Being falsely accused of domestic violence can affect many different aspects of your life, including your employment, personal reputation, financial security, custody of your children and freedom. If you are facing allegations of domestic violence from a spouse, child, partner or other family member, having experienced criminal lawyers in your corner can help you prove your innocence and overcome the stigma that often comes with being accused of domestic abuse.
Many people automatically assume that a person is guilty when he or she has been charged with domestic abuse. This narrow-minded view can destroy lives and violate your right to due process and a fair trial.
How to Protect Yourself Against False Domestic Abuse Charges
There are several steps you can take to protect your rights and your reputation before you are wrongly accused. If your relationship begins to go south and you believe that your partner or family member may make false allegations against you, being proactive can mitigate the damage his or her actions may cause if you are falsely accused.
Secure your valuables. It may be hard to believe, but some accusers will deliberately set you up to make things harder for you after domestic abuse charges have been filed. If your accuser takes your ID, birth certificate, phone or cash and then files charges, you may lose focus and have a more difficult time getting the help you need to ensure your rights are protected.
Let friends and family members what’s going on. When accusers claim that someone has hurt them or their children, people often take them at their word and refuse to believe the person who is being charged with domestic abuse. Keeping friends and family in the loop about your circumstances at home and sharing your fears about what may happen can help you avoid being wrongly judged if charges are filed against you. Preparing loved ones for potential trouble and allegations may make them more inclined to back you up, and preemptively seeking the counsel of a criminal defense attorney at our law firm in West Chester can also help you avoid some of the headaches that come with being wrongly accused.
Change passwords, PINs and codes on everything. Accusers have been known to log into the accused’s accounts and send messages from cell phones, email and other forms of communication so it appears as if the accused has been sending threatening messages. Make sure to create secure passwords for:
Debit and credit cards
Computers & laptops at home and work
Vehicle entrance/garage codes
Any other devices, accounts or systems that require login information
If you’re being abused, gather evidence. Abusers sometimes falsely accuse victims of domestic abuse to try and get ahead of charges that may be brought against them. If you are a victim of domestic violence, collect as much evidence as you can without putting yourself in harm’s way. Immediate help for domestic violence victims can be found by calling the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Whether you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence or are trying to break free from an abuser, a West Chester criminal lawyer at Carosella & Associates will ensure that you receive proper legal representation and your rights are protected.
A key element at the start of any divorce proceeding, full financial disclosure is an accounting of each spouse’s assets, debts, income and expenses. Pennsylvania has specific procedures that must be followed for full financial disclosure so that each party has comprehensive knowledge of the other’s financial circumstances in a divorce.
Why is Full Financial Disclosure Required?
Courts require spouses to disclose their finances to determine equitable property division and support awards and prevent unfair settlements. Even if a couple reaches an agreement on their own, the court will review debt and asset division, child support, and alimony to ensure fairness.
How can a Divorce Attorney help?
Gathering financial documents can be overwhelming and time consuming. It is not uncommon for one spouse to handle most of the financial issues in the marriage, which can leave the other with limited knowledge of the couple’s financial situation or where financial documents and information are stored.
An experienced divorce lawyer will guide you through this process and help you gather all of the required financial information. If you find it difficult to collect information on your spouse’s finances, your attorney will obtain it though the discovery process. Typically, you and your spouse will be required to present:
Proof of any other income such as social security, public assistance and child support or alimony
Account statements for all bank accounts, including joint and separate accounts
Individual and joint credit card statements
Itemized lists of personal property such as jewelry, furniture and other items
Stocks, bonds and other assets
All retirement and pension accounts such as IRA and 401(k)
Deeds, leases and title to property
Motor vehicle titles
Loan statements for mortgages, student loans, automobiles and personal loans
All insurance policies, including: health, dental, life, homeowners’, and auto
A list of monthly expenses and bills
Seeking the counsel of a skilled divorce attorney in Pennsylvania will ensure that you adhere to all the disclosure requirements for your particular case. A divorce lawyer can also help you with any updates and changes that must be made to your financial disclosure statement during divorce proceedings.
Challenging a Financial Disclosure Statement
The information contained in a financial disclosure statement is completed with the declaration that the content in the document is true and correct under penalty of perjury. Each spouse has the right to challenge a financial disclosure statement that has been submitted to the court, and failing to accurately complete a full financial disclosure statement can lead to being held in contempt of court and monetary sanctions.
Our West Chester divorce attorneys can guide you through the divorce process and ensure that your financial disclosure is accurate and your interests are protected.
Many business owners do not realize that business succession planning is a vital element that should be included in the estate planning process. Not only does it protect your family’s interests if you pass away, it can help your business continue to grow and thrive after you retire or if you become incapacitated.
Drafting a business succession plan before your departure can keep your business on track and make the transition much easier for partners, managers, employees and customers who depend on your business for financial stability.
How to Create a Business Succession Plan
Every situation is different, and experienced estate planning lawyers can advise you on the various factors to consider when creating a business succession plan; and make sure that any partners, co-owners or investors are on board to avoid problems down the road.
Tackling your personal retirement planning and estate planning goes hand in hand with creating a business succession plan. Taking care of retirement planning can help you decide when to retire and determine how much you will need. Estate planning not only outlines your wishes and intent, but can help to preserve your wealth for future generations.
Create a written emergency plan that names a person or persons your spouse or children should consult in the event of your incapacitation or passing. Include specifics about the steps partners, key employees or advisors are supposed to take in these circumstances.
Review and update your shareholder and/or partnership agreements. This becomes particularly important as the shareholder pool changes or if a business is passed down to family members.
Create formal governance processes. Establishing a board of directors or advisors, developing an employment policy, and reviewing strategies for growth and compensation will help the transition process run more smoothly.
Provide training for the next generation. This gives your employees and any family members who work with you an opportunity to learn about how to run the business and the leadership and dedication it takes for continued success.
Tax Considerations and Probate
It is also important to recognize that the value of your business may grow or diminish between the time you plan your estate and when you retire or pass away. Keeping your succession plan up-to-date can ensure that the valuation of the business is accurate.
Another thing to take into consideration is the probate process your family will have to go through after your death. Skilled wills and trusts lawyers can help you create certain types of trusts that can allow some of your assets and business interests to pass outside of your taxable estate.
If you want to incorporate tax minimization into your estate plan, Grantor Retained Income Trusts (GRITs), Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), and Grantor Retained Unitrusts (GRUTs) can be very effective estate planning tools. These types of trusts can be complex, so working with estate planning or business attorneys who are experienced in drafting irrevocable trusts is a must.
Consulting with a knowledgeable Chester County estate planning attorney can help you effectively pass on your business and give you and your family peace of mind, knowing that your legacy will continue long after you’re gone.