School Choice

Aug 22

One area of contention between parents who are not together is school choice. Some basics. When parents live together the child will be zoned for the school by their house. When one parent has primary physical custody the child is zoned for the school by the custodial parent’s house. The situation become tricky when the parents have joint physical custody, don’t live in the same school zone and don’t agree on a school. One parent will be inconvenienced and the child will be spending time in a car. That is where the courts have to intervene. The courts will look at what is in the best interest of the child. Some courts will look at which school will mean the least car time for the child. Others will try to determine which school is better. The courts will also consider the actions of the parents. Did one parent move away from the child’s school zone? Did one parent unilaterally transfer the child from one school to another? It has happened. Judges do not like this. IF you have questions, contact us.

Asteroid Mining

Aug 17

There is an interesting article in Popular Mechanics concerning mining asteroids. The article uses a good analogy of the territorial dispute in the South China Sea as an example of what can happen if mechanism for the coordination of space mining is not developed. Since the United States has already developed some law legalizing the mining of asteroids and Luxembourg is on a similar path and the UAE is announcing similar intentions, these three countries should take the lead in creating such a mechanism. This would start the ball rolling so to speak and prevent any disputes in space over mineral rights.

Teenager Discretion

Jul 28

The Nevada Supreme Court discussed Teenager Discretion today in Harrison v. Harrison. The parents had agreed to teenager discretion and then one parent wanted to cancel it. The Supreme Court relied on Rivero v. Rivero when they held that parents are free to enter into contract or custody arrangements they want so long as public policy is not violated. Teenager Discretion does not violate public policy. The parties in this case had a high conflict divorce and were in court on a regular basis.

The idea behind Teenager Discretion is that once teenagers reach a certain age they should be able to decide how much time they spend with which parent. Some judges like Teenager Discretion and others don’t. While this sounds good in theory, in practice it may not always work. This has advantages if the teenager is involved in many activities after or outside of school. If this is the case then the parents should be able to work together to make the appropriate arrangements.

Ultimately, if the parents are getting along Teenager Discretion is a good idea and they will exercise it on an informal basis. If the parents are not getting along, Teenager Discretion gives parents another avenue to fight and the kids to play one parent off against the other.

Primary Physical Custody

Jun 07

The courts will generally parents joint physical custody and expect both parents to work together and coparent. What happens if one parent is so controlling that coparenting is not possible? The Supreme Court, in Cuculoglu v. Cuculoglu Case No. 67781, upheld a lower court that awarded one parent primary physical custody on the basis that the other parent was so controlling that coparenting was not possible. If the other parent will not cooperate so that coparenting is not possible contact us, we will discuss your case and options.

Real ID

May 24

We had a recent inquiry about Real ID. The issue was the spelling of the client’s name on the birth certificate does not match the spelling that has been used for the client’s life. Client was concerned about how to get Real ID because of the different spellings. Another complicating fact is that the client was born in a different state. We suggested to the client that she officially change her name to the spelling that she has used all of her life. With the court order she can go to DMV and show the progression from the name on her birth certificate to the name she has always used. When obtaining your Real ID you can use a passport instead of a birth certificate.

Using Trusts for Estate Planning

Apr 29

Using Trusts for Estate Planning purposes is a popular thing to do. Trusts can be as simple or as complex as a person wants. The most common use for a trust is to avoid probate to transfer cars, houses, and other assets that are titled to their heirs after their death. A related reason for trusts is to give bequests after  heirs reach a certain age. Another reason we suggest trusts to our clients if if our clients have children who will never be able to care for themselves, such as disabled children. Many governmental benefits are tied to the assets available to or under the control of the person receiving the benefits. Putting the assets in a spend thrift trust puts the assets out of the control and ownership of the person yet available for their benefit without threatening governmental benefits. If you have questions about trusts, please contact us.

Custody Modification

Apr 22

Many times parents want to modify custody and will file a motion for custody modification. will go back to court for custody modification.  Recently the Nevada Court of Appeals in the matter of Umderwood v. Underwood again reinforced the requirement that a court must issue findings of fact and conclusions of law when modifying child custody. They also reiterated that in a custody modification the court first determines the actual time share and then uses the appropriate test. Simply put they will always consider the best interest of the child. The court also made an interesting use of terminology. The court now wants to use the term “Parenting Time” instead of “visitation” when discussing the time that the non-custodial parent has with the child.

Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in Orders

Apr 04

The Nevada Court of Appeals just handed down a decision overturning a district court decision and sent it back for findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the lower court’s decision. When the court makes a final decision it must also includes findings of fact which are then applied to its conclusions of law. This is how an appellate court can determine the lower court’s basis for its decision. When there are no findings of fact or conclusions of law the appellate court doesn’t know what the lower court based its decision on and thus sends the decision back to the lower court with instructions to make findings of fact and conclusions of law so that the decision can be properly reviewed.

However, this does not happen all the time. I had a case before the Nevada Supreme Court last year and I made the argument that the case needed to be remanded because there was no findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Supreme Court held that they could look at the record and determine the court’s reasoning. Who am I to argue with the Nevada Supreme Court?

Product Liability and Medical Device

Jan 25

One area of law that has seen growth is product liability and specifically hip replacement issues. There are two reasons for product liability 1) design defect and 2) manufacturing defect. In order to prevail on a product liability case the Plaintiff has to show that the product was defective and the injury occurred because of the defect. Proving a product is defective can be difficult. One generally needs experts to prove this. However, if a product has been recalled, it is easier to prove a defect. The FDA’s website has information on medical devices that have been recalled. The FDA publishes an Enforcement Report on a weekly basis. If a product has been recalled that is a good place to start research.

We currently have a product liability case involving a medical device that was recalled after it was implanted in our client. If you have any questions about product liability please do not hesitate to contact us.

Credit Report

Dec 30

We have gotten some calls recently about issues with credit history. Some folks have discovered judgments on their credit history and others have discovered different people on their credit report and thus been the victims of identity theft.

When people discover judgments there are a few things we can do about them. When clients come in we will ask them several questions such as are they the proper defendant, did they know about the law suit, were they served, this judgment among others. Their answers will help us decide what our client’s options are concerning the underlying judgment and how to deal with the credit reporting agencies.

When people find some one else listed on their credit report we will ask the client questions such as do they know the other person, when did they first learn of the other person, what steps have they taken to correct their credit history among others. Again the client’s answers will help us decide how to deal with the person who should not be on the credit report, the entity making the report and the credit reporting agencies, including Equifax.

The initial document we need is a copy of the client’s recent credit report. That will help us determine what steps are needed to begin correcting the client’s credit history.