The Legal Insider

January 2012

Divorce 2012: The Crucial First Steps

The arrival of 2012, or any New Year for that matter, means people will be making resolutions.  Understandably, most folks will be doing “the weight loss thing.” 

However, a growing number of people take the New Year as an opportunity to resolve thoughts of divorce.  That can mean going to consult with a lawyer to find out more, finalizing a divorce that’s already in progress, or you may just want to finally serve your soon-to-be Ex.

In any scenario, a divorce isn’t a spur of the moment decision like some marriages (see: Kardashian fairytale divorce).

A general familiarity with divorce procedure helps.  Most divorces start something like this:

Step 1: File the Petition for Divorce.

The Petition itself is fairly simple, listing the most relevant information: date of marriage, date of separation, whether either party wants spousal support, how property should be divided, and a child custody and visitation schedule if there are children. After filing, it must be personally served on your spouse.

Step 2: Response.

The Response will dictate how you will proceed from there. It gives the spouse an opportunity to voice concerns and state areas of dispute. The more contested items, the more complicated your divorce will be.

Step 3: Document Exchange and Possible Mediation.

Each side is required to disclose their assets, liabilities, income and expenses.  This is where a good lawyer will really begin to shine. Paperwork isn't glamorous, but big settlements come from good research and preparation.

You can read more about Divorce Steps in LegalMatch's Law Library.


Movies That Explain Legal Procedure

It’s important to acknowledge the apprehensive feeling some people get about finding legal help.  There are lots of stereotypes and lawyer jokes that would make you believe lawyers are some type of chameleon super criminal. 

Lucky for us LegalMatch employees, we are in contact with our lawyers and know that they’re some of the kindest and most hard working folks around. If you’re on the fence about finding a lawyer or simply want to learn more about how the law and courts work, check out the movies below.

Normally, Hollywood isn’t the best at depicting reality, but these are as close as they come. Heck, these flicks may even inspire more confidence in your view of the legal profession:

My Cousin Vinny (1992) features a straight talking lawyer (Joe Pesci) who walks you though an outstanding explanation of criminal procedure and what evidence is permitted in court. Many of these same evidence rules apply to other areas of law, like in personal injury cases.

A Civil Action (1998) represents some of the harsher realities of being a single plaintiff taking on two large corporations. The movie also shows what “burden of proof” and related legal jargon really means.

The Firm (2009) explores the dark side of what big law corporations and fiercely competitive environments can really produce. This movie is good for giving you a (rough) idea of how big legal companies can become and what influence they may have.

Philadelphia (1993) is the movie that will make you want to study those LSAT’s. Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington take on a mega-firm after a discrimination and wrongful termination scandal. A great look at how lawyers really make a difference.


3 Craziest Lawsuits of 2011

Many of the lawsuits that are deemed newsworthy include celebrities or exorbitant settlements.  Unfortunately, that leads to many misconceptions of how the law really operates.  These conditions spawn some of the oddest complaints in the court system. 

Most crazy lawsuits don’t even make it to court because no lawyer would take the case.  It’s lucky for us there are still some totally asinine ones that make it through.  Here are our favorites:

  1. Remember that movie Drive? Well, Sarah Deming thought it was bad too. In fact, she thought it was such a lacking film that she sued claiming it was an anti-Semitic film with “very little driving.” Read More.
  2. Suburban mad hatter Tova Gerson “flipped her lid” on Century 21 over an 80 cent refund discrepancy and got her dad, lawyer Harry Katz, to file the federal $5,000,000.00 lawsuit. Read More.
  3. Wet blanket Denise Keller, a real estate agent and mother of two daughters, hates Chuck E. Cheese's. She and attorney Eric Benink (who is still mad for never having been invited to a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party) are suing CEC Entertainment Inc. for “at least $5 million.” They say, “We don’t think that children should be exposed to casino-style gambling devices at an arcade.” Read More.

Lawyers + Small Business = BFF

Small Businesses are the backbone to the American economy. But if you own a small business, then you know there’s a mess of different things that can go awry: lawsuits, employee and business disputes, even flood or fire damage.

Many of these things can be handled by your local business lawyer. A business lawyer can help you avoid the normal follies of business ownership and ensure things are done correctly.

Below are a few things that business lawyers are dealing with regularly: 

Franchises and Franchising—Both are great ways to grow your particular name brand or service without too much personal investment. A reputable business lawyer can help you decide the best course of action whether it’s an entire business format or product distribution franchise.

Business Formation/Dissolution—It doesn’t matter if you’re near the beginning or end, a lawyer can help ensure you’re doing things correctly so there’s little affect on your personal finances if something were to go wrong. A lawyer can also advise which business model is best (LLC, Partnership, Corporation, Non-Profit, etc.).

Employment Contracts—Whether you’re working with other businesses or a small cast of close personal friends, you want to make sure everything is put into writing. Most workplace disputes are avoidable. Save yourself the headache and get everything included in well-drafted contracts so that you’re not left doing the “he said/she said.”

Public Offerings—“Going Public” can mean big bucks. However, you’ll want a lawyer to set up and review the Initial Public Offering.  The Initial Public Offering begins the sale of securities by an issuer or a person controlling the issuer to members of the public. It involves a number of steps during which you will want someone well acquainted with the routine and implications of each decision.

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