Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 21, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 14, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

September 7, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Does Child Support End When They Turn 18?

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

Whether you are the parent paying child support or the one receiving, the title question is likely to interest you—Does child support end when my kid turns 18? The short answer is, it depends. In most states, support payments will cease on your child’s 18th birthday. But exceptions do exist.

There are multiple criteria for when and how child support payments come to a close. Generally speaking, child support ends when a child turns 18, goes to college, dies, or marries. But of these criteria, the age requirement varies most widely.

Age of Majority

The first age-related criteria for ending child support payments is that the child reaches the “age of majority.” This legal guideline applies to all 50 states, but the age of majority isn’t always 18. In some states, a 17-year-old is considered having reached the age of majority if he/she has graduated high school. In other states, the age of majority is 21.

And the age requirement may also depend on individual circumstances. For example, if the age of majority is 18 in a particular state, child support payments will likely end when the child turns 18. However, that same state may allow support payments to continue for children who still live at home, have special needs, or remain in high school after their 18th birthday. Understanding when child support payments end in your state is essential whether you are paying or receiving. If you want support payments to continue past the age of 18, or you are seeking an early termination on court-ordered payments, it’s important to know how and when your state determines the end of child support payments.

Emancipation

Child support payments for children under the age of 18 may end if a child becomes emancipated. Emancipation occurs when a minor no longer depends on the financial support of his/her parents due to joining the military, getting married, or becoming otherwise economically independent.

Child Support During College

In some states, child support payments may continue to be ordered beyond the age of majority if the support goes toward the child’s post-secondary education, including college or vocational training schools. Some child support agreements may even include a provision for college support when the state itself does not mandate this type of support.

Children with Special Needs

If the parent receiving support is caring for a child with a long-term physical or cognitive disability, courts may order support to continue after the child reaches the age of majority. Having a child with a chronic disability may satisfy the requirements of economic hardship for the custodial parent, and the timeline for continued support payments will depend on the custodial parent’s income, the type of disability, the expected cost and burden of care, and other factors.

Judges are bound to follow the laws of each state when it comes to the end of child support payments. This is why it’s so important to fully understand how your state views this monumental occasion, whether you are the one paying or receiving support.

Step one is to be aware of your state’s age of majority. But keep in mind that the age of majority isn’t always a number, and even if it is (18 or 21, for example), other factors will likely come into play. Does your state allow child support payments to continue if your adult child is in college or is suffering from a disability? An experienced family law attorney is your best recourse if you are concerned about future child support payments and how you family will be affected.

Modifications to Child Support Payments

If life events have changed your ability to make child support payments, or your need to receive them, it may be in your best interest to seek a child support modification. Doing so may result in a court order to lower support payments or provide larger support payments, depending on your specific circumstances.

It’s important to understand that child support payments do not just automatically stop when a child reaches the age of majority. The parent responsible for making these payments must request an end to the payments. This is why it’s so essential to know your state’s age of majority and familiarize yourself with other factors that could affect your need to pay, or your ability to receive child support payments beyond a certain date. Contact an experienced family law lawyer, such as the team at Vogel LLP, if you have questions about child support or any other family law-related matter.

August 28, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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What Should I Include in My Will?

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

It can be challenging to think about your own death. The idea seems morbid, uncomfortable, and the topic can bring up a lot of unpleasant questions for you and your loved ones to consider. But creating a will gives you greater control over what happens to your personal effects when you die, and this simple document can save a lot of heartache for those who survive you. 

Having a will ensures that your wishes are clearly defined and that your loved ones know they are acting in your best interests.  Taking the time to put one’s affairs in order can actually be quite cathartic. In the long run, most people find that it really is worth the effort and temporary discomfort.

What is a Will?

Simply put, a will is a written set of instructions for how one’s estate should be managed after death. Wills vary in length, content, and complexity, depending on your state’s laws regarding wills, the size of your estate, and how specific your preferences happen to be.

Who are the Key Players in a Will?

Generally speaking, the main people involved in a will are as follows:

  • The testator makes the will.
  • The devisee(s) are those upon who the testator confers property through the will.
  • The executor or representative is the person who will carry out the wishes specified in the will, appointed by the testator.
  • The guardian is the person who will care for any dependents (e.g., minor children) in the event of the testator’s death.

It is common for wills to designate an alternate executor and guardian if the first choice cannot perform their duties. It’s crucial for each of these individuals to fully understand their responsibilities in their respective roles, and to be willing to complete these duties.

What Should I Include in My Will?

The inclusions (or “provisions”) of a will vary widely from one person to the next , as they are based on the testator’s individual preferences. Many people have very specific wishes to include in their will, or large estates that need careful planning for dissemination. On the other hand, some people have few concerns about what happens to their personal effects after they die and may only have a simple request or two. What should be included in your will depends entirely on your specific situation. 

Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide what to include in your will:

  • Who will care for my minor children or dependents?
  • How will I distribute my estate (e.g., property, remaining money)? Who will I appoint to distribute my estate?
  • Who will benefit from my estate, and how much will each beneficiary receive?
  • What funds will pay for any death taxes?
  • Are there any charitable causes to which I would like to donate some of my estate? 
  • Do I want a trust established in my name after I die? Who will benefit from this trust?
  • Is there anyone I would like to exclude from my will?

An experienced estate planning attorney will ensure that your estate goes where you intend, promptly and directly, and with minimal taxation upon your death. He/she will understand your state’s laws intimately and ask specific questions to tailor your will so that it aligns with your unique goals and needs. Additionally, an experienced attorney will help you create a will that is as clear as it needs to be, to avoid future confusion for your beneficiaries and executor(s). 

What Makes a Will Valid?

State laws vary in what they require for a will to be considered valid, but the most common requirements include:

  • The testator is a legal adult (at least 18 years old) and of sound mind.
  • The will appoints an executor.
  • The will includes at least one provision with instructions for the handling of property, appoints a guardian for dependents, or both.
  • The will includes a statement that identifies the document as the testator’s will.
  • The will is typed (unless your state allows for handwritten wills).
  • The will includes the signatures of (1) the testator and (2) at least two witnesses (who are legal adults, are not beneficiaries in the will, and have signed the will in the testator’s presence).

While not necessary to validate the will, getting it notarized can simplify court proceedings if the will’s authenticity is challenged after the testator’s death.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will?

Dying without a will (or dying “intestate”) is an unfortunately common situation, and one that frequently causes undue stress, conflict, and prolonged waiting periods for your loved ones. In these cases, your state will decide how to divide your property, under the terms of state intestacy laws. The division of your estate depends on what surviving relatives you may have and the relationships you have to them. Intestacy laws can be especially devastating for surviving domestic partners or unmarried, cohabitating couples. The breadth of recognition paid to domestic partnerships varies from state to state, and most states do not recognize unmarried couples as relatives.

A Will Brings Peace of Mind

Even if this is not your situation, talking to a qualified estate lawyer about your options can bring peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Estate planning can be complicated. Through conversations with your loved ones or an attorney at the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, you may find that you have more opinions about the division of your estate than you initially thought. Simply starting with a consultation can clarify what steps you would like to take moving forward.

August 28, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

When You Need a Personal Injury Attorney

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

Personal injury law covers a wide number of situations. It can include medical malpractice and the medical bills caused by someone choosing to punch you in the face. It encompasses the aftermath of car wrecks and bullies driving someone to attempt suicide. When do you need a personal injury attorney?

Multiple Parties Are Involved

You may be able to settle a minor fender bender accident on your own. You might even pay the bill out of pocket to avoid an insurance claim. If there are several parties involved, liability can be harder to prove, and there are several groups fighting to avoid blame. This is why you must have good legal representation.

When are there several parties involved in a personal injury case? A classic example is a multi-car accident. You were rear-ended, and you hit the person in front of you. Or a large truck swerved and hit several people at the same time. Now there are several insurance companies and injured parties involved in the suit. You need legal representation to get your fair share of any settlement and avoid being assigned the blame. Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases can include several liable parties, as well. This can include the doctor, the nurse, the hospital and other caregivers.

The Bills Are Piling Up

A personal injury lawyer may not take a case for several hundred dollars. You may or may not be able to handle an insurance claim for several thousand dollars in medical bills and property damage. If the bills related to the case are piling up, the odds you need an attorney are also increasing. Once you start factoring in lost wages, future medical bills and pain and suffering, you must have an attorney. You can’t afford to settle for what seems like a large lump sum, if that isn’t enough to cover ongoing costs of providing care to a disabled person or reduced income over the rest of their life.

The Criminal Case Has Long-Term Repercussions

Someone stealing your purse out of your car or taking a computer out of your home is a criminal case. Did you know that you may have a personal injury case, as well? For example, it is possible to sue a sexual abuser for the emotional harm they’ve caused as well as make them pay for the associated medical costs like therapy. You can file assault charges and sue someone for the medical bills that resulted from them beating you up. Furthermore, you can sue a drunk driver or uninsured driver for the damages they’ve caused.


Someone Has Died

Every death is a tragedy. Not every tragic death is due to someone else’s actions or failure to do the right thing. Unfortunately, many accidents are due to someone’s decisions. It could be a poor wiring job that results in an electrical fire in an apartment building or a decision to delay repairing the brakes on a big rig until there is a car crash. The decision to hurriedly fill a prescription without checking for dangerous drug interactions or have an understaffed daycare can lead to accidental deaths. These cases always cause heartbreak. They may be associated with medical bills racked up trying to save the person. You are eligible for compensation in the case of wrongful death, regardless of the cause. Consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your options.

August 18, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

August 17, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

August 10, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized

HOW TO BECOME A BARRISTER IN ENGLAND

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

The word lawyer is an umbrella term used to refer to solicitors and barristers. Solicitors can provide general advice on a variety of legal issues. However Barristers are advocacy specialists and independent sources of legal advice. They are specialists in certain legal fields. If a legal court matter involves a complicated specialty issue, a solicitor will find a barrister to take up the issue in court and represent the client. Barristers become involved only once advocacy is needed before a court.

Can I become a Barrister?

Being a barrister is a highly demanding, yet rewarding career. If you think you have an analytical mind, can approach problems logically, and have a sharp attention to detail, you may be able to become a successful barrister. To become a barrister, a solicitor must take exams and meet the requirements set by the relevant Bar Authority.

Qualifications needed to become a Barrister.

The three components of training that are required in order to qualify as a barrister are Academic training, Vocational training, and Pupillage or work-based training.

Academic Training:

To qualify for the academic component, you need a UK honours undergrad degree with a minimum of 2:2 or Lower Second-Class Honours (50-60%) or equivalent. It is preferable that the degree is in Law, however, if it is in another subject, you will have to undertake a law conversion course. This conversion course is commonly known as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).  You will also need to take the GDL if your law degree is over five years old.

Vocational Training:

While some academic courses also integrate vocational training in their offerings, most people start their vocational training after completion of the academic component. To begin your vocational training, first you have to take the BCAT. BCAT stands for the Bar Course Aptitude Test. It is also essential for you to join one of the four Inns of Court. These are the Middle Temple, The Inner Temple, Gray’s Inn, and Lincoln’s Inn. Which Inn you choose to join will not affect the areas of specialization. The Inns are there to support students and barristers in educational and social aspects.

Vocational training equips you with all the specialist competencies required to be a barrister. So far the vocational training was done by taking the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). However from September 2020 the BPTC has been substituted by many new Bar courses. These courses have different names but all satisfy the vocational training component. Some of the courses are Bar Course, Bar/Barrister Training Course (BTC), Bar Practice Course (BPC), Bar Vocational Course (BVC), Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) etc.

Pupillage or work-based training:

Once you have completed the vocational component, you have to complete a pupillage or work-based training to become a fully-fledged barrister. A pupillage is normally split in two parts called the “first six” and the “second six”. Each part usually takes six months to complete. The “first six” are non-practising, whereas the “second six” months are the practising months.

Competition to get Pupillage is extremely tough. One should apply for a diploma before starting a bar course. You may apply to up to twenty different authorized chambers for your Pupillage. If your pupillage application is unsuccessful, you may reapply. You must keep in mind however, that you need to obtain a Pupillage within five years of your Bar Course completion.

There are new training requirements for barristers coming into effect in England and Wales over the next few years. These will hopefully make becoming a barrister less complicated and more affordable. These new policies will also make this career avenue more accessible to a larger number of people while maintaining a level of quality. It is also expected that more training pathways will be approved and be made available after September 2020.

August 7, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Do I Have to Pay Spousal Support When I Retire?

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

As more and more “baby boomers” approach or enter retirement, the question of whether or not spousal support payments must continue after retirement is crossing the desk of every family lawyer in Canada. As with most family law matters, the answer to this question is—it depends. There are multiple factors that influence whether or not an individual will have to continue making full or reduced spousal support payments once he/she has retired.

Calculating and awarding spousal support is a complex matter, as is determining whether payments should continue following major life changes. Let’s start by pointing out one very important fact—retirement alone is not enough to automatically stop or reduce spousal support payments. Every situation is unique, and the outcome of your particular case will largely depend on the reason for retirement, whether or not you or your ex-spouse has re-partnered, the paying spouse’s ability to continue making payments, and a laundry list of other factors.

Does the Retirement Constitute a ‘Material’ Change?

Under the Divorce Act, requests to changes in spousal support arrangements must be due to a “material change in the means, needs, conditions, or other circumstances of either party.” The burden to prove that a “material” change exists is placed on the person seeking the change in payment.

If an individual is approaching retirement, he/she may apply to have spousal support payments reduced or stopped, prior to the actual retirement date. However, timing is important; having an actual date and being able to show that retirement is a certainty and not speculative is necessary for a successful application. Giving the receiving spouse advance notice and being considerate of his/her financial situation will also positively frame the application in the court’s eyes.

Reason for Retirement

The number one question when it comes to the topic of support payments following retirement is whether the retirement was voluntary or forced. Let’s say Gretchen and Larry divorced six years ago and Gretchen has a court order to pay Larry $2,000 per month in spousal support. At 62, Gretchen is at the height of her career but wants to fulfill a lifelong dream of moving to the Seychelles, writing poetry, and trying her hand at organic farming. Does Gretchen have to continue making $2,000 monthly spousal support payments to Larry?

In Canada, the courts will analyze each unique situation to determine whether the retirement is forced or voluntary, whether the payor can seek new employment, and whether the retirement is solely the means to an end of support payments. In the scenario above, it seems unlikely that Gretchen’s early retirement will justify an end to support payments, but there are too many unknowns to say for certain. Is she suffering from such high stress that her therapist advised her to quit working immediately, lest she suffer a mental breakdown or stroke? With regard to spousal support, the devil is in the details. 

Is the Retirement Voluntary or Forced?

When someone chooses to retire, rather than being forced out, spousal support payments are less likely to be stopped or reduced. When it comes to certain financial obligations, people can’t just retire because they feel like it. This is especially true if the court believes the retirement is motivated by a desire to stop paying spousal support.

Is the Retiree Suffering from Health Problems?

When a medical condition negatively impacts an individual’s ability to perform the duties of his/her job or another position for which they are qualified, spousal support payments may be reduced or stopped. But this will be decided on a case by case basis and won’t occur automatically. Anyone wanting to stop support payments due to health-related retirement will need to provide documentation, including diagnosis and long-term prognosis, as well as the expected impact on his/her ability to continue working.

The Big Picture

In addition to the reason for retirement, courts will consider factors such as whether or not the paying spouse has re-partnered, and the financial situations of both the payor and recipient of spousal support. Basically, it comes down to the ability to pay. The courts are tasked with analyzing all circumstances of each request for a change in support payments. Income and assets, including that of a new partner, will likely be considered.

If the individual responsible for paying support has re-partnered with someone of financial means, this may result in an order to continue full or partial payments, even after retirement. In fact, a high-net worth partner may result in the decision to increase payments. If, however, the new partner has little to no income or assets, this may bode well for the payor’s desire to stop or reduce support payments.

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel

Regardless of the situation, a request to change spousal support should not be attempted without the help of an experienced family lawyer, such as the team from Vogel LLP. There are so many variables to consider, and a skilled lawyer will understand how to position you for the best possible outcome. The same is true if you wish to challenge your ex’s application to stop or reduce support payments on which you depend.

August 6, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized