Benefits of Resolving a Debt Dispute through Mediation During COVID-19

Resolving a Debt Dispute

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have suffered financial setbacks. Millions of people in the United States have lost their jobs. They may be struggling to make their mortgage payments and stay on top of their other bills during this uncertain economic time. Some may risk having their wages garnished by creditors. Rather than litigating the issue, some debtors and creditors may agree to resolve their issues through mediation.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that ultimately helps parties confronting a legal issue to resolve their case out of court. This often saves both parties time and money. Going this route may help the creditor obtain some portion of the unpaid debt back rather than facing receiving nothing if the debtor files bankruptcy. The debtor may be able to avoid more aggressive collection efforts, such as foreclosure, repossession, or garnishment by resolving the issue directly with the creditor and avoiding the legal system.

Mediation is also private, which benefits both parties from having their grievances become public fodder. Additionally, the process is confidential, so if the parties are unable to resolve the matter in mediation and continue to court, what they say during mediation generally cannot be repeated in court.

Mediation also requires and encourages the participation of both parties to help come up with solutions that work for both of them that may be outside the purview of the court to order, such as agreeing to a temporary moratorium on collections while the debtor regains his or her financial footing or waiving late fees or other penalties so the debtor can catch up more quickly.

When the parties are both parts of the solution, they are more likely to adhere to the agreement, preventing future litigation, appeals, and expenses that may otherwise result.

Important Principles to Understand About Creditors’ Rights

Creditors’ Rights

When a creditor extends credit to a consumer, the creditor has certain rights, such as the right to be paid for the unpaid balance on an account following the terms of the contract. However, there are important principles creditors should understand before overreaching and potentially subjecting them to liability, such as:

You Have the Right to Collect

The contract you have with the debtor probably outlines your right to be paid for the services or goods you provided, including late fees and any collection costs you incur as a result of non-payment. You have the right to collect these amounts. However, once you evoke these rights, you will need to carefully follow the rules that govern your collection efforts. If you are considered a “debt collector,” you will likely have to adhere to the terms of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including only contacting a consumer during certain times and not describing information about the debt to third parties. Even if you are the original creditor, some states may classify you as a debt collector for these purposes, so you may need to follow the laws in the state where the consumer lives. If you violate relevant consumer protection laws, you could be the one on the financial hook.

Your Rights Are Not Absolute

Even though you have the right to collect on the unpaid balance, you do not have an absolute right to collect on the debt. You have to respect the relevant laws, such as laws about liens and lien notices, not employing “self-help” measures as a landlord, and not running afoul of the automatic stay that applies after a consumer has filed for bankruptcy relief.

Mediation Is Often Preferable Over Litigation

Litigation tends to be expensive and time-consuming. If you can resolve the issue in mediation, you will likely save yourself or your company substantial time and money you may have used during the litigation process.

5 Reasons to Hire an Adoption Attorney in Florida to Finalize Your Adoption

Adoption Attorney in Florida

If you have decided to adopt a child, whether that means you are planning on adopting your new spouse’s child, you are adopting a family member’s child, or you adopting a child you have fostered for several years, this is an exciting time in your life. However, you may also be confused about the process and worried about taking all of the right steps. As much joy as adoption can bring a family, it is still a legal process that is best left to an adoption attorney in Florida, not just any lawyer. Adoption is a highly complex area of the law, and if things are not done properly, your legal rights as your child’s parent can be adversely affected, and your adoption can even be invalidated. This is why it is so important to work with an adoption attorney in Florida, rather than a general practice lawyer. Here are some additional benefits of working with a Florida adoption attorney.

Adoption Attorneys Can Facilitate Interstate Adoption

Many adoptions involve adopting a child who is located in another state. When this situation is present, a federal law called the Interstate Compact for Placement of Children applies. An adoptive parent cannot bring the child to be adopted across state lines without the consent of both states in accordance with this law. An adoption attorney in Florida can help ensure you understand these rules and that you comply with them.

Adoption Attorneys Can Ensure the Birth Parents’ Rights Are Terminated

To have a legal adoption, you must typically provide notice to the birth parents of your intent to adopt the child. Adopting the child will terminate the birth parents’ rights. Your attorney can ensure that all proper notices are provided and check for an unwed father on the putative father registry.

Adoption Attorneys Can Assist with Open Adoptions

Many adoptive parents want their children to have access to basic medical information and identifying information about their birth parents. A Florida adoption attorney can help parents navigate post-adoption communication agreements.

Adoption Attorneys Can Explain Taxation as It Relates to Adoption

Adoptive parents may not realize that they can receive a credit for adoption expenses. An adoption attorney in Florida can explain this tax credit and how to ensure you get the full benefit.

Adoption Attorneys Can Overcome Challenges

Adoption attorneys can help adoptive parents overcome challenges they may face, such as finding birth parents, overcoming a negative evaluation, or challenging a restriction regarding your marital status, religion, or sexual identity from an adoption agency.

If you would like assistance with your adoption case, contact The Law Offices of M. Katrina Muse at (904) 824-3355. M. Katrina Muse is an experienced Florida adoption attorney who wants to help you complete your family. She can answer any questions you have about the process and how she can help.

M. Katrina Muse

6 Questions You Need to Ask an Estate Planning Attorney

The thought of estate planning can be uncomfortable since people often associate it with writing a will and other documents for when they are no more here. However, estate planning is so much more as it involves finding creative strategies that let you enjoy your wealth better while you are alive, and also provide for your loved ones when you are gone.

While any lawyer can tell you why a will is important, for estate planning, you need an experienced estate planning attorney. Estate planning matters are often sensitive, which means you need to choose an attorney that you feel comfortable with.

Before hiring an estate planning attorney, you need to be certain that you are making the right choice. Here are 6 questions you need to ask an estate planning attorney before hiring:

  • What is your estate planning experience? When looking for an estate planning attorney, it is always a great idea to look for experienced attorneys. You should consider an attorney who has a minimum of three years of experience and specialization in trusts and estates. Anything less should not be considered. You should also ask if they have experience helping clients with similar financial circumstances. It would be an added benefit if they specialize in areas relating to your specific needs like special needs planning etc.
  • Do you recommend probate? If the estate planning attorney intends to put your estate through probate, you should consider it a red flag. This is because the disadvantages of probate are numerous. It can include costly court fees by taking several months or years in some cases to go through the courts. If the attorney suggests probate, ask what their reasons are and seek a second or third opinion before retaining them. Thoughcertain circumstances can make probate unavoidable,a good attorney should try to shield you from this additional time and cost.
  • How much do you charge for an estate plan? Depending on your estate size, you may be charged hourly. If you are given an hourly rate, you should ask what is and what is not billable. You should make every inquiry about what your estate plan is costing you so that you are not surprised down the road.
  • How do you handle updates on my estate plan? No matter how good your estate plans are, they may require certain altercations if your life changes or new laws are passed. You should choose an attorney who is able to update your plans as often as needed and with whom you are comfortable discussing personal matters. Most estate planning attorneys will review your plan once or twice a year, for a fee. But whether you choose frequent reviews or you review as needed, communicate with your estate planning attorney.
  • How long will it take to complete my estate planning project? Finalizing an agreed timeline right at the start can help prevent delays. It will help avoid unnecessary waste of time and address all your concerns on time.
  • Will you go over all plan documents with me before they go into effect? No matter how skilled and experienced your estate planning attorney is, it is important to review the documentation. This is to make sure everything is set up as you intended, to avoid mistakes or errors due to miscommunication.

At Davies Law Firm, we have the knowledge, experience, skills, and ethics to protect you, your family, and your loved ones. We are estate planning attorneys New York residents trust for their estate planning needs. Reach out to us on our website or call us on 315-472-6511 to schedule a consultation today.

Frederick Davies

Common Disputes Involving Internet Law and How Mediation Can Help

Internet Law

As the internet continues to extend, so do the type and number of disputes involving internet law. Individuals and businesses interact extensively online, which is a prominent reason for the uptick in internet law cases. While disputes may be more likely to occur over the internet, the mediation process provides a possible solution to them.

Disputes over the internet can vary drastically. Claims may arise because of harassing conduct or cyberbullying over the internet. Domain name disputes may arise when a company sees its name being appropriated by a different company. Trademark infringement may be easier to pinpoint by reverse searching on the internet. Claims of defamation or privacy violations may even be alleged.

While there is no shortage of potential issues that may arise over the internet, these disputes may involve complex issues, such as determining liability for wrongdoing, cross-jurisdictional considerations, intellectual property principles, and highly technical concepts. The potential consequences of a negative finding by the court can result in lost revenues, having to turn over profits to another company, injunctions, and other negative consequences.

Mediation provides a cost-effective solution to individuals and businesses who are grappling with complex issues implicating internet law. Mediation is confidential, so trade secrets or other privacy issues are not shared with the public. Additionally, the parties have complete control over the outcome of the case, so they can avoid undesired consequences that may arise in court breaching an agreement with terms they can live with. Disputing parties may even be able to reach an agreement that allows them to structure a relationship for the future. The mediation process is often far less expensive and much more timely than litigation, which is critical when dealing with the speed of the internet.

What Can I Expect from Computer and Software Mediation?
Computer and software mediation is a private process that is led by a third-party neutral. The mediator guides the parties toward a mutual resolution that meets their underlying needs, such as avoiding negative publicity, lost business relationships, time, and money. The mediator usually separates the parties physically or through the use of technology. The mediator may then meet with each party to learn more about their perspective and their interests. The mediator may then communicate offers and counteroffers between the parties until they reach an agreement they both sign off on.

What Results Can I Get from Internet Law Mediation?
Internet law mediation allows the parties to reach any legal agreement. They are not restricted to the limited remedies typically available through courts, such as money damages or injunctions. Instead, they may agree on such resolutions as entering into a new licensing agreement, agreeing to take down certain unflattering information, issuing a public apology, issuing a retraction, or setting up a new group to monitor ongoing activity, among others. The ability to reach creative solutions is one of the most important characteristics of mediation.