Monday, April 27, 2015

Mediation and the Abusive Relationship

You may have been told that your divorce case will require mediation. if you have been in an abusive marriage, you may feel especially nervous about facing your spouse since mediation is less formal than a courtroom.

It is common to feel a little nervous, and also to feel worried that you may give in too easily.  You and your attorney should discuss in advance how to handle the situation -  what to do if you need a few minutes to gather your thoughts, and what to do if things begin to get heated.

A trained mediator will also be ready to respond to these types of concerns. For instance, in mediation, the parties are sometimes sent into different rooms or even physically kept apart for the entire mediation. 

There are many kinds of abuse and intimidation. You should be honest with yourself and your attorney about your concerns for your safety, and your ability to think clearly in the mediation setting. 

If your situation has involved domestic violence or there is another reason to fear for the safety of yourself and the others involved, the judge may need to be informed and additional safety precautions may need to be taken.
"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.

Monday, April 20, 2015

No One is an Island

There's an old saying that "no [man] is an island". We are fortunately or unfortunately connected to those around us and they are affected by what we do. Especially in the case of two parents quarreling and affecting the children, in the case of employers making decisions that affect their customers and employees, and in the case of two neighbors fighting over property rights. Most of the time when people take the time to think about it they realize that their actions have sometimes serious consequences on those around them.  They may not even realize it until there is an emergency.

Anytime there is a serious legal conflict stress is high. It is very easy for everyone to get into their respective corners and refuse to budge or to admit that they made a bad decision.  However, being willing to admit that to yourself and discuss it with your lawyer or a mediator is a good step towards resolving an escalating conflict and saving time and money.

One of the reasons that mediation works well is that it encourages parties to a conflict to "slow down" and try to resolve issues. Compromise and creative solutions are strongly encouraged, not seen as signs of weakness.  AND the procedure is confidential.

Refusing to back down no matter what the financial and emotional cost is a hard way to go.  There may be a few situations in which that stance is absolutely necessary, but there are also a lot of times where that stand leaves no winners. 

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
Se habla español

Monday, April 13, 2015

When Divorcing Spouses are Also Business Partners

Divorce is hard enough  and the financial aspects can feel overwhelming, especially if one spouse will have to find a different source of income.  Some businesses can become “like families” and the divorcing couple may bear the additional worry of how their split will affect the employees and customers.

It can be difficult to decide how to divide a business in such a way that meets the needs of the divorcing partners (and their children, if any) and also allows the business to continue to operate profitably.
Some things to consider when deciding how to divide the business (in a community property state, such as Texas) are as follows: 
  1. Is the business separate property or does it include any separate property?   Did one spouse own the business prior to marriage?  If so, for how long?  How did the value of the business change during the marriage?
  2. Is one spouse more qualified to run the business than the other? (Some businesses may require certain licensing or certifications that only one spouse possesses, or may be dependent on one person’s image, reputation or personality.)
  3. What is the true valuation of the business?  What is it really worth?  How does this fit into the “big picture” of what the marital estate is worth overall?
  4. Are there issues regarding the structure of this business that need to be updated? (There may be formal changes that need to be made in the corporate or partnership structure and paperwork that will be required to be filed at the state level).
  5. What are the tax ramifications?
  6. Is collaborative law a better way to divorce in this situation? 

A divorce that divides a family and a business does have an additional level of complexity.  It is important understand your rights and responsibilities and to find a competent family and business law attorney who has the experience, knowledge and skill to make the process as understandable and efficient as possible.

 Kalish Law Office - Family Law - The Woodlands, Texas 

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
Se habla español

Monday, April 6, 2015

What is Legal Capacity?

In order to write a will, sign a contract, get married, or do a variety of other actions, a person must have legal capacity.  This means that they must be mentally competent, understand what they're doing and be of a certain age. 

Legal capacity often comes into question when someone is signing a will or powers of attorney.  In order to have a valid document, the person must have the ability to know what they are signing. Therefore, someone who is not "of sound mind" will lack legal capacity.  A person who already has a legal guardian and therefore no legal authority to act on their own lacks legal capacity. A person who is suffering from dementia, certain other medical or psychological disorders may lack legal capacity.  

For this reason, an attorney will do his or her best to determine that a client is of sound mind and understands what s/he is doing when s/he is signing a will or power of attorney. 

It is important to sign the these types of documents while you still have the capacity and understanding to do so. If you believe that that you may have a problem in the near future do not wait to deal with these issues.  Once you lose the ability to act on your own, you will not be able to participate in signing a legally valid document.

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
Se habla español