Hiding Your Assets in Divorce: What You Should Know

Couple at Lawyer's office

Couple at Lawyer's officeWhen you’re thinking about divorce and have a considerable amount of assets and money, you may be tempted to hide those from your spouse. This is especially true if you believe that you have (solely) worked for that money or if you are extremely angry at your spouse. You may have your reasons for doing so, but it can get you in legal trouble.

Can you get away?

While there may be a chance that you can get away with concealing some of your assets, there are always risks if you do so. You have to keep in mind that during the “discovery” process, both spouses are required to submit relevant information to the other party and have to provide testimony about those. Albuquerque divorce attorneys note that if you lied and got caught, you may face perjury charges and monetary fines.

What are the penalties?

If you, however, fail to provide financial information to the other party, the court will order you to submit them. If you disregard the court orders, you may be held in contempt or even be incarcerated. There are serious risks involved in hiding assets, as it can affect not just the property distribution, but also child support and alimony. The consequences of getting caught are also expensive.

What should you do instead?

This is why rather than attempting to hide your assets, you should consult a reliable divorce lawyer. Your attorney can protect your rights, assets, and interest while helping you reach a fair divorce settlement. You shouldn’t also let your emotions rule your financial decisions, as it could harm your purse. You have to pick your battles wisely and only fight for those that are worth it.

Deceiving your spouse by concealing your assets means that you are messing with the law. Other than losing your credibility in court, you could also face monetary sanctions if you get caught. It is best to declare your finances upfront to protect yourself during the settlement.

Categories of Crime Under Criminal Law

Lawyer reviewing a paper

Lawyer reviewing a paperA crime is any act punishable by your state. Civil and criminal law are the two broad categories of law. Civil laws mainly focus on legal controversies and monetary damages. Criminal law, on the other hand, involves serious crimes.

Penalties for breaking criminal law are unlike in the case of civil law, which involve forfeiture of a convict’s rights and imprisonment. With these consequences, it is prudent to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Provo to ensure you get an acquittal when faced with a criminal offense charge.

Here are different categories of criminal law based on their severity.

1. Infractions

At times referred to as petty offenses, an infraction is a violation of municipal code, ordinance, and administrative regulation. Under some jurisdictions, this includes local traffic, and state rules.

These offenses are punishable by fines and no incarceration. When used as a punishment, incarceration is typically for a limited period. Disorderly conduct, DUI, and petty theft are some common types of infractions.

2. Misdemeanors

These crimes are more serious compared with infractions. They are punishable by incarceration at a local county jail or through fines.

Deception, theft, stalking, gross indecency and aggravated assault are common criminal offenses in this category. Experts typically regard misdemeanors as crimes of moral turpitude, unlike infractions. Misdemeanor convictions might hence reduce your chances of getting a good job or a scholarship.

3. Felony

This is the most severe criminal offense. A felony is punishable by a fine and incarceration of more than a year. A felony conviction is also grounds for deportation in the case of immigrants.

Felonies include arson, rape, robbery, terrorism, treason, and kidnapping. Felonies in most states have a three-strike law, which stipulates a life sentence for anyone convicted of a felony thrice.

These classifications of criminal law affect not only the punishment for the crime but also their prosecution. Felony charges, for instance, require an indictment or preliminary hearing, unlike other criminal offenses. Juries are also typically reserved for felonies and serious misdemeanors.

More Americans May Rush Their Divorce Due to Tax Changes

Divorce agreement contract with couple fighting over moneyA spike in divorce cases could occur across the country within the next several months, mostly because they would want to avoid being subject to a new rule on alimony payments.

By 2019, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will no longer deduct alimony from a paying spouse’s income. This will repeal a 76-year-old rule that has required the recipient to pay the taxes on alimony.

Divorce rush

If you live in New York, the need for divorce mediation by Long Island lawyers will be more relevant if you want to expedite the process of negotiations. Once the tax changes take effect, however, it may lead to messier court battles just because of disagreement over alimony payments.

Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, head of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, believes this will be the scenario. Since men comprise the majority of paying spouses, the tax changes will prompt them to settle on a lower figure. On the other hand, their wives’ lawyers may argue their case for a higher settlement in front a judge, Marzano-Lesnevich said.

State capitals

A possible impact of the new rules on alimony payments could lead to a lower divorce rate in states such as New York. An analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey showed that Hudson ranked as the divorce capital of the state.

The city had a divorce rate of 16.7% in the last two years, while the state’s divorce rate reached 8.7%. Married couples accounted for more than 29% of the state population. The survey based its findings on a study of divorce cases among couples between 15 years old and above.

You should consult with a lawyer and find out how the new alimony system will affect your income. For now, your best course of action would be to hasten the divorce process before Dec. 31.

Skills You Need to be a Criminal Investigator

A law officer working

A law officer workingAs much as we like to believe there’s hope for humanity, the prevalence of crimes cannot be denied. Thankfully, science has advanced to the point that we can test evidence to prove a suspect’s involvement beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s an exciting field, and it’s not surprising if you would like to learn the basics of being an investigator yourself.

To get you started, know the skills you should have:

Diligence

There are online criminal investigation courses, so accessibility of information is not a problem. However, you do need to be diligent to learn the craft. It will not be enough to read through the suggested materials without taking in everything. You should also take the initiative to go beyond what is expected and ask questions when you are confused.

Presence of Mind

You will see details of a crime that are not released publicly, and some of them might be too much if you have a weak stomach. If you want to be in this kind of profession, you need to learn to keep your cool. Presence of mind is also important when you’re looking at an unfolding crime scene, and you need to take in as much of the details as possible. This is something you can start honing early on because it can be handy in real life too.

Attention to Detail

This goes well with having presence of mind because when you have a clear focus, you can see everything more clearly. It’s important to stay objective on the job; otherwise, certain details might trigger you and cause a bias in your perception. You should also be mindful of seeing one case after the other, as you could mix up important information and ruin the case.

It’s interesting that we know more about crime-solving and have handy tools at our disposal. To take full advantage of them, know the basics of criminal investigation.

What to Do when Preparing for Divorce

Divorce agreement paperwork being signedA divorce lawyer will give you proper legal advice and will represent you in court. Unfortunately, the lawyer who served as the mediator during the mediation process cannot represent you or your partner in a divorce trial. You may want to get referrals from family and friends when looking for a divorce attorney. The Burnham Law Firm, P.C. recommends consulting with divorce attorney in Denver.

Do Research

Divorce is common nowadays but many do not understand the process as it is complicated and involves different aspects of family law. It is best to start preparing by doing research on it. You can read articles online or see a divorce attorney. It also helps to take notes on important things such as documents to prepare.

Prepare All Documents

Prepare all the documents you need even before the divorce process takes place. This includes financial records like credit cards and bank accounts statements, retirement records, insurance policies, and pay stubs. You should also make a list of all the assets and debts attained during the marriage, as well as you and your partner’s income and expenses.

Be Financially Ready

Divorce is a long, demanding, and expensive process. You have to be financially ready for it. Make sure you have a steady source of income beforehand.

Be Emotionally Prepared

Divorce is emotionally stressful. Understand the healing process and its five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It may help talk to a divorce therapist. You can also open up to family members and friends about.

Divorce does not always mean failure. At times, it is the better thing to do than staying together. Regardless, you should prepare yourself for it. You have to know the ins and outs of the process and be financially, physically, and emotionally ready.

Dealing with Unauthorised Traveller Caravans: Exercise your Rights as a Landowner

Aerial view on slum locationHaving squatters on a property is something that every landowner dreads. Managing a vast property and its tenants is difficult enough; contending with trespassers and squatters is an additional headache. Landowners would naturally want to make the most of their property and rent them to paying tenants or develop their land for commercial purposes, after all. The presence of unauthorised traveller caravans hinders these plans.

For this reason, many landowners are apprehensive about squatters in commercial spaces like parking lots and vacant lots.

A Landowner’s Responsibility

Traveller caravans normally stay in place for a short period only, choosing instead to move from one campsite to another. Sometimes, though, authorised campsites are too far away, and travellers have to set-up camp in privately-owned land. If they overstay their welcome, landowners have the right to evict them from the property.

This is the ‘landowner’s responsibility’, the right of the owner to initiate dialogue or action to get squatters off his or her property. Landowners may also file a civil eviction procedure under Part 55: Possession Claims.

The Unorthodox Method: Welcoming Traveller Caravans

Confronting and removing travellers with hostility and force could be dangerous. MS Webb & Co., an established bailiff and consultancy company in Surrey, agrees. Although a swift eviction is desirable, handling the situation with sensitivity is also important.

Therefore, it’s best to be diplomatic and civil when dealing with squatters. In many cases, speaking with a caravan produces good results: they would only stay long enough to prepare for the next leg of their journey. Landowners and travellers just need to work out between themselves how long one party is welcome on the property of the other.

By Way of Court or through Personal Initiative?

If diplomacy and personal initiatives don’t work, however, and travellers begin to show signs that they intend to stay as long-term squatters, landowners can file for Possession Claims or hire a bailiff and security consultancy firm for assistance. Either process can produce the same outcome, only a bailiff company will take most of the work off the landowners’ hands.

After a Dog Attack: Prepare to File a Claim

German Shepherd dog being trained

German Shepherd dog being trainedDogs are man’s best friends. However, no matter how much people love them, they may still attack after being provoked or while trying to defend their territory. Ignoring dangerous dog warning signs can also lead to them turning vicious. Below is a legal overview for seeking legal recourse after being attacked by a dog.

What to do After a Dog Attack

It is very important to seek medical attention after being bitten by a dog. Untreated animal bites can lead to severe infections and even death. Prepare all your medical documents as they may come in handy when you are looking to file a claim. You will also want to consult with a personal injury lawyer such as the Law Office of Paul R. Bennett. They will guide you on how to recover damages and also assist you throughout the court proceedings.

Owner Liability

The first step in establishing liability after a dog attack is finding the owner. Most laws in American states assume that the dog owner is responsible for the animal attack, placing the burden to prove otherwise on the owners. Under this rule, the owner is to be held liable whether or not they are aware that the dog posed any danger. In some states, the animal owner can be held accountable for the attack if they had reason to believe that the dog would go rogue. However, establishing liability on the owner of the animal is not always easy. This is why you need adequate legal assistance in determining whether they are aware that their dog could cause harm.

Potential Defenses

The dog owner may not be held accountable for the attack in some cases.  If the owner put up signs to warn that the animals were dangerous and kept them out of reach, they may not be held liable for the attack. If you climbed over a wall and got attacked by a dog, the jury will not hold the owners responsible. Seeking medical attention after an animal attack is strongly advised.

Sometimes, even the best behaved dogs can turn violent and inflict harm on people. You have to know what to do and be prepared when an animal attacks.

3 Personalities That Make a Great New York Lawyer

A lawyer in his officeThe New York State Bar Association has about 72,000 members with about 66 percent male and 33 percent female. If you are looking for lawyers in New York, here are some of the qualities that you should be looking for.

1. Great Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, is one of the top prerequisites of being a lawyer. One should be able to communicate himself or herself efficiently. Good lawyers should also have exceptional public speaking skills. If you’re meeting a lawyer for the first time, focus on his or her communication skills. A capable lawyer should be able to express himself clearly and persuasively.

2.  Effective People Skills

If you think that being a lawyer is simply about learning about the law and how to use them, you’re wrong. It’s mostly about dealing with people and how the law can affect people’s lives. This is why an effective lawyer must have good people skills. Excellent New York lawyers like Marc J. Bern & Partners will be able to read other people, gauging their reactions. Persuasiveness also allows a lawyer to negotiate better.

3. Attention to Detail

Having an eagle eye for details is one of the top skills a lawyer should have. This could mean the difference between life and death to some. One small mistake can make or break the life of one person or an entire family. So look for a lawyer who pays great attention to details.

Hiring Lawyers

Take your time in looking for a lawyer. Remember, you need to have a legal partner whom you can trust. It won’t be easy, so do your research and ask for referrals to start your search. You can also search online for the top lawyers in New York City if you don’t want to ask your friends and family for referrals.

How to Expunge Criminal Record in New York

Lawyer reading the expunged criminal caseHaving a criminal record is not good. Even if you only committed a minor offense, such as shoplifting, you have a permanent black mark on your public record. This can affect your chances of finding a job, getting a loan, or qualifying for affordable housing.

Unfortunately, New York does not allow expungement. If you committed a crime in New York, the next best thing is to seal the records. NY Sealing Law notes that sealing the record is almost as good as expunging it because it is no longer public record. You also do not have to tell employers about it. Here is how to expunge criminal record in New York.

Recent development

Before October 2017, New York only allowed sealing of juvenile and minor crimes, such as trespassing, and crimes that did not end in a conviction. Felonies and other serious crimes are not seal-able. However, New York passed a new law that now allows more crimes to be seal-able. You can seal up to two crimes, one of which can be a felony. Sex offenses and violent crimes are not included. You have to wait ten years before you can seal the records, though.

Before sealing

The first thing you have to do is consult with a criminal lawyer. The expungement laws of New York are complicated. A lawyer can explain them to you. For example, you may have two or more convictions that were part of one action, so the law considers it as one conviction. Your lawyer will also advise you on what crimes are eligible for sealing and special cases that may apply to you. Finally, it is better if your lawyer drafts your sworn statement to convince the court to grant the seal order.

Process

The application for sealing a record is simple. You have to go to the court where you received your conviction. Then, get a copy of your criminal record and an official disposition slip. Mail the slip together with your sworn statement of reason for sealing the record to the Division of Criminal Justice Services Sealed Records. If approved, you should have your records sealed in about 12 weeks.

Sealing or expunging a criminal record in New York has important consequences for you. If your criminal record is seal-able, you should do it as soon as possible with the help of a criminal lawyer.

The Basics: Living Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and Enduring Guardianship

Living will paperwork and a penBelieve it or not, there are people who choose to plan for the possibility of being incapacitated in the future — whether through a mental problem or illness that would hinder their capacity to make sound decisions for themselves. In Australia, the most common safeguards for this potential scenario include living wills, enduring guardianship, and an enduring power of attorney (EPA).

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a written document that includes specific instructions on how you want to be treated if ever you become incapacitated in the future. It’s also commonly called as Advanced Care Directives. Take note that the rules regarding living wills vary from state to state and territory to territory, so better do your part and don’t forget to research.

What is Enduring Guardianship?

This document enables you to appoint another person to make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. The appointed individual would decide where you’d live, the specific healthcare you’d receive, as well as make decisions for you about medical treatments. An enduring guardianship would only become effective when you could no longer decide for yourself.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

While the enduring guardianship is more focused on healthcare and overall well-being, an enduring power of attorney (EPA) is dedicated to financial matters. You need to designate another individual, then ‘Attorney’, to conduct financial transactions for you if ever you become mentally unable to do so.

Although the laws that pertain to the Enduring Power of Attorney will vary between territories and states, it would remain valid under the eyes of law even when you completely lose your mental capacity.

The Importance of the Three

According to many attorneys in Kirwan, living wills, enduring guardianships, and an enduring power of attorney are crucial for anyone looking to make sure that they have everything covered when the time comes that they can’t make critical life decisions for themselves.

Otherwise, you and your family could face disastrous and unintended consequences — like your assets going to someone that you didn’t intend to after your death or your loved ones’ having to ask the government for authorisation to manage your financial affairs.

For you and your family’s peace of mind, make certain to consult an experienced lawyer when making a will, an Enduring Power of Attorney, or enduring guardianship.