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Shalimar Legal Blog

How to determine if a plea bargain is right for you

Those who are accused of committing a crime can find themselves facing aggressive prosecutors who diligently work to build strong cases. This means that the evidence mounted against a criminal defendant can be quite extensive. Yet, it is important to know that even in cases where the evidence makes it look like an individual is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, there may be criminal defense options available to him or her.

Although one can always try to challenge the legality or trustworthiness of the prosecution's evidence, another option is to try to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. Generally speaking, plea bargaining occurs when prosecutors and defense attorneys negotiate a guilty plea in exchange for lesser charges and/or less severe penalties. The court system typically favors plea bargains, as it eases the already overwhelmed system, but that is no reason to accept a plea bargain. Instead, those who are considering pleading guilty need to carefully consider whether doing so is in their best interests.

Where To Look For Hidden Assets

If you and your spouse had significant assets during your marriage, one spouse may be tempted to try to that people hide some of those assets, thus making them unavailable to be split up in a divorce. While there are several ways a person can try to hide assets, including the straightforward method of moving joint funds into an individual account, there are some methods for hiding assets that may only be available to people with considerable resources.

Delayed compensation

Florida family law firm fighting for post-divorce finances

The process of getting divorced can take a toll on you in many ways. Of course, bringing about the end of a relationship, sometimes one that has been decades in the making, can be emotionally damaging. To make matters worse, divorce often brings up difficult financial problems, the outcomes of which can set the stage for your post-divorce life. When it comes to property division, alimony and child support, Floridians need to ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect their financial interests from the get-go. Although spousal support and child support may be modified post-divorce, it can be challenging, and property division is permanent.

Therefore, if you are considering marriage dissolution, then you need to protect yourself by putting forth strong legal arguments to support your positions. This may mean uncovering your spouse's secret accounts, arguing as to why some property is jointly owned while other property should be considered being separately owned by you and why you are entitled to a certain value of the marital property. Putting forth these arguments requires legal skill and an eye for what judges and other attorneys will be looking for.

When can a will be contested?

Estate planning is generally something than many people neglect until it is almost too late. This procrastination should be avoided at all costs, as doing so could endanger the estate's assets in many ways. Property may go to the individual whom the deceased did not wish to inherit, and taxes and fees can leave the estate significantly diminished. Yet, even those who take steps in an attempt to protect their estate may wind up facing legal trouble.

One way these issues can arise is when a will is contested. Most wills pass through the probate process with little, if any, trouble. Yet, sometimes wills are hotly contested and, when they are, the matter can become quite complex and stressful for all parties involved. One way a will can be contested is by drawing the testator's capacities into question. Since the court looks at a will as the voice of a testator, which is the person who created the will, it may find a will invalid if the testator is found to have been suffering from dementia or some other mental illness at the time of the document's creation.

Can children choose which parent to live with in Florida?

Divorce with children is infinitely more complex than a divorce without children. So many factors come into play regarding child custody, visitation and child support when a divorce is being settled. In cases in which the divorce is contentious, these issues may become even more heated.

Florida laws regarding child custody are complex and multifaceted. If you are facing a divorce in Florida in which your former spouse is fighting for custody of your children, it can be helpful to understand some of the laws regarding child custody in Florida.

Same-sex couples face challenging divorce issues

It has been a few years now since the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling that gave equal marriage rights to all Americans, regardless of sexual preference. Although that ruling extended marital rights and provided clarification for citizens and states alike, it didn't address the issue of divorce. Now, many same-sex couples are finding themselves facing challenging family law issues when they decide to dissolve their marriages.

The problem primarily lies with the length of the relationship. Generally speaking, when making certain decisions with regard to matters like alimony and property division, the court will consider the length of the marriage. However, for many same-sex couples, their relationships pre-date their legal marriage by years, sometimes even decades. So, in these instances, courts must grapple with whether to consider the length of the relationship or the length of the marriage. There are no hard and fast rules here, which means the matter is open to legal argument.

What is paternity and why is it important?

When it comes to child-related legal matters, the law often favors mothers. Unmarried mothers are assumed to have custody, and child support is often ordered to be paid to these custodial mothers. Fathers, on the other hand, typically have to be active in their pursuit to secure their legal rights. The first step in doing so is establishing paternity.

Generally speaking, establishing paternity is the process through which a man is declared as a child's father. Although most people think of DNA tests as being the main way that paternity is established, it is in fact only one of a number of ways in which paternity can be established. For example, a father is presumed to be a child's father if the child is born while the parents are married. Also, unmarried couples can choose to sign an acknowledgement of paternity or paternity affidavit. Even welcoming a child into one's home and holding him or her out to be one's own may be enough to establish paternity.

Pre-trial diversion may lead to dismissed charges

Drug crimes are taken seriously in Florida, which means that those who have been accused of committing one of these offenses has a lot at stake. Failing to properly defend one's self can result in the imposition of harsh penalties, which may include fines, damage to one's reputation and prison. Therefore, it is imperative that these accused individuals understand the criminal defense options available to them, lest they want their lives to be negatively affected for a long time to come.

One possible way to avoid a criminal conviction on a drug charge is to enter into a diversion program. Under Florida law, those first-time offenders who have been charged with a felony in the third-degree can qualify for a pre-trial diversion. Here, the accused individual will enter into a year-long agreement whereby certain conditions must be met. In a drug case, that may include drug screening and/or drug treatment. If the terms of the agreement are adhered to for the full year, then the criminal charges will be dropped.

Our firm knows how to raise reasonable doubt as to drunk driving

Previously on this blog we discussed a couple of the field sobriety tests that police officers rely on when trying to determine whether a motorist is intoxicated. If a driver fails those tests, the results are passed on to prosecutors, who then use them as evidence as a way to obtain a drunk driving conviction. A conviction, in turn, can leave an individual facing serious penalties. Depending on the circumstances, these penalties may include jail or prison, fines, license suspension, license revocation and significant damage to one's reputation. With that in mind, if you have been accused of DUI, then you need to think about how to put forth a strong criminal defense that protects your interests.

There are usually a number of ways that you can try to raise reasonable doubt as to your guilt. One of the strongest ways is to challenge the legality of the initial stop. If the traffic stop was illegally conducted, then evidence obtained subsequent to the stop may be suppressed, even if it is pretty strong evidence of your guilt.

Can I change my custody order after the divorce is final?

Question: My divorce was final a few years ago and my ex and I decided that she should have primary custody since I was on the road so much. My job has now changed and I am home most of the month. I would like to have fifty/fifty custody. Can we change the original agreement?

Answer: it’s important to recognize that no divorce order is ever final—many things can come up in the intervening years that make adjustments necessary. Your situation is just one example of what can change.

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