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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

While the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage established the law regarding marriage rights, many are wondering what that decision means for same-sex couples in areas of the law extending beyond marriage. The United States Supreme Court’s decision ruling that the Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry aligned with a prior Ninth Circuit decision striking down Idaho’s constitutional amendment restricting marriage. The Supreme Court decision impacted more than 1,000 areas of federal law that are related to marital status. This includes everything from bankruptcy filings and Medicare access to military spousal benefits and social security. In Idaho, both court rulings affect how same sex couples are impacted by Idaho divorce law including asset division and spousal support.

                                         

Regardless of whether you are in a domestic partnership or whether you have legally married your partner, there are a plethora of legal issues that same sex couples and their families face, both on the state and federal levels. The attorneys at Jones & Swartz can help individuals navigate these various issues including: complex community property laws; legal adoptions; child custody and visitation; name changes; alimony; property and asset division without marriage; and assessing the legal ramifications of informal property and custody agreements between partners. Regardless of what legal issues you and your family face, having an attorney helping to guide you through this ever changing and constantly developing area of the law can be greatly beneficial in helping you determine your current legal rights and how to go about accomplishing your goals.

Posted by eswartz at 6/29/2016 10:30:00 AM
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Boise has had a large number of pedestrian accidents reported lately.   Be careful out there.   As a driver of a car or a pedestrian, refresh yourself on the rules of the road in Idaho.  Generally speaking, Idaho first requires that drivers exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian:  

… every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary. Every driver shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.

(Idaho Code § 49-615).  Of course, pedestrian have to exercise reason care, too, and they have to follow the traffic signals and markings to keep a driver from claiming that the pedestrian is at fault.   Stay in a cross walk to have the right-of-way.  (Idaho Code § 49-702).  And, mind the pedestrian lights.   Technically a pedestrian can only enter a crosswalk managed by a light  when facing a “Flashing or Steady "Walk" (Idaho Code § 49-803(1)).  A pedestrian is not supposed to enter a crosswalk when seeing a “Flashing or Steady ‘Don't Walk’ or ‘Wait.’" (Idaho Code § 49-803(2)).    

The situation where a pedestrian misses the “walk” light but sees the flashing, but not solid, “Don’t Walk” light and enters the crosswalk is all too common.  Pedestrians who do this do not have the right-of-way and, if hit by a car, can be found negligent. 

Any pedestrian who is hit by a car should contact a lawyer immediately.  Pedestrian-automobile accidents require a firm understanding of Idaho’s rules of the road.  But, best approach for pedestrians is to follow the rules so they are sure to have the right-of-way.  Having the right-of-way is the best defense to a driver trying to blame a pedestrian for the injuries the driver caused.   

Posted by eswartz at 4/13/2016 5:17:00 PM
Sunday, April 12, 2015

Injuries from car accidents may not be limited to the car accident itself.  Certain vehicle designs or malfunctions may make injuries worse.   Injuries caused by a seat belt failure, air bag failure, seat-back collapse, roof collapse, or other defects or failures may be the cause of catastrophic injuries that otherwise would not have been suffered in a car accident had the failures of defects not occurred. 

If you are in a car accident, do not overlook the possibility that the person who causes the accident is not the only one who is at fault.  Careful consideration should be given to whether a car manufacturer is to blame for some or all of the injuries. 

Jones & Swartz PLLC not only handles car accident injuries, but also handles injuries sustained from car defects.  Contact an attorney who understands the signs of car defects. 

If you are in a car accident contact Jones & Swartz PLLC without delay.  In addition to assisting you with your car accident claims against a liable third party, we can assist you with evaluating whether you have a claim against a car manufacturer, and if so, assist you with preserving your car – the evidence of you need to further explore and possibly pursue a car defect claim.  

Posted by eswartz at 4/12/2015 6:07:00 PM
Monday, March 09, 2015

Idaho is among a handful of states known as community property states. Because of its designation as a community property state, many believe that, in the unfortunate event that they go through a divorce, all of the property they own is divided equally between them and their soon-to-be ex-spouse. While that is the case with some couples' property, it does not unequivocally apply to each and every piece of property in the marriage.

Idaho law recognizes a distinction between marital property and separate property. In a divorce action, marital property is split between the spouses while separate property goes independently to the owning spouse. Generally, any property either spouse owned before the marriage is considered separate property. Separate property also usually consists of items a spouse receives as a gift or individually inherits, even if it is during the marriage. Additionally, if a spouse acquires new property during the marriage through the proceeds of her separate property, that property likely remains her sole possession. The property that does not fall into those three separate property categories is generally considered marital property; however, property can change designations during the marriage.

Despite the law identifying which property is marital property and which property is separate property, many divorcing couples continue to disagree as to what category some property falls into. It is important to have an attorney that can help a divorcing spouse navigate the sometimes-complicated community property laws. A diligent lawyer can help a spouse ensure that the division of property is fair, reasonable, and in accordance with the law. At Jones and Swartz, PLLC, we passionately advocate for our clients’ interests and our attorneys are there to answer questions about Idaho law every step of the way.

Posted by eswartz at 3/9/2015 9:55:00 PM
Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sometimes, a problem involves the law, but that does not necessarily mean litigation.  Sometimes problems just need creative legal solutions.  That takes creative lawyers and parties to the problem who value a mutually agreeable resolution over being found to be “right” in a court of law.  While Jones & Swartz lawyers base in Boise litigate cases when necessary, they also take pride in their ability to assist clients with finding a creative legal solution. 

Imagine there was one orange, but two people who wanted it.  Both parties are willing to go to court to get it.  There are lawyers who will take the matter right to court.  Jones & Swartz lawyers will, at least, inquire if taking it to court is the only and best option.  After all, by the time the dispute makes its way through court, the orange is likely to be rotten and useless to both parties fighting over it, and they will both have paid a lot in attorney fees and costs for nothing.           

The party who hired Jones & Swartz is already benefiting from creative legal solutions by hiring Jones & Swartz, but for the other party to benefit as well, their lawyer needs to be more concerned about their client’s wishes than running up lawyer fees.   So, let’s say the other party hires a lawyer who is willing to at least talk through things to learn if litigation is the only option.  The parties and lawyers learn that both parties want the orange and all of it.  As such, splitting the orange in half will not work.  The lawyers and parties cannot stop there.  They need to learn why each party wants the orange and whether each party’s desire excludes the other party’s desire.  This takes cooperation, persistence, good lawyers to help clients focus on goals, and, best of all, not as much in attorney fees as would be spent in litigation.   

Turns out, one party needs the whole orange to make orange oil.  The other party wants to make juice.  Turns out that neither desire excludes the other and both parties can get what they want.  Orange oil is made from the peel of the orange, both the fruit.  Orange juice is made from the fruit, not the peel.  Now, the lawyers get to work drafting a settlement agreement to memorialize the creative legal solution of transferring ownership of one part of the orange to one party and another part of the orange to another party.    

Not every dispute is as simple of this example, but it is worth at least making the inquiry into whether it could be.  Look for creative legal solutions before looking to litigation.  Look to Jones & Swartz’s lawyers for both.    

Posted by eswartz at 3/1/2015 12:19:00 PM
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