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Meredith McKell Graff

Meredith Graff’s Answers

69 total

  • What's the best way to guarantee regular Spousal Support from a commission only income?

    My husband and I are currently separated and he has said that he wants to make sure I'm cared for financially from his income. I am thinking I need to make it a legal separation so I can guarantee my spousal support, but he is a commission only s...

    Meredith’s Answer

    You and he should average his pay over one or two years to get a realistic view of his average commission based pay. Then, set spousal support based on the average pay. Then, in flush months, he should set aside money in a bank account to supplement his support payments to you in lean months. You and he may want to also agree to review his pay every twelve months to ensure the average you calculated does not get too far out of whack for the period during which he is paying you spousal support.

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  • Currently separated, not legally. Relocating to 2 different states. Will legal separation in WA make divorce difficult later?

    We are currently separated after 21 years. If we get a legal separation in WA before we both relocate to different states, will one or both of us have to return to WA to get divorced if we decide to do so in the future?

    Meredith’s Answer

    If you get a legal separation in WA, six months from the date the court signs the order of legal separation (no waiting period, by the way), either of you can move the court to convert the legal separation to a divorce. If you agree, neither of you have to go to court, if you have an attorney assist you. There is no new filing fee to convert the legal separation to a divorce. If all the terms of your divorce are in the legal separation, the only thing left for the court to do is enter the order converting the legal separation to a divorce decree. Very simple!

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  • How do youHow do you determine person property between two gay woman that have been to gether 15 years we alwas combined our mon

    She died 12-03-09 her will said the house to her 5 kids 1 music instrument to kids all bills must be payed first her two oldest boys are the excueters and they want every thing inventoryed

    Meredith’s Answer

    The purpose of the initial inventory is to find out if the estate is solvent (more assets than debts). The court needs to know this so it orders the correct level of authority for paying debts of the estate. If it is not solvent, the court will probably want to decide which bills are paid and in what order. If it is, the court, may allow the personal representatives to pay the bills as they come in. The inventory is also important to know the total value of the estate.

    I recommend that you hire your own Texas-licensed attorney to represent your interests in her estate to ensure that everything is done properly by her co-personal representatives.

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  • If a father with joint legal custody moves to another state and leaves child with the mother, does he give up any cstody rights?

    father moved from wisconsin to washington state 2 years ago, he left me(the mother) with our son. Because placement is not really 50/50 anymore did this change his rights as far as joint placement is concerned? Or do we(I) have to go back to famil...

    Meredith’s Answer

    Your parenting plan does not reflect your current reality. You and he could keep joint decision-making for big decisions like non-emergency medical, education issues, maybe even religion, but you need a new parenting plan that addresses long distance parenting time, getting the child to the airport, picking up at the airport, flying with an airline escort (if the child is under 12), and how often the father has long distance parenting time. If you can do this by agreement, you could hire an attorney to prepare your agreed court orders to modify the parenting plan. Wisconsin still has jurisdiction because you and the child still reside there.

    You should consult with a Wisconsin attorney about an agreed modification and find out if the father is willing to do this by agreement.

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  • Is there a Family Lawyer in Northern NJ that is licensed for NJ & PA?

    I need a Child Support Lawyer Preferably licensed in NJ & PA. I need representation next week in Pike County PA for a Support Order.

    Meredith’s Answer

    Robin T. Wernik is licensed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

    Robin Wernick is a friend of mine. We went to Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey together.

    Her address is:
    34 Village Court
    Hazlet, New Jersey 07730, (Monmouth Co.)



    Best wishes!

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  • Lawyer changes fees after final agreement signed

    I recently was involved in a mediation where I received a settlement. I went to my lawyers office and signed the fee agreement, which they also signed. Today, I get an email stating they made a mistake and I would be receiving $6500 LESS becau...

    Meredith’s Answer

    They are trying to renegotiate the employment contract. Go get the new contract and take it to a different lawyer to review with you. You probably do not have to sign the new contract but get the new contract and take it to another attorney. To change it, they should also be paying you some kind of consideration to enter into the new contract. Ask the second attorney about that. Generally, contracts are interpreted by the court against the person who wrote it, so if you had to take this to a court to decide, the court would view the first contract that you are trying to enforce in the light most favorable to you since you did not write the employment contract.

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  • Mediation Settlement Question/Regrets

    I was the defendant in a civil lawsuit which was court ordered into mediation. (I had no say in the choice of mediators, time or place!) I was pro se and agreed to a settlement to avoid the cost of allowing the case to go to trial as the mediator ...

    Meredith’s Answer

    Have you signed a written agreement? Has the other side taken steps in reliance on your agreements that would hurt the other side when you announce you have reneged on your agreements? If you haven't signed anything, you may be able to withdraw your agreements and go to trial.

    If you go to trial, the mediation discussions will likely be barred by the evidence rules (negotiation discussions) but if the other side relied on your agreement and was harmed as a result, there could be financial sanctions, attorney fees awards, or other financial downsides resulting from you changing your mind.

    You definitely should talk to an attorney in Clearwater, Florida to find out what your options are under Florida law so you can weigh the risks and benefits of changing your mind.

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  • What if there is no custodial agreement for a child what are the tax laws for claimimg as dependent

    My exwife and i have no custodial agreement we have a verbal agreement to claim the child on imncome taxes every other year what are the tax laws pretaining to this

    Meredith’s Answer

    The Internal Revenue Service rules say that the person who provided over 50% of the support or the person with whom the dependent resided for over 6 months of the tax year is the person with the right to claim the dependent as his/her dependent on his/her tax return.

    You can agree otherwise. If the person with the right, under the Internal Revenue Code, wants to give that right to the other parent, the other parent will need to file IRS Form 8332 that both parents have signed with his/her tax return.

    Not all states' courts follow the Internal Revenue rule about dependents. You will want to consult with an attorney in North Carolina to find out how the North Carolina courts deal with child tax deductions when parents no longer reside together.

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  • I'm wanting to relocate and my sons father is demanding I stay in Arizona or give up my parental rights.

    I currently have sole custody of my son. I just started filing to modify visitation and/or child support. I really don't care about the child support its the visitation that I want modified. I'm wanting him the school year and his father gets him ...

    Meredith’s Answer

    You need to consult with an Arizona attorney to find out if your state has a relocation statute. If it does, you will need to comply with the notice requirements of the relocation act before you can move. Many times, when a parent files the notice to relocate with the court, and provides a copy to the other parent, the other parent will come to court and object to the move. The court then has the authority to decide a new parenting plan based on the move, if the court agrees it is in the child's best interests to move. Do not do anything without talking to an Arizona attorney!!!

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  • Can a child custody case be moved from one state to another?

    My divorce was finalized in Kansas with me receiving custody of my children. I have now resided in Missouri for 2 years, but we are close enough that my ex still has the children every weekend and some holidays. My ex-husband has filed for custod...

    Meredith’s Answer

    No, under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which every state has in each states' statutes, until no parties reside in the original jurisdiction (the state that entered the original orders), the original state has jurisdiction over the case. If your ex moves to another state, you can register your orders in Missouri and open a new case there. Until then, you are stuck with Kansas.

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