For many years Georgia had the highest per-capita rate of citizens either incarcerated or under community supervision. In the past decade Georgia has led the nation in criminal justice reform under the direction of the Office of the Governor and Justice Boggs of the Georgia Supreme Court. One of the provisions included in the sweeping criminal justice reform is Behavioral Incentive Dates (BIDs).
A BID is a date on which felony probation is reviewed and likely terminated early, so long as the defendant has complied with the terms of probation including completing all special conditions of probation (fines, restitution, community service, classes, etc.).
Who qualifies for a BID?
There are a number of criteria that must be met to get a BID.
a) The Defendant must have NO PRIOR FELONY CONVICTIONS.
b) Must be a felony conviction, or plea pursuant to conditional discharge or the first offender act.
c) The sentence must be entirely probated or no more than 12 months imprisonment followed by probation.
What happens with a BID?
If the criteria above are met then the Judge should include a BID in the sentencing order. The BID may not be more than 3 years from the date of the sentence. This effectively offers a mandatory maximum of a 3 year early-termination date to any first felony sentence. To put this in perspective, many felony sentences last for 5, 10, 15, or more years.
If the defendant completes all the terms of probation and does not violate any of the general conditions of probation, then on the BID the probation office will send a letter to the Judge and the DA saying so. The DA may object to the BID and then the case would be set for a hearing so that the Judge can determine if it is in “the best interest of justice and the welfare of society” to allow the defendant to get the benefit of the BID.
How could I lose my BID?
a) Getting arrested for anything but a nonserious traffic offense. Nonserious traffic offenses are essentially any traffic offenses that are not labeled as “serious traffic offenses” – there are seven of them that include DUI, reckless driving, vehicular homicide, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer, and a couple of others. Getting arrested for anything but a nonserious traffic offense would include being arrested for a new felony or any other misdemeanor.
b) Not complying with the general and special conditions of probation. There are a number of general conditions of probation, including keeping contact with your probation officer, not breaking the law, paying all fines, holding a job, and supporting your dependents. Failure to do so may result in a violation of probation (you go to jail) and a loss of the BID.
c) Not paying all restitution owed (if any). Restitution is an amount paid to the victim of a crime for the costs of the crime committed. The State has an interest in making sure the victims are properly compensated so you must pay all restitution by the BID to have the BID considered.
Sentencing is often overlooked by many attorneys and is actually one of the most important parts of any criminal case. The vast majority of cases end in some kind of plea deal. Also, the vast majority of cases are over-charged, and the plea is often to significantly reduced crimes compared to what was originally alleged.
Crafting a fair and reasonable sentence is often done in conversation between the defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge. That said, even some attorneys don’t know all the tools they have to work with. For any case, you want an attorney who knows what tools he or she has available from the beginning of the case to the end of the case, that includes being well-prepared for sentencing. The attorneys at Perrotta, Lamb, and Johnson, LLC. keep a vigilant watch on criminal justice reform in the state of Georgia in order to constantly keep the best tools, the best laws, readily available for your case. The first question is always whether the State can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but if they can then the next question will be how to get the most favorable outcome for our clients. BIDs are just one of the many ways that we can work for you to get the best possible outcome in your case.
Ga. Code Ann. § 17-10-1(a)(1)(B) (eff. July 1, 2018)
Ga. Code Ann. § 40-6-390, et. seq. (eff. July 1, 2018)
You’ve just been arrested for DUI. The police hold you for a few hours then you’re granted bond and walk out of the county jail. Now what?
You should call an attorney immediately. There are certain rights that are implicated on some DUI arrests that you’ll need to address ASAP. The main ones relate to your right to drive and an Administrative License Suspension (ALS), and others involve collecting and preserving evidence that may be useful to your defense that only an experienced attorney will be able to identify and help collect. That’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is to give you some generally “good ideas” that will make the defense of your case much easier.
I recommend doing these in this order. The evaluation and treatment is important because it shows that you are pro-active in identifying and dealing with any underlying issues that may have led to your arrest. The community service shows that you take this matter seriously and are wanting to make recompense for any wrong that you might have done to get you arrested. The other two are less important for negotiations.
The main goal is to get the charges reduced to “not-a-DUI”. Prosecutors are more inclined to do this if the defense attorney gives the prosecutors good reasons to reduce the charge – being pro-active and getting professional opinions and help shows responsibility and gives your attorney something to show on your behalf. A second benefit is that, if you are convicted of anything – DUI or not – then you will likely be required to do these things. Doing them ahead of time will keep you from having to do them on probation and will give your probation officer less reasons to try to violate you and throw you in jail.
The vast majority of cases don’t go to trial. Most cases are resolved by some plea agreement where the state and defense “meet in the middle” where everyone can agree. Doing these simple things helps grease the wheels and helps your attorney negotiate for the best deal possible.
That being said, you need an attorney who is willing and ready to fight your case through trial in order to get the best deal. At Perrotta, Lamb, and Johnson we prepare every case for trial from the very first day we get in it. Often times an aggressive and prepared defense causes the state to back down on some or all of the charges. Sometimes the state’s attorneys won’t, even when the defense has a good case. When that happens you’ll want a team of experienced and ready litigators in your corner ready to defend you, your case, and your freedom at trial.
"There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop!"
Mario Savio, 1962.
Tony wouldn't take "no" for an answer. He had tried to solve the problem peacefully, through all the appropriate routes, but the administrative agency simply would not help. After the third time trying to meet the boss in person, and on the third time being refused and turned away, he refused to go. He expressed his frustration with the system and with the administration and with each administrator, so they called the cops. He expressed his frustration with the police and how they were 'handling' him and how the entire situation was completely absurd. His voice, his protest, fell on deaf ears. He was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
But let’s back this story up about two years.
Tony lived peacefully in North Georgia. He was on disability and working his way through school, but otherwise kept to himself and spent a lot of time doing research in the library. One day he received a notice in the mail about his medicaid use in South Georgia. Someone, using his name and identity, had been receiving addiction counseling and care in a South Georgia rehab facility, and Tony was going to be on the hook for it.
Tony called medicaid to report the fraud. They directed him to the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), the administration that manages Tony's medicaid benefits. He called DFCS to report the fraud. They tell him to fill out some forms and send them in; he does. Months pass and he gets another notice about his medicaid benefits being used in a different area of Georgia for addiction and related services - but still no word from DFCS about solving this fraud problem. He calls them again and they tell him to fill out the same forms and send them in; he does. Nothing happens for months. He calls them and they make him do the same thing. This time though, someone from DFCS gives Tony his contact information - a main point of contact to personally handle Tony's fraud case.
For months, Tony and his contact exchanged periodic e-mails. These were mostly Tony checking in every few weeks to see if there was any progress - there was none. Over the course of the next few months, Tony was sent up and down the administrative ladder. He was bounced between many departments and spoke to a number of various supervisors with fancy government titles, but nobody actually helped him. Finally he was sent back to his original 'personal' point of contact and told to come into his office to handle this fraud.
Tony doesn't own a car - it's part of his disability. He walks and takes public transit everywhere he goes. His trip to the DFCS office to meet with his personal point of contact took him over 3 hours, one way. When he got to the DFCS office, they turned him away at the door - he "didn't have the appropriate papers" even though he had everything that they told him to bring. After a few weeks and more calls, e-mails, and letters, Tony was told to come back to the DFCS office to meet with his point of contact. He traveled three hours out to the DFCS office and was promptly turned away at the door - his point of contact hadn't properly scheduled the meeting. Another month later, after more calls, e-mails, and letters, Tony was told to come back to the DFCS office AGAIN. He traveled three hours there, waited in line, and then was told again that they didn't schedule him right.
That broke his patience. After months of calls, e-mails, letters, 15 hours of travel to and from the DFCS office, and their continued refusal to help him report and fix a fraud, he couldn't take it anymore. He lost it in the DFCS waiting room, the police came, and he was arrested.
He bonded out and hired attorney Chris Cahill to represent him. The procedure in the misdemeanor case took about a year. Mr. Cahill negotiated the case to where he would receive no punishment - no fines, no jail, no probation - if he pleaded guilty and admitted that he was out of place. Tony rejected that deal, "f*** them, take it to trial!" knowing that a loss at trial would very likely result in some jail time, fines, and probation.
Jury selection proved interesting. Through dozens of questions across a panel of prospective jurors, attorneys try to pick a fair jury. Really it's juror DEselection, because the lawyers don't get to pick who they can keep, but rather they get to remove jurors that they think won't like their case. Attorney Cahill asked if anyone had actually seen a DFCS office - these offices are absolute chaos because they are the dustbin for all the difficult government functions, mixing the worst stereotypes of the DMV and government employees with families in complete crisis and folks with serious disabilities and health issues. Three jurors stated that they'd been to the DFCS office, and the state removed all three of them because they didn't want anyone on the jury who had actually experienced the frustration of the DFCS office. Another question Mr. Cahill asked was, "Who has participated in any protests or demonstrations?" About half the jury pool raised their hands. There were some who participated in the women's march and BLM recently, and then very last prospective juror - a lady with a kind face and knee-length salt-and-pepper hair - told us that she had participated in the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots. "Yeah I was there. I got pepper-sprayed and everything! It was a good time." With the attorney for the state having already used all of her strikes, Mr. Cahill planned his strikes to keep this salty original hippy.
The trial proceeded immediately after jury selection. The state first put the officer on the stand - he stated that he didn't see anything but that he told Tony to leave, Tony didn't leave, so he arrested Tony. Next was the security officer who stated pretty much what the police officer stated. Finally there was the manager of that location, Tony's personal contact. This man stated that he knew about Tony's issue, but didn't know a lot about it. He stated that it was his job to address medicaid fraud complaints, like Tony's. He knew that Tony had a long-standing fraud issue, and he knew that it had not been resolved. He knew that the fraud issue was what Tony was trying to solve that day. Mr. Cahill then asked a fairly simple question: "Who owns DFCS?" The manager couldn't answer the question. "The people of the State of Georgia, I guess."
Once the State closed their case, Tony took the stand. He described the fraud issue and all his efforts to resolve it through the proper channels. He described how all of his efforts, following their instructions to the letter, were in all useless. He described how he was told to come the the DFCS office to resolve the issue, and how it took him three hours to travel each way to and from the DFCS office. He described how, despite his best efforts, he was continuously rejected by the very people who were supposed to help him. On the stand he testified that, even after everything that he did, and after everything he continued to try over the year in which the criminal case against him was pending, that the fraud had STILL not been addressed.
The state's attorney then tried to cross examine Tony using all their standard methods. Tony, however, is an exceedingly intelligent person who spent over two years studying DFCS procedures in order to deal with the fraud claim. Tony didn't just stand up to a thorough cross examination, he dominated it. By the end of the cross examination the attorney for the state was completely defeated.
Closing arguments were brief. The attorney for the state's theme revolved around keeping order in the government office and emphasizing that Tony wanted the DFCS office to work how he wanted them to work. Mr. Cahill's closing focused on the cost to Tony of DFCS's mismanaging Tony's complaint, rationalizing Tony's frustration, and stating firmly that all we want the DFCS office to do is their job duties. Mr. Cahill framed Tony's outburst as an act of protest and that he, as a citizen of the State of Georgia, was entitled to the basic governmental services that the government took upon itself to complete. "All we're asking is that they just DO THEIR JOB."
The jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes. They came back and announced NOT GUILTY on both misdemeanors. Tony was free to go.
This case had a number of interesting facets. First, there is the mind-boggling inefficiency of government administration. They set up a system, the system breaks or is abused, a person tries to follow the system to fix the problem, and the system breaks for him too. Second there's the way that the government deals with criticism - with the upstart's immediate arrest. Third we have the absolute refusal of the state prosecutors to admit when they are wrong. The negotiations were to a point of NO PUNISHMENT. The prosecutors were willing to let this guy go but they weren't willing to do that unless he said he was guilty of a crime, and if he continued to assert his innocence then he risks being put in jail by the judge after trial. They were saying, in a way, that they'd want to let a guilty man go free and let an innocent man risk jail. Fourth we have an interesting juror dynamic. On the one side, the state specifically excluded jurors who had actually seen how DFCS works - the most valuable people to have on a jury because they have first-hand experience with the exact government office being scrutinized. That means that the state's attorney wanted to pick a jury that was not knowledgeable on the subject matter. On the other side, Tony and Mr. Cahill had the 'pick of the litter' as to folks who participated in active protest, the folks who could best identify with the defendant and the defense theory of protest. The final really interesting aspect is Tony's testimony. He was able to tell his story in excellent detail and he was the most knowledgeable person about DFCS procedures (even compared to the DFCS manager who testified).
Together, Tony and Mr. Cahill fought the uphill battle against the system. They fought against a system that refuses to help and responds to criticism with persecution. They picked a good fight and got a fair jury. They presented their case and ultimately the jury made the right decision, finding the defendant not guilty on all counts.
Despite the win, Tony’s fraud claim has still not been resolved.
In Georgia and around the country, there are an endless number of lawyers who represent people pursuing claims for personal injuries. Some of these lawyers practice in giant corporate firms with hundreds of lawyers; others practice in medium or small law firms, or even practice by themselves. Lawyers who represent people who have been injured use different means to advertise their services to the public. Many of the larger firms use television ads to promote their law firms. These lawyers create impressive television commercials, and they tell us that they have the best attorneys available to meet your needs. They tell us that all of the other attorneys are bad.
But are you really getting the best possible legal services when you contact the giant law firms with television advertisements? In my mind, the best answer to that question is: “who knows?” A gigantic corporate injury law firm is set up to operate like a vast machine. When you contact the number on your screen, your call goes to the firm’s out-of-state central office building to a multi-floor bank of call screeners. If you pass their test questions, they ascertain your location and then farm your legal matter out to a satellite office in your general region. You are assigned an attorney with support employees. Then those persons begin the process of running your case through the mill in attempts to reach a settlement. If settlement doesn’t happen, then your claim continues through the mill into a lawsuit. Statistically, only a tiny percentage of personal injury lawsuits ever go to a jury trial.
To be sure, the giant corporate law firm has thousands and thousands of cases that must be processed at any given time. And to be sure, for purely business reasons, the gigantic law firm must make every effort to keep the process as uniform, streamlined and efficient as possible. But the further your case goes through the process, the less uniform, streamlined and efficient it becomes. The further your case goes, the closer it is to becoming a “problem child.” Welcome to the machine.
Given these facts, you can imagine the complaints that clients of giant corporate injury law firms have about their representation. Clients tell us that neither the man on the commercial, nor his look-alike sons ever provided any legal services to them; they never even met the folks in the commercials. In fact, they never met the lawyer who was assigned to them, or the lawyer’s helpers, in person. The firm’s offices are too far away. They have trouble getting anyone on the phone; they have trouble getting information from their lawyer, they don’t receive return phone calls. Time passes and they never know what is going on with their case. Some complain that they have no specific person to contact; they’ve called the firm over time and have spoken to five different people. And often times the person they speak to is unfamiliar with their case.
But when a firm has 400 lawyers, 1000s of employees and tens of thousands of clients at any given time, what else can one expect? The bottom line is that it is a big mistake to expect that you are going to get any kind of personalized service from a giant TV law firm. Maybe you will; maybe you won’t. Who knows?
But in reality, injury lawsuits can involve issues that are critical to our lives. And every person’s legal matter is completely different from every other person’s legal matter. So it is impossible to effectively approach clients’ legal matters in any kind of uniform, cookie-cutter manner. It is absolutely critical that each person’s legal matter gets the individualized attention that it needs and deserves. So one should be very cautious when turning over the most important matters in their lives to giant, corporate injury law firm “machines.”
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more about giant corporate TV law firms in the near future!
The State v. Kalen McFadden
Attorney Christopher B. Cahill of Perrotta, Lamb, and Johnson, LLC.
Charges: Malice Murder, Felony Murder, etc.
Jury verdict: Not Guilty.
On a cold, misty night in January 2016, just outside of Conyers Georgia, Kalen McFadden was attacked in an attempted robbery by some of his schoolmates; he shot and killed one of them in self-defense as he ran away. Because the schoolmates set him up as a part of an apparent marijuana deal, Mr. McFadden was charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, attempted distribution of marijuana, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, tampering with evidence, and two other charges of felony drug possession. None of the surviving robbers were charged with any crimes related to the robbery and shooting.
Attorney Christopher Cahill represented Mr. McFadden. Negotiations reached a head when the District Attorney refused to recognize Mr. McFadden’s act of self-defense and demanded that he plea to manslaughter and a 25 year sentence. Mr. Cahill filed motions to assert Mr. McFadden’s right to self-defense, which was denied by the Judge. Mr. Cahill filed motions to suppress significant evidence that was illegally acquired by the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office to support a number of the charges; those charges were promptly dropped in response to the motions.
The case went before a jury in Rockdale County during the week of January 28, with Senior DA Richard Read and Assistant DA Damion Overstreet representing the State and Mr. Cahill representing Mr. McFadden. The State’s witnesses stated that the “victim” in the case had setup the robbery and was heavily intoxicated on Xanax when he attacked Mr. McFadden, and that his co-conspirators were not arrested or charged with any crimes in association with the setup, robbery, and shooting, despite overwhelming evidence of their crimes.
Mr. McFadden then testified that he received a strange call to sell a small amount of marijuana to a friend of a friend. Upon meeting the person it was clear that there was something dangerously wrong. After a few, short points of conversation, Mr. McFadden was ready to leave. As he walked away without completing the sale, the “victim” attacked him with a gun drawn. Mr. McFadden fired blindly at his attacker but he kept coming. They fought for Mr. McFadden’s gun and his property as the altercation proceeded around the robbers’ vehicle. Ultimately the attacker stumbled and fell, allowing Mr. McFadden to escape.
Mr. Cahill made closing arguments for Mr. McFadden’s acquittal and SDA Read made arguments for his conviction on all counts. The jury deliberated for a day and a half before coming to a verdict. The jury found Mr. McFadden Not Guilty of Murder, Felony Murder, and Aggravated Assault – all of the charges related to the shooting. The jury did find Mr. McFadden guilty of attempting to distribute marijuana and possessing a firearm while committing a felony. The remaining charges were dropped.
Mr. McFadden will be sentenced by the Judge appropriate for the crimes that he committed – selling marijuana while carrying a gun. Ultimately though, the Jury found him Not Guilty and not responsible for the death of his attacker. This shows that when all else fails, when the arm of the State is bent against persecuting the wrongfully accused, Justice can still count on a good lawyer and a fair jury.
Find out why getting an attorney can help you through the trouble after a car accident.
Even though there is never a good time to get in a car accident, it is commonly known that increased travel times, more traffic at shopping areas and celebrations during the holidays can certainly make it more inconvenient, yet more likely to be involved in a fender bender or even a major collision. Did you know that compared to the average weekend night, the 12-hour window between 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 and 6 a.m. on Jan. 1 tends to have about 71% more crashes where alcohol or drugs are listed as a contributing factor?
If you were involved in a car accident during the holidays, whether you were at fault or not, here are a few reasons why your next step should be hiring an attorney:
An attorney will help you negotiate with insurance companies
Even though filing a claim after a car accident is something that some people choose to do for themselves, the process can be tedious and confusing due to excessive amount of paperwork, technical terms and harsh negotiations that will try to prevent you from getting the full amount you deserve.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Organization, “An accident attorney— especially a personal injury attorney—can help you go up against big auto insurance companies and their team of lawyers. Your attorney already knows the personal injury laws and procedural rules and can effectively handle all the legwork for you. He or she will act as your advocate throughout the entire case.”
If you’ve been injured, a personal injury attorney will help with compensation
In addition to the high expenses associated with a car accident during the holidays, if you’ve been injured you will also have to deal with medical expenses, potential follow up visits and even therapy, depending on the injury. All this could also lead to loss of wages and missed work. The good news? You could be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party.
By allowing a professional at law to take care of these negotiations and potential trials, you are more likely to get the compensation you deserve. Click here for more on personal injury attorneys.
An attorney will be fair and objective
After a car accident, it is normal to feel emotionally distressed and start receiving advice from multiple sources. Even though people mean well, it is hard for you to make the right decisions in a moment of vulnerability, so you are more likely to settle for less or take responsibility for something you shouldn’t. Luckily, if you find yourself in this situation, an attorney will have the right skills and experience to negotiate and help you out of an unfortunate circumstance.
Did you have a car accident after the holidays? Contact us today to find out how we can help you navigate the murky waters of insurance and legal negotiations.
Consider Yourself “Lucky” you Have a Lawyer on Your Side After a Wrongful Death Occurs to a Loved One
How an attorney can help you navigate after a wrongful death
Even though finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a childish idea we remember during St. Patrick’s day, there are more serious times in which a little bit of luck and the right decisions can make a big difference. Handling a wrongful death of a loved one definitely fits this scenario.
We understand that losing a loved one is never an easy process. These hard steps, however, can be even harder when the loss of a loved one has been caused due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct.
So what exactly is a wrongful death case?
According to this Enjuris.com article, “These are civil actions brought by the surviving family members of a decedent who passed away prematurely because of the negligent actions of another. These careless actions are the underpinnings of the case. Additionally, these actions are meant to compensate the living members of the family, not the decedent. Courts do take into account the pain and suffering of the decedent, but they are part of the overall picture.
If you’re struggling to feel “lucky” after an unfortunate situation, here’s how hiring an attorney could be the ray of hope you and your family are in need of:
Determining and Getting Compensation
Many times, after a wrongful death the person at fault (a doctor, a careless driver, the company who developed a dangerous product) can be sued. Even though this can vary from state to state, generally, those who can benefit from compensation are:
Taking the stress and responsibility off your shoulders
If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s understandable that you might not be in the right state of mind to negotiate with insurance companies, state conditions and a series of complicated processes. This could only lead to you missing deadlines and potentially getting less money … inarguably a high-stress situation for anyone. Luckily, an attorney with the right negotiating skills and experience will help you get the compensation you and your family deserve.
Ensuring you’re making the right decisions
Because a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by a representative on behalf of the eligible survivors who suffered harm from the decedent’s death, it’s important to find the right professional who will fit your needs, make you feel comfortable and help you understand the steps to follow.
Contact Us Today
Even though an attorney won’t bring your loved one back, let us help you navigate these murky waters by providing professional guidance and the support you need at this time. Contact us today to learn more about skilled professionals that will help you through this situation.
Find out what to do and the steps to follow if you’re in this situation.
Understanding legal terms is essential in order to prepare and protect yourself and your loved ones if you are ever involved in a legal matter. A subpoena, in this particular case, is something that few people understand, and therefore, are likely to mismanage when faced with it. So what is a subpoena and what should you do about it?
Cambridge Dictionary explains that the term subpoena “means to order someone to go to a court of law to answer questions, or to order the appearance of documents in a court of law.” A subpoena can be given to anyone who might have helpful information about a legal case, but the most commonly found situations in which a subpoenaed can be used are divorce, child custody, personal injury, and sex offender cases.
Who Can Be Subpoenaed?
A subpoena is typically requested by an attorney and issued by a court clerk, a notary public, or a justice of the peace. Once a subpoena is issued, it may be served on an individual in any of the following ways:
As mentioned above, any person who could have helpful information about a legal cause could be subpoenaed, whether they are involved or as a third party witness. This is why it’s so important to understand what it is, how to handle it and the importance of hiring a professional.
FindLaw.com explains that other examples of subpoenas may include requests for:
What Should I Do If I’m Subpoenaed?
The most important thing to know is that a subpoena should never be ignored. Since this is an order, and not an invitation, ignoring it could result in large fines and even jail time. So what steps should you follow if you’re subpoenaed?
Hire a Lawyer
An attorney will help you understand what is being requested, who is being asked to appear and why.
Gather Necessary Documentation
Once you hire an attorney, he or she will be of great help when gathering all the required documentation. According to FindLaw.com, “subpoena requests for documents and other items are usually very detailed and specific. Also, you should make sure to protect and keep any documents in your possession safe.”
In addition, an attorney will help you take the right steps to request more information to gather these documents if needed.
Can I Object a Subpoena?
Yes, you can object a subpoena demand if there are valid legal reasons to do so. However, having an attorney will be vital to succeed, as you will need legal guidance determining whether you are actually in the right to object.
Keep in mind that ignoring a subpoena is not a way to objecting it. As mentioned before, this could have highly negative consequences. Click here to learn more about objecting a subpoena.
Have you been subpoenaed or are you dealing with a legal situation? Contact us today and let us help you with the best attorney for your unique situation.
Five reasons why you need an attorney if you’re involved in a domestic altercation!
Every year the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shares alarming statistics regarding domestic violence in the United States. According to their latest domestic violence fact sheet:
How Can An Attorney Help Me?
This FindLaw.com article explains that a domestic violence attorney can help you in multiple ways if you are a victim or survivor. Here are a few reasons why you should consider one to keep you and your family safe after a domestic altercation:
Contact us to find out how we can help you protect yourself and your family from domestic violence.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available to help victims and survivors of domestic violence. Get help for your relationship abuse today by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Getting a divorce is never a pleasant experience for either party, especially when there are other family members who are being affected. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had a team of legal professionals to guide you through this process and ensure that you’re making the right decisions quickly and painlessly?
Well, thanks to divorce attorneys, you can.
According to FindLaw.com, you probably should hire an attorney if your spouse has. Especially if your divorce involves children or complicated financial issues, it can be hard to deal with these complex and emotional issues without representation.
Divorce attorneys are professionals who can handle the paperwork, communications and long negotiations of a divorce. Additionally, a divorce attorney can help you:
Protect Yourself During and After the Divorce Process
As painful as a divorce can be, it’s important to understand your rights and hire the right professional that will help you protect yourself during and after.
“There are certain situations when hiring a divorce lawyer makes sense and you should probably do it. If there's a problem with abuse, for instance, you should probably hire an attorney. Also, if you think your spouse is lying about certain issues or being vindictive, you may want to hire an attorney that can help you cope with the situation and also protect your interests,” says FindLaw.com.
Manage All Financial Considerations
During a divorce there are a series of financial considerations, like the division of retirement benefits, alimony, and the division of property and assets. By hiring an attorney, you take away the hassle of having to gather endless documentation, financial history information and communicating with the other party to ensure you’re both getting what you’re supposed to. In other words, a divorce attorney will not only take away the hassle from the process, but will also ensure you get the fair settlement you deserve.
Protect Your Children
Not only will an attorney help you calculate and negotiate the right amount of child support for your children, but often times, hiring an attorney makes the divorce process faster and less painful, helping your kids regain their sense of security and get used to the family dynamics.
Finding The Right Attorney
Once you’ve decided a divorce attorney is the best option to help with the divorce process, it’s important to do enough research to find the right professional for your unique situation.
According to Live About, here are a few questions you should ask in order to find the right attorney:
When you are done interviewing all potential divorce attorneys, make sure to ask for a fee contract you can review before making a final decision.
Are you considering hiring a divorce attorney to help you with the divorce process? Contact us today and we’ll help you find someone who can help you with your unique needs.
How hiring a lawyer will help you breeze through the hassle of dealing with a bad car accident.
Being involved in a car accident is never a pleasant experience for anyone. Whether you were at fault or not, the amount of legal paperwork, car repair and medical bills, and potentially life-altering consequences usually lead to major headaches and high levels of stress.
To avoid making a bad situation worse, it is often recommended to hire an attorney who will help you navigate the murky waters of both minor and major collisions between motor vehicles.
If you’re trying to figure out whether you need to contact an attorney or not, take a look at a few ways in which a legal professional can help you move forward after a car accident:
Communicating With the Insurance Company
After a car accident, especially if it turns into a personal injury case, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of information insurance agencies require followed by a claim. Additionally, those involved often find themselves caught in the middle of technicalities and feeling pressure to settle, as these companies tend to sometimes look out for their own best interest.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Organization, “An accident attorney— especially a personal injury attorney—can help you go up against big auto insurance companies and their team of lawyers. Your attorney already knows the personal injury laws and procedural rules and can effectively handle all the legwork for you. He or she will act as your advocate throughout the entire case.”
Additionally, the DMV explains that insurance company’s lawyers have the knowledge to reduce compensation and even deny the claim altogether, hiring an accident attorney is the best option for people who:
Taking The Right Steps
After a bad auto accident it is common to start receiving an overwhelming amount of advice from friends and family who are trying to help. Even though their intentions might be good, it’s hard to have a “one fits all” solution when it comes to legal issues, so it’s always better to contact a lawyer who will guide you according to your unique situation, your resources and the expected outcome.
Contact An Attorney Today
Often times people avoid calling an attorney because they don’t believe their car accident was big enough to matter. However, we usually see relieved customers when, no matter how big or small their car accident was, they receive legal advice and make sure they’re doing the right thing with confidence.
If you’re unsure of what steps to follow after a bad car accident, contact us today! The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner you’ll be done with this not-so-fun process.
I am fascinated by the idea of something called “tort reform.” A lot of politicians and political commentators tell us that we need this “tort reform” in order to preserve our freedom. Here is what we normally hear: “Plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers file too many frivolous lawsuits against businesses, and this lawsuit abuse costs businesses a fortune which is then passed on to all of us, so we need “tort reform” to protect us all.” About half the time, these comments refer to lawsuits against doctors and other members of the medical profession. You’ve heard it: “Our healthcare is outrageously expensive because these stupid lawyers keep filing frivolous lawsuits against doctors, so we need “tort reform” to protect our doctors, and to keep our healthcare costs down!” But like so many topics that are discussed in political forums, while the words sound reasonable, when you look just beneath the surface, you realize that the words are hollow and empty and are meant to persuade people of something that is false. So I would like to discuss the facts behind the political concept of “tort reform”, and I genuinely believe that I will convince you that what these folks are calling “tort reform” is unnecessary, deceptive, and like so many other political ideas, the concept of “tort reform” is designed to protect the most powerful among us at the expense of all of the rest of us.
Author: Robert Lamb
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Truck Accidents on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.
Federal safety rules require truck drivers to take periodic rest breaks to prevent accidents caused by fatigue. For example, after driving 11 hours in a 24-hour period, operators must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours. To prove they actually took rest breaks, drivers are required to keep an electronic or paper logbook.
What's to stop a truck driver from claiming to take a rest break when they did not? Given that drivers have traditionally referred to their logbooks as "cheat sheets," we can assume it's fairly common for drivers to create false logbook entries. However, it is possible to catch logbook cheats.
Determining whether a truck driver has created false logbook entries can be key in proving liability in a truck accident case. By showing a truck driver violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, you can create a strong case of liability against the driver and the trucking company.
Many tractor-trailer rigs are equipped with GPS systems that record when the truck is moving, the direction it is traveling and the speed. If the GPS system shows the truck was traveling at 70 miles per hour on Interstate 285 while the driver's logbook says he was resting, the truck driver has a problem.
Other ways to catch logbook cheats include checking:
Receipts create a paper trail that show where a driver was at a particular time as well as distances traveled. If a driver claimed to be resting in Athens while he was eating or refueling at a truck stop in Atlanta, your case just became a lot stronger.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Injuries on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
You may have heard reports on the news about suspects who have been charged with aggravated crimes. It is rarely clarified, though, what exactly this means. How is an aggravated assault different from or worse than a regular assault? There are several factors that determine whether charges are upgraded to aggravated, and if you are facing such charges, you should understand the reasoning. These are a few of the most important things to consider.
Whether or not a weapon was involved
One of the most common reasons for a crime charge to be upgraded to aggravated is the presence or use of a weapon. In some instances, you do not even need to use the weapon to face the more serious charge. If you have allegedly used a weapon in the crime, though, it is likely that this will net you an aggravated charge.
The identity of the victim
In many areas, crimes against certain groups are automatically considered aggravated offenses regardless of the severity of the crime itself. In Georgia, for example, if you are charged with a crime affecting a police officer or an individual over the age of 65, it will automatically be classified as an aggravated charge. It is worth noting, however, that in order to convict you, there must be proof that you knowingly committed the offense against a member of a particular group.
Injuries sustained by a victim
Instances wherein a victim's identity may be cause for an upgrade to an aggravated charge are generally the exception. In most cases, factors such as the severity of damage or the method of the crime are more relevant. This is true for cases in which the injuries of a victim cause a charge against you to be aggravated. Aggravated charges may indicate that an injury occurred or that the injury was particularly severe.
You likely already know that the major difference between simple charges and aggravated charges is the potential consequence for either. You stand to face far more jail time, higher fines and greater repercussions if you are convicted of an aggravated crime rather than its simple counterpart. This is just one reason why it is important to defend yourself against charges-whether they are aggravated or not.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to seek out legal counsel from a lawyer. Hiring an attorney can connect you with the defense you need and help you navigate the legal system successfully.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents on Thursday, November 5, 2015.
It may seem hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is now only a few weeks away. While this means more people will soon be heading to their local grocery store to stock up on the essentials, it also means more people will soon be hitting the road to travel to the homes of family members or friends over the long holiday weekend.
Those planning one of those road trips here in Georgia, however, should be aware that the State Patrol announced earlier this week that it will be out in full force now through the end of the year as part of its "Stop the Threat" program.
This means that troopers will be out in greater numbers on both high traffic corridors and rural roads looking to catch drivers of both passenger and commercial vehicles who are engaged in aggressive, dangerous and otherwise illegal driving practices, including speeding, tailgating and, of course, texting.
Some of the impetus for this statewide crackdown can likely be traced to the recent release of statistics by the Georgia Department of Transportation indicating that over one thousand people have already lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents this year, and that if the current pace continues, the state will see its first increase in fatalities in almost a decade.
In order to stay safe during the holiday season and beyond, state officials are reminding people to take the following precautions every time they get behind the wheel:
Always remember that if you have suffered serious personal injuries or lost a loved one because of the reckless actions of another motorist, you do have options for holding them accountable and, more significantly, for securing peace of mind.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Car Accidents on Tuesday, December 15, 2015.
When it comes to finding the perfect new car, consumers are motivated by very different factors. For some, the size of the vehicle's engine and its overall performance will play a major role, while for others it may be appearance and amenities. Still others will put significant stock in an automaker's reputation for reliability.
There is at least one factor, however, that every new car buyer will take into consideration regardless of their underlying interests: vehicle safety. To that end, many prospective buyers will look no further than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's ratings to see how many stars a particular model earned on the agency's crash-worthiness test.
Interestingly enough, the NHTSA indicated just last week that it was proposing major updates to its current crash test standards, which have not been updated for several years.
What exactly is the NHTSA proposing?
The NHTSA is proposing three major changes to its test protocol. First, it is seeking to use newer and more advanced crash test dummies designed to do a better job of measuring injuries. Second, it is looking to introduce a new frontal oblique crash test to account for a serious and frequently deadly kind of angled crash. Third, and perhaps most significantly, it's seeking to overhaul how crash scores are calculated by considering not just crash worthiness, but also crash-avoidance systems and pedestrian safety.
How would the assessment of crash-avoidance systems work?
The proposal indicates that the agency would examine how well a vehicle makes use of nine crash avoidance technologies such as lane-departure warning systems, auto-braking systems and collision warning systems.
Does this mean vehicles would be assigned three scores going forward instead of just one?
No. Vehicles would still be assigned a single overall score (one to five stars), but it would be based on the scores earned in all three categories instead of just the one. It remains undetermined, however, how much weight the agency plans on assigning to each of the three categories.
When would this new system take effect?
According to the NHTSA, the new ratings system, which will not be applied retroactively, would take effect in the 2019 model year.
Why is the NHTSA even doing this?
The primary justification for this shift is that it accounts for technological advances and could spur automakers to start making more crash avoidance systems standard equipment in order to earn higher scores and, by extension, make more sales.
It's encouraging to see the NHTSA taking safety ratings to the next level. Here's hoping it results in more people walking away from car crashes or avoiding them altogether.
What are your thoughts? Are these changes past due or entirely unnecessary?
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Car Accidents on Friday, April 8, 2016.
Many people who are injured in auto accidents wonder if they can afford to hire an attorney. A more important question is whether you need an attorney.
Personal injury lawyers typically use a contingency fee arrangement. This means you pay the lawyer nothing up front. Your fee will be will a percentage of the recovery the lawyer makes for personal injury. The contingency fee system provides access to our civil justice system to people who could not otherwise afford to hire an attorney.
The contingency fee is usually 30 percent if the attorney can resolve your case by negotiations. If your case has to go to trial, most lawyers charge a higher percentage. However, even by paying the lawyer a significant percentage of your settlement, you are likely to left with more money in your pocket at the end of your case than if you tried to negotiate with the insurance company yourself, especially if you suffered a serious injury.
A more important question is whether you need to hire a lawyer. If you suffered only minor injuries and you expect to recover fully in a few days, it may not make sense to hire an attorney. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation and will give you a candid answer if they think you need legal representation. Most firms will also review your settlement offer and let you know if it is appropriate.
If you have suffered a serious injury, however, negotiating with the insurance company yourself can be costly. You may say or do things that will result in your case being worth less. If you plan to hire an attorney, it's better to so right away. The contingency fee will be the same percentage whether you hire a lawyer right away or later in your case. By receiving the advice of an attorney from day one, your personal injury case will likely be worth more.
Perrotta & Cahn, Attorneys at Law in Cartersville, Georgia, offers a free initial consultation to discuss attorney fees or other issues in car accidents involving personal injury.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
Documenting your injuries after a car accident is a crucial aspect of pursuing a personal injury case. Whether you are bringing a lawsuit or negotiating an insurance settlement, the more evidence you have of your position, the better your chances of receiving adequate compensation.
Do not overlook the importance of getting medical attention and documenting all expenses. Here is a guide to collecting comprehensive documentation of your car accident injuries.
1. Seek immediate medical attention
Even if you think you only have minor injuries, get medical attention. Apart from being beneficial for your health and wellbeing, documentation of your injuries immediately following the accident helps determine a baseline of your condition. During your first visit to the doctor or hospital, request copies of records, reports and diagnoses.
2. Create a file and save everything
Make things easier for yourself by creating a medical file. Maintain an ongoing record of paperwork regarding your treatments. Documents to save include medical bills and insurance questionnaires. Having this file will help you create a narrative of your injuries and subsequent treatments. It also tracks all reimbursable expenditures.
3. Keep a diary
Recording your thoughts about your medical condition throughout the treatment and recovery process can be useful. Such chronicling helps you pay close attention to your injuries, potentially leading to more productive doctor visits. It is also a great way to document mental distress related to your injury. Write down any stress, confusion, sleepless nights or any other signs of mental trauma. This can help strengthen your claim for receiving compensation for pain and suffering.
By following these three steps, you can create a robust factual record of your injuries and the progression of your medical condition. Even if you have been getting treatments for the past few weeks and have not yet created a medical file or written a diary, it is not too late to start. If you need help negotiating your settlement or bringing forward a lawsuit, contact a personal injury attorney.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Monday, June 5, 2017.
With summer finally here, you will likely be riding your motorcycle often. Cruising on your bike is both incredibly satisfying and dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - Highway Loss Data Institute, the summer months are responsible for the majority of motorcycle fatalities, with July having the highest number of deaths.
However, there are things you can do to lower the risk of accident and injury. You can make yourself and your bike more visible, wear proper protective gear and learn what to do when you still get hurt.
Motorcycle helmets and safety gear
Georgia law requires all motorcycle riders, whether operator or passenger, to wear a helmet, regardless of age. In addition, your bike must have a windshield or else all riders must use protective eyewear. Those who are riding inside a motorized cart or an enclosed cab do not have to wear a helmet or eyewear, neither do those who are using a three-wheeled bike for agricultural tasks.
For maximum safety, also wear a leather jacket, riding gloves and other protective gear. It may not be a legal requirement, but it will reduce the bodily injury you receive in an accident.
The responsibility of other motorists
Despite the precautionary measures you take, drivers of other vehicles may still hit you. They may be drunk, distracted or reckless in any other manner. If another driver hits and harms you, you should not have to pay the consequences. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can pursue damages from the responsible party to aid in the payment of medical care, lost income, permanent disability and other costs.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Monday, September 4, 2017.
Courts base child custody and visitation on the best interests of the children involved. Whether you come to an agreement with the other parent or let the court decide, the court will provide an order that you must follow. This order includes details about when a kid should be with each parent.
Both parents must follow this order. Unfortunately, there are deadbeat parents who do not comply with child custody orders. But what exactly counts as a violation? Here are a few examples that might warrant legal enforcement.
1. Consistently missing visitation
Visitation plans are important for keeping each parent involved with children. Failing to show up for scheduled visitation or repeatedly arriving late is directly contrary to the best interests of the children. It is key that children know each parent cares enough to make a consistent effort to show up. Failing to fulfill this duty leaves a parent at risk of losing future visitation.
2. Refusing visitation
On the other hand, a parent who makes a kid unavailable for visitation times is violating the court order. For example, a parent may add activities to the child's schedule to interfere with scheduled visitation. When a parent refuses to let a child see the other parent during a designated visitation time, it could result in significant consequences.
3. Denying visitation because of no child support
The custodial parent may refuse to comply with visitation because he or she is not receiving child support payments from the noncustodial parent. These are two separate issues. You should take on enforcement of child support payments without using the children as pawns.
Dealing with any of these situations can be incredibly frustrating. If a parent violates a court order in any of these ways, he or she may have to make up visitation, pay a fine or even spend time in jail. If the interference is serious enough, it could even be a felony. Read Georgia child custody laws for more information.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Wednesday, September 27, 2017.
If you ride your bike a lot, you know it comes with various advantages. It is good for your health, your wallet and the environment. Unfortunately, some environments - and drivers - are not particularly bicycle-friendly. Sharing the road with cars and commercial trucks can be intimidating, whether you are riding on a long country lane or through the city streets.
Staying safe on your bike mainly comes down to having the proper gear, recognizing road hazards and avoiding collisions. Keep reading below for bicycle safety tips from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
1. Wear a good helmet
You should always wear a helmet designed for bicyclists. This will reduce your risk of sustaining a brain injury if you crash your bike. While Georgia law does not require bicyclists 12 years and up to wear helmets, it still recommends doing so. For the most protection, get a helmet that is certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
2. Be aware of hazards
Road conditions and inclement weather can be especially dangerous to bicyclists. Always pay attention to your surroundings and identify potential hazards to stay safe. Avoid riding in areas that are uneven, slippery or contain obstructions. Simply slow down or even walk your bike if you must.
3. Avoid accidents
There are several things you can do to avoid crashing. You can increase your visibility to drivers by wearing bright and reflective clothing and applying lights and reflectors to your bike. Keep yourself aware by never wearing headphones while riding. Remember to always use correct hand signals.
Riding your bike is fun and efficient, but you need to prioritize your safety. Whether you have been riding for five or 50 years, you should always make sure you are riding correctly. While you may not be able to predict or control the actions of motorists on the road, you can enhance your safety by following these three tips.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.
Unfortunately, drunk driving is a problem that does not seem to be going away anytime soon. In fact, the state of Georgia saw an increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities in 2015 compared to 2014.
When pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, most police officers will ask the driver to submit to some kind of field test. In many cases, this ends up being a breathalyzer. An issue with many departments' breathalyzers is they are inaccurate. Most people consent to this test, not realizing they can actually refuse. However, if a driver is going to refuse, then he or she should be ready for what comes next.
Can you refuse a breathalyzer?
The short answer is, "yes." You have the right to deny a field breathalyzer test. However, at this point, an officer could place you under arrest if he or she believes you are above the legal blood alcohol content limit. Officers will only arrest a person if they believe drivers pose a threat to themselves or others. Many officers do end up arresting a person after a denial, and after an arrest, the driver does have to submit to testing.
What does it mean that Georgia is an implied consent state?
George has implied consent laws in relation to DUIs. After an arrest, an officer will take you down to the station where you have another test to take. Most often, this is a blood test. At this point, if the driver refuses, then there are significant consequences. For a first offense, a driver will face license suspension for up to one year. Many times, you have 30 days to appeal the decision to try to get your license back, and you may have mandatory drug and alcohol courses. Attorneys do not recommend people to refuse these tests because that refusal could come up in court. After an arrest, it is best to comply with officers' demands.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
Did you know that a rear-ender is the most common type of vehicle accident? It makes up about 40 percent of all traffic accidents reported in the U.S.
Do you think that a rear-end crash is no big deal in terms of injuries? Think again. If you are the victim of this kind of collision, you should seek immediate medical treatment, even if you are able to get out of your car and walk away.
The most common injury associated with a rear-end collision is hypertension involving the neck, better known as whiplash. The impact causes the neck to snap back and forth, a motion that is outside the normal range of movement. While whiplash is not always serious, problems with pinched nerves or herniated cervical discs may result. The impact could also cause injury to the middle and lower back where sprains and strains are common.
Other possible injuries
Head injuries are not uncommon in a rear-end crash. If violent enough, the impact can actually cause brain damage, inasmuch as your brain could smash against the inside of your skull. Injuries to your head and face can also occur if you hit the steering wheel upon impact. The lesser results could be cuts and bruises; the major results could be a concussion or a more serious brain injury.
If your lower limbs come in contact with the dashboard, you could sustain some serious injuries to your knees, lower legs and ankles, including broken bones.
Factors that lead to injury
If you are wearing your seatbelt, it will probably tighten upon impact, which could leave you with internal injuries. Your position in your seat also plays a part in the kind of injury you sustain.
What to do
Your first step following a rear-end collision is to seek medical attention; remember that you may have invisible health issues and unseen injuries you did not expect. Your next step is to seek legal counsel. You will need an advocate to help protect your rights and ensure that your claim for financial compensation to cover your injuries is skillfully handled.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Thursday, December 28, 2017.
One of the most common physical ailments people discover following a car crash is whiplash. Some reports estimate that over one million people in the United States suffer from whiplash every year. It is vital to receive treatment immediately after whiplash because the symptoms can be severe.
Car accidents can lead to numerous health problems, from traumatic brain injuries to knee pain. Even if you feel all right following a crash, it is still a good idea to visit a doctor afterward to make sure you are actually fine. If a doctor discovers something developed as a result of whiplash, it will be easier to treat sooner rather than later.
What are the signs of whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when a person makes a sudden, forceful jerking movement. This often happens in car accidents because the car is moving at 40 miles per hour one second and then immediately drops to zero miles per hour. You can tell you experienced whiplash if you notice any of the following.
These symptoms may be readily noticeable right after the crash, or they can take weeks to manifest. You should see a doctor within 72 hours of the crash so that there is a doctor's report on the record in case you need to take a claim to your insurance agency or attorney.
What are the dangers of untreated whiplash?
Whiplash most often affects soft tissue instead of bones. Therefore, if you do not treat it promptly, it can lead to chronic neck and back pain. Chronic headaches that do not go away with standard pain relievers are also a possibility. Some people involved in a car accident may develop vertigo, which is the sensation of falling or spiraling even when you are perfectly still. Even if a doctor does not find anything wrong with you, you can at least enjoy peace of mind.
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in blog on Friday, February 9, 2018.
One issue that pops up in many divorces is a difference in perception as to the value of a stay-at-home spouse or parent. Value is easier to quantify for someone who goes to a job outside the home. In such cases, courts can use information such as salary, bonuses, insurance plans, retirement plans and more to calculate what that person brought financially to the marriage.
It gets trickier when one person focuses on keeping the house and perhaps the kids in order.
Some stay-at-home spouses do not have children. They may focus their tasks on any number of matters such as keeping the house tidy and preparing delicious meals. Perhaps they do not work in a paying job so they have the time and ability to support their spouse in a demanding career that requires travel and many family appearances. Examples could be politician or CEO. In fact, being a CEO's spouse could be a job in itself even though the spouse might technically stay at home.
Stay-at-home parents tend to focus on raising children and on other key family matters. If time and energy permit, they may cook or clean and do other tasks. After a divorce, many cannot afford to stay at home full time or at all.
Valuing the jobs
Intent can matter when the parties try to agree on a stay-at-home person's value. For example, was staying at home the overwhelming idea or preference of just one partner? Which one and why? Did the stay-at-home parent gladly give up years outside of the workforce, or was it something grudgingly agreed to? What was the cost to the spouse's career prospects, past, present and future?
Then there are some financial matters that can be calculated directly. How much did the couple save in daycare, gas and commuting expenses? How much is the life insurance policy on the stay-at-home spouse?
Different people and couples have different ways of fairly calculating the worth of someone who stayed at home. Maybe what worked for a couple who divorced last year does not seem to work well in someone else's situation. That is okay. Each couple must decide what is best for their unique situation.