All posts in Law and Finance

Stop Right There: Don’t Compare Your Divorce to Others

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A couple going through a divorceIf you’re going through a divorce, it’s likely that friends and family members will have a say in it. Some will tell you what to do, while others will give you an affirmation, noting that they know exactly what you’re going through. This may cause you to compare your divorce to others or even follow what a fellow divorcee tells you to do so.

It’s bad enough to get advice from friends and family members unless this is what they do professionally. It’s even worse to compare your divorce to a friend’s, a cousin’s, or a neighbor’s. Note that no two divorces are alike. Every case is unique and you should also remember that divorce laws are different in every state.

Why Couples Agree

Keep in mind that divorce cases are complicated and there are many reasons couples agree on a specific settlement. Divorce lawyers in Albuquerque note that there are a number of factors that come into play, such as how willing both spouses are to communicate or compromise, the reason for divorce, the age of the kids, the assets at stake, and even their emotions during the process.

Learn More about the Process

Instead of comparing, it is best to educate yourself about the process and know more about the divorce laws in your state. You should also get an experienced attorney specializing in divorce cases. Hiring just any lawyer you know is never advisable, as this can backfire. You need someone who is skilled in family law to make sure that your rights are protected.

Understand Before Agreeing

Divorce can be a long and stressful process. Even if you’re anxious to finish the whole process, don’t settle for anything less. Don’t sign any document that you don’t understand. Take your time in determining you really want or what are worth fighting for before agreeing to any settlement. Read and understand what the other party is asking and ask your lawyer for advice.

You may run the risk of making the process more expensive and time-consuming if you always compare your divorce to others. Look at your marriage dissolution as an individual case and rule out any advice that is not given by your lawyer.

Protect Your Rights as a Personal Injury Lawsuit Defendant

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a lawyer in his office showing a document with the text lawsuit written in itIn Springfield, Illinois, much like anywhere else in the country, it’s quite common for individuals and organizations to retain a lawyer. There are many different reasons they require the skills, knowledge, and expertise of such a legal professional, and in many situations, this need arises to protect not just their reputation, but also their rights as a defendant.

When you’re in a situation wherein someone has filed a lawsuit against you, claiming that you have caused them personal injuries due to your actions (or inaction), you shouldn’t think twice about hiring a Springfield, Illinois personal injury lawyer. The laws surrounding such circumstances are complex and harsh, and you’d need all the professional legal help you can get.

How personal injury laws work in the Prairie State

Personal injury cases come in many different forms, with their distinction primarily based on the type of injury itself and how it came about. However, they are also very similar in the sense that the reason for the accusation is the defendant, according to the plaintiff, committed an act that led to the victim’s injuries, which can be anywhere from physical (bodily), emotional, or mental.

Who the defendants of personal injury lawsuits are

Personal injury victims can sue both individuals and groups of people (organizations, companies, large corporations, etc.). They can file a lawsuit regardless of how they sustained the injuries, whether these resulted from intentional or accidental behavior. Your case as a defendant may be due to a slip, trip, and fall accident; a car crash; negligence; or medical malpractice, among several others.

Taking immediate action to keep your reputation and rights

A lawsuit, regardless of what a person or a party accuses you of, can rob you not just of your reputation, but also of your freedom. This is why you should enlist the services of a lawyer specializing in the specific type of personal injury case you are dealing with as soon as possible. This way, you can protect your rights and prove your innocence.

Why It Makes Sense to Hire an Auto Accident Attorney

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Man taking photos of his crashed carGetting into an automobile accident is often a traumatic experience, especially when it involves another (or multiple) motorists. In many cases, the authorities come with an array of questions, such as “Who caused the accident?” and “Who pays for the injured party’s medical bills?” These become even more complex and complicated when a driver turns at the other with accusations.

In the event that you find yourself accused of causing the road collision in Springfield, IL, Noll Law Office recommends getting the help of an auto accident attorney as soon as possible.

Helping you make sense of the chaos

With all the questions and faultfinding that typically happens after a vehicular accident, you can expect to face so much trouble, literally and figuratively, as the defendant. Even the tiniest mistake in a statement you give out to the authorities or the party who sued you can already result in the courts finding you guilty and requiring you to pay huge amounts of money for damages and fines.

It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t carry the burden alone; an auto accident attorney with extensive knowledge and experience will help bring clarity to the chaos you are in.

Little incentive to handling a car accident case on one’s own

Know that most legal professionals who handle such cases do so on a contingent-fee basis. In other words, you only have to pay them when they successfully resolve the issue in favor of you. This alone should already make you recognize the benefits of having a professional on your team, especially when the party accusing you demands payments for significant damage, such as major injuries.

The last thing you want is to carry an even heavier burden of fines, penalties, and a revoked license due to a car accident lawsuit. The best way to prevent these from happening is to enlist the services of a highly experienced attorney immediately after the accident or after the other party sues you.

Prove Your Innocence: Responding to a Personal Injury Lawsuit

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Personal injury law book on a table.A personal injury case against you is something that you should never take lightly. Whatever the reason that prompted someone filing a lawsuit against you, claiming that your action (or inaction) resulted in their injury, you should be aware of the harsh potential consequences you may face when proven guilty.

It is for this reason, and the simple fact that such cases are quite complicated and complex, that you should hire an experienced Springfield, IL personal injury lawyer.

With the help of the right lawyer, you can come out of the lawsuit with as little damage as possible.

Illinois’ personal injury process regulations

Proving someone’s fault (or non-fault) in a personal injury claim is difficult, and the specific regulations implemented by the State of Illinois makes it even more confusing for an average person.

For instance, as the defendant, you may have to deal with a jurisdiction other than the one that you thought would handle your case.

Since there are many jurisdictions in The Prairie State, you want to make certain that your legal team has experience working with the one that has legal authority over your case.

Disproving the fact-based plead of the plaintiff

The first step that a plaintiff, or the person who files a lawsuit, needs to take is to conduct a process called “fact-based pleading.” This involves gathering evidence and facts showing that you are at fault for the personal injury.

Once the court clerk processes this, you will receive the suit, which you then have to respond to within a certain period. You can either deny or admit the indicated allegations.

It is during this time that you should already look for personal injury lawyers who can build a strong case against those above plead to disprove said allegations. The earlier you retain a legal professional, the better your chances of coming out as not guilty.

Long-Term Consequences of a DUI Conviction to Consider

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DUI Law title on a book and gavel.Everyone is familiar with the immediate effects that a DUI conviction brings. These include jail time, suspension of driving privileges, and probation. You will also need to install a home monitoring unit or an ignition interlock device, and attend a drug and alcohol class.

But, Noll Law Office and other legal professionals say that not too many people are aware of the long-term consequences of a DUI. Thus, it is important to work with a Springfield, Illinois DUI lawyer when facing a DUI charge. Following are some of them:

Getting a Job

A permanent criminal record from a DUI may affect your future employment prospects. Even a first-time offense can disqualify you from certain positions. This is because most employer’s today conduct pre-employment background checks.

Retaining Your Job

If your current job requires you to drive, your employer may fire you once a DUI conviction tarnishes your clean driving history. You may have to look for another job that does not involve driving.

Professional Certifications/Education

You may find it difficult to get state or professional licensing/certification because of a DUI. Professionals that need certifications or licenses include teachers, drivers, lawyers, and doctors. Getting into college may likewise be a problem.

Higher Car Insurance Premium

A DUI may classify you as high-risk in the eyes of insurance providers. Thus, you will need to pay a higher premium to meet the state’s minimum insurance coverage requirement.

More Complicated Personal Life

Your family and friends will find a criminal record upsetting. This will cause them to doubt your ability to come up with smart and responsible decisions. This can be embarrassing for you. Other people will look down on you. They will think you have a drug or drinking problem.

A DUI conviction has very serious long-term repercussions. Thus, you must not take it for granted. The best way to avoid it is not to mix drinking and driving. But, when facing a DUI charge, you must contact a reputable DUI lawyer right away.

Long-Term Consequences of a DUI Conviction

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Shot glass with car keys and handcuffsEvery state has its own law prohibiting driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Most people know the immediate consequences of a DUI. Jail time, probation, and drug and alcohol counseling classes, however, are all short-term effects.

There are severe long-term consequences associated with DUI convictions. They are the primary reasons you should hire an experienced DUI lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. Here are some of the devastating effects of a DUI conviction you should worry about:

License suspension

Even if you do not get a DUI conviction, your license might get suspended if your blood alcohol content is above 0.08%.  The suspension period varies among states. You should note, however, that it could extend to two years even for first-time offenders.

Additional auto insurance fees

Following a conviction for DUI, your vehicle insurance rates may significantly increase. This is because insurance companies consider drivers with DUI convictions to be “high risk.” Some insurance companies might even terminate your insurance coverage. Many states require all drivers with a DUI conviction to get a special insurance called SR22.

Permanent criminal record

High BAC levels, property damage, bodily injury and child endangerment with a DUI conviction in most states is regarded a felony. A felony permanently stays on your criminal record. If the DUI is a felony, you stand to lose several personal freedoms. These include your right to purchase firearms and vote or access government assistance in future including federal housing. Foreigners might be deported.

The only way to avoid a DUI conviction and its devastating effects is to avoid driving while drunk. A DUI arrest significantly affects your criminal record, future and current employment and your finances. It is not a charge you should take lightly even if you are a first offender. Should you be arrested for DUI, your first phone call should be to a DUI attorney. That call could make a huge difference in your life.

Battle for Dominance: What You’re Doing Wrong in a Custody Battle

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Little boy hugging his dadGoing through a divorce can be a messy process, especially when you have kids. Most parents want to get full custody of the child, which means they’re pulling all stops to get what they want. If you’re in this situation, you need to take pause and evaluate why you’re doing what you’re doing. Maybe you’re focusing on the wrong things.

It’s Not About You

Some parents in Lynnwood go through the process of hiring a child custody lawyer and dragging the proceedings just because they want to feel validated as a parent. The problem is you’re not thinking about the number one thing that matters: the child. It’s not about you feeling like you’re the better parent. It should be about the child and what’s best for them.

It’s Not About Getting Revenge

Imagine the heartbreak of not having your child with you every day. When you’re ending the marriage with hatred and anger towards your former spouse, it may be hard to remain objective when fighting for custody. Sometimes, even if the children are better off with the other parent, you keep fighting because you want to win. Again, it should not be about you exacting revenge and inflicting pain on your former spouse. Rather, it should be about you wanting to give your child the best in life.

It’s Not About the Money

You may think earning more is hitting two birds with one stone: you can spite your ex-spouse while getting the kids. Unfortunately, the court will consider more than your income when granting full custody. If you’re fighting for custody just because you’re the one who earns more, you’re letting your pride speak. Think about what the child wants and where they are more comfortable instead.

Ending a marriage is hard, but you shouldn’t let your bitterness and pain affect your child. Let them be with the parent who will care for them more.

Paralegal Tips and Tricks: How to Create an Effective Trial Notebook

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Working space at the office with laptop ,coffee cup,glasses and a notebook with the words paralegalYou’re probably aware of the importance of a trial notebook because it’s one of those things that you need when organizing your trial documents. This means you need to keep your trial notebook updated and well organized.

In addition, this ensures that you could easily access all the information you need and won’t have to carry multiple files, just your handy trial notebook. While safekeeping and updating might seem complicated at first, your effort will be worth it.

Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Get all relevant evidence and make a list that could aid you in monitoring your exhibits. If you’re on the plaintiff’s side, consider letters and if you’re working on the defendant’s side, opt for numbers, or vice versa.
  • When you’re done with the outline of the trial, list down each point that would be helpful in disproving or proving points during the trial.
  • Create a list of witnesses and be sure to note their details.
  • Begin your trial preparation by organizing a trial brief, provided the presiding judge allows it, suggests an experienced instructor of online paralegal degrees.
  • Make separate entries or folders for all witnesses, including the other side, and write down the facts you want them to clear up during the trial.
  • List down all relevant questions and consider including pretrial orders that could potentially help during the trial.
  • Make a list of sample questions and an outline of opening and closing statements.
  • Make trial verdict forms.
  • Ensure that you organize your trial notebook in a way that you could easily access the most important information when you need it.
  • Consider making a copy of your trial notebook and keep them at different locations just in case one goes missing.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that every lawyer is different and might need specific categories and requirements for the notebook. To that end, be sure to confer with the lawyer first in order to accommodate his or her wishes.

Paralegal 101: How to Find and Retain an Expert Witness

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an expert witness checking on blood samples in a labCourts use testimonies from an expert witness in a wide array of cases. These experts are usually scientists, doctors, and industry insiders who could make or break a case. As a paralegal, it’s your job to find the right expert witness for a case and coordinate with them. You could make the entire process simpler and more efficient for everyone involved with the following guidelines.

Finding an Expert Witness

First, you could ask for recommendations from people in your firm, bar associations, and paralegal groups. You could likewise search online and scour paralegal forums. If you want more options, you could also use an expert search company.

After narrowing down your search and shortlisting around three to six prospective witnesses, make copies of their CVs and hand them out to the litigation team involved in the case. If a prospective witness’s CV or resume doesn’t expound on a case testimony they previously testified to, request more information. Once your team has chosen an expert witness, don’t forget to run a conflict check to avoid issues later on.

Negotiating Expert Fees

Fees could differ significantly depending on experience, field of expertise, records needed for the case, and the specific types of testimony your team requires, explains a top instructor of The Center For Legal Studies, which offers online paralegal programs. When asking about fees, make sure to ask about the hourly rate, including hours spent researching, preparing, and reviewing records, as well as travel and accommodation needs. Make sure to pay close attention to the terms of the contract, specifically due dates and prepayments.

Obtaining Consent from the Client

To formally retain the chosen expert witness, you need to get client approval. Arrange a conference call or meeting with the team’s lead lawyer and the client to discuss everything about the witness. Remember your main goal — to gain the client’s consent.

Your efforts to find and retain an expert witness could be very critical to the results of the case and throughout the mediation, deposition, and trial. To that end, you need to establish a great working relationship with the expert witness and be ready to provide assistance should they need it.

Investigators: The Legal Profession’s ‘Ace in the Hole’

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Sherlock Hat and magnifying glass on Old Wooden tableMany people in the United States dream of becoming a part of the legal industry. Many of them fail to realize these goals though, and for many reasons. These include the prohibitive costs of a law degree and its notoriously rigorous training.

The good news is, there are numerous alternatives to becoming a lawyer, one of which is getting a certification as a legal investigator. You can enjoy a very satisfying and rewarding career, all without having to worry about the challenges mentioned earlier.

What a legal investigator does in the first place

Note that although legal investigators do not have the same title as lawyers, they operate in the same legal system that lawyers navigate every day. In a manner of speaking, lawyers and legal investigators have different skill sets, the latter more on legwork.

A law firm may have, in its arsenal, a group of investigators that help lawyers win cases. They play major roles in making a solid case and boosting its chances of winning. They are sort of “ace in the hole.”

In fact, they are the ones responsible in jump starting the development of a case: they also analyze the law appropriate to the case, gather evidence, review materials, and collect any other relevant pieces of information that will give their firm the greatest odds of achieving favorable results.

Training and education

A common misunderstanding when it comes to legal investigators is that many think that they need first to undergo almost the same type and extent of knowledge as those pursuing a career as a lawyer or attorney. This is not necessarily the case, nor is it a prerequisite.

Although some may have started out as law school students, know that many others completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and even journalism.

What is important to remember though is that for you to achieve success in this area of the legal realm, you need to have the right skills, which includes strong analytical and investigative skills.