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Do You Need a Lawyer to Review Contracts?

Do You Need a Lawyer to Review Contracts?

Do you really need a lawyer to review contracts? After all, you’re a smart person and can read it yourself, right? Why spend the money to have an attorney double-check it to make sure everything is aligned? 

The short answer is this: by hiring a lawyer, you spend a small amount of money now to prevent losing a lot of money later. Here are a few reasons why you should have a lawyer review business contracts. 

Lawyer Contract Review Reason #1: Avoid Pitfalls

The main reason to have an attorney look at your documents is to help you avoid potential pitfalls later on. For example, an attorney can identify if there is unclear language in the document which could lead to an issue later. A business contract is no place for gray areas. 

You want a contract to be very clear. Any kind of ambiguity opens a door for issues to walkthrough later on. But what seems clear to you or the other party may not necessarily be clear in the legal world. That’s why you need a set of eyes looking for these types of litigation gray areas. 

Lawyer Contract Review Reason #2: You Aren’t an Expert

You’re an expert in your field. That’s why other people or companies pay for your products and services. They trust in your skills and knowledge, which is how you’re able to produce something valuable enough to sell.

Are you an expert in contracts? No. Just because you’ve signed contracts in the past doesn’t make you an expert. It does give you an idea of what to look for, but it doesn’t mean you can rely completely on yourself in this matter. 

This is different than trying to do a basic maintenance task around your house, or learning how to use a new piece of software. Those things don’t have the potential to cause massive damage to your company and reputation. 

Contract lawyers, on the other hand, are experts. Let them do what they do best so you can do what you do best. 

Lawyer Contract Review Reason #3: Fight Fire with Fire

Contracts are usually a bit one-sided when they are first drafted. Whoever creates the first draft has their (or their client’s) interests in mind. That’s fair and makes sense, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. 

Hiring a contract attorney to review the document helps you balance the document so both sides win. The lawyer will be able to identify things that seem out of place and can recommend a change. They may also come up with ideas on what to add so the document is more reflective of your interests. 

Can you try to do these things without help? Sure. However, a fresh set of eyes from your attorney can make all the difference. It’s the same reason why authors hire editors, companies hire 3rd parties to perform market research, etc. 

So do you really need a lawyer to review business contracts? Yes – we protect your interests and help you avoid major problems down the road. 

Do you have a document you need to be reviewed? We’re here for you, click here to contact Von Esch Law today.

Spousal Support 101 - The Basics

Spousal Support 101 – The Basics

What is spousal support? How is it determined? This article explains what it is, how it’s calculated, how long it lasts and more. 

What is Spousal Support?

You’ll often hear spousal support and alimony used interchangeably. That’s because they are essentially the same thing. They are both payments for the support of an ex-spouse ordered by the court. This can include a number of things, and every case is a bit different. 

For example, one person may need to provide spousal support to cover just about everything: the house, car, food, clothing, etc. However, another individual may only need to provide enough money to cover the ex-spouse’s car or mortgage payment. 

How is Spousal Support Determined?

It depends on the current status of both the contributor and recipient. If the recipient has a successful career and is able to take care of themselves, the amount will likely be a lot less. However, if the recipient is raising kids full-time and unable to have a career, the amount will likely go up. 

Another factor is current lifestyle. What is the current lifestyle of the recipient? Do they live in a 5 bedroom house with a swimming pool in an expensive part of town? Or do they have a lower-priced home out in the suburbs or a rural area? These factors come into play as well, because the goal of the court is to avoid major lifestyle impacts. 

These are just a few factors. There’s even more to consider here:

  • Education level of the recipient: Are they educated enough to have support themselves and their dependents, or will they need to go back to school?
  • Age and physical condition of the recipient
  • Financial condition (i.e. assets available)
  • Length of the marriage
  • The ability of the contributor to both support the ex-spouse and him/herself

As you can tell, there are many gray areas with spousal support. It doesn’t have the same kind of strict guidelines we see with child support. 

How Long Must Spousal Support be Paid? 

Again, this is a bit of a gray area. It’s common for spousal support to be rehabilitative. That means it only lasts long enough to help the ex-spouse get back on their feet. That could mean finishing their education, landing a good job, etc. 

Sometimes it lasts a bit longer though. If the divorce decree doesn’t have specific termination criteria then the payments must continue until the court orders otherwise. One example that can cause the court to order a change is marriage. If the recipient remarries, the court usually determines the spousal support no longer needs to be paid. 

One thing to keep in mind is that times are changing. It used to be that spousal support was almost always a man sending financial support to his ex-wife. There is a trend of more women giving spousal support to men since the number of women in the workforce has increased. There is also a trend of more same-sex cases, where the ex-spouse with the highest income has to provide spousal support to their ex-spouse. 

For more personalized advice on spousal support, give us a call at 714. 456. 9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Courtesy of Cuselleration

What is Considered Domestic Violence

What is Considered Domestic Violence?

What is considered domestic violence? Most people have some kind of idea what’s involved, but it’s actually a broader topic than most expect. 

Here are the different types of domestic violence, along with a short explanation of each. 

Types of Domestic Violence

Physical Abuse -This is probably what most people think of. It’s any physically aggressive behavior, threat of physical harm, indirectly harming someone physically or withholding physical needs from someone. Threats, punches, denying food or sleep, and holding people hostage all come under this type of abuse. 

Emotional Abuse – This is any kind of behavior that exploits another person’s vulnerability, security or character. One example is insulting or criticizing someone to lower their confidence and self-esteem. Regularly ignoring or neglecting the victim’s needs also falls here. Telling someone they’re mentally unstable or incompetent is emotional abuse. 

Control – This is when one person maintains dominance over the victim. They control the victim’s behavior and believe it’s perfectly justified. One example is not giving the victim freedom with the types of clothes or hairstyle they wear. They may invade the victim’s privacy by never giving them time alone. Sometimes children are used to help control the victim parent by using them as spies or threatening to harm the child. 

Sexual Abuse – This is forcing sexual behavior on someone or using sexual behavior in an exploitative fashion. Sometimes it can be using force or manipulation to make the victim partake in sexual activities with other people or do things they don’t want to. In addition to these, it could be engaging in sexual activity with someone who can’t consent, for example if they’ve used drugs or are asleep. 

Isolation – Similar to control, this keeps the victim from seeing people they want to see. By keeping them socially isolated, the victim doesn’t get to see that the rest of the world wouldn’t agree with the types of abuse the victim is suffering. The victim is often told things to make this behavior sound okay by saying things like “if you really loved me, you’d want to spend time with me instead of your family or friends.”

Verbal Abuse – Somewhat self-explanatory, this includes any language used to threaten, embarrass or unfairly criticize the victim. Maybe the victim is being called names, or are constantly told they are undesirable or ugly. This could also include constantly be yelled at, or never talked to. Threats to hurt or kill the victim or their loved ones is also considered verbal abuse. 

How do I Know if This is Domestic Violence?

People involved in domestic violence situations don’t always know it. They may realize they’re being abused, but don’t consider reporting it to the proper authorities. 

If you know someone who seems like they’re being abused (including yourself), the best thing you can do is talk to someone who understands the subject. You never know until you ask, and it’s important to resolve these situations as early as possible. The longer it goes on, the more harm will be done to the victim. 

We’re here for you, click here to contact Von Esch Law today. 

The Most Important Parts of a Business Plan

The Most Important Parts of a Business Plan

After working with a lot of clients over the years, we’ve determined the most important parts of a business plan. Even though it’s important the whole thing is done well, here are the areas we recommend spending a little extra time on. 

Executive Summary

This is commonly accepted as the most important part of a business plan. If you don’t have a good executive summary, you won’t draw the reader in. They won’t won’t be interested in reading the rest of the document, so you would’ve wasted a lot of time and effort drafting it. 

Your executive summary should include a few key things:

  • Purpose of the plan
  • Business name
  • Location
  • The services or products you offer

The balance here is having a short summary that also communicates what you need to. Get them excited about the opportunity they’re learning about. 

Company Description

This part of the business plan is where you can dive a bit deeper into your company. This helps the reader understand the business as a whole.

A few key elements here include:

Legal Entity – How is your business legally structured? Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S Corp or C Corp? 

Brief History – The reader doesn’t need to know every single thing your business has done over the last few months. But when was it started? What need was it created to fill?

Stakeholders – A stakeholder is anyone involved in the company. Suppliers, customers, employees, owners – they’re all considered stakeholders.

High-Level Goals – How big is the company going to grow over the next few years? How are you going to achieve that goal? 

Marketing Plan – You’ll get in more detail with this later. But what’s your overall marketing plan? How will you get new leads and reach new potential customers?

Again, this is all at a high level. You’re still warming up the reader and giving them an understanding of what you’re trying to do. 

Products and Services

This section may sound simplistic, but there’s more to it than you might expect. Yes, the point of this section is to explain what products and services you sell. But you also need to explain why they fill a need. 

For example, let’s say you offer a lawn mowing service. Why does your area need another one? How is your company different/better than the others? You need to be specific here. If you just say something generic like “we have the best people” or “we do the best job,” that’s not enough. 

The best way to do this is to get very specific. So instead of having a lawn mowing service that does anything and everything, maybe you just maintain the yards around office buildings. Or instead of doing landscaping for any residential home, you only do it for a certain high-end neighborhood. 

Other things to include in this section are your costs, suppliers, and prices. You need to prove that you’re able to actually make a decent profit. 

Financial Projections

Everything leads up to this section. This can make or break your business plan, as it needs to be appealing to investors. 

Don’t be unrealistic, but don’t be too conservative either. It takes time to get a business off the ground – investors understand that. But you still need to have something exciting enough that they’ll consider funding you. 

Need help with your business plan? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

Courtesy of Cuselleration

Child Custody

Child Custody 101 – The Different Types of Custody

This Child Custody 101 article was crafted for one thing – to help simplify a complex subject. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the terminology often used when referring to the subject. 

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody

This is a big one, so let’s start with it. At a high level, there are two types of custody – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent’s responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and overall well-being. Physical custody is just like it sounds – it refers to who lives with the child. 

Within those two buckets are several types of custody. Here are the most common.

Sole Custody of a Child

This parent is solely responsible for the child. This means exclusive physical and legal custody. The parent without custody has limited access to the child. This is often called visitation. 

Note that visitation doesn’t mean the parent can only see the child on rare occasions. It just means they don’t have the right to make decisions regarding where the child lives or things like education or the primary physician. 

Joint Custody of a Child

Joint custody means both parents have rights and responsibilities to care for the child. The first thing that may come to mind is a 50/50 split. In reality that’s difficult for everyone, so usually the responsibilities and time spent with the child lean more towards one parent than the other. Ideally, the time would be split as evenly as possible, and both parents would participate in major decisions affecting the child. 

Click here to read more about child custody laws during the holiday season.

Alternating Custody

This is where the parents alternate taking care of the child. For example, it may be that the mother keeps the children for 5 days a week, and the father keeps them for the weekend. Or maybe they stay with one parent for 3 days, then go back to the other parent’s home for another 3 days. Every family has a different arrangement that works for them. What’s important is that it works for everyone and both parents are still involved in the child’s life. 

More Types of Custody

Most situations end up in one of the situations listed above. Here are a few others that sometimes occur. 

Bird’s Nest – This is where a child lives in the same home all the time and the parents move in and out. The benefit is more consistency for the child but can be hard on the parents. 

Serial – This is where a child lives with one parent for a certain period of time (Ex: until they’re a teenager) and then they move in with the other parent for a certain time increment. 

Third-party – If the courts determine the parents are unfit to care for the kids, they can grant custody to another family member such as an aunt, uncle, grandparent or older sibling. 

Split – This is usually seen as a last resort, as it is hard on the entire family. Split custody is where one parent takes some children, and the other parent takes the others. This is difficult because children benefit from being with their siblings. Even if their parents have joint or alternating custody and the children are constantly moving from one parent’s home to the other, at least they always have each other. Split custody removes that and makes things complex. 

Do you have a question about the different types of custody? Click here to contact Von Esch Law today!

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What are California’s Disability Discrimination Laws?

The topic of disability and what can be done to make accommodations for disability at work can sometimes be unclear. California employment law offers a wide range of legal protection for employees who can establish a valid claim for disability discrimination in the workplace. But what constitutes as disability discrimination in the state of California?

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6 Apps To Help Your Business Legally

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7 Tips to Get Your Family Through a Divorce

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5 Ways For Businesses to Avoid Legal Issues

Starting a small business is difficult enough as is without any legal potholes or problems. As a small business owner you have enough to worry about, and you don’t want to be stressing out about business law. We can help your business stand on its own two feet, make sure it’s legally protected and offer advice on the best practices moving forward. However, for some simple tips that can be easily followed, take a look at this list we created of easy ways to avoid legal issues for your small business.

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Top 6 Myths About Divorce

Divorce is a difficult situation for all parties involved because it can take time, money and an emotional toll. Divorce can get especially complicated if there are children involved and custody becomes an issue as well. If you or a family member is going through a divorce make sure to take note of these myths about divorce that can seriously change a situation if you believe them to be true.

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