The average divorce for a middle class family costs $30,000, according to Judge Michele Lowrance's new book, The Good Karma Divorce. In an article and video outlining the book you can see here , many points are in alignment with ideas McAdams Law sets forth in its Special Reports on divorce and child custody.
You do not have to be a Harvard law graduate and consummate persuader like the lawyers on television to do an effective job of representing yourself in Housing Court. The main principle to keep in mind is to tell the judge your side of the story in a simple, uncomplicated and honest way. The clear, direct approach delivers the strongest legal punch when it comes to defending your rights. Before the trial, write out the main points you intend to cover, and have an outline with you when you see the judge. Court proceedings can be intimidating for non-lawyers, and having some brief notes is an antidote to becoming nervous and tongue-tied. Tell your understanding of the facts and show the judge whatever evidence you have in proof of your claims. By following these time-tested rules, you stand the best chance of winning.
If your spouse or partner owes you money for child support and hasn't paid it, several legal alternatives are available. Your lawyer can initiate efforts to have his or her salary garnished. However, if the individual is self-employed, collection efforts are harder and may be less effective. Another option is suspension of a driver's license and other professional licenses. This is sometimes enough to get compliance and obtain the money you're due. Beyond these measures, it's possible to have tax refunds applied to past due child support. In addition, if the arrears exceeds $2500.00, your former spouse will not be able to obtain a passport renewal or have a passport application approved until the payments are current. A more extreme step can be to have your ex arrested, since the law deems refusal to make child support payments as a contempt of court. While imprisonment is not grounds to reduce child support obligations, being in jail does makes it impossible to earn money. Consequently, the implications of incarceration have to be seriously considered with your attorney. In all matters in which you aren't receiving the funds legally due for support of your children, seek the help of an experienced New York matrimonial lawyer. Otherwise, the chances of your collecting from a chronically late-paying spouse are considerable diminished.
If you have an issue with the landlord in getting your security deposit back, call the New York State Attorney General's Consumer Frauds & Protection Bureau. Not all security deposit matters are sizable enough to warrant paying a Tenants' lawyer for help. In some cases, the legal fees may exceed the amount of the deposit. Even if your lease provides for the landlord paying your legal fees if you prevail, it's a real gamble to rely on it. The landlord may agree to return the security deposit once you hire an attorney, but still might not reimburse your legal fees. Even if you pursue recovery of these costs at trial, there's no guarantee you'll receive them. It's simply not possible to predict with absolute certainly what will happen in court. However, calling the Consumer Frauds & Protection Bureau can start an investigation at no cost to you. This also may be enough to get your landlord to return your money, if you are legally entitled to receive it. Of course, if the landlord has a legitimate reason for retaining it, such as having to repair conditions you left in the apartment, then you won't get it back. For this reason, it's a good idea to have evidence such as photos and witnesses proving that you left the unit in good shape, in case the landlord says otherwise. You can get more information from the Bureau at 212-416-8000.
The master key to winning at trial is preparation. One of the most important aspects of being prepared is to have all the documents you need to support your position, right at your fingertips when you're in front of the judge. That way you can pull out whatever you require to make or prove a point. You should attend all proceedings with an organized file that includes: