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What you should know about a Deposition in Family Law?

In any family law case, clients are advised by their attorneys not to talk to the other attorney, insurance companies, or investigators. That’s because the client can give out information that could make their side of the case weaker. However, in case of a deposition, your lawyer will actually give you permission to talk to the opposing attorney and answer any questions that they have to ask you related to your case. The purpose of a deposition is to allow communication that would likely lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

In most cases, deposition has to be done because the court requires it. It allows the court to know each side and to learn as much as possible about the other side before going to trial. This process is known as ‘discovery.’ The discovery process allows attorneys to analyze the settlement value of the case and it makes the settlement of the case more likely. Since there are thousands of cases that overload the court system, reaching a settlement before trial is usually favored.

What happens at a Deposition?

A deposition gives the other party’s attorney an opportunity to ask questions not only about the incident, but also ask the individual about their education, their work history, any previous injuries they may have sustained, and so on. All these questions and their answers allow the opposing attorney to learn about the person and it gives them an opportunity to talk to them before a trial. The opposing attorney will also look to see if the person is lying during the deposition and then use that against the person during the jury trial.

What should you do during the deposition?

During the deposition, you want to answer all questions asked by the opposing attorney truthfully. Never give away extra information voluntarily. Only answer what is asked. You also want to remain calm during the deposition at all times. A deposition should be treated as an interrogation by a police officer where your interests are not important. The other party’s attorney would be looking for information that can be used to harm or damage your case. The attorney of the opposing party can get you upset during the deposition and they can very well do it at trial as well. Therefore, it is important for you to stay calm and be normal during the deposition.

How to Answer Questions

Pay close attention to each question asked and make sure you understand the question. If you do not understand the question, mention that to the attorney and ask them to explain it to you before you answer it.

  • Answer all questions truthfully. If you know the answer, state it, otherwise, you can say “I don’t know.” Be firm in answering, do not give a confused answer.
  • Wait until the attorney finishes asking the question before answering.
  • Do not attempt to anticipate the question. Never try to answer an unfinished question as it will only lead to confusion.
  • Don’t let the other attorney put words in your mouth. Attorneys have a habit to mention facts and statements in a manner which may not actually be true or correct. Do not be confused by these tactics and don’t be mislead.

If during the deposition you realize that you have given an incorrect answer, stop and correct your previous answer. It is better to correct the deposition at the time it is being taken rather than later.

Deciding What is Best For Your Child During Divorce

Going Through a Divorce? How to Decide What’s Best for Your Child

It goes without saying that divorce can be really difficult. It can be even more difficult when kids are thrown into the equation. As if things weren’t already complicated enough, you and your spouse are now having to figure out what the best situation for your child will be. Who will they live with the majority of the time? Where will their holidays be spent? How will decisions be made about medical care or schooling? The list of questions can feel infinite, so how do you and your spouse decide what the best possible scenario will be for your child as the two of you part ways? (more…)

Planning a Summer Trip with Your Kids as a Divorced Parent

Summer vacation is the perfect time to plan a getaway with your children and may be even more important now, particularly if you have shared custody with your ex. Maybe you promised a week long camping excursion or a memorable road trip cross country to view all the “must see” national landmarks. While planning a vacation with your children is the perfect way to have a bonding adventure, be careful what you promise until you have discussed your vacation plans with your ex.

A weekend or even a week away, especially during the summer time, may seem easy to do, but you need to make sure that you’re not violating your custody agreement or interfering with your ex spouse’s schedule with your kids. Here are a few tips to plan the perfect summer getaway with your kids, without infringing on arrangements made during your divorce:

Communicate

If you and your ex spouse do not communicate well, it’s time to start mastering the art of keeping in touch, for the sake of your children. You and your ex may not be effective communicators when face to face, but you can e-mail, text, share online calendars, or talk on the telephone. As soon as you start thinking about summer plans, begin the conversation with your ex. The summer fills up fast with extra curricular activities and various family and friend gatherings. Don’t miss your chance to plan a vacation.

Be Respectful of Schedules

You may have a family reunion or wedding to attend on a weekend that your ex is scheduled to have your children, but don’t assume that you will be able to take your children. It’s important to notify your ex about the event as soon as you find out and see if you can agree on a substitute schedule. Always follow the rules of your custody agreement and if major problems arise or reoccur, talk with your divorce lawyer.

Don’t Make the Trip About You

Going on vacation with your kids can be an unforgettable experience, but make sure you’re not making the trip about you. Even though you may not have an amicable relationship with your ex, keep in mind that your children may want to keep in contact with their other parent while away from home. Never make them feel guilty for wanting to make a phone call to check in or if they say they “miss” the other parent. When planning your trip, talk with your ex and figure out times/ways to communicate while you’re traveling. Not only should you allow your children to speak with the other parent, but your ex should also respect your time alone with your kids and shouldn’t spend a great deal of time interfering with your vacation.

While you may want to make your vacation a “trip to remember”, resist the urge to overspend and buying your children whatever they want. Sometimes, without intention, one parent may come across as trying to be the “good” or “fun” parent. If you plan a great vacation, you shouldn’t have to buy your children’s happiness. Additionally, if you pay for child support, you need to keep your finances in order. The money you spend on a vacation cannot be exchanged with any amount of child support.

Videoconferencing: Changing the Way You Do Family Law Practice

Court reporting companies with videoconferencing services are enabling family law firms to run their practice more efficiently and save money. Technological advances have pushed the boundaries of what was once incomprehensible. Drastic improvements in videoconferencing hardware and software have greatly benefited many family law practices.

The use of videoconferencing tools is becoming more common and accepted in the legal field as time goes on. High-definition video make interviews via video conferencing more practical than in the past due to drastic improvements in image quality. In addition, improved network infrastructure and bandwidth capability means that data transmissions are extremely reliable. There are many good reasons why legal firms are using videoconferencing.

The Advantages of Using a Court Reporting Company

By taking advantage of a court reporting company’s videoconferencing facilities, your family law practice will not have to invest in expensive hardware and software or dedicate an office for videoconference calls.

Using a court reporting company’s online portal can make it possible for you to leverage their videoconferencing capabilities without leaving your office. This can also be a huge benefit for everyone else in your videoconference whether they are witnesses or legal partners.

Taking Depositions

One of the advantages to using videoconferencing for depositions is that you can review the recordings as many times as necessary. Also, by using videoconference transcription software, it’s possible for you to make notes within that deposition. The digital transcription can then be transferred to your family law practice in your choice of file formats. In turn, those digital files can be exported to your firm’s litigation software program. Not only is this process faster than taking notes in shorthand, it’s less likely to introduce errors.

Witness Interviews

It’s well known that witnesses can be a variable link in any case; memories fade, juries might have unfair first impressions — the list of variables goes on and on. Some family law practice attorneys have discovered that, by including videoconferencing in their tool box, they can conquer some of these potential issues.

  • Courtroom simulations. By using videoconferencing for pre-trial interviews, lawyers from your family law practice can get an idea of how that witness may come across to juries and judges.
  • Reviewing pre-trial witness interviews. The ability to review on-camera interviews at your convenience and for however many times is necessary can be an invaluable resource.

Meetings

A family law practice with multiple offices across the country may find that videoconferencing is not only more cost-effective than meeting in person, but also easier in terms of scheduling. The same is true when meeting with opposing attorneys, clients, and others. In addition to providing meeting rooms and videoconferencing equipment, a court reporting company that offers transcription services can eliminate the need for dedicating one of your staff members for that task.

Many family law attorneys opt to take advantage of videoconferencing facilities and services offered by a court reporting company. More and more, videoconferencing is changing how lawyers with a family law practice do business.


Thanks to our friends at Capital Reporting Company, for their contribution and insight into the benefits of videoconferencing and quality court reporting services.

After a Florida Divorce, Who Gets to Claim the Child as a Dependent?

child-custody-jodat-law

For couples who are unmarried, divorced or separated, determining which parent can claim your child as a dependent can be complicated. Essentially, only one parent can claim the child as a dependent each year. The IRS monitors this very closely by checking social security numbers to make sure that both parents aren’t taking advantage of the exemption in the same year.

Regardless of whether or not the parents come to an agreement on this issue, they must abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the IRS regarding dependency exemptions.

In general, the parent who provides the most financial support for the child that year is entitled to claim the child as a dependent, unless that parent relinquishes this right by submitting IRS Form 8332, or if there is a court-administered divorce decree or separation agreement stating otherwise. Here is a brief explanation.

How the Dependency Exemption is Typically Allocated After a Divorce

Couples are allowed to come to an agreement on who will claim the child as a dependent each year. However, if they cannot come to an agreement, the court will make the decision for them based on a variety of factors. Here are three primary scenarios:

  1. If you have a court-approved maintenance agreement, the parent with whom the child resides, or who has primary custody during the year, is entitled to claim the child as a dependent, unless he or she waives this right to claim the child as a dependent in a divorce decree, separation agreement, or with IRS Form 8332.
  1. If you are unmarried, lived with the other parent for the last half of the year, or you do not have a court-approved child support or child custody agreement, then the parent who provides more than 50 percent of the child’s financial support is entitled to claim the dependent for that year.
  1. If you and the other parent share custody and provide financial support for the child on an equal basis, the parent entitled to claim the child as a dependent becomes much more difficult to determine. Often, the courts will have to make the decision based on what is in the best interest of the child. For more information on who is entitled to claim the child as a dependent in this scenario, you can consult IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, or an experienced family law attorney who can clarify the applicable rules for you.

Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney

Your finances may dramatically change after a divorce. At Jodat Law Group, P.A., we can help you protect your financial health and plan for the future during this difficult period in your life. Contact your Bradenton & Sarasota divorce attorneys at 877-912-2671 or contact us to schedule a free consultation online. We will evaluate your case and explain your financial options.

Child Visitation Rights and Parent Custody

If the biological parents of a child are going through a divorce, they have the right to seek child custody, or parenting time, also called child visitation. The parents of a child can seek custody or visitation, regardless of the fact whether they were ever married or not when the child was born. When courts take a decision, that decision is taken based upon the best interest of a child. Usually, courts are required to take a decision in cases related to disputed child visitation, or custody cases where the parents were never married.

Types of Custody

If you are going through a custody battle, you need to be familiar with the different custody types as defined under law:

  • Legal Custody – The parent who has legal custody has the right and responsibility to make decisions about the welfare of the child. That parent will have the ultimate authority to decide issues like which school will the child attend, what religious training will the child get, what medical care and treatment should the child get and so on.
  • Physical Custody – The parent who has physical custody has the right to have the child live with them. Therefore, that parent has the responsibility to take care of the child’s everyday needs.
  • Sole Custody – When only one parent has legal custody and/or physical custody, then that parent is said to have sole custody of the child. That parent has the sole responsibility to make all decisions about the child’s upbringing.
  • Joint Custody – As the name suggests, joint custody is where both parents have equal rights over the child after separation or divorce. They share legal and/or physical custody and share the decisions about the child’s upbringing.

For the court to be able to take a decision about child visitation, it is presumed that the child will benefit when both parents are involved in his or her life. However, a parent may not get right to visitation or custody if evidence indicates otherwise. To be able to reach a decision regarding child visitation, which is in the best interest of the child, the court needs to take the following steps:

Establish Paternity

The first and most important step is that the father has to establish paternity. Once paternity is established, then the father will legally gain access to father’s rights. The process of establishing paternity is a legal one where the court will order DNA testing in order to decide whether the man in question is actually the biological father of the child or not.

Negotiate a Parent Agreement

Once paternity is established, the parents need to work on a parenting agreement, also called a parenting plan. They can decide the visitation periods, and take other important decisions related to the child such as education, health care, religion, and so on. If a parenting plan cannot be reached by the parents, then the court will have the final say.

Court orders on visitation

If a parent feels that the parenting plan was unjust, they may request the court through a contested hearing. This is also true in cases where one parent feels that the other parent may cause harm to the child, such as after an episode of domestic violence, drug problems, or even a drunk driving case.

Whatever the case, it is advised to seek help from an experienced child custody lawyer who understands the child custody laws in your state and can help you with your child visitation case.

The Process for Filing for Divorce in Arizona

There are a number of steps that you need to follow in order to file a divorce in Arizona.

Prepare for the divorce

Before you even start the divorce process, you first need to discuss certain issues with your spouse or attorney that will have to be settled. These issues include child custody, support, and division of property and debts. It is advised to decide these things before the divorce is filed so that the process transitions smoothly.

Prepare the forms

To start the divorce process, you will need to complete several forms. The fees and charges for these forms vary from county to county. Visit your nearest court to get details about the divorce forms. Double check with your local court if the judges will accept those forms.

Fill out the forms and be thorough with your responses. You can also fill the divorce submission forms online and print them for your record. If you have children, then you will have to fill the divorce forms for divorce with children. There are separate forms for divorce without children. Choose the packet which fits your situation and follow the given instructions to go through the process.

File the forms

Once you have filled the forms, keep two copies of all documents attached with it and the forms. File the original form with the court. You will keep one copy with yourself and give the other copy to your spouse.

When you file the divorce forms with the local court, you will have to pay a fee. However, you can complete the ‘Application for Deferral of Filing Fee’ which will be reviewed by the court if you want to have the fee waived. If the court defers the fee, you won’t have to pay anything to file the divorce documents.

When you hand over all the divorce documents to the court clerk, they will stamp them and add the date and time. The petitioner also has to sign the forms in front of the clerk who will then notarize them. You then have to serve the divorce papers to your spouse as soon as possible.

Serve your forms

After you have prepared and filed the forms in your local court, you need to serve the divorce papers to your spouse. Serving the papers is very important under the American legal system as it ensures that everyone has been notified in a timely manner. The party can then prepare their case and not be caught unaware in court.

Arizona law gives a maximum of 120 days to the petitioner to serve the documents to the respondent. Failing to serve the papers during this time will result in the automatic dismissal of your case, and you will have to start over if you still want to go ahead with the divorce.

The respondent also has an important obligation after they have been served the divorce papers. They must respond to the summons and petition within 20 days, or the spouse filing for divorce will get the default judgment. That means, the court will give everything which is requested in the petition to that spouse.

However, if someone is not able to locate their spouse, then different rules of divorce may apply.

Financial disclosures

The petitioner and the respondent, both have to complete an Affidavit of Financial Information. The documents will detail each spouse’s financial picture, which will be needed to determine child support. The financial information will include details such as employment, assets and liabilities, monthly expenses, pay stubs, tax returns and more.

To go through the divorce process in an informed manner, it is advised to get in touch with a divorce attorney in Arizona. Contact the law offices of David Michael Cantor for a Free initial consultation at (602) 307-0808 now!

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Aggressive Personal Injury & General Litigation Defense Lawyer in NY Law Office Of Tracy defending your rights. Call Now for Initial Consultation (718) 673-2339

Pool Safety Strategies Meant to Keep Children Safe

With spring and summer just over the horizon, people are getting ready to enjoy some fun time by their pools. Attorney David Cantror, an experienced car accident lawyer and personal injury attorney in Phoenix shares some time for pool safety. With Arizona In the warmer months, swimming pools offer many hours of enjoyment for children and adults of all ages. It is still very important to implement strategies for pool safety so that everyone can enjoy swimming safely and avoid injury and trips to the hospital. You can start by purchasing rescue equipment. This can substantially help in lessening potential pool injuries if a water accident does happen. Then, keep the rescue equipment within easy reach and available in the area surrounding the pool.

Adults Should Supervise Children Around the Pool Area at All Times

It is important for you to sit down with your children and explain all about how to act safely both in and out of the water. If children will be coming to your home to swim, then it is equally important for you to discuss safe swimming pool behavior with all of them before allowing them to enter the pool area. If your children will be going to a pool at a friend’s or neighbor’s house, make certain to talk to them about safety before they leave. Make certain to speak with your friend or neighbor to make certain that there will be an adult present by the pool while the children are swimming at all times. Many people fail to think about the drain at the pool’s bottom. While often overlooked as a potential pool danger, many children have become entrapped by pool drains because of the drain’s suction pulling them down and holding them at the bottom of the pool and have suffered serious injury as a result. If a drain’s cover is broken or missing, it is very easy for people to become trapped beneath the water. A good way to prevent this problem from ever occurring is to make certain that you have your pool regularly and properly serviced and maintained.

Taking a Pool Safety Program Or Swimming Classes

In addition to good maintenance, you may want to enroll your children in a swimming class or pool safety program. Having your children receive professional swimming and pool safety instruction can be one of the most important ways that you can reduce the chance of a pool accident. Swimming lessons are available for children of all ages, including infants, and it is very smart to enroll them. Even if your child is enrolled in a swimming course, you should still remain alert and never leave either your children or any visiting children alone either near your pool or alone in it. This includes not even excusing yourself to go to the bathroom or answer the phone. In case an interruption occurs, it is smart to make sure that two adults are present so that the children will remain supervised even if one needs to excuse themselves for a minute or two. In addition to uninterrupted adult supervision when children are playing in a pool, it is also a good idea to become certified in CPR and First Aid. When a person is injured in a swimming accident, they have a much greater chance of recovering if a person is present who can administer CPR or First Aid to them until help arrives.

Install An Approved Fence That Completely Encloses Your Pool

Finally, it is of utmost importance that you install an approved fence that completely encloses your pool. This can help prevent area children from wandering in and falling into the pool and can help keep kids safe no matter the time of year.

If you or someone you know have been injured or your child has been injured in an accident involving a pool, contact Arizona personal injury lawyers Cantor Injury Lawyers, at (602) 254-2701 today for a free initial consultation.

Child Support: Hidden Income & the Self Employed

Child support calculations in all States are heavily dependent on the income of the parents.  While the income for W2 employees can be relatively straight forward, calculating the income of the self-employed can be substantially more difficult.

A self-employed parent may seek to minimize his income, and therefore child support payments, but hiding his income in his business.  This can mean substantially less support for the child.

An analysis of the income of a self-employed parent’s income must begin with his or her business tax return.  Below are four common places to spot hidden income:

  1.  Office Expenses:  Office expenses are a “catch all” category for purposes of tax returns.  But are the expenses listed really expenses for the business, or are they personal expenses masquerading as business expenses?Look for high dollar items when combing through bank statements.  A common example is writing off a trip and hotel stay as a business expense when it is truly for personal reasons.  Such a trip could be thousands of dollars a year in income missing from a child support calculation.

  2. Home Office Expense:  Like the office expense, “home office expenses” is a common place to hide income.  Furniture or computer equipment purchased for the home or entertainment of the payee parent can be written off as home office expenses for the business. A strong understanding of the purpose of the business at issue is imperative to analyzing the validity of the home office expenses.

  3. Advertising:  Is there a boat other expensive piece of personal property that is in the business’s name?  Check to see if they expenses associated with the property are being paid under the business.  A strange but repeat occurrence is the small businessmen who buys a boat in the businesses name, names it after his business or line of work, and claims it as a business expense.Not uncommon, but equally outrageous:  Watch for the self-employed who records a check to a “big national advertising paper”, when in reality, the parent is writing the check to himself.  Such fake advertising can allow the self-employed to pass large chunks of cash to him-self personally without paying taxes and while keeping it off the books.

  4. Wages:  Check the standard of living of the payee spouse.  Does he have a maid, lawn-care service, or other laborers who work on his home or other personal property?  If so, then check to see if these workers are paid through the parent’s personal income or through the “business”.  If they are paid through the business, then adjustments need to be made to the income of the payor spouse (and his business) to reflect true income.

 

We have had a lot of success in handling complex divorce cases where the spouse is a business owner or self-employed. If you have questions regarding divorce in Arizona and a self-employed spouse, give us a call at (602) 254-8880 to start your free consultation. If you’d like, you can send us a confidential email at your convenience.

 

Arizona to Extend Marriage Rights to Gay Couples

Arizona to Extend Marriage Rights to Gay Couples

Today, October 17, 2014

Arizona‘s Attorney General Tom Horne said today 10/17/14 that he is not going to challenge the federal courts decision which approves same-sex unions in Arizona.

After the news broke several gay couples began to line up at the Phoenix city courthouse to marry immediately.

Attorney General Tom Horne stated he fought the ruling as far as he ethically could and that his decision was based on a legal conclusion.  “There’s no chance of a reversal and it would be unethical for me to file an appeal that had no chance of success.” said Tom Horne.

Below is Tom Horne’s letter to clerks, giving them the green light to grant marriage licenses to gay couples.

gay marriage

This ruling is quick to follow the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision to view Thomas Beatie’s (transgender man) marriage from Hawaii as valid so he could get divorced in Arizona.  This has been a very big year for marriage equality in the state on Arizona.

If you have a legal questions on gay marriage in Arizona please call the Cantor Law Group at (602) 254-8880 or set up a free initial consultation online.

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