As a law firm that frequently handles domestic violence/abuse cases, we felt compelled to have this video made. This issue, and its many variants, are far too often ignored or not taken seriously. The chance that you
Everyone here at Morgan Hill is all about staying active, and learning from the world around us. Me personally? I like to hike, play the blues, work on old cars, and pour over my collection of ancient records that only I care about. I thought about it, and I realized that
If everything goes to pot and you find yourself in the middle of a big, fat lawsuit, once it’s been filed the court will usually issue what’s called a scheduling order that lays out the different deadlines in the case. This includes a date by which all “discovery” must be
Multiple studies over the last ten years have shown that medical debt is the leading reason that individuals file for bankruptcy. If someone is injured in a car accident, he or she may have to take time off work, and if that person had been barely scraping by, a week or two of lost wages can
Woohoo, a legal blog! Who would've guessed by that not-boring-at-all title, right? Let's get to it! Domestic violence protection orders (“DVPOs”) are a common mechanism intended for victims of domestic violence to obtain court orders that will prohibit
Let’s say your financial life is a mess. Your income doesn’t cover your bills, you don’t answer the phone because the bill collectors are screaming at you 24/7, you’re afraid to leave the house because
This is a picture I took outside of a used bookstore. It's both hilarious and sad, but it sums up the state of legal advice in this day and age. I don't know who owned this book, but I'd bet money that it didn't help them out in the long run. Actually, it probably ended up costing them money. It seems like every year the amount of clients that come to see us to fix their do-it-yourself legal work double, and Morgan Hill doesn't see this as a good thing.
There are situations when filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help a homeowner save their house from foreclosure. When a debtor files the petition for bankruptcy relief, the automatic stay kicks in, preventing creditors from collecting any debts from the debtor. (Please see our section on the Automatic Stay for more information). During the lifetime of the bankruptcy, the Automatic Stay will prevent the bank from initiating or proceeding with a foreclosure. This gives the debtor an opportunity to pay back the money owed against the mortgage.
When a debtor files for bankruptcy relief, something called the automatic stay immediately kicks into effect. The automatic stay prevents all creditors from undertaking any action to collect a debt from a debtor. Effectively, the automatic stay often prevents creditors from even contacting the debtor. If a creditor has filed a law suit against in order to collect unpaid debts, the lawsuit is stopped. If the bank has initiated foreclosure proceedings to take back your home, the foreclosure process comes to a halt. If creditors have been calling incessantly, those calls stop. If your wages have been garnished, the automatic stay stops garnishment proceedings.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy generally remains on the debtor’s credit for ten years and bureaus may stop reporting a Chapter 13 after seven years. While this sounds pretty bad, usually by the time a person gets to the point of filing bankruptcy their credit is already shot. While the bankruptcy filing will negatively impact a debtor’s credit score at first, the “clean slate” offered by wiping out debts provides the opportunity to build good credit by maintaining current on payments and avoiding delinquencies. Many debtors experience an improvement in their credit rating soon after bankruptcy, because all their debts are gone.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individual consumers with regular income to retain their property and pay back debts over a period of time, usually three to five years. Under this chapter, the debtor and his attorney examine the debtor’s income, necessary expenses and debts to develop a repayment plan to make monthly installment payments to creditors over the life of the plan. If the debtor’s current monthly income is less than the state median - currently $51,161 in Washington State - the plan will usually last for five years. If the debtor successfully completes all payments during the life of the plan, any debts not repaid at the end of the bankruptcy are discharged.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as “liquidation”, is a relatively fast proceeding: debtors can usually file and obtain their discharge within several months. A trustee, appointed by the U.S. Trustee’s Office to represent the bankruptcy estate on behalf of the creditors, will take control of non-exempt assets, liquidate them, and distribute proceeds to creditors. The exempt property (i.e., the property the debtor is entitled to retain) generally includes a certain amount for a car, a certain amount of equity in a home, certain household goods and appliances, life insurance contracts, social security, alimony, pensions or annuities, and a certain amount of personal property.
A power of attorney is a document that allows you ( the “Principal”) to appoint a person or organization (the “Agent”) to handle your affairs for you. Sometimes, the power of attorney can take effect immediately. Sometimes, it only takes effect if for some reason you're unavailable or unable to handle you affairs yourself. A power of attorney can be as specific or as broad as you desire, and can confer whatever power you desire.
For those of use who have faced the hospitalization and death of a loved one, final health care decisions can be heartbreaking things. Decisions regarding life support, artificial nutrition, artificial hydration and medication can be difficult and troubling, and they hit families at the time when the families are the most emotionally overwhelmed.
A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, revocable living trust, or inter vivos trust, is a popular way to own property during life and transfer it at death. The living trust generally substitutes for a will or other traditional estate planning document. With a living trust, all assets, such as real estate, bank accounts and stock accounts are transferred to the trust and administered for the benefit of the trustmakers during their lifetime, and then transferred to the trust beneficiaries when the trust beneficiaries die. For those who want to take the time to take care of business and get their affairs in order before they die, as well as make things easier for their heirs, a living trust is a good tool.
Having a legal will is the traditional way to pass one’s property to heirs or beneficiaries. A will is a legal document that gives the decedent’s (the decedent is the one who has left us for -hopefully - a better place) directions regarding the disposition of the decedent’s property at death. A will states who receives property, in what amounts, and any special provisions for distribution.
Probate is the process by which legal title of property is transferred from the decedent to his/her beneficiaries. As the old blues song says, “ I’ve seen bad and I’ve seen worse, but I ain’t never seen no U-Haul behind a hearse.” Since you can't take it with you, the court determines who gets it.
When starting a new business, it is almost always a good idea to choose either a S Corporation, a C Corporation, or a Limited Liability Company (LLC) as a business form, since corporations will help to limit liability when dealing with the public. For a discussion of LLCs, please refer to our article on LLCs. Outside of LLCs, there are generally two different types of corporations from which to choose when deciding on the corporate type that is right for your business: S Corporations or C Corporations.
If you have already made the big decision to open a business, the first legal issue you must resolve is what type of business entity you want to form. There are several different business entity forms to choose from, ranging from a simple sole proprietorship to more complex corporate structures. The decision as to which business entity to choose is based on a number of factors that will be unique to your business and its particular goals, and can determine the success of your business.
A wrongful accusation of domestic violence can be one of the most traumatic things a person can face, and domestic violence charges can often be more disruptive than any other kind of charge because of the collateral consequences they usually bring to the defendant’s entire family. No matter how strong or weak the State’s case may be, no matter how serious or less serious the alleged conduct, the court will always issue a no-contact order, even over the objections of the alleged victim.
Drug-related crimes have been a primary source of criminal prosecution for decades. It is estimated that 65% of those incarcerated in the U.S. are there for drug-related crimes. Drug-crime defense is one of the primary areas with which your criminal attorney should be familiar. Discussed below are just a few of the topics you will want to understand if you have been charged with a drug offense.
A criminal conviction can come with a lot of negative consequences above and beyond the fine you may be required to pay or the jail time you may be required to serve. Your criminal history may bar you from certain jobs, hinder you in obtaining housing, block you from getting into certain schools or obtaining student loans, affect your gun rights, voting rights, travel to Canada, or cause you to be harassed by law enforcement.
There are several ways to end a marriage in Washington State. Other than using a self-help method that involves faking your death, changing your name, and hiding in the cargo hold of a freighter to Shanghai, the traditional ways to end a marriage generally are: annulment, legal separation and dissolution.
The toughest part of a divorce, legal separation, or paternity case is usually the effect it has on children. Washington law tries to help parents work out a plan for raising their children with a focus on the children’s best interest. The intent is to eliminate the concepts of "custody" and "visitation," and instead provide a residential schedule - called a Parenting Plan - that specifically details the time that the children will reside with each parent.
When you complete a divorce or custody proceeding, the court enters a “Final” Parenting Plan that defines the rights and responsibilities of the parties with regard to the care of and contact with the children. But a Final Parenting Plan is very often not truly final. Circumstances change, children change, and parents change. And the law makes room for you to modify your parenting plan when it is in the best interests of the children to do so.
You have just decided you want to move. Perhaps your employer has asked you (or your spouse’s employer has asked him/her) to relocate, or even told that you have to relocate in order to keep your job or get a promotion. Perhaps you have recently divorced or separated and want to be closer to your family of origin. Maybe you or a spouse is in the armed forces and have been assigned a new duty station.
Child support payments are intended to pay for the normal and ordinary expenses of raising a child, such as housing, food, clothing, education and medical care. Washington, like most states, uses Child Support Laws and Guidelines that are set by the state legislature to determine the correct amount of child support to be awarded. The court may also consider the needs and age of the children, the financial ability of the non-custodial parent, the earning capacity of the custodial parent, and the other responsibilities of both parents. Child support is addressed when couples who have a child or children and are in a divorce, legal separation, paternity, or non-parental custody case. Click here to calculate the amount of child support that would be applicable for your situation.
The first thing to remember in dividing assets and debts in a dissolution or legal separation is that Washington is a community property state, which means that each spouse has an undivided one-half interest in assets and debts acquired during the marriage. Wages and salaries earned during the marriage are also community property, so if wages and salaries earned during the marriage are used to pay for an asset - even if the assets was originally acquired by one of the spouses prior to marriage - the assets will probably be wholly or partially community property.