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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!

Car Wreck? Here's What You Need to Know.

Car Wreck? Here’s What You Need to Know

Crash. Dust settles. Now, what? Whether you’ve found yourself in a car wreck, injured by someone else’s negligence or by a defective product, one of the first things you’ll do afterward is wade through the murky waters of different insurance claims. Before you jump in, it’s important to educate yourself on the typical protocol. But, don’t worry. Our team here at EHM can help!

If you’re in a truck or car wreck, you’ll need to report the wreck to your insurance company and the other person’s insurance as soon as possible. Both companies will want you to provide information about the cause, the fault, and the extent of damage or injury. Be aware, no matter how nice these companies are, their job is to pay only valid claims. But, more importantly to them, to pay as little as possible. The other person’s insurance will be looking for any crack or weakness in your statement to undervalue your claim. Be truthful, but very cautious in dealing with them.

You have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company in their investigation of the claim. As in all things, truthfulness is a must. Make sure you follow all the instructions of your insurance company. They could possibly deny your claim if you don’t follow each step just as they require.

It’s important to remember (especially in a car wreck) to take photos of the scene. Take photos before any vehicles are moved. Make sure all parties have had a chance to inspect your car before you get rid of it or repair it. If a defective product injured you, keep the product in a safe place and don’t let anyone tamper with it.

During this time, all the insurance companies will open investigations. This consists of reviewing liability to determine is responsible for causing the damages, reviewing injuries, calculating how much they have to pay.

Once your claim has been calculated, the insurance companies may begin offering to pay you for your injuries. If you decide the money they are offering is reasonable, you can accept. Be very cautious of signing anything. Once you sign a release, you likely give up any right to further payment from anyone even if you find more or different injuries. Often times, insurance companies will try to make a very low offer at the outset to try to get you to settle fast and cheap. Don’t let them rush you. You have time!

Every car wreck, injury from a defective product, or damage from a person’s negligence is very different. The suggestions here simply can’t be specific legal advice for your situation, and they aren’t intended to be. There are just too many unknowns. These suggestions can guide you, but getting fact-specific advice is a must! These differences and the myriad of traps in insurance claims are why we encourage people to seek out personal injury lawyers who deal with these issues every day. All you need is a team like EHM on your side. We handle personal injuries cases all over northwest Oklahoma.

We hope this information helps as a quick guide in helping you navigate the insurance and injury process. Give us call at (580) 234-4334, we’d love to discuss your case over a free consultation!

Wills vs Trusts

Wills vs. Trusts

Wills vs Trusts

Estate planning ensures that your wishes are being followed, by the distribution of your assets. The most common avenues you’ll encounter are wills and trusts.

A will is a legal document, signed and witnessed, that communicates how your property and assets will be distributed after death. Revocable and subject to amendment during your lifetime, it also allows you to appoint a guardian for children under the age of 18.

A trust establishes how you distribute the assets after your death, providing lifetime and after-death property management. In order to fund a trust, you’re required to retitle your assets ownership over to the trust. The major differences between the two are cost and complexity. In this blog, our team at Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay will be sharing the pros and cons of wills vs. trusts.

Most often, wills are less expensive to set up. Less complex than trusts, retirees often choose them because it covers all their bases with an opportunity to amend when necessary. In a will, you won’t be required to manage it during your lifetime or designate a trustee to handle the affairs after your death. Though the chief benefits are simplicity and low costs, wills require probate and can run the risk of being challenged after your death.

Trusts allow greater control over the distribution of your assets. They can determine the timing or objectives in which your beneficiary receives them, along with helping avoid certain taxes. Trusts are a great way to prevent probate but typically come at a higher cost. You also must follow through on funding a trust and retitling the assets. Otherwise, the benefits can’t be realized.

Both wills and trusts are great vehicles for estate planning. Determining which one is right for you depends on your circumstances, family structure, and overall objectives. Here are questions to ask yourself if you’re still debating wills vs. trusts.

1. What are your state’s options for probate?

Many states offer expedited or more informal versions of probate under a certain dollar value threshold. If with some research, you find that probate won’t be a burdensome process, a will would be just fine.

2. Do you have younger children?

A major benefit of a trust is that it allows you to establish the specific provisions when entitling your assets. A trust allows you to exercise more control over the use of your property. This is a great option when you have multiple dependents.

3. Will you actively manage your plan?

If not, a living trust may not be ideal for you. A trust is only beneficial if assets are transferred into it. On the other hand, a will can be easily amended during your lifetime but holds the risk of being contested after death.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to estate planning. When weighing wills vs. trusts, each state offers different laws regarding each use. Just remember that one size doesn’t fit all.

Regardless of which one you choose, you should create your plan around you and your family’s needs. If you have any questions regarding wills, trusts, and estate planning, we encourage you to give us a call at (580) 234–4334. Our team is always here to help!

Handy Dandy Guide to Family Law

A Guide to Family Law
You’ve probably heard family law being tossed around a few times. And if not, then you’re probably familiar with divorce, child custody, and adoption. Family law encompasses a range of legal topics involving marriage and children. Lawyers in this area also draft prenuptial and postnuptial agreements along with litigate-related matters.
In contested family law scenarios, having a skilled attorney provides an advantage. They have the ability to identify hidden assets and income, present arguments in regards to child support, and take the case to trial if necessary. Without one, the party might not know exactly what they’re getting themselves into.
It can be tricky navigating family law, but Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC is here to give some pointers. Read on below to learn more and give us a call at (580) 234-4334 to share your case.

Divorce vs. Annulment
Both are court procedures that result in a dissolved marriage, but it can be easy getting the two mixed up occasionally. Unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. The majority of dissolutions of marriage, though, are carried out in divorce. It should be noted that there is no set “time limit” for an annulment, and there are limited instances in which an annulment is appropriate.

Child Custody and Visitation

No matter the party, the court decides child custody and visitation right based on the “best interests of the child.” A party can increase their chances of larger custody by being active parents involved in their child’s school, medical issues and overall care. Other important factors include, but are not limited to: discipline, vocations, ability to pay and ability to co-parent.

Child Support

The amount of money a parent is required to pay the spouse who retains primary custody of the child(ren). It is intended to benefit the child(ren) and most often helps pay for food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and education expenditures. The amount of child support is set by statute, and is determined by gross incomes of both parties and the number of minor children involved.

Spousal Support
Also known as alimony, spousal support refers to the routine payments made from one spouse to the other during a separation or divorce. The purpose is to recognize the recipient’s contribution to the marriage, assisting the other in financial independence. The amount of spousal support is discretionary with the trial judge, so the amount is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Family Law Mediation
This scenario is used to resolve family disputes. A neutral, third-party helps the two smooth out their differences to reach an agreement, saving from taking a case to trial. Both parties (and their attorneys, if applicable) are involved in the mediation process.

Unsure about other Family Law Questions? Give us a call, we’re happy to help. (580) 234-4334.

WOW! THANKS!

I am an air show nerd.  For the first few years of my life, my dad had airplanes.  I was fortunate enough to get to fly with him to OSU football games, and, I am sure, other places.  That early exposure to airplanes instilled in me a love for flying.  While I was in college, I worked on Oceania Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, VA.  I saw F-18’s, F-15’s, F-14’s, E-6’s, and others.  My Oklahoma co-workers got really tired of hearing the roar of the jets doing practice carrier landings, coming in right above our heads.  I was in awe every time.

In high school, I was a very driven kid.  I was a state and national officer in a student organization, all-district in football, valedictorian, 4.0, high ACT score, blah, blah, blah.  That commitment and involvement created probably the greatest opportunity I have ever squandered.  Our Senator used one of his 2 yearly Air Force Academy appointments on me.  Ask my parents, and they will tell you my drive to go to the Air Force was not just some new interest.  It WAS what I was going to do.  Despite my fancy looking resume, I lacked an important virtue, self-discipline.  Oh, I passed all the physical tests, had good enough grades, and whatever else I needed.  Still, a small part of me kept saying, “Do you really want some Yay-hoo telling you what to do for the next four, and then six years of your life?”  I subconsciously started looking for an easy (or fun) way out.

I grew up an OSU fan.  We went to tons of football and basketball games, and I always imagined I would follow my parents’ lead and go to OSU.  Now, OSU and the Air Force Academy pulled me in different directions.  After a little research, I learned I could go to OSU on an Air Force ROTC scholarship (read: easy way out).  Perfect.  So, I applied and received a scholarship that would have paid my tuition, room and board, and books.  (If you do that math, that’s pretty much all of college.)  This was in addition to the scholarships which were already paying me to go to school.  After beds, books, meals, classes, fees, and all sports tickets were paid, I had left over money.  This was before my biggest scholarship even kicked in.

You might say to yourself, “I didn’t know Drew was in the Air Force?”  I wasn’t.  Remember what I said about self-discipline?  I did not have any. Once I made it to Stillwater, I figured out no one would make me go to class.  No one would make me work out.  I could party, sleep, and eat.  So, that is what I did. I dropped out of ROTC, thereby losing that scholarship and my dream to fly.  I lost most of my other scholarship because my grades weren’t where they were supposed to be.  I threw away a lot of other people’s scholarship money on myself and my lack of discipline.

I say all that leave two important points.  First, find a way to discipline yourself  to commit to achieving your goals.  In high school and college I never had to study.  I aced high school and passed college without attending class.  I figured any guy that can get a perfect score on the reading part of the ACT can just do whatever he wants.  I never knew I didn’t know how to study until law school.  Before entering law school, I was never lower than the 98% percentile in any standardized testing.  Then, I took the LSAT (required to get into law school).  My score was just pretty average.  My dad said it best when he said all the other tests were graded against people, some of whom cared, and many of whom took the tests just because they had to.  The LSAT was taken by a bunch of people who cared enough to be willing to suffer through law school.  The stakes were raised.  My first semester of law school I was married with a child who was less than a year old.  I was scared to death I wouldn’t make it. So I studied and studied and studied.  It was only then did I ever figure out how I learned.

Law school was a long way from where I set out in high school.  It took law school for me to figure out just the studying part of self-disciple.  The only way to commit to achieve your goals is to push yourself, hard.

My second point is this:  Thanks to the men and women in our military.  My high school class had an disproportionately high number of men and women serve our country in every branch of the military.  Those people are my heroes. Our military members volunteer to commit their lives for some period of time to service of our country.  They didn’t look to see if it was a just war, or if we should be in Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t get an overriding royalty interest in any oil from overseas.  They get paid little, and work hard.  For Vance Air Force Base to plan and execute its 75th anniversary open house, and have the freakin’ Thunderbirds! with the budget they had, was an amazing task completed by volunteers.  I watch the precision air demonstration team put on a heck of a show that they dedicated to our military men and women.  I hope my childish and giddy love of the air show was the physical demonstration of my appreciation for what they do.

Here’s a couple of my favorite pics and videos.

 

Drew

 

 

Taking the Oath
Six Shooters
Radial Rumble
Doolittle

MDA Lock-Up | Enid Oklahoma Lawyer

2016-06-30_0004-1

That’s right – Dalen went to the slammer and raised money to help kids and adults break free from the harmful effects of muscle debilitating diseases.

Did you know that muscular dystrophy, ALS and related disease take away everyday freedoms like walking, running, hugging and even breathing? That’s why I’m dedicating my time behind bars to help MDA fund ground-breaking research across diseases, provide critical care from the first day of diagnosis and empower families with services and support in hometowns across America.

Thank you to everyone who helped by making a donation! With your support, we’ll move toward a future in which kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases live longer and grow stronger.

DALEN’S MDA LOCK-UP FUNDRAISER

VOTE!

16janb

Remember when Brian Williams almost caught malaria while voting for Ulysses S. Grant?  It’s that Important!!

Tuesday June 28 is election day.  Robert Frost said, “Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing.  That’s voting.”  Don’t just think about voting.  Don’t just talk about the problems we have.  Educate yourself on the candidates, choose one that you believe will do the best job, and GO VOTE!

In Enid, we have the following elections (Even one with the same name.  He must be cool!!):

UNITED STATES SENATOR – LIBERTARIAN

DAX EWBANK – https://www.libertydax.us/

ROBERT T. MURPHY – https://ballotpedia.org/Robert_Murphy_(Oklahoma)

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 03 – REPUBLICAN

FRANK D. LUCAS – http://www.frankdlucas.com/

DESIREE BROWN – https://votefordesiree.nationbuilder.com/

STATE SENATOR – DISTRICT 19 – REPUBLICAN

ROLAND PEDERSON – http://www.rolandforsenate.com/

ROSS VANHOOSER – http://www.rossforsenate19.com

GREG INGLE – http://www.ingle2016.com/

COUNTY COURT CLERK – REPUBLICAN

JANELLE SHARP – Look her up on Facebook.

SHARON VEACH – Look her up on Facebook.

COUNTY SHERIFF – REPUBLICAN

JERRY NILES – Look him up on Facebook.

CORY S. RINK  – http://www.votecoryrink.com/

 

We’re Enid personal injury lawyers, probate lawyers, and divorce lawyers.  We’re also dads, moms, husbands, wives, coaches, and volunteers.  Take pride in your right to vote.  Post a pic of your “I voted” sticker and we may give some swag away!

-EHM

 

Paying on the Side of the Road

We have all heard stories about people being asked to pay their ticket right there in the trooper’s car, but it does not seem to have happened to anyone directly.  Maybe that is because the highway patrol did not have card readers….until now.  The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has contracted with a business to allow troopers to transfer money from many types of pre-paid cards. Of course, this is not to pay your ticket, but is being done to as part of seizing assets thought to be used in drug trafficking.

There’s only one small problem.  Here’s a hint:

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

 

The people from whom the money is taken haven not been convicted of a crime, have not pled guilty to a crime, heck, they may not ever be charged with a crime.  Still, the trooper on the side of the road using his “training and experience” determined these funds are for nefarious purposes, and so the money is taken.  No judge, no jury, no attorney, no due process, just one person’s belief.

When a person’s assets are seized, the person has the obligation to prove their own assets were legitimate.  The State does not have to prove the money bought or paid for drugs.  The state does not have to do anything really other than file some paperwork formalities.  Only after the State files the forfeiture paperwork, are they required to inform the person they intend to keep the money they already took.  Then, the citizen has the obligation to come to court and prove why they should get their money back.

Now, we have corporations getting up front fees, and ongoing royalties on money “collected” by the State.  Oklahoma citizens are accustomed to royalty payments.  We like our oil, gas, wind, and other natural resource royalty payments coming in the mail.  However, paying a royalty to an out-of-state corporation who sells widgets to help steal from citizens should be pretty offensive to us.

Certainly, seizing funds associated with drug trafficking may help stem the flow of drugs, although it doesn’t seem to have slowed anything down.  However, the incentive to fund an agency is so strong it often takes priority of citizens’ rights.

If you’ve had money taken in Enid, Fairview, Woodward, or anywhere else in Northwest Oklahoma, remember we are Enid lawyers, with offices in Fairview, and Laverne, that can help.

 

Hold on to your wallets,

 

Your Enid, OK Lawyers.

(Look how sneaky we are!  That’s us, Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC)

 

New Front in Civil Forfeiture: Authorities Get Devices to Seize Funds Loaded to Prepaid Cards

 

 

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