When Should You Seek Legal Advice?

legal adviceWhen a complicated legal situation arises, one issue people struggle with is figuring out when to get off the internet and seek professional legal advice. Unfortunately, there is no set rules for seeking legal advice, since no case is the same. Of course, if you’re in a situation that requires the professional judgment of an attorney, it’s generally a good idea to seek legal advice. But because the law can be complex and confusing to civilians, below are a few general guidelines when it comes to seeking legal advice.

Some specific situations that may call for seeking legal advice, and soon, may include:

  • Signing a contract — it never hurts to have an attorney review the terms and conditions of a contract to ensure you’re not agreeing to unfair terms. Once you sign, it’s often too late to make any meaningful changes.
  • Buying or selling a home — while you should hope you have a trustworthy realtor, it could also be beneficial to have an attorney ensure you’re not dealing with unnecessary terms and expenses. While your bank should provide an attorney for the closing, you can also hire one yourself.
  • Starting a business — by asking an attorney for help with setting up your business correctly, you will avoid any fees or fines that may come with making a mistake or doing something wrong.
  • Settling an Estate — having a lawyer help settle an estate can maximize investment benefits and minimize tax consequences.
  • Going through a divorce — divorces can get sticky very quickly if not handled with care. A divorce attorney can help make decisions regarding property, debts, moving, and custody.
  • Wrongful termination — to determine if you have a case of wrongful termination, an attorney can help decide if you have a cause of action to earn compensation from any damages that were caused by losing your job.
  • Financial problems — filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process. Having an attorney by your side may be able to help you save your home or collect unpaid debt.

Generally speaking, it’s usually a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as you’re deprived of your legal rights (or fear you’re being taken advantage of). Most legal situations have statutes of limitation, meaning you only have a limited time to act. Waiting too long to seek legal advice may cause you to lose your right to take action against the situation.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you’re trying to decide if you should meet with an attorney at law, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and do it. With approximately 10,000 Americans being wrongfully convicted of a crime every year, not understanding the legal process you’re involved in could cause you to make mistakes with significant consequences.

Speaking with an attorney may be the best way to ensure your rights are protected and to avoid potential issues along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic and Divorce Law In Virginia

domestic law in virginiaGoing through a divorce can be a difficult time. However, you’re not alone. According to researchers, between 40 to 50% of all first marriages and up to 60% of second marriages in the U.S. are estimated to end in divorce.

Because domestic law differs from state to state, it’s essential to know the domestic laws of your own state before filing for divorce. The following are some of the more frequently asked questions regarding the domestic law in Virginia and the grounds necessary for divorce in the Old Dominion.

What is considered the grounds for divorce in the state of Virginia?
First, to file for divorce in the state of Virginia it’s necessary for at least one of the spouses to have been a resident of the state for at least six months (or 180 days) prior to the divorce filing.

There are two types of divorces: fault and no-fault divorce. A fault divorce is when one spouse claims the other spouse to be at fault for the ending of the marriage. No-fault divorce is when no blame is placed on either spouse.

In the state of Virginia, a spouse may base their grounds for divorce on the fact that they’ve been separated from the other party for a minimum of 12 months. This is true whether the divorce is being filed on fault or no-fault grounds.

Depending on the marriage, one spouse may feel the need to file for fault divorce so as to gain an advantage during hearings for child custody disputes. This is also true regarding disputes for the division of property. However, filing for a fault divorce does not automatically provide the filing spouse with the advantage in either case.

How is the marital property divided between spouses in Virginia?
The domestic law in Virginia requires the marital property to be divided equitably. Each spouse is the sole owner of their own income during the marriage and has the right to their own property should that property be in that spouse’s name alone.

Should the property be owned by both spouses, the judge will divide the property in such a way the judge deems fair. This division isn’t always considered exactly equal.

What is the domestic law in Virginia regarding child custody?
The judge in the divorce case will attempt to arrange joint custody between both spouses. However, depending on the grounds for divorce and the claims provided by either spouse’s divorce lawyers or defense attorney, the judge will determine the child custody and time shared between both parents in such a way that will benefit the child.

Domestic laws regarding divorce differ greatly from state to state. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the basics of divorce law in the state of Virginia. For more information on the domestic law in VA, consult the Harrisonburg attorneys at John Elledge today.

We’re Moving! (But not very far.)

IMG_7190John Elledge & Assoc PC announces that after nearly 12 years in its conveniently-located offices at 2 South Main Street, Suite B in downtown Harrisonburg, we’ve simply outgrown our space. So… beginning November 1, we’ll be operating out of newly-renovated offices at Two South Main, 2d Floor.  We’ll be just as convenient to all the courts in Harrisonburg as we ever were, and we’ll be able to serve our clients better with three conference rooms and spacious, well laid-out offices, including a dedicated suite for our Immigration department.

We’re also excited about the changes coming to the re-branded building here at Two South Main. Look for great new changes as the building is updated and bringing in new occupants.

Please come see us on the second floor, or call today to schedule your consultation for competent, personalized legal representation, whether it be a minor traffic issue, a divorce or custody and visitation case, a major felony or an immigration matter, we’re here for you, and we look forward to helping you resolve your legal needs.

Why You Should Hire An Appellate Lawyer Before You Make An Appeal

appellate lawUp to 85% of work-related injuries are the result of slips, trips, and falls on slick flooring. Workers compensation claims, should they be denied by your employer’s insurance, can be taken to court. Should the court rule in favor of the employer’s insurance, you can still take the insurance company to a higher court by making an appeal.

Appellate courts hear and review the appeals from trial courts and lower courts that have already been heard by a judge. To hire an attorney who practices appellate law is to have a lawyer capable of representing you at the state and federal level.

What does an appellate lawyer do?
Attorneys who practice appellate law must utilize evidence that has already been used and judged by a court in order to correct errors and overturn the previous ruling. This is typically done through an expansion and change of interpretation of the law as well as successful persuasion on behalf of the lawyer. The goal of an appellate court is to seek a new trial or to seek the freedom of you, the client.

Why hire an attorney who practices appellate law?
In the event that you’ve been taken to appellate court, you’ll most certainly want an appellate lawyer or an appellate law practicing firm on your side. This is because the appellate procedure has an enormous number of rules and not knowing any one of them could lead to an unfortunate pitfall.

An appellate lawyer understands the ins and outs of the appellate courts and the necessary procedures. In addition, an appellate lawyer analyzes and applies the facts of the previous trial in order to artfully apply them to a new case.

Appellate law involves writing briefs and knowing the best arguments to make before the judges. Should you choose to consider an appeal, an appellate lawyer will be able to help you navigate the procedure.

What if I’m not sure whether or not to make an appeal?
Making an appeal to take to the appellate courts is a difficult decision, especially when you have a lot riding on your case. Oftentimes, it’s larger companies that choose to take cases to the appellate courts.

However, if you’re unsure whether or not it’s worth it to take your case to the appellate courts, it may be in your best interest to talk to an appellate lawyer. Appellate lawyers may be able to argue on your behalf in the courtroom, but they can also offer legal advice. If you’re unsure whether or not your case is worth appealing or if you need help preparing for the appellate law process, contact the law offices of John Elledge today.

How To Make Your Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Job Easier For The Best End Result

Flaw firmor a public defender to effectively procure a year’s worth of work, they would require approximately 3,035 work hours. That’s up to a year and a half worth of work. A criminal defense attorney requires just as much time.Because you and your criminal defense lawyer are working toward the same goal — the best possible result — you should feel that you’ve built a partnership with your attorney over the course of your trial. Therefore, to help your legal partner and to better your chances of a successful outcome, here are a few things you can do to make your attorney’s job easier.

Provide your law firm or lawyer with all evidence you know about
The law firm on your case may be able to use the assistance of an investigator to help gather evidence, including witnesses. However, it’s always easier if the client is able to produce the evidence they’re aware of themselves. Give the law firm on your case all the names and addresses of potential witnesses you may know of.

Additionally, if you know of anything that could be held against you on the opposing side of the trial, inform your lawyer about it. An attorney may be able to skillfully navigate accusations against their client, but it’s easier if the attorney is aware of any evidence that may be used as a surprise argument.

Don’t talk to the police
Your Miranda Rights grant you the right to remain silent regardless of the questions the police ask you. Use that right. Any evidence and information about the incident you’re being tried for should only be discussed with your attorney and the law firm representing you unless your attorney advises otherwise.

Even the smallest of details in a seemingly innocent question can be self-incriminating although it may not seem like it. Tell the police you refuse to answer any questions until your criminal defense lawyer is present.

Don’t discuss your case with anyone besides your criminal defense lawyers
It’s understandable to want to discuss your case with others including friends and family. However, your words can easily be heard or recorded by a skilled investigator or the media. Keep the private information about your case as private as possible and don’t share other information.

Your criminal defense attorneys are working in your best interest to provide you with the best possible outcome. As a client who also wants the best possible outcome, it’s in your best interest not to keep silent about your case and to provide your attorney with all evidence you’re aware of. Your relationship with your attorney is a partnership; you should work together for the best result.