Fair Housing Violations: What You Need to Know

Fair housing is an important aspect of living in many communities. Because some populations have historically been the subject of discriminating tactics, there are severe penalties for fair housing violations. Here, we discuss common violations, potential penalties and how to avoid them.

Common Violations
Many fair housing violations have to do with treating families different from single people. For example, housing administrators cannot ask prospective clients about how many children a person has or if they are currently pregnant. Additionally, it may be a fair housing violation to make rules that restrict the actions of children but not other residents.

One of the most common fair housing violations is refusing to accept an application from a potential tenant for any reason other than not meeting the state qualification criteria. These criteria should be transparent.

Additionally, fair housing violations may include not providing reasonable accommodations to tenants, such as not allowing residents to have a service animal or ignoring a request for a handicap parking spot.
Housing organizations must take steps to properly train all staff on fair housing laws to ensure that no discrimination occurs. Providing ongoing training to keep staff informed of changes in the law or new understandings is important.

Fair housing violations can include expensive fines that are tens of thousands of dollars per violation, payment of attorney fees for the discriminated tenant and punitive damages. Fair housing violations may involve hearing in front of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administrative law judge or the U.S. Department of Justice. Additionally, courts may issue injunctions if immediate action is required.

Methods of Resolution
These disputes can wind up in front of a civil judge or administrative law judge. However, parties may also agree to resolve these types of disputes in mediation for a faster and more affordable solution.

Keeping Divorce Out of the Family Business

If you are a business owner who has decided to end your marriage or your spouse has approached you about divorce, you need an attorney. It is important to work with someone who not only understands the divorce process but who also knows what it takes to protect a family business.

The approach to dealing with a family business and keeping your divorce from affecting the business depends on your specific arrangement. If you own a business with your spouse, there is little chance the divorce will not affect your business arrangement, even in a minor way. If you own a business separate from your spouse and you want to make sure your divorce does not damage the business, you will be taking an entirely different approach.

Owning a Business with Your Former Spouse

If you and your soon-to-be-ex owned a business together, there are a few things you can do if your marriage ends in divorce:

Your first option is to continue co-owning the business and running it together. Your divorce might have very little bearing on the business, as long as you are still able to behave professionally and maintain a successful business. You will both keep your interest in the business and remain in contact with one another as business owners.

Your second option is to buy out your spouse’s half of the business or have him or her do, so for your half of the business. In this case, the business would be considered an asset in the divorce and would be treated as such. You will need to have the business valued by an appraiser and then create an arrangement that accommodates the buy-out in the divorce settlement.

Your third option is to sell the business and split the process. It would be divided like any other asset according to your divorce settlement.

No matter which of these three options you choose, if you co-own a business with your spouse and you are moving forward with divorce, it is important to speak to an attorney who can help you through the process.

Owning a Family Business that is Separate from Your Spouse

Your soon-to-be-former spouse cannot force you to sell a business you own outright or with other family members. However, the income you earned from that business will likely be part of the divorce settlement, at least in part.

As a business owner, it is essential you work with an attorney who understands the process of dividing assets in divorce and protecting what is rightfully yours. Your ex will have some claim to your assets, but you want someone to help you mitigate the damage as much as possible.

No matter your situation, you are getting divorced; it is important for you to work with an experienced divorce attorney who will help you make decisions and guide you through the process. If you are a business owner dealing with the end of your marriage, the support of an experienced attorney is even more important. Peter Wifler can help. For more information or to schedule a time to speak to Peter about your situation, contact him at 847-438-6153.

Peter Wifler

The Advantages of Holistic Divorce

A holistic divorce is one in which the parties involved are viewed as a family with emotions and not just a legal matter. A holistic approach to divorce puts the couple in a place where they can resolve their issues without it turning into a battle.

Holistic divorce works so well because it does not include all the stiffness that waiting for a court hearing might bring and most of the time, the can couple separate amicably, without ever making it into an actual courtroom.

Divorce can be a lethal onslaught on the emotions of not just the spouses but everyone involved. It is not just a legal issue to be resolved as the effects of divorce go beyond the banging of the gavel. This is why our divorce lawyers Berkley are very concerned with the healing of the family while they navigate this rough patch. Whatever the issues are, be rest assured that you are in safe hands with our divorce experts. We can help you find a positive resolution.

How you benefit from holistic divorce

Couples that elect for a holistic approach to their divorce are able to benefit from several advantages. These include the following:

  • If there are any children involved, a holistic divorce is the best because it helps the parents to be calm. Calm parents tend to make rational and good decisions for their kids instead of leaving them to the judge who does not know these kids. The parents are often in the best position to determine what is in the kids’ best interest.
  • A divorce lawyer Berkley who is also trained as a therapy or life coach will provide the double advantages of expert legal advice and practical life tips. This will help the couples tackle any challenges they have, either emotional or legal.
  • A holistic approach ensures that couples can take good and adequate care of themselves in all ramifications: mentally, emotionally, and physically. This will make them feel better about the whole process and be more disposed to a collaborative outcome.
  • A holistic approach is also less expensive than litigation. It does not last nearly as long, there are no confrontations, the couples feel much better and it is cost-efficient.
  • Divorce is not just a matter of litigation and files. When couples get their lawyers and march to the courtroom, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that emotions are involved. But it is not the best way to heal, a holistic approach helps with the healing.

Considering how divorced homes can negatively affect children and how divorces tend to leave one or both parties in debt, the holistic approach can be a real lifesaver. If you do decide to opt for holistic divorce, you can completely count on our divorce lawyers Berkley. If you would like to know more or explore the specific advantages of a holistic divorce to your circumstances, reach out to us for a free initial consultation today.

Sharon Easley

Benefits of Mediation for Student Loans

It is common to take a student loan to pay the costs of attending college. However, these debts can often take years to pay off, and it may create a situation where you are no longer able to afford loan repayments, which can be very stressful. To be sure that you get the best resolution, you may want to try meditating with lenders.

Many companies will be open to the mediation process, as it is much more affordable than going to court. It will also allow them to deal with the matter privately, avoiding any negative publicity that the case may create. Depending on which state you are in, there may be a mediation process already in place to help you deal with these disputes. If not, your lawyers could help arrange one on your behalf.

There are multiple reasons why the mediation process may benefit you. First, this process is focused on creating an arrangement that will suit both parties. For example, you could reach a compromise where you agree to lower monthly payments. Because of this, you could get the case resolved more promptly, which will reduce the amount of stress and uncertainty caused by the dispute. Also, the process will be more informal than attending court, which should help you feel more relaxed, making it easier for you to present your case. As with most legal processes, you may want to have a lawyer present. They can help you obtain a satisfactory outcome, and make sure that you understand any obligations that you will face. However, it is often much more affordable for them to prepare for a mediation process, allowing you to reduce the costs involved in resolving the dispute significantly.

Divorce Checklist: Issues to Discuss with Your Divorce Attorney in Columbia MO

Before meeting with a divorce attorney in Columbia, MO for the first time, prepare a checklist of issues to discuss with him or her. Some common issues that you may want to discuss include:

Division of Property
Missouri is an equitable distribution state, meaning that assets obtained during the marriage should be fairly divided between the spouses at the time of divorce. Divorcing parties can enter into their own agreement that explains how their property will be divided. If they are unable to reach an agreement, the court considers various factors in determining how to fairly divide the property, including:

  • The economic circumstances of each spouse
  • The value of the separate property of each spouse
  • Custodial arrangements regarding minor children
  • The economic and noneconomic contributions of each party during the marriage
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage

The court is not under any obligation to divide the property 50/50, so it is often in the spouses’ best interests to try to reach a fair resolution outside of court.

Child Custody
If you have minor children, you likely will want to know how your relationship with them will be affected by divorce. In Missouri, legal issues related to custody are decided by what is in the best interest of the child and joint custody is presumed to be in the best interest of the child unless evidence establishes otherwise. If parents do not agree on child custody, the court can select one parent to be the residential parent for school and communication purposes and provide visitation to the other parent.

A parent who wants custody or responds to a request for custody must include a proposed parenting plan that addresses critical information about the child. The parents may participate in mediation and try to reach the terms of the parenting plan together. Parenting plans often include information such as:

  • Parenting time with each parent
  • Which parent will have final decision-making authority
  • Which parent the child will live with
  • Vacation and holiday schedules
  • How to make decisions regarding your child
  • How to resolve disputes
  • Communication methods

Parenting plans are presented to the court for approval and are binding on both parents once the court approves them.

Child Support
Missouri expects both parents to help support their children, regardless of their marital situation. The amount of child support that is ordered depends on several factors, including:

  • The financial needs and resources of the child
  • The financial needs and resources of the parents
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child
  • The child’s educational needs
  • The child’s physical custody arrangement
  • The reasonable work-related childcare expenses of each parent

Contact a Seasoned Divorce Attorney in Columbia MO for More Information
An experienced divorce attorney in Columbia, MO can discuss these issues and others during a confidential consultation. He or she can also discuss the potential timeline of your case, the legal filings that will be necessary in your case and other factors that are specific to your case. Schedule a confidential consultation with Randall Brown by calling 573-442-8879.

Randall Brown

Mediation for Shareholder Disputes

When you become a shareholder in a company, you want to be sure that the organization is implementing policies, and it will ensure that the business continues to maintain strong sales. However, this process may also lead to conflicts between shareholders. Many people will have a different view on the best action for the organization to take. To settle these shareholder disputes, you should engage in the mediation process. There are several benefits this will provide.

One of the most significant benefits is that it will allow everyone to put their position forward. By listening to everyone’s opinion, it will be easier for a consensus to be reached. Also, by engaging in a mediated discussion, you will be more likely to find a compromise that benefits all parties, and it will allow the dispute to be resolved promptly.

If shareholder disputes go to court, it can produce many negative consequences. First, the discussions may expose the inner workings of the company. This information may provide benefits to the competition. Also, you risk doing reputational damage, as it creates the appearance of a rift among leaders in the company, and it can affect the share price. The longer the problem remains unresolved, the more pronounced the shareholder dispute will become. For this reason, you may want to enter the mediation promptly.

The way that the mediation process works will often vary, depending on the nature of the dispute. For example, in some cases, the mediator will move between the two parties until an agreement is reached. In other models, both parties might agree to meet to discuss the issues, each arguing their case before the mediator until a compromise is reached. Because the rules can be changed to suit the situation, the process can work for both parties.

Benefits of Mediation for Patent Disputes

Patents are designed to recognize innovative products and ideas. When you apply for a patent, you will be able to prevent people from making the same products, which makes patents essential, especially if you are running a commercial enterprise. Without this protection, people could profit from stealing your products. There are multiple areas that you may be able to protect using a patent. However, you will need to enforce your patent for it to be effective. If you intend to do this, you might want to make sure that you hire a mediation lawyer.

One of the most significant benefits of hiring a mediation lawyer is that the process will be confidential. Though you may be trying to protect your commercial interests, taking smaller companies to court can be portrayed negatively in the media. This aspect might be amplified by the adversarial nature of the court proceedings. These types of stories can cause reputational damage to your organization. By working through the process in private, you can remove these pressures. You will also be able to achieve a resolution faster, as both sides can feel comfortable discussing the issues.

The patent law process can be very complicated, often featuring many technical issues that need to be explored. When you use mediation, you can set some of these issues aside, which will allow you to create a more streamlined case, where you focus on the areas that matter most. Because of this, you can obtain a faster decision. Also, your lawyer will not face the same pressures of preparing a court case, and it will allow you to reduce their costs. Also, it is common for both parties to split the costs of hiring the mediator.