I came across this post this morning on the blog of the Arizona Elder Law firm Fleming & Curti, PLC. I think this is worth sharing with your family. Are your parents protected from this kind of action?
Last week a colleague told us a story that we think needs to be shared. Patricia Sitchler, a nationally-known San Antonio lawyer with the prominent Texas firm Schoenbaum, Curphy & Scanlan, P.C., described her client’s eye-opening experience with a fraudulent attempt to access her bank account. We asked Patty if we could share her client’s story. Patty wrote:
This is how I spent last Thursday. I thought it might be helpful information.
I spent most of last Thursday helping an elderly client who was scammed. Fortunately, “Doris” discovered the scam and we were able to avert disaster. Take a minute to see just how easy we have made it for the crooks. See entire story here.
The key consideration is what is reasonable and necessary. But an even more important consideration is what does the marital settlement agreement state. Have you considered each of the possible major life expenses for your children, and included them in your child support calculations?
Borrowed from a post today on the Huffington Post Divorce Blog - I have excerpted and edited the parts I see as most relevant. Thanks to Morghan Leia Richardson for the post.
Here are the top five things that involved fathers should know before they set foot in a courtroom:
1. Fight as hard as you can to get the most time possible from the very start. . . If you want equal time (or any decent amount of time), you need to push for more from the very beginning of the case. Show the court that you understand your child's routines, needs and care. Show why the schedule you are proposing is workable, realistic and in the "best interests of the child." Do this up front, not after a temporary custody order is entered.
2. Find an attorney who gets it. . . . You are dealing with a system that has historically favored mothers' custody wishes, and is only now very slowly changing. You need an attorney who will understand your reasons and help you in presenting your best case. How do you find a lawyer who gets it? Shop around: set up consultations with attorneys to see what their approach would be and how they respond to your end goal. . . .If you feel like your lawyer is pushing you towards a bleak arrangement -- push back. Make it clear to your attorney that you are not afraid of trial and help steer them away from the internal pressures for a hasty settlement. Unless you can live with that settlement, keep pushing to see the judge.
3. Do not bring child support issues up in custody conversations. Period. No matter where you live, try to keep these issues separate. Otherwise, your reasons for spending time with your child get colored by the notion that you "just don't want to pay."
4. Draw your schedule -- literally. Put it on the calendar: a quick calendar grid labeled by the days of the week with what mom and dad each propose. This is a highly effective tool to show the judge and your spouse exactly what your visitation schedule looks like.
5. Cautiously extend the olive branch to your children's mom. At the end of the day, once the lawyers are paid, the court hearings are over and the dust settles, you and your ex will be co-parenting your children. A horrible custody battle can set a toxic model for the rest of this long-term relationship. Be reasonable on certain issues that are important to her. The long-term payoff might be a positive co-parenting relationship -- and that will directly benefit you and your kids.
Couple and family therapist Emily V. Gordon had a nice post in the Huffington Post Divorce Brief that is worth re-reading if you are in the contemplation stages. Her material is usually thoughtful and useful. This post has a lot of good material to think about. Regardless of whether you are consulting with an attorney yet, these are things you will need to consider. Here is an excerpt:
First stage: Information Gathering
- Tell someone you trust about your plans. This is important both for safety concerns as well as emotional support.
- Are you planning on moving out, or asking your spouse to leave? If you plan on moving out, where will you go? A friend's house? How long would you be able to stay there? Will you find a Craigslist roommate? After you inform your spouse that you are leaving the relationship, you should stop living together as soon as possible. Staying in the same place creates a volatile situation, so have your plans ready before you have the conversation.
- What are your expectations for the separation? Do you see it as temporary, or the first step in the process of divorce? Will you still see each other at all?
- How are your finances set up? If they are all kept in one pot, you technically have the right to half of that pot. Do some serious thought about how you want to handle finances once you are no longer living in the same place, and please, don't let your emotions rule your spending. As any daytime judge show can tell you, spending someone's money or taking their stuff because they hurt your feelings is not justified.
- Start thinking about the items you and your spouse own. What items do you need, and what items would you be okay parting with? Make a list.
- Go through the services you use (Internet, phone plans) and find out what plans are linked, and what plans are not.
- Do you know where all your paperwork is -- marriage certificate, car deeds? Do you know how to access your financial information online?
[This is part II of a previous post - still has resonance and gets asked about.] It became clear before the piece of cake was finished that the essential element missing from my client's world was someone she could trust to take care of things for her.
That's what I do. That is the practice of Elder Law. I advocate for senior citizens who cannot do so themselves. And lately that has come in the form of negotiating and litigating with nursing homes over the quality of care provided to residents.
[This is a republished piece from 2011- still timely and still asked about.] I am asked a lot about what my practice of Elder Law means? What is it? How is it different from other law practices? Isn't it just protecting the assets of the wealthy?
I met with a new senior citizen client on Wednesday afternoon. Picked her up at her house and took her to a diner for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. She has a lot of legal issues and she was very confused about most of them.
Elder Law issues? No. Legal issues. Different kinds of issues. But she has them all, and that makes them Elder Law issues.
She lives alone with several large dogs on the top floor of a two story building in Skokie. She slipped on ice behind her rented house this January. Broke her arm and shoulder bones. No one responded to her cries for help while she was lying on the sidewalk on the ice. She crawled back inside, up the stairs, and called a neighbor for help and a ride to the hospital. She is still in pain, can't move her fingers, and gets therapy several times a week.
Her landlord didn't salt the sidewalks or the back walk. He didn't clean out the gutters so the rain spilled over onto the walks. The back stairs are wobbly, so she takes the long way around to the back trash cans.
She found an attorney in the phone book to pursue a claim against her landlord. The attorney sent someone out to the house to meet her and they took photographs of the ice and the gutters. They signed her up. Then they left and started collecting medical bills. She paid for and sent copies of her xrays to the attorney and sent the attorney copies of her bills.
Last week she got notice from her landlord telling her that she must move out. And then she got a call from the attorney's office telling her to come pick up a check for $1,000.
So what are her legal issues? What about that is Elder Law?
She lives alone. She has no family. None. She is the last person in her family still alive. No parents. No children. No husband. No brothers or sisters, cousins or other relatives. She says she has no friends she trusts. She doesn't like her neighbors or her landlord.
She has financial resources. She can buy a house for cash if she decided to. She has no will, or any written documents directing health care providers on what steps to take should she become incapacitated. But no one is managing her assets.
She has medical issues. She deals with them the best she can. But she has no insurance beyond Medicare, and she doesn't qualify for Medicaid without a big montly fee that she refuses to pay. And no one is managing her health care.
She hired an attorney to pursue a claim against her landlord for her injuries. But she doesn't trust him, she doesn't know what the $1,000 check is for, and she hasn't spoken with the attorney since February when she hired the firm.
Elder Law is all of that. She needs someone to trust. She needs someone to explain things to her. She needs someone looking out for her best interests. She needs an attorney who gets her problems. No matter what those problems are. That is Elder Law.
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