Friday, November 9, 2018

The Difference Between an Agency Adoption and an Independent Adoption

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month (November), this week's blog is going to be all about adoption. Adopting a child near the Lake of the Ozarks is a big decision. While adoption can be a lengthy process, our Lake Ozark law firm is here to help guide you through the process. If you are thinking about adopting a child, take a look below to learn about two common types of adoption.


Agency Adoption:

  • Birth parents surrender child to agency, which later places child with adoptive parents.
  • The adoption agency serves as the intermediary.
  • Birth parents often do not know the identity of adoptive parents and may not have any biographical information about them. Agency maintains anonymity.
  • Birth parents usually will not have had any contact with the adoptive parents. The agency serves as the intermediary.
  • Birth parents usually have released the child for adoption before the child is placed in adoptive home. If release has not been obtained, placement is called “legal-risk adoption.”
  • Infant may be placed in foster care until all the releases have been signed and all waiting periods have passed.
  • Agency social worker often selects the parents for a specific child.
  • Adoptive parents have sought out an agency, filed an application, been approved, and waited for the agency to assign a child to them.

Independent Adoption:

  • Birth parents consent to place child directly with the adoptive parents.
  • Various intermediaries—attorneys, physicians, teachers—may be used to help facilitate the placement.
  • Birth parents may know the identity of the adoptive parents and may have biographical information about them. Varying degrees of anonymity maintained.
  • Birth parents often have been in contact with the adoptive parents—either by telephone or in person.
  • Birth parents usually surrender child for adoption after the child is residing in the adoptive home. Birth parents may have right to remove child from home.
  • Infant usually placed in adoptive home after discharge from the hospital.
  • Birth parents often select the adoptive parents for their child.
  • Adoptive parents often are actively involved in searching for an infant to adopt.
Information Source:  17:8.Agency adoptions, 21 Mo. Prac., Family Law § 17:8 (3d ed.)

As you can see from the above information, the two option types have different parameters and timelines associated with each. Depending on your unique situation, our adoption attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks can help you decide which option is best for you and your family. 

Now that you a little more about these two adoption options, you can better prepare for your adoption. If you are interested in adopting a child in mid-Missouri, contact Gibbons Law Firm today. We can help walk you through the legal aspects of adoption and guide you through the entire process. This is an exciting time in your life and we are honored to be a part of it!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Ways to Streamline the Divorce Process

A divorce is a trying time for everyone involved but it can also be quite time consuming. If you are worried about the financial burden and time required to get a divorce, there are ways to help speed up the process. As your divorce attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks, we know how important it is to fight for what you deserve but we also know the importance of time. If you are thinking about dissolving your marriage, take a look below for some ways to help streamline the divorce process.


Get your Documentation Ready

Your attorney will let you know what type of documentation will be required to get the divorce process started. They may also give you a list of other paperwork needed to represent your case. If you are looking to keep the length of time needed to complete a divorce at bay, gather any and all paperwork requested in a timely manner. Consider it will take some time for your lawyer to review this documentation and for your spouse's lawyer to take time to go over it, as well.

Consider Settlement Offers

A settlement offer is when one spouse presents an offer as to how belongings and other shared property should be divided. This process is what takes a large chunk of time - behind deciding child custody. When it comes to dividing your community property, try to be as fair and agreeable as possible. This can help the process go smoothly and cut down on time required to go back and forth between lawyers.

Communicate with Lawyer

When your lawyer reaches out, try to get back with them as soon as possible. Many times a lawyer taking time to reach a client is a big time consumer. Open and prompt communication is key to a timely divorce. If you are worried about the length of time required to complete the divorce process, be sure you are easily reachable and respond in a timely manner.

Now that you know some of these tips to help streamline the divorce process, you are ready to get your things in order. If you are thinking about ending your marriage, contact our Lake of the Ozarks law firm today. Gibbons Law Firm can help walk you through the entire process and give you pointers on what processes can be streamlined by you and your spouse. And don't forget, your first consultation with our divorce lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks if free!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

SCARY Halloween Statistics

Halloween is one of the most popular holidays for both kids and adults. It's also one of the most dangerous. While some may be surprised to learn this - there are many dangers associated with the holiday of Halloween. Having knowledge of the potential risks of this holiday can help better prepare your family for a safe and exciting holiday. Here at Gibbons Law Firm, we care about the safety of you and your loved ones.


If you are affected by some of the potential dangers of Halloween, our personal injury attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks is here for you. We can help represent your side of the case and offer legal advice as you work your way through your options. If you are curious about the dangers that may be lurking this spooky holiday, take a look below for a few examples.


Potential Dangers Lurking on Halloween:


  • Getting cut while carving pumpkins. 
  • Tripping on a long or draping Halloween costume. 
  • Limited visibility for navigating sidewalks and streets while wearing a mask. 
  • Falling down a set of porch stairs while trick-or-treating. 
  • Being struck by a drunk driver.
  • Breaking out in a rash due to costume paint. 
  • Eating candy that's been contaminated with drugs or tampered in other ways. 
  • Hitting a pedestrian in a busy parking lot. 
  • Burning your hand on a jack-o-lantern candle. 
  • Losing a child during a crowded trick-or-treat festival. 


Scary Statistics About Halloween:


  • Child pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween night.
  • Only 18% of parents use reflective tape on their children's costumes to make them more visible.
  • Most major brands of Halloween face paint contain detectable amounts of lead.
  • 75% of parents admit to having fears about Halloween, but only 25% of parents talk to their children about Halloween safety every year.
  • 12% of children ages 5 and under are allowed to trick-or-treat without adult supervision.

Now that you know a little more about the obvious (and not-so-obvious) dangers of this popular holiday, you can better prepare your family for a successful celebration. Be on guard as you approach a potentially dangerous situation this Halloween. If you or one of your family members are unfortunately injured due to someone else's' negligence, our Lake of the Ozarks law firm may be able to assist. Don't forget, your first consultation with us is always free!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Legal Dangers of Underage Drinking

Just in time for National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (October 19-25), we've dedicated this week's blog to share the dangers of underage drinking. While most colleges have a policy on alcohol on campus, it's sadly easy to find alcohol in the hands of minors on a college campus. Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal but a large number of high school and college students (under 21) still consume alcohol on a consistent basis.  Take a look below to learn about some of the legal consequences of underage drinking and how Gibbons Law Firm can help if you find yourself in a similar situation.



This week is designated to raise awareness of the potential danger alcohol consumption can be for college students. Many programs are available to educate minors of the legal and personal issues that can result from drinking alcohol under the age of 21.

Legal Consequences of Underage Drinking

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. Individuals ages 20 and under are breaking the law if they consume alcohol, and as a result, they may be subject to legal consequences. These consequences may include:

Mandatory Community Service
If you are caught drinking under age, it is likely part of your punishment will be in the form of community service of some sort. If this is your first offense, a judge may give you the option to put in a certain amount of hours doing community service. During this time serving the community, you are to be thinking about the decision you made to break the law and how to avoid this type of action in the future. 

Suspension of Driver's License
You can lose your driver's license if you are convicted of underage drinking. The revocation of your license can put a big damper on your social life. As many people rely on personal transportation for a number of reasons. Work, visiting family, going to school, traveling to friends - these are all popular reasons a person may need access to transportation. If you lose your license, you may have to rely on public transportation or friends and family to get you to and from your destination. 

Criminal Fines
You may face hefty fines if you are caught drinking under the age of 21. These fines are not worth underage drinking. A fine can put a big strain on your financial situation. A young person typically does not have a big disposable income and a fine can be detrimental to your lifestyle. 

Jail Time
Another potential punishment for underage drinking is to serve jail time. A criminal charge, like underage drinking, can follow a person around for a lifetime. This type of charge can make it hard to find a job, get insurance, and make major purchases in the future. Avoid being charged with a crime and serving time in jail - the future you will thank you!

If you find yourself faced with a criminal charge - like alcohol consumption under the age of 21 - our criminal defense attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks will be here help protect your rights. Here at Gibbons Law Firm, we work hard to help you avoid unnecessarily harsh consequences for your actions. Contact our Lake of the Ozarks law firm to learn how we can help represent your case. 

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Difference Between a Felony & Misdemeanor

Do you know the difference between a felony & misdemeanor? Felonies are punishable by death or lengthy incarceration while misdemeanors are less serious crimes where the punishment is not as steep as a felony. Being accused of a crime - whether a misdemeanor or felony, is a serious legal issue. If you find yourself in this situation, it's time to seek legal advice. Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm is here for all of your legal needs. From legal counsel to representing your case in court, our criminal defense lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks can help advise.


Felonies

A felony is the most serious classification of crimes according to the American judicial system, and as such, it is reserved for the most heinous acts. Convicted felons may be subject to the maximum punishment allowable by the state in which they are committed. This punishment may include steep fines, multiple years in prison (including a life sentence), and potentially even the death penalty. Examples of felonies may include:


  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Possession and/or distribution of child pornography
  • Embezzlement
  • Grand theft
  • Murder
  • Identity theft
  • Rape (of both adults and minors)
  • Possession and/or distribution of a controlled substance
  • Fraud


Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors could be considered "middle-of-the-road crimes." They are more serious than infractions (which are minor transgressions that typically result in a fine) but less serious than felonies. They are typically punishable by fines and up to one year in the county jail. Examples of misdemeanors may include:

  • Petty Theft
  • Possession of small amounts of marijuana
  • Trespass
  • Disturbance of the peace
  • Illegal gambling


Convictions can impact your life in more ways than you may realize. Even if you are not sentenced to multiple years in prison, your conviction will likely follow you for many years. A criminal history often makes it harder to secure housing, find employment, be accepted into educational institutions, possess a firearm, and even be approved for insurance coverage.

If you've been accused of a crime, it's time to secure legal representation. For an experienced lawyer on your side, contact Gibbons Law Firm today. We look forward to helping represent your side of the case. Don't forget, your first consultation with our law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks is free.

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Top 7 Reasons to Consider a Prenup

Are you recently engaged or thinking of popping the question in the near future? While this is an exciting time, it's important to plan ahead for your future together. As you and your soon-to-be spouse prepare for your big day, you can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. As an experienced lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks, we know how important it is to think beyond your wedding day. Signing a prenuptial agreement may seem like a tough subject to bring up but it's an important discussion that needs to take place before the big day is here. If you are wanting your spouse to sign a prenup, bring it up right away. Be upfront about your feelings and don't wait until the last minute to spring the news on your future spouse. If you're debating signing a prenuptial agreement, take a look below for some of the clear reasons why you should!

Reason #1 - The rate of divorce.

Almost half of all marriages end in a divorce. This fact is astonishing to many and can make you nervous for the future. While you're entering into a marriage, you don't plan on getting a divorce - it can still happen. Feelings change, people change, and situations change in which you may not feel like you once did and wish to lead separate lives.

Reason #2 - Significant financial difference.

If one of you make a significantly higher income, it's a good idea to protect your assets with a prenup. Whether it's a high paying position at work or a wealthy family, you and your future spouse should sign documentation to decide what will happen in the future, if there is a problem with the marriage.

Reason #3 - Previous divorces or children. 

If you have a history of divorce, you know how hard the process is. Also if you or your spouse have children from outside the marriage, it's a good idea to have a plan as to what will happen if the marriage doesn't work out. Try outline a plan ahead of time, should the marriage dissolve. This can help alleviate a big headache down the road if you have already worked out an agreement.

Reason #4 - Business ownership. 

If you or your significant other owns a business, a prenuptial agreement can help protect that venture, should the marriage end. If the business owner has partners, they may insist on a prenup being signed to help better protect the business. While getting married is an important life decision, you still need to look out for your business and other assets in the process.

Reason #5 - Unpredictable Future

The future is unknown. While no one plans on getting a divorce while they enter into a new marriage, the truth is that it does happen. Since there is no way to predict the future, it's best to legally protect yourself and your assets with a prenup before saying "I do".

Reason #6 - Make things easier down the road. 

Signing a prenuptial agreement can help create a plan as to what happens to the assets of each individual in the marriage. This can come in very handy if the marriage does end. This plan can easily be executed and creates a less-stressful divorce process if it comes down to that.

Reason #7 - Plan to stop working. 

If you or your spouse plan to stop working once you get married, a prenuptial agreement is a good idea. It can help protect the asssets of both parties. Whether you both decide it's best for one of you to stay home with the kids or are in a good financial position to have one income, it's important to sign an agreement to help protect the income and exisiting assets of everyone involved.

Now that you know some of the reasons why you should sign a prenup before you get married, you're ready to have that discussion with your soon-to-be spouse. Establishing a prenuptial agreement near the Lake of the Ozarks is in no way planning on getting a divorce before you even get married - it's an important document to help protect you and your future spouse's assets and plan for the unpredictable future. If you're wanting a prenup drafted, contact Gibbons Law Firm today. Our Lake of the Ozarks attorney can easily assist in your prenuptial agreement and ensure all the legal aspects are documented accurately.

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ways Sexual Harassment Can Impact Your Business

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a real epidemic. As this issue sweeps across the nation, it should be top of mind as a business owner. Have you ever thought how a sexual harassment case could impact your daily work life? If you aren't thinking about this, it may be time to do so. As your experienced lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks, we know how damaging a case like this can be for your business morale. Take a look below to check out the various ways an issue like this can impact your business life.


Lower Company Morale 

If a sexual harassment incident occurs, it can put a damper on the morale around your office. Employees may feel like the work environment isn't a safe place. This can lead to distracted workers, therefore a loss of productivity. A person who experiences a sexual harassment advance may let others know about the occurrence and the un-safe feeling may spread throughout your company.

Open Your Business to Lawsuit

Prompt action is required on behalf of the business owner or supervisor if you learn of a sexual harassment situation. It's important to have a conversation with all involved parties to set the tone for action that will be taken if the harassment continues. Ensure you have an open door policy for employees to report inappropriate behavior in the workplace. If you do have an employee experience sexual harassment in the workplace, legal advice can help you work through the situation to better protect your business. 

Lose Dedicated Workers

If an employee is harassed at work, they may start to dislike their job and/or work environment. Many times harassment goes unreported, therefore the behavior does not change. This can create a hostile work environment which is damaging for employees. An employee may be more apt to leave the company if they are being sexually harassed while working. You can easily lose a hard worker if they are uncomfortable when they come to work.

Tips for Handling Sexual Harassment Claims:


  • Have an open door policy for employees to report any harassment they experience.
  • Provide regular training on sexual harassment and go over the punishment for such action. 
  • Take swift action if a sexual harassment case is reported. 
  • Set the precedent if you have a report of sexual harassment in the workplace. 


Now that you know HOW your business may be impacted by a sexual harassment claim, you're ready to make changes in your daily work life to avoid this issue. If you discover a sexual harassment case has occurred at your business, ensure you take the right legal actions in a timely manner. Contact Gibbons Law Firm to learn how you can take swift action to help protect your business. Remember, your first consultation with our Lake of the Ozarks law firm is free!

Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

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