The Latest News May 2014

What Exactly is a “Family” Lawyer?

Posted On: May 19, 2014

It might seem as if the term “family lawyer” would be used to describe an attorney who works for everyone in a family or a person who is a member of your family and happens to work as an attorney. Though these scenarios are possible, the term “family lawyer” is actually someone who specializes in family law. The field of family law relates to topics including divorce, custody, visitation rights, spousal and child support, division of assets in divorce, protection from abuse, and paternity issues.

Many family lawyers choose their field because they want to work with the “human side” of the law. It can be extremely challenging to practice family law because attorneys must connect with and support their clients during very emotional times in life. Family lawyers see people at their best and worst, and help these people transition through some of the most challenging phases of life. Despite its challenges, most family lawyers find a great deal of emotional reward in their work.

What Makes a Good Family Lawyer?
Like all attorneys, some family lawyers are more talented and successful than their peers. The best family lawyers have top-notch skills when it comes to negotiation and litigation. They must be good at time management and understand interpersonal communication. In addition to legal counsel, family lawyers often provide emotional support during a client’s most challenging life events. It also helps if a family attorney has an understanding of financial and real estate laws, though most attorneys have a network of expert resources at their disposal when questions arise.

As families continue to evolve, the practice of family law also changes. This includes handling the issues of same sex unions and their resulting families, for which the traditional legal system is still adjusting. Trends in the field of family law also include mediation and collaborative law, a practice that helps couples divorce and legally separate without traditional litigation. A family law attorney’s role is different in cases where collaborative law is used, as opposed to litigation. In some cases, the lawyer might even act as a mediator and work for both partners, as opposed to representing one or the other. It is important to find an attorney that you are comfortable with but has training in these areas. More divorce attorneys are representing that they will follow a collaborative approach but do not truly understand the dynamics nor have they been trained in this discipline.

Nearly 50% of all first marriages end in divorce. The odds are even greater for second and third marriages. Approximately 40% of all couples in the United States are step couples. The ongoing making and breaking of families creates complicated family ties and creates a need for legal protection as things change. Family lawyers provide the guidance and support these changing families need.

Have questions about Family Law or need help in this area, then feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

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Selling Your Home? Don’t Lose Your Buyer Or Jeopardize Your Closing!

Posted On: May 12, 2014

Avoid boundary disputes and other title issues long before you are at the closing table. Selling your home and finding a buyer is stressful enough. Do not lose your Buyer or jeopardizing the closing by a title problem that could have been foreseen and remedied far in advance of closing.

Avoid Certificate of Occupancy (CO), Certificate of Completion (CC), Open Permits, boundary disputes and other title issues long before you are at the closing table. Before you put your house on the market consult your attorney and review what changes may have been made to the original foot print of your home as well as fences, decks, shed and pools that may become an issue. This is also true of items that MAY HAVE BEEN PRESENT when you bought your home but may be an impediment to your sale. Just because it existed at the time of your purchase DOES NOT mean it will not be a problem when you are ready to sell your home.

Most purchasers and their banks will not close if the proper COs CCs and Permits are not in place for the home as it currently exists. All Lenders require Title insurance before they will give a mortgage. All Purchasers should obtain Title Insurance as well. Title companies will refuse to insure a property’s title if a fence or other structure prevents the owner from accessing a portion of the property or if there is a significant encroachment by an adjoining property. Generally, this means that if a fence or structure sits more than 1 foot within your property line, you have a title problem. It does not matter if you installed the fence, who owns the fence, or if existed at the time you purchased your home. Without title insurance, a home simply will not be sold.

If you or your neighbor are planning a change near the property line such as putting up a fence, a shed, privacy/ boundary landscaping such as arborvitae, hedges, or bamboo (highly NOT recommended for other reasons), widening a driveway, other landscape features such as a flower bed or any other installations near the property line, make sure you have a survey of your property to consult. If you do not have a survey or have misplaced your survey, there may be one on file with your town or village building department. If none is on file, my offices can help you identify a surveyor who will prepare a new survey. Towns have different regulations regarding setbacks and heights of placements sheds decks as well as fencing. Also be sure to check with your town before taking action on any plans.

Be sure to measure the placement of the any new installation and compare it with the survey. If there is a disagreement or uncertainty, have an independent professional determine the correct placement of the structure. The survey can then be updated to include the new structure. Some towns now require a new survey after the installation of a deck for instance before they will issue a CC. You may think there is no need to address these details because you get currently along with your neighbors. However many things change over time, relationships change, neighbors may move, and there’s no guarantee what new homeowners will require or if there is a discrepancy the new neighbor may take action without consultation. Ensuring that fences and other structures are properly placed can avoid litigation and title problems. The types of issues that could lose a potential Buyer even at the closing table or possible make your house unmarketable. Taking care of these issues ahead of time may save substantial time and money as well as aggravation at a very stressful time. It also may avoid causing a significant delay in your own moving plans. It may also avoid having to get neighbors’ cooperation in signing and record a vital boundary line affidavits or agreements before you can sell. This will require not only cooperation but will cost money and time, often when time is of the essence for you.

Address these issues before you sell your home and before they ripen into a real title problem.

If you need help in this area or have questions feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

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