Blogging lawyers–with an agenda–as journalists

Blogging lawyers, even with their own agenda, are part of today’s journalism.

America news media, including legal media, with eroding business models are cutting back on coverage. Papers are shrinking or going away. National TV coverage of breaking events is becoming more limited – as evidenced by CNN and Fox running tapped shows last night when news of 19 firefighters dying is breaking on Twitter. Sports teams and leagues are hiring their own bloggers, having found that papers no longer employed reporters to travel with their teams. And ALM, the leading legal periodical publisher, has a fraction of the publications it once had.

Who’s to fill the gap? In the case of the law, it’s lawyers who blog.

I am not talking of lawyers with blogs, some with ghost writers, looking to garner search rankings and shameless attention. I am talking of real lawyers offering first hand insight, news, and commentary in a genuine and authentic fashion. I am talking of lawyers who are uniquely qualified to report and offer commentary on areas in which they have deep expertise.

We ought not be alarmed by getting news and commentary from folks with an agenda, as many lawyers will have. The agenda could be advancing a cause or to enhance their own reputation and build relationships in an effort to drive business their way. Who cares? Lawyers didn’t hire PR professionals to get their names and quotes in the paper and on TV absent an ulterior motive.

Written by Kevin O’Keefe. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

56% of people use social media when looking for attorney

Pursuant to a recent survey by The Research Intelligence Group, 56% of consumers (72% of minorities) who looked for an attorney in the past year used social media during their search.

The survey commissioned by the Rainmaker Institute found that nearly one-quarter used a social media channel such as Twitter or Facebook to ask their friends for recommendations of lawyers or firms they have used for similar matters. Not unusual in that the leading place people turn when looking for a lawyer is a person they trust.

How did they use social media in their search for a lawyer?

21% of those searching for an attorney checked out the social media pages of lawyers or firms.
20% used social media to create a ‘short list’ of lawyers based on referrals and recommendations received through social media
Almost 20% vetted the names of lawyers they were considering with their social media contacts
Nearly one-quarter made a final selection of a lawyer based in part on what they learned through their social media contacts

Written by Kevin O’Keefe. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Equal Child Custody Revisited

Several months ago I submitted a blog entitled “Why Equal Child Custody Should Not Be Presumed.” It is accessible on the Huffington Post Divorce Website in permanent archives. In that blog I stated that one size does not fit all and that I believed the statutory policy requiring 50/50 equal custody should not be the law.

I have received some comments where people have been very upset over my position.
In the state of Michigan where I practice there have been proposals in the legislature to have the statutory presumption for joint, equal, physical custody. The law has not been passed as of this date.

The general view of the attorneys who specialize in family law is that one size does not fit all. The view is that custody and parenting time should be decided on a case by case basis without a mandate or rebuttable presumption.

There clearly is a trend in Michigan and elsewhere towards a sharing of custodial arrangements.

There is also a trend to get away from some of the arguments over semantics. In Michigan there is a presumption favoring joint legal custody, which means that in almost every case the parents are to share in any major decision making consistent with the best interests of their children. This covers medical issues, school related issues, religious issues, and extracurricular activities by way of example.

Written by Henry Gornbein. To read the full article, click here.

Your Finances and Divorce

There are two things in Divorce, money and kids.

The issue is that emotions can play havoc with our ability to make sound financial decisions in divorce. While kids are most couples number one priority, grounded parenting discussions and planning is not likely until the money issues are resolved.

So while, it might seem that parenting should be decided first, this is not the best strategy. Deal with money matters first and put in place a short-term parenting plan, while negotiations are ongoing. Even if this seems counter intuitive — it works much better for a faster, less costly divorce.

Money Matters:

Child support

The Federal Support Guidelines set out specifically what child support will be. This is based on the incomes (usually starting with line 150 of the T1s) and the number of dependent children. Child support will change depending on whether the parents are sharing 50/50 or some other scenario. If parents are sharing 50/50 then the child support paid will be based on the amount payable by the higher income earner minus the amount payable by the lower-income earner. The difference is then payable to the lower-income earner. If parenting is not close to 50/50 then child support is payable on the income of the non-residential parent regardless of whether they are the lower or higher income earner.

There are many tables available online now so that anyone can access these calculations.

The issue with child support and what can cause arguing is the determination of income — especially for self-employed individuals or individuals with other non-T4 income. The other issue that must be determined is the section 7’s or commonly known as extraordinary expenses. These expenses are those that are above and beyond basic child support. These expenses are usually shared pro rata based on incomes and are agreed to in advance unless otherwise decided.

Written by Karen Stewart. To read the full article, click here.