Landlords: A Strong Lease Can Save Money, A Lot of Money!

Landlords need a strong lease. Too often, they figure that out when it’s too late.
The most laid-back person in the world may regret not having a lease when the person renting his or her house, apartment, or office space stops paying the rent, and there’s no way to evict that person without filing a lawsuit. It could take a year to get the renter to vacate the property.
Even a month-to-month verbal agreement won’t protect the landlord when the tenant moves out and leaves behind a pile of belongings. What to do with the stuff? The law says the landlord has to store it, and give the renter a chance to retrieve it. Without a lease, the landlord may not be able to recoup storage costs.
If the renter trashes the place? Without a lease, good luck getting compensated for the damages. The same goes for a property-condition checklist: the renter has to have one in hand to get his or her damage deposit back, but the landlord needs it, as well, to prove the condition of the property at move-in.

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Can Filing Bankruptcy Save Your House? – Avenues in Spokane Washington

If you’re having trouble making your house payments, your bank might not be the best place to turn for help. Contrary to what many think however, filing bankruptcy may be a possible solution.
A Chapter 13 plan can be an option to save your home from foreclosure in Spokane
First, the banks: It’s not that they can’t help you. Mortgage assistance programs are designed to help people stay in their homes. The Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable program. We take a brief look at this program.
I’ve heard from many frustrated clients who say they’ve spent hours on the phone with banks, especially larger institutions, who seem to be giving them the runaround. They might steer the borrower to the proper paperwork but then, once it’s filed, fail to answer or return follow-up calls. Or they might claim that timely applications were late, and require the lender to start the process all over again. Or they might claim after the fact that something extra was needed to make the claim viable, such as sending by certified mail.

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Immigration Implications of Crimes | Spokane and Kootenai County Bar Associations

The following is a presentation that I did in conjunction with Greg Cunningham from Catholic Charities of Spokane, Refugee and Immigration Services. The purpose of this presentation was to give a primer to criminal defense attorneys on the immigration consequences of crimes committed by non-US citizens. We explain the implications of INA section 212 and 237 for certain crimes. Some crimes render an immigrant deportable and some inadmissible. We look at both circumstances and what defenses maybe available to the defendant to preserve an immigration case or at least preserve the possibility of acquiring a waiver.
 
In this post, you will find a video of the presentation recorded at my office. I have also included pictures taken of the presentation when we were giving the talk at the Spokane County Bar Association. The same presentation was given to the Idaho Kootenai County Bar Association on March 3, 2014.

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Why Bankruptcy Can Be The Solution?

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!
How about many pictures, with motion, and fast-paced music? Probably a lot more!
We put them all together to explain how we feel when we protect consumers. We combat and defend consumers against big corporations and banks from crushing interest rates, late fees, foreclosures, harassment, and more.
We believe that for an epic fight we need an epic presentation.

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What is Separate Property and What is Community Property in Spokane?

The issue of labeling for categorizing property, into either community property or separate property, often arises in divorces in Spokane County. This categorization of property can make a substantial difference on how the court will allocate assets and liabilities to the parties who are seeking a final dissolution or a legal separation from their spouse.
The law in Washington states that all property acquired prior to the marriage, and its rents, issues, and profits, is considered separate property. In addition, property that is acquired during my marriage from gifts, inheritance and its rents, issues, and profits will be considered separate property. The issue with this is that often the parties will commingle community property with separate property. Then would be unable to tell which property or asset is completely 100% separate at the time of the divorce. Community property in Spokane is categorized the same way.
If they are able to show that the character of the property never changed (i.e. a bank account that was never touched), then the asset will continue to be separate property. This often causes issues because typically parties will take their savings and invest into a community investment, and thus most likely commingling the funds and rendering the entire investment a community asset.
One defense to commingling is the direct tracing theory. As noted above, if a party can show, with bank statements, testimony, checks, and or other writings, that the funds were never mixed, that party may be able to keep the asset or the value of the asset from distribution.
To make matters worse, in a Spokane County and the entire state Washington, a Superior Court judge has the ability to the label property (community or separate property) and then distribute the assets in a just and equitable manner. Community property in Spokane thus must be categorized by a Superior Court judge, then divided as the judge deems fair and equitable.

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Why You Shouldn’t Fight Over Custody

Sometimes, a word is just a word.
In Washington State, divorcing couples often end up fighting over the word “custody,” in particular the phrase “designated custodial parent.” In fact, though, for most people, it’s a non-issue — hardly worth even a second thought, let alone a court battle.
Custody, per se, doesn’t really exist in Washington. Here, negotiated parenting plans establish how the child or children’s time will be divided, as well as who will make decisions regarding the children’s education and religion, and other pertinent issues. But when writing that plan, the parents have to decide which of them will be designated as the child’s official “custodial parent.” Too often, this rather meaningless term becomes an unnecessary point of contention.

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Bankruptcy: Lose Your Debt, Not Your Car

Filing bankruptcy in Washington State doesn’t mean you have to lose your shirt — or even your car or house, for that matter.
When you file, you are asking the courts to declare your debts discharged, which means that you no longer owe them. Technically, however, a debt cannot be discharged that is secured by a good. If you’re making payments on a car or house, under the law you would have to return them to the creditor if your filing is accepted.
Recognizing that a car and a house can be necessary to living, however, the law allows an exception. If your creditors agree, your attorney can file a reaffirmation agreement stating that, although you want to discharge other debts, you wish to continue making your car payment or mortgage payment.

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Total Loss in Spokane – Consumers Beware of This Process

When will an insurance company declare your vehicle a total loss in a Spokane Washington.
Is your vehicle a total loss in Spokane or you are going through this process nearby? Every county has the same requirements for the entire state (in this case, Washington). However, every county, including Spokane county, have differing practical ways to approach the total process.
You know the story, you’re driving on I-90 when a careless driver forgets that the snow and ice will make the roads slippery and that slowing down is the prudent thing to do. He loses control and collides with your vehicle. I could never really understand why we forget that driving in the snow is dangerous. It seems that the first snow of every year takes its toll when it comes to vehicle collisions. They are sure busy during this time.

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Fiance Petitions

Fiance and Spousal Petitions in Spokane County

Fiance and spousal petitions in Spokane County are not as easy to acquire as they once were. We do have a local USCIS office downtown at the Federal Courthouse, where the required interviews for this type of petition can be held. However, as the saying goes, love can be complicated. That’s especially true when it involves marriage between a U.S. citizen and a non-citizen.
If you meet someone who isn’t an American citizen and you want to marry them, you’ll need to think carefully before you act. If you’re a foreign citizen hoping to marry and live in the U.S., you should exercise caution, as well. In either case, a good lawyer is invaluable for navigating fairly tricky terrain.
To bring a foreign-born fiance or spouse to the U.S. to live, the American citizen will need to file a fiance and spousal petitions in Spokane with the federal government (a visa petition will be sent to adequately request – a fiance visa for those who have not married yet, and a spousal visa for those that have already marry). But a “yes” answer isn’t automatic. The person wishing to come to America will have to meet certain criteria:
You must have met each other at least once. This may seem like a no-brainer. The fact is, marriages made strictly for the sake of immigration do occur, as do “mail-order” spouses. To try to prevent them, the feds require evidence that you and your would-be spouse have met in person.
A few photos of the two of you together is often all the evidence you will need. If you don’t have one, however, you’ll need something else: an airline ticket may suffice, or emails between the two of you talking about meeting may be sufficient. An attorney can help you find evidence that the government will accept. You must both be eligible to marry.

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Motions for Revision in Spokane County

Motions for revision in Spokane County are more common than I personally thought, especially in family cases. A motion to revise a Commissioner’s ruling is often viewed as an appeal of a temporary orders hearing or as an objection to the Commissioner’s reasoning to reach the conclusion that he/she reached. However, most revisions are denied as the parties (or their attorneys) fail to follow both, a legal approach (abide by required court rules), and a practical approach to what is going to be presented to the court.
It is, of course, crucial for a practitioner or a party representing themselves to carefully review Spokane County court rules before making the motion to revise the ruling. However; a party may also want to consider a more practical approach to the revision, both in terms of cost, evidence presented, and the overall objection of the revision.
If a party makes a motion to revise, but he or she does not prevail (it is denied), the court may grant attorney’s fees to the other side for having to defend the motion (if they are represented by a lawyer).

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