The Legal Insider

April 2011

Are You Entitled to Alimony?

When the great Hindenburg went down the announcer just kept repeating “oh, the humanity.”

Marriages can end like that, too. Sometimes in the end, one spouse has sacrificed a lot for the relationship, like paying for the other's higher education or putting their career on hold. Obviously, when the whole thing goes under, they should have some compensation for their dedication. Right?

I think so, and every U.S. State seems to agree. Although the laws vary fairly widely, there are a number of things courts look at when an alimony or spousal support claim comes into their court. These include:

  • Length of your marriage
  • Earning capacity of each spouse
  • You physical/mental health
  • Contribution/sacrifice to career or education
  • Your input as a homemaker
  • Any property or debts incurred by either you or your ex

If you’re interested in learning more about retaining financial support from your ex-husband or ex-wife, the hardest step is finally contacting a lawyer. The good news is: a lawyer can advise you if it’s a good idea to seek support and also anticipate and handle any other legal hiccups. A free consultation is usually worth a shot for some piece of mind.


Newbie Homeowner’s Guide to Spring Construction

Finally, after a long cold winter, it’s time for the DIY pandemonium of Spring. Barbeque shows are on television and baseball season just started, so you know it’s time for Home Depot and Lowes to be stocking up.

It’s not just the Garden & Outdoor aisle either. The warmer months are, for obvious reasons, more popular for taking on those DIY greenhouse (good for you “green thumbs”) or solar sets.

Whatever it is that you decide this season, there are a few things that you should consider before buying that Ridgid 18-volt reciprocating combo. Tearing down the walls is fun, but you don’t want a kitchen nightmare. 

Here are some things to consider before you get started:

Permits—“Who will notice?” is a common phrase people say when renovating their homes without a permit. Unfortunately, it will come up, most likely when you try to resell the property.

Cost—If your handy uncle says it’s going to cost you $25,000 to do your kitchen and your math says $18,000, you should believe your uncle. There are all kinds of odds and ends like nails, permits, caulking, inspection, and accidental damages or “construction mulligans” you probably aren’t taking into account. Don’t risk leaving the project unfinished by underestimating the cost.

Workers — Most of the battle is making sure your contractors are appropriately licensed and can provide good work. If you’re paying for a job to get done, it darn well better be done correctly. Often, the best way to find a good contractor is by asking friends and family because the best interview is past work and word of mouth.


In Case You Were Banking On the ‘Entrapment’ Defense

No, it’s not just a movie featuring Catherine Zeta-Jones interested in, yet another, older man (Sean Connery as master-thief). “Entrapment” is a Criminal Defense for offenders who were induced by an officer to commit a crime they would not otherwise have committed. This only happens rarely, but I love how every crack dealer on COPS jumps right to it.

So what’s the reality on this whole "entrapment" thing?

Courts take a range of factors into account when considering entrapment as a plausible defense, including:

  • Your prior criminal record
  • If you committed the crime for profit
  • Your amount of reluctance to commit the crime
  • How the exchange was made leading to your "entrapment"

To be entrapment, the idea must have come from the police officer, who used some kind of persuasion to encourage you to commit the crime. An opportunity like “Hey, you know where I can buy some drugs?” is not entrapment if you’re a drug dealer.  You could have easily envisioned committing that crime.

Entrapment is a tricky defense, but under the right circumstances with a knowledgeable lawyer, entrapment is a viable defense.


Avoiding a DUI: The Best "Excuses"

I apologize if you’ve been misled by the title, and were instead looking for “excuses to give the arresting officer to get off from a DUI." This isn’t that kind of a list. But wouldn’t that be nice?

A DUI/DWI can have life changing ramifications for every party involved. As a driver facing DUI/DWI charges, you can risk many things, including a felony conviction. A felony dramatically affects your employment and financial future, so contact a lawyer as soon as you are arrested. They may be able to negotiate the charges or help get them dismissed.

For those of you who like a little humor, here are our favorite lines you might try to get out of having to drive everyone home at the end of a crazy night out:

  • Say you’re from NYC.  (There are 2 drivers from there: crazy, and those that don't drive)
  • You’re too cool to drive.
  • Tell them you’re not sure how the mystery drugs (NSFW) you took will affect you.
  • Answer, “Finally! Will it be just like in the arcade my mom takes me to?”
  • Say, “My short legs will never reach the pedals.” (Be sure to slouch.)
  • Inform them you drove a mail route back in ‘Nam and it could bring back your PTSD.
  • I have Tiger’s Blood tonight.”
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