Divorce and Family Law
No one plans on a marriage ending in divorce, but the reality is that divorces are sometimes unavoidable, and must be dealt with in a way that is responsive to the rights of the parties, and the rights and needs of their children who are affected by the divorce.
We strive to encourage couples to keep the rights and needs of children in mind at each stage of the divorce. We work with parents to develop a meaningful and positive parenting plan that balances quality parenting time with the respective ages and developmental needs of the children. We assist parent in preparing for and participating in mediation in those case where parenting plan agreements have not been worked out to the satisfaction of the clients. We litigate custody and visitation disputes when mediation and settlement efforts have failed.
Property division and debt allocation involve the gathering and analysis of records and historical information about the assets and liabilities that were brought into the marriage and that have accumulated during the marriage, and the development of evidence to prove the existence and location of assets that may be concealed by a party in a divorce case. We utilize many years of experience to uncover hidden assets, and to prove and isolate “non-marital” property that should not be divided between spouses in a divorce case.
Often when couples have decided to get a divorce, they want to have a peaceful outcome that is a result of their own agreement and sense of fairness. We applaud and support couples and parents who are able to work things out for the benefit of the adults and children that are affected by divorce. We can help you with the legal technicalities of property rights and debt allocation, joint custody and parenting plans, and family support obligations, in a non-adversarial setting that is:
and above all, quick and efficient. The marriage contract is one of the few contracts that can't be broken without the approval of a court order -- in part because our laws are designed to protect against lopsided property divisions and to safeguard the best interest of minor children. But that doesn't mean that couples must fight their way through an adversarial process that can be financially devastating, emotionally exhausting, and personally demeaning.
If you have a case where both of the parties agree to the outcome, and you would like the help to get there as quickly, painlessly, and efficiently as possible, we are your law firm. With a few phone calls or an initial consultation, we can give you a checklist of the documentation and information that you will need to bring in for a conference in which we can usually prepare your case for you start to finish in a half a day. You know before you ever sign the first page what each and every page and document of your divorce case consists of, including the final decree. When you and your spouse sign the paperwork at the conclusion of this conference, we file the case for you and set it for a final hearing in 60 days. Mandatory mediation and court appearances by both spouses can be waived. We show up to ensure that your final decree is approved by the judge, and neither of you will ever have need to step foot in the courtroom. Each of you, however, are always invited to attend and participate in the final hearing if that is your personal preference. Both of you will end up with a complete set of the signed papers and documents that are filed and recorded to accomplish the divorce.
We won't know the exact cost of your uncontested divorce without knowing more about your case. You don't have to pay us to evaluate the approximate cost of your case. We can usually accomplish this evaluation in an initial telephone conference at no cost to you.
We can tell you that the cost usually ranges between $800 and $1200, plus filing and recording fees that are charged to us by the courts and county offices where your divorce papers and property division documents are filed and recorded, and that we pass along to you.
Circumstances that tend to make the cost of an uncontested case range above the norm, include:
- Business or Farm owned by a couple or a spouse
- Multiple real estate holdings
- Special needs of children or parent(s)
- Financial distress resulting in collection activities or potential bankruptcy
- Tardy income tax returns and non-payment of tax obligations
- Indecision by one or the other of the spouses
We are experienced in helping couples over these hurdles, and we can show you the path of least resistance to overcome these obstacles. If you want to know whether your divorce case can be handled in this fashion, we will welcome your call.
Bankruptcy and Creditor's Rights
We have over 25 years of experience in our insolvency and debt restructuring practice that covers a wide range of situations. We represent banks and secured creditors in bankruptcy cases to protect the rights of lenders in their collateral. We represent landlords whose property is leased or rented to businesses, farmers, and consumers that seek protection from creditors under the Bankruptcy Code. Our divorce practice often calls upon bankruptcy expertise to protect child support, alimony, and property division judgments from adverse consequences in bankruptcy.
Inevitably, some of our clients tangle with a business failure of their own, medical problems, or some other misfortune in which they need the protection of the Bankruptcy Code to recover from circumstances that are financially devastating. Bankruptcy laws, in one form or another, have been around in the United States for over one hundred years, for the purpose of giving debtors a fresh start, while at the same time protecting the rights of creditors to their collateral and from unfair discrimination or preferential treatment.
Our experience is representing large farming and trucking operations as debtors in the restructuring process, representing consumers and wage earners in Chapter 7 cases, and in representing banks, landlords, and other creditors whose lending and business relationships with others inevitably drag them into conflict with the bankruptcy laws. Whether you are a creditor or a debtor, we know how to navigate your case through the bankruptcy laws.
We are a “debt relief agency”, as that term is defined by 11 USC § 101 et. seq.. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
Corporate and Business Entities
We help business owners and investors form legal entities that afford varying levels of insulation between the business activities and the personal wealth of the business owner. We form corporations, limited liability companies, and general and limited partnerships. We work with your accountant and tax professionals to develop a business structure that balances the need for personal asset protection with the goal to minimize adverse tax consequences that develop in the formation and dissolution of business entities. We represent these entities to maintain the legal status and integrity of the entity through which the business is conducted. We counsel and advise businesses and business owners in the development of legal strategies to separate assets and liabilities of a business entity between shareholders, partners, and investors that want to split off and separate a portion of the business assets to go their own way.
Our personal freedom and individual liberties are protected by rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These rights include the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, the right to a fair trial, the right to counsel, the right to compel witnesses to come to trial and testify, and the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Never in the course of human experience are these rights more meaningful than when a person is charged with a criminal offense. We defend the rights of people that are charged with crimes amounting to felonies and misdemeanors, including the defense of driving under the influence and other serious traffic offenses.
Agriculture inevitably touches the lives and businesses of our clients, probably more than any other industry in Western Nebraska. We draft and enforce leases for landowners and for farmers. We represent landowners in legal disputes. We prepare and review contracts for the purchase and sale of farms. We help farmers and ranchers navigate through divorce, probate, and lawsuits that affect their farms and ranches, their land and livestock, as well as their livelihood as tenants and operators. And we counsel and advise farm families in the preservation and transfer of farms and ranches through generations of family members with estate planning and business entities.
For over 25 years, we have provided representation and counsel to banks in the management and collection of unproductive loans. We have extensive experience in bankruptcy court, in state court foreclosures and replevins, receiverships, and in non-judicial foreclosures of Uniform Commercial Code liens and Trusts Deeds. We help lenders to develop strategies that are the most likely to be successful in the collection of loans, and the preservation of collateral in the event of a bankruptcy, and during the foreclosure process.
Real Estate and Business Transactions
We represent buyers and sellers in real estate sales transactions, and landowners in boundary disputes, and land use matters. And we handle a variety of real estate title issues that arise in connection with real estate sales and lending. We also draft and enforce leases for landlords on commercial and residential leases, handle evictions, and file lawsuits to collect unpaid rents.
The purchase or sale of an ongoing and active business typically entails attention to the details of making a seamless transition into the buyer’s conduct of the ongoing business affairs, preservation of business goodwill, and retention of customer base. We provide counsel and advice, and draft contracts and provide representation to buyers and sellers in transactions for the sale and purchase of businesses, securitization of the installment payment of the purchase price, covenants against competition, and other matters that arise in business sale transactions.
Wills, Trusts, Estates, and Probate
Minimizing the cost of estate taxes, probate fees, and estate planning expenses is the goal of our estate plans. Everyone wants their estate assets to pass on to their surviving beneficiaries with the least amount of erosion from taxes and probate costs. And when there is a death in the family, our clients want an attorney that will get the job done without unnecessary delays.
One of the approaches to accomplishing an effective estate plan is to “avoid probate” when we can transfer an asset upon death without impairing the client's ability to use and control the asset during his or her life. We can show you strategies that utilize “non-pro bate transfers” to accomplish a seamless transfer of certain assets to survivors in ways that allow you to retain the use, income, and enjoyment from your assets while you are living.
Trusts have been the most widely used estate planning tool to “avoid probate” over the past several decades. What many people are realizing, all too late, is that the cost and time involved in trust administration both before and after death is not all that different from the time and expense of after death probate that they were trying to avoid by using the trust. The most common complaint that we hear from our clients about trusts is that they are complicated documents, the clients don't feel like they fully understand their own estate plan, the trust estate plan was expensive to prepare, and the clients don't like to deal with a cumbersome trust in the lifetime ownership and maintenance of their assets. We don't recommend using trusts when trusts are not necessary to accomplish the estate planning goal. If and when a trust is the best strategy for a client, we strive to craft a trust arrangement that is efficient and understandable, and that is not unnecessarily complicated.
Almost every estate plan involves a Will of some sort. Even if the estate plan uses non-probate transfers or a trust as a strategy to avoid probate, a Will is typically a part of the estate plan to sweep up any loose ends or unforeseen circumstances. We help clients make wills that are clear and concise to accomplish the intentions of the client.
The changes that have developed in the past several years in the Federal Estate Tax laws have enabled us to deliver an understandable and uncomplicated estate plan to clients. We help clients to make estate plans that will pass along their assets and their wealth to the next generation, while at the same time providing for the continued care and financial wellbeing of a surviving spouse and minor or college-aged children. We strive to make our wills and trusts short, concise, and easily understood by your beneficiaries and the person that will be in charge of the administration of the estate after your death.
Clashes between beneficiaries after the death of a loved one sometimes find their way into the estate or trust administration process. Sometimes the person that is appointed by the decedent to be in charge of the estate or trust administration is either not following the estate plan, or is not getting the job done. We help clients in estate and trust administration litigation to accomplish the decedent’s estate plan efficiently and according to the intentions of the decedent.