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February 2017 Archives

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Grandparents Guide to Child Custody

My Grandkids Are in Foster Care - Now What?

When kids are removed from their parents' care because of allegations of abuse or neglect, this starts the Dependency process in the juvenile courts in Arizona. In Arizona our laws have a preference that kids be placed with a family member, usually a grandparent, or another close relative. But sometimes kids will be placed with a licensed foster care provider. Grandparents or family members in this situation who want to be a placement need to act quickly for their grandkids.

How To Come to Agreements With Your Ex

But They're Impossible!

If you have children with your ex-partner, and the relationship is still tense or antagonistic, it may seem like you are never able to come to an agreement. And with the default rule in Arizona being that parents should share joint legal decision making authority, it is highly likely that you will need to come to agreements to avoid the expensive and emotionally costly process of having a judge make decisions for you. How to do this?

Uninsured Driver

Uninsured and underinsured claims

Why would I need a lawyer if my injury claim is for uninsured or uninsured coverage with my own carrier?

What to do when Illegally Recorded

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

It seems nowadays that for every event, for every circumstance, for every occasion there is someone ready to record it on a smart phone. The sense of privacy which existed before smartphones became so prevalent is long gone. With social media controlling so much of what people see and hear, there is no shortage of videos that go "viral." Social media, in particular, abounds with video clips of sometimes tasteless, embarrassing, risqué and inappropriate content.

What is Double Jeopardy

Double Edged: The knife and Jeopardy

What could come of the dramatic discovery of a knife potentially connecting O.J. Simpson to the deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman? Can he be re-tried on murder charges or tried on other related charges?

Family Law Agreement

Did We Come to an Agreement?

Rule 69 of the Rules of Family Law Procedure generally govern whether parties have come to a binding agreement in a family law case. The Rule requires that in order for an agreement to be considered binding it must be either (1) in writing; or (2) set forth on the record before a judge or other legal authorized person; or (3) audio recorded by a mediator or settlement conference officer. The rule doesn't require that the written agreement be signed, although many attorneys do not consider an agreement to be finalized until both parties have signed it. Otherwise, written agreements may just be settlement negotiations passed between the parties and not admissible in court.

Dog Licensing Laws

Who Let the Dogs Out?

I am continuously surprised by the number of people who do not realize that they are required to license their dogs in Arizona. They are even more surprised by the hefty fines associated with an offense/citation for not licensing their dog. Even if your pet is an "indoor dog" Pima County requires a rabies vaccination and licensing.

Establishing Paternity in Arizona

We Were Never Married But Have Kids

Arizona law gives moms default custody of kids who were born to parents who were not married at the time of there birth. Even if Dad's name is on the birth certificate or paternity was established through a IV-D child support action brought by the Department of Economic Security, in order to establish Legal Decision Making Authority and Parenting Time, there needs to be a Paternity Action.

How To Keep Your Estate out of the Hands of Your Creditors

Keeping Estate from Creditors

Throughout your life, you've worked hard to save money, spend responsibly, and even leave a little (or a lot) to your family when you're gone. It makes sense that you would not want to see it frittered away on things that would probably make you roll over in the grave. There are countless reasons why greater levels of control might just make sense as part of your estate plan depending on your particular circumstances. If you desire greater control over the disposition of assets in your estate after death, a lifetime protection trust might be a good option for you.

Can My Kids Come to Court?

No. Well, no if you are in the family court because you are getting a divorce or dealing with legal decision making and parenting time issues. (Remember, Arizona doesn't have "custody" anymore.)

Insurance Reimbursements After an Accident

Where'd the Money Go?

It seems more and more people are involved in motor vehicle collisions and find out that the Doctor, the Hospital, the Ambulance Company and other lien holders, all have their hand out for any settlement check or judgment you may recover from the person or their insurance company who was responsible. What you say, the money is not mine? Nope, it is not.

Lien Against Insurance Proceeds

Wait, I thought that was mine. . .

Did you know that a hospital or health care provider can file a lien against the proceeds of any settlement or judgment you may get against the person who ran the red light and hit you. Even though your insurance paid the bill, the medical provider may claim a balanced bill lien. That is, the hospital that saw you in the emergency department has the right by statute to record a lien against your settlement or judgment. Although the provider may not sue you directly under the terms of your insurance or under the statute for the difference between what the insurance paid and what the hospital billed, it can still get that difference from the third-party tortfeasor (bad guy who hit you).

Sending Emails During Divorce

Responding to a Psycho Emails

One of the most difficult things about divorce, even divorces that are relatively amicable, is learning a new way to communicate with your former partner, especially when children are involved. While I am sure that some (saintly) people are able to continue to treat their ex-spouse in the same loving and compassionate manner that they did while they were married, most of the rest of us would occasionally like to take a two-by-four to the other person's head.

Wills for Recent Grads

Does A 25-Year-Old Need a Will?

For most people in their 20's and 30's, the aging process and their own mortality are not exactly matters of pressing concern. Perhaps, if they are married or have children, the concept of what will happen when they are gone has at least crossed their mind.

Under-Insurance Coverage

Protecting Yourself From the Other Guy

Why of course you have automobile insurance that covers you if you are in an accident. The state requires a very minimum policy so at least you have what is called a 15/30 minimum policy ($15,000 per person/$30,000 maximum per accident). And, if you are like most people, you have a lot more insurance if you have any assets.

Sole Custody

I Want Sole Custody!

No, you don't. For the first thing "custody" no longer exists in Arizona. For the second, what you think of as "custody" doesn't really exist.

Dependency Law

What is a dependency action?

A dependency action is usually brought by the State to take legal care and control of minor children from their parents or guardians because of abuse or neglect.

Funding Your Living Trust

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE A LIVING TRUST! DID ANYONE BOTHER TO FUND IT?

You met with the attorney (maybe several times), gave him or her all the information he or she needed about your assets, and finally got all the documents signed. You're done, right? Time to check it off your to do list? Not so fast.

Joint Ownership of Bank Accounts at Death

An elderly parent who is a widow/widower frequently believes the children will live in a harmonious, caring and sharing relationship after the death of the parent. While this may prove accurate, it frequently is an unrealistic fantasy and there is no guaranty the parent's expectations will be met. Attempting to explain this to a parent is often met with the response: (1) "my children have a wonderful relationship and care deeply for one another"; or (2) "I trust my child completely to carry out my wishes". It has been proven time and again, the relationship between/among siblings changes once both parents are deceased! Nowhere is this more clearing illustrated than in the case of the greedy child.

Can I Lose My Home to Unpaid Creditors?

Circumstances arise where you may be unable to pay your creditors and collection agents begin threatening you with lawsuits, judgments, garnishments, attachments. You may not be able financially to pay the creditors. Are you at risk of losing your home?

Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck Accident Lawyer: Truck vs. Car

Truck vs. Car and the laws of physics.

Every day on the interstate big rigs and cars have to travel together. Unfortunately the laws of physics do not allow them to occupy the same place at the same time. We hear about a parallel universe but the theory does not work when a big rig moves into your lane.

Financial power of attorney

Will the Financial Power of Attorney I Signed Be Enforceable?

When a principal signs a power of attorney, he or she expects that it will give the agent all the authority he or she needs his affairs. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A financial power of attorney is a document whereby the person signing the power, otherwise known as the principal, grants a designated person, otherwise known as an agent or attorney-in-fact, broad authority to mange the principal's financial affairs. In most circumstances, a power of attorney is effective either immediately or upon the demonstrated incapacity of the principal, in which case it is referred to as a "springing" power of attorney. It may also be referred to as "durable," in which case it may not be revoked by the principal during his or her incapacity. The authority granted in a power of attorney terminates upon the death of the principal. As long as a power of attorney is prepared and executed in accordance with the laws of the state in which it is signed, it is valid and enforceable in every other state.

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