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Surprise Legal Issues Blog

Could a special needs trust help a child with an addiction?

Addiction is a growing national problem -- and if you're the parent of an addict, you may be afraid of what happens when you die. Not only could everything you've worked to provide your child with once you're gone be rapidly depleted in order to feed his or her habit, the ability to pay for more drugs could cost your child his or her life.

A special needs trust might be the best solution.

Differences between defamation, opinion, slander and libel

Regardless of which side of a lawsuit a person is on, it is vital to understand legal definitions. Cornell Law School has great information about what exactly constitutes defamation. According to the school, defamation is when one party uses speech to create emotional distress or damage the reputation of another party. 

As such, defamation encompasses many different legal fields, such as slander and libel. While those two terms are similar, there are some key differences. It is essential to be an informed citizen and learn about United States law.

Do I need to file my overdue taxes before Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

One of the federal requirements for Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers is that you have filed all of your tax returns within the last four years of your filing. You must also file all tax return that are due following the initiation of your bankruptcy proceedings.

This rule affects many Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers for the obvious reason that -- when people are suffering from financial turmoil -- they often skip filing their taxes to save as much money as they can. Although the initial hurdle of getting your taxes up-to-date for the last four years could seem daunting, the benefits of Chapter 13 may be well worth the effort.

A recent same-sex divorce could change parenthood

The legalization of gay marriage approximately two years ago meant that same-sex couples had something amazing to celebrate: they could now get married in any of the 50 United States. In addition to celebration, however, over the past two years, the legalization of gay marriage has also brought about some legal challenges -- particularly in the realm of child custody.

Marriage laws and protections, which have now been extended to same-sex couples, allow for two gay people to be parents of the same child. That means that the children of same-sex couples will have two dads, or two moms, depending on the relationship. However, one of these parents will not be the biological parent of the child.

What are the elements of a defamation claim?

We all have a reputation, and most of us rely economically on having a good one. For example, it doesn't matter if you're a dishwasher or a corporate executive. If someone says something untrue about you -- particularly if it paints you in a bad light or makes you look like a bad person -- you could lose your job. Because defamation has the power to destroy your life and your career, it's unlawful.

Were you a victim of defamation? Here's how to prove your case and pursue financial damages in court:

Estate planning: Review your beneficiary designations now

There's a typical estate planning mistake that catches many American families by surprise. It involves the beneficiary designations that are often attached to financial accounts. Your individual retirement accounts (IRAs), your 401(k)s and your insurance policies probably have beneficiary designations, a form that you fill out to state who will receive the assets contained in these accounts after you die.

The problem is, a lot of people don't realize how important these beneficiary designations are. The information provided on these forms will supersede any information you have included in your will.

Vacations and debt

One thing summer sees a lot of are people taking vacations. One thing individuals may want to keep in mind when planning a summer vacation is finances.

Vacations can have a fair amount of costs. Sometimes, such costs end up pushing a person into debt. A recent study indicates it is fairly common for individuals here in the U.S. to take on debt in relation to trips.

Possible defenses against a breach of contract claim

As any business owner knows, contracts are an essential part of the successful operation of a company. With contracts, parties can attempt to erase any ambiguity associated with doing business together.

In most cases, the terms of a contract are clear, it is agreed upon by all parties and everything goes as planned. However, when the unexpected occurs, a business can find itself on the receiving end of a breach of contract claim. In these situations, having a solid defense strategy can drastically affect the outcome of any legal action.

Don't let keeping up with the Joneses run you deep into debt

At some point over the past few decades, having debt became normalized for the individuals here in the United States. Past generations shunned the idea of owing and buying on time. But today, many families live beyond their means on a regular basis.On average, American households owe more than $10K just on their credit cards - without factoring in the balance on student loans, home mortgages or monthly car notes.

Dan R. Dodds Dan R. Dodds

At the Dodds Law Firm, I focus my practice on the needs of individuals who have suffered losses because of abusive, deceptive or unfair conduct by others. I also provide comprehensive counsel in all matters related to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13...Read More

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