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Can My Employer Legally Require Me to Get a Flu Shot? And More Legal Q&A – Free Joe 1/11/13

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Brian: Is it legal for employers to force employees to get flu shots? Just dont understand how someone can force you into receiving an injection of something no one can with 100% certainty say is safe, especially after the news about the steroid injections that caused so many deaths. Just because they say it is good for us doesnt mean it is. How can they make and enforce this as policy legally?

Joe Escalante: If you are an “at will” employee not under a Union deal, they can fire you, unless they are doing something discriminatory like saying “all Mexicans are required to have cootie shots.”

Diane: Good morning Joe, my husband hand wrote his will and had 2 people sign it as witness’s. Is this legal in New York state?

Joe Escalante: There are a few other requirements like the witnesses must really witness the signing and know that the signer is aware of what he’s signing, but basically you got it, two witnesses.

Kara: My boyfriend in Az had police called to his house,he was not home,but his nephew was there with his female friend,the police where called to the house someone said drugs was being sold out if house,police knocked on four and this female friend answered & gave police consent to search home,since my boyfriend is only person living there &,was this female allowed to give consent since my boyfriend was not home,or would this be considered a illegal search & seizure?the officers did come back after finding small amount of marijuana in house,plus wht they charged as sale of dangerous drug(which we still do not knw wht substance they were referring to)but since items were found before search warrant was written up,shouldn’t those items be thrown out of court as admissable?also,since he was not in house,these other people who did not live their were,how can they prove the items belonged to my boyfriend & not these visitors to his home who could have put them in his house when police showed up because they were afraid they personally would be searched & be charged themselves for posession?,or how can they prove they were for sale & not personal use?

Joe Escalante: State laws will dictate what volume constitutes ” for sale.” Search is legal. If the owner had such an interest in denying warrentless searches, he wouldn’t leave his house attended by people who freely grant police entry. No rights have been violated here in my opinion.

Andrea: When I go to court to get child support, will they automatically do visitation at this time or is this a separate issue that the father has to file for?

Joe Escalante: An order governing support should also involve custody. They go together.

Tyler: Why can’t I file for a divorce with online paperwork just because a child is involved? I’ve heard of and known many people to do this on their own to save tons of money in the end, but when I try, I find that due to children I am not allowed… Is this really true!, or what’s going on here….

Joe Escalante: Try legalzoom’s service. As long as its uncontested, it should work fine for you. Click link below

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Tyler:

Melissa: In family law situation is it likely to be able to sue another party for frivolous lawsuits if they keep suing you for contempt but you are never found to be in contempt? this is getting time consuming and very costly

Joe Escalante: Try a restraining order unless you have enough money to go after them and the attorney for filing frivolously.

Tyler: My other question, if I may without being greedy, is there any way to have child support wages re-adjusted once they have been set? I currently pay what I feel is too much for my one child that is not with me and in all honesty, it puts me below my means of survival each paycheck. The mother said she would have our local CRSU(child support recovery unit) look at it and adjust it, but my question is, is this even possible?

Joe Escalante: Yes. With proper evidence of a change in circumstances, a petition to modify support can always be filed.

Jane: What’s the rule of filing tax if I was married 5 months of last year, divorced the rest? Can I file “single” so I’m not linked to my ex for possible future IRS audits?

Joe Escalante: That’s a good tax question for Gary here on Thursday.

LegalZoom: The pros from Corporate Tax Network answer tax questions here every Thursday, Jane. Details here:

Lisa: I have an 8 yr old who is special needs, I fought for the school to get him evaluated and is now in ongoing counseling. He was Dx with ADHD & ED..I had started him on the recommended medication until there where adverse reactions/ side effects. I applied for disability and followed all the instructions. He was denied May of 2012, what do I need to do from here to reaply and have better chances of things comming out in our favor. Is there a extra steps that I can take, do I need a lawyer?

Joe Escalante: Sometimes there are county advocates for this stuff. One way to find out is to find a lawyer that specializes in this field and get a free consultation with him. You might need to hire him in the end but he will know where to send people who can’t afford him.

Karen: What is the process for owning my intellectual property?

Joe Escalante: It depends on what kind. What you got?

LegalZoom: If you’re not sure what kind of protection you need, Karen, check out this chart for help:

Carol: After twenty years is it possible to get a child support order changed?

Joe Escalante: You can always petition the court to modify support orders if circumstances change.

Sylvia: Need to get info on background checks. Actively seeking employment and found incorrect information on my personal check.

Joe Escalante: I would contact the company in writing. Notify them of the errors an warm them that if they don’t correct it, legal action will be taken. Can you sue them for defamation?Yes but it would be a tough case to win.

John: I was taking classes with University of Phoenix (online) and failed a couple. Of classes …personal. reasons. Phoenix. Said I had to pay those off before I could continue fai enough. I got behind (low income) and it went to collections. Now I find my self paying The entire student loan for classes not even taken! I did not receive any of the loan money nor did the school so why do. I have to pay it ALL back? ….gov. loan

Joe Escalante: If you didn’t receive the money, they are billing you erroneously. You need to get them on the phone to explain themselves.

Suzy: Who benefits in Texas when a married man with a previous spouse and kids dies intestate?

Joe Escalante: It’s complicated. Here’s a chart.

Therone: If you own 2 S-Corps, how can you set up so 1 owns the other?

Joe Escalante: One has to be a subsidiary of the other. You need a tax pro involved in this one.

Corinne: Interested in quickest way to register a new business and obtain a Tax ID. Please send me a message directly through Facebook. Thank you.

Joe Escalante: Use Legalzoom to get a tax id #

LegalZoom: Here’s a link with more info, Corinne:

Jim: In a professional services business, an LLC allows you to protect yourself from your business partner’s liability if sometinhg goes “wrong” but not from your own. Is it also possible to judgement proof yourself?

Joe Escalante: The above isn’t entirely accurate but in general becoming judgment proof isn’t something I can give advice about.

Ricky Dean: How can we stop a cuzn from claiming our kids on income tax he told us last yr he needed some help so we helped and he screwed us

Joe Escalante: I suppose you could turn yourself in, and then rat him out. But seriously, you need to get a tax attorney involved in this one.

Cecilia: How long does a step-parent adoption take?

Joe Escalante: No way to predict. Each jurisdiction is different

Mark: am i required to carry any health or dental insurance on my wife. we have been seperated since sept. 2012

Joe Escalante: Only if that is part of the support order.

Nancy: from Texas: if my daughter gave up her parental rights and then was diagnosed w/ a form of bi-polar and is now stable and under control, would she be able to see them again? She is and has been paying child support even tho she hasn’t seen them in over 3 years. Thx

Joe Escalante: She can petition the court for it, but if her parental rights have been terminated its an up hill battle to say the least.

Karl: My question is i met my daughter thats 15 years old & her mom said shes gonna nail me for 15 years of back support. After the fact i havent even known the kid existed til 4 months ago. What legal rights do i have here? We took a paternity test & she is mine. She told me i have no rights to her & im wondering is this true or false?

Joe Escalante: You are getting the run around my friend. You need to talk to a fathers rights lawyer.

Gary: LEGAL QUESTION: I have a “Documented” yacht (registered with the Coast Guard as opposed to CA DMV). I paid a lot of sales tax to CA Franchise Tax Board). I live on my boat, it is my only home. The L.A. County tax assessor wants semi-annual property tax. This feels like dual taxation. Is it legal? GGH

Joe Escalante: This is a good tax question for Gary here on Thursdays.

LegalZoom: Join us on Thursday to post your question for the Tax Pros, Gary:

MS: When creating our own proprietary products, what should we do to protect ourselves from being sued if someone misuses our product?

Joe Escalante: Liability insurance, personal protection offered by choosing the right business entity like a corp or LLC, and following all regulations concerning such products.

These are three good ways. Insurance is #1. But you should only be liable if the person is harmed when using them in the right way.

Timothy: I went into kaiser with severe stomach issues and have been hospitalized over 20 times in a span of two years with them. Had three of the same exact upper gi tests which were negative…I was then told it was all in my head by two separate Kaiser gastroenterology doctors. I was put on so many types of brain meds…almost lost my job….lost out on SO much pay from having to take leave without pay… I recently moved to Palo Alto for a new job…had one attack…one test later from a competent doctor and I find I have severe pacreatic issues that will now never go away because it was never treated. 2 years ago….do I have a case here? If I’m going to die because of their incompetence there has to be something that can be done…I know Kaiser is HUGE so I’m a little intimidated on where to start…from my own research I have found that I have what appears to be 3 solid medical malpractice cases but just don’t know…ANY advice, suggestions would be amazing! I could really use an answer to this….btw Legalzoom Incorporating services are awesome!

Joe Escalante: Sorry to hear about this. You need to get a consultation with a few medical malpractice attorneys. They will let you know if you have a case.

Antonio: Im on probation for a misdemeanor and my son was just recently born…to make a long story short he needs two operations and has already had his first and we are expected to be at the hospital for a while. My court date is coming in april and im afraid ill miss it because of how long ill be here i am pressing my lawyer to petition to get me off early. My question is what are my chances of getting of early?

Joe Escalante: I could never give you better answer than the lawyer working on the case. It varies in each jurisdiction and with each judge.

Timothy: When you are the executor of the estate in a wrongful death case . How is the fee for the executor of the estate determined?

Joe Escalante: Each state has their own formula. I don’t think it matters how the person died.

Frederick: With 2 party checks issued to the homeowner and to the mortgage company, from the insurance companies for home repairs from Superstorm Sandy, can the banks hold any money from the homeowner for any reason or length of time?

Joe Escalante: Anything goes in a storm. They would most likely be governed by what is “reasonable.” That changes during a natural disaster or “force majeure.” They will have plenty if excuses for their conduct so you are probably screwed.

Todd: I got divorced and she never signed the divorce papers this happened in Illinois are we still married ?

Joe Escalante: Yes. Congratulations. You need a final divorce decree from the court.

LegalZoom: That’s a wrap for Free Joe! Attorney Joe Escalante will be back next week to answer more legal questions. ‘Til then, catch Joe on the radio. Check out the schedule for Barely Legal Radio w/ Joe Escalante at the bottom of this page:

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January 15th, 2013 at 5:39 am