Understanding Domestic Partnership Law

The concept of a domestic partnership, a legal agreement between two unmarried people involved in a romantic relationship is a fairly new one. Yet it is an important one that every person involved in such a relationship needs to understand.

A domestic partnership is not a marriage but it does involve many of the same rights, obligations and legal concepts. The basis of such a partnership is a legal agreement or contract between people. The contract determines what rights and obligations the partners have.

For example it state what property belongs to which partner and what accounts they have access to. The agreement might also cover one partner’s business or business activities. It could specify that the other partner has no involvement in the business or establish his or her rights to business property. The agreements involved could cover child custody, a mutual home, real estate, investments, retirement investments and anything else.

How to Set up a Legally Binding Domestic Partnership Agreement
There are very specific limitations to such an agreement so it is important that it be drawn up by an experienced family lawyer in Alpharetta. Such a professional knows how to draw up such agreements and to make them legally binding. To be legally binding such an agreement must take the written statutes and case law into account. A good attorney will understand these and make sure the contract complies with them.

The agreement also needs to take the couple’s situation into account. For example their sexual orientation, whether they have children, what property they own, what investments they have and what business activities they are engaged in. Without such an agreement it can be hard to establish ownership to a partner’s property if he or she dies or becomes incapacitated.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

The Forensic Accounting Deskbook: A Practical Guide to Financial Investigation and Analysis for Family Lawyers is published by the American Bar Association

The American Bar Association has published The Forensic Accounting Deskbook: A Practical Guide to Financial Investigation and Analysis for Family Lawyers. Authored by Memphis divorce attorney, Miles Mason, Sr., JD, CPA, The Forensic Accounting Deskbook is an easy-to-follow introduction to the world of forensic accounting and managing divorce litigation involving complex assets. Written primarily for family lawyers, forensic accountants and individuals going through divorce can also learn how to recognize when an opposing spouse might be manipulating financial records and sharing misleading disclosures. It may be purchased over the Internet from the ABA’s store, or see www.ForensicAccountingDeskbook.com for a quick hyperlink.

Miles Mason, Sr. JD, CPA, practices family law exclusively in Memphis, Tennessee with his firm, Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. He has presented many seminars at national and regional conferences on forensic accounting, business valuation, and divorce on topics including discovering hidden assets, reviewing financial statements and tax returns, and complex litigation. Mr. Mason is a member of the American, Tennessee, and Memphis Bar Associations’ Family Law Sections, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and Tennessee Society of CPA’s.

He serves the ABA Family Law Section as Liaison to the AICPA and is past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Family Law Section. Please see www.MemphisDivorce.com for more information.

Randall M. Kessler, Atlanta divorce lawyer and Chair of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, says in his Foreword: “From the beginning of the book all the way through to the very end, Miles makes it easy to understand the often complex subject matter he discusses, while at the same time making you aware of how much more there is to know. He then feeds it to you like spoon-feeding a baby. From the basic concepts and practical sample deposition questions to forensic accounting methodology and techniques, this book is a must-have for any practitioner of family law who handles cases involving contentious financial issues—and who doesn’t?”

In divorce, the opposing spouse’s submission of false financial information can adversely affect a person’s property division, child support, and alimony. Financial documents and accounting concepts are at the core of all asset identification, classification, and valuation, as well as income determination. The Forensic Accounting Deskbook connects the dots and fills gaps among the interrelated topics of written discovery, depositions, schemes to defraud, manipulation of company books, expert witness reports, forensic accounting methodology and techniques, financial statements, tax returns, stock options, pensions, and trial testimony.

Forensic accountants will benefit from reading The Forensic Accounting Deskbook by adding depth of knowledge to why their services are needed, the procedural rules and discovery opportunities involved with their work, and how to better sell their services. The book informs family lawyers about the mechanics and details of direct and cross examination, professional standards, and ethics. These are all topics forensic accountants should know cold, but many don’t. Included in the book are several sections of detailed sample questions and answers for the aspects of deposition and trial testimony that are common to many types of forensic accounting engagements.

Individuals going through divorce may also find The Forensic Accounting Deskbook helpful because the book is written for lawyers who do not have expertise in finance and accounting. The book’s central focus explains the roles performed by family lawyers and forensic accounting experts in litigation, as well as the process of litigating a divorce involving complex financial issues. A higher level of understanding of the financial aspects of divorce can only lead to making better decisions.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Changes in the World of Family Law

The world of family law is a constantly changing one that affects all families regardless of race, creed, color, class, income level or sexual orientation. New legal issues arise everyday and older ones become more and more complex.

As the world of family law changes and becomes more complex, families are more in need of a good family law attorney in Athens than ever before.

In today’s world, even simple legal matters can lead to complex court battles that can strip families of their rights. Many families make the situation worse with do it yourself law. The fastest way to annoy a judge and turn a court against you is with do it yourself law. Yet, that is what families do every day in issues ranging from adoption to domestic partnerships to child custody to probate matters.

In many cases courts will simply throw out any legal document filed by such do it yourself lawyers. They may also ignore persons without legal representation. That can put families at a disadvantage particularly when they are unfamiliar with courts and the law and do not understand the situation.

Get a Lawyer from the Beginning

The best solution is to get a lawyer from the beginning. The minute a legal issue arises a family should consult a family lawyer in Athens. Even if only one consultation is needed it can save you a fortune. If legal documents are prepared right and filed right the first time, they are less likely to be successfully challenged or thrown out by the courts.

The attorney can also alert the family to other issues that they may not be aware of. For example: potential challenges or questions or legal requirements that they may not know about. Such problems can arise even in seemingly simple matters like adoption.

Whenever a family starts a complex legal process such as adoption or an application for child custody they will need an attorney to protect their rights. Our court system only respects the rights of those who fight for them. Persons who leave themselves at the mercy of the courts will often find themselves stripped of their rights.

There is no reason for any family to see its rights trampled in a simple matter like an adoption. The law exists to protect everybody equally including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people. Unfortunately the law only protects you when you use it. If you do not use your legal rights will lose them.

Therefore families need to have attorneys to protect their legal rights in the always changing world of family law.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Russell Jones & Walker Views Future Of Personal Legal Services As A Battle Of The Brands

Russell Jones and Walker Solicitors view the future of personal legal services as a ‘battle of the brands’ and believes it is best placed to capitalise on this through extensions of its market leading personal injury name ‘Claims Direct’.

Independent research shows that Claims Direct is the best known name within the personal injury sector with double the unprompted brand awareness levels of its nearest rivals. As such Russell Jones and Walker plans to use this recognition to promote Claims Direct in the other areas of personal law that it already has strong expertise in. This includes employment and family law, wills and possibly even conveyancing.

“The public recognise few legal brands currently but that is all set to change with the introduction of alternative business structures next year.” Neil Kinsella Chief Executive of Russell Jones and Walker said. “This will give well-known high street names the opportunity to compete directly with Solicitors and we, at Russell Jones and Walker, have been developing our strategy since the review which led to the Legal Services Act. This included the re-launch of the Claims Direct brand in 2007 with a multi-million £ above-the-line and digital campaign.”

The Legal Services Act enables people other than those qualified as solicitors to own a law firm with the Solicitors Regulation Authority approved to be its regulator. However, the original October start date for licensing these businesses had to be delayed and it is now thought this will start in January 2012. Organisations including retail brands such as the Co-Op and insurance companies including D.A.S. have already stated their intentions to offer legal services and many believe others are queuing up. This influx of known brand names into a largely unbranded and fragmented legal sector has commentators suggesting this could lead to a significant number of smaller high street law firms closing down within the next three years.

Kinsella believes this presents Russell Jones and Walker with an ideal opportunity. “Recent Russell Jones and Walker research shows that people now know and trust the Claims Direct name and have said they would be happy to contact it about legal issues other than their personal injury claims. We intend to offer them this option.”

With over 85 years’ experience, Russell Jones and Walker Solicitors are considered one of the UK’s leading law firms with over 420 employees in 10 offices nationwide. Its focus has always been to provide accessible, affordable legal services for individuals. Neil Kinsella is one of the country’s leading commentators on the changing face of the legal profession and aims to ensure that the firm remains at the forefront of it irrespective of the likely new competition.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Business Intelligence can Prevent Fraud and Embezzlement Overseas

It is all too easy for a company or entrepreneur that does business in foreign countries to get ripped off. Fraud, embezzlement, identity theft and other kinds of white color crime are all too common in many nations. To make matters in some countries the authorities will either be actively involved in such crimes or cover them up.

Governments cover up such crimes for many different reasons including encouraging investment and protecting the national reputation. In undemocratic countries it can be very hard for foreign businesspeople to tell if such crimes are going on. Authorities often go to great lengths to hide such shenanigans which can make it difficult to know whether it is safe to do business or not.

Fortunately there are profile services that can help individuals and companies know if it is safe to invest or do business in a country. These organizations are business intelligence companies, they gather intelligence for business much like intelligence agencies gather information for governments. Many business intelligence agencies employ former agents of the CIA and other intelligence services so they can gather a large amount of information that is not normally available.

Many of these agencies specialize in investigating business climates in specific nations. They actually employ specialists whose job it is to spot fraud and corruption. This can help a company avoid such pitfalls. These companies can prepare a comprehensive report about a particular nation and the risks a company can run by doing business there. They can also help investigate fraud after it occurs.

When attorney Howard Fensterman sued certain individuals in Abu Dhabi over alleged fraud he hired such a company to do an investigation. Fensterman’s clients claim they lost $18 million in a business deal in the UAE. Had they hired such a company beforehand they could have avoided such losses.

The risk of being defrauded when you do business overseas is much greater than many entrepreneurs believe. Therefore it is always a good idea to hire professionals who can help you identify the dangers and show you how to avoid them. In addition to alerting a company to the dangers of fraud, a business intelligence firm can tell its management team what measures they can take to avoid to the danger. That can save a company tens of millions of dollars and help it do business in an honest and ethical manner even in a foreign nation.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Preston Solicitor Welcomes Tough Line From Justice Ministry in Rooting Out Rogue Accident Claim Firms

Preston Solicitor Welcomes Tough Line From Justice Ministry in Rooting Out Rogue Accident Claim Firms.

Ten times more accident claims handling specialists were forced to close for breaching the rules regulating their trade in 2010/11 than in the previous year, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced.

Licences were withdrawn from 349 firms in 12 months, compared to 35 the year before.

Some had been shut down for serious transgressions, such as fraud, and using misleading marketing and aggressive sales techniques, according to Kevin Rousell, from the Ministry’s claims management regulation unit.

And the tough line has been welcomed by Preston-based personal injury solicitor Craig Porter, of PHC Law.

He said: “It is disappointing to learn that there are so many companies who are in breach of the regulations on our business which are intended to safeguard the interests of our clients.

“We deal with many personal injury victims on a daily bases, and for some of these the consequences are very severe.

“The overriding objective of any reputable, genuine firm is to attend to the needs of the person who has sustained an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence.

“We therefore believe that action needs to be taken against companies which breach the rules and regulations of the MoJ.”

PHC Law receives most of its work through referrals and recommendations, and as Craig Porter points out: “What distinguishes personal injury solicitors like PHC Law from claims management companies is our experience, expertise, and our client care – but, most importantly, we, along with many other firms, are regulated to the most stringent of standards.”

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Access Legal From Shoosmiths Secures Law Society CQS Status

Access Legal from Shoosmiths has secured the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), making it the largest law firm in England and Wales to do so.

The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) requires practices to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training, self-reporting, random audits and annual reviews in order to maintain CQS status. It is open only to members of the Law Society who meet the demanding standards set by the scheme, and has the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies’ Association, Legal Ombudsman, and the Association of British Insurers.

Desmond Hudson, Chief Executive at the Law Society said: “Access Legal from Shoosmiths’ accreditation illustrates that CQS is an initiative that is suitable for firms of all sizes.

“Firms that have gone through the CQS application and assessment process have gained the quality mark in recognition of the high standards they have met in residential conveyancing. CQS is the benchmark for the conveyancing sector, and Access Legal from Shoosmiths’ commitment to securing it is further acknowledgement of the high standards the scheme embodies.”

David Parton, partner at Access Legal from Shoosmiths added: “We’re delighted to have secured CQS accreditation, which is recognition that this particular consumer service meets the benchmark for conveyancing set by the Law Society.

“It enables our current and future residential conveyancing clients to identify the excellent service level we provide, at what is often a stressful time for many people.

“Our clients receive a reliable, efficient service, which is at the heart of our ethos and the CQS standard.”

Access Legal from Shoosmiths assists clients in preparing to move house and provide legal advice for whatever issues they may encounter. Its solicitors are experts in the conveyancing process and its services are available on a no-move no-fee basis.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

PHC Law Secures £9,000 Compensation For Ladder Fall Victim

A barman who fell from a ladder while taking down a promotional banner has secured £9,000 in damages for his injuries.

With the help of expert personal injury solicitors from Preston-based company PHC Law, the man won the settlement after negotiations which took place following the man issuing legal proceedings against his employer.

During those negotiations it emerged that the accident, in which the man broke his right heel bone, happened despite his immediate superior being stood at the bottom of the ladder at the time watching the work being done.

As he climbed down the ladder, the victim reached for the banner, but slipped and fell to the ground.

When the case was brought, his employers tried to reduce their liability by claiming that the man’s negligence had contributed to the accident, and that he was aware of the risk of an accident happening.

But his legal representative, John Cooper, successfully argued that the man had been simply following the instructions given by his supervisor, and the bar’s manager.

Mr Cooper said that the employer had been right to admit liability, and added: “It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees at all times and in this case, they were found to be negligent.

“The claimant’s employers were ultimately responsible for accessing, planning and ensuring that work being carried out done safely, using suitable safety wear and equipment.”

He concluded: “It has taken three years to settle, but both my client and I are very pleased with outcome.”

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

PHC Law Recovers £400,000 Damages For Motorcycle Accident Victim

The Claimant suffered an exceptionally severe leg injury including compound fractures to the tibia and fibula extensive degloving together with damage to the right knee. In order to prevent infection in the lower leg a transplanted muscle from the Claimant’s back was made and attached to the leg. The result was an exceptionally deformed looking leg. The Claimant underwent a number of further procedures because the accident had caused associated injuries to the toes, tendons, ankle and knee. Only after the injuries had thoroughly settled and no other further surgery was contemplated did the Claimant undergo plastic surgery to reduce the cosmetic abnormality in his lower leg.

After a lengthy period of absence from work the Claimant returned to his pre-accident employment as an engineer and continued to be restricted in the hours of work which he could manage and the extent to which he could manage lifting and standing up at work.

He suffered psychologically as a result of the accident. He received therapy and improved significantly. His long held ambition was to join the Police Force. His prospects of doing this were eliminated by the injuries sustained in the accident.

Expert evidence was obtained from a range of medical experts including orthopaedic surgeon, plastic surgeon and consultant psychiatrist.

The Defendants made a number of inadequate offers as the matter progressed. Eventually settlement was achieved at a joint settlement meeting when the Claimant accepted the Defendants’ offer to pay a total of £400,000.00 damages inclusive of interim payments and CRU. Interim payments totalling nearly £60,000.00 had been made by the Defendant to the Claimant during the course of the action.

The Claimant who was very disturbed by the accident suffered a great deal emotionally and physically subsequently as he sought to come to terms with the gross cosmetic abnormality caused by the accident and a series of operations. He was distressed at his inability to make a full recovery and that his ambition of becoming a Police Officer had been permanently thwarted.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

PHC Law Recovers Over £500,000 Compensation For Accident At Work Claimant

PHC Law Recovers Over £500,000 Compensation For Accident At Work Claimant

The Claimant claimed damages for an accident which occurred on 6th December 2005 when he was 42-years old. He was required to move a completed lorry by means of a hand operated electrically powered “dead man truck”. His left foot/lower leg was trapped and crushed by the truck causing very serious injuries including compound fractures to the left tibia and fibula, a fracture dislocation of the ankle and a fracture of the calcaneum.

The Claimant has suffered a very serious injury and underwent three operations in quick succession his treatment involving external fixation and skin grafting. The Claimant did not make a good recovery and suffered multiple corrective operations – a total of 13 to date of settlement.

Although the Claimant attempted to return to his work as a motor engineer the effect of ongoing pain and disability made this impossible. He was unable to do manual work from a standing position and work involving weight bearing. He was equally unable to manage sedentary work due to swelling and increased pain caused by being seated.

Expert evidence was obtained from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. The Defendants obtained orthopaedic evidence from two other specialists.

Settlement was necessarily delayed to enable a proper assessment of the full extent of the Claimant’s ongoing disability together with his future limitations on the labour market and domestically.

The matter was dealt with co-operatively throughout between the parties and the Claimant was voluntarily provided with interim payments by the Defendants.

The Defendants initially offered £110,000.00. This offer was rejected by the Claimant. The Defendants then offered £400,000.00 in January 2011 which was rejected by the Claimant. The Defendant subsequently reduced this offer to £380,000.00. Both parties wished to seek disposal of the claim by joint settlement meeting. As the date for the meeting approached the Defendants disclosed surveillance evidence which required most careful consideration by the Claimant and the Claimant’s legal advisors.

In the event the matter was settled by way of joint settlement meeting on 21st July 2011 for the total sum of £568,330.28. Settlement was inclusive of £49,000.00 interim payments and £19,330.28 payable to the Department of Work and Pensions in respect of refundable benefits.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases