Tips from top-rated Experts: the legal info you didn't know you needed
Posted in: Legal
One of the best perks of having a JustAnswer membership is the unlimited access to verified Experts at the top of their fields. With that in mind, we asked a handful of our highly rated Experts to share their insights.
Traffic Ticket? Here’s how to fight it: Traffic tickets are not usually a criminal offense - so if you fight the ticket, it can often be removed or reduced. Make sure to research in advance how to build an effective case. Requesting that the issuing officer be present may be helpful, because in some states, if they do not show up, the courts will dismiss the ticket.
A divorce doesn’t have to mean costly legal fees: The good news is a divorce doesn’t necessarily require an attorney. But you should always have one look over the final paperwork. An attorney helps pose helpful questions that you may have missed, like whether your cars (or other possessions) are of equal value.
The most important thing to focus on when considering child custody is the best interests of the child. While the process can be frustrating, the best interests standards should always be used. How will this decision impact the child? How will impact me and my abilities to parent? That is what an attorney can assist with. We can help clarify the pressing issues and work towards a solution. We know this is an emotional time. We can help clarify the law and the needs of the family. In the end, the only solution is the one that works for you.
StephenH129, Family Lawyer
When you have the other parent that has increased their salary with a promotion or new job, that may be a time to investigate modification of child support to increase what they are paying. You will want to have some evidence or communication available that they have increased their income. This can be a social media post or another witness that knows about the change.
EvanG329, Family Lawyer
Family Estate Planning
Family law often intertwines with estate planning issues. For example, whenever there is a significant family event (think: marriage, divorce, remarriage, birth of child, adoption, etc.) then that is the PERFECT time to reevaluate your estate planning needs. Too often we see a beneficiary on a policy or a bank account or even a pay on death beneficiary on the very valuable family home that the decedent no longer has a relationship with, but unfortunately, they forgot to review these documents - and unfortunately since those pass by "operation of law" they are typically final, despite the true intention of the decedent. This can cause much heartbreak (not to mention financial distress) for the surviving loved ones.
As such, please, review your estate planning documents if you have not, but especially when there is a significant life event!
Real Estate HOAs
Tip: Dealing with your HOA doesn't have to be a frustrating or scary experience. You have rights as a member of an HOA and an experienced attorney can assist you in clarifying and enforcing your rights to get the best possible resolution based on all applicable laws and HOA rules.
Real Estate Sales
For many people, their most valuable investment is their home. For that reason alone, it makes sense to use an attorney to help you through the process. Real Estate sales can be tricky, and what you don’t know can hurt you. Many of these issues can be spotted early by a lawyer who is a real estate specialist - but for too many people, by the time they seek an attorney, a small problem has become large and costly. One reason to pay a little more up front in order to save costly unanticipated expenses later.
Stephen L, Lawyer
One of the most important parts of an eviction is the legal concept of “notice and opportunity."
Under contract law, before either party can cancel the contract the law requires that they provide notice, in writing, to the other party and an opportunity for that party to fix the problem.
For example, if your tenant is late on rent and you want them out, you have to give them notice in writing stating the amount they owe and the opportunity to repay that money before you can file to evict. Every state has their own rule on how many days is required for the “opportunity” portion of this, between 3-5 days is typical for the majority of states.
Notice and opportunity is not just for late rent. If your tenant is not fulfilling some other obligation under the rental agreement? Say that they are supposed to water the lawn and they are not doing so, you (the landlord) must provide them notice of this violation of the lease and a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem before you can file for eviction.
Pro Tip: Make sure the notice is in writing, dated, and that it specifies when the opportunity period ends and what they must do within that timeframe to keep the rental agreement in place. Keep a copy of this notice as if you have to go to court, the judge will likely want to see a copy of it.
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Don’t skip the formalities with your living situation: Many people move in with friends or family and forgo a lease - but this means you give up many of the legal protections a lease has to offer. Without a lease, a tenancy can be terminated with no notice - and unfortunately, this happens more often than you may think!
Criminal Protective Orders
Tip: When you need to obtain an order of protection against someone, an experienced attorney can give you the guidance necessary to navigate the Court system and make sure you get the protection you need. For instance, an attorney can explain the detailed process of filing your request at your local courthouse, and also give you a good understanding of what a judge will require from you in order to grant your petition.
Criminal Online Harassment
When someone is humiliating and taunting you on social media, the answer is not to escalate it by using self-help that could get you in trouble. Online harassment is a criminal offense. It can be reported to the police and prosecuted. If you don't want to go that far but simply want it stopped, you can obtain an emergency ex-parte civil restraining order. Alternatively, you could retain a lawyer to send a cease-and-desist letter and, if it's not complied with, sue.
Zoey_ JD, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Don’t overlook this critical employment resource: Your employment handbook is more than just helpful tips; it contains important company policies that are legally enforceable on both sides. So if for example, you feel like you were treated unfairly with a recent performance review, you’ll know exactly what recourse you have.
Any denial or determination notice from unemployment may not be final. You have options to appeal a denial or apply for a waiver in connection with an overpayment. Information on how to appeal or file a waiver can usually be found in the notice from the unemployment office or it can be found on the unemployment office's website. Claimants should review this information carefully to make sure they comply with all deadlines. Lastly, the appeals/waivers can often be submitted right through the portal on the website by the claimant, it is not necessary to retain an attorney.
Ashley Paige, Esq., Lawyer
E-filing is available for most immigration forms. It is very easy to miss checking the correct box which can cause a rejection. The rejection may not be sent by USCIS until after your filing deadline. Always print out the forms and carefully review each answer. Let it rest overnight and review one more time before hitting send.
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Immigration Green Cards
Typically, it is in the best interest of the person who wants to apply for a green card to have a US licensed immigration attorney review their application and file for them, if possible. As immigration is a complex procedure with myriad of steps to navigate, having the application filed and handled by an immigration attorney is the best choice one can make for their green card application.
Scams have become increasingly more prevalent with the internet. If you are a victim of an internet scam you can report this to the FBI Cybercrime unit. If they can find the person who is committing these scams, then you may be able to bring a civil action. An attorney can help bring a civil action and try to get damages.
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