• LGBT/Nontraditional Relationships

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Dec 18, 2014 | 10:53 am

    The Ed Shaw Law Office provides respectful and compassionate legal services to same sex and non-traditional families. It is extremely important that non-traditional families have legallysound medical directives and wills established, as the law does notprovide automatic recognition of same sex partners.

    Our services include custody, adoption, and other family law matters, as well as wills, directives and estate planning services.

    LGBT couples and others in nontraditional relationships have legaloptions to protect their custody rights to minor children and to protecttheir property. Since LGBT couples are not always treated fairly by the law, it is especially important to seek available legal protection.

    Our office would be happy to discuss your legal options with you. Wesupport the rights of LGBT couples to be treated fairly andrespectfully.

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  • What is Child Protection?

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Dec 11, 2014 | 10:51 am

    Parents can be reported to Social Services for behavior that is abusive or neglectful towards their children.
    If Social Services determines that abuse or neglect occurred, SocialServices will file a legal document called a Child In Need of ProtectionPetition (“CHIPS Petition).  This document asks the court to interveneto prevent further abuse or neglect of the child and contains theinitial allegations that are being made against you.

    If you have a CHIPS Petition filed against you, it is important tohave legal representation because it can have serious consequencesincluding, in some circumstances, loss of your job and loss of rights toyour child.

    It is important to speak with someone about your rights immediatelyas things often happen fast in child protection and you do not want tobe too late.
    Call 218-825-7030 today for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

    Were you children just removed from your care?  Call after hours to 218-251-3217 and one of our attorneys will be able to provide you with help now! 

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  • Changing Child Support, Spousal Support, Custody and/or Visitation

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Dec 4, 2014 | 10:50 am

    Can child support be changed? Can spousal support be changed?
    Childsupport can be changed based on a significant increase or decrease inthe income of either parent or because of a change in the livingsituation of the child. Spousal support can be changed based on asignificant increase or decrease in the income of either party. If yourincome decreases and you need a reduction in your support obligation, itis critical that you request a change right away. The court will onlychange your support obligation as to future payments. We can help youget your child support payments reduced. We can also help you if theother parent is trying to reduce child support or should be paying morechild support.

    Can custody be changed?
    Custody can be changed,but the person asking for it must show that there has been a significantchange in the living situation of the child and one or both of theparents. A change of custody may also be ordered if the child is introuble medically or socially or is having trouble at school because ofhis or her living situation. The court may also consider major issues ofthe parent with physical custody, such as drug and alcohol abuse indeciding whether to change custody. For a court to order a change ofcustody, the court must find that the benefit of the change to the childwill outweigh the disruption of moving.

    Can visitation/parenting time be changed?
    Visitation/ParentingTime can be changed and this is easier to change than custody. Aschildren grow older, their schedules change, which can be a basis forchanging visitation/parenting time.

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  • Nearing the Holidays - DWI and DUI Awareness

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Nov 25, 2014 | 10:56 am

    BEINGCHARGED WITH A DWI IS A SERIOUS AND LIFE CHANGING EVENT. 
    If you were, there are many questions you have:  
    • What is going to happen to my license?  
    • I am going to be able to drive again?  
    • Am I going to go to jail?  
    • How much is this going to cost me?  
    • What are my chances of getting a reduced sentence?
    • What are my next steps?  
    Our attorneys can help you navigate the waters of your DWI charge andhelp you get back to living your life. There will be some challengesahead, but with the proper representation and guidance from one of ourattorneys you can make it through this trying time with dignity andrespect.

    I was charged with a DUI – what should I do?
    DUI, driving under the influence, is one of the most common criminalcharges, amounting to more than 40,000 cases per year in Minnesotaalone. Many people who have not had experience with the criminal courtsystem, are stopped and arrested for DUI. This system is often scary andconfusing – hiring a qualified attorney to help you through thisprocess is very important.

    What are my chances of getting a reduced sentence?
    This is a hard question to answer without knowing what the police andprosecutor plan to use as evidence against you. Having an attorney willgreatly increase your chances of either finding an issue to get yourcase dismissed or negotiating a reduces or better plea deal for you.

    An attorney that promises you that they can get you out of thischarge is not being honest with you. There are no guarantees incriminal court, and if an attorney tells you that prior to getting andreviewing all of the evidence obtained by the police they are not beingtruthful.
    However, there have been recent legal developments challengingMinnesota DUI laws and giving drivers charged with DUI new options. Askthe attorney about what these developments mean to your case.

    What will my punishment be?
    This depends on the level of offense with which you were charged.
    For misdemeanor level offenses, the maximum jail time that can be imposed is 90 days and the maximum fine is $1,000.

    For gross misdemeanor charges, the maximum jail time that can beimposed is up to 1 year and the maximum fine is $3,000.  But in DWIcases your actual sentence will vary depending on which factor got youcharged with a gross misdemeanor.

    For felony charges, the maximum jail time is seven years and the maximum fine is $14,000.
    What about my driver’s license?
    After being charged with DWI, you are given a Notice of Revocationfor your driver’s license. How long your license will be revokeddepends on your circumstances.  What is important to remember is that anattorney can file a civil lawsuit against the Commissioner of PublicSafety and try to get your license reinstated in full.

    Per Minnesota Statute,you only have 30 days from the date of Notice of Revocation to filethis lawsuit, so time is of the essence.  You need to consult with anattorney immediately after being charged with DWI or you will losecertain rights.

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  • DIY Legal Services: Family, Criminal, Bankruptcy Law

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Nov 13, 2014 | 10:30 am

    Many attorneys, and other professionals,doctors, mechanics, accountants, etc get defensive when their clientstalk about doing work themselves.  I do not think that is an appropriateresponse.  I do not blame anyone for wanting to save a few bucks bydoing work themselves, and being an informed consumer by learning aboutthe law.  

    Do it yourself is a good move in somesituations, and a bad choice in others.  An example from my experience,when I was in law school funds were limited, I paid my way through.  Mycar was a beast from the 70s I paid $600.00 for.  I have never been amechanic, but I was able to perform most of the car repair on my own.  Isaved money, but was often without a car for a few days, sometimes aweek or more.  Fortunately, I lived alone, not too far from the lawschool and my part time job, and did not mind riding my bike severalmiles or walking to get to either.  If I had a job with a long commute,or a family to transport around, being without a car would not have beenworth what I saved on a mechanic.

    What does that mean if you are thinkingabout doing your own legal work?  If the stakes are low, could be worth atry.   A small claims court case with a small amount of money at stake,you are usually better off doing that yourself.  If the stakes arehigher, you are charged with a crime, your kids are at stake, or thereis a lot of money on the table, you are better off getting professionalhelp.  Back when I drove a $600.00 car, I saw a doctor if I had anymedical questions.  When the stakes are high, paying for help is worthit.

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  • Family Law: Divorce and Custody

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Nov 6, 2014 | 10:32 am

    Too many people see family court as allnegative, people getting in trouble, making bad decisions, doing thingsthat they could not imagine doing.  Reality is much more complex.  Atsome point in our lives, at least half of us will end up in family courtat some point.  Being in family court does not make one a bad person. What type of experience you have there is based on the decisions youmake.  Being reasonable and putting the needs of your children firstwill make your experience positive, or at least not too unpleasant. Whatever you do, do not fight over cable T.V. boxes, ChrisChristopherson albums, three prong adapters or NASCAR themed pool cues. I have seen all of these items in dispute in different cases.

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  • Bankruptcy and the State of Collections

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 30, 2014 | 10:29 am

    A recent story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune andMinnesota Public Radio reported that about 1 in 3 Americans is incollection, meaning that  they have accounts that are behind or indefault.

    Why is this number so high in a time of economic recovery?  Even whenwe are not in recession, millions of Americans either make in incometoo low to pay their bills, or have unexpected high expenses, usuallymedical bills that they cannot pay, even with a decent income.  Becausemost of the benefits of recent economic expansion have gone to the topincome brackets and large corporations, including the financial servicesindustry, most of the middle and working classes have seen stagnantincomes and increased expenses.

    What does this mean to you?

    If you cannot pay your debt do not feel ashamed, you are not alone. When you are in collection your credit drops, meaning it will probablynot get much, if any worse by your filing bankruptcy.  Take a look atbankruptcy as an option to get out from under your bills and get out ofcollections.

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  • Child Support and Family Law

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 16, 2014 | 10:31 am

    Few issues get people as firedup as child support.  Just about every week people tell me that thechild support they are paying, or getting in their case is too much, ortoo little.

    Child Support in Minnesota is calculated based on a formula that considers theincomes of both parents, though the income of the parent paying supportis given more weight, the parenting time schedule and the cost of insurance for the children and childcare.  The personalexpenses of the parents are considered by the courts, but rarely havean impact on how much support is paid. 

     Bottom line, maintaining two households ismore expensive than one.  When families split, everyone usually has lessmoney to cover their expenses.  Raising kids is expensive enoughwithout paying to keep two households.  Child support is a source offrustration because, in most  cases, both the parent paying support andthe parent getting support have a lower standard of living than theyenjoyed when they were together. 

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  • Minnesota Criminal Law, Expungement, and DWI

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 13, 2014 | 09:33 am

    It is easy when charged with a crime to focus on the short term issues, whether you will go to jail, how much of a fine you might pay or how much your attorney will cost.  Facing a misdemeanor where you will not go to jail, and the fine will be fairly small, it is tempting to save money by not hiring an attorney and representing yourself.  

    The problem with that approach is the long term impacts of a conviction, which can cost tens of thousands in lost work opportunity, loss of work licenses, and other impacts that do not have a cost, loss of the right to hunt, being labeled as an offender, etc..  

    I cannot tell you how many times people have called me after they have plead guilty and been convicted wanting to take their plea back because their conviction has cost them a job or employment opportunity, a license or the chance to go hunting.  It is usually not possible to undo a conviction after the fact, and even trying usually costs more than the cost of representation in the original case.

          
    Saving money is great, but be careful about saving a little now and paying a lot more later.  

    If you need help sorting out a criminal charge, including DWI, in Minnesota call the skilled attorneys at Ed Shaw Law in Brainerd, Minnesota at 218-825-7030.  


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  • Law and Technology: The bridge to an efficient future

    Ed Shaw Law Blog Oct 9, 2014 | 10:28 am

    I have never beenknown as a cutting edge tech guy.  I do not have cable TV, rarely use mysmart phone for anything but making calls, and would much rather beoutside than in front of a screen.  But, how people do business and uselegal services is changing, and the legal profession needs to be on thecutting edge.  With considerable help from my associate Andrew Wipper,my office is updating our systems to provide the most efficient serviceto our clients.

    Our judicial system has its roots in 13th century England, and thefounding of this country.  Rule of law is critical to a free society. While the judicial system is making some changes to reflect currenttechnology, when I go to the courthouse I am amazed by some of theoutdated practices that I see.  A court reporter is still paid to writedown every word said in the courtroom.  That made sense back in thehorse and buggy days, but not now when quality video recording is easyand inexpensive.  Parties to cases and others are not even allowed torecord the proceedings in any way!  Why not allow recordings, and havean official recording instead of paying someone to record what was said.

    In most courthouses, people are not allowed to bring cell phonesin.  Cell phones can ring at annoying times, but other institutions dealwith them, and the judicial systems customers, those who have businessin the courthouse, need to stay in touch with their families and oftenkeep schedules on their phones.  My clients see and comment on thesepractices, and they are not impressed.  

    Believe it or not, the Minnesota Rules ofCivil Procedure allow faxing as proper service of legal papers, but notemail!  Fax was hot technology in the 80’s, but how many people do youknow who own a fax machine now?  Email was routinely used by most of usin the 90’s when Bill Clinton talked about building a bridge to the 21stcentury.  The judicial system needs to take that bridge. 

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