What Is an Online Divorce and When Is It a Good Idea?

Thanks to ever-evolving technology, practically everything today can be done online. From getting a university degree to drafting a will or renewing a driver’s license, the internet has seemingly endless possibilities. In several states it is also possible to get an online divorce. The advertisements for online divorce may be appealing to some. For example, they often claim the couple will have no lawyer fees or court dates. 

Divorce lawyers, know of many couples who tried the process of an online divorce and failed to get anywhere apart from garnering unnecessary debt. This is not to say that online divorces don’t work, but rather, that you should understand what you are getting into before you participate in a DIY online divorce. Failure to weigh out your options could result in you overlooking your rights and interests or agreeing to something you did not understand. Choosing to end your marriage is a major life decision and could impact your life and that of your children. Therefore, how you get a divorce deserves due care and attention, regardless of whether you choose to do it in person or through the internet. 

Understanding Online Divorce
An online divorce does not mean that you simply complete the form and press a button that will dissolve the marriage. Rather, it is similar to the standard process. The difference is that you will be responsible for most of the work instead of hiring a divorce lawyer. You will begin by downloading and completing various forms. Without a divorce lawyer, this can take some time. Once the petition for a divorce is filled out, you will need to submit it to the county courthouse. Only select courthouses will take this paperwork online. If this is not allowed at your courthouse, you will need to appear in person. 

After this, a summons will need to be served to your spouse. You can hire someone to do this if you are uncomfortable to do so. It is very important that you complete this process correctly; otherwise, your spouse might claim they never got the summons. If this should happen, a judge could rule the divorce as being invalid. Proof of the summons will need to be submitted. 

If children are involved, an application for child custody and visitation will need to be completed and submitted. You and your ex will also need to establish a parenting plan. In general, this can be difficult with a divorce lawyer present. 

To finalize an online divorce, both you and your spouse will need to complete the final disclosure forms. These documents must be submitted within 60 days from the date of the petition for divorce. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, further documents might also need to be submitted. If your spouse agrees to the petition, it is possible for a judge to sign off on the divorce without you ever going to court. If your spouse does not agree with the petition, or you are unable to come to an amicable divorce terms, an online divorce will likely be impossible. 

Who is an Online Divorce For?
Online divorce might be convenient; however, it can also cause unnecessary challenges. This is particularly true for couples who have anything more than a straightforward case. In an online divorce, you will not have a divorce lawyer to support and guide you, and you will lack someone who can answer your questions. All you will have is the internet and a lot of general information. That said, if you believe any of the following apply, you should not pursue an online divorce:

  • You have been in a long-term marriage
  • You have a bad relationship or there is domestic violence involved
  • The divorce is contested
  • The divorce includes more than one state
  • You are divorcing someone who was in the military
  • There are high value assets involved
  • You or your spouse owns a business
  • There are minor children
  • You are seeking spousal maintenance

If your spouse has already hired a divorce lawyer, you may be unable to divorce online. However, if there are no debts, the relationship was short lived, there are simple assets, there are no children, and both of you are ready to work together, an online divorce may be suitable. In all other matters, it is advisable to hire a divorce lawyer, like a divorce lawyer in Collin County, TX

Thanks to Scroggins Law Group for their insight into online divorce.

6 Don’ts of Social Media During a Divorce

Personal Injury Lawyer

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events that someone can encounter. There are so many things to think about, like the kids, the properties, the money, the list goes on, but what about social media? As our world becomes more connected through the use of social media, we must be aware of what we post, because those things can affect your negotiations. Here are some simple don’ts to keep in mind while getting your divorce: 

DON’T complain about your ex-spouse on social media. Any post is subject to be used during the trial or negotiation process, especially if what you are posting is untrue. It is just the best practice to avoid it altogether.

DON’T post about any of the divorce proceedings, including anything to do with your lawyer, filings, or anything the parties (including your ex) said/did in court. This extends to your friends and family, so it is probably best to discuss this with them early on.  

DON’T post photos depicting alcohol or drug use. This is especially true if there is arguments over child custody, as this can be spun to show you as an ‘unfit’ parent. 

DON’T post about your children doing anything your ex spouse would not approve of. This can also be used to show you are ‘unfit; or that you regularly do things against your ex’s wishes/knowledge.

DON’T post anything regarding your new romantic relationships. If there are allegations of infidelity, this can be used during the trial or negotiation process, even if the relationship begun after the filing. It can also be used during a custody dispute, as this is typically a new person in your child’s life, and the court does take this into consideration. 

DON’T post anything regarding big purchases or trips, especially if they were planned after the filing. Your ex-spouse could use these to show financial misconduct. Also, do not post about any influx or efflux or money, because these could be used to influence alimony or child custody agreements. 

Social media acts as a record and shows your short term feelings/actions about long term events. This means that it can also be used to prove infidelity or financial misconduct. To avoid anything coming back to affect the outcome of your divorce, take the general advice given to young people, to not post anything that any future employer would disapprove of. But, if you have any questions, the divorce lawyers in Arlington, TX would be more than happy to assist you in all your divorce needs. 

 


 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into family law and avoiding social media during divorce.

Restaurant Injuries 

Personal Injury Lawyer

There are some days we just do not want to cook or may want to enjoy a nice meal prepared by someone else for a change. There are several fast food chains that may satisfy this desire, but there are also other restaurant options that prepare dinners that taste just like home cooked meals. The last thing you would want when you make the decision to spend your hard-earned money anywhere is to have a bad experience. 

Restaurants have a lot of room to make mistakes, so both employers and restaurants have to pay very close attention to almost every encounter that takes place in their establishment. A customer may suffer from an allergy a server did not hear them mention. Hot food or beverages can spill on customers or glass can shatter and cut a customer. In the event that you suffer an injury of any sort while visiting a restaurant, there is a chance you can seek damages under a personal injury claim.

You can have a potentially successful personal injury case if you or the victim in this matter can determine if the restaurant was negligent at any time during your visit. The way you determine negligence is based on three factors usually. These factors are: 

  • The duty the restaurant had was to ensure that nothing they did would cause harm or could potentially cause harm.
  • The restaurant was not successful in this duty of care. 
  • Due to this failed duty of care, an injury of some sorts was acquired.

It is impossible to hold the restaurant accountable if even one of these three factors were not a factor in your injury incident. If there is an injury due to the negligence of a restaurant staff member or owner, it is typically easy to prove. The issue in these cases is whether or not the incident was avoidable or foreseeable. If the restaurant is not informed of certain incidents or threatening situations, it is difficult for them to prevent anything from happening. For example, if someone is allergic to peanuts and the dish they were served was prepared in peanut oil, should that person suffer any reaction or injury, the restaurant would not be held liable if that customer did not inform them of their allergies. The restaurant would be fully responsible for their staff and the negligence the staff displayed. It is unlikely that an employee would ever be held directly responsible for the incident.

To get a better understanding of whether or not you may have a successful personal injury case with a restaurant, speak with a skilled personal injury attorney, like a personal injury attorney in Dekalb, GA, as soon as possible. 

 


 

Thanks to the law office of Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into injuries that occur in restaurants.

How Much Protection Does a Copyright Provide?

When it comes to copyrighted material, there seems to be a certain level of confusion among the general public. Many people wrongly assume that once they see the copyright sign next to their work, it is fully protected. In all reality, one must go through a step by step process to truly protect their copyrighted material. In short, just because something is copyrighted does not mean it is protected. If you are looking to ensure that your copyrighted is not infringed upon, it is time to speak with a competent legal professional.

What Is a Copyright?

A copyright provides the originator of material the exclusive rights to their content. That work can be offered by the originator to other parties, but the copyright is intended to protect the originator from other parties looking to steal their material. A copyright can apply to text, graphics, images, music, and videos. If you have a website for your business, the odds are high that you have material on that website that should be properly copyrighted.

Protecting my Copyrighted Work

When President Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act into law in 1998, the act made the use of copyrighted material without proper legal consent a criminal act. Yet in order to pursue legal action for the violation of your copyright, you must register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. In order to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, you must submit a completed application, the standard filing fee, and copies of the work you intend to copyright.

While registering your copyrighted material with the U.S. Copyright Office is not required, it is incredibly valuable. Most importantly, proper registration of your copyright will give you the legal right to sue if another party has infringed upon the copyright. The copyright will be protected as soon as the office receives all of your material, that being said it is wise to speak with an attorney regarding the registration of your copyright before posting your information online.

Contact a Copyright Law Attorney

When it comes to protecting your intellectual property, you can never be too careful. An experienced copyright attorney in Chicago can assist you throughout the entirety of the registration process. If a party infringes upon your copyright protection, your attorney will guide you through the legal process.

Thanks to the Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into intellectual property law.

I’m not sure if I’m at fault for a car accident. What should I do?

Determining fault in a car accident can be difficult. There can be a lot of factors that contribute to an accident, including other vehicles, weather conditions, traffic conditions, and even your own negligence. So how exactly is fault determined in a car accident?

EVIDENCE

Evidence will play a large role in determining who was at fault. After an accident, make sure to contact the police immediately. An officer will come to the scene and create an accident report. The officer will often indicate on the report who they determine to be at fault and why this could become a very important piece of evidence in a personal injury case. In addition, make sure to gather other evidence, such as:

  • The contact information of other parties involved
  • Photos/videos
  • Witnesses

FAULT VS NO-FAULT

Determining fault is one of the most important aspects of a car accident claim, yet how insurance companies deal with fault varies from state to state. 

Depending on where you live, it may not matter who was at fault. Some states have “no-fault” insurance laws, which means that each driver’s own insurance company pays for the driver’s medical expenses, up to a threshold.

Most states have “at-fault” insurance laws, which means that the insurance company for the at-fault driver helps pay for property damage, medical expenses, and other losses of the injured party. In these states, most car accident cases will fall under the tort law principle of negligence. 

NEGLIGENCE

Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. It is a legal theory that helps both law enforcement and auto insurance companies to determine who was caused the accident. However, there are varying degrees of negligence that can affect a party’s amount of fault.

CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE

Contributory negligence occurs when a party acts negligently and ends up injured as a result. 

Example: Driver 1 was driving negligently and speeding through the neighborhood. Driver 2 failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Driver 1 struck Driver 2, causing a neck injury. Because Driver 2 was also being negligent when they breached their duty to come to a complete stop, Driver 2 contributed to their own injury. 

COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE

Pure comparative negligence states that, when an accident occurs, the fault of each party involved is based upon their respective contributions to the accident. The percentage of fault is often used when determining damages.

Example: Using the situation above, let’s say Driver 2 pursued a personal injury claim against Driver 1 and was awarded $100,000. However, Driver 2 was found to be 30% at fault for the accident, therefore the Driver 2’s damages will be reduced by 30% to $70,000. 

If you’ve been injured in an accident and you’re not sure if it was your fault, contact the experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Phoenix, AZ, at Kamper Estrada, LLP for a free consultation. 

Child Custody Attorney Families Rely On

Personal Injury Lawyer

Child custody is considered to be one of the most complex and stressful practice areas of family law. This is because of the emotions that parents have for their children, as well as, against one another. The idea of not being with their child can be devastating to a parent which is why disputes can last for many years. As a child custody attorney, parenting concerns are continuously a top issue that divorcing couples discuss with us. Concerns about education, social activities, medical care, home life, and so forth are so prevalent that it can take several mediation sessions to come to an arrangement that both parents are satisfied with. 

Who Will Get Custody?

Custody of a child will be dependent on a number of unique factors, but with the primary goal of the child going through as little stress and change as possible. In general, the parent who can offer the most stable environment will be granted custody. The family court may consider factors including: 

  • Which parent was the primary caregiver prior to the divorce
  • The strengths and weaknesses of each parent
  • Each parent’s work schedules
  • Whether physical or mental abuse has taken place
  • Whether there are other siblings involved
  • The health of each parent and the child
  • The child’s preference

Family lawyers work closely with parents who are divorcing to ensure their individual needs and concerns are addressed. Our child custody attorneys put the best interests of the child first. If we believe one parent does not realize these interests, we may try to help him or her to acknowledge them in a supportive, compassionate manner. This often happens in out of court mediation sessions but could take place in a court setting. 

Guardianship by Non-Paternal Parents

Sometimes a child is not able to be cared for in the right way making it necessary to remove them from a certain situation so as to prevent long term mental or physical harm. Our child custody attorneys have worked with grandparents, adult siblings, aunts, uncles, and other relatives of minor children who are seeking temporary or permanent custody. Our firm has handled cases involving abuse, neglect, kidnapping, abandonment, and more. We are prepared to fight for a change of orders or work with authorities to ensure the child is safely removed from a dangerous situation. 

A Family Law Firm On Your Side

Family law attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and compassion needed to resolve child custody cases of every complexity. It is our chief concern that your children’s needs are met while ensuring your parental rights are acknowledged. We are ready to stand by you and your family. Call a child custody attorney in Frisco, TX, today to discuss parenting arrangements, child custody disputes, guardianship, a change of orders, or enforcing child custody orders. 

 


 

Thank you to the experts at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC., for their input into family law.

How Does Bankruptcy Help with Creditors?

Paying bills may become complicated if the money demanded exceeds your income. You may have made some poor investments or had an emergency that wiped out your reserves. In any event, when you find yourself dealing with debt, the stress can be overwhelming, and you may want to consider bankruptcy is a viable choice.

When you file for bankruptcy, the debt, and those you owe it to, will be handled according to state or federal laws. While each situation is different, you may want to make yourself aware of some general information so you understand what might come.

Stops Creditors from Collecting

Once you file bankruptcy, your creditors must stop actively trying to collect anything you owe them. This means they can no longer contact you by phone, email or mail. Since collection activity may have reached a fever pitch and pushed you to file bankruptcy, the reprieve may ease some of the stress you were feeling for so long.

Bankruptcy Type Dictates How Creditors Are Handled

There are two main bankruptcy routes for individuals, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. These two differ in the way debts and creditors get handled. They are similar, however, in how the process of paying creditors begins. A trustee will put your debts in order from secured to unsecured. The order may depend largely on the type of debt it is. For instance, a mortgage will come before a car loan, even though both are secured debts. Likewise, credit cards will always come last because they don’t have collateral backing them.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee will evaluate your debts and help decide which secured ones you return. You can typically keep one vehicle (two if you are a two-person household) and a primary residence. After that, a trustee may have other homes or cars returned to the creditor. The trustee evaluates your assets and liquidates them appropriately to pay off as much of the remaining debt as possible. Once the trustee is satisfied you don’t have anything left, the remaining debt is discharged.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy works a little differently. This process still places creditors in line for payment, but the trustee helps negotiate a payment plan that works for you and pays off some or all of your debt. The payment plan lasts from three to five years, and in the end, all remaining debt is eligible for discharge.

Some debt is barred from discharge under bankruptcy laws, including federal tax debt and student loans. Other restricted accounts may also exist. You may want to check with a Bankruptcy Lawyer, like a bankruptcy law firm in Oklahoma City, OK, to help guide you through the steps of the process that fits you.

Thank you to the experts at MartinWren, P.C. for their input into bankruptcy law.

What can a collection attorney do after you file bankruptcy?

When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect. The stay means that all collections activity, including legal actions, garnishments, calls, and letters, must stop. If a collection attorney continues to contact you in violation of the stay, he or she may be breaking the law. Learn more about what collection attorneys can do after a bankruptcy filing and what you can do if violations occur.

Exceptions to the Stay
While the automatic stay applies to most situations, there are a few exceptions. To determine if the collection efforts violate the stay, you need to understand first whether or not the stay applies to your circumstances.

  • Criminal proceedings do not stop because of a bankruptcy stay.
  • Some child support and alimony actions can continue after a bankruptcy filing.
  • Certain types of evictions may continue in spite of the automatic stay.
  • A collection attorney can still pursue you for debts you incur after the filing of the bankruptcy.
  • You still have to make your federal student loan payments and most tax payments.

In some cases, the bankruptcy court may terminate or modify the stay to allow creditors to pursue you for certain debts. If this has not happened, and none of these exceptions apply, you may be dealing with a collector who is pursuing you in violation of the stay. Your bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if you are experiencing a breach of the law.

What to Do About Violations
If a collection attorney contacts you and you believe it is a violation of the stay, the first step is to make sure the creditor is aware that you filed for bankruptcy. If the creditor was unaware of the filing, informing them should be enough to stop the contact and correct itself. If the collection attorney keeps violating the stay, your next step is to report this to the bankruptcy court, which can issue sanctions, such as attorney’s fees and fines, for intentional violations.

If neither of these steps works, you may have to file a lawsuit. A knowledgeable attorney can help you with this. The violation of the stay may also violate state and federal laws such as the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Bankruptcy can be a complicated process, and understanding what a collection attorney can and cannot do after a filing can be difficult as well. Contact an experienced attorney,  like a bankruptcy law firm in Oklahoma City, OK, in your area who can help you through it and protect your rights.

Thank you to the experts at MartinWren, P.C. for their input into bankruptcy law.

Amusement Parks Can Be Dangerous

Everyone loves the amusement park. This is where we have some of the most exhilarating fun. Parents, adults, and children may decide to visit an amusement park while on vacation or simply to have fun that day. What is not planned is somehow getting physically hurt while visiting the park. It is safe to believe that no one intends to get hurt when they go out to have fun at the amusement park. Unfortunately, amusement parks are as dangerous as they are fun. Because they are so fun, this would mean the injuries sustained should an accident occur might be extreme because the amusement park can also be very dangerous. In the event that you or someone you know has suffered an injury from an amusement park, there is a possibility that a personal injury claim can be pursued and you can be compensated for damages.

Duty of Care
Amusement park owners have a responsibility to follow safety regulations for their establishment to ensure that their guests and staff are as safe as possible. This would mean that the roller coasters and other rides must be properly maintained and routinely checked to ensure safety for those who decide to ride them. This is called “duty of care,” and if the amusement park staff does not uphold this duty they can be held responsible for whatever should happen regarding injuries and other damages.

Premises Liability
Premises liability is a form of liability that a property owner is held at to maintain a safe environment on their premises. This assists in avoiding the possibility of any injuries as much as possible. This responsibility covers the entire grounds and anything on it. This includes sidewalks, restaurants, crosswalks, restrooms, and all rides. The property owner is expected to ensure safety to the best of their ability to those participating in rides or just walking around sightseeing. Everyone should be protected.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case and injuries at amusement parks can range from minor to catastrophic. Just as the park is as dangerous as it is fun, your legal representation should be just as serious as your injuries. Speak with a skilled personal injury attorney, like a personal injury attorney in Dekalb, GA, regarding premises liability and the failed duty of case an amusement park may have displayed that led to you or your loved one’s injuries. With the right legal counsel, you may be able to hold the amusement park responsible and receive compensation for you or your loved one’s injury. 

Thanks to the law office of Andrew R. Lynch for their insight into getting compensation from an injury at an amusement park.

The Dos and Don’ts of Child Visitation Violations

The Dos and Don’ts of Child Visitation Violations

One of the most challenging aspects of divorce can be settling the details of co-parenting with your ex-spouse. Divorce usually has a serious impact on children when their parents cannot get along or manage visitation rights, and understanding how to proceed when those rights are violated might mean all the difference when it comes to your children’s emotional well-being.

Do Get a Lawyer 

Having legal counsel during your divorce can be helpful, especially when there are visitation rules to manage. When you first discuss them in court or arbitration, having a lawyer present may help you feel more confident and give you a better understanding of who to turn to if your ex should break any rules that have been laid out by the court. If any rights are violated after the divorce is final, you can contact your lawyer for advice about how to get your ex-partner to obey the visitation decree.

Do Not Withhold Visitation 

When your ex brings the kids back hours after the appointed drop-off time or is late picking them up, your first instinct may be to withhold visitation from him or her in retaliation. However, this tactic usually does more harm than good, especially for your children, who may not understand why they are suddenly being cut off from their other parent. Instead, speak to your ex and offer a gentle reminder about the rules he or she agreed to and if that fails, return to the court and ask the judge to alter the decree if it is not obeyed.

Do Motion for Contempt of Court 

If the details and regulations of visitation are laid out in your final divorce decree and your ex-spouse breaks them, you do have the option to file a motion for contempt of court. You can ask your attorney to file this motion after you explain your situation. For example, if visitation details decree that your ex cannot take your kids across state lines and he takes them out of town to visit family without your knowledge, this could allow you to file the motion.

Do Not Take Matters Into Your Own Hands 

Dealing with a non-compliant ex can be frustrating, especially where your kids are involved. However, it may not be wise to try and handle the situation by demonizing your ex-partner in front of your kids or changing the visitation rules on your own, Going through legal channels can be much more effective and allow you to act maturely and calmly, even if your ex is not.

Handling a child visitation schedule can be difficult, especially when you feel your ex-spouse is violating the decree terms, but knowing how to proceed can help you stay calm and focused on your children’s needs. Go online to find legal assistance, like a family lawyer in Collin County, TX, and schedule an appointment today.

 

Thank you to the experts at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC for their insight into family law.