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February 2017

Divorces Are Already Tough Enough

At Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC we help a lot of people through the difficult divorce process.

Divorce is not easy.

However, here we are in another legislative session, and, as in prior years, Oklahoma’s legislature is trying to make divorces more expensive.  HB1277 is the newest attempt to drive costs up and pad divorce statistics in Oklahoma.  Let’s face it.  These bills are not designed to help Oklahomans.  Instead, the intent is to artificially reduce the number of divorces reported in some report so our legislators can point to these bogus numbers about how their efforts are helping Oklahoma families.  It’s the typical smoke and mirrors. Frankly, it’s BS.

This bill would require each party pay their own costs and attorney’s fees unless one party can prove the other party caused the divorce by through:

Abandonment,

Adultery,

Impotency,

The wife being pregnant by another man at the time of marriage,

Extreme cruelty,

Fraudulent contract,

Habitual drunkenness or habitual substance abuse,

Gross neglect of duty,

Blah, Blah Blah…

Here’s how it works.  

If the wife can prove the man was impotent (just to grab one), then she can get her attorney’s fees and costs awarded to her.  Oh wait, there’s more.  In addition to her fees, the Judge would be REQUIRED to only give the man 1/4 of the property of the marriage, and give the wife the other 3/4.  Maybe the testosterone lobby is pushing this bill?

The bill also has a fun requirement that if the stated reason for the divorce is incompatibility, the family must attend counseling (for which they must pay), and the divorce cannot be finalized for 6 months.  Great,  we are going to artificially require people to suffer through another 6 months of a failed marriage.  I am sure the kids will love that.  I bet dinner time would be awkward…

Here is the text of the bill:  http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2017-18%20FLR/HFLR/HB1277%20HFLR.PDF

Listen, we make money on divorces.  Most people probably think lawyers would jump at the chance to make more money on divorces.  We don’t.  This bill is bad for people. Our goal is to help our clients gets the best result for their situation.  We cannot support anything that artificially makes divorces more difficult for our clients.

You can call your legislature, but it probably won’t do any good.  Us voters didn’t know what we were voting on during the criminal reforms last year, so the legislature is actively working through legislation to override our vote.  Likewise, our Legislature knows better how to handle our marriages than we do.  Uhhmm, Mr. Representative, can I go to the bathroom now?

7 Common Practices in Real Estate Contracts

7 Common Practices in Real Estate Contracts

Many people wonder if you need a contract to purchase real estate in Oklahoma — and you bet you do. Real estate contracts aren’t enforceable if not in writing. In most cases, Oklahoma’s standard contract will work, but each has their own intricacies that can be overlooked.

Often, a pre-printed form contract won’t provide the necessary protection, so it’s best to have a lawyer on your side to help. Keep reading to learn our 7 common contract practices in real estate!

1. Check the Finance Terms
Most of us can’t purchase a home without a mortgage. In real estate contracts, you’ll need to specify your purchase offer and that it is contingent upon obtaining financing. If you can’t get financing, and your contract is not contingent on financing, the seller could get to keep your earnest money deposit.

2. Ask for Seller Assist
Want the seller to pay some or all your closing costs? Don’t assume it’s included, you’ll need to state it in the purchase offer. Be sure to state the exact dollar amount you’re requesting.

3. Determine Who Pays Closing Costs
Real estate contracts should include who pays for the common fees associated with the home purchase — title insurance, doc stamps, mortgage tax, etc.

4. Conduct a Home Inspection
Unless you’re tearing down and starting from scratch, you’ll need to include a home inspect contingency in real estate contracts. This allows you to decline the deal and leave unscathed if a home inspection reveals major repairs or flaws.

5. Agree on Fixtures and Appliances
Wondering if the fridge, dishwasher, stove, and oven are included? Don’t take the seller’s word for it or assume that the home comes with it. This is a mistake we often see with new homeowners. In the contract, line out any fixtures and appliances that are included in the contract and get a signature from both parties. As we always say, it’s best to get everything in writing.

6. Establish the Closing Date
How soon are you hoping to move in? How long will you need to complete the purchase transaction? Map out your timeline by establishing the closing date. Most often, homeowners choose anywhere between 30 and 60 days.

7. Establish Existing Home Contingencies
If you currently own a home, you’ll most likely need the funds from the sale to purchase the home you’re want to buy. As we touched on earlier, make it a point to include this contingency in your purchasing offer and allow yourself ample time to sell your home (30 to 60 days).

A ton of components go into real estate sales, but don’t let that intimidate you. If something feels like it’s missing, don’t hesitate to give us a call. It’s important to ensure you feel safe entering a real estate deal.

Value Lawyer Personal Injury

The Value of a Lawyer: It Pays to Be Precise

You might not need an attorney in every case – take a speeding ticket for example. But, in other (more serious) situations, you’d be wise to not go in the ring alone. And while good representation isn’t cheap, it can help you avoid a string of problems down the road.

And, did we mention all those court fees? Save yourself time, headaches and your pocketbook by hiring a lawyer. Each person’s legal standing may be different, but there are times when you simply need a hand. Keep reading to learn why it pays to be precise.

Our legal system is complicated pure and simple. Whether it’s state or federal law, a solid case can quickly unravel without the help of an attorney. Clients often attempt to negotiate deals prior to hiring a lawyer. And while we’re prohibited from guaranteeing results, involving a lawyer almost always produces a better financial recovery. Think about it. Their knowledge of similar cases gives them the ability to determine whether a client’s deal is fair.

Another pro of hiring a lawyer is their skill in challenging claims and evidence. Everyone has a different story when situations arise like vehicle accidents, divorces, PI cases, general litigation and wills. You may not even realize a certain piece of the puzzle was improperly obtained or contradicts an earlier statement. It’s the duty of an attorney to review all the aspects of a case – especially the ones that could mean the difference between a win or loss.

Additionally, a lawyer ensures you’re properly filing all court documents and handling legal procedures. More than likely, you’re not experienced with deadlines and protocol for legal documents. A simple “Whoops, I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it with the judges and could run the risk of your case being thrown out.

Have a private detective on hand? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Another perk of having an attorney on your side means an extended network of professionals to help in your case. Additionally, a good lawyer can strike up a good settlement, plea bargain or negotiation if you need it. In this scenario, experience and precision are pure value that you simply can’t find out on the street.

Here at EHM, we try to take the guesswork out of things. So, if you have a case on your hands or could simply use some legal guidance, give us a call at (580) 234-4334!

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Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay Law Firm | 580-234-4334
110 N. Independence | Enid, OK 73701