Criminal Charges Require The Services Of A Criminal Defense Attorney

What are the four categories of criminal defenses?

Exploring the four major criminal law defenses used today

While there are definitely more than four, these four are the most common, and they are some you are most likely familiar with already.

ACTUAL INNOCENCE DEFENSE – YOU DIDN’T DO IT

It sounds simple enough, and it should be. If you didn’t do it, then why not argue that you are innocent. However, it takes more than just taking the witness stand and saying you didn’t do it. Instead, your attorney would build his or her defense around that innocence. They find witnesses, experts to testify, and even find evidence that helps show you didn’t commit the crime or there was no way you could have committed it. Sometimes, that means having a strong alibi witness, while other times it means presenting enough evidence in court that another party should be convicted of the crime instead of the defendant.

The prosecution still has to prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty – it is not your job. However, the more evidence you can present to counter anything the prosecutor uses, the easier it will be to show that the prosecution cannot prove their case.

SELF-DEFENSE – YOU DID IT, BUT TO PROTECT YOURSELF OR OTHERS

Self-defense claims are often used in instances of assault, battery, and even murder. In these cases, the defendant claims that he or she harmed or killed the victim to protect themselves from threats of violent action. Self-defense claims, unlike in the movies, are hard to win. Not only must the prosecutor show that the defendant had no reason to use such drastic measures, but the defense often must prove that there was an incredible risk of danger to the defendant and that justified his or her actions.

The defense of others may also apply in these cases. In this instance, the defendant harmed or killed the victim to defend themselves or someone else from violent acts that would have happened against them if they did not intervene. For example, someone pointing a gun at a person’s head, threatening to harm that person.

Usually, the defendant is protecting family and loved ones, but there are instances where the defendant is protecting someone that they do not know.

INSANITY DEFENSE – YOU WERE NOT OF SOUND MIND AT THE TIME

Unfortunately, TV and movies have given a false impression of what it means to be “insane” at the time of a criminal act. This defense does not apply in all situations, and insanity defenses are considered affirmative ones. This means that, instead of poking holes in the prosecutor’s case, the burden falls on you. Now, the defense must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was suffering or suffered at the time a mental illness or defect that caused them to commit the act.

What Makes the Insanity Defense So Difficult?

To claim insanity, the defense must show that the defendant could not determine right from wrong at the time of the crime, or they had an impulse that was irresistible. In that case, they would have been aware that they were doing something wrong but were unable to stop themselves from doing so.

Also, to use the insanity defense, the defendant is basically admitting guilt, but saying that their guilt should be excused because they were insane at the time.  It is a very risky defense strategy to use, and only one a good attorney uses it when it is possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury were to doubt a defendant’s mental status at all, it is most likely not worth it for the defense to risk this strategy.

CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS

Whether you have committed a crime or not, you are entitled to specific protections under the U.S. Constitution. In a criminal trial, constitutional violations come up a lot, especially when it comes to how a defendant was treated, the circumstances of his or her arrest, and even how the evidence was collected to use against them.

Often, a good Constitutional violation can result in the charges being dismissed entirely or force the prosecution to agree to a plea bargain for a much less severe charge. These are the violations attorneys will immediately look for, because they are a powerful, effective defense.

 

Defense – Others or Self

Murder, battery, and assault are legal reasons for defense of self and/or others. In some cases, a violent act may prompt an immediate violent response to defend one’s own or another’s life. For example, if you witness a person trying to harm another person, under the right category of reasonings, you are allowed to defend that other person to a point in which the person inflicting the harm is forced to surrender, but not beyond that point. Once you go beyond the point of defending the innocent person (continuing to harm the person whose surrendered from harming the innocent party), you have crossed into the category of assault and battery. The same rule is applied to self defense. Once the person has relinquished control, you should refrain from continuing bodily harm to that person.

 

Common Criminal Defenses

When a defendant goes on trial for allegedly committing a crime, a prosecutor must establish that the defendant is guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. At the same time, the criminal defendant is entitled to present a defense and may do so through a variety of means. The defendant may attempt to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case, argue that another individual committed the crime, or argue that he or she did commit the crime but had a legal and reasonable defense for doing so. There are numerous criminal defenses available that may allow a defendant to avoid punishment for his or her actions.

The Defendant Did not Understand the Significance of the Criminal Actions

One category of defenses available to a criminal defendant argue that the defendant cannot be found guilty for the crime because he or she did not understand what he or she was doing or that his or her actions were wrong. At its most severe, this includes the defense of insanity. The defense of insanity requires the defendant to prove, depending on the state in which the case is tried, that either he or she had a mental disorder that rendered him or her incapable of understanding right from wrong, or that it prevented him or her from controlling his or her actions and resisting violent impulses. In some states, the defense of insanity will allow a defendant to avoid prison but will require that the defendant be held in a psychiatric facility for treatment.

The Defendant Was Justified in His or Her Actions

Another category of defenses applies when the defendant committed the crime but argues that he or she was justified in doing so. The most commonly recognized of these defenses are self-defense and defense of others. A defendant may argue, for instance, that he did shoot an intruder but did so in self-defense because the intruder was threatening him with a knife. Similarly, under a defense of duress, the criminal defendant argues that he or she only committed the crime because he or she was forced to do so by someone else. For example, a criminal defendant may argue that a co-defendant told him that if he didn’t commit a burglary, the co-defendant would kill him. Finally, under a necessity defense, the criminal defendant may argue that he or she committed the crime in order to prevent a more significant harm. For instance, the defendant may contend that it was necessary for him to steal a car in order to chase down another individual who was threatening to use an explosive device.

No Crime Actually Occurred

Finally, a smaller set of defenses may be used to argue that although it appears there was a crime, the defendant did not actually commit a criminal act. First, the defendant may argue that no crime occurred because of the defense of consent. For instance, the defendant may argue that although sexual intercourse occurred, it was not rape because there was consent. Likewise, he may argue that there was no assault because the victim consented to the harm. Second, a criminal defendant can assert the defense of abandonment/withdrawal if he or she initially intended to commit or participate in a crime but later had a change of heart and withdrew from participation. Third, the defendant may argue entrapment. Entrapment occurs when the government induces an individual to commit the crime and then attempts to punish the person for it. The defendant may argue that no crime would have occurred but for the government’s inducement, and he or she should therefore not be held responsible.

 

WHAT MAKES A GREAT DEFENCE ATTORNEY?

Being charged with a crime and/or convicted of a crime will have serious, long-term consequences on your life. Mainly, it can affect your chances of getting a job or keeping the one you have, getting an education, keeping custody of your child (if applicable), and can even lead to deportation if you are not already a U.S. citizen. It is very unwise to represent yourself in court, even if you think your case if very straightforward and that your defence is obvious. Prosecutors will fight aggressively for you to receive the harshest punishment possible. That’s why you need to hire an experienced, successful attorney to represent you. But you may want to think about the kinds of advantages you’ll have if you hire someone who has experience as a prosecutor, who will be familiar with the types of arguments you will face. Of course, you will also want to schedule your consultation right away.

 

Criminal Offences

Robbery

Physical force or threats of violence to steal property from someone. The penalty is up to life imprisonment.

Assault

Physical force directly or indirectly without permission on another person or attempting or threatening by act or gesture to apply force to another person. The penalty is up to five years imprisonment.

Possession of Drugs

Having illegal or prohibited drugs in your possession. The penalty is up to six months imprisonment and/or a $1000 fine if prosecuted by summary conviction; penalty depends on what substance it is and how much is in possession; if prosecuted as an indictable offence it could be up to seven years.

Trespassing by Night

Being on someone else’s property at night without permission or lawful excuse. The penalty up to six months imprisonment.

Breaking and Entering

Definition gaining entry into someone’s house or commercial premises and committing or intending to commit another offence. The penalty is up to life imprisonment if the property is a house; up to ten years if the property is a commercial property.

Personal Injury Lawyer Is A Friend In Need

Personal Injury Lawyer

Choose an Award Winning Attorney Who Has Recovered Millions

Dealing with an injury is never easy, especially if it leads to hospitalization, medical bills, and missed wages. If you or your loved one has suffered harm and losses because of another person’s negligence, is ready to help you pursue justice

No Recovery, No Fees – You Don’t Pay Unless We Win

When you bring your case to our firm, you can trust that our team will do everything in our power to win your case. This is because we work off of contingency fees, meaning that you only owe us if we successfully recover a settlement on your behalf. We believe that every victim of negligence should be able to retain affordable representation, without sacrificing quality and competence

Need a Personal Injury Attorney

After an injury, facing an insurance company alone can be difficult and frustrating. These companies are in the business of profit, meaning they will do whatever they can to avoid or minimize payments to policyholders. Too often, people who are injured do not get the full and fair settlement that they deserve, because they did not hire a competent and aggressive lawyer. Our attorneys can be your advocate in negotiations with insurance companies, and we can fight to protect your best interests.

What Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim or you may lose your right to compensation. See O.C.G.A. Section 9-3-33. However, there are exceptions that can shorten or extend the two-year time limit.

Situations that Can Shorten the Statute of Limitations

Situations that will shorten the two-year personal injury statute of limitations include filing a personal injury claim against or its employees. In this situation, the claim falls under Tort Claims Act (‘GTCA”). The GTCA requires that notice sometimes referred to as ante litem notification, be given within one year from the date of the incident instead of two. The notice must meet the requirements as outlined in the GTCA and if it does not the claim may be barred forever. See O.C.G.A. Section 50-21-26

FREE CHECKLIST FOR CHOOSING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

When you are dealing with an injury, physical pain is, unfortunately, often just the start. Adding to the strain is emotional, psychological, and financial stress — as bills mount, as you miss work, as you struggle to make ends meet for you and your family, an injury becomes an all-consuming part of your life. Fighting at-fault parties and insurance companies is one burden too many.

It needn’t be this way, not when you have a partner who can help you navigate this difficult terrain and build a compelling case for the compensation you are owed. Choosing a personal injury lawyer with deep experience and legal insight is, perhaps, the most effective way to relieve the pressing weight you’ve been carrying on your shoulders

The team at the LaBovick Law Group has developed a comprehensive checklist to help you select a qualified personal injury attorney at law. With the right ally on your side, you position yourself to receive just, fair compensation. You find a guide who can lead you through your current stressful situation and towards a better outcome. Fill out the form now to download your free checklist for choosing a personal injury lawyer.

THREE TIPS IN CHOOSING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

So many choices, so little time.  Choosing a personal injury lawyer who can meet your specific expectations can be a challenge. After being injured in an accident you should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you as quickly as possible.  At least that is my opinion after representing thousands of clients on their car accident and injury cases over my 20 years in practice.  The problem is that you have to sort through all of the noise in order to find the right attorney for you.  You are bombarded by advertisements on TV, the radio, and billboards all day long.  Your friends and family all want to refer you to “their” lawyer.  So what should you do?  Below are three tips that I hope are helpful in picking the right personal injury lawyer for you.

Small law firm versus a larger personal injury law firm – choose what is right for you

In my experience, most attorneys will take on your personal injury case even if they normally do not handle many of them and, unfortunately, they will not tell you that they only handle a few case each month or each year.  I think that this is an extremely important factor to consider and evaluate.  When I think of small law firms I am really talking about law firms with one to three lawyers.  I consider larger personal injury law firms to be those that employ more than ten attorneys.

Litigation firms versus non-litigation firms

Many personal injury law firms, in particular smaller firms, tend to not litigate many cases.  This can be directly related to a lack of manpower, a lack of finances, or a lack of experience.  A very successful lawyer once told me that lawyers don’t try cases because they are either scared (lack of experience) or lazy, and I think there is a lot of truth to that.  Although the vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved without a lawsuit, you are much better served if your law firm not only has the skill set needed to litigate your case but also has the reputation of being a firm that is willing to sue.  In my opinion, it is hard to gain this reputation if you are a small firm that only files a couple of lawsuits per year.

Location of your lawyer

Although we only has offices, we actually represent clients who have been injured in accidents around the United States as well.  So how is this possible?  It generally happens in one of three ways.  First, we are hired by clients who live in Arizona, but were involved in a car accident in another state.  Second, we represent clients who live in another state but were injured in a car accident while in Arizona.  Third, we represent clients who were injured in a car accident, typically on a products liability claim, but there are some circumstances where we are able to make a claim against an insurance company.  The above are all examples of different circumstances where the lawyer that you choose may be down the street, but could also be across the country.  It is simply up to you to choose what works best for you, but with today’s technology location should not be an obstacle to representing a client well.

HOW TO CHOOSE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

WILL AN ATTORNEY TAKE YOUR CASE?

First, for many Plaintiff’s attorneys (note: a plaintiff is the person who initiates the lawsuit), the first thing they’ll do is consider, “How likely is the personal injury case profitable?”

For a case to be profitable, there must be a Defendant or party who can pay a judgment or settlement.  If there are no such deep pockets, there is often no case.  In fact, there is a term called “judgment proof” for someone who cannot afford to pay a judgment.  That is simply because a person without cash or other assets most likely will not be sued.

ATTORNEY’S FEES

A contingency model simply means that the attorney’s fee will be calculated from a percentage of the client’s recovery.

TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS

There are many types of personal injury lawsuits. Such lawsuits range from boating accidents, to refinery explosions, to slip and fall accidents, to commercial vehicle (18-wheeler) wrecks, to run-of-the-mill car crashes.

BOATING ACCIDENTS – JONES ACT

For example, an offshore boating accident case can be brought under the “Jones Act”. The Jones Act is a federal maritime law that gives specific rights to injured seamen, crewmen and other maritime workers. Such workers have a right to make a claim for lost wages and health benefits. They can also file a claim or lawsuit against a negligent employer or third party, and/or file a seaworthiness claim if improper vessel maintenance caused the accidental injury. The Jones Act also includes a provision that gives you the right to visit a doctor of your choosing and receive a second opinion.

Accident Injury Lawyer

If you are hurt in an accident, you need to speak with the best accident injury lawyer. The insurance company of the person who hurt you is not on your side. Do not listen to the advice of the insurance adjuster. Instead, contact our qualified and experienced personal injury legal team. You will be happy that you did.

Why Choose Inland Empire Accident Injury Lawyer

Choosing an accident injury law firm with a reputation of success is important. Napolin has a track record of success. However, many firms boast that that their years in practice and past trial wins make them your best attorney choice. Nothing could be further from the truth.

How Do I File An Auto Injury Claim?

Be sure to get the other driver’s insurance information. If they do not have insurance, you should set up a claim with your own insurance company. Call the insurance carrier of the other driver. Explain that an accident happened and you need to set up a new claim. If you are hurt, it is best to contact an auto accident lawyer like Napolin.

Tips To Find The Best Personal Injury Lawyer

Tips for Finding a Good Personal Injury Attorney

If you require an attorney to represent your interests in court or you just need one for personal consultation on an ongoing negotiation, you should opt for a good personal injury attorney rather than an ordinary attorney. You can build enough confidence with a personal injury attorney to ensure a comfortable legal process.

Today there are many attorneys with sufficient knowledge to successfully tackle a personal injury claim; however you should take time to choose one with the right skills and experience to stand for your interests in a personal injury case. Irrespective of the years of experience, refrain from choosing an attorney who mainly works with an insurance company because it is only normal for these attorneys to put the interest of the insurance company first before yours.

Why an attorney might not be interested in handling your case

Searching for the perfect personal attorney is no easy task, avoid going for just any kind of attorney. You will need to select an attorney that shows sufficient interest in your case and this would typically involve a lot of research. You will also need to agree on a mode of payment once you have found the right attorney. It is advised that you choose an attorney you can pay based on a contingency fee. This means that the amount of money the attorney is paid depends on the compensation you get.

Important questions to ask your personal injury attorney

A lot of victims are usually unprepared and confused in the event of an accident, leaving them unsure of how to handle the case effectively. It is necessary to make swift decisions if you sustain any injuries in an accident. First and foremost, you should seek urgent medical attention and after recovery you should contact a personal injury attorney to fight for full compensation if you are sure you are not to blame for the accident and the damage was caused by some other person’s negligence.

What is your area of specialization?

It is important to be informed about your attorney’s area of specialization. Just as it would be unwise to have an auto mechanic deal with a leaking pipe rather than a plumber, it is also a terrible idea to hire an attorney that does not specialise in personal injury cases. Hence, with the vast array of attorneys available today focusing on different areas of law like; wrongful death, accident, product liability etc., ensure you go for an attorney that specializes on personal injury law to increase your chances of a good outcome.

Tips to Help You Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney

Pick the Right Type of Attorney

When you have a medical condition that requires treatment, the first thing you will usually do is search for a doctor that specializes in that kind of ailment. The same thought process applies to selecting an attorney

Research Several Attorneys

It is essential to conduct research on any attorney or firm before deciding who you wish to interview. You may want to start by speaking to family members and trusted friends about their personal experiences with attorneys in your area. When conducting your research, look for issues with their reputation that may affect your case

Interview the Attorney

When you have a repair performed on your home, you would never think twice about asking the repair company about their credentials or experience. This consideration should be no different when deciding on an attorney. You will want to talk to your potential lawyer about their past cases and outcomes and ask how they feel they could represent your case.

Ask About Your Case

Ask your attorney what they think about the merits of your case. Ask how they will handle the case and what outcome they would like to see. Does the attorney only take cases that they can settle out of court or are they willing to represent your case before a judge and jury?

Review All Paperwork

Make sure that you review all paperwork the attorney presents to you, so you are in full understanding of what you are about to sign. Once you sign the documents to accept their legal services you have entered into a contract

How To Find The Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Finding an Experienced Lawyer

The practice of law has become highly specialized, and many lawyers know less about personal injury law than you will after some reading through this site. So, your first task is to find a lawyer who has experience representing claimants (known as “plaintiffs”) in personal injury cases. You do not want to be represented by someone who has primarily been a lawyer for insurance companies, even if they’re experienced. Such a lawyer may be too accustomed to taking the insurance company’s side and might not fight hard enough for your claim

A Lawyer Might Not Want Your Case

Finding a lawyer you want to hire is one thing. But that lawyer also has to want your case. And a lawyer could have several reasons for rejecting you as a client

Friends and Acquaintances

Contact friends or coworkers who have been represented by a lawyer in their own personal injury claims. If the friend or coworker says good things about the experience, put that lawyer on your list of people with whom to have an initial consultation. But do not make any decision about a lawyer solely on the basis of someone else’s recommendation. Different people will have different responses to a lawyer’s style and personality. Also, at any particular time a lawyer may have more or less energy or interest to devote to a new case. So do not make up your mind about hiring someone until you have met with the lawyer, discussed your case, and decided that you are comfortable entering a working relationship.

Lawyers You Already Know

You may already know a lawyer, either personally or because the lawyer has represented you before in some legal matter. And that lawyer may be very good at the job. So, when you consider hiring a lawyer to work on your personal injury claim, it may seem obvious to hire this person you already know

Lawyer Directories

You can search for lawyers through advertising directories. Nolo’s lawyer directory at www.nolo.com/lawyers provides extensive profiles of attorneys, including each attorney’s experience, education, and fee structure. Lawyers.com also has an extensive directory of personal injury lawyers, complete with client reviews and peer ratings

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer

Hiring the right person to handle your legal case is a daunting task. Whether you have been injured in a car accident or are having trouble after a hip replacement surgery, you want to ensure that the lawyer is the best for the job

Ask friends and family to refer their injury lawyer

Word of mouth is not going away. The preferred way to find a good personal injury lawyer is to ask friends and family for a referral to an attorney who represented them in the past

Make sure to discuss fees before signing

Says Neal Davis of the Neal Davis Law firm in Houston, Texas, “It’s always important to ask about fees upfront. Transparency is crucial in any significant financial transaction, and that includes your lawyer. Always get any fee agreement in writing.”

Research attorneys online

Research different attorneys online. Make sure they are licensed and in good standing in the state where the accident occurred.

Listen to your gut

“Pick the personal injury attorney that genuinely cares about you as a person and your long-term wellbeing,” advises Evan Guthrie, a personal injury lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina. “Some attorneys may care more about the value of the case over making the decisions that will benefit the client in their recovery. The attorney should also be real and honest about the weaker parts of the case up front instead of playing up the strengths of the case. Trust your gut feeling when choosing an attorney. If it does not feel right, move on to another attorney immediately even if representation has already begun.”

TIPS ON FINDING THE RIGHT PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, retaining a personal injury lawyer may help you pursue compensation for any damages incurred as a result. However, it can be incredibly difficult to find a lawyer for your needs, especially if you are recovering from your injuries. With thousands of personal injury lawyers online, how do you find the right one?

An ideal law firm has a track record of success that can be easily found. Many law firms spend large sums of money on billboard or TV advertising but do not obtain good results for their clients. Insurance companies and large corporations know the track record of the attorneys they deal with and generally offer more money in settlement to those with a higher percentage of success because they know that law firm is willing and capable to go to trial. Additionally, trial lawyer of the year awards or outstanding trial lawyer of the year awards are a great indicator of this as well. These awards are only given to the top trial attorneys who have exceptional experience and track record.

Look at the experience of the attorneys. Many larger personal injury law firms have younger associates that handle personal injury cases, but these associates do not have the experience or expertise of an attorney with 20+ years of experiencing practicing personal injury cases. Likewise, firms that have many younger associates don’t need to pay those associates as much as an experienced personal injury trial lawyer – and in personal injury law, you typically get what you pay for. Having an experienced attorney will assist in getting you a larger settlement and better result on your case.

Personal Injury Attorney

Make sure the personal injury attorneys have the capability to represent you in a trial if necessary. Although not all personal injury cases go to trial, an attorney who has courtroom experience can more effectively represent your case needs

Personal Injury Attorney

Research. There are tons of lawyers out there and it can be overwhelming to pick the right one. A good place to start is to ask friends and family for referrals and then research online. Then call a few different lawyers and see who you’re comfortable with

Must Learn How To Find The Best Family Law Attorney

Family Law Attorney – Their Services

What Is Family Law, and What Is a Family Law Attorney?

Family law refers to the branch of the legal field that deals with issues relating to domestic relationships. Thus, a family law attorney is an attorney that specializes in family law, as opposed to other branches of the legal field. 

Some of the most common subjects covered by family law include:

  • Divorce and Marriage: This includes prenuptial agreements, divorce, spousal support, division of property,and domestic violence issues. This may also include matters related to civil unions and domestic partnerships, claims for reimbursement for marital expenses, non-marital agreements, and annulment procedures;
  • Issues Involving Children: This includes child custody, child support, adoption, child abuse, and child neglect. This may also include paternity testing and fraud related to paternity testing; and
  • Other Family Law Issues: This includes emancipation, “Power of Attorney,” estate matters, inheritance laws, and name changes.

As you can see, family law attorneys are able to practice several different types of law under the family law umbrella. Most attorneys do practice the spectrum of legal matters associated with family law as a whole. 

However, some attorneys who practice family law choose to specialize even further. For example, some attorneys will specialize in adoptions, while others may solely focus on divorce and other related issues.

Dealing with family law issues?

Family law generally concerns domestic relations and family-related matters such as marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, adoptions, paternity, guardianships, domestic abuse, surrogacy, child custody, child abduction, the dissolution of marriage and associated issues. Each state has its own set of family laws, and traveling across state borders can sometimes affect your rights and those of your family.

Contrary to popular belief, seeking the advice of a family law attorney does not necessarily mean that something is amiss in your family. A family law attorney can help negotiate prenuptial/premarital agreements for clients in anticipation of marriage or advise same-sex couples on relevant legal issues affecting their relationship. They also can help with adoption proceedings and other procedures involving children.

Family law attorneys often do represent clients seeking a divorce, annulment or legal separation, and the complicated issues that can arise as a result. Although domestic abuse is a criminal offense, some family law attorneys are skilled at handling these situations, as they are often entangled with other family law issues.

Some jurisdictions certify lawyers as family law specialists, which means these attorneys have met the certifying body’s minimum requirements for education, experience, and examination.

5 Things a Family Lawyer Can Do For You

Family lawyers are legal professionals that specialize in matters to do with family law. They handle legal issues that are concerned with members of the family. Such legal issues include divorce, child custody, and guardianship among others. Family lawyers can act as mediators when family disagreements develop. They can also represent litigants in family conflicts that end up courts. Below are some of the things that family lawyers can do.

Handling Divorce Issues

Undergoing a divorce is probably one of the most draining experiences that a family can face. Emotions may set in and make it impossible for a couple to settle it calmly. In such a case, a family law attorney can act as a mediator, and assist them to approach the issue rationally and within the law. In other words, a competent family law attorney can assist couples in the process of divorcing to settle the matter fairly without necessarily going to court. 

Handling Estates and Wills

A will is a legal document through which people state how they would wish their property to be managed when they die. Family law attorneys are responsible for assisting people in drafting these documents. They also have what it takes to ensure that an estate is administered as stated by a deceased via the will.

Handling Child Custody Agreements

When a couple separates, one of the most difficult issues to handle has to be what happens to the children. Couples need to agree on how to take care of the children they have had together in the new arrangement. Child custody is defined by an agreement in which both parents have to live with the terms therein. A competent family lawyer can help parents that are parting ways to draft such an agreement. A family law attorney can also help parents in amending child custody agreements if need be.

Handling Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or a civil union. Although the content of such a contract may vary from one case to another, its main aim is to spell out the provisions of spousal support and division of the property in the event of a breakup or a divorce. A family lawyer can assist a couple in drafting a prenuptial agreement and handling any matters that may arise from the contract according to the law.

Represent Litigants in Court

Although family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some of these matters still end up in the courts. In such a case, family lawyers are best suited to help litigants get justice. These attorneys handle such cases almost every other day, and therefore, they have the necessary legal knowledge and practical experience to help litigants to navigate the complex jungles of the family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.

3 Qualities to Look for in a Family Law Attorney

The quest for family law attorneys does not stop at the point where you finally find some recommendations or names. Lots of people do not follow through these steps and more than often, they end up losing their cases due to lack of skills.

1. Excellent People Skill

A family law attorney should always have excellent people skill. They should know the tricks and turns of handling an emotional client who is about to lose the custody of his/her child or a marriage. A family law attorney should always be very attentive to the details and not dismiss the client’s story easily.

2. Excellent Communication Skill

Apart from the people skill, the communication skill is another feather which family law attorneys should have in their hats. A lot of domestic cases get resolved outside of the courtroom and parties settle through their attorneys. In this case, your family law attorney should be a confident speaker and a good negotiator to deal with the case firmly outside the courtroom and not give nod to the terms of the other party without a counter attack.

3. Excellent Research Skill

Though this quality might a common one for all the attorneys, family law attorneys should be extra attentive with their research skills. With the right clause or with the right case law reference, a family law case can be won quite easily and this wholly depends on the skill of your chose attorney.

After Choosing a Family Law Attorney

It’s important to provide your lawyer with all of the information that he or she needs to help you. In some situations, there may be details that you feel uncomfortable sharing, but you will get the best results if your attorney knows the whole story. If, for example, you’re in the throes of a contested divorce, you may not want to share information that could portray you in a lesser light. But, once your lawyer has all the relevant facts in his or her possession, then there may be ways to present your case in a way that mitigates any potential damage.

Providing your attorney with clear records and timelines of relevant events can help significantly, too. So, even if you didn’t keep comprehensive records in the past, or didn’t organize them well before, start doing so now. Keep track of relevant dates and times, locations, conversations, and so forth.

How Legal Benefit Plans Can Help

You may know that you need legal help, but also recognize that the fees are more than you can afford. That’s why legal benefits are so helpful. These are voluntary benefits plans that employers offer to their employees—and, as a member of a group legal plan, like Family Defender™, you would have access to the legal help that you need, simply by paying a low monthly fee.

Tips To Chooce A Good Divorce Lawyer

Family & Divorce Lawyer

Forty to fifty percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. In 1969, California was the first state to legalize no-fault divorce. In 2010, New York was the last of the fifty states to approve it.  No-fault divorce does not require any evidence of wrong-doing on the part of either spouse. Although divorce is a difficult emotional decision, in terms of the law, it can easily be granted under a no-fault divorce ruling.

Divorce in the United States is in accordance with state law rather than governed extensively by federal regulations. A divorce lawyer specializes in civil law. This field can be saturated with emotions and life-changing decisions. Therefore, a divorce lawyer must delicately yet justly handle a wide variety of family law issues from divorce, marriage annulment, and legal separation to child custody, child support and visitation rights. They are also called divorce attorneys or family practice lawyers.

A divorce can take three to twelve months to finalize. However, it depends on how the divorce is filed. It may be a fault or no-fault divorce, contested or uncontested divorce or simplified divorce. The many legal issues to settle and the amount of conflict to mediate influence the time frame.

  • Educational Requirements

There are no specific educational requirements for a divorce lawyer however, some courses are advised. Law school attendance and passing the bar examination is compulsory.  With an interest in divorce law, a law student may select courses in family law to help him specialize in child custody issues, family dysfunction and property rights. While pursuing a Juris Doctorate (J.D.), a law student can receive a certification in family law. In addition, certain law schools offer a Master of Law (LL.M) in Family Law which would follow the acquisition of a J.D..

  • Job Description & Skills Required

When terminating a marriage, many legal aspects must be addressed. A divorce lawyer is responsible for the division of assets and debt among spouses. If there are children involved, a divorce lawyer helps set the terms for child custody and child support. Thorough research is required in order to gather supporting evidence in each case. Detailed paperwork must be compiled and then submitted to the court documenting the evidence.  For legal separations, a divorce lawyer carries out the separation through court orders.

A divorce lawyer must excel in a few unique skills. They have to be an attentive listener because the decisions made in or out of court will greatly affect their client’s lives.  Although it may be difficult, it is vital a divorce lawyer remains non-judgmental to assist them in promoting their own client’s best interests. Their interpersonal skills must be strong because they are dealing with a variety of relationships in their profession. Advocacy, mediation and alternative dispute resolution skills should be acquired and mastered in law school as well as through continual work experience in the field.

The cheapest way to get a divorce with a child

The cheapest way to get a divorce with a child involves both you and your spouse to remain cordial, and be ready to compromise on several issues. Property division and child custody, which are the main battle fronts in most divorce proceedings.

To get a cheap divorce, you can start the process online and minimize the number of professional services you contract. In order to get the cheapest divorce possible, you must make sure that both you and your spouse are willing to work together and your divorce is uncontested.

Even if you plan on representing yourself, divorce can be expensive. However, there are ways to make it cheaper or even divorce with no money.

Here are some tips to go about it:

  1. Divorce fee waiver

Each state has an indigent fee waiver that allows you to file for your divorce without paying the filing costs. When you go into your local court, ask the court’s clerk what forms you need inorder to waive the fees. This option is only available and designed for those with limited finances while filing for divorce.

  • Getting divorce forms

You can get the divorce forms online from the local divorce court site or use a service like mydivorcepapers.com we highly recommend. You can also download the form for asking for a fee waiver. Some sites have instruction booklets that help users in filling the forms. If you can easily access the courthouse, then the clerk can help you with the forms and instructions for filling them.

  • Provide financial proof of indigence

Include proof of your income, debts, and tax returns to prove to the court that you cannot afford the court fees. You will then get the forms notarized by your bank or the court clerk.

Once the is done, the court will review your applications and once the fee waiver is approved or deferred, you can move forward with the case. You can simply file a settlement or make a court appearance together and tell the judge what you have agreed on. If the divorce is uncontested, then your ex-partner does not need to appear in court, this will be a quick process and much cheaper on both of you.

Here is a list of the 9 things you should never do during a divorce:

1. Don’t forget to consult an attorney.

A lawyer can make sure that you both review and understand anything before you sign or agree. An experienced family law attorney is often a good idea for situations where the divorcing couple has a large amount of assets, property or other complicated financial matters. In more contentious divorces, an attorney can make sure that your interests are represented in court. Even in a “friendly” divorce you are often better off hiring a lawyer to help file paperwork and guide you through the court system.

2. Don’t neglect your finances.

If you’re thinking about divorce, you need to immediately begin to set aside money for the all the expenses involved. Make copies of all your financial documents and legal records before your divorce proceedings begin. These documents should include bank and investment statements, wills, trusts, tax returns, property deeds, insurance policies and vehicle titles to name a few. Keep these copies in a secure location not accessible by your ex.

3. Don’t immediately tell everyone you are getting a divorce.

Emotions are running high, it’s perfectly normal to want to let others know what’s going on in your life. You may desperately want support, you may not want to suffer in silence, or you may just want to punish your partner and embarrass them. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep your a divorce secret from everyone, you just need to decide who you tell and why.4. Don’t use your children as pawns.

This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it still happens, even unintentionally. Check your own behavior and don’t use your kids to punish or manipulate your spouse. In the end, this will cause resentment and have a negative impact on the relationship you have with your children.

5. Don’t take divorce advice from family and friends.

It’s only natural that those close to you want to provide support during this time. Everyone wants to share their experiences, offer opinions and give advice. Your family and friends may have good intentions, but their divorce experience is based on the facts and circumstances that are unique to them and may not apply in your situation. Let these friends and relatives be there for you emotionally, but if they offer financial or legal advice about your divorce, politely say “No thank you.” Your future is too important.

6. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later.

While it is normal for you to feel conflicting emotions making the end of your relationship into a bad reality show is never a good idea. Act like everything you say, do, post, tweet, text or snap will immediately be posted on YouTube. Don’t take your negative emotions feelings out on your children, pets, or personal property. Don’t self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Don’t rant or fight with your ex on social media. At best, these things could be used against you during the divorce proceedings, at worst you could land on the wrong side of the law or lose visitation rights.

7. Don’t jump into another relationship.

This is not the time to start a new romantic relationship. If you already have, consider putting it on hold. Even if you and your spouse no longer live together, in some states a relationship outside of marriage can become an issue during the divorce process. With all of the changes going on in your life, avoiding any type of romantic relationship is often the best thing to do for your emotionally.

8. Don’t focus so much on the little things that you forget what’s important.

In a contested divorce, you are likely to accumulate thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees because your lawyer must spend an enormous amount of time preparing the case and filing paperwork. You may be angry but remember the more you and your spouse argue over issues or items, the more you pay in attorney’s fees. Concentrate on what really matters, and focus on that. Leaving a decision up to a third party often means you end up not getting what you really want, and with a gigantic legal bill to boot.

9. Don’t put your friends in the middle.

Having a couple close to them end their marriage can bring up mixed emotions in your friends as well. They will often feel awkward and uncomfortable around you or your ex. Let them know that this is okay, and that you understand. It’s not fair to demand that your friends take sides. It’s up to your friends–not you–whether or not they will continue to stay friendly with your ex. Respect the choices that they make, even if you don’t agree with them.

Ten Things You MUST Do Before You File for Divorce

  1. Be Certain You Want to Get Divorced

While this may seem obvious, the decision to get divorced is an emotional one, and shouldn’t be made when you’re feeling overly emotional. Make sure you’ve exhausted all hope of reconciliation before you file for divorce. Once you’ve served your spouse with divorce papers, it can be difficult to go back on that decision, even if you’ve changed your mind. The court can grant a divorce even if only one spouse wants to end the marriage. If you’d still like to give marital counseling a try, do so before you file for divorce.

  • Interview Attorneys

It’s a good idea to interview more than one attorney before you decide to file for divorce. You’ll want to work with an attorney that fits your style, and understands your goals for litigation. Avoid lawyers who offer you solutions before listening to the particular facts of your case. Attorneys come at different price points and experience levels. If your divorce is likely to be messy or deals with specific types of assets, be sure your attorney is qualified to handle your particular case. For more information, see What to Look for in a Divorce Lawyer.

  • Gather Financial Documents

Divorce cases depend heavily on documentation. Your financial account records, phone records, mortgages, and car notes are all likely relevant to the divorce. To the extent possible, gather all the documents you’ll need for your case before filing for divorce. If you and your spouse have a shared file of paper records in your home, make copies of everything before meeting with your attorney. It’s also smart to obtain records of your shared online accounts. Not all spouses react well to being served with divorce papers, and some will make it difficult to access documents after you’ve filed. Save yourself potential future headaches by getting your hands on the documents ahead of time.

  • Determine Your Goals for Custody

If you have children, their custody situation is probably at the forefront of your mind when getting a divorce. You should know that, absent extreme circumstances, you and your spouse will end up sharing custody of the children. It’s a good idea to sit down and carefully review your work schedule, your children’s schedule, and your other obligations and come up with your desired schedule for custody. If you can come up with a arrangement that gives both you and your spouse time with the children, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of most people who file for divorce.

  • Make Necessary Purchases or Sales

In most jurisdictions, the judge automatically issues an order at the beginning of your divorce case that prohibits you or your spouse from selling, buying, or otherwise encumbering or disposing of any marital property. Courts do this to prevent either spouse from draining the bank accounts, or dissipating the marital estate out of spite.

If you’ve long been meaning to upgrade your car, or sell a rental property, you’ll be prevented from doing so if you file for divorce first. While it’s not appropriate to drain the bank accounts before filing for divorce (as that can come back to bite you), if you have a legitimate sale or purchase that’s been in the works, it’s best to complete it before filing for divorce.

  • Figure Out Your Living Situation

Do you want to stay in the same house with your spouse during the divorce? Do you plan to move elsewhere? Do you want your spouse to move out? Decide what your goals are for your living situation, both during and after the divorce. How you behave in the weeks and months leading up to your divorce can affect your chances of winning use of the marital residence during the divorce. For example, moving in with a relative or friend in the weeks leading up to your divorce won’t help your chances of staying in the residence during the divorce. Speak with your attorney about how to best position yourself for the living situation you desire. Click here to find out more about housing issues during divorce.

  • Talk to an Attorney About Joint Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

Depending on how you and your spouse handle your joint financial accounts and credit cards, your attorney may advise you to close the accounts or leave them the same. You don’t want to be in a situation where your spouse has the ability to run up bills in your name or drain the bank accounts – both circumstances may take the entire divorce to sort out. Your attorney can best advise you about whether you should divide the accounts in half, close them, or leave them the same before filing for divorce.

  • Don’t Live Like You’re Single

Even if your marriage is for all intents and purposes over, refrain from living the single life prior to filing for divorce. In most jurisdictions, even if you and your spouse are living separately, having a romantic relationship with another person is still considered adultery. Additionally, a judge may consider money you spend on a paramour dissipation of the marital estate, and could require you to reimburse your spouse for those expenditures. In any case, it typically doesn’t help your case to have started another relationship before your divorce has been filed. In some states you can begin a relationship after filing for divorce; speak with your attorney about how the court will view dating before your divorce is complete. See Divorce and Dating for more information.

  • Prepare a Marital Balance Sheet

You can’t decide your financial goals for your divorce without having an accurate picture of your assets and debts. While it’s not usually necessary to hire an accountant prior to filing for divorce, it’s a good idea to put together a simple balance sheet showing all of your assets and debts. Include real property, cars, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other assets, as well as any mortgages, notes, credit cards, and other debts. This can give you an idea of what you and your spouse will split, and you can start working on your desired division of the marital estate. Determining your total assets can also help you set a budget for how much to spend on your attorney and the divorce litigation.

One often overlooked aspect of divorce is the emotional toll it may take on you and your family. Just as important as hiring an attorney and obtaining relevant documents is surrounding yourself with people who can help you through this difficult time.

  1. Develop a Support Network

One often overlooked aspect of divorce is the emotional toll it may take on you and your family. Just as important as hiring an attorney and obtaining relevant documents is surrounding yourself with people who can help you through this difficult time. If you have the financial means, it can help to speak with a therapist or other mental health professional. At the very least, speak with friends who have been through divorce. Let your family and friends know that you’ll be leaning on them for advice and moral support. Being emotionally stable will better prepare you to make smart decisions as your divorce progresses.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce?

When it comes to divorces, most people want to get through them as quickly as possible. Since the majority of the states accept no fault divorces, you can quickly and easily get through the entire divorce process within a matter of hours or days, depending on your state’s requirements. However, just because you can get through a divorce quickly and without hiring a lawyer does not mean that you should. The answer to, “Do you need a lawyer to get a divorce?” depends primarily on your situation when you begin to seek the divorce.

Times When You May Not Need a Lawyer

A lawyer isn’t necessary for a divorce when you have no marital assets or children. Oftentimes, this comes up when you’re getting an annulment or when you’ve been married for only a short time. The quickest routes through divorce court involve relinquishing all of your rights for equitable support, as well as spousal support. If you don’t want these things, then you don’t need a lawyer. All you need are the forms, which you can generally obtain from your local courthouse or clerk’s office.

Times When You Do Need a Lawyer

Whenever children are involved, you will want to have a lawyer assist you with the agreement. In some states, the court may even provide legal assistance. All states have some variation on a “best interests of the child standard,” meaning that the primary focus in the divorce will be providing for the children. Your rights as a parent could be severely restricted, or you may find yourself in a difficult position. Whenever you have assets in the marriage to be divided or want spousal support, you will also want a lawyer. You should also get a lawyer if your spouse decides that she wants any of these things, since you could easily find yourself losing just about everything.