Monday, April 30, 2012

Boise Idaho Attorneys - Divorce, Military Divorce, Criminal Law, Bankruptcy

As a Boise Attorney people often ask me "what will happen" or "why does the law seem inconsistent" or "why is the law unfair"?  Often the law can seem inconsistent or unfair or even unsure primarily because every case depends upon its own set of circumstances.  For example,  I may be able to explain what will happen in the course of a divorce, a criminal law case or a bankruptcy and I may be able to give you a good idea of the outcome, but no attorney can tell you exactly what will happen.  The law is often a guide to help a judge make a decision.  In order for the law to be fair, a judge has to look at each individual circumstance and apply the law to that.  That is why it is so important to have a lawyer who can present your case clearly and who can use the relevant facts to make your case.

Let's look at some examples of how this works in the law.  Take DUI, for example.  The law is very specific that a DUI is a crime and it occurs when you have a blood alcohol level of .08% or above.  The law further says that with a first time DUI you will completely have your license suspended for 30 days.  Beyond that, the law begins to give ranges.  Your license will be suspended for at least another 60 days after the absolute suspension but could be suspended for up to 150 days.  You might get jail time and your fine will be somewhere between $0.00 (unlikely) and $1,000.  The law isn't terribly specific on these things.  The resulting penalties are dependent upon the circumstances of your case.  Were you driving recklessly?  Have you had other alcohol related or driving related crimes?  Are you a contributing member of society?  All of these types of factors will be presented to the judge by your Boise Criminal Lawyer and will have a bearing upon what ultimately happens.

Let's also look at divorce. The same thing happens in divorce cases, with the exception of what ultimately happens is far less specific than DUI law.  Let's take community property as an example.  In general the law says that anything acquired during a marriage with community funds is community property.  Let's say that you decide to divorce and your soon-to-be ex-spouse acquired a bunch of "play" things, things he or she used for their sole benefit and which added no value to the community.  Technically under the law this property is community property because it was acquired with community funds during the marriage. It doesn't take a Boise Divorce Attorney to understand that that doesn't sound fair.  While there is no way to argue that it is separate property you certainly could ask for an unequal but equitable division of the community debt if you never benefited from the property.  Now, there isn't exactly a law that says that, but that is an example of using the particular facts of your case to argue your point.  Of course, you and your divorce attorney would have to be able to produce the evidence and show how it is relevant, but a judge may find that dividing the debt unequally would be fair in this circumstance.

Another example of how the law is applied differently in divorce is military divorce.  If the law were applied to active service people it could have a very unfair outcome.  For example, to require a member of the military to respond to a summons within 20 days while they are on active duty simply may not be practical.

Let's look at one more example in the area of bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy law says that student loan debt is not dischargeable.  Let's say that your monthly income is $1,000 and your monthly student loan payment is $700.  Again, it doesn't take a Boise Bankruptcy Attorney to tell you that you simply aren't going to make ends meet.  This is why there is a very narrow exception in bankruptcy law that allows you to show evidence of how being responsible for your student loans can cause extreme hardship.  This law allows the bankruptcy judge to discharge student loan debt on this basis.  If it weren't applied this way, the law wouldn't be fair.

There are too many variations in circumstances for the law to fit every case.  If the law were to fit every case then you would have some very unfair results.  If you have a legal issue and you need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney, a Boise Criminal Attorney or a Boise Bankruptcy Attorney, give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you.

Government Cracks Down on Non-Paying Parents

Intensive action against parents who fail to financially support their children has been pledged by the government. According to figures from the Department of Work and Pensions, more than 5,000 past and current child maintenance cases have arrears of £50,000 or more. The government has however sought to reassure those parents who are owed arrears that the CSA (Child Support Agency) will take “all reasonable steps to recover this money for them”.

The crack down by the Department of Work and Pensions has been announced just as new figures show that the CSA’s enforcement powers are being exercised more than ever. For example, there has been a threefold increase in the use of ‘deduction orders’, where money is taken directly from the debtor’s bank account. The CSA’s broad range of enforcement powers also include taking deductions directly from wages, taking possession of and selling property, freezing money owed to the non-paying parent and confiscating driving licences.

There can be little doubt that the CSA’s enforcement powers can help reduce existing arrears, or even prevent them from building up in the first place. If however you are able to agree with the other parent how much child maintenance should be paid, there may be no need to go to the CSA. Child maintenance can be a complex and complicated area and you should seek expert family law advice if in doubt as to your rights and responsibilities.

For more advice read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Work Life Balance and How It Can Impact Your Marriage

The national press has recently reported on the Bergen Work Addiction Scale which is a test that has been devised by psychologists to measure people's addiction to work.  As a family lawyer, I often hear the term "workaholic" being used in a derogatory manner and it is regularly cited as a reason for the breakdown of a marriage and ultimately the grounds for divorce.

The researchers of the test claim that the increase in work addiction is as a result of "new technology and blurred boundaries between work and private life".  Certainly in this digital age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to leave work at the office which no doubt impacts upon the work life balance causing tension in the home.  Family holidays may be constantly interrupted with the vibration or beeping of the work smart phone much to the frustration of the rest of the family and adding to the stresses and strains of day to day life.

There are many specialist family consultants, such as counsellors, who can assist if you are experiencing matrimonial difficulties. My fellow family solicitors and I regularly come across specialists who are providing support to individuals or families as a whole which can often be invaluable and help them avoid divorce.

For more advice on family matters follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Boise Bankruptcy Attorneys - Bankruptcy in Idaho - Debt Counseling

Bankruptcy Requirements - Debt Counseling
Often before anyone considers bankruptcy or steps foot in a Boise Bankruptcy Attorney's office they have tried to pay off their debt on their own or they may have even gone to credit counseling.  Even though many have taken steps on their own to improve their ability to be financially stable, the amended 2005 Bankruptcy Code requires that anyone who files for bankruptcy must take not one, but two debtor education classes.

Pre-Bankruptcy Debt Counseling
The first debt education course must be taken before you file for bankruptcy.  This must be done within 6 months of the actual filing.  This debt counseling focuses on helping individuals focus on ways that they might be able to pay off their debt on their own, without filing for bankruptcy.  After you have completed this course you will be given a certificate of completion.  Your bankruptcy lawyer will attach and file this with your bankruptcy petition.

Money Management Education
The second debt education class must be completed before your bankruptcy is approved.  You must complete this education course otherwise your debts will not be discharged.  This class focuses on personal finances.  It teaches you how to budget, use credit wisely, how to manage your money and how to start saving, instead of spending.  Upon completion of this course your bankruptcy attorneys will file the form evidencing completion and your bankruptcy can go forward.

How do you know where to go for counseling?
There are a lot of companies that would like you to come to them for debt counseling.  The Federal Bankruptcy Court has a list of approved credit counselors which you can get from your Boise Bankruptcy Attorney.  In order to be approved you must use one of these sources.

The policy behind the change in the Federal Bankruptcy Code was to ensure that people wouldn't just rack up debt and then use bankruptcy as an easy way out.  While the majority of people who resort to bankruptcy are fine people who have had serious circumstances that effect their finances like divorce, illness or loss of a job, some people don't take financial responsibility seriously.  Even though these courses are required to ensure that people understand the seriousness of bankruptcy, they do provide useful information such as how your finances change due to divorce, or how to approach a creditor and ask for help in paying off the debt instead of defaulting.  Sometimes we are perfectly able to handle ourselves financially until a severe set of circumstances present themselves.  As a Boise Bankruptcy Attorney I have seen individuals turn to bankruptcy because of a personal injury or a divorce or termination from their job of twenty years.  These are good people who know how to manage their finances but the circumstances become so grave that they do not have a choice.  Debt counseling may not help these people but, like with most things, uniformity wins the day.  The list of debt counselors provided by the Federal Bankruptcy Court are accredited and highly effective counselors.  Even if you think counseling won't help, you might be surprised.

If you are considering bankruptcy and would like to speak to one of our Boise Bankruptcy Lawyers give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DIY Divorces

In these increasingly cost conscious times, it is no surprise that more and more couples are choosing to tackle their divorce themselves rather than consult solicitors. However, seeking some specialist Family Law advice early on can help to avoid some of the common pit falls in divorce and financial proceedings.

For example, did you know that even if you reach an agreement with your spouse regarding the division of your assets it will not be final and binding until it is embodied in an order of the court? Or that if you obtain a divorce and then re-marry without first having made an application for a financial order against you former spouse, you may lose your right to do so for all time?

Contrary to popular belief, not all divorces are expensive. In fact, in the majority of the cases we handle, agreements are reached without the need for costly and stressful court battles.

The court’s approach to the division of assets on divorce is discretionary and there is no fixed formula which sets out what each party should receive. It is important therefore to seek divorce advice from a specialist Family Law solicitor as the earliest opportunity, regardless of the value of your assets.

For more divorce advice follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter@Divorce_experts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Boise Criminal Lawyers - DUI Attorneys - License Suspension

 License Suspension in Idaho
I have often discussed license suspension in my blogs primarily because as a Boise Criminal Lawyer I deal regularly with individuals who have their licenses taken away due to a DUI or a DWP.  These are the most frequent causes of suspensions.  Another area where I see individuals have their driving privileges taken away for reasons other than DUI and DWP is in the commercial vehicle arena.  The Idaho Code outlines several circumstances that result in a minimum of one year license suspensions for carries of commercial licenses.  

Commercial Vehicles
Obviously, the Idaho Code includes a license suspension if a driver of a commercial vehicle is convicted of a DUI.  However, you will also have it taken away if you leave the scene of an accident, if you commit a felony while operating a vehicle, causing a fatality while operating a commercial vehicle and for refusing to submit to tests to determine your blood alcohol level.  In addition, if you are convicted of a DUI,  a DWP or any of the other above named situations and you are transporting hazardous materials (which requires a placard), your license will be suspended for a minimum of 3 years.  Another interesting situation I have seen as a criminal lawyer is something known as an "imminent hazard disqualification".  You may be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle if the federal motor vehicle carrier administration determines that your driving constitutes a imminently hazardous.

As a Boise Criminal Attorney people often ask me if these are the only situations that result in loss of a commercial license.  The answer, however, is no.  There are numerous other situation that can be found in the Idaho Code.  Also, just a reminder the legal limit for a commercial driver is .04% and anything above that level will result in a DUI.  Also, if your commercial license is revoked, any other driver's license you hold, including a Class D license will be suspended.  One other reminder, you can be convicted of a DUI without ever taking a drink of alcohol.  Having drugs in your system, including marijuana and possibly over the counter medications, will also result in a DUI.

What Can You Do?
What can you do if you find yourself in a situation where you might lose your livelihood if you are convicted a circumstance that might result in the lose of your license?  Your best bet is to find a criminal attorney who has the experience to help you.  You need to act quickly and you need to make certain no stone is left unturned. If you have found yourself in a situation where you need a Boise Criminal Defense Lawyer, please give us a call at (208) 472-2383 and see what one of our attorneys can do for you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

How to avoid debt on divorce

The stress of managing debt can often contribute to marriage breakdown. Figures now show increasing numbers of people running up significant debt while going through the divorce process.
Our Vicki McLynn was interviewed on BBC Breakast TV this morning on this issue.
Legal costs charged by divorce solicitors are reported to be one of the main causes of this debt. In order to prevent legal fees escalating during your divorce ensure your solicitor is a family law specialist and listen to their advice while you are negotiating your divorce settlement. 
Think carefully about those issues on which you want to fight and whether the cost involved is proportionate to the potential benefit. Try not to let emotion cloud your judgement.
There are alternative processes to reach a divorce settlement which can also help keep costs to a minimum.
Similarly although retail-therapy or a luxury holiday may seem like the answer to the stress of divorce proceedings it is likely to leave you paying off debt long after your divorce has finished.
For more divorce advice read our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some Principles of Keeping Love Alive…

I am sometimes really frustrated that the education system today does not prepare us for what it TRULY takes to make a romantic relationship work in the long-term. I wish that I had known some of these principles before I got married. Unfortunately I had to make all the mistakes before I learnt all of these lessons for the future. I had to develop some compassion for myself because I really didn’t have the insights I have today back when I actually needed them. I am therefore committed to keep mastering the principles of keeping love alive, not only to ensure that my clients benefit from all this wisdom but that I ensure my own future happiness in my relationship.
In your next relationship, keep some principles in mind to assist you in keeping love alive. These are tips I have put together after reading 27 books on the topic, interviewing experts and from my own personal experience in working with couples.

Keeping love alive principle #1: Let him win at loving you

This is a lesson I learnt the hard way. I had to own up to the fact that I never let my ex-husband win at loving me. I spent most of the time playing hard to get, difficult, dramatic or testing him. Your man needs to feel that by simply being around you, he can make you happy and that you’re at peace and fully satisfied in his company. This is why an overly-critical woman can make her man feel he’s failed at loving her. He’ll withdraw his affection and love in return. He may even say things like, “I can’t win”. Ask yourself, “Have I let him feel he can always win at loving me?” This is a crucial lesson for keeping love alive. When you come home and you’re feeling grumpy, ensure your man knows he is amazing and that he makes you very happy and that your moods have nothing to do with him.

Keeping love alive principle #2: Maintain the polarity of your relationship

The feminine essence is: Loving, caring, spontaneous, crazy, unpredictable, free, fun, mental, dramatic, turbulent, shrieking at the sight of a mouse/spider/creature with more legs than yourself, outspoken, honest, vulnerable, raw, carefree, real, weepy, emotional, a hurricane, self-expressed, creative, chatty, babbling and making no sense, cooking, loud, noisy, peaceful, sexy, goddess-like, mysterious, a dancing nymph,
wanting to be comforted, nurtured, supported and loved. The feminine essence is not: controlling, overly organized, bossy, nagging, changing light bulbs (even if she is perfectly capable of doing so), killing snakes, doing manly chores that require power tools, silent, talking about her emotions instead of
feeling them, too intellectual, so damn independent that a man will sense she doesn’t need him (sadly, he will be right). Focus on remembering these points whenever you feel your man slipping away from you. Step back into your feminine essence and he will come straight back to you.

Keeping love alive principle #3: Maintain separateness and move to your own rhythm

It was Sherry Argov who distinguished that ‘men equate longing with love.’ If you do everything together, there will be no opportunity for your man to experience any longing for you. So, don’t jump through hoops for him. Don’t suffocate him by always wanting to be where he is or checking up on him. If he texts you, don’t respond immediately if you are busy with something else. Wait a little while until you have completed what you were doing before texting him back. If you get home and see there is a message from him, wait until you’ve settled in, made a cup of tea, had a bath or dinner, or anything else you want to do before checking the message.
NOTE: To keep sexual chemistry alive in your relationship, remain feminine in your relationship and true to your feminine essence. Allow your
man to be the man in your life.
Keep your own interests and activities alive. Every few nights, ensure you have a gym class, dinner, a movie or a book club with a girlfriend or something that ensures he doesn’t always have your movements pinned down. You’ll see when you get home afterwards that he’s missed you…

Keeping love alive principle #4: When he disappears on you, focus on making yourself happy

Men disappear from time to time and as author John Gray stated in ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.’ They do go into their caves from time to time. It’s a basic need and one that too many women don’t understand. When he disappears, he’s usually still physically present, but emotionally distant and distracted. At these times, dig deep, practice the Worry Buster exercise on Day 17 of the naked divorce programme and reassure yourself that this is a test. He is testing your reactions. Our natural instinct is to want to know why. We’ll want to know if there’s something wrong. No! No! No! This will drive him further into the cave. You have to focus on making yourself happy. Organize a dinner with your girlfriends. Play tennis. Go to the gym. Have a luxurious bath and pamper session. Whistle while you’re cooking dinner. Leave him be. Don’t question or enquire. Smile at him and give his hand a squeeze,
then walk away and go and be happy. This will surprise him because men are used to women acting very clingy whenever they retreat into their caves. He will be concerned that your life does not revolve around him and that you seem happy without him doing anything. The hunter within him will return from his cave very fast to reclaim his woman, you’ll see!
There are many more of these principles in the naked divorce book. Purchase it today to learn more!
Hope you enjoyed that, till next time!
Big hugs

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We're All Going On a Summer Holiday

It is reported that under new government rules, headteachers will be able to fine parents who take their children out of school for holidays during term-time.  The fine can then be deducted from the family's child benefit, and or doubled if not paid on time.
The issue of term-time holidays is often a cause of dispute between separated parents.  It is not uncommon for parents to disagree on whether it is appropriate for a child to be taken out of school in term time in order to go on holiday with the other parent and in some cases, last minute applications to the court are required.  As the summer holidays approach, whether the children go away with each parent, and if so, where and when will become an increasingly live issue for many separated families.
As has been discussed in this blog previously, in most cases, both parents must consent to a child being removed from the country, even if this is only to go on holiday.  The court can adjudicate and make Specific Issue Orders granting permission for a holiday, or Prohibited Steps Orders, stopping them.  The courts usually take the view that it is a child's best interests to be able to enjoy a holiday with either parent, but will rarely consider it is appropriate for a child to be removed from school for this, unless there is a very good reason, especially in important academic years, or in the run up to tests and assessments.
If permission is not granted, the cost of the holiday can be lost and so it is always worth making sure that a holiday is lawful and unlikely to be successfully challenged, before it is booked.  Anyone who is unsure whether or not they have the necessary permission to take a child of a specific holiday, be it in term-time or during holidays is well-advised to seek advice from a family solicitor, in order to avoid costly mistakes and disappointment all round.
For more advice on divorce and children matters follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Prenups in the Press

This week has seen a resurgence of media interest in pre-nuptial agreements. It has been reported that Oprah Winfrey is to marry her partner of 25 years, Stedman Graham. She is allegedly offering a pre-nuptial agreement which includes a $100,000,000 financial settlement in the event of divorce.

Elsewhere in the US, it is reported that the Nebraska Supreme Court has rendered unenforceable a pre-nuptial agreement thrust upon the bride five days before the wedding with the threat "sign this, or the wedding is off!" No disclosure of the groom's $2,000,000 fortune had been disclosed, as required by state law.

Unlike certain US states, the terms of pre-nuptial agreements which are considered as part of an English divorce settlement are not automatically upheld. The general principle in this country is that the courts will only give effect to a nuptial settlement provided that it is freely entered into by each person with a full appreciation of the implications, unless the outcome would be unfair - something with which the Nebraska Supreme Court appears to agree.

Provided certain safeguards can be met, an English pre-nuptial agreement will be compelling and carry decisive weight.

For more advice on pre-nuptial agreements or divorce settlements in England, follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce-experts. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Boise Criminal Lawyers - Idaho Criminal Defense Attorneys - Aggravated DUI

Aggravated DUI and Criminal Defense
As a Boise Criminal Lawyer I am often asked if a DUI is a misdemeanor or a felony.  In general a first or a second time DUI, within 10 years, is a misdemeanor.  Thereafter the DUI becomes a felony.  There is an exception to this case, however.  An aggravated DUI, whether it is your first DUI or not, is a felony.  Another question I regularly hear as a Boise Criminal Defense Attorney is, what makes something an aggravated crime?  For a DUI to be considered aggravated, the intoxicated driver must have cause great bodily harm to someone, other than him or herself.  This harm includes permanent disability and disfigurement.  It is the act of causing extensive harm to another that makes something aggravated.

A further distinguishing factor between an aggravated DUI and a "regular" driving under the influence charge lies in the penalty.  The penalty is accelerated, in the sense that it very quickly becomes very severe.  A charge of this type, even if it is your first drunk driving charge, may result in you being sentenced to the state penitentiary for up to 15 years.  A third time driving under the influence charge (within 10 years) , however, only carries a maximum 10 year state penitentiary sentence.

Aggravated DUI and Personal Injury
An aggravated driving under the influence charge is one of those areas that can have a cross over between criminal law and civil law.  If you are charged with this type of DUI the state of Idaho can and will charge you with a crime that requires criminal defense.  In addition, the party to whom you caused the injury, or their family (if the victim died) can sue you in civil court for a personal injury.  So instead of facing just the DUI charge, you may be facing a civil suit as well.

If you have been charged with an aggravated DUI or any other criminal charge in Idaho and you need to speak to an attorney, please give us a call and speak with one of our Boise Criminal Lawyers, (208) 472-2383.  Give us a call now.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Boise Divorce Attorney - Idaho Family Law Lawyer - Adoption in Idaho

Adoption - Family Law
Adoption falls into the category of family law, not because it involves divorce issues necessarily, but because it involves the family.  In the Idaho Code the law for adoption falls under "juvenile proceedings".  This is often confusing to people because generally we tend to think of juvenile proceedings as criminal law associated with minors.  It is simply located here because adoption generally refers to children.  In Idaho, however, you can also have adult adoption.  As a Boise Family Law attorney people often ask me who can adopt and who can be adopted.  This not only involves the people, but the circumstances surrounding the adoption.

Who can adopt and who can be adopted?

Adult Adoption in Idaho
Adoption law in Idaho has evolved over the years.  At one point adult adoption was an acceptable thing to do.  In the early 90's that was change to disallow the adoption of adults only to return once again to the current status of allowing adult adoption.  

As a Boise Family Law Lawyer, I often get confused looks when I speak about adult adoption.  Why would this ever happen?   In general this situation revolves around an adult who has been cared for as a child or young person by someone who was not their parent.  Why the family never adopted the adult as a child can be as varied as snowflakes.  As the law stands currently, you must show that there has been a parent/child relationship for at least 1 year and that a substantial family relationship has been formed.  So why would someone want to be adopted as an adult?  Here too there can be many many reasons, but in general the adoption process legally creates a parent/child relationship.  From a probate and estate planning perspective, a child can inherit without the formality of a will.  It acknowledges the family relationship that has been established.

Adoption of a Child - Consent
When we speak of adoption, we generally refer to children.  The Idaho Code establishes how a child is adopted, who can adopt and what the respective rights of the parties involved are.  An interesting change in the rights and responsibilities is in respect to unmarried fathers.  At one point the law would not allow a father's rights to be terminated without his consent.  The consent had to be actual or at least established by a failure of the father to come forward.  Now the law establishes that there must be an active role in the interest and upbringing of a child or the father stands to loose his rights, without his consent.  In fact, the Idaho Code places the rights of the perspective adoptive parents, the child and the mother over that of an unmarried father, when that father has not taken his rights and responsibilities seriously.

Another interesting issue having to do with consent and adoption that I see as a Boise Family Law Lawyer is as it relates to divorce law.  If a couple is in the process or divorce, but not legally separated, neither party can adopt a child without the consent of the other party.  From a divorce attorney's perspective this is logical because it prevents a party from being given the responsibility of parenthood  via adoption when there is an impending divorce.  The adoption would create custody and child support issues and therefore the law requires both parties to agree to this responsibility.

Unmarried Persons Seeking to Adopt
While there is no specific law referring to who can adopt, we often think of adoption by a married couple.  Idaho allows for unmarried persons to adopt when it is shown through the social services investigation that they can provide a stable home life for the child.  

Age of Adoptive Parent
Another factor that can effect who can adopt is age.  You must be at least 15 years older than the person being adopted or 25 years or older.  This, however, does not apply if you are married to the child's parent and you can show you have established a substantial parent/child relationship for at least 1 year.  

If you are seeking to adopt a child or have another Family Law issue, including divorce, custody, child support, modification or domestic violence, please give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seal Seeks Shared Custody

After Heidi Klum filed for divorce last week, Seal has reportedly today filed his own court papers seeking joint physical custody of the couple’s four children.  It appears Heidi Klum agrees there should be joint legal custody but she is asking that she have primary physical custody.  Seal’s application would mean that the children would divide their time between their parent’s homes.  How common are shared custody agreements and what exactly does it mean?

The term “custody” is an American phrase.  English courts talk about the concepts of “residence” and “contact”.  Traditionally, if there is a dispute between parents, a residence order would be made to one party and the other would receive a contact order.  Although these orders continue to be made in a lot of cases, shared residence is becoming more and more common in England.

Shared residence means that a child will live with both of their parents but it does not necessarily mean that a child will split their time equally between them.  Shared residence reflects the reality of a lot of modern post-separation families where the children have a good relationship with both parents and spend time with each of them.  It is important to remember though that if there is an agreement about arrangements for the children, there may not be a need to involve the courts or for any orders to be made – if in doubt, seek advice from a family law solicitor.

For more advice on separation follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Arbitration Alternative

The Financial Times has reported on an arbitration scheme that is attracting interest from super-rich couples. The scheme allows the divorcing couple to argue over their financial settlement in private rather than in the full glare of the media.
Arbitration is another alternative to court proceedings. It is a process where an independent third party considers the arguments of the divorcing couple and makes a decision that resolves the dispute. The arbitrator is independent. In most cases the arbitrator's decision is legally binding on both sides. Any decision can be enforced in court if necessary.

As is the case with mediation and collaborative law, the divorcing couple must be willing to enter into the process. Arbitration takes place in private. Only the couple are present with the arbitrator. 

Arbitration has a number of advantages. It is intended to be less expensive, less formal, faster and more flexible than court, so the rules of evidence are not as strict. The divorcing couple can usually have a say in how they want the hearing to be conducted. 
However, arbitration is not suitable for everyone and specialist advice should be sought as to what is going to be the best method of reaching a resolution of financial matters.
For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter@Divorce_experts.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Boise Divorce Attorneys - Idaho Family Law Lawyers - Grandparents' Rights

Grandparents' Rights
 As a Boise Divorce Attorney I often receive calls from concerned grandparents who want to know what if they have any rights in regard to their grandchildren.  Sometimes the grandparents have had a very active parent-like role in the grandchildren’s lives.  Sometimes their own son or daughter is not married to the other parent and they are not allowed to see the grandchild at all.  Whatever the situation is, in general these grandparents want to have or to maintain an active role in their grandchildren’s lives.

As a Boise Family Law Lawyer another issue I hear confusion about is grandparent's rights vs. grandparent's receiving custody.  These are two separate issues.  Grandparent's rights refers to visitation with the grandchildren.  Custody refers to the grandparents actually getting custody of their grandchildren.

Idaho Law

What does Idaho Law say about grandparent’s rights?  Not much.  The Idaho Code says that when it is in the grandchild’s best interest visitation may be considered.  In general, if the grandparent has had a very active role in the child’s life they may ask the court to consider granting some visitation to them.  When the grandparent has been denied visitation or has not had an active role, the court is very hesitant to give them visitation.

Military Issues

In my capacity of a divorce lawyer, I often handle military divorce cases.  Grandparent’s rights also come up in this area.  Although the law isn’t applied any differently, there is the potential for the grandparent to have access to visitation that wouldn’t be provided for in a civilian case.  Idaho law allows a member of the military who is on active duty to delegate their right to visitation by power of attorney to whomever they want.  If a grandparent is denied visitation by a custodial parent, they may be able to exercise visitation if their son or daughter who is in the military gives them the right of visitation through a power of attorney.

If you have a custody or visitation issue, or any other family law issue and would like to speak to one of our divorce lawyers, please give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you.

Consider Mediation

Let's face it, going to court during a divorce and letting the judge choose the outcome based on which lawyer is most convincing can be a crap shoot. Judges are overwhelmed with several cases and rely on the lawyers to present the facts, not you. Judges have hundreds of cases they see weekly and are not likely to remember your specific case a few months down the road. The process is lengthy and when couples disagree on issues they may find themselves in and out of court for years. A running log of all communications will provide objectivity. Divorce Communications provides a forum for that objectivity. Combining Divorce Communications with mediation provides parents with the most control over parenting issues and their divorce process.

Mediation is a process in which the parties themselves are in control and are empowered to make their own decisions. The mediator is a neutral party that will not give advice or force an agreement, but lay the groundwork for what needs to be discussed and decided on. The process of mediation is for couples to negotiate their own divorce and retain control over major decisions. Eventually when both parties agree on issues, the mediator will draw up the paperwork to present to the judge.

The process of divorce has changed very little throughout the years. Mediation is a great alternative for those who are willing to sit down and really come up with a plan for the future. Mediation also gives control to the parties involved while not relying solely the judge to decide the outcome.

Copyright © 2012 Divorce Communications. All Rights Reserved.

Talk About It

When attending conferences and seminars as the owner of I frequently hear feedback from professionals who work with divorced individuals. One of the most common concerns expressed is they have referred their client to a therapist, however the client won’t go. The reason is the oft-heard defense; “there is nothing wrong with me”.

I couldn’t agree more, there isn’t anything “wrong” with the person who comes to counseling. On the contrary, there is something very “right” with this person: this person is recognizing that sometimes talking about life’s challenges can offer insight, offer alternative solutions, and help ease transitions. As a therapist, I am prone to encouraging individuals to talk about challenges they are facing. Divorce and parenting post-separation certainly qualify as major challenges and life transitions.

There is an increasing percent of the population that seem more willing to engage in “coaching” or brief counseling. Many of these individuals are opting for online formats. There are numerous studies regarding the efficacy and ethical issues surrounding online therapy. Most of the literature indicates online therapy is beneficial when delivered by a qualified, licensed professional who has the necessary safeguards in place.

Unfortunately, like most things in this world, there are those who see the opportunity to make a quick buck in this line of work. These con artists will portray themselves as “professionals” when in fact they are not. This will result in more harm to a person who is already struggling with issues and most likely turn him off to seeking help in the future.

One of the tasks we have is to educate the general population about what credentials to look for when seeking help of any kind. In addition, we need to provide the forum for people to be able to easily and affordably access help when needed. Divorce Communications is committed to helping parents and children who have been affected by divorce. We offer real help, not gimmicky packaging to market the site. It is our belief that allowing individuals the opportunity to talk with a licensed professional will help ease the transition. Being able to talk to a professional about parenting issues will help reinforce appropriate boundaries and offer guidance through this tough time.

I have received numerous emails and calls asking if Divorce Communications has a counseling component. As a licensed professional I have been contemplating the pros and cons of offering this service online. I am wondering what others think of online counseling for parents who have separated and/or divorced? Would you refer your client to a comprehensive service by licensed professionals in an online format? Please go to our blog, and tell us what you think. We would love to hear from you.

Copyright © 2012 Divorce Communications. All Rights Reserved.