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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Make Sure to Hire Attorney That Understands Bankruptcy in Divorce

I Was Ordered to Pay for My Spouse's Attorney Fees. Can I Wipe Them Out if I File for Bankruptcy?

It's common to hear about  an ex spouse filing for bankruptcy after a divorce is over, and often the spouse will list the other spouse's  attorney fees as a debt on the bankruptcy schedules. Thus, attorney fees as a dischargeable debt in bankruptcy become a big issue.
The key question is whether the attorney fee debt is declared as a support obligation-- or--- as a property settlement claim.
The California Bankruptcy Court  declared obligations to pay spousal support and attorney fees as non-dischargeable pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(5). Van Aken v. Van Aken, 2005 Fed. App. 0001 (6th Cir. 2005).
If a spouse attempts to discharge an attorney fee award, it is imperative that the other party IMMEDIATELY file an adversary proceeding with the Bankruptcy Court. This request calls for a Court hearing over the dispute, and the Court decides whether the  fee award is support and non-dischargeable. 
Likewise, the Bankruptcy Court could determine the  fee award was a form of equitable distribution that can be discharged. 
The Court could also order the payment terms be restructured. It is important to note that if a non-debtor spouse ignores a spouse's bankruptcy filing, disastrous results could ensure. No objection typically means the debtor spouse will successfully discharge a  fee obligation.
As can be seen, IF your attorney sets up a settlement wherein YOUR support is called a property settlement, and not support-- you may end up in trouble if fees were awarded to you, and the ex files bankruptcy. some attorneys do not like to call spousal support what it is (and support is taxable to payee) so they end up calling it something else. Depending on what they called it in the settlement documents, this could make a big difference in bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a very complex subject which is both legally and technically complicated. No divorce settlement should ever be entered into without FIRST figuring out, what would the effect be IF the other party filed bankruptcy--before, during, or after divorce. The timing can make a big difference, and the fallout, especially if a house is involved can become quite complicated.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Winning v. Settling ... What is the Difference?

In family law, it's often stated there are no winners?

...  HOWEVER when it is YOUR case in family law, do you WANT to be the loser?

Probably not.

Therefore it makes sense that "settling" a case involves some concessions, right? Well, conceding something that is not important, doesn't amount to much simply because it doesn't matter so much. So we are left with either wanting to win something key, and important in most cases?
Attorney herein doesn't believe that any parent should just give up on something
 important, if in fact it is rationale and not errant, unproductive, or just plain crazy.

 Winning rationally is not problematic.

What is problematic is when entrenched parents simply insist on something that is not key, or they are very selfish and small minded, or they are possibly narcissistic and possibly bi polar.

In the last case, if either parent has mental issues [which is more common that you know] involving anxiety, OCD and the like, we will find issues that may not be actual issues, but will appear to the parent focusing on "it", to be an issue that expands or blows up out of control. Winning at all costs is not usually what should be done..in cases like these.

High conflict cases are usually entrenched parents
 that have issues of their own
OR they had issues before, 
OR they make mountains out of molehills 
until it is way, way, way out of control...

Parents that spend $25k or $125k on obtaining custody may or may not be justified. Some parents are only fighting over custody to save money in support, but others may be doing it to gain a "one up" on the other parent.

And some attorneys will keep the case going because the fighting is paying them more money, and attorney herein has seen other attorneys file MANY meritless motions simply to apparently get paid more, and instead of explaining to their client the truth, the attorney gets paid and the client doesn't get any relief obviously.  How does attorney know this?  Because attorney herein has witnessed it, it's that simple.

 Attorney's goal is  to get the client what the client deserves and each case is different.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Former Client on National Geographic+ Current Client..Singer Jack Russell

Yes, Jack is one of my clients..........I can feel for the guy after the horrific fire in 2003....

Jack Russell is the original singer of the band Great White (80's metal) and is now the singer of his band, Jack Russell's Great White...due to the lawsuit settlement, Jack took the Jack Russell's Great White name for his band, and the other band is named Great White.  The very sad fire that happened in 2003 in Rhode Island took a horrible toll on Jack's band, the audience, and the relatives and friends that were all there.  A memorial setting has now been erected where the nightclub used to be.

Unfortunately, some people who don't understand the truth of how things work legally, feel that Jack is responsible for the fire; but Jack is the singer? Do we really believe that if any band was in any venue (even a huge stadium) and that something went wrong, we would blame the SINGER(s)??

That's pure nonsense.

Legal fact patterns require understanding the law. The official fire report that was published indicated negligence with the the club owners and the band's manager--not anyone else. A fire suppression system was not in place (but should have been) and the foam used in the building was also not legal due to its flammability. How would a singer know any of this?

 He/or she as a "singer"  would not know, and would never be expected to know that. Which is why Jack Russell was not charged with a crime.   Why didn't the local fire inspector know anything about the foam?  These types of questions indicate, and the fire report proves, the exits and safety routes were improper also, and that people were blocked from trying to get out? Essentially the flammability level of the foam was so high that it only took about four seconds to start igniting. No members of the band were found to be at fault legally.

The manager (who is not a member of the band) and the club owners were found liable, and after it was all said and done, according to online research, many corporations (Home depot, Anheuser Busch,etc) donated MILLIONS to the victims/families. Estimates seem to indicate it was over $120 million years ago.   No one talks about this, but research does have its points. Nevertheless,  Rhode Island Survivors and victims' relatives have now been offered a total of nearly $175 million from the governments and a variety of companies sued over the fire [this was noted in 2008.]

Had this happened in California, attorney believes the government local fire inspectors would not be immune and a tort claim could be filed. Municipal immunity and governmental tort immunity is a complicated subject which arises when individuals want to sue a governmental entity. Surprisingly, there are quite a few situations in animal law cases involving governmental immunity. This link explains 42 USC 1983 claims  http://www.constitution.org/brief/forsythe_42-1983.htm  
or  http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/uploads/guides/Section_1983_Outline_2012.pdf

YES, this is about constitutional law......


As of September 2008, at least $115 million in settlement agreements had been paid, or offered, to the victims or their families by various defendants:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Station_nightclub_fire
  • In September 2008, The Jack Russell Tour Group Inc. offered $1 million in a settlement to survivors and victim's relatives,[32] the maximum allowed under the band's insurance plan.[33]
  • Club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian have offered to settle for $813,000,[34] which is to be covered by their insurance plan due to the pair having bankruptcy protection from lawsuits.[34]
  • The State of Rhode Island and the town of West Warwick agreed to pay $10 million as settlement.[35]
  • Sealed Air Corporation agreed to pay $25 million as settlement. Sealed Air made soundproofing foam installed in the club.[36]
  • In February 2008, Providence television station WPRI-TV made an out-of-court settlement of $30 million as a result of the claim that their video journalist was said to be obstructing escape and not sufficiently helping people exit.[37]
  • In March 2008, JBL Speakers settled out of court for $815,000. JBL was accused of using flammable foam inside their speakers. The company denied any wrongdoing.[38]
  • Anheuser-Busch has offered $5 million.[39] McLaughlin & Moran, Anheuser-Busch's distributor, has offered $16 million.[39]
  • Home Depot and Polar Industries, Inc. (a Connecticut-based insulation company), made a settlement offer of $5 million.[40]
  • Providence radio station WHJY-FM promoted the show, which was emcee'd by its DJ, Mike "The Doctor" Gonsalves (who was one of the casualties that night). Clear Channel Broadcasting, WHYJ's parent company, paid a settlement of $22 million in February 2008.[41]
There are other named defendants who have not yet made a settlement offer, including American Foam Corporation, who sold the insulation to the Station Nightclub.

Here is one of the videos from National Geographic showing attorney's  former family law client working to pull burls out. Al works locally and also travels to pull in different areas. A good burl
can be worth many thousands. Usually the burls Al pulls end up on high end vehicles,
vessels, and planes. High end veneer is pricey and highly coveted in industries catering
to the rich and famous, or just people wanting high end furniture.