Life Planning: Are Your Family and Interests Protected?

Family Law Jackson MS

All phases of life are accompanied by important decisions. Pursuing higher education, choosing a spouse, building a career, starting a family, or buying a home are just a few of these choices, all of which may require the help and advice of trusted legal counsel. But, regardless of our chosen paths, there’s one finality that we all must face – the day we are called home. And when that time comes, it is extremely important that we have taken the time to make sure that our finances, property, and families are taken care of when we are gone.

Life planning is perhaps the most critical moment when a combination of sound legal advice and thoughtful planning are key. How will your spouse and children be taken care of after you pass on? What will happen to your property? What about any bank accounts or other financial interests you hold? Taking a little time to plan for these matters in advance will ensure that your wishes and the best interest of your loved ones are taken care of in your absence.

Are you confident that your life planning efforts are up-to-spec? Take a minute to review The Wade Law Firm’s abbreviated life planning checklist and consider whether your plans include the following essential legal documents:

  • Durable Power of Attorney – to see that your property is cared for by a trusted proxy in line with your desires
  • Trust Arrangement – if necessary, it will help ensure that loved ones are provided for in a responsible manner
  • Advance Directive Health Care – to ensure your healthcare wishes are followed if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself
  • Will – to direct the disposition of your property
  • Life Planning Dossier – to place all legal, personal, and financial papers in a location where they may be easily accessed by your agent or next of kin when needed

family life planning

How do your current life planning efforts stack up? If you aren’t confident that your plans are where they should be, you’d be wise to contact an experienced life planning attorney. Life planning is not a one-time event; it is an ongoing process. As your family and finances – and even laws – grow and change, your plans should be reviewed and updated to match current conditions. This is why trusted legal counsel is absolutely indispensable in making these decisions.

With more than 18 years of legal experience in all facets of life planning practice, Attorney Vangela M. Wade is here to serve the needs of clients whose objectives and goals require personalized solutions to their legal needs. Get in touch with The Wade Law Firm, PLLC in the Jackson Metro Area and let us see how we can help you meet your life planning goals. 

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Family Law 2.0 – Don’t Let Social Media Land Your Case in Hot Water

social-media-legal

We all love using social media in our daily lives. It’s a quick and useful way to share opinions, news, or even just fun photos with friends and loved ones. But, if you aren’t careful with what you put on social media, your latest post can become a major liability. Smart use of social media is a great policy for everyone, but it is particularly important for people who may be involved in a legal dispute.

This is especially true if you find yourself involved in legal matters involving a family law issue such as child custody or divorce proceedings. That’s because lawyers across the country are increasingly turning to social media in order to find evidence that may be used against opposing litigants. For example:

  •       A Facebook picture of a brand new car may be used as evidence that an individual is capable of paying more child support, or that the individual has been concealing income from the court.
  •       An Instagram photo of a spouse in a social setting with another suspected love interest might support claims that the spouse has been unfaithful.
  •       Social media posts involving profanity, weapons, or threatening material could be used to show that one parent is not one whose custody of a son or daughter is, “in the best interest of the child.”

These scenarios are not only limited to family law matters. Ill-advised social media posts have even been used by law enforcement to link suspects to narcotics offenses and other crimes.

social media and legal issues

So what should you do to make sure that your use of social media doesn’t become a problem for you or your loved ones?

First, exercise caution before you post. As long as you are making smart choices – both on and offline – your social media activity should not become the subject of any unwanted attention. Remember, professional investigators can easily find evidence on your social media profiles, even after it has been deleted.

Also, make sure that your privacy settings are enabled and that people you are not acquainted with are unable to view your pages and accounts.

Consider using an account name other than your real name. This will ensure that you only share posts, pictures, and opinions with your real “friends” – those whom you have shared your details with, and not individuals who may not have your best interests at heart.

Finally, do not be tempted to log in to someone’s social media accounts without his or her permission. Doing so could be illegal, and the information you find may not be allowed in court.

Staying smart regarding one’s use of social media is an important rule for all of us to follow, but exercising caution is especially important for those involved in domestic legal proceedings or otherwise subject to chancery court orders. Any content you post, tweet, or share could result in serious consequences. That’s why all family law issues are best resolved with the help of an experienced attorney who knows how to leverage advanced tools of investigation with intricate knowledge of the law in your pursuit of justice.

Are you in need of help with a legal question or issue? Get in touch with me, Vangela M. Wade at The Wade Law Firm in Ridgeland, Mississippi. With more than 18 years of legal practice and knowledge of Mississippi Family Law, The Wade Law Firm, PLLC is committed to serving all of our clients with the utmost expertise, diligence, and care. Contact me at The Wade Law Firm, online or call 601.790.0043 for an initial, affordable consultation.

Attorney Vangela M. Wade

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Child Support in Mississippi: What Happens If Obligations Aren’t Met

Child Support in Mississippi: What If An Ex-Spouse or Non-Custodial Parent Stops Paying? What if the Non-Custodial Parent Can’t Meet His/Her Child Support Obligation?

Child Support Attorney Jackson MS

Child Support Attorney Jackson MS

The State of Mississippi, like jurisdictions across the country, is keenly interested in whether or not ex-spouses or partners are paying their child support as ordered by the courts. After all, “the best interests of the child” are always paramount in the minds of attorneys and judges across the state. So what should someone do if their ex-spouse has stopped paying child support? What if you, or someone you know, is falling behind in child support payments?

Like many things in life, the key to maintaining payment of child support is diligence. Although it may be tempting to ignore a missed payment here and there, doing so risks setting a precedent where the non-custodial parent feels entitled to pay only when he or she wants to. If you’re the one being “let off the hook,” well, you’re probably wrong about that. Unless modified by the courts, child support payments are due as stated in the Order to the custodial parent until the child is emancipated. Generally, this means the obligated non-custodial parent cannot unilaterally modify the court Order to pay child support.

Family Lawyer Ridgeland MS

Moreover, the custodial parent cannot unilaterally modify the court Order to accommodate the obligated parent. The obligated parent must abide by the Order until it is modified by the court, or the terms stated in the Order are met. Such terms are usually stated as child support is due until the child has reached 21 years old, or has otherwise become emancipated under the laws of this state from the care of the custodial parent.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not child support payments are due is a matter for the court, and never something to sort out on one’s own. Still, many non-custodial parents refuse to pay child support or fall seriously behind on payments. What happens then?

As with all legal matters, it depends on the facts of your case and situation. That’s why it’s best to hire an attorney. But, the potential consequences of not paying are certainly serious. Let’s take a look at just a few:

  • Income withholding
  • Loss of unemployment benefits
  • Interception of federal or state tax refunds
  • Bank accounts frozen
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Passport revocation
  • Jail time – That’s right. It is not uncommon for non-paying parents to find themselves behind bars.

So what is the best plan of action if you aren’t receiving child support payments on time or falling behind on your payments? Contact me, Vangela M. Wade, an experienced Family Law attorney.

There are many enforcement measures available through the courts and other official channels. These will help make sure that you are paid the child support due to you in order to take care of your child or children. For those falling behind on payments, there are also ways to modify the amount of child support required when circumstances change. Regardless of which side you fall on, entrusting your case to a trusted, experienced lawyer will help ensure that you and your child’s needs are met.

Attorney Vangela M. Wade

Attorney Vangela M. Wade

If you have questions about child support in Mississippi or a personal legal matter, get in touch with Vangela M. Wade, at The Wade Law Firm, PLLC to arrange an affordable consultation with an experienced Family Law attorney. 

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Contested Vs. Uncontested Legal Matters: What’s the Difference?

the wade law firm, PLLC

Thanks for visiting the The Wade Law Firm, PLLC blog! We hope you find this site to be a helpful source for learning a little more about the law that affects all of us from day to day. Today, we will focus on contested legal matters and uncontested legal matters. What’s the difference? What are some examples of each? If you have the option, how does proceeding one way or another affect your rights? Let’s find out.

The difference between contested and uncontested matters is fairly straightforward.

A contested legal matter is simply one in which there are two or more parties involved that are seeking different outcomes. Think of some of the more common scenarios that come to mind when you think about lawyers or courts of law. Perhaps you have a speeding ticket. You and the city, county, or state that gave you the ticket are involved in this case. You would like to prove your innocence. The jurisdiction responsible for the ticket would like to convict you and collect the speeding fine. This is a contested matter. Divorces are commonly contested matters as well, since the spouses often disagree on who is responsible for the divorce or how marital property and child custody should be divided. Simply, if you do not agree, your divorce is contested and the Judge will determine the outcome. Contested divorces, custody, visitation, child support, etc. result in more time, money, stress and most likely irreparable relationships.

But what about uncontested legal matters? Examples of uncontested matters are less likely to come to mind, but they are not uncommon. Maybe you or someone you know has decided to change their name at some point. This simple procedure requires activity by the courts, but no one is “contesting” anything. One party essentially asks the court for the name change, and that party usually receives it without any holdup. But more complex matters can sometimes proceed as uncontested cases. For example, divorces in Mississippi may be considered uncontested where both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce and division of marital property, child custody, etc. Generally, if everyone involved is on the same page, you may have an uncontested matter. The Wade Law Firm, PLLC specializes in uncontested legal matters.

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So why do we need this distinction? For most people, the difference is noticed when it comes time to pay the bill for the legal services. As you may imagine, uncontested matters are almost always less expensive to resolve than contested matters. Think about it — if your attorney needs to argue for your interests against the interests of someone else, that will require far more time, paperwork, research, preparation, and court appearances. That means more significant bills should be expected.

The majority of people’s legal needs will involve contested cases even if the parties subsequently agree on a resolution. That’s right, what began as a contested matter may end uncontested with both parties agreeing on issues they could not reach consensus on initially.   This is simply the nature of our system. However, if you have the option, tackling your legal needs as an uncontested matter is a good idea since it’s generally more economical and the outcome is predictable.

If you’re in need of uncontested legal representation, get in touch with The Wade Law Firm, PLLC in Central Mississippi. We are happy to help you determine your legal needs and achieve a positive, flat-fee solution.

Attorney Vangela M. Wade

Attorney Vangela M. Wade

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The Wade Law Firm: Trusted Counsel for Your Life Planning Needs

life planning needs

Here at The Wade Law Firm, PLLC, Central Mississippi Family Law Attorney, we provide a wide range of services to support you through all of life’s most important legal scenarios. Perhaps the most important time of life that requires legal expertise is the end of life. When we talk about life planning, most people immediately think of final wills – who gets what after you pass away. Just as important though, is making sure that your wishes are followed during the final days before you pass away.

What happens to your home if you spend your last days in the hospital? What about your children and relatives? What if you are in the hospital and unable to make decisions for yourself? Who will make important medical and financial decisions on your behalf? These aren’t questions you want to think about, but it is necessary to have a plan.

Often times, people who are seriously ill may have reduced mental capacity. You’ll have to take steps ahead of time to make sure that this possibility doesn’t negatively affect your final wishes.

Here are a few common life planning devices that will help you make sure your health care desires are followed by both medical professionals and your friends and family.

Health Care Directives/Power of Attorney/Living Will

Health Care Directive, Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will are commonly interchanged. Regardless of the term used, this is a legal device that allow a person to make decisions about their health care before they are actually sick and/or mentally incapacitated. A properly crafted health care directive designates your health care agent. You may designate one of your adult children or spouse as the person legally allowed to make decisions in your place. If you are mentally unable to decide how to treat your illness, this person will have the power to make decisions in your best interests. Your directive authorizes your agent to consult with your treating physicians about your care to ensure the course of treatment, medication, and life sustaining measures.

Other reasons for a health care directive includes restriction on medical treatment due to your religious beliefs. For example, some people may have religious reasons to refuse a blood transfusion. With a health care directive, you can ensure that you don’t receive a blood transfusion even if you’re unconscious when at the hospital.

Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders

Some people, especially those of advanced age, may be ready to transition or die naturally. For these people, a do-not-resuscitate order is an option. This order will direct health care professionals to not take extreme measures to try to revive you if you are seriously ill or near passing. For example, they may not use CPR or a ventilator to try to restart your breathing or your heart. This is just another option available to you as you consider your legal life planning.

As you can see, the issues covered by these legal devices are very important to ensuring that your final wishes are granted. While it’s not the most fun thing to do, life planning is extremely important for your future requests as well as your loved ones.

If you would like to learn more, contact the The Wade Law Firm, PLLC today. Jackson, MS Attorney Vangela M. Wade has over 18 years of legal experience guiding countless clients through the process of life planning and other practice areas. Give us a call at 601.790.0043 or contact us online to discuss your legal matters in a confidential, affordable consultation.

Attorney Vangela M. Wade

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Mississippi Fault Grounds for Divorce: Adultery

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In one of our earlier blog posts, The Wade Law Firm, Central Mississippi Family Law Attorney, covered the basic fault grounds for divorce in the state of Mississippi. There are twelve fault grounds, and each is applied differently. So in the next series of blogs, we will cover some of the most common fault grounds that people use to obtain a divorce in Mississippi.

You can find the full text of the Mississippi law covering all of the grounds for divorce in Mississippi Code Section 93-5-1. In the meantime, let’s talk about one common reason couples divorce all over the country – adultery.

Adultery is what most of us know as “cheating.” Although we all know what cheating means, the law treats this topic very carefully. Actions constituting adultery are not always clear cut so each case lives or dies on its specific set of facts and circumstances. If you think you may need a divorce (or need to defend against a divorce) on the grounds of adultery, here’s some basic information you should know.

A Few Facts

Mississippi law defines adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with a person other than the offender’s spouse.” A divorce may be granted only to the “innocent spouse” on this ground. That is, the husband or wife who did not cheat. It doesn’t take much to justify a divorce on these grounds in Mississippi. One incident may be enough to justify a divorce. The complaining party must bring forth proof – direct or circumstantial.

Direct Proof

Direct proof is just that – direct and obvious. If the unfaithful spouse admits that he or she has cheated, that’s about as direct as it gets. Also, other concrete proof like tape recorded conversations, photos, videos, and text messages may provide direct proof that one spouse has committed adultery.

Circumstantial Proof

Of course, since people are usually very secretive about these sorts of things, “Circumstantial Proof” can also prove adultery. Think of this as the writing on the wall. There are two things the innocent spouse must show to prove circumstantial proof:

1. A spouse’s generally adulterous nature – if they’ve cheated many times before, it’s likely the court may find that the guilty spouse did it again. Or, the spouse may be obviously infatuated with someone else.

AND

2. A reasonable opportunity to satisfy that infatuation or adulterous nature.

Examples

For example: if the partner suspected of adultery has been talking on the phone with another man or woman, the conversations may show infatuation with someone other than his or her spouse. If the spouse then stays the night with that other person, this may prove opportunity to satisfy the desires and infatuation. Taken together, there is circumstantial proof that adultery occurred.

Since circumstantial proof isn’t as obvious as direct proof, the evidence must be “clear and convincing.” Also, the behavior of the cheating spouse must not have another reasonable explanation.

For example: If the spouse and the other person speak on the phone because they are business partners, and the spouse spent the night because his or her house burned down, there may be a reasonable explanation for the behavior. Similarly, an occasional hug or workplace flirting may not be clear and convincing enough.

Condonation

Still, even after adultery is proven, many people don’t realize that they may lose entitlement to a divorce based on adultery. This can happen by “Condonation.” If the innocent spouse resumes sexual relations with the guilty spouse even after they know the guilty spouse has been cheating, they have condoned the cheating. Simply put, if you know your spouse has committed adultery, but you sleep with him or her again, the courts assume that you are okay with the cheating. If you are okay with cheating, you won’t be entitled to divorce over it.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it: the basics of proving (or disproving) adultery. Remember, like the other fault grounds, the person seeking the divorce must prove that the other spouse is at fault. If there is no proof of wrongdoing, there are no grounds for divorce. This is why it is always a good idea to hire an attorney if you find yourself on either side of a divorce. This blog provides only basic information, and an experienced, proven attorney can help you navigate these issues and get the best results.

Divorce and Family Law Attorney Vangela M. Wade has over 18 years of specialized legal experiences and is ready to go to work for you! We are located in the Metro-Jackson area and are prepared to assist clients throughout Mississippi and the greater Mid-South area. If you have any questions, get in touch and see what The Wade Law Firm, PLLC can do to help you.

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Irreconcilable Differences – Divorce in Mississippi

Welcome to the The Wade Law Firm, PLLC blog! If you’re looking for a Mississippi Family Law, Wills, Estates, or Life Planning attorney, you’ve come to the right place. With a focus on uncontested legal matters, our firm offers a range of counsel, compassion, and zealous advocacy to every client. Among other areas, The Wade Law Firm concentrates on legal issues that touch closest to home – Family Law.

One of the most common issues for families in Mississippi is divorce. The state of Mississippi has recognized twelve fault grounds for divorce available to one spouse when his or her partner is guilty of some serious wrongdoing. But what about when the marriage is just plain over? What happens when both the husband and the wife are ready to call it quits?

Mississippi recognizes a form of divorce known as “Irreconcilable Differences (ID)” divorce. Located at section 93-5-2 of the Mississippi Code, this is perhaps the most common form of divorce granted in the state.  Some people refer to this type of divorce as “no fault” because neither party has to prove fault of the other.

Spouses may not always agree on why a marriage has failed or who gets what when they decide to split up. Not to worry, an Irreconcilable Differences divorce may be an option… if they at least  can agree on going their separate ways. There are a few reasons for this, but the most common reason is couples would rather not “air their dirty laundry” in court. Also, because an ID divorce does not require one spouse to prove that the other partner is at fault, couples sometimes feel they are “saving face” by ending the marriage more peacefully through an ID divorce.

Like all divorce grounds, there are specific requirements that must be met for the court to grant a divorce on Irreconcilable Differences. An experienced attorney will know these factors backwards and forwards, but here are the basics:

  1. The couple must jointly file a complaint before the court. The couple should request the ID divorce together and in writing.
  2. The complaint should only identify ID as the grounds for divorce. If one spouse disagrees with the ID divorce, or would like to prove a fault ground instead, a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences will likely not be granted.
  3. Finally, after filing the joint complaint, the court may not grant the divorce until at least 60 days later. This “cooling off period” is designed to make sure that both husband and wife are very sure that they desire a divorce. If they still want a divorce 60 or more days after initially requesting it, the court should grant the divorce.

Still, what about child custody? Or how to divide the couple’s property? The couple filing for an ID divorce has two options in sorting this out:

  1. Agree on everything – If the couple is able to decide themselves who should have custody of the children and who should keep what property, they can include this in their joint complaint for Irreconcilable Differences divorce. The judge will review this to make sure it is consistent with the best interests of any children involved and equitable to both parties and. If the agreement looks good, the judge will likely grant the divorce and include these terms.
  2. Agree on less than everything – Maybe the couple agrees on wanting a divorce, but not on who gets what. Maybe they agree on how to divide property, but disagree on who should have custody of the children. As long as the couple jointly files a complaint agreeing to ID divorce, they can leave these details to the court in the same way fault ground divorces proceed.

Divorce in Mississippi

As you can tell, getting a divorce on the grounds of Irreconcilable Differences is not quite as simple and easy as it sounds. Both the husband and the wife must file their joint complaint just right, and do quite a bit of work to settle any lingering disputes. This is why it is smart to hire a lawyer, especially when dealing with such an emotional issue like divorce.

If you would like help navigating the numerous legal, financial, and emotional aspects of divorce, contact us today. The Wade Law Firm, PLLC, Mississippi Divorce and Family Law Firm, is ready to answer your questions. Attorney Vangela M. Wade has over 18 years of legal experience helping countless clients in variety of difficult matters.

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