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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The new federal tax code that may have significant impacts on divorcing spouses in Idaho beginning in 2019.  Under the old tax code, a spouse paying spousal support to the other spouse either while the divorce was pending or after the divorce, was able to deduct the payments on their taxes.  Typically, that was a positive for the paying spouse.  The spouse receiving the payments paid taxes on the payments, just like any other income they would receive. Typically, that was a negative for the receiving spouse. 

Under the new tax law, and beginning January 1, 2019, and continuing until the new tax laws are changed, the paying spouse will no longer be able to deduct their payments to the other spouse on their taxes.  That is likely a negative for the paying spouse.  The spouse receiving alimony will not have to count the payments as income for tax purposes.   That is likely a positive for the receiving spouse. 

The new rules currently only apply

Posted by eswartz at 2/21/2018 3:45:00 AM
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 4/13/2015 1:07:00 AM
Monday, March 9, 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 3/10/2015 4:55:00 AM
Sunday, March 1, 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 7:19:00 PM
Sunday, February 22, 2015

People often say that they want the best injury lawyer for their claim.  I can’t say that I blame them.  I, too, would want the best lawyer handling my claim.  So, who is the best injury lawyer? 

Believe it or not, the best injury lawyer is not necessarily the lawyer plastered all over the phone book.  The best injury lawyer is not necessarily the lawyer paying the most in google ad words.  The best injury lawyer is not necessarily the lawyer with television ads.  The best injury lawyer is not necessarily the lawyer who helped a family member or friend with their claim. 

The best injury lawyer is a lawyer who is responsive to your needs, a lawyer who you feel comfortable with and trust, and a lawyer who is competent to handle your claim.  So, how to do know who that is?  Meet them.  Meet with many lawyers.  Get a feel for how they interact with you.  See their office space to get a sense of who they are.

You are likely to be working with the lawyer you select for a minimum of many months, if not many years.  Select a lawyer you feel is going to be as easy to work with on the day they seek your business all the way through your claim.  And, if you choose the wrong lawyer, do not be afraid of switching.  You need to look out after your own best interests.   So, first thing’s first – find a lawyer who agrees that you come first.

At Jones & Swartz PLLC, we strive to put our clients’ first.  We assign two attorneys to each claim along with a paralegal.  With three points of contact for our clients, it is our hope that we can be available and responsive to our clients’ needs.  Calls are returned and emails are responded to and face-to-face meetings are always welcome. 

Injury claims can be difficult situations for clients.  At Jones & Swartz PLLC, we strive to make the injury claim process as easy as possible for the client.   It is out hope that our way of handling injury claims allows our clients to focus on getting better and getting back to being the person they were before they were injured.  

Posted by eswartz at 2/22/2015 6:24:00 PM
Sunday, March 9, 2014

All too often a disagreement quickly turns into an unnecessary lawsuit.  The root of the problem can sometimes be a hungry lawyer who is more interested in feeding his or her family than assisting their client with resolving a simple dispute.  Yes, that’s right.  Lawyers have to make a living too.  But, lawyers who encourage battles only to line their own pockets are the kind of lawyers you should avoid.    

If your lawyer is not cautioning you about the costs and uncertainty of letting a dispute blow up into a lawsuit, but is instead encouraging you to fan the flames of the fire, find a new lawyer.  If your lawyer seems to be doing everything possible to stall a settlement by insisting on unreasonable deadlines and complex documentation, find a lawyer who can get it done without giving you excuses about how complex it needs to be.   Chances are, it does not have to be that complex.  Chances are that if your lawyer is making it that way it is because he or she is running up your bill, helping feed his or her friends in the firm by having them draft unnecessary documents, and, perhaps, more interested in seeing settlement fail so that they can keep you in litigation and keep the churning out bills.      

Search for a lawyer who you can speak to.  Search for a lawyer who asks you whether you really want to scorch the earth in litigation versus offers to do it for you.  Search for a lawyer who is trying to keep you focused on what you do for a living, not keep you focused on what the lawyer does for a living.   

Posted by eswartz at 3/10/2014 12:45:00 AM
Friday, February 21, 2014
Deciding whether or not to file a lawsuit involves more than answering “yes” to whether you have been wronged.  Many other factors must be considered before you pull the litigation-trigger. For starters, how much money are your really out because of someone's wrongful action?  How much money do you have that you are willing to put into fighting a legal battle?  How much time and energy do you really have available to commit to litigation?  How much time and energy does your family have available to commit?  What are your goals?  What are the risks?  Is there a solution other than litigation that could meet your goal?
 
It is natural that you would be really angry shortly after being wronged.  But, jumping head-first into lawsuit may not be the best option.  Your frustrations caused by someone else doing you wrong will not go away just because your find an attorney willing to file a lawsuit.  It may be that such an attorney wants your more than they want to help you resolve your situation. 
 
Litigation is intrusive, time consuming, expensive, and unpredictable.  And, it may not be the answer you are really looking for. 
   
Get help deciding whether pursuing a lawsuit is the best thing for you.  There are other options.  Contact the attorneys at Jones & Swartz PLLC today to discuss what options may be the most productive for your end goals.   
Posted by eswartz at 2/21/2014 11:49:00 PM
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

As an attorney practicing civil litigation, I have become familiar with the legal system.   Through research, I have become familiar with various areas of law.   Listening to clients is how I learn about a case.  

Posted by eswartz at 7/31/2013 7:02:00 PM
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