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Perhaps You Didn’t Hear Me, I said shut down your facebook account. Why You Should Follow Your Attorney’s Advice.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 by Midsouthdivorce

William, or as they call him on the radio, Cinco, is my very active two year old child.  I try and protect him, to give him advice that will save him from getting injured or harmed.  Sometimes though, he just will not listen.  This morning while washing his hair, he opened his eyes and leaned forward.  This meant instant tears.  I should note here that If I had a nickel for every time I have said “close your eyes and lean your head back”, I would have enough for a white chocolate mocha; make that a venti.  I firmly believe that somewhere in that two year old brain of his, he understands that I have washed my hair a time or two and I know what I’m talking about, but for some reason he chooses not to listen.    Each time we go through the same ordeal, he chooses not to listen, I must fix it, rinse and repeat.  In this case, a dry towel hanging over the shower makes me a hero.

Much like my son, my clients for reasons unknown often choose not to listen.  I have found that there are two areas where this occurs most often.  This first an age old problem for divorce lawyers and attorneys; securing asset’s that are likely to fought over or hidden after a divorce begins.  In a Memphis divorce, there is a mutual mandatory injunction that prohibits both parties from destroying, spending or hiding asset’s.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot protect these assets.  We generally advice our clients to secure a storage unit, inventory the items they will store, do not remove anything necessary for everyday life, provide your spouse with a list of what you removed, take great measures to avoid damaging any items, and if possible video tape the move.  It never fails.  People don’t listen.  What happens next is not a big suprise.  Much like my son, tears ensue, items are removed and I am called upon to fix it.   The results are generally less than what one would hope for, additional legal expenses, uncertainty, locating the items, waiting for a hearing date and having to fight for what could have been preserved.  In addition, I learn something.  I learn that my client will consider my advice to be mere suggestion.

The second problem, and one that has become more prevalant is Facebook.  Our contract states that our clients will either suspend or shut down their facebook account.  It never ceases to amaze me that this rarely happens.  Recently, we had an individual seeking custody of children.  At trial we had to face evidence that showed my clients intentions may have been less than honest.  I think “Ill do anything to get these kids, even if it means telling that judge whatever he wants to hear” may be something you want to refrain from putting out there in social networking land.

The point is that I’ve done this a few times.  I generally have a good idea what is going to happen.  If I tell you to do something, it is not a suggestion and it is not a power trip.  It is to help you in your case and your life.  Your paying for my advice, don’t waste your money.  Let me help, let my experience and the experience of others help your avoid the mistakes that we have seen.

Hey…..Are you still listening?

The new apple tablet could be a lawyers dream.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2010 by Midsouthdivorce

Walk down the streets of Memphis, TN or any other major city and if your near a courthouse, you will see a vestige of a bygone era.  At one time it was as common place as a fedora, but now the briefcase has been relegated to those that proudly attach either J.D. or esquire to their name, which depends on the level of pretentiousness.  It is this ability to cary paper sized items in a secure case that will help make the islate, iguide, ipad, or iwhatever a giant in the legal world.  I love my iphone.  I can’t imagine life without it.  The ability to read and compose emails, make use of the apps that can be downloaded on it,  facebook, twitter, blog all whilst snapping those cherished memories with the built in camera have allowed me to make the most of this wonderful invention.  The tablet however promises to do all that and more.

I plan on having my assistant greet folks at the door with a nice latte and the tablet to conduct a nice little informal intake and when its done, just email it to me along with a picture and demographic information.   I can then take mine to our meeting or deposition or whatever and have all the notes at my disposal wherever I go.  It won’t be as large as a laptop, it won’t be as cramped as my iphone and better than all of that; it will be cutting edge.  I confess, I don’t understand my wife’s shoe fetish, but she doesn’t get my gadget obsession, so I guess we are even.

There are a thousand and one attorneys in Memphis.  We all have the same tools.  We all know the arguments to make.  What separates us from each other is our presentation.  I for one plan on having the newest toy on the block for my clients.  I know it won’t fit in my pocket like an iphone, but thats why God made briefcases.

Facebook and Divorce

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

I recently came across this facebook video and I laughed out loud.

You would be shocked at just how much dirt you can gather on a person going thru a divorce on facebook.  In our office we have our clients sign a contract that states they agree to close their account during the divorce.

If you or someone you know is going through a similar process, it might be wise to suspend your social networking for the time being.  Those bunny ears at Halloween may have been harmless, but they can be used to paint a fairly nasty picture in Court.

Also, just because your account is made private, dont think that your information is personal.  By its very nature a social network makes information available for all to see.  This means that there is no right to privacy.  So when you post about how drunk you were at the concert last week, dont be suprised if you hear mention of it again in the Courtroom.

So be social, but do so at your own risk.

Buyers hoping to purchase a place at the Horizon in Memphis should get while the gettings good.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

The following is an excerpt from an article in the Memphis Daily News.  To read the original go to http://www.memphisdailynews.com.  Many thanks to Bill Dries, a Drake and Zeke regular, for getting this published so fast and for taking note.

“Two lawsuits have been filed seeking to allow buyers of a Downtown condominium project out of their contracts. The Shelby County Chancery Court lawsuits were filed last week against Riverside Bluffs LLC, which is selling the condo units at The Horizon, a 16-story high rise at 717 Riverside Drive, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.  The property is scheduled for foreclosure sale July 7 on the steps of the Shelby County Courthouse.  The two lawsuits, filed separately by attorneys William W. Jones IV and Scott May, are on behalf of prospective buyers who put down money on purchase contracts.  Jones said more legal claims are likely to come. “We wanted to protect our clients’ interest by making sure they were the first in line,” he said.”

John and Kate plus 8, minus commitment, minus priorities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 14, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

After years of marriage and gentle prodding and hinting, my wife finally did something in the bedroom that she swore she would never do. It took a while and some cajoling on my part, but in the end, it was well worth it. About two months ago, my wife allowed me to get a TV and put it in the bedroom. It was a glorious day for husbands everywhere. One small victory for mankind, one huge testosterone rush for Bill. With the victory though came concessions. TV was limited to viewing either TIVO programs or the focus of this article, John and Kate plus 8, plus his girlfriend, plus her boyfriend, plus the paparazzi, plus….you get the picture. 

I’m a Memphis Divorce Attorney. It’s what I do for a living. Check me out here. I’ve been doing it long enough to know that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and Ernie sings about it in the bathtub, its a duck. When the first accusations came forth I predicted that a divorce in this case would be filed by November of this year. It seems I may have given the Goslin’s too much credit.

 According to sources, Kate is now contemplating pulling the cord. I hate to hear that, I truly do. They have children, and lots of them. I know that child support in this case will be a huge ordeal, as will dividing the marital assets and alimony. But the first question we need to tackle is why did this happen? Why the stepping out? In “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, Dr. Chapman speaks of the fact that after the infatuation period ends (some 6 months-4 years) you have to make a conscious decision each morning to say “I’m am going to choose to love you today, in spite of my true feelings for you”. It’s not near as cold as it sounds. It means that you are going to choose to love your spouse, despite the fact that they snore, or leave the toilet seat up (sorry honey), or come home with an inordinate amount of Kate Spade purses. Some days this is easy to do. Some days the mission impossible theme should be playing.

 I personally believe that Kate and John made two mistakes here. The first was that they failed to make this decision to love each other daily. The second seems to be that they put the needs of their children in front of their own needs. The way this whole marriage thing works is that you make each other your number one priority, not the kids, not a book tour, not your bar life, not work; but you make each other el numero uno. When you do this, you then in turn as a group make your kids el numero uno. Your on the same page. If you truly belief in the bonds of matrimony, then you make God the center, then each other, then the “chillins”. Its the plan, its how this is all suppose to work.

 It’s apparent to me from watching the show, and I love the show, that these folks have made the kids #1. I know its easy for me to sit and preach since I only have two little dependent people (aka kids) and they have eight, but the formula is still the same. Kids leave, kids grow up, they have lives and family and dreams and goals of their own. A solid marriage keeps this in mind. Once the kids turn 18 and you lovingly kick them to the curb, your stuck with each other and you need to nurture that relationship until such time. If you base your marriage on your kids, then once the kids are gone, you have nothing in common. It would appear, from the show, that John and Kate fell into this trap. When they did, the decision to love each other each day got a little bit harder.

 You can talk about Kate being rude or John being too laid back, but that is neither here nor there. Priorities got out of whack. If you don’t agree, then ask your significant other if you can either: A: be pictured with a bodyguard going cross-country while being touchy feely; or B: hang out at a bar at 2:00 am, sans wedding ring with a female that wants to go for a ride in your new ride. Let me know how that works out.

 If you think that you are headed down the same path, then get your priorities straight before it’s too late. If it is too late then try counselling, if your in Memphis, try these folks. If it is past that point, then you may want to come into my office for a consult, just know that if you have eight children, my retainer will be a tad bit higher.

Life Happens.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

Im not trying to be coy.  But it does.  The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.   Take for example a couple that lives down the street in my neighborhood.  They were lucky enough to come into the market for a new home when the prize of the neighborhood went up for sale.  They bought it and according to both, were prepared to retire in our quaint little hollow.  But somewhere along the way, life happened.  Somehow love turned to disdain, to hate and divorce reared its ugly head.  Now I have a vacant house and an unkept yardto look at until the bank auctions it off.  But we can save our discussion about that topic for a later date.

What I want to talk  about is planning.  Planning for the unthinkable.   No one plans on separating, if they did, they would never enter into the union of marriage.  So we play out our lives as if we will be a family unit forever.  We buy china sets, and furniture, cars, and homes.  A home is in all likelyhood the largest investment that you will make as a family unit.  In most cases that investment is contingent upon the sustained survival of the marriage.  In todays two earner household, rarely can one party finance the home on their own.   To compound matters, when you sign your mortgage documents with your lender, you are agreeing that you will pay back this debt regardless of what may happen in your life.   I can write a Marital Dissolution Agreement that say one party is responsible for the note after the divorce, but if that party defaults on the loan, you are still liable.  This is because back when life was perfect you made a deal with the bank; the bank doesn’t care what agreement you made between yourselves.  

If you or your spouse do default on the note, then the home will be foreclosed.  Lets say that you owe $200,000.00 on your home, but at the foreclosure auction the bank sells it for only $125,000.00.  Guess what, you still owe the remaining balance of $75,000.00.   Here is where Bankruptcy can  be a valuable tool.  If you can pause for a second and rationally consider the possibility of filing a joint bankruptcy prior to the divorce process, you can give back the house to the bank, its called a voluntary surrender.  The nice part is that you wont owe the bank a cent more.  This only works if there is little or no equity in your home.  

There is also an added bonus, once you file bankruptcy you wont need to worry about separating your debts in the divorce.  Most people only consider dividing their stuff, or assests, but you must separate the bad as well.  If there is substantial marital debt, a joint bankruptcy, prior to divorce, could shorten the unholy post divorce debt marriage.

These of course should always be last resorts.  Counseling, be it finacial or marital will be infinetly cheaper.    If you would like a free DVD on bankruptcy give me a call, or watch the readers digest version here.  Your neighbor will thank you.

 

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself….oh..and the media.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2009 by Midsouthdivorce

The economy, layoffs, bankruptcy, the stock market, the housing crisis and the bailout.  Turn on your TV and tune into CNN, FOX, HLN and if you don’t hear one of these topics within 10 minutes call me and I’ll buy you a cookie.  Ill even spring for one with macadamien nuts in it.   Everywhere you turn you hear how bad and how scary it is out there.  Tonight I tuned into Dave Ramseys’ Town Hall for Hope and for once, I heard what I’ve been screaming all along.  Yes, we are in the midst of a recession, but it is not the end of the world, so if your a heathen you can stave off that death bed conversion for one more day.

I’m not trying to trivialize the economy right now.  I am seeing 4 times the amount of bankruptcy’s this year that I saw last year.  But I think most of what your seeing is driven out of fear.  People are afraid, and they are afraid because its all that they see.  Once upon a time, when the world was in black and white, before HD and Color-Vision, we found out what to think from the trusty newspaper.  We gathered round the fire and read what was going on out in that big scary world.  

 

When I was a child, Mom and Dad watched the news after I had gone to sleep.  They might discuss what they had heard or read at work or church, but it was a topic of conversation, not a focal point.  The news now is everywhere, 24 hours a day on tv, twitter, facebook, this blog or your iphone.  When the people that are constantly feeding us our news become scared and uninformed, they become part of the fear monster.  When your hear all these stories that the economy is in a downfall, that houses are foreclosing like State fans lose teeth, they cease to be topics of conversation and become focal points of fear and stress.

It was refreshing to hear tonight that I am not alone in this view, that someone else thinks that its not all going down the drain.  That we should tune out and pitch in.  Hope is what we make it, Hope is what America does best, it is what will get us out of this problem.  Listening to these media outlets constantly preach gloom and doom will only bring you down into the fray.  And here’s the shameless plug.  If you think you’ve got it bad, if you think your headed down the path to becoming a statistic that feeds this fear machine, then come in, lets talk.  Let’s see if you are.  There are few problems that can’t be solved, but you cant solve anything if you ignore it and wait for your bailout bill.  

 

If you need hope then help someone that needs it.  It can feed and grow just as fast as fear.