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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Children Outside of Marriage?

Parents that have children, and are not currently married to the father or mother of their child, should take time to consider having a Custody Agreement/Order in place. Often times, this consideration is put off because the relationship between the parents is working well and they are able to agree on decisions that are in the best interest of the child. It may even be the case that the parents are still in a loving relationship or plan to get married and do not see the need to "rock the boat". Individuals simply do not want to ask their partner to discuss plans in the event the relationship fails. Whatever the case may be, there is cause for concern if there is not a current Custody Agreement/Order in place.
Imagine a real life scenario: the father or mother of your child decides they are moving out of state and taking the child with them. Things may be fine for the first few visitations with your child but then the other parent begins to make excuses and decides it is too difficult to make travel accommodations and work out the visitation plan you both had envisioned and verbally agreed upon. If you now decide you want to have an agreement in place, you may be surprised and heartbroken to learn that you may have to travel to the state where your child now lives, hire an attorney in that state and attempt to reconcile the situation. In order to protect your children and ensure you do not find yourself in this position, or a similar one, call an experienced Mississippi Family Law Attorney.

Monday, January 24, 2011

DUI Did You Know: Implied Consent

Did you know that it is illegal in the state of Mississippi to drive, or otherwise operate a motor vehicle, if any person:
a. is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or other substance which has impaired the ability to operate a motor vehicle.
b. has .08% of alcohol in the blood for persons 21 years of age or older;
c. has .02% of alcohol in the blood for persons under 21 years of age, otherwise known as “zero tolerance”;
d. has .04% of alcohol for persons operating a commercial motor vehicle; all as determined by a chemical test of breath, blood, or urine.

What is Implied Consent?

Any person who has a valid driver’s license and operates a motor vehicle upon the public highways of this state shall be deemed to have given his consent to a chemical test or tests of his breath for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration.  Any person who fails to submit to a chemical test or tests of his breath upon notice given by a police officer that has reasonable grounds and probable cause to believe such person to have been driving a motor vehicle upon the public highways of the state of Mississippi while under the influence of intoxicating liquor shall have his or her license suspended for a period of ninety (90) days if that person has not been previously convicted. 

What does this mean for me?

The Implied Consent law basically means that upon obtaining your driver’s license, you agreed that you would comply with a police officer’s request to submit to a breathalyzer test.  With that being said, you still have rights.  You have the opportunity to refuse the test and be subjected to the applicable penalty of the automatic ninety (90) day license suspension.  You have ten (10) days from the date of your Department of Public Safety Notice of License Suspension letter to request a hearing with the Circuit or County Court where you received the DUI.  If you have received a DUI or would like more information, contact a qualified Mississippi DUI Attorney immediately. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Considering A Will?

Some Considerations For Your Will:

In the event you die with assets in your name, and without a will, the distribution of your estate will be governed by statutory provisions.  The process of distributing one’s estate that dies without a will is called “Intestate Succession”.  If you die and are survived by a spouse and children, your estate will typically be divided equally amongst your spouse and the children.  If you only have children or grandchildren that survive, then your estate will be divided amongst them.  However, if you are not survived by a spouse, children or grandchildren, your estate will pass by operation of law to your parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins.  Although Intestate laws are not problematic, you may prefer to take control of the way your assets are distributed and have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are cared for.   

A Will Can Protect Your Spouse:

A common misconception is that everything automatically goes to the surviving spouse if a husband or a wife dies.  Although this is true regarding jointly owned property, in Mississippi the surviving spouse is only entitled to a portion, about one half, of the individually owned assets of the deceased spouse.  The remainder of the assets will pass to any surviving children.  If you want your spouse to own everything after your death you will need to have a Will that expresses those intentions.

A Will Can Appoint Guardians For Your Children:

A major concern for many individuals is how to plan for the future care of minor children upon the unfortunate and untimely death of both parents.  A Will can appoint guardians who will care for your children in the event this happens.  Rest your worries and plan for your future today.  Contact an experienced Mississippi Family Law Attorney.

*The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Are You Owed Child Support?

Did you know the State of Mississippi has established guidelines regarding the amount of child support your child is entitled to?

Mississippi Code Annotated § 43-19-101 sets forth the Child support award guidelines as follows:

(1) The following child support award guidelines shall be a rebuttable presumption in all judicial or administrative proceedings regarding the awarding or modifying of child support awards in this state:
Number Of Children Percentage Of Adjusted Gross Income
Due Support That Should Be Awarded For Support

1: 14%
2: 20%
3: 22%
4: 24%
5 or more: 26%

In order to determine the amount of "adjusted gross income", you must first determine gross income from all potential sources that may reasonably be expected to be available to the absent parent including, but not limited to, the following: wages and salary income; income from self-employment; income from commissions; income from investments including dividends, interest income and income on any trust account or property; the absent parent's portion of any joint income of both parents; workers' compensation, disability, unemployment, annuity and retirement benefits including an individual retirement account (IRA); any other payments made by any person, private entity, federal or state government or any unit of local government; alimony; any income earned from an interest in or from inherited property; any other form of earned income; and gross income shall exclude any monetary benefits derived from a second household, such as income of the absent parent's current spouse. However, there are some legally mandated deductions such as: Federal, state and local taxes; Social security contributions; Retirement and disability contributions, except any voluntary retirement and disability contributions. If the absent parent is subject to an existing court order for another child or children, subtract the amount of that court-ordered support. If the absent parent is also the parent of another child or other children residing with him, then the court may subtract an amount that it deems appropriate to account for the needs of said child or children. Once all income is added and all deductions are accounted for, the final number should be divided by twelve (12) to obtain the monthly amount of “adjusted gross income.” Finally, multiply the adjusted gross income by the proper percentage, depending on the number of children, this figure will be the proper amount of monthly child support award.
Keep in mind the Court has discretion to modify this amount and there are other factors the Court may consider, but this calculation does provide a legitimate gauge as to the amount of child support your children deserve.
Collecting the child support your children deserve can be frustrating and often times leave you feeling helpless. Where others have failed, we succeed. Stop waiting for your child support and call us today to set up your free initial consultation.

Justin Jones Attorney at Law, PLLC
601-499-LAW2 (5292)

*The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.