Changes in tax law could impact your tax refund. Based on the chart below, will your family see an impact?
“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.
A common question we hear at Mario J. Zappia, Attorney at Law is, “When should I call a lawyer?” Whether you are just contemplating divorce, or you have already made the decision to proceed with calling it quits, contacting an experienced divorce attorney is always the smartest decision to make.
In this age of technology, it can be tempting to consider utilizing websites like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer and the like and forego legal representation entirely. And when people ask us at Mario J. Zappia, Attorney at Law, “Why can’t I just use an online legal service to get a divorce?”, we have a pretty simple answer: Online legal services are simply a fill-in-the-blanks style approach on various legal proceedings.
Can you technically get a divorce using an online legal service?
Is it wise?
Online legal services lack the ability to legally advise you. There is a lot at stake in a divorce. Tightening the purse strings to avoid paying for advice and representation to end your legal agreement with your spouse could prove to be disastrous.
“How much child support should I be paying?”
“What happens to our house when the divorce is final?”
“Can I be ordered to pay alimony in Indiana?”
“How does infidelity on either side affect who gets custody of the children?”
“Can I keep my retirement account?”
“Why do I need a separate lawyer if my spouse already has one?”
These are just some of the most common questions we get asked at Mario J. Zappia, Attorney at Law. Without experienced legal representation, you are putting yourself in peril of losing everything you are legally entitled to in a divorce. You could be risking not only physical and financial assets, but you could also be saddling yourself with more liability than is wise.
After a divorce is finalized, there are still steps to be taken for the parties to go their separate ways. While many people open up a separate bank account when they decide divorce is the route they plan to take, there are other assets that require a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) and Divorce Decree signed by the judge to proceed with division.
As soon as the divorce is final, it is important to obtain several copies of the Decree and PSA, complete with a raised seal and signatures from the Court. If either of the parties has changed their name in marriage and wishes to change it back, these documents will be necessary to restore their former name. Once the Social Security Administration and Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles processes these documents, modified Identification is issued.
With the newly obtained Social Security Card and either Indiana State Identification or Indiana Drivers Licenses, as well as the Decree and PSA, credit cards and bank accounts can be modified with the appropriate names, and divided according to the agreed upon terms.
In terms of retirement accounts and real estate, documents in addition to the Decree and PSA will be required to complete the division.
Some retirement accounts are divided with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order QDRO). QDROs, which essentially act as addenda to the Decree and PSA, recognize an alternate payee (former spouse)’s interest in a retirement account. QDROs are signed Orders from the Court, granting the division of a retirement account, as spelled out the PSA. Once the QDRO is signed, it can be sent to the account holder’s employer and processed by human resources for implementation.
If a couple divorces and they still share interest in real estate, it should be decided if one party will keep the real estate or it it should be sold to divide the proceeds. If it is agreed that one party should keep the marital real estate, the party relinquishing their interest should execute a Quitclaim Deed.