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What to Do When You are Arrested

jail cellBeing arrested is a highly stressful situation, but there are a few things you need to remember. Staying calm and following these tips will help your case move as smoothly as possible:

Do Not Use Force

It can be tempting to struggle when you are being arrested, but that is not a wise decision. You could be charged with resisting arrest or assault on an officer, which can only worsen your situation. If you are wrongfully arrested, you can argue that in court – do not fight the officer.

Remember Your Rights – and Use Them

When you are arrested, the officer will remind you of your rights. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. It is very important you use these rights. Ask for a lawyer, and do not talk to the police officers. Provide the officers with necessary personal information like your address and full name, but do not say anything related to the case until you speak with an attorney. You should also avoid saying anything to family or friends, or even fellow inmates. Any conversations you have in jail may be monitored, so do not assume you are speaking with anyone in private.

Get a Lawyer

Do not think you can talk your way out of the situation, even if you are innocent. Do not do anything in regards to your case until you speak with a lawyer. Your lawyer has your best interests in mind and can help you navigate the complicated legal system.

When you need a criminal defense lawyer in Vancouver, WA, call the team at Morse Bratt Andrews & Terry, LLP at (360) 213-2040.

5 Things to Discuss with Your Divorce Lawyer

man removing wedding ringWhen you are going through a divorce, it is critical to hire a divorce lawyer to look out for your best interests. When you meet with a lawyer at Morse Bratt Andrews & Terry LLP, here are four things you should discuss:

Division of Assets and Debts – Everything from your vehicles and your home to your stocks and 401ks will need to be divided. Let your lawyer know which specific things you are interested in getting from the divorce so they know what to argue for during your case. Debts owed by the parties will also have to be dealt with.

Maintenance/Alimony – If maintenance, also known as alimony, is on the table, you should discuss how much money will be paid, and for how long the payments will last.

Child Custody/Support – If you and your spouse have children, you should also discuss custody agreements and any child support that will need to be paid.

Important Documents – When you are filing for divorce, you will need to provide your lawyer with your tax returns from the last five years, insurance documents, retirement statements, and other relevant documents. Make sure you bring your lawyer all of the correct paperwork so that they can build a stronger case for you.

Uncertainty – In a divorce case, it is important to understand it isn’t a question of who is right or wrong.  Rather it is a process to untangle you from the past and set you free to engage with the rest of your life.  It can be an emotional roller coaster, but working out a clear strategy with your lawyer will pay dividends.

Morse Bratt Andrews & Terry, LLP can assist you in your divorce. When you need experienced divorce lawyers in Vancouver, WA, give us a call at (360) 213-2040.

Preparing for Divorce Court – Essential Tips

couple in marriage counseling - divorceDivorce is not easy for anyone. Emotions run high, and you may wind up doing things that you will later regret. When preparing for divorce court, it is critical to maintain your composure and follow these tips to ensure that you come out on the other side with your dignity and with a successful ruling.

Build a Strategy and Follow It – This most important thing you can do for your case is work with your lawyer and take their advice. Develop a strategy going into court and ensure that you follow it to the letter. Your attorney has your best interests in mind, and they have the knowledge to help you if you are willing to work with them.

Social Media – It is best to refrain from using social media to discuss your case.  Even when you think it is private, it often still gets out.  Best avoid posting, even with friends, during the case.

Choose Your Outfit Wisely – Your appearance says a lot about you, especially in a courtroom setting. Be sure to dress professionally, in business attire. Make sure you are meticulously groomed so that you look put together during the proceedings. A clean-cut professional appearance shows respect for the court and makes you seem like a mature, responsible individual.

Show Respect for Everyone – Yes, this does include your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. A lot of negative emotions rear their ugly heads during divorce proceedings, but it’s important not to let them show in court. Be completely respectful towards your spouse, their attorney, and every other person you encounter in court. This will speak volumes to the judge, and they may be inclined to make a more favorable ruling.

Be Mindful of Body Language – Rolling your eyes every time the other attorney speaks or glaring at your soon-to-be-ex in court says a lot more about you than anything you can say. Be self-aware, and try to maintain your composure during court. Your body language is a significant indicator of your professionalism and maturity level, so keep a cool head and maintain your dignity.

When you are looking for experienced divorce lawyers in Vancouver, WA, turn to the team at Morse Bratt Andrews & Terry LLP.

Turn to a Reputable Lawyer to Write Your Living Trust

estate planning Vancouver waWhen it comes to estate planning, many people think about writing their revocable living trust on their own. The truth is, even with programs like Legal Zoom, there are many pitfalls to legal do it yourself (DIY). While the initial cost may not be as much as going through a reputable lawyer, you could be doing yourself or your children a major disservice and incurring significant costs. The programs also do not assist in placing assets in the trust.

The Process is Different for Everyone – The programs and books available to people who wish to write their living trust on their own only cover the basics. They are made to be as generic as they possibly can be so that they can apply in every state. However, everyone’s situation is different, so you can’t expect a generic software program to fit your estate-planning needs. The danger is that you may not accomplish for your beneficiaries what you intended. It may even be that a trust is not for you.  The programs can’t intuit what is best for your situation.

Laws Can Vary – Every state has their own laws regarding living trusts, and those laws can vary widely from state to state. Only an experienced lawyer in your state will know the laws specific to you and can help you navigate your state’s legal landscape.

DIY Disclaimers – DIY books and legal software are not a substitute for real legal advice, and they will tell you this on their packaging. It is always better to consult with an attorney when it comes to something as important as estate planning.

Getting What You Pay For – You are creating a living trust so that you can take care of your loved ones after you are gone. If you want them to be taken care of properly, you really do get what you pay for. Choosing an experienced attorney for estate planning in Vancouver, WA, is always the smarter choice.

Contact our firm today for more information about our estate planning services.