The Legal Insider

August 2015

Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Bankruptcy-LawyerBankruptcy has a bad reputation. The social expectation is that people who buy things should pay for those things. Bankruptcy is perceived as a way for people to avoid their financial obligations, thereby cheating creditors and consumers who have paid their fair share.

However, it is far better for debtors, creditors, and society at large if people can settle their debts quickly and efficiently. A good bankruptcy will leave the debtor with a fresh start and will generate more money for society as a whole in the long run.

Hereís a list of times when you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy:

  • You Have No Income and Large Amounts of Credit Card Debt

    Credit card companies are in the business of paying people who need to be paid. They expect that some cardholders wonít always be able to make ends meet.

    Credit card debts are the debts most often discharged during bankruptcy. In other words, credit card companies can absorb losses from bankruptcy without being significantly impacted. So if you canít find a job and most of your debt is tied to credit cards, you can file bankruptcy without feeling guilty.

  • You Want to Restructure Your Business

    If you think filing for bankruptcy makes a business a failure, there two words that will wash away the shame: Donald Trump. The multi-millionaire investor has filed for business bankruptcy four times and heís more successful than ever. Successful businessmen know how to play the game. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is part of that game and can help turn a failing business around.

  • Creditors are Threatening To Repossess Your Property

    Whether its foreclosure or repossession of your car, bankruptcy can help. Once debtors file for bankruptcy, all attempts to collect on the debt are frozen until the bankruptcy court gives the creditor permission to move ahead. Since it might take months, if not years, for the court to make a ruling, bankruptcy can give you time to save your property.

The Issues after Same-Sex Marriage

The Issues after Same-Sex MarriageOn June 26 of this year, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Although this was a tremendous step forward, itís not the end all or be-all issue for the LGBTQ community. There are still a number of legal issues that members of this community are facing

Some of these issues include:

  • Employment — In 29 states, an employer may fire you because of your sexual orientation. There is no federal law that prevents this type of employment discrimination.
  • Hate Crimes — In 20 states, the law does not recognize hate crimes that were based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The federal government has included sexual orientation as a protected group in the Hate Crime Prevention Act.
  • Sodomy Laws — There are still twelve states that have statutes banning consensual anal sex between adults. In Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court ruled that anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional and violated the 14th Amendment. Louisiana recently arrested two men for violating its anti-sodomy law.
  • Parental Issues — Only one parent in a same-sex relationship is legally recognized and has parental rights. Typically, the parent that has the rights is the one that has a biological connection with the child. Some states offer second parent adoptions, but many do not. As a result, the second parent in a same-sex relationship often has no legal parental rights.

Factors that Go Into an Adoption

Factors-that-Go-Into-an-AdoptionMany people donít realize how common adoptions are. Adoptions occur on a daily basis across the U.S. for various reasons. In addition to child and minor adoptions, other types of adoptions are becoming more frequent as well. For instance, adult adoptions are on the rise, as well as adoptions of persons with special needs and disabilities. For others, adoption can be a viable alternative when childbirth is not an option. All adoptions must be approved by a court of law. Courts review a wide range of factors when approving an adoption.

Factors involving the adopting party: Courts will take various factors into consideration, including:

  • The personís relationship to the adoptee
  • The adopting personís financial and educational background
  • Whether the person has had previous interactions with the adoptee
  • Whether there are any other parties competing for adoption

Factors involving the adoptee:These are equally important, and may include:

  • The adopteeís age, sex, and other characteristics
  • Whether the adoptee currently has parents or a legal guardian
  • Whether the adoptee has any special needs or disabilities
  • In some cases, whether the adoptee consents to the new arrangement (especially if the adoptee is not a minor)

Basically, courts are looking to see that the adopting party is stable, financially able to shoulder their responsibilities, and is committed to taking care of the person. Especially for minors, courts only approve adoption arrangements that work in the best interests of the person. State laws on adoption can vary widely from place to place. If you have further questions or are interested in pursuing an adoption, you may wish to contact a family law attorney in order to proceed.

Legal Issues to Consider Before Your Kids Go Back to School

Legal Issues to Consider Before Your Kids Go Back to SchoolSummer is coming to an end, and many parents are gearing up for the new school year. Most families are focusing on the essentials, such as buying school supplies, or clothing. To better prepare for school though, many parents should also consider the following issues:

  • School Liability Waivers or Releases— at the start of every school year, children are given a packet of papers for their parents to sign and return. The most common forms are those regarding sports. Reading these forms thoroughly and carefully will ensure that your child is protected and that you arenít waiving any liability the school may have.
  • Social Media Policies and Cyber Bullying — almost every child uses some form of social media to interact with friends and other peers. As a result of this reality, many schools are adopting policies that allow teachers and other school personal to monitor studentsí social media activities. Parents should consider the privacy implications of school monitoring technology and talk to their children in general about the use of social media, and in particular the consequences of sexting and cyber bullying.
  • Bad Pranks and Dangerous Dares — Being impulsive is part of adolescence, but it doesnít hurt to remind your children about the repercussions and criminal charges that can happen when something goes wrong. As their legal guardians, parents can also be held liable for the actions of their children.
  • School Accommodations — you should notify your childís school if he or she requires special accommodations. Usually, schools need to be accommodate children that have learning disabilities or physical handicaps.

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