Legal Advice for Families Facing a Divorce
A divorce is a serious, life-changing event. While you and your spouse might be going through extreme stress and high emotions, your children are most likely suffering from the same. In a divorce where an entire family is involved it’s important to consider not only the emotions of you and your spouse, but of the children and other family members involved.
Hire an Attorney
It’s best to hire a family law attorney when you’re facing divorce. An attorney can help you and your spouse fill out the necessary paperwork, protect your rights, and make sure that things are settled as amicably as possible. While a do-it-yourself divorce is always possible, it’s in the best interest of yourself and your family to have an attorney -- who has the emotional distance from your situation -- to help settle your divorce.
Think Before You Make Decisions
Divorces are full of emotions and unfortunately in that whirlwind of emotion you have a lot of important decisions to make -- such as how you will handle your home, split finances, setup visitation with the children, etc. When making these decisions, consider all consequences of the decision you make before you make it.
Be Honest with Your Attorney
You must provide your attorney with all of the fact so that he or she can analyze your divorce case appropriately. Never hide anything from your attorney -- hiding information can actually harm your case.
Look for Court Alternatives
Not all divorce cases go to court. In fact, there are ways to settle your divorce without ever stepping into the courtroom. If you can, go through mediation -- a process where you meet with a neutral third party to resolve your case. Another option is a collaborative divorce, where you and your spouse share an attorney.
While it can be difficult to think of the future, how you handle your divorce now can affect how your family copes with the divorce in the future. Take your time, be rational, and seek advice from legal counsel to make the divorce process as painless as possible.
Nine Necessary Steps for Protecting Your Rights as a Landlord
As a landlord, it’s important you take the necessary steps to protect your property and your rights. These nine steps are crucial, especially if you ever find yourself in court battling a bad tenant.
Use a Written Lease Agreement
The verbal contract between tenant and landlord won’t hold up in court. Always have a written lease or rental agreement for your property -- whether it’s being rented out for a month, year or even while you’re away on vacation.
Conduct Background Checks
It is within your right to conduct a background check on your prospective tenants. You can conduct criminal checks as well as verify employment, income, and check the tenant’s credit to make sure they’ll fulfill the obligations of your rental agreement.
Charge a Security Deposit
You can charge a security deposit, and should, for your property. However, every state has limits on the amount you can charge. Therefore, consult your state laws regarding rental properties for security deposit limits.
Know Your State Landlord/Tenant Laws
Every state has different landlord/tenant laws. While there are some that are universal, you should always review the landlord/tenant laws for your state before writing your rental agreement, setting your rental prices, or selecting tenants.
Make Repairs Promptly
Always stay on top of the maintenance for your property and make repairs when tenants request them. If you don’t take care of your property, tenants have the right to withhold their rental payments or even sue you in civil court.
If there are any environmental hazards -- mold for example -- you are required by federal law to tell your tenants.
Know Your Eviction Rights
You can evict a tenant from your property, but only when you have legal cause to do so. Some reasons to evict can include failure to pay rent, seriously damaged property, etc. You need to consult your specific state’s laws regarding eviction, because the length of notification or reasons for evicting can vary.
Choose the Right Tenants
Base your tenant selection on impartial, non-biased information to avoid any fair housing complaints. The best practices for choosing a tenant can include:
· Good credit, income, and references.
· Business decisions
· Based on housing rules
Always be consistent in your hiring and make sure your staff does the same.
Hire a Professional
It’s best to have an attorney review your lease agreements and help you with the tenant selection process. An attorney can make sure you follow the state and federal laws, remain complaint with the fair housing rules, and avoid any unnecessary time in court.
You may have encountered lawyers who mediate all of their cases. Why? On one hand, there is great value in getting a certain final outcome at an agreed upon price. However, if mediation was always the right answer we would not need trial courts or trial attorneys. Be wary, of attorneys who want to ramp up their own profits by setting hearings and forcing things to trial. So how do you know whats the right way to go? Simple, Just ask your attorney how many cases they have tried and then ask them the same question in regard to mediation. Weigh how they answer the question as well as what the number of trials and mediations there are. Then ask them how they plan to protect your assets as well as your rights. They should tell you their trial or mediation philosophy and you can decide from there? Knowledge can be powerful!
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