Changes in tax law could impact your tax refund. Based on the chart below, will your family see an impact?
Court is not an every day occasion for most people. The lack of familiarity with this setting brings the common question, “What should I wear?”. As a rule of thumb, we always tell clients to dress like they were going to church or to an office job interview. Though it may seem harmless, a person who works in hard labor, for example, may be inclined to go straight from work to their hearing. After all, their time is valuable and missing work is not a luxury everyone can afford. However, appearing before the judge with an unpolished appearance can be construed as disrespectful. Making sure you appear neat and put together is the best policy.
The St. Joseph County Local Rules, a handbook of code and conduct adopted by the St. Joseph County Court system, specifically touches upon the dress code of both attorneys and clients. The Local Rules directly prohibit the following items that the Court has deemed inappropriate inside the Courtroom:
- Hats or caps
- Outerwear, including overcoats and jackets.
- Clothing which exposes the midriff
- Tank tops and any other sleeveless shirts
Beyond those direct prohibitions, maintaining a clean, conservative and considerate appearance is key. Make sure your nails are clean and your hair is neat and combed. Pants should be clean, wrinkle-free and hole-free, with an appropriate belt. Avoid jeans and large belt buckles. Shirts should be clean and pressed. Avoid anything flashy, revealing, or offensive. Dresses and skirts should be modest and tasteful.
In doing some research online on appropriate Court attire, you’re likely to come across articles that suggest wearing certain colors psychologically invoke certain moods. However, just because purple is known as a “power color”, that does not mean showing up to Court in a bright purple suit is a wise idea. When in doubt, don’t overthink it and stick with the classics.
When a relationship ends, coming to an agreement on a parenting time schedule is not always an easy process. During the relationship, both mom and dad had access to their kids every day. But when mom and dad have separate homes, compromise plays a big role in navigating the new normal of co-parenting.
When it comes to navigating into separate households, acceptance of the fact that no one is going to get to spend as much time with the kids as they want is key.
In an ideal world, each parent would be able to see their kids every day. Unfortunately, this is not a practical idea. Work schedules, school schedules, extra curricular activities. The list goes on!
In addition to the lack of practicality, the reality is, the two parents are ending a relationship. It is reasonable to assume there will need to be a little space put into place. To get to spend time every day with the children, spending time with your co-parent would required. Even in the most amicable circumstances, spending every day with your ex is not exactly ideal, when it comes to moving on.
With all of this in mind, how do parents decide who gets the kids and when?
Various factors come in to play, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what is in the best interest of the children.
Referring to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines is a good start, and a good reference when in doubt. In addition, the Indiana Supreme Court has developed a new parenting time calendar app (currently in beta version), based off of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. After answering some basic questions about the children, such as their ages, and their school system, a twelve month calendar is generated. The user is able to modify certain components, to ensure it best reflects their personal families needs. The family is given a code for this calendar, which can be shared with the other party. This app is designed to be used for families with children age 3 and above.
“Why is there a fee for the consultation?”
Having seen advertisements on television or online from other attorneys offering free consultations, people occasionally seem surprised that there is a fee for an initial meeting at my office.
So, what does the Mario J. Zappia Law Office charge for consultations? And why is there a fee?
First, the consultation fee is $125 for 30 to 45 minutes.
The number one reason I require a fee for consultations is simple – You’re paying for legal advice from someone with more than 27 years of legal experience. During your consultation, we spend our time going over the details of your case, and formulate a good course of action with how to proceed. I provide each client my expertise in family law, whether they are clients just looking for 30 minutes of my time for legal advice, or they are looking for an attorney to retain.
Just like you wouldn’t expect to walk into your doctor’s office for a free exam or assessment, you shouldn’t expect free legal advice from your attorney.
Another reason I require a consultation fee is that frankly, I am a busy man. By charging consultation fees, I am not clogging up my already busy calendar with people just looking for free advice. I am able to devote my time and effort to my clients.
Finally, I chose to charge a consultation fee to discourage the practice of those who consult with multiple attorneys purely for the purpose of creating a conflict the opposing party. By charging a fee for consultation, this at least limits this from being a common occurrence.
When looking for a professional to hire, whether it be a handyman, a hairdresser, or a lawyer, it’s important to remember – you get what you pay for! Contact my office at 574-277-8720 to schedule your expert family law consultation.
Mario J. Zappia is a Certified Family Law Specialist, as Certified by the Family Law Certification Board. With fewer than 100 Family Law Specialists in the state of Indiana, this designation identifies Mario as an attorney with expertise. A Certified Family Law Specialist must have a legal practice with substantial involvement in family law cases, some of which include divorce, legal separation, adoption, custody, child support, Child in Need of Services, (CHINS), and grandparents rights. An example of ‘substantial involvement’ would be a practice consisting of more than 50% Family Law Cases. They must also provide references of five lawyers , as well as meeting good character requirements
Not only are there practice requirements, there are also education requirements to be a Certified Family Law Specialist. Attorneys must participate in a minimum of thirty-six hours of continuing legal education within three years of application. This means that a Certified Family Law Specialist goes above and beyond their Indiana State Bar requirements.
A Certified Family Law Specialist must also pass a rigorous written exam in order for consideration for certification. The written exam covers family law, as well as professional responsibility, ethics, and differences between Indiana law and general law.
Once all of the pre-requisites have been completed, the Family Law Certification Board makes the decision to approve the candidate.
Maintaining status as a Certified Family Law Specialist also requires re-certifying. The re-certification process requires an application process similar to the initial certification process.
When looking for a divorce lawyer, an attorney to act as mediator, legal representation in a custody or child support modification, looking for someone with the Certified Family Law Specialist credential will ensure the highest level of expertise in family law. Mario J. Zappia’s Certification as a Family Law Specialist displays his skill, his work ethic, his reputation, and his commitment to practicing family law.
You may know Attorney Mario J. Zappia in a professional capacity from working with him, or from his online presence here, but what else do you know about Mario?
Mario is a Northwestern University alum. Playing for the Northwestern Wildcats during his tenure ( #65!), Mario continues to show his school spirit at games with family and friends.
During the week, Mario makes sure to make it to the gym as often as he can. When his youngest, Anna, is on break from DePaul University, she often accompanies Mario at his weekly GRIT classes.
As you might expect, family is very important to Mario. He is the father of three beautiful children, Mario Jr., John, and Anna.
Mario has two dogs, Roxy and Tucker, who sometimes visit the Mario J. Zappia Law Office.
Mario and his brother, Tony Zappia, make their way down to visit their father in Florida as often as possible.
Mario has a love for cooking. He has even been known to bring his famous lasagna into the office for staff on occasion!
In addition to sports, family, and cooking, Mario has a love for music. Especially blues music!
Whether there is music going in his office between court or he is out supporting local musicians, Mario is rarely surrounded by silence.
Knowing all about Mario’s deep love for family and his support in the local community provides a lot of insight on who he is! His commitment to children and families not only brings clients into his office, but consistent respect from fellow colleges and the community.