Abandonment (of a child or spouse)
The voluntary act of leaving a child or spouse with no plan to return. Parents are considered to have abandoned a child if they do not provide financial support or have no contact with the child over a period of time. Abandoning a child is grounds for losing parental rights. Abandonment of a spouse occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without the consent of the other. Abandonment of a spouse is grounds for divorce.
Adjustment of Status
This is a procedure allowing certain aliens already in the United States to apply for immigrant status. Aliens admitted to the United States in a nonimmigrant, refugee, or parolee category may have their status changed to that of lawful permanent resident if they are eligible to receive an immigrant visa and one is immediately available. In such cases, the alien is counted as an immigrant as of the date of adjustment, even though the alien may have been in the United States for an extended period of time.
Formal legal documentation of your wishes related to your body and healthcare, should you become incapacitated or die. They may include living wills, durable health care powers of attorney, durable mental health care declarations, and anatomical gift forms.
Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. An illegal alien is someone who enters the United States illegally, or who violates the terms of their admission to the United States by working without authorization or by overstaying. A nonimmigrant alien is someone who enters the U.S. lawfully for a temporary purpose. An immigrant alien, also known as a Green Card holder, is someone who is admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident and who intends to stay in the U.S. permanently.
More accurately referred to as spousal support, alimony is a financial award sometimes granted during a divorce, to be paid by the higher wage earner spouse to the lower or non-wage earner spouse. Spousal support is often granted to offset the negative economic consequences of divorce for the lower or non-wage earner spouse and to allow that spouse some time to become self-sufficient. Spousal support awards can be either life-long or limited to a certain amount of time and they are often discontinued if the recipient spouse remarries. The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act recommends that spousal support awards be considerate of the age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the former spouses; the length of time the recipient would need for education or training to become self-sufficient; the couple's standard of living during the marriage; the length of the marriage; and the ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and also support himself or herself.
Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) The landmark act of 1990 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by employers, public accommodations, state and local governments, public and private transportation, and in telecommunications.
The annual payment of an allowance or income. Commercial annuities are usually issued by an insurance company or investment company in exchange for an initial monetary deposit. They can also be issued by a charity, in exchange for a donation. The purchase of an annuity can be part of an estate plan or could be part of the monetary settlement from an injury or malpractice claim.
A determination of the value of something, such as a house. A professional qualified appraiser should make an unbiased estimate by examining the property and looking at the initial purchase price and comparing it with recent sales of similar or neighboring property. Home appraisals are used to determine worth of property for mortgages, home equity loans, estate settlements, bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings, and insurance damages.
An initial court hearing in a criminal case where the defendant is brought before the court and read the criminal charges being brought against him or her. Typically, after the charges are read, the defendant then enters a plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest) to the charges.
Typically a combination of apartment-style living with supportive services, designed to help older adults live in an independent setting for as long as possible. The Ohio Department of Health licenses facilities as Residential Care Facilities in the State of Ohio.
If you are employed on an “at will” basis, this means that you or your employer can terminate your job for any or no reason, at any time, and with or without notice, so long as the termination does not violate any laws. Unless an employee has a contract stating that employment is for a fixed duration and can only be terminated for specified reasons, or the employee is subject to a collective bargaining agreement, the employee is most likely employed on an at-will basis.
The process by which federal bankruptcy courts help consumers and businesses in financial trouble to eliminate some debts or repay them under the protection of bankruptcy courts.
A trial held before a judge only. The judge will listen to the facts of the case and make a determination of guilt or innocence as well as setting appropriate penalties. For most states, in a criminal trial, a bench trial may happen if the defendant has waived his or her rights to a jury trial. In a civil trial, both parties in the dispute must agree to waive their rights to a jury.
Refers to the person or entity (like a charity) who receives assets or profits from an estate, a trust, an insurance policy or any other financial vehicle from which assets are distributed after death.
Better Business Bureau
(BBB) is an organization that helps to settle disputes between consumers and businesses; provides “business reliability reports”; reviews charities; and provides consumer and business education.
The castle doctrine simply creates a presumption that one has acted in self defense.
Change of Status
In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant status as long as you were lawfully admitted into the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, your nonimmigrant status remains valid, you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible, and you were not admitted to the United States in one of the following visa categories:Visa Waiver Program (VWP); Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa) in transit through the United States (C nonimmigrant visa); In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV); Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé(e) (K nonimmigrant visa); Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa).
Civil Protection Orders
(CPO) An order issued by the court intended to help protect victims of domestic violence and children who have been abused, by requiring that the person who committed the violent act stay a certain distance from the residence. If a CPO is in place, the person who committed the violent act will be at risk for immediate arrest should they return to the residence (even if they were invited) and another violent act takes place.
Refers to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the federal law that allows employees, spouses, and dependent children to continue participating in group health insurance plans, at the employee’s expense, when the employer has 20 or more employees, after a “qualifying event” that causes the employee (or dependents) to lose group health coverage. Qualifying events for employees may be a reduction in number of hours worked or termination for reasons other than gross misconduct. Employee coverage may continue for up to 18 months. For spouses or dependent children, COBRA qualifying events may include any of the employee events in addition to employee divorce, death, or eligibility for Medicare. Spouse/dependent child COBRA coverage can continue up to 36 months. Employees of companies with less than 20 employees who participated in a company’s group health plan may be eligible for up to six months of continuation coverage under applicable state laws.
Collaborative Law Divorce
A newer divorce process where both spouses are represented by lawyers but an agreement is created and signed in advance (by both spouses and their attorneys) about the way in which the divorce will be conducted. Collaborative divorce agreements include goals of having spouses and their attorneys meet together to try to negotiate a settlement and participants make a promise not to threaten each other, play games, or end up going to court. If the parties can’t find agreement without ending up in court, Collaborative Law attorneys agree to withdraw from the case, creating financial motivation for them to help the process work. The Collaborative Divorce process is designed to be faster, less expensive, more private, and less confrontational but it may not be appropriate if the spouses are too adversarial or unable to negotiate in good faith.
Common law marriage
When two people become legally married by living together for a long period of time. There is no ceremony or license. The couple must intend to be married and present themselves as a married couple for the common-law marriage to be valid. Common-law marriage is valid in eleven states. It is not valid in Ohio. Common-law marriage can only be ended by annulment, divorce, or death.
A short-term loan for financing the cost of construction.
Copyright is protection provided to authors of fixed literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works as well as some other intellectual works, published and unpublished. The owner of a copyright has the exclusive rights to use the copyrighted work for reproduction, distribution, creating derivative works and public display of the work. Copyright protects the form of expression but not the subject matter, protecting for instance, the way an author described a cat but not preventing anyone else from writing their own description of a cat – as long as it is not copied from an original work. The Library of Congress registers copyrights. Registered copyrights of works created since 1978 last the life of the author plus 70 years. For works "made for hire", the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. Some treaties extend copyright protection in member countries.
The separate business entity created by filing articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. Corporations are required to follow appropriate corporate tax laws and create and follow Corporate Bylaws that address the appointment of directors, issuance of stock to shareholders, and required meetings and minutes. Corporations can be created as an ‘S’ corporation (function similar to an LLC) or ‘C’ corporation (regular corporation), depending on the number of shareholders and tax considerations. A small business attorney can advise how best to organize and operate a corporation legally.
Also known as the Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities. Custody refers to the legal status within a divorce that details who will be responsible for day-to-day care of the child, with whom the child will live most frequently, who will have the right to make long-term decisions about the child, and when/how often the child will spend time with each parent as well as where the child will attend school. Shared Parenting agreements address the various factors individually, often granting one parent physical custody (meaning the child lives primarily with them but visits the other parent every other weekend and holiday) but having both parents share legal custody (the legal right to make long-term decisions for the child). Sole custody agreements (with one parent holding all physical and legal decision-making power for the child) are unusual but may be awarded if one parent is particularly unfit or incapable of responsibility (i.e. due to drug addiction).
Means “doing business as” and refers to the situation of a business being named something different than the owner’s name (e.g. when Jane Doe has a business named “Creative Minds”). In DBA situations, a “fictitious name” must typically be filed with the county clerk’s agency to allow the owner(s) to open bank accounts, etc. in the business name. Attorneys who are filing the articles of organization or incorporation for a small business can also address DBA situations.
“Department of Homeland Security” - the Cabinet-level department within which USCIS, USICE, and other immigration-related agencies are found
For an adult, disability under Social Security is based on inability to work because of a physical or mental medical condition or combination of impairments.
A process wherein a neutral third party, who may or may not be an attorney, helps spouses try to reach an acceptable divorce agreement. Divorce Mediation is typically faster, less expensive, more private, and less confrontational than a traditional divorce but it may not be appropriate if the spouses are too adversarial or unable to negotiate in good faith. Sometimes spouses go through a divorce mediation process but have a family law attorney review the divorce agreement before it becomes final.
A constitutional right afforded by the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, guaranteeing that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Durable Power of Attorney
A document that grants a person of your choice (usually called your agent or attorney-in-fact) legal authority to manage your financial affairs, effective immediately and whether or not you are incapacitated or incompetent.
Refers to people who die without a will. In this case, the state (probate court) will make a will for your estate.
Refers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces employment laws related to Civil Rights (Title VII), age discrimination (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Equal Pay Act (EPA).
The legal right of a city or state over all property within its boundaries, even private property, for the betterment of the public or the community. The process is also known as “condemnation” and the land taken by eminent domain must be acquired from the owner at reasonable compensation (fair market value) and meet requirements related to the degree of public use or community improvement that will be served.
The person named in a will to be in charge of finalizing a deceased person's financial affairs after death, taking care of property and assets and paying debts and taxes until the balance of the estate is transferred to the heirs, according to the will. Executors handle probate court proceedings or hire an attorney to do so on behalf of the estate. The executor will need to find all property, open estate bank accounts to receive checks or funds owed during the probate process, pay estate bills from the estate fund until it is finalized. If there is no will, the person who handles these details is appointed by the court and called an administrator, and will be required to determine who the deceased person’s heirs are, according to state law.
A legal “wiping the slate clean”. An Order of Expungement allows someone convicted of a crime to have negative legal information removed from their criminal record. Expungement may be granted by the original sentencing court and prosecutor following a motion for Expungement filed by an attorney. Depending on the state, certain criminal records may not be eligible to be expunged. These records ineligible for Expungement may be specific to the crime like domestic violence, gun related crimes, driving under the influence, and sexual predator or may be specific to the number of counts of crime in one guilty plea and/or repeated criminal activity. When deciding an Expungement order, situations related to the original crime (youth, first offense, etc.) and the current law-abiding behavior (or not) of the person originally convicted will be taken into consideration. Persons with an expunged record may legally report on an employment application that they have no convictions.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA), is a law within the Consumer Credit Protection Act, related to protecting consumers from debt collection abuse or mistaken debt information. The act provides rules that collection agents must follow when attempting to collect a debt and gives consumers rights related to the collection of debts.
Family and Medical Leave Act
(FMLA) is a federal law that allows eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave with continued medical benefits and restoration of their original position when they return. Employers and employees both have specific rights and responsibilities during an FMLA-qualifying leave. Employers who must offer FMLA are all federal, state, and local governments and agencies (including public and private schools) and private employers with 50 or more employees for 20 weeks per calendar year. Employees are eligible if they have worked for the same employer for the previous 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during that time. Leave is granted to employees who can provide medical documentation to support that the leave is needed due to the birth or adoption of a child, the employee’s serious health condition, or the serious health condition of the employee’s immediate family members.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
(FERPA) the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. It gives parents certain rights to review and request changes in their child's school records as well as requiring parental permission for the release of education records except under specified circumstances.
Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) is an agency of the United States government whose mission is to promote the protection of consumers against deceptive or unfair business practices and to stop or prevent anti-competitive business practices.
One of a group of crimes found serious enough to warrant more than a year in prison (state or federal). Less serious offenses are known as misdemeanors. Offenses considered serious enough to be in the felony category will vary state by state and are sometimes further classified by the degree of the felony (class A or 1st degree, etc). Crimes commonly found in the felony category include murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, embezzlement, rape, treason, fraud, grand theft, arson, racketeering, some instances of drug possession, and the third or fourth O.V.I. conviction, depending on the state (in Ohio, the fourth conviction of O.V.I. is a felony). In addition to punishment for their crime(s), felons also lose rights in many states in the U.S., such as the right to vote, the right to run for public office, the right to obtain certain licenses, and the right to own or purchase firearms. A felony conviction will also make it difficult to find meaningful employment.
Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) is the act which allows access to most public records, with exceptions for reasons that can include protection of national security, trade secrets, law enforcement records, attorney-client privilege, invasion of personal privacy, and internal personnel records.
Grand juries are made up of groups of jurors and a judge who listen to evidence and decide if someone should be charged with a crime. Grand jurors are usually chosen from the same pool of people that provide trial jurors: A judge selects and swears in a grand jury, just as they do in trial juries. Grand Juries may meet (sit) over a longer period of time but they don’t typically meet every day. Grand juries hear evidence from just one side (the prosecution) before they decide whether someone should be indicted (formally charged) with a crime.
The person(s) you choose, should both parents die, to be responsible for the care, health, education, and welfare of minor children until they reach 18 years old. Guardians can also be chosen to provide care for pets should owners precede them in death. Permission should be sought of guardians in advance to be sure they are willing to take on this responsibility.
Home Equity Conversion
A term referring to a variety of plans designed to help older homeowners use the equity in their homes without requiring them to move. The three main types are sale-leaseback, reverse mortgages, and deferred payment loans.
House Mark or Product Mark
These are special kinds of trademarks. House mark identifies the company that makes or sells the product or may identify a line of products. Product mark refers to a particular product under that company name or product line.
Workers who provide a service or trade, independent of a permanent employment relationship. The term refers to people who are in business for themselves and frequently includes freelancers, consultants, designers, accountants, independent plumbers and carpenters and any other independent providers of trades. Independent contractors are frequently paid a set fee per project but are sometimes paid hourly for their work, depending on the field of business or type of project. Because of the tax implications of independent contractors, the IRS has strict rules about when an entity can be considered an independent contractor and when they are acting and being used more commonly as an employee of a business.
The process of being formally charged with a crime, typically a serious criminal offense. Indictments are determined by grand juries.
Individualized Education Programs
(IEP) the written, legal educational contract put into place once a child has been evaluated by a school system and assessed as having a learning disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A team of school personnel and the child’s parents make up an IEP team which meets to develop special education intervention strategies and services to be provided to a child with a disability.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA) This act was passed in 1975 and reauthorized in 2004 and is the primary federal law that governs IEPs and the special education process. IDEA guarantees that children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.
Industrial Design Right
The rights held by the owner of design patent, protecting the form, appearance, style, or design of an industrial object (i.e. furniture or machinery parts).
Sometimes abbreviated as JTWROS on financial documents, refers to the joint and equal ownership of property or assets by two people. Married couples with bank accounts often have joint tenancy, giving each equal access to the funds. Joint tenant accounts are also sometimes set up for an elderly person so that a caretaker or child may have access to funds to care for the person or pay their bills. Assets in joint tenancy are not required to go through probate court after death. Joint tenant accounts should only be set up when both people can be trusted absolutely to act in the other’s best interest.
Libel is typically written or printed defamation (serious harming of someone’s reputation or character by making false statements) but can include pictures, signs, film, and electronic broadcasts like websites, webcasts, podcasts, television, or radio.
Considered an “advance directive” plan, a living will is a legal document that expresses your intentions about whether extraordinary life-support should be maintained by your physicians in the event you are in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious state, and grants a person of your choice (usually called your agent or attorney-in-fact) legal authority to make this difficult decision in accordance with your wishes if you are unable to do so. Living wills for most states indicate what situations warrant life-support being discontinued and require that the decision be made in conjunction with the patient’s doctor.
LLC Limited Liability Company
A formal organization of a business that limits the extent to which members can be personally liable for the obligations of a business. LLC’s have specific allowances related to taxes and flexibility in management and distribution of profits, allowing them to act as a corporation in some ways and a partnership in others. LLC’s must file “Articles of Organization” with the Secretary of State and should have an Operating Agreement in place. A small business attorney can advise about LLC organization and how to operate legally as one.
The attempt to settle a legal dispute with the help of a mediator who works to find points of agreement and get those in conflict to agree on a fair result. Mediators can be professionals (judges or lawyers) or mediation agencies can provide trained and experienced mediation assistance. Mediation is usually less costly than settling a dispute in court but mediation doesn’t always result in a settlement.
From the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miranda v.Arizona, Miranda Warnings refer to warnings that law enforcement officers must give suspects in custody if they would like to question the suspects and later be legally able to use the answers to those questions as evidence in court. Familiar to many from crime shows on television, Miranda Warnings are as follows: You have the right to remain silent; If you do say anything, what you say can be used against you in a court of law; You have the right to consult with a lawyer and have that lawyer present during any questioning; If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire; If you choose to talk to the police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.
One of a group of crimes found to be less serious, typically warranting less severe punishment. Offenses considered misdemeanors will vary by state but may include vandalism, underage drinking, disorderly conduct, trespass, prostitution, public intoxication, and simple assault. Those convicted of a misdemeanor are generally punished with a maximum of 6 months in a local or county jail but other possibilities may include probation, community service, and weekend imprisonment or some combination of all of those. Misdemeanors are still serious. In some instances pleading guilty to a misdemeanor will have unintended consequences such as making someone ineligible for a student loan, military service, or other types of employment. Also, misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence or domestic violence typically escalate in punishment and second or third convictions of the same offense will result in substantially harsher penalties.
Any loan for which funds or property (typically a home) is being used to secure the loan. The mortgage loan to purchase the home is considered the first mortgage and is typically secured with a financial down payment or proceeds from the sale of a former home. Second mortgage loans, like home equity loans, are secured by pledging the home as collateral for the loan.
No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) The act of 2001 that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. NCLB holds states and school districts more accountable for ensuring that all students reach certain proficiency standards in a specified amount of time and allows students to transfer to higher performing schools or receive supplemental services such as tutoring if school standards are not met in time. The law also makes other provisions regarding curriculum, teacher qualify, and parental rights to certain information. Children with disabilities are included in the standardized testing that determines whether a school meets the mandated standards, and 95% of students with disabilities must participate in the annual testing. Federal education funding is tied to a school’s performance related to NCLB.
No Fault Divorce
A divorce where the spouse suing for divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong in order to be granted the right to legally end the marriage. In most states, a spouse must simply state a reason that the state recognizes as legitimate, like irreconcilable differences or living separate and apart for more than one year.
A phrase that is sometimes included in employment contracts restricting the amount of time during which a former employee promises not to directly compete with the company after leaving that company. In addition to non-compete provisions, other restrictive covenants, as they are sometimes called, include non-solicitation provisions, in which employees agree not to contact customers or co-workers for a pre-determined amount of time following employment, and non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements, in which employees agree to protect the confidentiality of information that the company has developed and made available to employees to aid them in performing their jobs.
Also known as NDA’s or confidential disclosure agreements (CDA’s). An NDA is a signed legal contract between at least two parties that states clearly that the parties may share confidential materials, ideas, trade secrets, or knowledge with each other but may not legally share it or use the confidential knowledge otherwise.
Out of status
A nonimmigrant visitor violates his or her status or becomes “out of status, if any of the following occur: (1) the person stays in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of the status granted; (2) the person engages in employment without specific authorization; or, (3) the person engages in an activity that is not consistent with the status in which the person was admitted. A person who violates his or her status, becoming “out of status”, becomes legally removable as of the moment the violation takes place. If the USCIS becomes aware of such a violation of status they have the right to file an order for removal from the U.S. against the person. If the violation of status is then proved at a removal hearing, the person will be ordered removed.
Pain and Suffering
The common term for emotional damages experienced because of an injury, malpractice, defamation, or other issue. Pain and suffering may include embarrassment, harm to reputation, disfiguring scars, permanent physical disabilities, and other negative results of a legal problem. Financial awards or insurance settlements are sometimes calculated to compensate someone in consideration of “pain and suffering” they have experienced.
A business with more than one owner that has not filed organization or corporation papers with the state. Partnerships can either be “General” or “Limited”. General partners share all personal liability for a business’s operations and debts. Limited partners are not responsible for day-to-day operations of the business and are limited in their personal liability for partnership debts. Limited Partnerships often include situations when one or more General Partners run a business and assume personal liability for it along with one or more Limited Partners, who are often passive investors in the business. The operational and ownership plans of partnerships can be legally clarified by having both a Partnership Agreement and a Buy-Sell Agreement in place. These legal agreements state how the business will operate and how it will be affected should one partner die or desire to sell their ownership or leave the partnership. A small business attorney can advise how best to operate a partnership.
Patents protect inventions and improvements to existing inventions. A patent grants an inventor permission to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling their invention in the United States or importing their invention into the United States. There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Typically, utility and plant patent last 20 years from filing and design patents have a term of 14 years. A utility patent will expire during its term unless appropriate maintenance fees are timely paid. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues patents but the owner has to enforce the patent without the help of the USPTO. Patents are issued and enforced by country.
Payable on Death (P.O.D.)
Refers to financial accounts that immediately transfer to a named person (beneficiary) on your death. The beneficiary has no access to the funds during your lifetime. Common Payable on Death accounts are life insurance, annuities, and retirement funds, all of which typically require that you name a beneficiary to whom the assets will immediately pass upon your death. Other accounts, like savings or checking accounts can also be set up as Payable on Death, so that the monies are not required to be dispersed by probate court.
Periods of Prescription
Also known as “prescriptive periods”. In civil law, these are the laws that detail the maximum period of time that legal proceedings may be enacted after certain events. In common law, these legally maximum periods of time to begin legal proceedings are referred to as “statutes of limitation”.
Permanent Partial Award
Funds available for award to the employee forty weeks after the employee returns to work or after they were injured (if they can’t return to work). Permanent partial awards in Ohio provide 2 weeks of compensation for every 1 percent of permanent disability received. A worker’s compensation attorney can file requests for this award for their client when appropriate.
Also known as a plea agreement, plea bargains are the agreement in a criminal case in which a prosecutor and a defendant arrange to settle the case against the defendant. Plea bargains are often arranged in exchange for some agreement from the prosecutor as to the punishment and/or a reduction or dismissal of some of the charges against the defendant. In a plea bargain, the defendant may agree to plead guilty or no contest and sometimes to state specifically what the details of the crime were.
Ohio is what is commonly known as a "pre-emption state" in that local governments are "pre-empted" from enacting ordinances in contradiction of general state law.
Characteristics that lawmakers have specifically protected from discrimination. The characteristics most often considered protected are age; race and color; national origin; sex, pregnancy; disability; religion, veteran status and disability. Some states and cities have further created protection against sexual discrimination to include protection against sexual orientation discrimination.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
A law passed by Congress which helps with division of pensions after a divorce. Once the worker is legally allowed to receive pension distributions, QDRO’s require the plan administrator to divide the pension, without penalty. If the worker is still working and contributing to the pension at the time of divorce (and creation of the QDRO), the portion that will eventually be distributed to the ex-spouse only includes the marital portion.
The act of a judge to remove (recuse) him or her self from participating in a case because they have special or personal interest in the outcome that could influence their decisions or judgement of the case.
Also known as Reverse Annuity Mortgage (RAM). RAM is a special mortgage where a lender makes monthly payments to the homeowner in an amount determined by the age and health of the homeowner, the term of the loan, and the value of the home. Payments may be for a set period of time or for as long as the homeowner lives in the home. Some plans offer cash payments, a line of credit, and/or some combination of these. In most plans, the owner retains title to the home, and need not repay any of the money until sale or transfer of the property.
Also known as a Residual Functional Capacity form, filled out by your Primary Treating Physician, is a very important component of your case for receiving Social Security benefits
Violations of workplace safety standards established by the federal Department of Labor, specifically detailed and updated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSHA. The safety standards vary by industry, equipment, and potential exposure to dangerous situations and products.
Search and Seizure
Refers to the action of law enforcement to search for and take evidence. This search is legally allowed if law enforcement follows the rules of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and/or if it is reasonable that a person would not consider the place being searched to be a private place. The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Usually, a legal search of a private place will include a warrant signed by a judge but instances of unwarranted search may differ by state and circumstance. A criminal defense attorney can advise you with questions about the legality of search and seizure.
The punishment given to a person convicted of a crime. A sentence is ordered by the judge, based on the trial jury’s verdict or the judge's decision if there was a bench trial (no jury). The judge creates the punishment from mandates in state law or federal law (in convictions for federal crimes). Sentence refers to jail or prison time but also to other punishment mandates of the judge for conviction of the crime including fines, community service, restitution, probation, and any other punishment-related details.
Shareholder Buyout Agreements
Legal documents that formally document how shareholders in a corporation may sell or transfer their shares. Shareholder buyout agreements are important for all corporations but can be vitally important to the health of a small corporation, where a shareholder’s death or desire to sell their shares can have a big impact on the leadership and longevity of the corporation.
Usually spoken defamation (serious harming of someone’s reputation or character by making false statements) but can include gestures, sign language, and other “non-permanent” statements.
A one-person business, not registered with the state as a corporation or LLC, in which one person owns all the assets of the business and is responsible for all decisions related to the operation of the business.
Commonly referred to as alimony, is a financial award sometimes granted during a divorce, to be paid by the higher wage earner spouse to the lower or non-wage earner spouse. Spousal support is often granted to offset the negative economic consequences of divorce for the lower or non-wage earner spouse and to allow that spouse some time to become self-sufficient. Spousal support awards can be either life-long or limited to a certain amount of time and they are often discontinued if the recipient spouse remarries. The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act recommends that spousal support awards be considerate of the age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the former spouses; the length of time the recipient would need for education or training to become self-sufficient; the couple's standard of living during the marriage; the length of the marriage; and the ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and also support himself or herself.
Springing Power of Attorney
A document that grants a person of your choice (usually called your agent or attorney-in-fact) legal authority to take action or manage your affairs on your behalf, effective only when you (the principal) become incapacitated, incompetent, or unable to manage your affairs.
Standard of Care
The accepted level of care and caution that a prudent and reasonable individual should use when providing care for others. If a medical professional performs their duties in a way that breaches the “standard of care”, they may be found to have been professionally negligent.
Status can refer to the classification under which the person is admitted to the U.S. (i.e. as a student, visitor, temporary worker, etc.) and also to the length of the stay permitted in the U.S. Both of these components may be changed by the USCIS. A person admitted in one status may seek a change of status into a new classification and the duration of a person's stay may be extended by the USCIS. Again, the validity period of a visa has nothing to do with the duration of a nonimmigrant visitor's permitted stay.
Statute of Limitations
In common law, the law that details the maximum period of time that legal proceedings may be enacted after certain events. The statute of limitations will vary by the event and by state and country. In civil law, these legally maximum periods of time to begin legal proceedings are referred to as “periods of prescription”.
An agreement for the financial settlement of a lawsuit to be paid out in installments rather than in a lump sum. Structured settlements usually result from large settlements and are often created through the purchase of annuities. The payments can be structured in any way the parties choose (monthly, yearly, quarterly, etc.). Structured settlements are common in large recovery cases, often in anticipation of long-term financial and health care costs.
Sub Prime Loans
Sub prime loans are typically offered to persons with poor credit histories or those with a lack of credit history, and they carry a higher rate of interest than prime loans to compensate the lender for increased credit risk. Sub prime loans for mortgages or refinancing fall more often into foreclosure for reasons that may include higher interest rates, ignorance of a person’s ability to repay the loan, ballooning interest payments, and hidden fees.
This literally means substitution. In law, it refers to the fact that once a person or entity (i.e. insurance company) has paid expenses or a debt for someone else, they can then assume the legal rights of that person related to that debt. For instance, after a car accident, if an insurance company has paid for property damages and personal injuries for their client, they can then turn around and sue the other motorist responsible for causing the accident. Subrogation comes up often when an insurance company’s client has been in an accident with an uninsured motorist. It also can also arise when the injured party is required to reimburse the insurance company or hospital for medical expenses from their award.
Temporary Restraining Order
A court order banning certain actions. The order forbids one person from harassing, harming, or even contacting another person. The person being harmed must request the temporary restraining order from a judge. After the temporary order has been issued, the court holds a second hearing to hear the other person’s side of the story. The court will then decide if the order should be made permanent.
Temporary Total Disability
A continuation of wages offered by the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation for employees unable to work following a worker’s compensation claim. Employees who accept this plan will receive between 72-66 percent of their wages while off work. They typically have no employer health benefit coverage under this temporary disability plan (especially problematic if workers without benefits are diagnosed with something unrelated to their workplace which is serious and expensive like cancer).
Title IX (Title Nine)
Part of the Educational Amendment of 1978 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Enacted to ensure that sexual discrimination and harrassment does not occur. Ensures that both males and females receive equal and fair treatment in all areas of public schooling, including but not limited to: financial aid, admissions, housing, educational programs and activities and athletics.
Confidential, non-public information about a business. Trade secrets can include business methods, ideas, recipes, or anything else a company deems especially important to its future livelihood. Protection against revealing trade secrets sometimes comes in the form of non-disclosure agreements or may be included as points in an employment agreement.
Trademarks or service marks,(also referred to just as "marks"), protect brands, brand names, symbols, logos, devices, and designs applied to products or used in connection with services. A trademark can be words, a design, a color, a sound, a smell and even the way something feels as long as it is distinctive. The USPTO issues federal mark registrations used "in commerce," which is generally in more than one state. Only marks with final USPTO federal registration can be shown with the "®" symbol. Federally registered marks are benefited by: the owner’s ability to take action in federal court on behalf of the mark; the owner's ability to legally enforce the mark nationwide; the owner's ability to use the filing date of the U.S. application in a foreign registration to predate registrations in foreign countries; and the owner's ability to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Office (to prevent the importing of infringing foreign goods). U.S. federal trademark registrations are valid for 10 years after registration, providing that the owner uses the mark during the terms and an "Affidavit of Use" has been filed between the fifth and sixth years following registration. States also issue state trademark protection. Federal trademarks are issued and enforced by each country.
Sometimes referred to as a “petit jury," or small jury, to compare it with a grand jury. Jury trials tend to result from serious crimes and include a judge and a group of jurors, who have been chosen and approved from a pool of people. The jury listens to the evidence presented and finds the facts of the case while the judge interprets the law in the case. At the end of a trial, juries make a decision about the guilt or innocence of the accused. The actual penalty for the crime is set by the judge.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO)is the federal office that reviews and grants (or declines) patents and registration of trademarks and service marks.
If a nonimmigrant has been informed that they are in “unlawful presence” by the USCIS and they remain in the United States for more than 180 days but then depart voluntarily, they must remain outside the U.S. for three years before being eligible to immigrate again. A person who remains in "unlawful presence" for more than twelve months must remain outside the U.S. for ten years. The term "unlawful presence" is not synonymous with "in violation of status" or “out of status”.
"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services" – formerly known as I.N.S. - - the agency within the Department of Homeland Security that judges petitions and applications for immigration benefits.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement” - the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting violations of U.S. immigration law.
A U.S. visa allows someone to apply for entry to the U.S. but does not grant them the right to enter the United States. The visa will indicate what classification the person falls into (e.g. student (F), visitor (B), temporary worker (H)). Outside of the U.S., the Department of State (DOS) is responsible for visa judgments at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. At U.S ports of entry, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) immigration inspectors determine admission into, length of stay and conditions of stay in the U.S.
Wage Continuation Agreement
Agreements sometimes offered by employers to replace wages and to continue health benefit coverage while an employee is off work following a worker's compensation claim. Wage continuations are often provided at the full employee wage rate and may include continued contributions to an employee's retirement plan.
A formal written order approved or signed by a judge or magistrate, allowing law enforcement officials the right to conduct activities. Warrants can be related either to a request to search premises or to arrest someone. A search warrant allows police to enter and search a location for items named in the warrant. Search warrants require that the police have demonstrated to a judge in advance that they have probable cause to believe the items they seek, relating to the investigation of a crime, are in the location for which they requested the warrant. An arrest warrant authorizes police to arrest someone and requires that police have shown a judge or magistrate that a crime has been committed and the person named in the warrant is responsible for the crime.
White Collar Crimes
A class of crimes committed by professionals, business people and public officials that generally involves a deliberate attempt to mislead others. Most white collar crimes involve theft or fraudulent representation for the purpose of obtaining money under misleading circumstances. Crimes that could fall under the “white collar” descriptive class would include, but not be limited to, embezzlement, securities fraud, tax fraud, investment fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, and extortion. Criminal defense attorneys assist clients charged with white collar crimes.
U.S. employers must check to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. If you are not a citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to prove you may work in the United States.
Describes situations where employment is terminated for illegal or discriminatory reasons that are based on public policies (found in existing laws) designed to protect employees. A termination may be classified as “wrongful” if it is based on age, race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, pregnancy, refusal to commit a crime, taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, or in retaliation for filing a discrimination or safety claim against the employer. You should consult with a qualified labor or employment attorney can advise as to whether your situation constitutes a “wrongful termination.”
The laws that state how a private user, business, or other entity may use land, including the type and size of buildings or houses that will be allowed on certain lots. Zoning laws are organized by geographic boundaries and may dictate where single-family or multi-family residential, certain categories of business, and/or agriculture may exist in relationship to each other within city limits. Zoning may also address the number of parking spots needed, how close buildings can be to each other or the street, and how much landscaping must be present in certain areas. Zoning is usually controlled (and created) by city or county governments. These governmental entities may grant zoning variances (e.g. allowing fewer parking spaces, or allowing a building to be built closer to the road, etc.) because of a hardship the zoning law causes to the property owner.