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September 2014 Archives

Guardianship

Guardianship refers to the authority to make decisions on behalf of an adult individual who has been deemed incapacitated by the court. The standard for incapacity involves an analysis of whether the individual can manage their financial resources and/or meet essential requirements for their own health and safety. The first step for a party interested in pursuing guardianship of someone is to file a petition with the court. It will be necessary to secure expert testimony regarding the extent of the incapacity and the potential necessity for a guardian. The Petitioner has the burden to prove incapacity by clear and convincing evidence. Notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition must be served on the individual for whom guardianship is sought (Respondent) explaining in plain language the possible ramifications of the forthcoming legal proceedings. Notice must also be given to additional interested parties such as family members. 

Veterans Benefits and Support

Former military members may be eligible to receive a number of different veterans benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Possible benefits include disability compensation, pension benefits, life insurance, educational benefits and more. The former service member may also be entitled to additional benefits for dependents. Where the service member is also responsible for paying child support, certain benefits can be garnished to ensure the support obligation is met. The first step is to correctly categorize the benefit to determine if it is subject to garnishment. The second step is establishing a need on the part of the party seeking support and other dependents as well as a failure by the veteran to supply the need. Thirdly, the VA must be assured that there will not be an undue hardship on the veteran as a result of the garnishment.

Travel with Minor Children

Many custody orders will provide whether the parties are entitled to vacation time with the children in addition to their regularly scheduled time as well as any relevant notice provisions. A standard provision includes at least thirty days advance notice to the other parent and all details of the itinerary/contact information for the children while away. Parties may want to consider going into additional detail about any restraints on travel, particularly out of state or out of country. It's good practice to provide that international travel may only be by written consent of both parties or court order. Parties should pay attention to which country the other parent intends to travel to and whether that country belongs to the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and would recognize a U.S. custody order if necessary. 

Short Sale Basics

A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure. The lender allows the home to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage. It is usually less of a loss for the lender to allow a short sale than to let the home go into foreclosure. Once a home goes into foreclosure the lender loses even more money on a monthly basis providing for the upkeep of the home and paying the taxes. Additionally, it is less of a hit on the credit of the seller to go through with a short sale over a foreclosure. A seller should try to negotiate with the lender to minimize damage to their credit rating as part of the sale agreement. To be eligible for a short sale, the seller must be behind on payments due to financial hardship. Proof of this hardship must be established by supplying tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and list of monthly expenses. A short sale is not likely to occur if the seller is already in bankruptcy as a short sale is considered a prohibited collection activity. 

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