Justin Raber Attorney at Law


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West Virginia Law Blog

Harvey Weinstein, Georgina Chapman finalize divorce

A marriage can end for a variety of different reasons. Regardless of the cause, the decision to seek a divorce is often the best option for families in West Virginia. However, cases involving significant assets can be complicated to settle. However, embattled Harvey Weinstein and his estranged wife Georgina Chapman reportedly agreed to the terms of their split recently.

The couple reportedly have a prenuptial agreement. Under the terms of that agreement, Chapman would receive $300,000 a year in spousal support if the marriage lasted less than 10 years. Some reports claim that if the marriage lasted more than a decade, she would receive $400,000 a year. The agreement came just before their 10-year anniversary.

Estate planning in West Virginia a New Year's resolution

As the new year begins, many people in West Virginia are likely considering what goals they would like to work toward. For many people, this includes eating healthier or spending less. However, some estate planning professionals recommend including the creation of a power of attorney and related documents as an important part of a person's goals.

When a person becomes incapacitated either due to injury or illness, family members often experience a great deal of stress. By creating a financial power of attorney and naming someone to make medical decisions, a person can significantly help reduce the stress felt during such a time. If no one is named, family members may be unsure about the person's wishes. In some cases, court action will be necessary to determine who will be able to make such decisions.

New tax plan could impact West Virginia divorce

When a couple in West Virginia comes to the difficult decision to end their marriage, there are likely many questions that must be answered and issues that must be settled. More than simply dividing assets, couples who are going through a divorce must also examine the tax ramifications of certain divisions. The process can often involve a significant amount of negotiations, but some professionals with knowledge of family law think that the recently passed plan to revise taxes could create additional complications for divorcing couples.

The tax reform changes how spousal support payments are treated regarding who pays taxes. Currently, the spouse who pays the support can claim it as a deduction, while the spouse receives it then pays taxes on it. Because typically the paying spouse's income places him or her in a higher tax bracket, divorced couples ultimately pay less in taxes than if the roles were swapped, keeping more money within the family.

3 things to remember about joint custody arrangements

Joint child custody has its challenges, but if you and your spouse want to raise your child together despite your pending divorce, it can work for you. It's important to remember that you'll need to coordinate your schedules, have duplicates of some of your child's items and learn to cooperate even if you have a disagreement.

Remember that whatever you do has to work in the best interests of your child. You might have to plan around both your work schedules, too. Deciding how to do that has to start with your child's schedule, then take your own into account.

Personal injury lawsuit could follow West Virginia crash

Drivers in West Virginia often go to great lengths in an attempt to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, even the safest drivers are often unable to avoid those who may be distracted or fail to follow traffic laws and safety recommendation. The exact cause of a recent crash is unclear, but victims could choose to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The incident happened on a day in mid-December. According to reports, an eastbound sports utility vehicle collided with another eastbound vehicle. The collision caused the driver of the SUV to lose control, and it crossed the median.

Considerations when selling real estate to family members

Placing a house on the market is often a stressful project. After all the preparations to make the home attractive to potential buyers, the house may sit on the market for months or longer before a serious offer comes in. Some West Virginia home sellers are fortunate when a family member offers to purchase the house. However, they may question whether the steps they take in this family transaction should be very different from a real estate transaction between strangers.

While selling a home to a relative may seem like a family transaction, it is also a legal transaction; in fact, it's likely the largest and most expensive purchase a person will make. Although the exchange may be between trusted family members, there are many legal considerations to take into account. For example, if the buyer is taking a mortgage to purchase the house, the seller will need to have the home appraised because the mortgage company will require it.

Family law: Steps for stepparent adoption

When West Virginia families blend, it is possible that a child may develop a strong relationship with his or her stepparent. This bond can be frustrating because a stepparent typically has no legal rights concerning the children of his or her spouse. While the adoption of a stepchild can be a wonderful option in some cases where the stepparent has already taken on the role of a parent, it involves some difficult elements of family law.

The most difficult roadblock to overcome when beginning the process of adopting a stepchild is to gain consent from the noncustodial biological parent. If the parent formally agrees, the adoption may proceed; however, if the parent refuses to give consent and relinquish his or her parental rights, the chances of adopting the stepchild decrease. There are certain circumstances in which the court may bypass the consent requirement, such as when the other parent does not consistently communicate with the child.

Still searching for the root causes of divorce

As long as relationships are made up of people, there will likely be no way to truly predict the causes of marriage breakups. Nevertheless, scientists, sociologists and other researchers seem to enjoy coming up with commonalities among couples who divorce in an effort to understand how to improve relationships and predict their ends. Psychologists and counselors on the front lines of relationship battles hear many of the same complaints from couples seeking their counsel.

According to the data, marriages in trouble may be made up of extremes. For example, a West Virginia couple who never fights may be holding on to deep resentments or may have stopped trying to make the marriage work. They may have given up trying to communicate with each other because they no longer relate on an intimate level. On the other hand, if, when a couple fights, the battle is personal and the argument is meant to wound each other, this may be a sign that the marriage is over.

Texting endangers you and your family

You hear your phone chime, and you know someone's sending you a message. Smartly, you don't answer. It's more important to focus on the road.

Not all people do, though. Many individuals take their attention away from the road willingly, which means they're at risk of getting into a crash. They may not see other drivers slowing down or could miss subtle signs that a crash could take place up ahead.

Personal injury results from impaired driving

In some areas of West Virginia, pedestrians take great chances crossing the road in ideal conditions. Drivers who are not alert for pedestrians place them at risk of personal injury. Recently, the odds were against a 29-year-old man as he was walking along the shoulder of a local road.

It was dark and raining when a 42-year-old driver struck the man walking on the side of the road. The impact threw the pedestrian into the opposite lane of traffic where he lay in the road. An oncoming car struck him a second time. He was taken by ambulance to a local medical center where a helicopter transported him to another facility. He is listed in critical condition.

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