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J. J Sandlin

J. Sandlin’s Answers

8 total

  • Do i need a lawyer to answer police questions?

    Police officers showed up my job to see if I could identify a person on a photo. They claim that someone stole credit cards from a ladies purse on a flight, and that because my husband downloaded her flight that he could have taken it. when they c...

    J.’s Answer

    Lawyer up. You need an attorney NOW. Consult with an attorney before making any statement.

    Even if you are not charged with a specific crime or they say you are not a suspect, or they say you can just clear things up by talking with them or watching a video, you may still be a suspect while law enforcement carries out their investigation. Consult with an attorney before making any statement.

    If the police are looking for you, immediately contact an attorney who will do pre-arrest representation. For a reasonable fee an attorney will contact the police and tell them that you are not going to give a statement without your lawyer present. This alone often causes the police to back down. If you can’t afford an attorney, don’t talk to the police, you don't have to. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so take advantage of this to talk to one.

    If the police contact you, tell them you will not give a statement without your attorney present. It is essential that you remain silent. It is crucial that you immediately contact a lawyer to protect yourself from being wrongfully accused of a crime.

    You should never believe that because you are innocent and have nothing to hide there is no need for legal representation.

    Witnesses do not have to talk to the police unless they are subpoenaed to court. Police often contact family members or friends of an accused to try to get a statement regarding a suspect’s connection to a crime. You cannot tell someone they can’t talk to the police because it’s a crime to dissuade a witness. However, a citizen doesn’t have to talk to the police. They can simply tell the police that they are not going to give a statement unless they are subpoenaed to court. This usually will stop the police from trying to get a statement.
    The police can and do lie to get you to talk. Officers start out nice, they tell you that they are only trying to help you or that you are not a suspect. If nice doesn’t work, they say that they have evidence and witnesses against you and that you’ll get in more trouble by not cooperating. Don’t fall for it.
    Police want to talk to you so they can use your own statements against you. Don’t think you can talk your way out of trouble, you can’t. Everything you say will be used against you in the police reports and taken out of context. Police reports are used to prosecute you, They never contain statements that help you, instead, only statements to harm you.

    If you never give a statement,the police can’t say you said things you never said. In court it’s your word against the officer’s and the jury usually believes the police officer.

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  • Is an employer allowed to ask for copies of your marriage certificate and income tax return

    Suddenly, after working for the same company for many years, they are asking my husband to supply them with copies of our marriage certificate and income tax returns. Is this legal. They haven't given any good reason. Just for "updating" their rec...

    J.’s Answer

    Yes, an employer is allowed to ask for the documents you have mentioned. You are also allowed to refuse to provide them. You should ask why they need them because they fit the profile of a document request made to verify employee dependants who are eligible for health insurance benefits.

    More employers are asking for the documents you mentioned in order to prove the number of dependants belonging to each employee in order to verify eligibility for health insurance benefits. Ask your human resources department if this is the case.

    Some employees have dealt with this issue by asking if they may ink-out sensitive information (such as income amounts, or account numbers) that employers don't require in order to satisfy their documentation of dependants. Many find that this is acceptable to their employers.

    At this time, most employers are not legally required to offer health insurance to employees. There are few places in our nation where employers are effectively penalized for not providing a minimum level of health insurance benefits for employees.

    Employers can legally impose conditions on eligibility for health insurance benefits. Although they cannot obtain certain private information without your consent, they may make your eligibility to receive health insurance benefits conditional upon your providing evidence of eligibility by producing the documents they request.

    Unlike private employers, law enforcement officials need a warrant in order to demand and take private documents, because they are government agents and are bound by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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  • Do hourly employees generally get paid more than salaried employees for the same work?

    I currently work 30 hours a week for an hourly wage. My boss wants me to switch to full time status with added responsibilities for a salary that is lower per hour than my current wage. Is that common practice? She claims most hourly employees are...

    J.’s Answer

    Hourly workers can end up with a higher rate of pay than salaried employees. Banks and insurance companies are notorious for their extremely low full-time employee salaries. The average clerk at your local supermarket is likely to take home far more money each week than your friendly and neatly dressed bank teller.

    Your boss may well be telling the truth, although it is unusual for this to occur under one business roof where fellow employees can compare notes.
    In order to create pay ranges many employers weigh the value of added benefits,including dental and medical coverage;retirement plans, insurance; and holiday, vacation and sick leave pay. Being a full-time employee with full health and dental benefits can be worth more in the long-run than a slightly higher rate of pay with part-time status and few benefits, especially if those benefits cover your spouse and children.

    Smaller businesses can't always offer the same level of costly benefits as large corporations, but they can often offset that by offering desirable, no-cost benefits, such as flex-hours, allowing tele-commuting and a more casual dress code.

    If you are being moved into this pay position so that your employer can obtain more hours from you at a cheaper rate, you must explore the other benefits that come with it and decide if it is worth it. Added responsibilities should bring added income to the employee. Only you can judge if you will be given a fair shake or a shake-down. Definitely negotiate for a higher salary. After all, they are demanding more hours AND greater responsibilities of you.

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  • If my husband co-signed a student loan without me and without my knowledge, am I also liable?

    My husband, without informing me, went online and co-signed a $25,000 student loan through SallieMae for our daughter to attend a drama school in NY. As far as I know, none of my information (SS#, etc.) was entered into this application. Am I as r...

    J.’s Answer

    Tennessee is a common law state, which should be good news in your case. The fact that you had no knowledge of your husband's signing as a co-signer on a loan is not as important as the state that qualifies as your legal residence and if it is a common law or community property state. Your liability for your spouse's debts in great part depends on whether you have legal residency in Tennessee. How long you have lived there is generally the determining factor. Also at issue is what the laws in that particular state say concerning loans during a marriage that benefit both spouses. In some cases, a loan used for tuition for a child may possibly alter your debt liability, if not with creditors, then perhaps in a divorce. Your local rules and other circumstances can come into play.Generally though, common law rules would tend to protect you from your spouse's personal debt liabilities. Only a fully informed attorney, practicing in your jurisdiction, can more accurately determine your current liability or future risk status.

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  • My husband are still married living in different states, he co-signed for $18,000 loan w/o my knowledge am I responsible also.

    Have been living apart four years because of work in another state, unaware of the co-signed note, if both parties fail on payments, because of marriage would I be held responsible to pay?

    J.’s Answer

    If you have legal residency status in Minnesota, expenses that were incurred solely for the benefit of one spouse, such as a vacation for one spouse, or the hobby of a spouse, may be left as the responsibility of the spouse who obtained the benefit. Additionally, if you did not sign for a loan it is not your responsibility to repay it.

    The fact that you were not living together at the time and had no knowledge of your husband's signing as a co-borrower is not as important as the state that qualifies your as legal residence and the common law or community property laws there. Your liability for your spouse's debts in great part depends on whether you have legal residency in a community property or a common law property state. If your legal residency is in Minnesota, your liability is probably not a problem as it is a common law state. However, without additional knowledge of your current legal residency (how long you have lived in the state determines residency) and that of your husband and other facts, your liability cannot at this time be 100% reliably determined. Determining the risks, benefits and the options open to you regarding this and future financial complications, would be handled best by an attorney practicing in your county.

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  • Am i responsible for my husbands debt as a co-borrower on my sons home loan if they die or default .we live apart.I didn't sign

    we are living separatley but no paperwork has been filed.Our house has been quitclaim deeded to me and my husband sign for a loan as co borrower with my son without my consent and I am afraid if they default on the loan my house will be used to pa...

    J.’s Answer

    If you had not filed for a divorce when the debt was created, the fact that you were not living together at the time, or even had no knowledge of your husband's signing as a co-borrower, is meaningless.
    Whether you are liable for your spouse's debts in great part depends on whether you live in a community property or common law property state. If you are married in a community property state, you are just as liable for your spouse’s debts, incurred during marriage, as your spouse is. Without knowledge of which state controlls your marriage or your real estate, it is not possible to determine your other asset protection options --(homesteading protection, bankruptcy, etc.)
    Of course, if a home loan is defaulted (mortgage is not paid) the real estate the loan was used to finance is the security for that loan. If a foreclosure occurs on the first mortgage, your son loses his house. In many cases, that would be the worst that happens and you would be free of liability for the payment of the loan. Seeing the actual loan documents and having much more information is essential to clearly understanding your risks or remedies.
    Hiring a local attorney to at least look everything over and outline your rights, options, and best courses of action, could give you great peace of mind and may save you from any expensive or nasty surprises in the future. Your married-but-living-apart status should be examined by an attorney to help you to thoroughly understand your risks of further asset or financial complications, additional spousal debt problems, or other financial problems you may encounter and what your legal options are.

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  • Am i responsible for my husbands debt as a co-borrower on my sons home loan if they die or default .we live apart.I didn't sign

    we are living separatley but no paperwork has been filed.Our house has been quitclaim deeded to me and my husband sign for a loan as co borrower with my son without my consent and I am afraid if they default on the loan my house will be used to pa...

    J.’s Answer

    If you had not filed for a divorce when the debt was created, the fact that you were not living together at the time, or even had no knowledge of your husband's signing as a co-borrower, is meaningless.
    Whether you are liable for your spouse's debts in great part depends on whether you live in a community property or common law property state. If you are married in a community property state, you are just as liable for your spouse’s debts, incurred during marriage, as your spouse is. Without knowledge of which state controlls your marriage or your real estate, it is not possible to determine your other asset protection options --(homesteading protection, bankruptcy, etc.)
    Of course, if a home loan is defaulted (mortgage is not paid) the real estate the loan was used to finance is the security for that loan. If a foreclosure occurs on the first mortgage, your son loses his house. In many cases, that would be the worst that happens and you would be free of liability for the payment of the loan. Seeing the actual loan documents and having much more information is essential to clearly understanding your risks or remedies.
    Hiring a local attorney to at least look everything over and outline your rights, options, and best courses of action, could give you great peace of mind and may save you from any expensive or nasty surprises in the future. Your married-but-living-apart status should be examined by an attorney to help you to thoroughly understand your risks of further asset or financial complications, additional spousal debt problems, or other financial problems you may encounter and what your legal options are.

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  • I signed for a home equity loan when I was single. I was married recently. Is my husband liable for that loan?

    The home equity loan is from a large credit union. They rejected the short sale offer from the primary lender for the house and are pursuing me for the debt. I am also unemployed as of about 6 weeks ago and live in the house my husband owned.

    J.’s Answer

    Your NEW husband is not liable for any debts incurred by you before you married him. Unless he at some point signed a contract to pay that debt, he is under no legal obligation to do so.

    Note: You should seek legal counsel in order to negotiate the resolution of the home equity loan. There are several approaches where a lawyer can assist you. The home equity loan is a junior lien upon the real property. There may be little or no equity in the real property since you attempted a short sale, therefore the home equity lender has only a nominal interest in foreclosure, since the equity lender would have to purchase the first mortgage position. (a little of something is better than all of nothing) It will take a lawyer to force the home equity lender to realize this. Your short sale purchaser, your lawyer, and the home equity lender's lawyer need to come to an agreement. Hopefully there shall be enough money left over to make it worth your while, otherwise, the property is worthless and the simple resolution is a non-judicial foreclosure. Caveat: You must avoid a judicial (as opposed to non-judicial) foreclosure as this allows the home equity lender to impose personal liability upon you for any unpaid debt after the sale of the real property.

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