...

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How To Change A Regular Corporation To An S Corporation

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One of the most important characteristics of a corporation is that shareholders are not personally liable for obligations of the company. A negative aspect is that profits are taxed first at the corporate level and then at the personal level as dividends. Corporate shareholders may retain liability protection and avoid double taxation by electing to change their company to an S corporation. The election to be classified as an S corporation is for tax purposes only. The operations of a company are not usually affected by whether or not it is an S corporation. The tax difference arises only after a corporate officer applies for the change. Tax consequences The profit of an S corporation is not taxed at the corporate level. The operating results of the company flow through to individual shareholders, who report the activity on their personal tax returns. Double taxation is avoided, even though the corporation is a separate legal entity. The financial results are passed through to shareholders, regardless of whether any funds are actually distributed. Even if earnings are retained by the company for business expansion, shareholders must pay tax on their pro rata share. Qualifying requirements An S corporation cannot have more than 100 shareholders, so the largest corporations are not eligible. All shares of stock must be of the same class, conferring identical rights to the future distribution of profit. Even though distribution rights must be equal, a distinction is allowed between voting stock and nonvoting stock. Application process The change in tax status is initiated by filing IRS Form 2553 with the Internal Revenue Service. For a new corporation, Form 2553 must be filed within 2 1/2 months of the start of operations for the tax year. An established corporation must file Form 2553 within 2 1/2 months after the start of the tax year in which the switch is desired or in the previous year. Form 2553 requires the signature of every shareholder. Obtaining up to 100 signatures may take some time if shareholders are in different locations. A requirement of S corporation shareholders is that they must not be a nonresident alien. The corporation itself must be a domestic entity, chartered in the U.S. After Form 2553 is filed, the IRS will notify you of either acceptance or denial. If accepted, no continuing forms are needed to retain S corporation status. If the company ceases to meet the requirements of an S corporation in the future, it reverts to a regular corporation. For more information, contact Caldwell Kennedy & Porter or a similar...

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3 Tips For Saving Money On Estate Taxes

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Throughout your life you will pay a lot of money in taxes. No one can escape paying taxes, not even in death. There are death and estate taxes put in place, so that even after you pass away, the government will take some of your money. Although you cannot prevent all of the taxes, you can do some things to help you protect your money. Here are a couple tips for saving on estate taxes. 1. Gift Before You Die Each year the IRS gives a limit to how much you can gift friends and family without having to pay any taxes on it. This year you can gift up to $14,000 per individual. This means that if you have a married child you can give the couple $28,000 without paying any taxes. Consequently, if you are worried about your children not getting their money because the IRS is taxing it after you die, try gifting it before. 2. Opt For Joint Ownership Another great option for dodging estate taxes is to have joint ownership on your property. For example, if you know you are going to give your house to your only son after you pass away, have him put on the deed of the house before you pass away. If you chose to have the house given to him through the will, he will have to pay taxes on the value of the home at your death. This could be a great amount of money. However, if you have him on the title and the deed, when you die the ownership passes over to him, and although there may be an inheritance tax, it is probably less than the estate tax.   3. Put Your Money and Property In Trusts In the past, wills used to be the most common way for people to pass along their estate and property. However, wills are taxed differently than trusts are. Trusts are a much safer and smarter way to go when it comes to estate planning. You can put your house, bank accounts, investments, and much more into a trust. Then when you pass away, the money and property in the trust will be executed according to your instructions. Unfortunately, you will still have to pay some money for taxes in trusts, just not as much as if you had put it all in a will. By using these three tips, you can save money on estate taxes.  To learn more, contact an estate planning attorney like Beck Law Office PC...

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Understanding Your Role As Trustee For Your Parents’ Trust

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Sometimes, parents create multiple trust accounts for different purposes, naming different trustees for each one. Even if you’ve received an inheritance from your parents, you may find that they’ve assigned you as trustee for another beneficiary’s trust. If this happens, it’s important you understand exactly what that means for you. After all, if you’ve never had to deal with a trust before, the whole process may seem daunting and unfamiliar. If you want to be sure you are successfully meeting all of the responsibilities of your role, there are a few things that you can do. Here are some tips to help you understand and live up to the responsibilities set forth for you as the trustee. Read the Trust Document The trust document is something that your parents drafted with the help of an elder law attorney. It’s probably the best place for you to start because it will detail all of the rules and expectations that your parents have for you as you manage the trust. If there’s something in the document that you don’t understand, talk with the attorney who helped create it for some clarification. Establish a Separate Account You’ll find it easier to manage, report on and account for the funds in the trust if you establish a separate checking account for it. All of the trust-related financial activity should go through this account. Act on Behalf of the Beneficiaries Remember that as the trustee, it is your responsibility to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. Keep their interests in mind at all times when making decisions about financial management. Keep It All Professional Although you have access to it, don’t use the funds in the trust for anything personal. Remember that every expenditure from the trust is supposed to be directly related to the estate, the beneficiaries and their needs. It also means you can’t lend money to anyone out of the trust. Create Annual Statements One of the most important things to remember as a trustee is that the beneficiaries and any other people named in the trust should receive regular statements that detail the activity in the account. You can produce annual statements that clearly illustrate how much was spent, what it was spent on and what’s left in the account. You may also find that the beneficiaries want more frequent information, which may mean creating quarterly statements instead. Be Attentive to Investments As the trustee, it is also your responsibility to seek investment opportunities for the funds. However, there should be a balance between being proactive about investing and being reckless. Make sure that you’re choosing productive, logical investment opportunities so that the funds are growing, not diminishing. You may find that you need to seek professional investment advice, but the goal is to diversify the investments. You may even want to talk with the elder law attorney your parents worked with to see if they had any wishes for the fund investment. For more information on elder law and estate planning, contact a lawyer like James M Snow who specializes in that area of...

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The SSA Isn’t Perfect: Common Mistakes That Lead To Benefit Claim Denials

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Mistakes happen to the best of us. However, when a judge or someone else involved in the social security administration or a judge makes a mistake, this can create a lot of headaches when you apply for social security disability. Under these situations, you will need the assistance of a lawyer to fight for your rights. The Medical Source Statement Isn’t Considered You rely on the opinion of a physician regarding your ability to work and how injured you happen to be. However, the judge may not consider the Medical Source Statement given by your physician when determining if you should be on social security disability, so you may need to appeal. When you appeal, the judge will be required to explain how much weight was given to your physician’s opinion. Often, the judge will realize a mistake was made and accept your social security disability claim. The Judge Misunderstands Your Job Title Sometimes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not understand the nature of your job and may believe that you will be able to continue to perform your job despite being injured. For example, the SSA may believe you are only required to sit behind a desk, when your profession may also require you to routinely engage in heavy lifting. With the assistance of a social security disability lawyer (such as Sarah J Liddy Attorney At Law), you may be able to craft a more detailed explanation of what your job entails and why you cannot perform it. You Appear to Have Other Skills Even if you cannot perform your current job, your social security disability claim may be denied if there are other jobs you may be able to perform. Your work history can demonstrate that there are other skills you may have and that you can use these skills to return to work. Your physician and your Social Security Disability lawyer will work with you to help explain that you will not be able to return to work at all. For example, your past experience may have left you with skills that are outdated. Your Disability Was Not Listed As Severe The requirements for having a disability listed as severe are not very high. Usually, you need one or two disabilities that seriously limit normal working activities, such as standing. If your disability was listed as non-severe, you will need to have this corrected to be listed as severe. These changes will increase the odds that you will receive your social security disability...

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Costly Mistakes In Your Auto Accident Claim

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Even though you might do everything you can to stay safe when driving down the road, there is no way to determine what someone else is going to do. Being involved in an auto accident can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming. There are a ton of different things you need to do to make sure everything is taken care of and you aren’t shorted on the amount you are supposed to receive for your settlement claim. To make sure you get what you deserve, don’t make one of these costly mistakes below. Waiting to get checked out by the doctor Regardless of whether you think your injuries are severe or not, you need to take the time to get checked out by a medical professional right away. If you sit around and wait before going in, the insurance company is going to look at your claim like you weren’t really injured that badly and they don’t need to compensate you for your injuries. Spend the time getting a thorough exam as quickly as possible. Injuries might be lurking beneath the surface that you don’t realize are there. Another thing to think about is that injuries can get worse before they get better, so you want to have an accurate record of everything you are dealing with. Underestimating the amount of your claim Insurance companies will often try to get you to settle your claim right away. Their goal is to get your case taken care of quickly and for as little as possible. Oftentimes, people end up taking the settlement because they are in dire need of money from being off work and having to pay medical expenses and transportation costs. While it might seem like a decent offer at the time because you are in need of cash, you could be shorting yourself a significant amount of money in the end. You have to stop and think about all of the money you have invested in car repairs, deductibles, transportation costs to get to your doctor appointments, gas, prescriptions, lost wages and much more. There are a lot of things that come into play when looking at how much you deserve to get from the insurance settlement. Auto accidents can be frustrating and overwhelming. It takes a lot of time and patience to deal with the insurance company, repair facilities and medical providers. By taking your time and thinking things through, you can make sure you get the money you deserve. Speak with an attorney like Stephen G. McGowan LLC who specializes in personal injury cases to make sure you create as strong a case as...

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Everything You Need To Know About An Automatic Stay

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Many things happen after you file for bankruptcy, but one of the first things that occurs is that an automatic stay goes into effect. An automatic stay may seem a bit scary if you don’t know what it is, but here are the important things you need to know about an automatic stay. What Is It An Automatic Stay? An automatic stay is when your creditors are notified you’ve filed bankruptcy and they cannot attempt to collect the money owed to them anymore. This is not indefinite pause on your bills. It simply gives the bankruptcy court time to review your case and decide how much each creditor will get from your bankruptcy settlement. What Does It Affect? Before filing for bankruptcy, it is a good idea to know exactly what bills will be affected by an automatic stay. Being prepared can prevent major disasters in the future. An automatic stay will typically prevent utilities from being shut off for about a month and keep you from being evicted from your home if your rent or mortgage bills are far behind. In some states, this may prevent your home from being foreclosed on. It can also prevent your wages from being garnished. What Is Exempted? An automatic stay will prevent many things, but it does not stop every single creditor from being able to continuing their attempt to collect money from you. In some cases, the person who is owed money can sue the court and ask to have the stay lifted from their particular case so they can continue to pursue their attempt to gain money from you. The IRS can go forward with cases that involve being audited, tax deficits, or pursuing payment if you owe them tax money. Court proceedings for criminal actions, child support or previous paternity claims may also be exempted from rules pertaining to automatic stays. Sometimes people will file bankruptcy more than once for different reasons. If this is the case for you, you may find an automatic stay may not be granted to your current case. An automatic stay does not affect things such as domestic violence, a suspended license, or divorce. As soon as the paperwork is filed for bankruptcy, the order for an automatic stay goes into effect. While it will stop many creditors from being able to contact you in an attempt to get the money they feel is due to them, there are some notable exceptions to the automatic stay rule. The automatic stay can be a lifesaver, but it is important to remember it is a temporary order and can be lifted at any time.  For more information, contact Bayer Jerger & Underwood or a similar...

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Non-Disclosure And Non-Compete: 2 Agreements That May Protect Your Business’ Interests

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As a business owner who has fought tooth and nail to get your business running efficiently at the pace it is today, it can be devastating to find out that a current or previous employee has decided to sell your secret to success to your competitor across the street. You may think that every single one of your employees are 100 percent loyal to you. However, when offered with the right amount of money for the key to your success, they may decide to betray you. Therefore, you need to ensure that you and your business are fully protected. This can be done with one of two agreements: non-disclosure or non-compete contracts. Read on to learn more about each of these and how they may help. Non-Disclosure Agreements One type of contract that can be made between you and your employee is a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). These are designed to protect your business’ confidential data and prohibit an individual from using or disclosing trade secrets without your permission. When developing such an agreement, it must be clearly defined what “confident data” is considered in your case. As a general rule, these agreements will focus on secret formulas and other confidential keys to success. If that defined confidential information is later used to a person’s benefit, you can hold them responsible for any damages that you incurred as a result of their recklessness and breach of contract. Non-Compete Agreements Another type of contract that can be used between an employee and a business is a non-compete agreement. These agreements will typically limit an employee’s (or ex-employee’s) ability to work in the exact same market and industry for a certain period of time after they leave your place of employment. However, for a contract to be enforced, it must be reasonable in time, geography and scope. It must also be written in order to protect business interest and not simply be done out of spite. If you are the owner of a small, medium or even large business and are worried about your company’s assets and secrets, you may want to consult with a business attorney skilled in commercial litigation. One of the aforementioned agreements may be a good way to protect your business, but only a lawyer can help you understand which one is best suited for your individual situation. He or she can also help draft the agreement so that it meets all jurisdiction requirements and is a legal, binding document once signed by you and a prospective...

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4 Questions To Ask A Potential Auto Accident Attorney

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If you have been in an auto accident and are seeking legal representation, you are going to need to interview a few lawyers in order to find one to represent you. Here are a few questions you should ask all lawyers that you interview in order to find the one that’s right for you. Question #1: How Do You Expect To Be Compensated For Working On My Case? It is vital that you understand how the attorney you are interesting in working with expected to be compensated for working on your case. Many auto accident attorneys are paid through contingency fees. If they win your case, they get paid; however, if they fail to reach a settlement or lose your case in court, they get nothing. They will take a set percentage of any money that you are awarded as compensation for their work. If you are not comfortable with that arrangement, you may want to find a car accident attorney that charges on an hourly basis instead. Question #2: What Additional Costs Will I Need To Cover In Relation To My Case? Before you start your case, you need to have a good handle on what it is going to cost you. Any potential attorney you interview should be able to let you know what the local filing costs are for lawsuits in your area as well as how much you should expect to spend during the investigative process for your potential lawsuit. Question #3: Do You Think My Case Has Merit? Car accident attorneys work on cases just like yours every day. They should be able to give you an assessment about how they think your case will go and what they think you may be able to receive as far as compensation for your case. Keep in mind that this is just their best guess, but it is also a very educated and informed best guess. Question #4: What Would Be Your Strategy For My Case? This question will really help you see the difference between the potential attorneys that you are interviewing to take on your case. Pay attention to how each attorney wants to build your case and present it to the other side. There are numerous strategies that could be effective; the key is to choose one that you are comfortable with. Make sure you at least ask the four questions outlined above when you interview potential attorneys to represent you in your vehicular accident case. If you have additional questions you would like to ask during the interview, make sure that you write them down beforehand so you don’t forget to cover...

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