A Legal Council Guide

Three Questions About Your Property To Ask A Home Inspector Before You Sell Your Home

When you want to sell your property, there are many financial and legal issues you’ll have to give due consideration to. In particular, while a home inspector is looking at your home, you might as well tie as many loose ends as possible in the short time you’ll be seeing him or her. Check out these three questions about your property to ask a home inspector before you sell your home.

What documents can you give me to prove the condition of my home?

It’s even more important to get the right documentation if all the systems in your home are as healthy as can be. As an example, if you sell the home to someone and some part of the home’s plumbing breaks a few months later, you want to be able to prove that everything was working fine during the sale to avoid complaints and a possible lawsuit from the seller.

Make sure the documents you get are duly signed by the home inspector so that his or her reputation and professional license will be at stake. Also make sure there are at least a couple of witnesses to the document signing to cover all your bases.

How difficult would it be to repair the systems in my home that are ill-maintained?

If something in the house is broken or at least not working property, you’ll need to give the buyer all the information you can manage to avoid trouble later. To ensure that the buyer doesn’t exaggerate the damage and demand a much lower price for the home than you can tolerate, ask the home inspector to give an opinion about how much it would cost to make everything run smoothly again.

After you get the estimate, you can try to get a better deal by fixing everything before the sale or you can simply pass on the number to the prospective buyer. This way, you won’t have to take any larger of a discount on your home than you have to.

What is the likelihood of major problems developing with the home in the near future?

While the home inspector is at your home, you might as well ask for an estimate of the likelihood of a major maintenance issue developing in your home in the next couple years or so. If the home inspector is experienced, he or she should be able to give you an estimate that’s fairly accurate.

Depending on how much you like the answer, you can pass it on to the seller after you’ve more or less decided on a price or you can keep the information to yourself. In general, though, if you want a fair deal, it’s better to share as much information as possible. For more information, contact a real estate lawyer.

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Gender Discrimination Can Affect You In The Workplace

Although it might not be a widespread, common problem, gender discrimination in the workplace is real. Nearly 10% of men report that they have once felt they were denied a role because of their gender and 15% of women share this sentiment. When faced with what you perceive to be this type of scenario, it can be both frustrating and confusing.  

What Is Gender Discrimination?

It’s important to understand what exactly gender discrimination is. Gender discrimination is more than the perception that someone doesn’t like you simply because of your gender. It is instead the intentional actions of someone against you solely because you are a man or woman. For example, for a female in the workplace, this discrimination can include a denial to extend health benefits to her male spouse, while all the male employees are extended this benefit to their female spouses.

It can also serve as an unfair job classification, such as someone being required to perform as a manager, but not offered the official title, while someone of the opposite sex is labeled as a manager. Reduced pay and an unwillingness to give the position can also fall under the reign of gender discrimination.

Proving Gender Discrimination

Once you have identified gender discrimination, the task comes down to proving it, as it’s not enough to simply make the claim. In a fairy-tale world, you could get a manager or other upper level employee to go on record and state that you were in fact discriminated against because of your gender. However, these claims are generally proven based on circumstantial evidence, which basically relies on a series of facts that can somehow be connected to your claim.

To put this into perspective, consider a male who believes he was denied a promotion simply because of his gender. In this case, circumstantial evidence would be proof that he was more qualified than the female who was actually awarded the role. For example, if he had more education, more time on the job, and better performance reviews, he would undoubtedly be the better candidate if they were compared side by side. He can then use this information as circumstantial evidence.  

Although the above-mentioned represents possible scenarios, gender discrimination can look very different from workplace to workplace and person to person. For this reason, it is important that you rely on the expertise of an attorney to help analyze your case and help you formulate the best course of action.

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5 Reasons You May Be Disqualified For Workers Compensation

If you’ve been injured on the job, you will want to receive compensation. You’re sure to be faced with some medical bills and lost wages that may make it difficult to handle. Dealing with such huge financial losses can be devastating to you and working to recover from this challenging time can be difficult. One of the most effective ways to get compensated for your losses is by getting workers’ compensation. You will need to apply for this, and it’s ideal to know the possible reasons you could be potentially turned down.

Reason #1: Failure to notify your employer

The first thing you should do after being injured at work is to notify your employer. This will work to substantiate your claim and is necessary for ultimately receiving payment.

You do have 30 days legally to let your employer know that you were injured on the job. However, waiting this long could prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve because it may make the urgency of your case disappear.

Reason #2: You were intoxicated

One of the things that can completely prohibit you from getting compensated for your losses is if you had any alcoholic drinks that contributed to your accident. It’s possible if your employer suspects you of being intoxicated, you will be required to take a drug test. Failure to pass this test could prevent payment.

Reason #3: Not following doctors’ orders

Failing to do as your doctor asks you to do in order to get well faster can cause you to be disqualified for workers’ compensation. You will need to do exactly as your medical provider recommends you to do and this may include surgery in some cases.

Reason #4:  Preexisting condition

If you had a previous state, this could prevent you from receiving any money for your accident. For instance, if you had previously had back problems and were unable to lift certain things at work, this may prevent you from being paid any money.

Reason #5: Being fraudulent

You will need, to tell the truth at all times to qualify for workers’ compensation. Failing to do so will result in being disqualified.

The benefits of being able to receive payment while you’re unable to work can make your life better and less stressful. Be sure to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney in your area (like Paul F Guthrie) to assist you if this happens to you at any time.

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Four Different Variations In Alimony Payments

If you are considering a divorce, you may be ordered by a judge to pay alimony to your spouse. Although the laws regarding alimony vary by state, when alimony payments are made, it is usually the spouse making the greater income that is required to pay money to the spouse making the smaller income. However, there are different variations of alimony that you may be required to pay. The following are the most common.

Permanent alimony

This is the type of payment people often think of when they hear the word alimony. This type of alimony can last until the death of the paying ex-spouse. It can also continue to be paid when the ex-spouse receiving the alimony is remarried. This type of alimony payment, in modern divorce cases, may not be permanent, although the duration can be many years. However, the amount can be adjusted up or down depending upon the income changes that each ex-spouse experiences over time.

Temporary alimony

This occurs when a couple separates prior to a divorce. It is court-ordered by a judge, and serves the purpose of protecting the spouse with the smaller income. This enables the individual to maintain the same lifestyle he or she has had during the marriage. Once a divorce agreement has been drawn up and finalized, this type of alimony comes to an end. It may or may not be replaced with a permanent alimony.

Rehabilitative alimony

This is a form of temporary alimony that is paid to an individual for the purpose of transitioning to a new life. Often it is paid so that an ex-spouse can afford to learn new job skills or attend college. This type of alimony will last for a period of time defined by a judge. In some cases, it may last until a couple’s children are grown up.

Reimbursement alimony

This type of alimony is for the purpose of reimbursing a spouse that made a financial sacrifice for the other. A common example is when one spouse worked to help put the other through school. After graduating from school, the individual went on to obtain a professional job with a good income such as a doctor or attorney. The now high income producing spouse may be required to reimburse the other for the time spent helping with the education. This type of alimony is different than the others because it is usually paid in a lump sum, but it can take the form of payments over a specific period of time.

As you can tell, there are different ways a person can pay alimony to their ex-spouse. Whether you are required to pay alimony or not will depend upon many factors, so it is imperative to consult with a divorce attorney.

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New to the Workplace? Two Tips to Help You Handle Sexual Harassment

If you’ve just gotten your first job, you may not be aware that sexual harassment is a real risk in the workplace.  A recent poll showed that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual harassment at work, so it’s definitely not uncommon.  Because you’re embarking on your first work experience, you may not know how to handle sexual harassment if it happens to you. Use this information to learn two tips that can help you know what to do if you happen to experience sexual harassment on your new job.

Carefully Document Each Event

The first thing you want to do is carefully document each and every instance of sexual harassment. It’s best if you are able to gives exact dates and times to the court system in the event that you need to file a lawsuit.

For example, you may be called into the office to speak with a superior. The meeting may have highly sexual overtones that make you feel very uncomfortable. The moment you return back to your office or section of the building, write down the day of the week, the calendar date and the time of the meeting. Write down the name of the person that you had the meeting with and detail what was said and how you felt. This is vital information to have because you don’t want to just rely on your memory in case you need to give a deposition.

Also, if the harassment comes by way of emails, text messages, or voice mails, be sure to keep every last one of them. If necessary, create a separate file on your computer that you save to an external device, and then keep the device with you.

Read the Company Handbook So You Can Report Correctly

The key to getting your sexual harassment dealt with properly is to report it to the right person.  You want to report the incident the first time it happens, but you need to know who to report it to.

Some places of employment advise that you report harassment to the human resources department, while others have a designated person on staff who discretely handles sexual harassment cases.  Avoid talking to various co-workers in the office, since this could be seen as gossip. Reporting to the right person is the key to getting results.  

If the harassment becomes very severe and your place of employment isn’t handling it, you may need to contact a sexual harassment attorney to help you with the case. Go into your new job armed with this information so you can know how to effectively deal with sexual harassment.

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3 Tips For Writing A Strong Description Of Your Product When Applying For A Patent

If you have come up with a really great idea, you might be thinking about applying for a patent or discussing a patent acquisition so that you don’t have to worry about anyone else stealing your idea. Doing so can be a smart decision–particularly if you plan on moving forward with your invention–but the process is not as easy as you might think. You will need to file a patent application, and in this application you will need to provide a strong description of your product. These are a few tips that can help you write a good description on your application.

1. Think of the Questions You Might Ask

Since you are the one who has come up with the product, you probably don’t have a lot of questions about it. However, the person who reads your patent application more than likely will. This means that when you are drafting the description part of your application, you will need to think about the questions that you might ask if someone were telling you about the product. Then, make sure that you answer these questions in your description. If necessary, consider talking to friends and family members about your product, and see what types of questions they ask. Then, address those questions in your description.

2. Break it Down

You might feel silly writing things out in simple terms, but when it comes to describing a product that has not been invented yet, this is usually the best way to go. Break things down and oversimplify them as necessary. This will help eliminate questions that someone might have when reading your patent application and will help ensure that you don’t leave anything out. Use a thesaurus during this process to find the most accurate word(s) you’re looking for.

3. Look at Photos for Reference

Even though your product might not have been created yet, there may be photos out there of similar items that can help make it easier for you to describe your idea. Use photos for reference to help you come up with a more thorough description for your product, and consider attaching these photos to your application. These photos can help you construct a patent drawing (required for most applications) when you hire an artist to draw up your plans. If you are a good enough artist, you can create this drawing yourself by doing the following:

  • drawing everything to scale
  • labeling each component with number callouts
  • using the correct paper size and margin size required by your patent office
  • drawing the invention with only black ink

Along with following these tips, it’s a good idea to work with a patent attorney. Then, he or she can look over your patent application and can help ensure that you don’t make any mistakes.

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2 Ways To Present Evidence In Your Custody Case

When marriages come to an end it can be challenging to determine who will retain custody of the children. Many couples find that the matter must be settled in court. If you are in the midst of a custody battle with your soon-to-be ex, it’s important that you understand how you can present evidence to the court supporting your position that you should be awarded custody.

Here are two ways that you can present information to the court on your behalf.

1. Photo Albums

It’s not uncommon for a former spouse to try and convince a judge that their partner doesn’t do anything constructive with the children during his or her time. The quality of the time spent with young ones is something that a court could take into consideration when awarding custody, so being able to prove that the time you spend with your kids is meaningful can be beneficial.

Photo albums documenting vacations, family movie nights, or other activities that you participated in with your children will give a judge visual proof that you are taking your role as a parent seriously. Be sure to ask your lawyer if photo albums can be used as evidence in your custody case.

2. Key Witness Testimony

Custody battles often feature a lot of he-said, she-said arguments, so having the ability to provide outside confirmation of your argument that you would be a better custodial parent can be beneficial when trying to win a custody case in court.

Not everyone makes a good witness, so you must focus your efforts on identifying key witnesses that will have credibility with the court. If your ex is struggling to get your kids to school on time, ask the school secretary or a teacher to testify. If a caseworker was assigned to evaluate your parenting situation, have the caseworker report his or her findings in court.

These key witnesses can provide impartial evidence that the judge will likely take into consideration when determining whether or not you should be awarded custody of your children in the future. Be sure to visit with your divorce attorney to determine which individuals in your children’s lives might be able to provide evidence in court as key witnesses.

Being able to provide proof that you are a good parent can mean the difference between a win and a loss when it comes to custody battles. Ask your attorney how photo albums and key witnesses can be used as evidence on your behalf in the future.

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