Boozer Downs – FAQs

1. How long does a divorce take in Alabama?

How long a divorce takes in Alabama is predicated on how quickly a couple is willing to work to resolve the issues that need to be settled. The minimum length of time it takes to get a divorce in the state is 30 days. This is due to Alabama’s “cooling off” period or waiting period. It begins on the day you file for divorce. From there, it is a matter of how long it takes for the couple to come to a resolution concerning divorce issues, such as custody, alimony, and asset division.

2. How do Alabama courts split up property in a divorce?

Alabama courts treat most property acquired during the marriage as marital property. This means both spouses have some claim to it. According to the law, judges judge can divide marital property in any manner they deem fair, regardless of which spouse actually owns the property in question. Alabama, like many states, uses equitable distribution, which means an effort is made to create an equitable, but not necessarily equal split.

3. What is the role of an estate planning attorney in my estate plan?

The role of an estate planning attorney is to help you make the best decisions about your estate based on your circumstances and to ensure that your wishes will stand up in court. They also focus on creating a plan that will allow for the most efficient disposal of your estate once you are gone. They can also help you make changes to your estate as your life circumstances change and be able to answer questions that you have or your loved ones might have after you are gone.

4. Is a Will really necessary if everything is owned jointly with a spouse or some other person in Alabama?

Yes and no. Other family members cannot lay claim to property that is jointly owned when one owner dies, but in the long run not having a will can hurt you and your family members. This is especially true if one spouse dies and the other eventually develops senility and is no longer of sound mind to create a will or other planning documents. It is also a good idea, even if a property is jointly owned, to have plans in place concerning durable power of attorney and medical directives.

5. What happens if you do not have a Will in Alabama?

If you die in Alabama without a will, the state’s intestacy succession laws dictate who inherits your probate estate. Your property is distributed based on the surviving relatives. For instance, if your spouse outlives you and you have children all of whom are from that spouse, he or she inherits the first $50,000 of the probate estate plus one-half of the balance and your children inherit the remainder. The only way the state takes ownership of the estate is if you die without any surviving family members, which is rare.

6. What is probate?

In general, probate is the legal process by which is “proved” and accepted as valid. Once that occurs, the estate can be settled according to the wishes of the deceased and/or the laws of intestacy. In Alabama, this process includes making sure all of the deceased person’s possessions and assets are accounted for and collected, the value of their assets determined, and any outstanding debts or taxes to be paid.

7. What is the time period to admit a Will to probate?

The sooner you probate a will in Alabama the better. Wills are not effective under state laws unless they are filed for probate within five years from the death of the testator. If you do not file a will within 12 months from the date of the testator’s death it could be considered invalid as to purchasers of estate assets. This means anyone who purchased assets in good faith could be allowed to keep it even if it otherwise would have been distributed based on the directives in the will.

Boozer Downs

Stanton Anker – FAQs


1.  How do courts split up a property in a divorce in South Dakota?

South Dakota splits up marital assets in much the same way as many other states – by using equitable distribution.  This means that the court’s goal is to divide marital assets in a fair and equitable manner between the spouses.  Keep in mind, this does not necessarily mean equal. Instead, the court takes multiple factors into account in order to determine the equitable distribution for each spouse, including contributions to the marriage, living situations, ability of the spouses after divorce, and children.

2.  Can I get joint or shared custody of my children?

Possibly, depending on the circumstances.  At the very least, the court will attempt to provide both parents with adequate parenting time.  South Dakota family courts award custody of the children whose parents are divorcing to either one parent or both.  According to the state law, shared custody is any arrangement wherea child has regular and ongoing contact with both parents.  Keep in mind, parenting time might not be equally divided in terms of physical custody.

3.  My spouse is the primary wage earner in our family.  How can I file for child or spousal support?

You and your attorney will discuss your situation and determine how to proceed regarding child and spousal support.  The sooner you file for either or both forms of support the better because it sets a long-term precedent.  Child support is determined based on a formula enacted by the state and spousal support is determined based on the recipient spouse’s needs and the paying spouse’s income and expenses.

4.  How much does a divorce cost?

The cost of divorce varies from couple to couple based on what is needed to end the marriage.  As far as filing fees are concerned, you will pay about $100 to file paperwork for a divorce in South Dakota.  The total cost of divorce depends on the amount charged by your attorney, how long it takes to reach a settlement, and whether or not additional fees or charges are needed.

5.  How will alimony be determined?

In South Dakota, the court awards alimony either temporarily or permanently based on the owing spouse’s ability to pay, each spouse’s age, the duration of the marriage, and the requesting spouse’s ability to work after the divorce.  South Dakota courts also take into account the degree of marital fault by the recipient – it is not a no-fault divorce state, so you could end up paying or receiving more based on factors like fidelity.

6.  What are the steps in the process of a divorce?

In general, the steps of divorcing in South Dakota include filing for divorce, waiting for the non-filing spouse’s response, negotiation concerning the divorce settlement, and if necessary, court determinations for things like division of assets and spousal support.  The final step is receiving approval from the court for the dissolution of the marriage.  Exactly how many steps and how long divorce takes varies from couple to couple based on their situation and their willingness to work together to create a settlement.


1.  When should a business voluntarily file Chapter 7?

A business should file for Chapter 7 when they no longer have the ability or the desire to remain in business.  Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy means losing control of the company.  When you file, the trustee takes over your business assets and determines whether the business should be sold as a whole or by individual assets – whatever will benefit creditors the most.  This means if you are liable for any of your business’ debt you could also be facing personal financial issues.

2.  What happens when a business files Chapter 7?

When a business files for Chapter 7 it is taken over by the bankruptcy trustee.  Essentially, the court takes ownership of assets of the business and uses those assets to meet the financial obligations.  In some cases the business is sold as a whole, while in other it is sold by individual asset.  It is the trustee’s job to determine which of these options will garner the greater amount of money for paying creditors.

3.  What happens when a business files Chapter 11?

Chapter 11 is an opportunity for a business to “reorganize” in an attempt to meet its financial obligations.  Companies in debt often use Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code to try to become profitable again.  When they file, a trustee is appointed to “liquidate” (sell) the company’s assets.  That money is then used to pay off debt, which may include debts to creditors and investors.  It does not necessarily mean the business is going under and some businesses have used Chapter 11 to keep them in business.

4.  What happens to my assets during a bankruptcy?

How your assets are treated during bankruptcy depends on what type of bankruptcy you file for.  For instance, in Chapter 7, assets are most likely to be sold and the profits used to pay your creditors.  In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you retain ownership of assets and agree to a repayment plan that allows you to bring your debts current.  There are also instances in which you can exempt assets from bankruptcy, which means they are protected from the bankruptcy trustee.

5.  Can I apply for a new credit card once I have filed?

It is possible to get credit after you have filed for bankruptcy, but when you should do it varies on a number of factors.  In most cases, you will need to wait until your bankruptcy has been completed, or discharged.  More than likely, you will only be approved for certain types of credit, most of which have unfavorable terms.  However, these options can allow you to repair some of the damage done to your credit and rebuild it over time.

6.  Why do people choose to file chapter 7 over Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

The primary reason people choose Chapter 7 bankruptcy over Chapter 13 is because Chapter 7 offers near-immediate discharge of unsecured debts.  In Chapter 13, you will eventually be granted discharge for unsecured debts, but it is not until you have completed a payment plan that lasts for three to five years.  The downside of Chapter 7 is that your assets are liquidated, so it is often chosen by those who have little to no assets and therefore “nothing to lose.”

Wills/Probate/Estate Planning

1.  What is a durable general power of attorney?

Durable general power of attorney is the legal term for giving a person of your choosing (usually called the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent”) the authority to act on your behalf concerning legal matters and other issues designated by you should you be unable to do so.  It goes into effect when you are unable to make decisions regarding legal matters on your own.  Many people grant their spouses or adult children durable general power of attorney, though you can assign the authority to anyone.

2.  How often do I need to update my Will?

You should update your will any time there is a significant change in your life.  For instance, if you remarry, have children, move, or your current spouse dies; it is a good idea to have an attorney review your will and determine what update is needed.  It is also a good idea to make updates if your financial situation changes or you accrue additional assets.  And finally, you should have an attorney review your will periodically – at least every five to 10 years – whether changes occurred or not, just to make sure everything is in order.

3.  What property can I dispose of in my Will?

Just about any type of property can be disposed of in a will.  For instance, things that are personal property including, art, furniture, collectibles, cash, jewelry, antiques, etc.  Additionally, money in checking accounts, savings accounts, and money market accounts are also included in wills.  So is Intangible personal property, such as stocks, bonds, and other forms of business ownership, as well as intellectual property, royalties, patents, and copyrights can also be part of a will.

4.  What is probate?

Probate is the court-overseen process by which a deceased’s person estate is settled.  Essentially, it is the process of proving the person’s will in a court of law and ensuring it should be accepted as a valid document.  Once a will completes the probate process, the wishes of the deceased can be honor and the estate can be settled which usually includes distributing the assets to family members and others named as beneficiaries.

5.  What is the time period to admit a Will to probate?

The time period for admitting a will to probate in South Dakota varies based on the size of the estate, but in general, there is a 30 day waiting period before the will can be admitted to the court.  The state has both a formal and informal probate process, so it is important to work with an attorney to determine what the deadlines might be for a given estate.

6.  What is involved in the administration of an estate?

The administration of a person’s estate is based on the documents that govern the estate.  For instance, settling an estate with a will is different than settling one governed by an irrevocable trust.  If probate is necessary, as it would be with just a will and if the estate is of a certain value, you will need to “prove” the will in court before administration of the estate can begin.  Once approval is given by the court, the assets in the estate can be distributed based on the wishes of the deceased.

7.  What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, known as dying “intestate”, it means the state becomes the owner of your estate.  It has the power to determine how your assets will be distributed, if at all.  If you have people to whom you would like your assets to pass after you die, it is important to create a will.  Otherwise, the process of settling your estate will be complicated and expensive.

8.  What documents are needed for estate planning?

The documents used for estate planning in South Dakota depend on how you would like to set up your estate.  At the very least, you should have a will that has been reviewed by an experienced estate planning attorney.  It is also a good idea to create documents assigning power of attorney and a living will.  You might also benefit from creating a trust.  The best thing to do is review your assets and wishes with an attorney who can help you determine the best estate planning tools for your situation.

Stanton Anker

What Are My Rights After Being Charged with a Drug Crime?

You likely will feel fear, panic and confusion after you are arrested for a drug crime. However, it is important to stay calm and remember your rights so that you can avoid making a mistake that can result in substantial time behind bars. Here is a short overview of your rights after being charged with a drug crime.

Right to Remain Silent
You have probably heard it a million times in cop shows. When a person is arrested, he or she is told they have the right to remain silent. However, many people forget about this right or they have the natural response of wanting to deny the charges against them. The best thing that you can do to help your case is to remain silent. Cops are trained at trying to extract damaging information from suspects and provoking them to say something that is later used against them. Avoid the bait and simply remain silent. Then, say that you want a criminal defense attorney in Perham.

Right to a Phone Call
After booking, you are allowed a phone call. Use this phone call wisely. Call a criminal defense attorney in Perham directly. Keep my number on you: 218-346-4600. If you do not have my number, call a family member and instruct them to call me on your behalf. Once you make this phone call, I can begin mounting a defense for you and looking into getting you out of jail.

Right to Hear the Charges Against You
It is not uncommon for a simple possession charge to become inflated into even more serious charges. At your arraignment, you have the right to hear the charges against you before pleading guilty or not guilty. If you have not yet hired an experienced criminal defense attorney in Perham, plead not guilty at this hearing.

Right to the Protection of Your Constitutional Rights
You have certain important rights that arise during the course of a criminal investigation, including the right to be free of illegal searches or seizures. Your Perham criminal defense attorney can investigate whether police conducted an illegal search of your home, vehicle or person. If they did, your lawyer can fight to have this evidence ruled inadmissible.

Right to Have Your Lawyer Present for Any Questioning
If law enforcement questions you, you have the right for your lawyer to be present for any questioning. Insist on this right and avoid answering any questions or signing anything without your lawyer advising you to do so.

Right to Fight the Charges Against You
Even if drugs were found in your possession, you have the right to fight the charges against you. Your criminal defense attorney in Perham can lodge an aggressive defense. The prosecutor has the burden of proof of showing that you committed the crime that you are charged with by providing proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer can advise you whether it is in your best interest to proceed to trial or if a plea bargain may be better. He or she can also investigate if an alternative sentencing option or drug treatment would best serve you.

Bruce Kunz

How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer in Florida

When you decide to get a divorce, you will often have to deal with much uncertainty. For example, you will usually have to decide how to split your assets from your partner, and it can be a long and tedious process, especially if one party contests the decision. To make sure that everything goes smoothly, you will need to hire a skilled Naples divorce lawyer. However, how can you be sure that you are choosing the right lawyer for your case?

You should start by considering which law firms have built a good reputation in the community, which indicates that they have been able to deliver excellent service and deliver decisions that benefit their clients. Often, one of the best ways to determine this is by using online reviews. When doing this, be sure to read multiple reviews. You may also want to ask around town, finding out which firms people respect and recommend.

Once you know which firms you may want to use, you should conduct a consultation session. In most cases, this will be free. This session will allow you to assess the relationship between you and the attorney. Because they will be representing you in legal proceedings, you must find someone who can trust. Also, divorce proceedings often involve discussing emotional topics, so you will need to find a Naples divorce lawyer that makes you feel comfortable.

Divorce laws can often be highly complex, often requiring you to follow multiple guidelines. Because of this, you will need an experienced lawyer who can explain your obligations to you. Also, they can use their knowledge to make sure that you reach a satisfactory outcome.

Conduct Law Firm Interviews
If you have narrowed down the list to two or three potential firms, you may want to start conducting interviews with the lawyers from each firm. Before the discussion, be sure to make a list of areas of concern, which will ensure that you get useful information. During this session, you can discuss the case with the lawyer and get their opinion. These discussions are especially important if your divorce deals with complex issues, for example, if you need to divide many assets or figure out custody arrangements. At the end of the interviews, you can compare notes, which will make it easier to spot the strengths and weaknesses of each firm, allowing you to make an informed decision.

Getting a divorce can be a very challenging process, often requiring you to consider the way that your assets will be divided. We discussed some of the ways you can be sure that you get competent legal representation through this time. The Nikki A Uri Law Firm prides itself on being able to provide excellent Naples divorce lawyers, earning a great community reputation. So, get in touch with our friendly team to book your consultation today.

Nikki Uri

5 Benefits of Using Mediation for Commercial Disputes

When doing business, you may find yourself engaged in a commercial dispute, which can include anything from contractors taking issue with their contract to customers disputing the price of products. To make sure that you find a positive resolution, you will need to be sure that the case is handled correctly. For this reason, many companies prefer to use the mediation process. Let us look at some of the benefits this can provide.

1. Faster Than Court
When facing a commercial dispute, you should resolve the matter as quickly as possible. However, if you go to court, the process can often drag out across many months. When you attend mediation, you will tend to reach a decision faster, since it will reduce the amount of uncertainty that the dispute causes, reducing the impact on your business.

2. Save Your Relationships
In some cases, the commercial dispute might arise with someone whom you consider vital for your future business. In these cases, mediation will often allow you to save the relationship. Unlike court, which is a more adversarial process, mediation will let you discuss the issues because both sides can put their cases forward, and you will be more likely to reach a decision that works well for both parties.

3. Less Formal than Court
When you are in court, you will often need to make sure that you abide by specific rules and regulations. This strict process can be challenging to juggle if you are also trying to run a business. Thankfully, the mediation process is less formal. During your business mediation, Tucson can set procedures that will benefit both parties. Also, because it’s less formal, you will be able to feel more relaxed.

4. Less Expensive than Court
Because it has less strict rules, it is much cheaper than going to court. Unlike going to court, the lawyers will not need to prepare to call witnesses and will not have to create as many legal documents, making the mediation process perfect for dealing with minor issues where the costs, if taken to court, could outweigh any benefit that you would receive.

5. Discussions Are Confidential
Finally, the discussions from the mediation sessions are confidential. Unlike courts, there does not have to be any written record or public statements made, which will allow you to resolve the case without risking any damage to your company’s reputation. In some cases, your mediator will be able to take additional steps to make sure that the details of the meeting aren’t revealed, which might include something like a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

As we have seen, there are multiple reasons why you may want to use the mediation process to help settle a commercial dispute. However, to be sure that you get the most benefits from the process, you will need to choose a skilled mediation lawyer. In this area, E. Hardy Smith is a highly experienced business mediator, Tucson. So, get in contact today to learn more about how the mediation process can benefit you.

E. Hardy Smith

5 Things to Avoid if You Get Pulled Over for DUI Suspicion

Driving Under The Influence (DUI) is a severe problem, endangering public safety. For this reason, this issue is treated very seriously by the police. If they suspect you of driving under the influence, they can pull you over and request a breath analysis test. Let us look at some of the most important things to avoid during a DUI.

1. Do Not Drive Erratically
Once you notice that the officer has turned on his lights, you should be trying to find a place to pull over. When doing this, you must drive safely. Your conduct will end up in the police report. If the officer notes that you park in an unsafe location, it could be used as evidence that you were driving recklessly.

2. Do Not Act in a Threatening Way
While the situation might be inconvenient, you should not take your frustration out on the police officers. They will note this behavior in their report, and it could have an impact on the way the court reacts to your case. You should also be careful to avoid threatening officers with physical violence. They have been trained to protect themselves, and this kind of behavior can cause you to be injured. Also, if you are physically abusive, you may face more severe charges.

3. Do Not Take Roadside Tests
Once you have been pulled over, the officers will want to test you to see whether you have any alcohol in your system. However, these tests are often highly unreliable. You are within your legal rights to refuse them. Instead, request to be tested at the station, which may result in your license being temporarily suspended, but you will get more accurate tests. On the journey, you can contact a criminal justice attorney near me to obtain legal advice about how you should proceed. Once at the station, you should comply with the tests. If you do not, you may be charged with resisting arrest.

4. Don’t Give Incriminating Information
When questioning, you should remember that you are under no obligation to answer any questions that you feel may lead to self-incrimination. During these moments, it is best to assert your fifth amendment rights respectfully.

5. Do not Get Questioned Without a Lawyer
In some cases, you may be questioned by the police. During this time, you have the right to have a lawyer present. You should be sure to take advantage of this, contacting a criminal justice attorney near me. They can inform you of your rights and make sure that you get treated fairly. They will also provide legal representation before a court, helping you get a great outcome.

Getting suspected of a DUI can be a stressful situation as you get pulled over by the police. We discussed some of the most important things you should avoid during this situation to help you get a positive outcome. If you need help with a DUI, be sure to get in contact with an experienced lawyer, like Shane Mattingly, Attorney At Law.

Shane Mattingly

What Are the Risks of Working with a Debt Settlement Company?

After acquiring debt, you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of paying it all off. You may have received advertisements from debt settlement companies that promise to settle your debt for fractions on the dollar. Just thinking about the peace of mind of not having creditors call you on a daily basis may make you reach for the phone. However, before you make that call, it is important that you understand the potential risks of working with a debt settlement company.

Benefits of Working with a Debt Settlement Company
Debt settlement companies can sometimes negotiate your debt down so that debt collection companies accept less than the original amount you owed. Additionally, they can handle communications with debt collectors so that you do not have to deal with the stress and frustration of doing so.

In other situations, a debt settlement company may be able to help you consolidate your debt and make a more manageable monthly payment. It may actually be in your best interest to work with a debt settlement company. However, it is important that you talk through this option with a knowledgeable Peoria bankruptcy lawyer before entering into a contract with the debt settlement company so that you are made aware of the full extent of the services and informed of all charges and risks associated with this arrangement.

Drawbacks of Working with a Debt Settlement Company
There are three primary drawbacks of working with a debt settlement company:

You Will Have to Pay Additional Charges
Debt settlement companies do not work out of the goodness of their hearts; they are in it to make money. In addition to any debt payments you make, you will also need to make a payment to the debt settlement company. Protect your interests by having your Peoria bankruptcy lawyer review any contract before signing it so that you are informed of all associated costs.

Your Credit May Suffer
By not paying off the full amount of your debt or by closing your accounts, you may wind up hurting your credit. While bankruptcy may also impact your credit, whether the effect of the bankruptcy or the debt settlement is greater will depend on your personal situation.

You May Wind Up Paying on Invalid Debts
The debt collection business is often fraught with disorganization and confusion. Debt collection companies may purchase debts with no guarantee that they are valid. They may be so old that the statute of limitations has run on them. Debt collectors may not have a clear chain of ownership of the debt so if they did sue you, a valid defense could prevent collection on the debt. In some situations, the same debt may be sold to multiple companies so paying it off may not necessarily prevent you from later being pursued for payment from another debt collection company.
A knowledgeable Peoria bankruptcy lawyer will have the multifaceted understanding of debt collection practices and the legal defenses that you may be able to raise to minimize the amount of debt you have to pay off.

Charles Covey