Below are some generalized answers to common questions that have been raised by some of our previous clients. However, please keep in mind that each individual's legal needs may differ from another, and for this reason it is imperative to meet with an experienced attorney to go through these needs in person, and to obtain a thorough assessment regarding your situation.
I have just been served with divorce papers. What do we do next?
If you have just been served with papers, then you have just been sued. In addition to being served with notice of the suit and the opposing side's requested relief, you may have also been served with emergency court orders (such as a TRO or Temporary Protective Order). Further still, you may have been served with notice of a date/time for a hearing before the Court, and failure to respond or handle these issues properly could result in an adverse judgment being taken against you! The only way to know for sure what is going on is to meet with an attorney as soon as possible to review the documents, explain what is going on, and prepare accordingly to fight for your rights!
I need custody papers for our children. What do I need to do?
In order to have enforceable custody order for a child, a suit needs to be filed to: 1) formally adjudicate the parents of the child, establish conservatorship (who gets to make what decisions for the child), possession & access (who gets the child when), and support for the child (financial support and medical support for the child). Unless a court renders some orders regarding these issues, the parties' legal rights concerning the child may not have yet been established. Especially when it comes to children, it is important to get valid information as soon as possible, and to act quickly.
The other parent is not following our custody order. How do I get them to comply?
If there are existing custody orders regarding the child, and the other party is not following them, there can be two different courses of action: 1) to modify the terms of the existing custody order to better handle the existing situation, or 2) to seek to formally enforce the terms of the existing orders. Either way, this will involve filing a suit against the other party, serving them with citation/notice of the suit, and proving up your case properly.
I have been arrested for a crime. What do I do next?
If you have been arrested, then it is likely that you will soon (if you have not already) be charge with a crime. This is a very serious matter, as the final outcome of this criminal case can have a significant detrimental impact on your future, not to mention the potential imposition of jail time and/or a fine that can be levied against you in the event that you are convicted. It is important to meet with an experienced attorney as quickly as possible in order to assess your case. There is no reason that you should try to fight the State's allegations on your own!
I was arrested for DWI and they took away my license. How can I drive?
An arrest for DWI or DUI can result in a suspension of your driving license. However, this suspension is not automatic. Upon arrest, you were issued a temporary driving license, which permits you to continue to drive until it expires. Depending on the timing, you even have the right to request an ALR hearing to extend the duration of the temporary driving license, to examine the State's evidence leading up to your arrest, and to see about fighting the suspension of your license altogether. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, time is of the essence, so contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Even if your driving license is temporarily suspended, you may be able to obtain an occupational license in order to continue driving.
I was previously arrested and the case was later dismissed. I am worried about what will show up on my background. What should I do?
Many people have made mistakes or were wrongfully accused of committing a crime in the past, and they continue to deal with these issues even years after the fact. You may be able to have your arrest/criminal case expunged, or even obtain an order of non-disclosure from the Court, in order to keep these past cases from causing you issues in the future. Set up a consultation to see if you qualify, and about moving forward with cleaning up your background.
Estate Panning & Probate:
I am getting older, and I want to get my affairs in order. What do I do next?
Nobody likes to plan for the inevitable, however planning for it can resolve a lot of potential heartache and complications. Many people look into the possibility of executing a Last Will in Testament, a Physician's Directive, and/or a Power of Attorney. It is important to sit down with an experienced attorney, to communicate your concerns and desires, and to go through the paperwork to ensure that your wishes are taken care of.
My relative recently passed away, and left a will. What do I do?
You need to bring a copy of the will to an experienced attorney, so it can be reviewed, and you can be informed about what options are available for moving forward. Simply because a will is drafted, this does not mean that it immediately has legal effect. It must be probated, and the estate of the deceased must be properly wrapped up. Otherwise, property cannot be properly transferred, and a number of additional issues may arise. It is important to move forward with probating a will as soon as possible, as there is a statutory deadline that this type of suit must be filed by.
My relative recently passed away, and did not leave a will. What do I do?
Even without a will, it is still possible to wrap up a deceased loved one's estate, and to properly transfer property to the proper heirs. Again, this needs to be done formally, otherwise the heirs will be unable to clear title to their new property. The longer the family waits to get anything done, the more difficult it can be to properly close out the estate of the deceased.