What is a valuation date?

What is a valuation date?

What is a valuation date?

During a marital breakdown there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before both spouses can move on to the next chapter of their lives. Depending on the length of your relationship there may be a number of assets that require equitable division. In most cases, matrimonial property can include all property accumulated during a marriage including both assets and debt. A variety of assets are captured including bank accounts, savings, RRSPs, the matrimonial home and other assets purchased during the course of the marriage.

In Alberta, Canada’s federal Divorce Act handles the legal landscape for both child and spousal support as it relates to divorce whereas Alberta’s Matrimonial Property Act outlines the division of matrimonial property. On January 1, 2020 amendments will come into effect changing the name of this Act to the Family Property Act and extending property division rules and criteria to adult interdependent partners. As a starting point, if the couple has a pre-existing agreement in place (e.g. pre-nuptial or co-habitation agreement) the division outlined in this agreement applies.

In the absence of such an agreement, the married couple has the option of coming up with their own property settlement contractual agreement outside of courts, however this legislation provides a fallback solution for the Courts to decide. Regardless of the pathway used the couple requires independent counsel and full, accurate financial disclosure to ensure the agreement’s enforceability.

Family law can be complicated and its always advisable to contact a local Edmonton divorce lawyer to understand your legal rights. Divorces and separations can be lengthy processes, especially if handled in court as opposed to mediation or collaborative law settings. As a result, a “snapshot” date has to be selected in order to assess a monetary value of all matrimonial property, also known as the valuation date.

Ideally, the separating couple secures as much supporting documentation as possible regarding income, property and debt values at the time of separation to facilitate monitoring changes that occur during the course of separation. Ultimately the valuation date is decided by the court after hearing both sides out. Although some assets are fairly straight-forward to value (e.g. bank balances) other assets can be challenging such as real estate or family-owned businesses. Certain assets may not qualify as matrimonial property.

Both parties have an obligation to be honest with one another by fully sharing financial information regarding all property each party owns. Even if the property is owned with someone else or located outside Alberta, there exists a duty to inform your spouse of it. This includes sharing any information on a property you may have gotten rid of in the past year. Typically this process is accomplished by a Notice to Disclose Court Document and results in a complete listing of all assets along with current values and dates and value when they were originally purchased at. These assets may fall into a variety of categories as per the Matrimonial Property Act. The debts acquired during this period are listed as well.

The Alberta Rules of Court also outline additional ways to secure financial disclosure through questioning under oath or through written questioning or in person. Not all property will necessarily be divided equally as certain categories are distributed based on what is fair in the circumstances.

In order to ensure compliance with the law and understand what you’re legally entitled to, it is advisable to retain the assistance of your family lawyer to help in populating your list. Once this information is submitted, the court will hear legal arguments and identify assets that qualify as matrimonial property and deliver the verdict on both asset value and division.

The judge will decide what is fair based on a variety of factors outlined in the legislation including:

  • Any pre-existing agreements between the spouses;
  • Income and earning capacity of each spouse;
  • Roles and contributions of each spouse during marriage;
  • Length of marriage; and
  • Prior court orders

The full suite of considerations is outlined in section 8 of the Matrimonial Property Act.

Speak with an experienced family lawyer today to better understand your legal rights as it relates to property division.

At Verhaeghe Law Office, our Edmonton divorce lawyers have experience in effectively dealing with matrimonial property issues and finding a timely resolution that is fair and equitable for both sides. Please contact us for a consultation today or by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with our legal team.

Note: This blog offers general information for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. You’re encouraged to seek legal advice to better understand how family law may be applied in your specific situation.

How Does Adult Interdependent Relationships Differ From Marriage?

What is an Adult Interdependent Relationship?

What is an Adult Interdependent Relationship?

It’s important to note that “spouses” in common law marriages in Alberta are referred to as “adult interdependent partners.” A common law marriage is defined by when a couple has lived together for three or more years or has a child and live together. In Alberta, a formal document called the Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement is completed to indicate that both individuals are each other’s partners.

One of the misunderstandings in regards to common law marriages is that when a breakup occurs, all assets are evenly divvied up. Unless a cohabitation agreement was signed, the division of property would not be split 50/50. In simple terms, property usually stays with the person who paid for it, but if a partner contributed to the other person’s property, they might have rights to it. Common law marriages are not covered under the Matrimonial Property Act, but individuals can still lay claim to the property through other means called the Unjust Enrichment Claim.

Unjust Enrichment Claim

The plaintiff in these claims must prove three steps to show there is unjust enrichment:

  1. A benefit or enrichment on the defendant
  2. The plaintiff suffers a loss or is put into a financial disadvantage
  3. There is no juristic or legal reason to justify the financial gain

It’s the responsibility of the plaintiff to show no juristic reason is recognized. If met, then the obligation falls to the defendant to show that there is a just reason as to why they should retain the benefit. From there, the Court considers both the reasonable expectations of the parties and public considerations. The Court will award monetary damages or constructive trust based on those considerations. A monetary award may be calculated based upon the value received, or if the property were a joint venture, they would award a share of the assets based on the proportionate contribution by the plaintiff.

What About The Children?

This is the most emotional and challenging portion of any breakup; what about the kids? In adult interdependent relationships, the mother is considered the sole guardian of the child if the father does not acknowledge or demonstrate an intention to take on the responsibilities of a guardian. “Parenting time” means more than visiting rights, and only guardians can have parenting time. A guardian has the right to be involved in the supervision, care, and control of the child and any major decision-making regarding the child. Parenting time is resolved by a written agreement or by Court Order.

Spousal Support

An interdependent partner can apply for spousal support, and the child is entitled to financial support. As with marriage laws, both mother and father are expected to financially support the child until they reach age 18. If the child is still in school or dependent in any other way, child support is required.

The laws between marriage and adult interdependent relationships can be confusing. Allow us to help guide you through. For more information, please contact Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500

Effective Strategies For Purchasing A Business

Effective Strategies For Purchasing A Business

For an existing owner selling a business, their main concern is how they can maximize the sale price for their business.

On the other side, when buying a business, the main concern is how you can ensure that you will generate as much or even more profit in the future if you buy this business.

You need to advise the seller on useful and meaningful disclosure. The buyer needs to know that all liabilities and advantages have been assessed and disclosed to feel confident about the purchase.

Verhaeghe Law Office has served a wide assortment of clients with support and advice about multiple issues involved in the sale and purchase of businesses, including:

● Drafting a share purchase or asset agreement
● Verifying the data for the estimation of a fair purchase price
● Writing warranties and representations that are to be made by the seller
● Drafting payments of the seller
● Drafting non-solicitation and non-compete articles for departing owners
● Conducting agreements between the buyer and the seller
● Drafting sufficient financing for the sum of the purchase price
Exceeding Client Expectations
In addition to determining whether the purchase price is reasonable, we draw on our expertise to look at the due diligence information submitted by the seller. We help our clients answer questions such as:

● What are the limitations that the buyer will have when trying higher profits in the future?
● Which permits are required?
● Who are the central employees, and will they remain after the conclusion of the transaction?
● What intellectual property does the seller have, and can the buyer use it?
● Do we own or have a licence to use their software?
● What about enhancements and upgrades to software and software code? Are there trademarks, patents, or other corporate know-how that we will need to obtain?

Careful due diligence is necessary when acquiring a business. Our lawyers combine their understanding of our different practice areas to help our clients. We negotiate the terms in a purchase agreement to protect our client's investment.
Effective Completion Of Transactions
Purchasers of businesses want to close their transaction as soon as possible, and on the best terms. Our knowledge of business, regulatory, and tax issues combined with our litigation experience gives our clients the information they need to acquire a business without fault.

We can efficiently meet the concerns and needs of our clients when purchasing a business. Our lawyers move matters economically and accurately throughout the sales process. We also save labour and time through our team of law clerks and paralegals and to complete the appropriate tasks accordingly.

If you are in the midst of selling or buying a business, contact the legal team at Verhaeghe Law Office. Our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers based in Edmonton will make sure the acquisition or sale of your company meets all legal requirements.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?


What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution

In Alberta – the acronym ADR stands for Alternative, Appropriate, or Adaptive Dispute Resolution. While this acronym is used differently depending on who you’re speaking to within the ADR community – in family law the term ADR generally stands for alternative dispute resolution as they pertain to family law and divorce law proceedings. Alternative dispute resolution is most often used as an alternative to expensive litigation as it is a less costly venture and considered an expedited approach to dispute resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution processes include but are not limited to mediation, negotiation, facilitation, arbitration, restorative practices and consensus decision making where both parties come to an agreement on family law resolutions. Alternative dispute resolution is also a way of ensuring a collaborative, respectful and considerate approach to both parties involved when it comes to resolving their legal issues.

What are the benefits of alternative dispute resolution?

There are many benefits to alternative dispute resolution when it comes to family law and divorce proceedings. For example

  • Alternative dispute resolution cost less to resolve legal issues than litigation or traditional court routes
  • Alternative dispute resolution can result in a speedier resolve to contentious issues
  • They offer various options for your family law or divorce issues which gives participants more control in choosing their outcomes
  • They are private and confidential
  • They aim to preserve relationships but at the same time allow participants to learn better ways to prevent or solve problems in the future
  • Gives all participants chances on being heard and voicing their concerns and opinions

How does alternative dispute resolution work?

In Alberta, as well as other provinces across Canada – alternative dispute resolution has historically been an effective way of negotiating and settling family law disagreements. The process involves having lawyers work with both parties in a relationship. The lawyers work under a common objective that both parties reach common ground on all or most issues and that the resolutions work best for both parties involved. There is also an emphasis to resolve differences between both parties expeditiously – making it a very cost-efficient alternative to a long winded and drawn our divorce proceeding. There is an increasing trend of divorcing couples seeking out-of-court dispute resolution with regards to family law and child welfare matters – which is less taxing on the courts. While Alberta does not yet mandate alternative dispute resolution – this type of dispute resolution is not recommended where domestic abuse exists.

Why Choose Verhaeghe Law Office for Alternative Dispute Resolution

At Verhaeghe Law Office, we can offer alternative dispute resolution services to our clients as an option. Our team can make both registered mediators and registered collaborative family law lawyers available to you in order to offer effective alternative dispute resolution services. Through alternative dispute resolution – our lawyers work to ensure that you and your spouse come to a speedier resolve with respect to your divorce proceedings without breaking either of your bank accounts.

Our Edmonton family and divorce lawyers are highly experienced in family law matters and routinely represent clients through alternative dispute resolution processes. We can offer this service no matter how seamless or complex your divorce proceedings may be.

Our Edmonton divorce lawyers take pride in the fact that we can resolve your family law disputes in a timely and cost-effective matter as we have done for many other clients in the past. Contact us for a consultation today by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with an Edmonton divorce lawyer regarding your family law matter.

*Please note the content in this blog does not constitute legal advice as every case is unique from one another. We encourage you to seek legal advice for answers to your divorce and family law questions.

The Disturbing Ties Between Social Media and Crime

The Disturbing Ties Between Social Media and Crime

The Disturbing Ties Between Social Media and Crime

The joke you just posted on Facebook may be funny to some and offensive to others. Maybe you enjoy trolling people because you think their reactions are amusing. Could your social media interactions be construed as cybercrimes? Verhaeghe Law Office would like you to think twice before you post.

Is This a Crime?

A popular prank is to log in to someone’s social media account and post as them on their wall, timeline, or thread. Presumably, because it is intended to be a joke, it is something the person wouldn’t normally say or share. By pretending to be that person, you are committing identity theft. Depending on the consequences of your actions, the person you have pranked could sue.

Bullying online takes many forms. Defamation is spreading information that can hurt someone’s reputation. Posted online for all to see, this is libelous and can be subject to a lawsuit. Defamatory libel can result in up to five years in prison. While you may think your actions are funny or that you are just joking, your “victim” and others reading your posts may consider it to be bullying.

Catfishing, or pretending to be someone you are not, is also considered cyberbullying.

These behaviors may seem socially acceptable because they are online, but think before you engage. Could what you’re saying be construed as a threat? Negatively affect someone’s reputation? Ruin a relationship? Result in suicide?

Over-Sharing & Confessions

Participating in post-crime online behaviors of criminals may not be a crime in itself, but it can negatively affect the outcome of a criminal investigation. We have become so inured to the pervasive nature of social media that we post and interact with people who crave attention, even in the form of performance crimes. In 2017, a woman was found stabbed to death in her Ontario apartment. Shortly after the murder, her former boyfriend allegedly posted a detailed confession on Reddit, a popular social media site. He wrote “his side” of the story, claiming self-defense and shock. He linked to photos of the two of them as a couple and continued to update during his run from authorities.

Reddit users were anxious to comment with advice to run or turn himself in. Straight from the headlines to a Reddit thread, users couldn’t wait to express their opinions and to interact with the “celebrity” online. Are we so embedded in the celebrity culture of social media that we are inoculated against the fact that we are interacting with killers?

In 2015, a woman murdered her father-in-law and posted a selfie holding a bloody knife, followed by another one with a gun on her lap that implied a suicide plan.

Both of these people were apprehended, but it’s disturbing that social media played a major part in attention-seeking after the crimes. And that there was a flood of users commenting with damnation, praise, and advice.

Social Media & Criminal Justice

Social media can be used to blame the victim of a crime. Take the example of the Kardashian robbery in 2016. It didn’t take long for people to begin posting that the crime was fake, that Kim Kardashian “deserved it,” and that maybe she would change her “bad behavior” that caused it.

Creating groups dedicated to the derision of accused individuals, often referred to as “hate groups,” and sharing photos of people accused of crimes can seriously affect the ability of the criminal justice system to provide a fair trial. “Trial by social media” is becoming an ever-larger concern.

Appropriate Use

It may be tempting to use social media to express thoughts and ideas. Remember that your comments are given without context, tone, or any way to interpret your intentions. Stay away from posting as someone else or committing defamation by libel. A prank could end up being a lot more than you bargained for. Keep in mind that engaging with accused criminals may be feeding into their pathology and encouraging them.

Your online actions are your own. Be responsible. If you are the victim of a social media crime, or if you have questions about cybercrime, contact Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500.

Trials & Tribulations of Legalized Cannabis

Legalized Cannabis FAQ

Legalized Cannabis FAQ

Do you know all of the facts about legal marijuana ownership, sale, use, and products? Make sure you are sticking to the letter of the law. The legal experts at Verhaeghe Law Blog have put together some frequently asked questions to help you comply if you choose to consume marijuana.

Are the cannabis laws the same throughout the country?

Each province or territory sets their own rules for the sale, possession, cultivation, and areas of use of cannabis. It is your responsibility to know the laws within your province.

Does it matter where I buy marijuana?

Again, this is governed by each province. For example, Ontario only allows sales through its government-operated online store, while in Alberta it is legal to purchase from private-licensed stores or online.

How much weed am I allowed to have with me?

You are allowed to have up to 30g of dried cannabis with you in what is considered a “public space.” This includes on your person, in your vehicle, or as a maximum amount you can purchase and carry with you. Amounts in excess of 30g can result in arrest and a prison sentence.

Is it okay to bake cannabis into cookies?

Yes. You may consume your marijuana in edibles in any way you like but keep it away from children. Providing cannabis in any form to minors is illegal.

I have some marijuana and my friend wants to buy some from me. Is that okay?

No, it is not. You must have a license to sell marijuana. Without a license, you are subject to large fines and up to 14 years in prison.

Can I grow my own cannabis plants?

This question is not as simple as it seems. Canada’s guidelines allow you to grow up to four plants in a household. These plants should not be more than one meter tall and need to be grown out of public view. However, these guidelines are not accepted in all provinces and some landlords will not allow tenants to grow the plants in their properties. More importantly, if your plant is in a public space when it is budding or flowering, you could receive stiff fines and prison time.

What are the rules regarding CBD oils?

Kyla Ford, daughter of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, recently promoted CBD oils on her Instagram feed. Unfortunately, the body builder’s photos and discount codes are for products that are illegal under the federal Cannabis Act. Any product for sale that is derived from cannabis must be from plants grown under a federal license and processed by a licensed provider. If the oil or CBD product is not approved and licensed, it is considered illegal. Ford has removed all of the CBD oil posts from her popular social media account.

CBD oils are legally available for medical patients from licensed producers.

Time Will Tell

As recreational marijuana cultivation, production, distribution, and sales grow, so will more issues surrounding legal matters. If you need to consult with a lawyer about your rights in regards to cannabis, call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500.

Harsher Penalties In Effect For Driving Impaired

Harsher Penalties In Effect For Driving Impaired

Harsher Penalties

Driving impaired is never a good idea. Alberta recently updated the sanctions for alcohol and drug-impaired driving offences to align with the latest federal laws. These provisions were put into effect to update the laws after cannabis was legalized throughout the country. Today’s federal levels include 80 milligrams or more (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood for alcohol. For cannabis (THC), between 2 nanograms (ng) and 5 ng is considered a less serious offence, while the more serious crime is to have 5 ng of THC or more per ml of blood. When alcohol and cannabis are found in tandem, 50mg or more of alcohol per 100ml blood and 2.5 ng or more of THC per ml of blood is prohibited to operate a motor vehicle.

What Are The New Laws?

Under Bill C-46, police no longer need to have any reasonable grounds to suspect impairment before demanding a sobriety test. Refusing the test can result in criminal charges. On top of that, if you drank within the past two hours after you’ve stopped driving, but your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08, you could get arrested, even though that’s not the intent of the law.

The Bolus Drinking Defence

The harsher laws were designed to help crack down on individuals who consume large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time and then trying to drive home before the alcohol is absorbed. This is called the bolus defence. It’s a defence that is no longer valid under the new laws, but it was one that raised doubt enough that it worked in the past. The Bolus Drinking Defence is defined by The Department of Justice as, “a defence for an individual to raise reasonable doubt that their BAC was over 80 mg at the time of driving by adducing evidence of consumption that is compatible with both the BAC at the time of testing and with a BAC of 80 or less at the time of driving.”

Are The New Laws Working?

Some in the law community have pointed out some of the potential flaws in these new laws. According to a news story from CBC, the law might be a solution to a problem that rarely exists and could punish deeply impact individuals who have done nothing wrong. The Department of Justice notes that in 2017, there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents and 3,500 drug-impaired driving incidents. Even with those staggering numbers, some people believe that these laws infringe on their basic rights and leave much of the details and potential evidence up for interpretation.

If you’ve been charged with drunk or impaired driving, give our team at Verhaeghe Law Office a call at 587-410-2500. We can help you.

The Legal Paradigm

The Legal Paradigm

Legal Paradigm

Most of us watch television. You’ve probably seen at least one episode of the Law and Order franchise. Law and Order is a popular television show that is police procedural for the first half-hour and the legal process for the second. Granted, it uses the US Court System, but as far as the overall process, just how close is this to real life? Let’s see…

Myths in TV Police Procedure and Law

People go directly to a full-blown trial.

On television, the accused appears to be arrested and questioned one day and involved in a full-blown trial the next. The process in real life is quite different. If you are accused of a crime, you may be arrested. You have a right to a lawyer and should call one as soon as possible. After your arrest, you may be held in custody up to 24 hours. At that point, you will either be released or taken to court for a bail hearing. That hearing will determine whether you will be remanded to pre-trial custody in a provincial correctional centre or released with a bail payment. When all of this is done, if you are going to trial, your case will be placed on a court calendar for a preliminary hearing and/or trial.

If it can work in a half-hour it must be a fast process.

Based on average statistics, from your first appearance to final court decision will take approximately 112 days.

The accused will take the stand.

If you are on trail, it is your right to remain silent, and you should base your decision about whether to take the stand on the advice of your lawyer. Remember, the prosecutor must prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The guilty party will undoubtedly either break into tears or have an angry outburst.

Hopefully, if you are accused, your lawyer will prepare you for what to expect during the trial. It is in your best interests to be calm.

Testimony is always straight to the point.

On TV, testimony has to be interesting and provide information for the audience to guess how it will affect the jury’s decision. In real life, testimony can be very long and not nearly as concise as you see on Law and Order. Each side will have many witnesses and a lot of evidence. There is no hard-and-fast rule or formula for what each witness will be asked or how long they will be on the stand.

The courtroom will be full of spectators.

In most cases, unless it is a very high-profile case, the courtroom will not be full. The public is invited to come and watch proceedings in the Provincial Court. On rare occasions, a judge may order that a hearing is closed to the public, usually to protect the privacy of children or others.

Police hang out in courtrooms to find out how their cases play out.

Police are generally seen in the courtroom if they take the stand to present testimony. Lingering in the courtroom like your favorite cop on Law and Order doesn’t happen often. Once they present their testimony, the police are generally back on the job!

Life doesn’t mirror the police procedural/legal drama paradigm. If you are accused of a crime, it is your right to call a lawyer. Call Verhaeghe Law Office. We’ll take you through the rest of the procedure… and there won’t be any theme music.

Miscarriage of Justice? Let’s Appeal

Miscarriage of Justice? Let’s Appeal

Miscarriage of Justice? Let’s Appeal

Depending on the nature of the sentence or conviction, there might be various appeal paths. However, the purpose of a conviction appeal is not to retry your case. A court will not hear your evidence again to determine if you were guilty or not. That said, an appellate court can only set aside your conviction for one of three reasons:

  • The judge made an error of law
  • There was a miscarriage of justice
  • An unreasonable verdict was rendered and couldn’t be supported by evidence

Error of Law

If you believe errors of law were made at your trial, you may appeal your conviction. Wrongful admission of evidence, a wrong interpretation of a Charter, or a misdirection to the jury on a question of law are all examples of errors of law. However, according to the Criminal Code of Canada, Section 686(1)(bb)(iii) if the court believes that the verdict would still have been the same regardless of the error, the appeal will be dismissed.

Miscarriage of Justice

If there are errors in both law and facts, the appellate court can rule to set your conviction aside. Miscarriage of justice is often synonymous with “wrongful conviction.” Some examples include biased evidence editing, prejudice against the class of people, faulty forensic tests, false confessions due to police pressure, misdirection of a jury by a judge during the trial.

An example of a miscarriage of justice occurred in 1972 when Donald Marshall Jr was convicted of murder and was later acquitted in 1983 after spending 11 years in prison. His conviction resulted in the Canada Evidence Act, which states that any evidence obtained by the prosecution must also be presented to the defence on disclosure.

Unreasonable Verdict

Challenging a conviction through unreasonable verdict focuses primarily on the weakness of the evidence. It must be proven that the evidence was too weak for reasonable jurors to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This avenue is often very difficult to prove because arguments about the credibility of witnesses or the importance given to certain pieces of evidence rarely succeed.

What’s The Process?

Through an appeal, it can be asked of the Court of Appeals review decisions rendered by lower courts. The appeal must show that the decision maker made a legal or factual error that impacted the outcome of your case. This isn’t a re-trial, and you do not have the automatic right to appeal. That’s where our team can help. We can determine if you require permission to appeal, obtain that permission, and submit any necessary paperwork to get the process started.

For civil cases, you have one month from the day the judge stated who won the case to file your appeal and pay the $600 fee. For criminal cases, you must file your appeal 30 days from the date of sentencing, and there is no fee. If your case has been accepted for review, the appeal doesn’t stop the enforcement of an order, and you must comply with all judgments and court decisions while the appeal is being reviewed.

If you feel your case is a candidate for appeal, please contact us at (587) 410-2500. We will review your case and determine whether it should be pursued further.

Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

After you receive treatment for injuries you sustain from an accident, your next call should be to a personal injury lawyer. Without legal representation, you could miss out on financial compensation you are entitled to. This compensation is critical to paying for medical care and other support for yourself and your family. Not all personal injury practices are the same, and neither are their lawyers. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when choosing a personal injury lawyer:

Hiring a lawyer with little experience
Personal injury law is a specialized field, and you should be sure to select a lawyer that can represent you at the highest level. Your case will not go well if a well-seasoned lawyer is representing the other side, and a rookie is representing you. Experience and quality go hand in hand, so you will not get far with a lawyer that has less of a track record of success. You cannot gain experience as a lawyer - you must earn it, and an experienced personal injury lawyer will have proven their mettle over time.

Hiring a lawyer with hidden fees
The cost of a lawyer should be upfront and easy to understand. Any firm or lawyer that tries to hide their fees does not have your best interests at heart. The last thing you need to be thinking about after suffering a severe injury is surprise expenses. Make sure the lawyer you retain is forthcoming about how their fees are structured.

Paying too little or too much
The cost of losing your case can be higher than the cost of the legal fees. Be prepared to pay for the best legal representation or risk losing it all. Successful personal injury lawyers do not earn most of their fee unless they win their cases. Your lawyer should always represent your best interests, but investing more money in them can give them extra motivation. It also proves that you have faith in their ability to win your case. Do not balk at a higher fee because it means your lawyer has confidence in your case and is willing to put in that much more work to ensure you win.

Picking someone you do not like
You should not retain a lawyer that you do not feel comfortable with. This does not mean you need to want to be best friends with your lawyer, but you should feel confident in their abilities. Your case rests on you being comfortable enough to tell your lawyer everything, honestly and openly. If you do not feel confident telling them every detail, then they are not the right lawyer for you. Your lawyer should answer any questions you have and keep you informed on a regular basis. Lawsuits are complicated and frustrating, and even more so if your lawyer does not keep you informed.

Using a trial-shy lawyer
Most personal injury cases do not go to trial because it is often in the best interests of both parties to settle. That being said, the lawyer you choose should not be afraid of appearing before a courtroom. A lawyer who is confident about their abilities to win a trial will give you more negotiating power should your case go to trial.

Hiring the right lawyer is the difference between winning and losing your case. Do not get yourself unjustly buried in a mountain of debt - call Verhaeghe Law Office today.