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601(a) Waiver or Advance Parole? Different Options for Different Situations

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601(a) Waiver or Advance Parole? Different options for different situations.

When it comes to a family member leaving the country with the intent to reenter so that their status can be corrected, the amount of time the process takes, and which route a person chooses can be of great importance. Not only is there the consideration of a close relative that may have been around for years prior to this having to travel to a country they may not have seen since childhood, there is the time factor and the always present concern that once they are out, they may not be allowed to reenter.

While a 601 waiver can be used to address a wide range of conditions that would make a person otherwise inadmissible, the 601(a) waiver is used only when the undocumented persons presence in the country is the sole inadmissibility condition. That is, if an immigrant crossed into the country without inspection but has not violated any other laws and would otherwise be immediately eligible for the petition process, a 601(a) waiver may be the right way to go. It is simpler and almost always less expensive of a process, as well as being potentially less time-consuming.

However, when it comes to DACA recipients only, there is another option to consider. Advance Parole is a method of bypassing the 601/601(a) process. By obtaining an approved I-131, a DACA recipient could use that I-131 to leave the country and be immediately eligible for an adjustment of status upon reentry, thus avoiding the potentially lengthy process of the consular interview that is still required with a 601/601(a) waiver. It is important to note that with DACA recipients the reasons they can use to obtain an I-131 are limited. The applicant must be requesting travel for either employment, educational, or humanitarian purposes. If approved, the DACA recipient will be recognized as having validly entered the country upon their return, making them potentially eligible to immediately begin the adjustment of status process.

Advance Parole does not come without risks. If there are any other reasons a person could be found inadmissible, they may still be denied reentry upon inspection at the border, despite having the approved travel status. 

Whatever method may seem right for you, it is important to always consult with an immigration attorney to be certain that the process goes well. Immigration Law is a complex and constantly changing field and those attempting to undergo the process without the guidance of a professional are at a much higher risk for something to go wrong, which could result in a family member being barred from reentering the country for 3 years, 10 years, or even permanently.

If you have a family member that needs immigration help, we at Eason Law are ready to help. Call or set up an appointment online to speak with one of our attorneys and find out how we can help your family stay together and stop living in fear of deportation.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

Jonesboro Criminal Defense & Family Law

Serving Northeast Arkansas as well as numerous other counties in Arkansas, Eason Law has built a reputation for providing excellent legal services to our clients in a courteous and professional manner. Every client has a unique need when consulting with an attorney. We work together with each individual client and tailor our representation to meet the needs and goals of each client.

Why You Should Take Probation Seriously

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But it’s only Probation! Why you should take it seriously.

Probation isn’t just a “get out of jail free” card.

Many times, especially when dealing with first-time offenders, a Court may sentence someone facing criminal charges to supervised probation instead of serving time in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. This is a better alternative for the Defendant than serving time in prison; however, if not followed properly, the probation can ultimately lead you to prison, possibly for the full length of the sentence available for each charge you plead guilty to. For one reason or another, many people do not understand the seriousness of probation and the consequences that may come if not followed properly.

Probation only comes when you plead guilty!

One thing to remember, you plead guilty to the charges! Why is this so important if you only got probation? In order to receive a sentence of probation, one must plead guilty to the charges. When accepting your plea deal for probation, the Court will remind you that if you do not meet the stipulations of your probation, the Judge can come back and sentence you to the full sentence available to them under the Arkansas sentencing guidelines. For example, a class D felony (the smallest of the felonies) carries with it a term of imprisonment up to 6 years. So, if your probation officer or the prosecutor files a petition to revoke your probation, you could end up serving the full length of the sentence under the sentencing guidelines.

What are actions that constitute violating probation?

The better question is what actions do not. When someone gets put on supervised probation, they are immediately under the careful watch of the State of Arkansas and in particular, their probation officer. There are two main types of probation violations: 1) technical violations and 2) being charged with a new crime. What is a technical violation? A technical violation is when you do not do something you were supposed to. Examples are paying your fines, failing a drug test, failing to report to your probation officer when scheduled to meet, and so on. Fortunately, in Arkansas, there is Act 423. This Act allows probation officers and prosecutors to place someone in the county jail for a shorter period of time on technical violations instead of sending the person to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. The goal of this act is to limit the number of inmates in the prison system. The act states that minor violations can be up to 90 days in jail and up to 180 days in jail for major technical violations.

How many technical violations can I get before being sent to prison?

Criminal defense attorneys hear this question often. Under Act 423, you can receive up to 6 sanctions before being fully revoked and sent to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. However, please be aware that you are eligible to be fully revoked after only two (2) sanctions. If the prosecutor files a revocation of your probation, it is best to contact a criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer understands that sanctions are available to their client in lieu of prison time if under six (6) technical violations.

What happens when the State files to revoke probation?

If the State files to revoke probation, the first thing to figure out is if it is a technical probation violation or a violation for being charged with a new crime. If it is technical, it’s best to always look and see whether sanctions are available. If this is not the case, or if you caught a new charge, then there will have to be a probation revocation hearing. In the hearing, your attorney will be able to cross examine any witness the prosecutor calls and you may call your own witnesses. This includes your probation officer.

 However, the most important thing to remember regarding a revocation hearing is that the State does not have to prove you violated your probation beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard for both probation and parole hearings is much lower than in a normal jury trial. The standard in these hearing is “preponderance of evidence.” This means, looking at the evidence presented, it is more likely than not that you violated your probation. That is a much lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” which is what must be proven in any criminal trial. And lastly, if a petition to revoke probation is filed against you, you are not afforded the right to a jury trial. It is the judge, and the judge only, that decides whether you violated your probation.

At Eason Law, we have helped many people navigate criminal charges. Whether it be a simple traffic violation, marijuana possession, or felony drug charges, we handle it all. If you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your criminal law matters, call us today and let us help you through the process.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

What to Know about Arkansas Property Deeds

Real Estate Agent Handing Client House Keys

What to Know about Arkansas Property Deeds

 

PROPERTY TRANSFERS – You got the house, but what else came with it?

In Arkansas, there are a number of different situations in which real property is transferred from one person to another, but they each have one thing in common – a deed. A deed is the legal document which officially transfers ownership of a piece of property. Without a deed, there cannot be an actual transfer. However, not all deeds are the same. Three of the most common types of deeds are the Warranty Deed, the Quitclaim Deed, and the Beneficiary Deed. Each have their own unique benefits and qualities. Below, we will detail the differences between the deeds and hopefully help you understand the advantages and pitfalls of each.

 

WARRANTY DEED – The Deed of Deeds

Warranty Deeds are the most commonly used deeds, and for good reason – they offer the most protection to the person who is receiving the property. Imagine finally buying your first home, only to learn a year later that someone other than the seller also had some sort of claim to that property. If you did not receive a Warranty Deed from the seller, then you basically have no recourse against the seller for not providing you with a “clean” title to the home. So, what is a Warranty Deed, exactly?

A Warranty Deed is a guarantee, or promise, from the seller to the buyer that the seller has full title to the property, and that no other person has any claim or interest to the property. If it later turns out that there are other people with claims or interests, then the buyer can sue the seller for breach of the guarantee. Because the Warranty Deed carries with it a guarantee of full, clean title, the seller of property will often want to have a title search performed on the property just to double check that there are no unknown issues with the title, which often results in a longer and more costly process.

 

QUITCLAIM DEED – The Quick Easy Solution

Unlike a Warranty Deed, the Quitclaim Deed does not include any guarantees about the Property’s title. All a Quitclaim Deed does is transfer the exact same rights the owner has at that specific time. If there are outstanding claims against the property, the buyer will be subject to all of the claims. So why would anyone accept a Quitclaim Deed instead of a Warranty Deed? Well, for one, using a Quitclaim Deed is often a much faster and cheaper way to transfer property. That is one reason the Quitclaim Deed is typically used when a person wants to transfer a piece of property to a family member. People also use Quitclaim deeds when selling a cheaper piece of property.

For example, say John Smith inherited a piece of property from his great aunt but the property is in terrible condition. John may decide to sell the property cheap for cash to someone that wants to restore the property. In that instance, John will not want to warranty any of the property, instead, he will just transfer what rights he inherited to the property through a Quitclaim deed. There are many beneficial uses for a quitclaim deed, just make sure you understand what you are getting when you transfer or purchase property this way.

 

BENEFICIARY DEED – The Deed that Transfers on Death

A common question attorneys get asked is how to best go about ensuring their property will be received by the right people after they die. While it is always a good idea to have a will, that is not always the most efficient way to ensure that the right person receives your property once you’re gone. Why? Because in order for your wishes to be carried out, your will must go through the “Probate” process which can be both timely and expensive. Luckily, Arkansas law provides multiple ways to avoid the Probate process and still have your wishes followed. One of these non-probate options is the Beneficiary Deed. A Beneficiary Deed allows someone to transfer real property (such as a home) to a designated person – the “Beneficiary” – automatically after their death without having to go through the Probate process.

The benefit is that the person granting the property to the buyer keeps full title to the property until their death. Upon death, the transfer to the other person happens automatically and the buyer (or family member) will be the bona fide owner of the property. Like with the Quitclaim deed, a beneficiary deed only transfers over what rights the seller (or grantor) has to the property at the time of death. Any claims against the property are not warrantied. 

 

Eason Law can Help

At Eason Law, we have helped many property owners with their real estate needs. Whether it is transferring property, property disputes, drafting real estate documents or contract disputes, our experienced team can help you through the process.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

Emergency Custody-Filing Ex Parte or Modification

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Emergency Custody: What is an emergency in the eyes of the Court?

So, you want to file for emergency custody of your minor child or children? This is a statement that family law attorneys often get, however, many people do not understand what filing an Ex Parte Custody Modification truly means. What does Ex Parte mean? What does the court look at when determining an emergency? Should I file for an ex parte emergency change in custody or just a modification of custody? Can I do this on my own or should I hire an attorney? If you are reading this blog, then these are probably questions you have. Hopefully by the end of reading this post, you will have a better understanding of these issues to base your decisions on. So, let us dive in.

What does Ex Parte mean?

Ex Parte in its simplest terms means “without the other party.” An ex parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the dispute to be present. Regarding ex parte custody matters, one must file a petition stating the exact nature of the allegations regarding the other party (usually a parent or guardian) and state why it is an emergency that custody be changed immediately regarding the minor child or children. A judge may look at this petition without the other party’s consent or objection. Most of the time, the other party does not know that it has been filed yet. Should the judge decide that the nature of the allegations warrant an immediate removal of the child or children, the judge may sign an Ex Parte Order giving immediate but temporary custody to the party which filed the petition. If this Order is entered, a temporary hearing must be expediated in the matter so a hearing will be held usually within 72 hours of the Order. This affords the other party a chance to defend the allegations.

What constitutes an emergency?

What constitutes an emergency is a question of fact for the judge. The judge must look at the immediate threat or harm to the child or children if they are allowed to stay in the home. The judge has a difficult task of weighing the emergency allegations and request for immediate custody in your petition against the harm of not allowing the other party a chance to defend these allegations. As you might guess, the burden of proof for an ex parte emergency custody order being signed by the judge is high. That being said, there are some things that usually meet those standards. Things such as illegal drug use in the home with the children present, severe abuse or neglect of a minor child, a recent arrest of the primary custodian for things such as illegal drug use or any other severe criminal charge. Again, these are examples and not a certainty that an emergency order will be entered. A court must look at each petition on a case-by-case basis and review all the facts submitted in a petition to determine if the allegations give rise to an emergency custody change.

Should I file for an ex parte emergency change in custody or just a modification of custody?

Generally, courts impose more stringent standards for modifications than for initial determinations of custody. “A party seeking to modify custody must prove that a material change of circumstances has occurred since the last order of custody or that material facts existed at the time of the decree that were unknown to the court.” Lloyd v. Butts, 343 Ark. 620, 37 S.W.3d 603 (2001). Custody will not be modified unless it is shown that there are changed conditions demonstrating that a modification is in the best interest of the child. While custody is always modifiable, appellate courts require a more rigid standard for custody modification than for initial custody determinations in order to promote stability and continuity for the children and to discourage repeated litigation of the same issues.


In all honesty, it must be a TRUE emergency for a court to enter an emergency order. As stated above, immediate threat or harm to the child or children must be shown for a court to enter an order ex parte. However, just because a court denies your ex parte emergency does not mean they are denying the custody change completely. The court is just stating that you did not meet the burden of proof to show it is an emergency. In many instances, the court will still allow your petition to be heard at a hearing, but the court will allow the other party to respond and give them a chance to hire an attorney.


Whether or not your particular situation could meet the standards of an ex parte emergency custody filing is something you should discuss with an attorney. Some do, some do not. A family law attorney should be able to advise you of whether or not you should file the emergency or a regular modification of custody. This type of matter is extremely fact specific so every client’s answer to this question may very well be different.


At Eason Law, we have helped many people with both emergency custody matters and custody modification cases. If you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your custody law matters, call us today and let us help you through the process.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

Social Media and Family Law: Everyone is Watching, Including your Ex’s Lawyer

Social Media and Family Law: Everyone is Watching, Including your Ex's Lawyer.

Have you ever thought, “I really wish I would have waited until tomorrow to make that post?” Well, you were probably right. Many people do not understand that once they post something on a social media platform, it has been broadcast to the world and there will be evidence of it lurking around even when you delete it shortly after posting.

As a family law attorney, I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I LOVE it when I get to use it against the opposing party, but not so much when it is used against my clients. One of the worst things someone can do when involved in a divorce or custody battle is to begin “oversharing” on their favorite social media platform. Please take note that I used the words “someone” and “involved.” It does not always have to be a client’s social media that will be used against them. If it is a custody battle between two already divorced people, it may be that new spouse’s posts that your ex’s attorney uses against you. Therefore, when beginning any family law dispute, it is best to have a conversation with those closest to you regarding what they do and do not post when it comes to yourself, your children, your ex-spouse, or your ongoing dispute with an ex-spouse.

To post, or not to post. That is the Question.

During any family law proceeding dealing with custody of children, it is best to limit your social media posts. That night you were kid-free and out with the friends doing shots at the local bar might seem fun, light-hearted and funny. The judge may not see it that way, especially if there are multiple posts of you doing this sort of behavior. By all means, this does not mean that you cannot ever let your hair down when going through a custody battle, it just means you should be aware regarding what you post.

 However, do not think that it is just the pictures that will be put up on the big screen for the whole court room to see. Attorneys love to read what you write as well. Remember that night you were so mad at the ex-spouse and current custody situation that you decided to air out some pretty negative things on Facebook? Maybe you do not, but I bet someone took screenshots and gave it to their attorney. That someone is your ex… or a mutual Facebook friend for your ex. While we are on the subject, please be cognizant when receiving new friend requests during this time as well. People tend to want to make fake profiles or have other mutual friends stalking your profile to get all your dirt.

Should I delete or deactivate my social media profiles all together during my case?

That may be a conversation for you and your attorney. I certainly have asked clients to deactivate their profiles during this time. However, this is usually when it becomes a big issue for them and their case. If you are mindful and think about it before your posts, there should be no need to delete or deactivate your accounts. The best question to ask yourself when posting something is, “Could a judge view this negatively when he or she sees my posts?” If the answer is anything but a resounding NO, then you probably should not post.

 At Eason Law, we have helped many people navigate divorce and custody cases. If you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your criminal law matters, call us today and let us help you through the process.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

What Factors Will The Court Look At When Determining Custody?

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What factors will the court look at when determining custody?

One of the hardest parts of going through a divorce is coming to terms with the fact that your child (or children) may not be living with you on a permanent basis after the divorce. Many people still believe that the mother always ends up with the children and the father gets the kids every other weekend. This is not true. Over the last several years, Arkansas courts have routinely favored granting joint custody to the parties. The judge will look at several factors in determining whether one parent should be awarded custody over the other parent or if joint custody is in the best interest of the children.

Please note that there are different types of custody arrangements. Legal custody refers to who makes decisions about the child’s medical care, education, religion and other important determinations. Physical custody refers to who the child lives with. A judge may grant sole custody to one parent on either or both types. And, as stated above, a judge may grant joint physical and legal custody to the parents. For the purpose of this article, we are only talking about physical custody.

The Times – They Are A Changin’

In Arkansas, the key phrase you will hear over and over when determining custody of children is “the best interest of the child.” The statute reads, “In an action for divorce, the award of custody of a child of the marriage shall be made without regard to the sex of a parent but solely in accordance with the welfare and best interest of the child.” Ark. Code Ann. §9-13-101(a). What does this mean? It means that courts no longer have a presumption that young girls should be raised by their mothers and young boys by their fathers. Furthermore, Arkansas has abolished the “Tender Years” doctrine. This doctrine created a presumption that the mother could best care for a young child (usually infants and up to two years of age). And what this really means is that both parties involved start off the custody negotiations and litigation on a level playing field.

So, What Is The “Best Interest Of The Child?”

Safety. Safety is the number one priority of the court. In addition to safety, the court likes to provide children with consistency and routine. For instance, if living with you full time would disrupt the child’s schedule or interactions with friends and other family members, the judge may decide to grant custody to the other parent.

But can my child have a say who they live with? Actually, yes. While it is untrue that a child gets to decide who they want to live with once they turn a certain age, the child’s preference will be considered by the judge as long as the child is of “sufficient age and mental capacity.”

Other factors the court may consider in determining the best interest of a child can include the psychological relationship between the parent and the child, the need for stability and continuity in the child’s relationship with the parents and siblings, and the past conduct of the parents toward the child.

Other Factors The Court May Consider

In addition to the best interest of the child factors stated above, the court may consider some of the following factors as well:

  1. the child’s schedule of activities.
  2. the physical and mental health of the parents
  3. the current relationship the child has with each parent
  4. the work schedule of each parent
  5. the living accommodations of each parent (will the child have their own bedroom, etc.).

Contact Eason Law

At Eason Law, we have helped many people navigate divorce and custody matters. Whether it be an initial divorce or modification of custody and child support obligations, we handle it all. If you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your family law matters, call us today and let us help you through the process.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

Riding Dirty-Was that Police Stop an Illegal Search and Seizure?

Man being arrested by police officer

Riding Dirty - Was that police stop an illegal search and seizure?

If you have stumbled upon this article, chances are it was not by mistake. As criminal defense attorneys, we often get asked about illegal search and seizures during a vehicle stop. Most people believe that their stop was unconstitutional, but was it? What are the factors the court will look at to throw the evidence out during a criminal trial?

Did the Police Officer Have Probable Cause?

During a criminal trial in Arkansas, in order for a prosecutor to introduce evidence from a search conducted by police during a traffic stop, the prosecutor must establish one of two things: 1) that the officer who conducted the stop had reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct justifying the stop; or 2) that the driver of the vehicle gave consent to the search. Keep in mind that if you consent, any evidence found can be used against you!

What creates reasonable suspicion? 

In Arkansas, Reasonable Suspicion is defined as “a suspicion based on facts or circumstances which of themselves do not give rise to the probable cause requisite to justify a lawful arrest, but which give rise to more than a bare suspicion; that is, a suspicion that is reasonable as opposed to an imaginary or purely conjectural suspicion” [Ark. R. Crim. P. 2.1]. Numerous circumstances can lead to “reasonable suspicion” for an officer to stop your car. Traffic violations such as speeding, broken taillights, failure to use turn signal, and expired tags, among many other minor traffic violations, are enough reason for a police officer to stop your vehicle. However, an officer may not target an individual. Targeting individuals includes, but is not limited to, pulling a vehicle over because of the driver’s race or stopping a vehicle if an officer sees it leaving a bar. However, please keep in mind “A police officer is justified in making a traffic stop if the officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle has violated a traffic law. Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996).

How Long Can an Officer Detain Your Vehicle During a Routine Traffic Stop?

A police officer may detain you while completing certain routine tasks. For example, as part of a valid traffic stop, a police officer may detain you while the officer completes certain routine tasks, such as computerized checks of the vehicle’s registration and the driver’s license and criminal history, and the writing up of a citation or warning. The officer is allowed to ask routine questions such as your destination, the purpose of your trip, or if the officer can search the vehicle. Always keep in mind that the officer is allowed to act on whatever information you volunteer to them. However, continued detention of a person or vehicle beyond a reasonable time to complete these routine tasks is illegal by the officer. Any evidence the prosecutor offers to introduce from a search considered illegal should be suppressed in a criminal trial.

May the Fourth Be with You

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the unreasonable search and seizure of persons or their belongings. If an officer violates the rules stated above while searching your car, then the officer will have conducted the search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Any evidence gathered in an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment can be suppressed at your criminal trial. The court will not suppress the evidence on its own. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to file a “Motion to Suppress.” Your attorney will argue many of the points made above and why this search violates your Fourth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. We highly suggest hiring an experienced Arkansas criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a criminal offense such as drug possession, marijuana possession, possession with intent to deliver and so on.

Eason Law can Help

At Eason Law, we have helped many people navigate criminal charges. Whether it be a simple traffic violation, marijuana possession, or felony drug charges, we handle it all. If you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your criminal law matters, call us today and let us help you through the process.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

The Process to Your Freedom: The steps in a divorce

The process to your freedom. The steps in a divorce.

Beginning the Divorce Process

If you are reading this blog post right now, more than likely you, or someone you know, is contemplating a divorce. This is a scary time for all involved, especially when you have no idea what to expect. Even more frustrating, you may not even know the next steps after talking to an attorney. Hopefully, after reading this blog, you will have a better understanding and be better prepared should you need to move forward with a divorce. Please note that this is not every step that can or should be taken, but this is an overview of the major steps to take.

First and foremost, please understand that the more you and your ex-spouse can agree and compromise, the easier this process will go for both of you. (and the cheaper it will be). That being said, let’s be real, if you could agree and compromise, you probably would not be talking about divorce and hiring lawyers.

Is the Divorce Contested or Uncontested?

The first thing you need to figure out is whether this is going to be a contested or uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses agree that the marriage is to end and come to a mutually satisfying agreement regarding the final divorce settlement. The streamlined divorce procedure can often save a couple time and money. As you might guess, a contested divorce is when the spouses cannot arrive at an agreement on one or more key issues in order to conclusively terminate their marriage. The two key issues which most spouses cannot agree on is custody of minor children and finances. Sometimes you can navigate an uncontested divorce without an attorney, but it is strongly advised to never try to litigate a contested divorce on your own.

The Divorce Complaint

So, what is the process? First, a Divorce Complaint must be filed. If you are the spouse filing for the divorce, you or your attorney will file a Complaint for Divorce. In the complaint, you will make your initial case alleging proper residency, grounds for divorce, which spouse should have custody of minor children and any financial allegations regarding money, property, etc. The complaint and a summons will be served on the non-filing spouse (the Defendant). If served with a divorce complaint and summons, in Arkansas, you have thirty (30) days to file an Answer to the complaint. Basically, an Answer is your response to all the allegations made by your ex-spouse in the Complaint.

Custody and Divorce

The next question to ask yourself is regarding minor children and the marital home. If you have minor children, can you agree on custody? If not, you will most likely want to ask the court for a Temporary Hearing. A temporary hearing is a hearing held closer to the beginning of a divorce matter usually to determine disputes which require an immediate resolution. A judge will hear the arguments on both sides and make a temporary ruling. The temporary ruling will stay in effect until the final hearing and divorce decree are entered in the case. Disputes such as the custody arrangement between the parties, child support obligations, who remains in the marital home, and spousal support are usually heard by the court during the temporary hearing. A temporary hearing may or may not be necessary in a divorce. Ultimately it is something you should discuss with your lawyer.

Divorce Discovery Process

In a contested divorce, you will almost always do discovery. This can be done before or after a temporary hearing. Discovery is the process your attorney will use to obtain information from the opposing party. The two most common discovery processes are called interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Interrogatories are written questions posed to the opposing party, for which a response is required, under conditions specified by the jurisdiction ’s rules of court procedure. In other words, interrogatories are questions you get to ask your ex-spouse which must be answered under oath and within a specific time frame. Requests for Production are discovery requests served by one party to an action on another for the presentation for inspection of specified documents or tangible things. Common requests can be bank statements, paystubs, texts and/or email communications between the parties, etc. Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents are nearly always sent to the opposing party together.

The Divorce Final Hearing

Finally, once all the above has taken place, you or your attorney will set the case for a final hearing or trial. A family law trial can look quite a bit like a trial you see on television. Parties can call witness to testify, introduce evidence, cross-examine witness, etc. The big difference between a television trial and a family law trial is that there is no jury. Family law trials are heard and decided by judges. At the end of the trial, the judge will enter a final order on all the disputes between the parties based on family law rules and case law, along with the evidence and testimony heard at the trial. The judge’s ruling will be entered in your divorce decree which, once filed, becomes the final order and the official dissolution of the marriage.

Eason Law Divorce Experience

At Eason Law, we have helped many people navigate divorce and custody matters. Whether it be an initial divorce or modification of custody and child support obligations, we handle it all. If you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your family law matters, call us today and let us help you through the process.

Contact us today for your FREE consultation.

Please click the scheduling link below to set a time and date with one of our attorneys. We’re looking forward to helping you!

How does the new Arkansas Child Support order change my current child support obligations?

Image of father holding up his young baby.

How does the new Arkansas Child Support order change my current child support obligations?

The update to Arkansas Administrative Order No. 10 and what it means for you.

Arkansas has recently updated Administrative Order No. 10, a long-standing method and its corresponding chart which calculates child support obligations. The previous Administrative Order No. 10 calculation was based solely on the income of the non-custodial parent. If you are wondering what the difference is between the custodial and non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent is the parent which has the children less than fifty percent (50%) of the time in the custody arraignment, and the custodial parent has the children the majority of the time (or least more than 50%). The old calculation did not take into consideration the income of the primary custodial parent. Many states across the nation have begun to change over to a method which considers both parents income and Arkansas’s new Order does just that.

Out with the Old and In with the New.

On April 2, 2020, the Arkansas Supreme Court issues their opinion titled In Re Implementation of the Revised Administrative Order No. 10. The new order shifts away from basing all child support obligations solely on the non-custodial parent’s income and instead is based on an “income-sharing” model. 

In this model, the income from both parents of the child or children are taken into account. First, the court must determine how much of your combined income the child or children need to meet basic costs of living. Let’s look at this a little closer. Say, you make $4,000 gross a month and your ex-spouse makes $2000 gross a month. The two of you have a combined gross income of $6,000. Next, you will look at the new 2020 Child Support Chart to find how much has been determined to be the child support obligation for each child. You can find the chart HERE.

So, let’s say that you and your ex only have one child together with a combined income of $6,000 a month. Per the chart, the child will need $815.00 per month to meet their basic needs. Your child support obligation will be based on your percentage of the $6000 monthly income you contribute. So, if you make up $4000 of the total $6000, then you are responsible for 66.66% of the $815.00 which would be $543.28 per month. The non-custodial parent makes a cash contribution to the custodial parent – child support – and the custodial parent pays her or his percentage directly toward the children’s needs.

The changes also include a method of calculating support in joint custody cases to provide uniformity across the state. In cases of joint or shared custody, where both parents have responsibility of the child(ren) for at least 141 overnights per calendar year, the court may consider the time spent by the child(ren) with the obligated party as a basis for adjusting the child-support amount. In particular, in deciding whether to adjust child support, the court should consider the presence and amount of disparity between the income of the parties, giving more weight to those disparities in the parties’ income of less than 20% and considering which parent is responsible for the majority of the expenses, such as routine clothing costs, costs for extracurricular activities, school supplies, medical expenses, child care expenses, and any other similar fixed expenses.

I Already have a Child Support Order Under the Previous Method, Can It Be Modified?

Normally, an Arkansas Court will not change a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation unless there has been a material change of circumstances. Arkansas law says that a change of 20% or $100 in income is a material change that will allow a modification of your child support obligation.

The Court’s changes to the child support guidelines has stated that an inconsistency between an existing child-support award and the amount of child support that results from applying the Family Support Chart based on the Income Shares Model shall be a material change of circumstances sufficient to support a petition to modify child support with some exceptions. All of this meaning that the revised Administrative Order No. 10 gives many people the opportunity to modify their child support obligations to better fit their situation. If you are wondering if this better fits your situation, go to the link above, calculate your support under the new income share model and compare it to what you are paying in now.

At Eason Law, we have helped many people navigate divorce and custody matters. Whether it be an initial divorce or modification of custody and child support obligations, we handle it all. If you need an experienced legal team to help you navigate your family law matters, call us today and let us help you through the process.

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A Construction Contract That Makes Sure You Get Paid

Photo of iron workers on a large building project

A Construction Contract That Makes Sure You Get PAID.

Many contractors still believe they can work off a handshake and an estimate. Those days have long passed, and a construction contract is needed today more than ever to protect you and your interest as a residential contractor or subcontractor.

Will the form contract I got off the internet work?

Sites such as Rocketlawyer seem like they are the perfect answer to drafting your own construction contract. They make claims of amazingly low cost deals for all your contract needs. Will a contract from one of these sites protect you as a contractor or subcontractor doing work in Arkansas? Absolutely not. Arkansas Construction laws are specific to the State of Arkansas and the online form contract simply won’t cut it. Many notices must be given in a construction contract and each notice will depend on the type of construction work being done by the contractor. Websites that offer low cost contracts do not make their contracts specific to the laws of the state requested. In fact, they usually use the same language in all their contracts and merely change the name of the state on the contract. You should never use a form contract from one of these websites.

Will placing a Mechanic’s Lien or a Materialman’s Lien help me out?

Absolutely. Mechanic’s liens are legal documents that essentially reserve the rights of the person who filed the lien to seek unpaid compensation. They are usually filed by contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers that never received payment for work that they performed or materials that they provided on the property. Placing a lien on someone’s property causes a severe penalty to the homeowner and/or commercial property owner. A Mechanic’s or Materialman’s Lien will “cloud the title” to the property. This means that the lien will appear in public records. This also means that any lien must be paid off before the homeowner can sell, refinance, or borrow against the equity on their property. In practical terms, placing a lien on a property creates a major nuisance for any owner of the property. Creating this nuisance will help get you, as the contractor or subcontractor, the money you are owed for the work you have completed.

How do I make sure I get paid?

In the summer of 2017, the Arkansas Legislature revised the Arkansas Mechanic’s and Materialman’s Lien Statute A.C.A. 18-44-115. This revision has created harsh penalties for contractors and subcontractors who fail to get the “Important Notice to Owner” signed before the construction project begins.

A.C.A. 18-44-115 states “No lien upon residential real estate containing four (4) or fewer units may be acquired by virtue of this subchapter unless the owner of the residential real estate, the owner’s authorized agent, or the owner’s registered agent has received, by personal delivery or by certified mail, a copy of the notice set out in this subsection.” This notice must be in the contract and signed before any construction work begins. This Notice must also be stated exactly as it is written in the statute. While getting a lien placed on property can be a very effective way to get payment for work completed yet the homeowner has failed to pay for, it is the 2017 revision that has caused great concern when dealing with unpaid construction work.

In 2017, this statute added a section which states, “ If a residential contractor fails to give the notice required under this subsection, then the residential contractor is barred from bringing an action either at law or in equity, including without limitation quantum meruit, to enforce any provision of a residential contract.” This provision is a severe penalty for any contractor who has done work and not been paid. Quantum Meruit is Latin for “as much as he deserved,” the actual value of services performed. Quantum meruit determines the amount to be paid for services when no contract exists or when there is doubt as to the amount due for the work performed but done under circumstances when payment could be expected.

This change also bars a contractor from being able to sue for unjust enrichment. Unjust enrichment occurs when Party A confers a benefit upon Party B without Party A receiving the proper restitution required by law. This typically occurs in a contractual agreement (such as a residential construction project) when Party A fulfills his/her part of the agreement and Party B does not fulfill his/her part of the agreement. In other words, it is much like Quantum Meruit. You, as the contractor or subcontractor, have completed residential construction work for your client, your client has benefited from the work you completed, yet your client/homeowner refuses to pay for your services.

By adding in this language, the Arkansas Legislature has effectively taken away a contractor’s right to recover any monies owed to them if they fail to have this pre-construction notice signed. Not only will the contractor be barred from being able to place a lien on the property, but now they will not be able to sue and recover the money owed to them for materials used and work completed as well. While I personally believe there is a constitutional argument to the validity of this provision, it is the law we must work within for the time being. In other words, be forewarned that as a residential contractor or subcontractor you may lose a lot of money on a construction project should you fail to have this notice in your contract.

If you are a contractor or subcontractor who does work on residential properties, you MUST have a contract with this notice placed at the end of it. This notice must be stated verbatim as it is defined in A.C.A. 18-44-115. And, this notice MUST be signed by the homeowner/client. It is important for you as a contractor or subcontractor to have an attorney familiar with construction law and construction contracts to protect your business interest and make sure you get paid for the work you complete for your clients. At Eason Law, we have drafted several construction contracts and argued successfully when disputes arise out of any disagreements over the contracts or construction services performed by our clients. If you are a contractor who works without a contract or has an out of date contract, please give us a call today so that we can help protect you and your business.

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