Professional Services

Explaining how things work

The Process of Adopting an Older Child

When most people think of adoption, they think of the process of adopting a baby. However, many people adopt older children. In some cases, the child has been in foster care with the adoptive family for a long period of time. There are family law considerations when it comes to adopting an older child. You should work with an attorney that is familiar with family law and adoptions to help you navigate the process.

You should be aware that adoption can be a time-consuming process and won’t be settled immediately. There are many family law issues that factor into any adoption. You will have to go through many steps that are part of any adoption. These include background checks and home studies. If you are adopting a foster child, there will be regularly scheduled supervision by the social worker assigned to the case. The average length of time between matching a child to a family and adoption is one year.

older-child-adoptionBefore you pursue adoption, you should do some research. There are a variety of books and articles online and in libraries that will help you learn about the process. This will help you understand the family law issues that you need to consider before starting the process of adoption. You can also find online courses about adoption.

The first step in an adoption is working with an agency. You’ll need to select an agency that will help you navigate the process. You should ask the agency what family law support they will provide. You don’t necessarily need a family law attorney at this point, but many people find legal support beneficial.

One issue a family law attorney can advise you on is the termination of the biological parent’s rights. If you think the biological parents will raise objections to the adoption, termination of rights is the first issue that must be addressed. When the child has been in foster care for a long period of time, termination of rights becomes much simpler. If the biological parents do not have objections, you can proceed immediately with the adoption process. A family law attorney can help with the changes that affect children when they switch from their biological parents to a non-relative. Family law attorneys can also offer specific advice for adoption by a step-parent.

How Alimony and Child Support are Calculated

Alimony and child support are common issues in family law. The people on each side of the issue have concerns about whether alimony will be granted and how much child support will be awarded. Alimony is money that one person pays the other while a divorce is in process or after the divorce is finalized. A family law judge may determine that the higher earner of the two must support the other person with payments for a length of time.

divorceThere are a variety of types of alimony or spousal maintenance in Arizona. A family law judge will determine what type of alimony is appropriate and assign a length of time. In some cases, the family law judge orders one spouse to pay the other a lump sum. It’s more common for one spouse to be required to make monthly payments. It’s unusual for permanent alimony to be established. Family law courts tend to view alimony as temporary and designed to help the designated spouse find a job or obtain the education and training they need to find a job.

The family law court will determine whether alimony is appropriate based on a number of factors. For example, one spouse might not have sufficient property to meet basic needs. Alimony may be awarded if one spouse cannot be self-sufficient through a job. If one spouse contributed to the other’s education, the family court may award alimony. There are a variety of other factors that come into play such as the duration of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, the spouses’ financial resources and ability to earn money and costs of health insurance. There are many other factors involved. It’s important to work with a qualified attorney no matter which side of the issue you are on.

Child support is calculated differently than alimony. There are online calculators that can estimate child support payments, but the final decision is up to a family law court. Many factors play into child support including educational costs, medical costs, parenting time per year and the gross income of the parents. Alimony is also considered.

What are Business Torts? How can I Prevent Them When it comes to My Business?

Business torts are a basic part of business law. Tort law covers a wide range of issues. These can include personal injury, malpractice and negligence. Tort law overlaps with other types of business law such as contract law and other types of business law. Typically, people think of tort law as applying to personal injury situations. However, tort law can affect businesses significantly.

In business law, torts involve injury to the business such as loss of clients, loss of business opportunities, unfair competition, disparagement and loss of business relationships. The plaintiff in the case will have to prove that the tortious behavior has led to calculable business loss. For instance, if the issue is loss of clients, the plaintiff has to show the monetary damage this caused.  Business torts usually involve compensation to the injured party, usually in the form of financial compensation. A court might also order an injunction against the plaintiff to stop their tortious behavior.

business tortsAll businesses should have a business law attorney that they can consult for a variety of issues. It may be worthwhile to consult your business law attorney about possible tort risks for your business. The attorney can counsel you on how to avoid these situations. The attorney can also explain risky situations and advise you on how to communicate guidelines to employees.

Fraudulent representation is a common tort issue. The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant deliberately misrepresented facts and the plaintiff relied on the facts and was subsequently harmed. For example, if a financial advisor represents the buyer and seller of property could be liable if the advisor knows the property has significant defects.

Many business torts address the issue of unfair competition. The guilty party may be marketing a product that is nearly indistinguishable from the plaintiff’s product. Other business law torts can include intellectual property infringement and damage to computer hardware or software. Torts also address disparagement which involves making false statements about a business such as making false statements about the quality of the plaintiff’s services or products. Your attorney can help you understand which of these issues may affect your business and how to avoid them.

Do Small Business Owners need Corporate Counseling?

If you own a small business, is corporate counselling right for you? The short answer is yes. Business law is complex and you will need support in navigating a variety of situations. Your expertise is your business, products, services and customers. A business law attorney has specific knowledge about legal situations that you may not understand without corporate counseling.

Many small businesses put off contacting a business law attorney until they already have a serious problem. It’s important that you know how to address legal issues and make the right decisions for your company and employees.

Most small businesses don’t have a copyright policy in place. That can lead to an unintentional legal situation. Employees often don’t understand the intricacies of copyright law and can unknowingly commit violations. A business law attorney can assist you in creating copyright guidelines that are clear and well-defined to guide employees.

corporate counselingOther common business law issues for businesses include employee relations, human resources and employee policy. Small businesses rarely have a dedicated human resources department and problematic issues can easy be overlooked. These include fair hiring practices, proper termination procedures and sexual harassment issues. Often, small businesses do not have clear or well-formed employee policies. Some companies don’t have anything written down to guide employee and management behavior. Without these policies, issues can easily arise. A business law attorney can review your practices and policies and advise you on how to improve these issues. Some companies hire a business law attorney to help draft employee manuals that make policies and procedures as clear as possible. This can help you avoid awkward or difficult situations.

A business law attorney should be involved when the company or entity is formed. It’s important that the right kind of entity is formed. These include corporations, partnerships and LLCs. An LLC needs an operating agreement. Partnerships need partnership agreements. Corporations need appropriate bylaws. You’ll need to work with the attorney to make decisions around the formation of your company. If you do not form the right kind of entity and draft agreements or bylaws properly, you could have significant problems down the road.

What are the Most Common Unfair Business Disputes and Practices?

Unfair business disputes and practices are a serious concern for any business. These issues can cost the business serious time and money. The best way to protect yourself and your company is to work with a qualified business law attorney who can advise you about common unfair business disputes and practices. This will protect your company from being on either end of a lawsuit. A business law attorney can also review your company’s practices to ensure that you do not unintentionally fall afoul of regulations.

business lawUnfair business practices include a variety of issues. These include misrepresentation, fraud, oppressive acts and unconscionable acts committed by businesses. A business law attorney can explain the different areas in which these types of business disputes can arise. Unfair business practices can involve debt collection, insurance claims and settlement, tenancy issues and the purchase of products and services by customers. Not all of these will apply to your particular business, but it’s important to consult with a business attorney if you have concerns about any of these issues. These issues can involve punitive damages and payment of legal fees although these types of business disputes are often settled out of court.

Each state has put in place its own business practice statues. That’s why it’s important to work with a business law attorney who has expertise in your state. The statues outline specific practices which constitute unfair practices. Some of the guidelines are designated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Many of these practices are not commonly thought of as unlawful but they violate public policy. These include unethical, immoral and oppressive behaviors that harm consumers or other businesses.

There are a variety of unfair business practices that include pyramid schemes, violating the terms of a warranty, billing fraud, bait and switch tactics, overcharging, fraud and misrepresentation. Other practices may include misleading advertising, violating unfair competition regulations and other related business law violations. A business law attorney can help support your business whether you are a victim or the accused in a business dispute. It’s important to contact your attorney quickly when one of these issues arises so that you can take the appropriate action as soon as possible.

When You Need an NDA

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a common business law tool. These agreements are typically used when businesses or people want to share sensitive materials. The NDA is completed and signed by the people or company with whom you are sharing secrets. NDAs are often referred to as secrecy agreements or confidentiality agreements. An NDA can be mutual which means both parties agree to keep information confidential. The NDA is often only one-sided as well. One party agrees not to share the other party’s information.

What does an NDA mean? Often, when two parties are going work together on a project or joint business venture, it’s essential that they protect one another’s privacy. For example, if one company is seeking a patent on a product or process, they will need to closely guard this information to protect their future profits and the ability to obtain a patent.

An NDA can have a wide variety of stipulations, depending on the situation. An NDA must be carefully drafted to protect all the parties involved. This is why it is important to work with a business law expert when creating an NDA. If it is not written carefully, it may not protect your interests. In some cases, the NDA may not hold up in court if it does not have the right information.

A business law attorney will help you understand the terms that you need to include in your NDA. You will need to specific a time period of confidentiality. The NDA should specify how the recipient can use the information you provide. For example, your business law attorney may advise you to list or enumerate the purposes for which the information can be used. You may also add situations under which the information can be disclosed.

Your business law attorney will help you carefully identify what information is confidential and protected by the NDA. This may include information on customers, financial information, vendor lists and your company’s business practices. A well-written NDA will protect you over the long-term so it’s important to do it correctly. Another reason to work with a business law professional is that NDAs are often constructed along with other important documents like ownership documents and all documents should be in harmony.

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment is unfortunately common, even in modern workplaces. Business owners must be vigilant to prevent a culture that fosters sexual harassment. They must also take active steps to prevent this kind of behavior in the workplace. A few statements during employee training are not enough to thwart problems. You need to take more active steps.

It’s important to consult with a business law attorney to set up practices that will prevent sexual harassment. As a business owner or manager, you have legal obligations and a business law attorney can help you thoroughly understand your responsibilities. An attorney can review your business and human resources practices to help you understand your areas of vulnerability and steps you should take to make your workplace a safer place for everyone.

A business law attorney can explain all the possible forms sexual harassment can take. There are a lot of misunderstandings about what constitutes sexual harassment. It can happen to men and women at any level of the company. Emails, office jokes, demeaning comments, sexist terms and many other behaviors can be interpreted as sexual harassment. First, you must fully understand all the possible manifestations of sexual harassment. Then, you need to make a plan to help your employees understand the company’s guidelines.

Most business law attorneys will recommend crafting a strong and clear policy that is outlined in the employee handbook. The attorney can help you craft a clear statement that includes information on the definition of harassment and how employees should file complaints regarding sexual harassment. The statement should also describe how policy violators will be disciplined and indicate that anyone who files a sexual harassment complaint will not face retaliation.

Your business law attorney will help you craft a complaint procedure for employees who feel they have been harassed. The complaint process should be easy to use and protect the person’s confidentiality. Management personnel should receive thorough training on how to sport and handle potential sexual harassment issues. Your business law attorney will also advise training for employees. This will help them understand the appropriate boundaries that apply to business situations. Employees will also understand their rights and protection if they become victims of sexual harassment.

Lease Negotiation

When you are considering any kind of lease, be it commercial, real estate or any other sort of property lease, it’s a good idea to have a business law attorney help you during the lease negotiation process. Business law attorneys are experienced with these types of situations and understand the terms involved in the leases. There are many details in a lease that you may overlook or not understand which can lead to a frustrating situation, especially if it is a long-term lease.

A lawyer can review the documents to ensure that you aren’t being taken advantage of and that the lease is in your favor. When it comes to property leases, landlords may bury some important issues in the details that an experienced business law attorney will find quickly. These may include items like maintenance and repairs. The attorney can advocate for you to ensure that you don’t get stuck with expensive repairs on appliances, roofing or sewer lines.

A business law expert will be experienced with a wide range of leases. The attorney can advise you on which terms are easily negotiable with landlords. Some terms are difficult to negotiate, but an attorney will help you gain the advantages you can during lease negotiations. A property owner is much more likely to take you seriously if you are working with a business law attorney. It shows that you are professional, prepared and intend to take negotiation seriously.

Leases are full of terms that you must abide by if you sign the lease. A business law attorney can review the terms and point out any unusual or potentially troublesome issues. Attorneys know from previous experience that they need to check a wide variety of details, even some as minor as dates and names. They’ll also make sure the lease terms are written appropriately so that there are no future misunderstandings.

Sitting down with your business law attorney and the potential landlord is a good investment of your time and money. Some landlords try to sneak unethical clauses into leases and your attorney will catch this quickly. The attorney will steer you away from landlords that will present you with problems down the road.

The Difference between a Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is very common in the world of family law. Many people create these agreements to protect their assets in the case of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements are also common, but people are often not familiar with the difference between the two types of agreements.

prenuptial agreementA prenuptial agreement is created with a family law attorney before a marriage or civil union takes place. The agreement is actually a contract and covers many different family law issues. Prenuptial agreements can contain a variety of terms depending on the situation. The document details how the couple will divide their assets if they decide to divorce in the future. Some agreements have specific stipulations, such as forfeiture of certain assets in the case of adultery.

Both parties involved should have their own family law attorney during the creation of the prenuptial agreement. There are many issues to consider and individuals who complete these agreements without assistance can overlook serious concerns. These can include spousal support and what happens to individual assets if one of the parties dies after the divorce. Prenuptial agreements must be entered into voluntarily and the family law attorneys can ensure that this is clear before the documents are signed.

Postnuptial agreements are created after the two parties have already been married or entered into a civil union. The postnuptial agreement is a contract that specifies how assets will be handled if the couple divorces or separates. These types of family law contracts have only been popular for a few decades, but people find them very helpful in the case of a separation.

There are a few common types of postnuptial agreements. One type deals with assets if one person dies. In these cases, the other partner waives the right to property or assets that he or she would normally be entitled to under inheritance laws. Some agreements address the issue of alimony. Typically, the parties waive the right to alimony. The contract may also address the division of property that was acquired before or after the marriage or civil union. It’s important for both parties to work with a family law while creating postnuptial agreements so that the interests of both people are protected.

How Paternity Suits Work

Paternity suits are initiated for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the father denies paternity and the mother pursues a paternity case to prove parenthood. In other cases, the father may file the paternity suit. He may wish to establish paternity to gain certain rights such as visitation or custody. The child’s rights are also considered during paternity cases. If the father is identified, the child has rights to medical benefits, life insurance policies and inheritances. The child may also be eligible to receive veteran’s and social security benefits.

paternityFamily law attorneys are often hired by both parties during the course of a paternity suit. The mother may hire the attorney to help her gain child support after paternity is established. The father may employ a family law attorney to gain access to the child or to protest a paternity suit brought by the mother.

If a paternity suit is contested, the matter is generally resolved in court based on the evidence available. The father participates in genetic testing to determine the likelihood of paternity. These tests, often DNA tests, are advanced and can generally provide the court with enough information to make a paternity ruling. The State of Arizona initially pays for the testing and the potential father signs an agreement to pay for the testing after the fact if he proves to be the father. Genetic testing can provide the parties with a probability of paternity which can establish the legal presumption of paternity. The threshold in Arizona is 95 percent likelihood.

The mother can employ a family law attorney to establish paternity even if the father does not live in the same geographic area. If the paternity is established in another state, it is considered in effect in Arizona. If the mother is not sure who the father is, the family law attorney can assist her in identifying the parent. First, the mother identifies the most likely father and the man is tested. If he does not prove to be the child’s father, then the mother works with her family law attorney to identify other potential candidates for testing.

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