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Survey Says

If you haven’t already figured it out, inspiration for our newsletters often comes from pop culture or current events; this one comes from channel surfing in between innings and randomly catching a question on Family Feud.

What caught our attention? “If your husband told you that he wanted a divorce on Sunday, what would be the first thing that you do on Monday morning?” Of course, we were curious how people answered.

The answers that didn’t find a spot on the survey were entertaining: throw a party, go on a date, have sex with my spouse’s best friend and bad mouth the person.* We can’t tell anyone what to do, but generally speaking, we recommend not doing any of those things.

What *should* you do in the short term?
1. Call a lawyer to familiarize yourself with your legal rights;
2. Take care of yourself by remembering to eat, sleep, exercise and maintain your appearance;
3. Speak positively about your spouse in the presence of your children;
4. Try to avoid hostile confrontations with your spouse;
5. Remind your children that you love them and divorce will not change anything;
6. Seek out a therapist;
7. Answer questions that your spouse may have about things that may have occurred during the marriage in a respectful manner but be careful about asking questions while you are still angry;
8. Start collecting financial information about marital assets; and
9. Retain an attorney.

We realize that some of our suggestions may not be easy to do in the heat of the moment when you are hurt or angry. Chances are good that you will have some heated discussions, but civil discussions are usually more effective and productive.

As always, we are here to help you with any legal questions that you may have. Please feel free to call the office or email us at faye@wjslegal.com.

Regards,
John & Faye

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You’ve Got to Know When to Hold ‘Em.

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.”
– Kenny Rogers

Mortgages are a bit like gambling. You never know when the “perfect time” to initiate a new mortgage is, because there is always a risk that interest rates could go down slightly right after you sign the documents; however, there is always a risk that rates could also rise. The good news is that you can always refinance if rates drop, so unlike gambling, you can “fix” a bad hand.

Right now is a great time to buy (or refinance if you haven’t already done so). Mortgage rates are still really low and  housing prices have stabilized. Of course, nobody wants to pay more than they have to for their home. Here is how to “win” the mortgage game:

1. Connect with a really good loan officer.* He or she will help you to obtain the best mortgage rate available based on your income, liabilities, assets and credit score;
2. Correct your credit score, if needed;
3. Consider a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year. The monthly payments are often only slightly higher, but you can save a ton of money by minimizing how many years you are paying interest;
4. Take your pre-approval and start looking for a new home with a realtor; and
4. Retain an awesome attorney to close your mortgage!

Curious about the current mortgage rates? Check out this website:
https://themortgagereports.com/47095/mortgage-rates-today-january-21-2019-plus-lock-recommendations

Wondering about how much a mortgage might cost? For a ball park range only, peek at this one:
www.mortgagecalculator.org

If you just want to listen to Kenny Rogers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyARoGIzmKk

As always, please let us know if we can help with a real estate or any other legal matter.

Regards,
John & Faye
* If you are in need, we are happy to recommend a really good loan officer. 

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Shutdown.

Working for the government is typically awesome. Most state and federal employees get incredible health and life insurance benefits.  They also have fairly “normal” hours, without necessity to check email on nights or weekends. These benefits are tossed on the back burner when there is a government shutdown.

Unfortunately, these shutdowns have become all too common, under both Democratic and Republican leadership. In late 1995-1996, the federal shutdown lasted over a month.  What happens to support obligations during these periods?

Child support and alimony obligations survive government shutdowns.  What should you do if a shutdown or layoff effects you?

The essentials:
Make sure that you have a rainy day fund. Regardless of whether you are self employed or working for someone else, there will certainly be an amount of time during your career where your income is less than usual or non-existent. Just like your rent or mortgage, you should plan for how you will pay your support obligations during that time; and

Communicate with your ex. We know, we know….you don’t want to talk with your ex, but it may save you unnecessary time in court.  If your ex is aware of the situation and you communicate your concerns to them, they may be more likely to work with you to figure out a reasonable solution rather than just bringing you in to court. In most cases, both parties can come up with a reasonable, short term agreement on their own. 

If those options don’t work:
If you are the payor, you could file a Complaint for Modification. If your loss of income continues for an extended period of time, it may worth it to file a Complaint for Modification based on a material (ie. significant) change of circumstance. Child support can always be changed, depending on custody and income; however, it typically takes a month or so to have matters heard so the change should be fairly long term; and

If you are the payee, you could file a Complaint for Contempt. If the loss of support continues for an extended period of time, it may be worth it to file a request that the court acknowledges that someone is in violation of an agreement (ie. Contempt). There is no minimum amount of late payments that must be accrued prior to filing, but judges usually look for a pattern or significant amount of late payments. Filing could lead to a finding that the person is in violation of the agreement, but the judge could also lower payments or defer to a payment plan on the arrears based on an inability to pay.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about child support and alimony or any other legal matters.

Regards,
John & Faye

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Television Lawyers

If you follow us on Facebook*, you probably know that we love to reference movies and television shows. We bet you know some of these names: Vinny Gambini. Rachel Zane. Saul Goodman.  Fletcher Reede,   Sol & Robert. Rebecca Bunch.  Lionel Hutz.  Elle Woods.

What do all of these names have in common? They are all attorneys created by Hollywood and take creative liberties about what it like to practice law in the real world.

1. Attorneys are more like chess players than dramatic actors If you walk into a court house, you won’t see lawyers slamming their fists on the table or hear dramatic music. What you will find is lawyers huddled in a corner or in a conference room, trying to position their client in the most favorable way. There are, however, those Elle Woods toe tapping moments, where a new realization changes our next move.

2. Attorneys are actually decent people. Being an attorney means that you get to help people in your community with real solutions. We are generally nice people, just trying to perform a service, not the nasty, self serving jerks that Hollywood often makes us out to be.

3. Attorneys are pretty honest.  We present evidence that is favorable to support our client’s position. We can be creative in arguments and questioning.  We can present alternative explanations.  Much to the surprise of some clients and as Fletcher Reede once said, we “cannot lie.”

4.  Attorneys put a lot of work into an argument.  Good attorneys can make a strong argument and make it appear effortless.  One of our best friends participated scholarship pageants when we were in college. Did she wake up every morning looking like a Disney princess?  Nope, but she wanted to win, so she practiced her singing and spent a lot of time fine tuning her interview skills.  Similarly, attorneys spend hours, days and months looking at evidence and planning to argue our client’s position.

Who is your favorite lawyer on television or in a movie?**

If we can assist you in any legal matters, please call or email us at fayejslgal.com.

Regards,
John & Faye

* If you don’t, you should: https://www.facebook.com/Wjslegal/?ref=bookmarks
** Ours is currently Saul Goodman!

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Clark Griswold

 

“Unravel these. We need to check every bulb. Ooops. Little knot here, you can work on that.”
-Clark Griswold to his son, Russ, as he hands him 25 strands of Christmas lights

You can admit it. You LOVE decorating for the holidays. Tell us the truth: are you a more HGTV or Clark Griswold?

Decorating your home can really get you into a festive mood for any holiday; however is it a good idea to decorate for the holidays when you are getting ready to sell your house? We asked a realtor her thoughts on this important question. Her answer was “it depends” and “maybe.”

It depends whether you have already taken marketing photos of your house: Marketing photos of your house should not include holiday decorations. Any decorations will “date” your photos and might make your home appear as though it has been on the market for a long time.

Decorating can make or break your staging: Decorating a home that is already on the market can help people to visualize themselves celebrating future holidays there too. Decorations should be traditional and serene. For instance, pumpkins and corn stalks are perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Single colored lights will highlight your landscaping and a small Mensch on the Bench may provide a dash of blue color on white shelves. Overall, as a former law professors once said, “keep it simple.”

For specific ideas, HGTV has some thoughts on staging your house during the holidays:
https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/staging-tips-for-selling-during-the-holidays

What is YOUR favorite holiday to decorate for every year?

As always, please let us know if we can help you with this or any other matter.

Warm Regards,
John and Faye