Court of Law

How a Contested Divorce Can Turn More Chaotic and Confusing for Spouses

Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Court of Law | 0 comments

What started to be a love-filled marriage for Terry and Murielle is now just a memory overshadowed by a bitter and hostile divorce procedure that has dragged on for five years, been handled by four different judges, involved six different divorce attorneys and which has cost about $400,000.00 in court fees, experts’ fees, lawyer’s fees (Murielle’s lawyer, actually, since Terry represented himself) temporary spousal support and copying tons of documents, like credit card statements, bank statements, income tax returns, life insurance policies, savings statements, and so many others. All payments, by the way, were shouldered by Terry, even payment of his wife’s lawyer’s fee.

Terry and Murielle were married in 1989. After their second child was born, Terry started his own business. They lived extravagantly, vacationing in different countries, like Tahiti and France (where Murielle was born). Before they reached their 20th year anniversary, however, the couple fell out of love. According to Murielle, her husband was too controlling; she also did not like his large gun collection. Terry, on the other hand, though that she drank and spent too much. Both just stopped talking to each other until, in 2008, they filed for divorce.

The only real reason why the case had dragged on so much longer than it should have was alimony. In 2008, after their divorce was filed, Terry’s alimony offer to Murielle included a $5,400 monthly payment until his retirement, half of everything in their million-dollar home and $50,000 cash. Murielle’s lawyer, however, made her decline (not just this offer but all other offers as well) telling her that she can have more. In 2012, after the costly legal fees and all other expenses, and with Terry’s personal business almost bankrupt, the topic of alimony was once again brought up. That time, though, Terry’s former $5,400 monthly alimony offer went down to just one digit: 0.

Prior to the filing of the divorce case, Terry’s business made $250,000 annually. He thought of settling their divorce in court because he believed that a divorce court was the best place where grievances could be smoothed out and order, restored. However, after four years in court and still with no hint as to the possible end of their divorce case, Terry began seeing the system of marital justice as nothing more than just a journey into a period of chaos and confusion.

It was on Terry’s 55th birthday (in 2013) when he finally received the court’s decision on his divorce case. The family judge decided that their house be sold immediately and that he pay his former wife $1,500 monthly alimony; however, since he has child custody (due to Murielle’s drinking problem), Murielle owed him $525 a month in child support. All still unpaid legal fees (for Murielle’s attorney and her former forensic accountant) will have to be paid by Murielle herself.

Terry considered the decision both a relief and a victory. A relief because he was divorced, finally! A victory, in a way, because he was spared from paying costly alimony. Had the decision been made by the first judge who handled their case (and who also appeared like he did not like Terry), things would be different; he would have been made to pay more or spend time behind bars.

In its website, The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, states that spouses can always turn to the courts which can help them resolve issues they cannot agree on. It is important to note, however, that when deciding to file divorce in a court, it should be made with the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney whose aim is to help spouses resolve and settle all divorce-related issues, not make money from the case by prolonging it as much as they can.

A divorce proceeding can be an emotionally charged experience; thus, a lawyer adding to the problem should have no part in it.

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The Effects of Criminal Charges or Conviction

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Court of Law | 3 comments

An individual is considered innocent until proven guilty under the US justice system, but that is only from a legal standpoint. All too often, being merely arrested on something like murder charges can significantly affect a person’s life, let alone a conviction, and this is devastating especially if that person is wrongfully arrested or convicted.

And it does happen. The Innocence Project, an organization that aims to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, has successfully liberated 312 people, 18 of whom were waiting to be executed for a crime they did not commit.  It is to be hoped that they are the rare exceptions, but without competent legal representation, it is just too easy to make a critical mistake that would lead to incarceration.

There are significant effects of criminal charges or conviction for anyone. Depending on the criminal charges, an individual can become ostracized by society, and even if the case is dismissed, people will always wonder and believe the worst. A pending criminal case can also bar a person from educational and career opportunities that may come up. It can take years for a case to be settled, and these missed chances may never come again.

A criminal charge or conviction for certain crimes may also adversely affect the defendant’s integrity, which can count in divorce or child custody cases. For example, if the defendant is convicted of fraud, it can impact on the financial aspects of a divorce. A conviction of a violent crime such as battery or domestic violence can also ruin the chances of a parent to gain custodial or even visitation rights.

When facing criminal charges, the wisest thing to do is to immediately engage the services of a competent criminal defense lawyer to ensure a speedy release and dismissal of an unwarranted case. If it comes to a trial, it is important that the lawyer has a good defense strategy in place to avoid a conviction, and this can depend on when you get the right legal representation.

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Legal Mainstay: Court Reporting Services

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in Court of Law | 0 comments

One would think that if there is any one service that will always be needed in litigation would be that of legal representation; lawyers, in other words. But the fact is, the only true mainstay in litigation services is that court reporting.

The term can be a little confusing, because court reporting is not confined to taking down what everyone says verbatim during a trial and afterwards transcribing it into readable form, although that is certainly a large part of what it is. However, court reporting also covers depositions, the official statements of a witness regarding a particular case which serve as part of the body of evidence. This service is essential for any type of legal proceeding, from criminal to divorce to workers’ compensation cases, because depositions are often used to prove or disprove crucial aspects of a case.

Court reporting service providers also serve as a depository of transcripts from previous cases, which are then used to establish a precedent or to challenge a particular standpoint. Such archived documents may also serve as a guide for the preparation of a case. These providers may also manage a case for the overworked lawyer, gathering the needed material and documents based on an established plan of attack.

Another service that would be considered of court reporting is the recording, archiving, editing, and compositing of video, whether for legal use as a tool for the graphical representation of the theory of the case, or as a documentary for a variety of purposes, such as establishing the character of the client before a judge or jury. It is also a service that would be invaluable for bringing the testimony of a witness who has died or is otherwise unavailable into a courtroom.

These are some of the major services under court reporting. No lawyer would be able to plan and execute a case plan without the direct or indirect input of these service providers.

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