Posts made in September 2017

Why It is Important to Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Lady being helped by a firefighterIf you’ve sustained injuries in an auto accident, boating accident, or work-related accident, it isn’t always easy to determine the full extent of the disability right away. It may be weeks or even months before the true nature of your symptoms and disability is apparent. However, there are deadlines for filing a claim, which is why it’s critical to consult a Tampa Bay lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. As the severity of your symptoms becomes more apparent, you can give your auto accident attorney ongoing updates on your condition and your losses.

It can be extremely difficult to handle legal matters on your own, especially when you are dealing with your recovery. By working with a lawyer who has experience in personal injury cases, you can rest assured that your claim will be filed properly and promptly. Additionally, by working with an attorney, you have the best possible chance of recovering maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Your Guide to Child Support

Sign saying child supportIf you have recently consulted a Tampa Bay attorney about divorce and you have had one or more children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you likely have some questions about child support. Child support guidelines vary from state to state. Your divorce attorney can advise you as to what you can expect in the courtroom and what factors are considered when a child support agreement is established.

Who Must Pay Child Support?

During a divorce, the court will determine which parent will have primary physical custody of the children. The children will primarily live with this parent and the other parent may have visitation rights. The noncustodial parent can be ordered to pay child support.

How Is the Amount Determined?

As your divorce attorney can advise you, the court evaluates a number of factors to determine how much to order the noncustodial parent to pay to the custodial parent. If there are multiple children involved, the amount of child support will increase with each additional child, for example. The court will also evaluate the income of each parent. Other factors the court will consider include the costs of daycare, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.

How Are Child Support Orders Established?

If you are the custodial parent, you can consult a divorce attorney for help requesting a child support order. Your family law attorney can ensure that your application provides all the necessary information for the proper processing of your case. After the noncustodial parent is notified of the child support application, a court date will be scheduled.

How Are Child Support Orders Enforced?

Support orders are legal documents that the noncustodial parent must abide by. Should the noncustodial parent fail to pay child support as ordered by the court, the Enforcement Unit can take legal action. The Enforcement Unit may institute payroll deductions, which means that child support payments will be taken directly out of the noncustodial parent’s paycheck. The Enforcement Unit also has the authority to seize the noncustodial parent’s tax refunds or lottery winnings. A noncompliant parent may have his or her driver’s license suspended or a referral for contempt may be submitted to the court.

How to Prepare Financially for a Divorce

Coins with a paper saying divorceAlthough the dissolution of a marriage is typically fraught with emotions, it’s in your best interests to try to compartmentalize your concerns. As you work through your emotional issues with a counselor, work through your practical concerns with a divorce attorney. A divorce attorney in Tampa can help you learn how to prepare financially for the divorce and how to protect your interests.

Gather Financial Documents

Your divorce attorney will need lots of financial documents to arrange for a fair division of property. Additionally, you’ll be required to disclose certain financial information on an affidavit. You can expect to need tax returns for the last three years, three months of your most recent pay stubs, and the prior year’s W-2, 1099, and K-1 forms. Your lawyer will also need access to your bank account statements, life insurance policy, retirement account statements, and documents pertaining to any debts you and your spouse have.

Check Your Credit Reports

Divorce attorneys strongly recommend that their clients check their credit reports before the trial. Review your credit reports for any accounts your spouse may have opened without informing you or any payments that he or she may have missed.

Evaluate Childcare Costs

If you and your spouse have children, child support will be a factor in the court order. Calculate their basic expenses, such as food, housing, and clothing. Other discretionary expenses, such as extracurricular activities, are often not taken into account.

Appraise Collections

Does your spouse have a baseball card, vintage bottle, or other type of collection that might be valuable? Consider hiring a professional appraiser to estimate the value of the collection. You’ll also need to have the value of your home and cars assessed.

Close Joint Accounts

Talk to your divorce attorney about when you should begin closing accounts held jointly with your spouse. If the two of you have a shared credit card, for example, you could be held liable for any debts your spouse accrues while the divorce is pending.

How Changing Shoes Could Help You Avoid an Auto Accident

If you’ve recently made an appointment with an auto accident attorney for a free lawyer consultation, you’ve probably been in a car wreck. While your Tampa Bay auto accident attorney can help you obtain compensation for your medical expenses and the damage to your vehicle, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to consider how you can avoid another accident in the future. Even if the prior accident was not your fault, you may be able to reduce your risk by being mindful of changing traffic patterns. Changing your shoes may be another step you can take.

As you’ll learn by watching this video, certain types of shoes can increase your risk of getting into a wreck and requiring the help of an auto accident attorney. For example, while driving with stilettos on, the heel could become wedged in the floor mat, which may prevent you from braking in time.

Common Divorce Causes

Vacation home on the waterWhen you first married, it may have seemed inconceivable that you would ever seek advice from a divorce attorney. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for couples to grow apart over the years. Divorce attorneys often work with clients who have decided to file for divorce because of money issues. Spouses frequently have different money styles – one may be a spender while the other is a saver, for example. Over time, you and your spouse may have developed different financial goals. You may wish to focus on saving for retirement, while your spouse may be interested in buying a vacation home, for instance. Money disagreements such as these often form the basis for divorce.

Another reason you might look for a divorce lawyer serving Tampa Bay is if your spouse has been unfaithful. For many people, the emotional pain of infidelity is simply too damaging to try to repair the marriage. For other people, there is no one specific reason why they choose to consult a divorce lawyer. They may have simply drifted apart over the years. Breakdown in communication, lack of honesty, and the loss of mutual respect are all common reasons for divorce.

How to Prepare for Your Consultation with a Divorce Attorney

Man signing papersIf you and your spouse have been experiencing difficulties and it’s time to consult a divorce attorney, you’ll need to schedule an initial consultation. Some divorce attorneys offer initial consultations free of charge. These meetings are an opportunity for the attorney to review the basics of your situation and for you to ask any questions you may have about the proceedings. Going to your appointment well prepared can help you get the most out of the meeting.

Consider Issues That May Arise

When you consult a divorce lawyer serving Tampa Bay, you can expect him or her to ask personal questions. This is necessary for your lawyer to understand your situation. For example, your divorce lawyer may ask you if domestic violence is involved or if infidelity is an issue. These are factors that the court will consider, as well. Divorce is usually a highly emotional affair. It’s perfectly natural to have trouble controlling your emotions during your consultation; however, by considering these questions in advance, you may be able to answer them more easily.

Evaluate Your Goals

Some of the questions your divorce lawyer will ask you may focus on your goals for the outcome of the divorce. For example, do you want to retain sole custody of the children? Consider your goals for property division. Your lawyer may negotiate with your ex to allow you to keep a treasured family heirloom in exchange for another asset, for example.

Compile a List of Assets and Liabilities

Property division is a significant component of the divorce process. Before your free lawyer consultation, write down a list of all of your assets and those of your spouse. These include bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other savings accounts. These also include tangible property such as vehicles, houses or condos, and valuable artwork. Your lawyer will also need a list of debts, including student loans, mortgages, and credit card debt.

Bring Important Documents

If you already have legal documents pertaining to your marriage or divorce, bring those to the consultation. These might include prenuptial agreements, an order of protection, or a divorce summons.

Recognizing the Signs of Domestic Abuse

No abuse signMany victims of domestic violence note that their partners were initially courteous and kind, yet later became controlling and violent. This gradual shift can sometimes make it difficult to recognize the signs of domestic abuse. In general, if you are fearful of your partner, you’re likely the victim of domestic abuse. Everyone has the right to be safe in their own homes. You can speak to a domestic violence lawyer regarding your situation and your options. Domestic violence lawyers in Tampa Bay can assist you by filing an injunction, or order of protection. Your lawyer can also help you file for divorce and represent your rights in court.

Emotional Abuse

It’s a common misconception that domestic abuse only involves physical abuse. Many partners are emotionally abusive. If your partner humiliates you, puts you down, is critical, or blames you for his or her own behavior, it’s time to talk to a domestic violence lawyer. You may also be the victim of emotional abuse if you have been made to feel that you can’t do anything right, believe that you deserve the abuse, feel psychologically numb, or are fearful of your partner.

Controlling Behavior

Those who engage in domestic violence are typically controlling. Some signs of domestic abuse include controlling who you socialize with, who you talk to, where you go, how you spend money, and even where or whether you work. An abusive partner may threaten to hurt or kill you, to take your children away, or to commit suicide unless you do as he or she demands.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can take many forms. It’s time to consult a domestic violence lawyer if your partner hits, slaps, kicks, bites, shoves, pushes, or otherwise physically harms you. Your partner can also compromise your physical health by withholding needed medications.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is far too common among couples in a marriage or other relationship. In fact, many abusers mistakenly claim that if two people are in a relationship, rape cannot occur. No one can force you to have sex against your will. If your abuser has sexually assaulted you, or committed a sexual act despite your refusal, you should obtain legal assistance right away.

Are Support Payments Taxable?

After you file for divorce with the help of your family law attorney in Tampa Bay, you can expect many changes ahead. In addition to determining the custody of the children with your divorce attorney, you can expect many financial changes. Your divorce attorney may recommend that you meet with an accountant regarding changes to your tax return. For example, if you receive alimony payments, you must report those payments as income. If you pay alimony to your ex-spouse, you can deduct those payments.

You can watch this video for more information about support payments. As you may learn during your free lawyer consultation, child support payments are not taxable for either party. This video also explains the additional information you’ll need to include on your tax return for alimony payments.

What Issues Are Considered When Determining Child Support Payments?

Child support sign on a wallIf you’re expecting to pay or receive child support payments after your divorce is finalized, you may wish to talk to your divorce attorney regarding how the court reaches its decision.As your divorce attorney can explain to you, child support payments can vary widely based on a number of factors. These include the net monthly income of both parents and the basic monthly obligation. Florida law establishes a basic monthly obligation based on the number of children that are involved and the combined monthly income of the parents. Then, the court determines which percentage of financial responsibility each parent has, in addition to each parent’s share of the basic monthly obligation.

As your Tampa Bay attorney can explain during your free lawyer consultation, the court then considers other factors that can add to the amount of child support payments. The court will evaluate the total monthly child care costs, including the total amount spent on the children’s health insurance, and non-covered medical, dental, and pharmaceutical expenses. The court will also consider the number of overnight stays with each parent to determine a final amount of child support.