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Forced Partition Sales, Child Custody, and More Legal Advice – Free Joe Tuesday 8/23/11

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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.

Carolyn: I have a question regarding my husband Federal health insurance. We are seperated but I’m sure that in time he will want to marry his mistress. We have been married for 42 years. He worked for the VA Hospital and has Federal Health Insurance and Blue Cross Blue Shield which is extremely good insurance. I have been tole that I can Patician the government to be allowed to keep his insurance ever if he remarries; since I have been his wife for longer than 11 years. Is this correct and how do I go about the process?

Joe Escalante: Since you would no longer be a family member after the divorce, I don’t know of a process that would force the insurance co. to keep you on a family policy. A COBRA policy would keep you on the policy for a fixed time but you know that.
The other options are staying separated or negotiating health coverage as part of your settlement. But that doesn’t bind the insurance co. It only binds your husband to provide some insurance.

Linda: Hi. Parents are divorced. House if for sale. The lawyer gave my parents documents statint what needed to be done on their parts. My father was suppose to get rid of all the cars on the property and prepare it for sale. He still hasn’t gotten rid of the junk cars & hasn’t done all the simple repairs. It’s been years already. My mom is retired and just wants to have the house sold for anything & my dad has the house marked up higher and won’t fix simple repairs. Is there anything my mom can do? Thanks for any help.

Joe Escalante: Yes. She needs to go to court and file for what is called a “forced partition sale.” the court wont put up with that. Then call Hoarders and/or American Pickers so we can all enjoy this.

Julie: We are forming a new dog club and are in the works of getting a 501c3. We plan on holding our first few events prior to the 501c3 being complete. Do we need to do a DBA in the meantime to open a checking account etc or is a DBA a waste of money since we have started the non-profit paperwork?
Thank you

Joe Escalante: It depends on the bank. Find out what they require to open the account. Sometimes the bank will let you deposit funds but won’t let you take them out until the paperwork gets to a certain point. Make sure you have a dog loving tax pro in your group.

Laura: is it illegal for someone to use another persons name and email address to harrass a 3rd party? If so, is this a federal crime?

Joe Escalante: It depends onthe level of harrassment and other things. If what they are doing is a crime, and thy are using someone else’s I.d. It could be criminal identity theft. The proble is that it is rare to get a cop to even take a police report, let alone get a d.a. to prosecute.

Sherri: I have been dealing with a custody case for over 4 years now for my sons,ages 15 and 7. I left their father because he was extremely abusive. I wanted to divorce him for about the last 10 years of our marriage but he would pretty much blackmail me with my own children and guilt me into staying. Whenever I tried to leave he would unpack my bags and drag the kids into our arguments even if it was the middle of the night. His opinion is that if I want a divorce that means I abandon my kids. I want my kids more then anything and have been there for them everyday since they were born.I have custody now just since december but I am headed back to court already.

Joe Escalante: All you can do is patiently go through the process and document everything the father is doing. Present it to the court and ask for sole custody. And read some books like this one.

Lisa:How does someone prove libel on facebook comments? When trademarking something what takes precedence (sp)….1st use or continuous use? I have friends who were in a band 2gether….the person who is trying 2 trademark the name was fired as the lead singer in 2006. The guitar player has used the band name since b4 2006. It is a common used word that the band (name) plays under. Thank you…

Joe Escalante: The standard for defamation would be statements that cause harm AND are untrue. If it’s a public figure who is defamed, you must also prove malice
Regarding the band name, both 1st and continuous use are important, go to and write me that question through the contact tab. We’ll answer it on the radio show.

Marvin: Orthopedic Dr. did surgery on my Finger. Used non absorbable sutures inside. Became swollen & imflammed. Went back to him 2 times & he said nothing wrong. I asked for referal to another Dr & he did. The new DR. did surgery immediately and found the sutures wadded up & removed them. I have a bent finger. I filed a claim with the Dr’s Med Malpractice Ins. Co. and they investigated for 90 days. Yesterday I get letter saying no medical standards were compromised and they would defend claim. I am out in the cold. Small claims possibly. I should get a little but for having to go a second round. Thanks so much. By the way I am in Alabama. No Law Firm I contacted would even talk about it. Just not fair !!

Joe Escalante: Of the malpractice plaintiff lawyers won’t take it, it is probably a loser. If you have certain and provable damages, small claims court might provide some relief.

Suzanne: What legal options would I have if my job (of eight years) at Toyota was taken from me after they injured me on the job? This was done to many women my age.

Joe Escalante: You need a good wrongful termination lawyer. Try attorney connect through legalzoom. Are you in California?

LegalZoom: Here’s the link for Attorney Connect, Suzanne:

Debra: what do i need to do to protect myself from debtors when my fathers passes away

Joe Escalante: His estate must pay all valid debts.

Rose: two questions.. whats the first step if you have an idea for an invention? and how do you go about pitching an idea to a company if you have an idea to make an existing product better? thank you

Joe Escalante: First step would be to apply for a provisional patent. Then read up on the industry. Start with this book:

Domeanica: Hi Joe! If you have a DBA license for your business, well assured name, do you still need to trademark it right away? or is it safe to use until you can get the collateral to pay for it?

Joe Escalante: You will have certain protections regardless of whether you file it or not, but do it as soon as you can afford to.

And make sure it is clear to the industry you are in that you are using it.

Sharon: My daughter’s husband left her, went out of state, and filed for divorce w/o a lawyer. My daughter got a lawyer for her own interests. The court ordered that they each provide financial info and attend Mediation Education class. They had approx. 30 days. She has, he hasn’t. Question: What happens when he hasn’t complied with anything that the court has ordered?

Joe Escalante: It will go more her way than it would have if he was acting like a grown up.

Tammy: How many years do you have to bring a lawsuit for a work related injury?

Joe Escalante: These things vary by state: This guy has a map with some guidance. I’m not sure how up to date he is but it’s worth a look:

If you’ve got a legal question, join us on Facebook to post your question for Joe. Get all the details on the Free Joe tab.

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August 25th, 2011 at 6:33 am