For many people, the uncertainties resulting from the spread of COVID-19 are reason to put off major decisions and the related commitment of significant amounts of money. For some, however, those same uncertainties increase tensions and problems enough to make decisions and action more urgent than they were before “social distancing” became a common phrase.
The Coronavirus has brought about many changes in daily life. The state courts are largely closed in compliance with the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order. Most civil proceedings and even most criminal proceedings have been vacated and postponed. But some emergency matters and certain proceedings mandated by statute are going forward.
New cases are still being filed, and both new and old cases can largely be processed despite the shut-down. Filings have been done electronically anyway for a few years now. More and more work is being done through the internet, over the phone and through various media for conferencing. Even when in-person contact is necessary, an appropriate social distance can be maintained.
Cases that can and should be settled have seen little impact from the shut-down. Settlements rarely require court hearings for review, approval and signing of papers (Read More...)
Business Valuation in Divorce
North Idaho Attorney Kevin J. Waite, P.C. on Friday, January 4, 2019
In many divorces the most significant asset to be divided is the marital residence. As stressful and complex as that can be, the division of a business is usually much more complicated.
The same issues are likely to be present. Is the business one party's separate property or is it community property? If separate property, is there a community interest? What is the value of the business? What debts encumber or go with the business and effectively reduce its net equity?
Valuation of a business is more complicated than valuation of real property. It usually requires engaging an accountant who has special expertise and credentials in valuation to review and analyze tax returns and other business records. This valuation expert usually generates a report setting forth what he or she has reviewed and considered, an opinion as to value and the reasons supporting that opinion. Obviously, this is expensive.
Often the owner or owners actively work and manage the business. An owner-manager's compensation may be more or less than what a hired professional manager would be paid to do the same job, further complicating the valuation process.
In the end, the most accurate value of an asset - whether a business or a home - is what (Read More...)
Divorce vs. Legal Separation
North Idaho Attorney Kevin J. Waite, P.C. on Tuesday, March 27, 2018
A frequent question is, whether (for the questioner) a legal separation would be a better option than a divorce. That question presupposes another question, namely, what is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce? We will deal with the second question first.
A legal separation can and frequently does cover all the same issues as a divorce, except of course for the divorce itself. It is typically called a "Judgment of Legal Separation" rather than "Judgment Of Divorce." It may have a provision for the conversion of the legal separation to a divorce. A legal separation is usually a holding pattern; legal separations usually either convert to a divorce or are eventually dismissed, for example because the parties have reconciled.
Usually, the disadvantage of a legal separation is that it does not terminate the legal financial relationship between the parties. Meaning that they remain married and therefore remain subject to the community property laws (at least in Idaho). While their Judgment of Legal Separation may work to regulate financial responsibilities between the parties, it does not diminish the rights of their creditors (to go after A for a debt incurred by B even after the separation, if B (Read More...)
North Idaho Attorney Kevin J. Waite, P.C. on Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Most divorces are granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences. This is sometimes called a "no fault" divorce. But fault can still be claimed, and it sometimes is. Probably the most commonly claimed fault in Kootenai County and elsewhere is adultery.
Under Idaho law, adultery is defined as the voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person and a person other than the offender's husband or wife. Thus, "an internet affair," whose participants have never met each other physically, does not qualify.
For divorce purposes, adultery must have occurred within the two years prior to the filing of the claim of adultery. This is essentially a statute of limitations. Also, the offending conduct must also "cause" the divorce. The spouse who decides in the middle of a divorce that it's over and “hooks up” with a new sexual partner has therefore not committed adultery for purposes of divorce since that conduct did not "cause" the previously filed divorce.
Of course, in some cases the allegations of divorce are denied by the other party. The adultery claim must be proven, and must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. "Clear and convincing evidence" is a higher standard than is required for most civil claims (for which the preponderance of the evidence (Read More...)
To Blow or Not to Blow
North Idaho Attorney Kevin J. Waite, P.C. on Wednesday, December 20, 2017
To blow or not to blow – that is the question that Hamlet might face if stopped on suspicion of DUI:
Whether ‘tis better in court to chanceThe slings and arrows of breathalyzer test resultsOr to encounter a sea of troubles by refusing to blow, but,Perhaps by refusing to blow, defeat a DUI charge.
Here in Kootenai County, the local newspaper recently addressed this question in the context of an article about law enforcement taking a zero tolerance approach to impaired driving and to testing refusals during the holiday season. The article reported that refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test will be met with a search warrant for a blood draw. It included the statement that, “In first offense cases, it often doesn’t behoove a motorist suspected of a DUI to refuse to consent because penalties for refusal are greater than the penalty for a misdemeanor DUI.” As a literal statement, this is not true. It compares apples to oranges and confuses the analysis.
The newspaper's statement combines two different procedures that usually come into play during a DUI stop, one civil and the other criminal. A DUI charge is criminal. A motorist’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test or failure of a breathalyzer test will result in the suspension of the motorist’s driver’s license. That case (Read More...)