Posts made in February 2014

Lawsuits and How they Work

By Lee Ann Obringer

You step in a puddle of spilled cooking oil in a grocery store and break three bones in your hand. You’re a concert pianist. How can you recover your lost income?

Your landlord claims you broke several things in your apartment that you didn’t pay for. You know they were broken when you moved in. The forms you signed when you moved in don’t specifically mention those items. How do you keep from having to replace something you aren’t responsible for? Continue reading

Annulment Laws

Nullification of a marriage is commonly called annulment. Annulment is the process by which a Court states that a marriage never legally existed. An annulment must be based on mental illness, fraud, forced consent, physical incapacity to consummate the marriage, lack of consent to underage marriage or bigamy. Children of a marriage annulled for bigamy or mental illness are legitimate. In anullment cases, the court may award custody of children of the marriage and require payment of child support and support of a party. Annulment is different from divorce.  Continue reading

What is an annulment and how is it different from a divorce?

By Lee Ann Obringer

Like divorce, annulment also dissolves a marriage; but unlike divorce, it indicates that the marriage never happened. An annulment is often required in the Roman Catholic Church in order for someone to remarry. Grounds for an annulment vary by jurisdiction but usually include: Continue reading

How to Evict a Tenant

As a landlord, you always try to rent to the most responsible tenants. However, sometimes problems arise. If you’re put in a compromising situation, exert your right as a landlord to evict the troublesome tenant. Read the steps listed below and learn about how to evict a tenant from your property. Continue reading

How Prenuptial Agreements Work

by Margaret Franson

Are you planning to get married soon? Remember thinking it was going to be a simple affair? Now your simple affair involves 400 people, eight live swans and a stage manager. Be prepared: Thefinancial side of marriage can also be a lot more complicated than you expect.

The pre-wedding period is a happy time of love and growing commitment. Most engaged couples, of course, believe that their marriage will last “until death do us part.” They certainly don’t want to think about an unhappy ending to their life together.

But with two out of every five marriages resulting in divorce, some questions arise. How would you want your assets, debts and property handled in the event of a divorce or death? Should one of the spouses receive alimony? A growing number of engaged couples are considering these issues and others before marriage. Some couples decide that the best way to be prepared for any eventuality is to draw up a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a private contract entered into by two parties before a marriage or civil union takes place. It may also be called a premarital agreement, an antenuptial agreement, a marriage contract or a prenup for short. Its purpose is to settle financial matters in advance in the event of either a divorce or death.

While a prenuptial agreement may seem unromantic, some experts say it’s just smart financial planning. It ensures that your financial matters are handled according to your wishes rather than the state’s decision. Determining whether a prenup is right for you, however, is a very personal decision that should only come after a serious discussion with your significant other. Should you have that talk? What points should it cover? Read on.

How Divorce Works

By Lee Ann Obringer

Chances are, we all know someone who is divorced — probably several someones. In 2000, there were over 957,200 finalized divorces in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 50 percent of all marriages entered into today will end in divorce. That’s a lot of broken homes, heartaches and paperwork, not to mention money spent on attorney fees and court costs.

But, some say those percentages of future doomed marriages have to be interpreted based on other factors. Barbara Whitehead and David Popenoe’s “The State of Our Unions” (2004), which was prepared at Rutgers University for the National Marriage Project, says that there are several important social factors that affect that 50 percent estimate. For example, your risk of divorce decreases by: Continue reading

10 Most Important U.S. Supreme Court Cases for Journalists

By Marie Willsey

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” Frederick Douglass, 1860.

Douglass’ words echo the beliefs of the founding fathers, who considered freedom of the press so important that they established its rights in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The press played an important role in the events leading up to and during the American Revolution, when newspapers helped spread information about the struggle for independence from Great Britain across the colonies. The founders fought to preserve the very freedoms that helped the young nation to gain support for its ideals. Continue reading

How the Judicial System Works

By Jacob Silverman

Th­e United States is renowned for ha­ving one of the most sophisticated judicial systems in the world. Every day thousands of people, including law enforcement officers, lawyers, judges, government officials and ­even accused criminals, take part in this system, hoping to settle disputes and work for justice. What makes this system even more remarkable is that it is able to operate successfully in a country as large and diverse as the United States. One of the keys to this success is a balanced and carefully ordered hierarchy: Several different federal courts control issues relating to federal law and each state has its own set of courts that can adapt to the needs of its people.

Of course, it’s all a bit more complicated than that and no system works perfectly, but learning how the judicial system works can be useful in case you ever need to file a law suit, defend yourself in court, claim damages from the government or even pay a traffic ticket. In this article we’ll talk about what the different types of courts do, how judges are appointed and the basics of jury duty. Let’s start by looking at the essential elements of the U.S. judicial system. Continue reading

How an Attorney General Works

By Sarah Winkler

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president of the United States of America. In keeping with his historic campaign and election, Obama nominated Eric Holder to serve in his Cabinet as the United States attorney general. Holder’s career, like Obama’s, is full of a history of African-American firsts. Holder was the first African-American to serve as the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., and the first African-American to be deputy attorney general. As attorney general, he is now the highest-ranking African-American person in law enforcement in the United States. Continue reading

10 Uses of the Insanity Defense

by Maria Trimarchi

In 2001, Andrea Yates drowned her five young children in the bathtub of her Houston home while experiencing severe postpartum depression. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Pleading insanity didn’t help Jack Ruby, the man who killed President Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, though — the jury found him guilty of murder and convicted him. Who’s to judge another person’s sanity? In the end, it all comes down to how convincing their argument is.

When you use the insanity defense, you’re pleading that you are not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty by reason of insanity, or some variation along those lines, depending on the state in which you’re charged. If you can prove you were legally insane at the time you committed the crime for which you’re on trial, you can expect to be sentenced to psychiatric treatment rather than convicted and imprisoned. Continue reading