Divorce Attorney: Considerations Before Advising Your Clients to Merge Step-Families

Evaluate this scenario: you and your ex share physical custody of your children, both of you have moved on and found new partners, you partners have children of their own, the children are of different ages but within a couple years of each other. How are you going to handle this? How will you merge the families? You have a need to move on from a previous relationship that did not work out as hoped, and you also have must do what is in the best interests of your kids.

One thing that many families are doing is doing a partial merge of the two families. This means that you and your new partner would each keep your own respective residences, but that the two of you would still spend a lot of time together. This is a conservative approach mainly designed to protect your children in the event of a break up. It is important that your children have, at least some degree of stability in their lives. Moreover, many couples enjoy living with what amounts to a bachelor with kids-type of lifestyle, and they find more freedom in maintaining separate residences from their partner.

Just because this arrangement may lack the formality of a marriage, this does not mean that either of the partners is not committed to each other. In fact, it may be possible that you and your partner own property together as co-owners. If you are interested in making absolutely sure that your interests are protected, your local divorce attorney should be able to draft documents indicating the nature of the co-ownership and what happens upon dissolution.

One of the reasons that many couples are blending families is the result of an unpleasant break up. Even with a good divorce attorney, separating a family can be hugely emotional and tough. This is even more the case where there are complicated child custody and financial issues. As a result of fearing a repeat of this experience, it is understandable to not only wish to avoid this for yourself but also for your children. While this is somewhat intuitive, recent reports have backed the idea that stability is more important for children than having a family that it is intact.

Any such scenarios can challenge the definition of what a family is. This does not mean that less-structured family compositions are not acceptable for all involved. If you are against this, however, it is important to speak with your divorce attorney about ways to prevent your children from being brought up in an environment where the other parent is dating various other people without marriage.

One negative to partially blending families is that this is generally more expensive. Naturally, it costs more to have two households rather than one consolidated home. While this is often true, it is important to note that the likelihood of needing a divorce attorney goes up, rather than down, in a second marriage. A costly break up could undo any savings by fully blending families.

The above material is intended for information purposes only. It is not intended as professional legal advice and should not be construed as such.

What is Power of Attorney and When and How Would You Use It?

There are times in life when someone may be asked to fill out a power of attorney form. At another time, someone may decide that they need a formal means of allowing someone to act on their behalf. Some people may have heard of a power of attorney, and some may simply be aware of the existence of such a creature but only have a hazy idea of what it does. So, let’s define it, see when it could be used, see what types there are, and what the disadvantages and advantages are.

In its simplest form, a Power of Attorney is a formal, legal means of handing over your authority to make certain decisions, and act on your behalf – in your name, to someone else. The types of actions allowable are generally defined to some extent, and allow the holder of the document to make daily decisions in your name, represent you in specific legal situations, or handle business, legal, or financial situations in your name. A completed power of attorney form may set out very specific situations when it may be used, or it may be quite broad in scope, depending on your wishes.

Use of power of attorney generally takes the form of a preemptive strike of sorts. You know that you will not be able to attend to certain matters, for example, so you assign the task of acting in your behalf to someone else. People in the military, for example, are often away from home when important events which take place, so they may run to the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) office and fill out a power of attorney form to enable their spouse to take care of certain events in their name. An executive or business owner may be unable to be physically present at an important business event and can empower another to act on his or her behalf. Others may simply be planning ahead to a time when they might not be able to make certain decisions for themselves. Having completed what is generally a relatively simple form assures them that someone they trust will have the reins and be legally able to act on their behalf.

There are essentially two types of power of attorney – durable and limited.

The durable power of attorney permits another party to act in your name and behalf in almost any form or type of business or transaction. Someone who wants to separate themselves at least semi-permanently from certain activities, such as buying and selling stocks or managing property might choose this option. People who are disabled and cannot travel about conducting their own affairs may designate a trusted individual to have the authority to act in their name. Someone preparing for a day when they may no longer be able to accurately assess and act on matters requiring their thought, decision, and action may prepare one in advance of that time.

The limited power of attorney is a simpler affair. It is used to allow your representative to act on your behalf, but with certain limitations. There are essentially two possible limitations:

* By Task: In this form, the authority granted is specifically stated to be for a certain purpose…to buy a car, or sell a certain piece of property, for example.

* By Time: In this instance, there are specific date limits set. This could be used if you were going to be out of the country for a week or two but wanted to make sure that certain things got taken care of while you were away.

As you can see, having someone available to act on your behalf in times when you may not be available or are incapacitated can be handy indeed. This “attorney-in-fact” can help you keep your affairs managed while you are occupied with other situations or events. All they have to do is produce the power of attorney form you prepared and sign or act as if you were there yourself. The scope of the authority, either by task, time, or both is easily written into the document. In the limited form, the authority granted will automatically expire at a certain time or upon the completion of the task, but, as the person who made it in the first place, you may revoke it at any time.

It is a simple task to complete but legal counsel may be advised in some instances, It is also a common task, and you will be able to find well designed power of attorney forms in office supply stores and online.

Attorneys and Their Role in Business

Attorneys are indispensable to business. That is the conclusion you have to draw, when you come to learn of the role that attorneys play in the business world.

Now in order to be in a position to appreciate the role of attorneys in business, it is important to first understand that business is all about conducting transactions. Where there are no transactions, there are obviously no businesses. And contrary to what one may first imagine on hearing this, a transaction doesn’t just occur when a business makes a sale. Rather, a transaction occurs whenever a business does pretty much anything. When a business, for instance, gets a new employee, it has undertaken a transaction with that employee, where the employee in question will, effectively, be selling it his or her services. When a business pays a tax, it has gotten into a transaction with the government; by paying the government the tax money in the expectation of certain services. And of course, when the business purchases any supplies, it is getting into transactions, not to mention anything of when it manages to make a sale.

Having understood that business revolves around the various transactions, the next step towards understanding the role of attorneys in business is appreciating the fact that every transaction usually has a legal dimension to it. Legally speaking, there are always a hundred and one ways through which things could go wrong with every given transaction. Of course, to the layman, these things may not be that obvious. But to the mind with legal training, the loopholes are very easy to spot.

So, having established that business is all about transactions, and having seen that every transaction has a legal side to it, one rather indispensable role served by attorneys is that of being legal advisers to business with regard to the various transactions, and their legal implications. A business that chooses to go about its various transactions without seeking legal advice (and thereby sealing the various loopholes) is at risk of finding itself encumbered with various lawsuits that could bring it down to its knees. And it is out of this realization that many businesses are known to seek the input of their attorneys before engaging in any major transactions. The idea is to identify the possible legal loopholes, and get them sealed. In that way, then, attorneys serve as advisors and, in a way of speaking, legal protectors to businesses; making them pretty much indispensable to the businesses in question.

Attorneys also give businesses the confident to undertake various transactions. This is especially the case with high value transactions, but it can also happen in smaller value transactions. Just having an attorney by your side, as a businessperson, would give you the confidence to make various moves, without fearing legal consequences (as long as the attorney okays them), and without fearing being conned on the other hand. Without an attorney, you are likely to be operating in fear, and this would definitely be bad for business; as success in business is all about boldness.

Of course, when things sometimes go wrong, and businesses find themselves faced with legal complications, attorneys also serve the role of representing them in court and handling the messes on their behalf. Without attorneys, business owners would be forced to mount their own defenses, on behalf of their businesses, and follow the cases through. Not only would this be inconvenient and time consuming, it would also reduce the chances for success, hence yet another factor behind the indispensability of attorneys in the world of business.