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Exploring criminal defense options

The best criminal defense strategy is uniquely tailored to the charges the accused individual is facing. Criminal defense options are available based on the situation and circumstances of the accused individual which is why every accused individual should be familiar with what they are. Criminal defense strategies can help accused individuals with whatever criminal charges, accusations and allegations they are facing.

Affirmative defenses are one type of criminal defense strategy accused individuals may want to consider. An affirmative defense typically provides a reason why the accused individual committed the alleged crime. Presenting an affirmative defense in response to criminal charges provides a justification for the crime that was allegedly committed. Examples of affirmative defenses include self-defense, defense of others, insanity, duress, entrapment and involuntary intoxication.

How child custody is determined

Parents who are approaching child custody concerns should be familiar with the best interests of the child standard and what that means for them and their child. The family law process provides resources to help guide parents through the child custody process and develop a child custody arrangement that is based on the best interests of the child.

Child custody arrangements should always support the best interests of the child which in a broad sense means that the child custody arrangement fosters the child's happiness, security, mental health and emotional development throughout childhood. Using the best interests of the child standard, which the family law court uses if it is making child custody determinations and parents developing a child custody agreement will also need to follow, helps maintain a focus on ensuring whatever child custody arrangement is developed ensures the child's overall well-being.

When grandparents need to step in to raise their grandchildren

One of the joys of being a grandparent is the ability to spoil grandkids and then send them home to their parents. There is the fun of watching these children grow up, without the stress and responsibility of having to care for them 24/7. Unfortunately, now more than ever, numerous grandparents in Pennsylvania are finding themselves once again in parent mode, as it has become necessary for them to step in and raise their grandchildren.

Why are more grandparents having to revert back to their full-time parental roles? The three main reasons why this becomes necessary are:

  • The death of a child's parents
  • Parents experiencing significant financial issues
  • Child's exposure to an unsafe home environment

The benefits of stepparent adoption and how it works

Stepparent adoption can be an important step for many families, parents, stepparents and children so it is helpful to understand how the stepparent adoption process works. Family law resources can help parents and stepparents navigate the adoption process based on their needs and goals for the process.

There may be fewer steps involved in the adoption process for stepparents but there are still certain requirements, including obtaining the consent of the birth parent, which is why it is useful for parents and stepparents considering the stepparent adoption process to know what the legal requirements are so they can ensure they are met. Consent is not required from the birth parent if the parental rights of that parent have been terminated which could be based on abandonment of the child or not being the biological parent of the child.

Avoid common mistakes during your divorce

You may remember the many issues you had to resolve when preparing for your wedding. At the time, it seemed like every detail was critical, and one mistake could ruin the day. As important as those wedding matters were, your divorce issues may carry even more weight. After all, the resolutions you reach during your divorce could impact your life for many years.

As emotional as a divorce may be, it is important to understand the gravity of your choices. You may want to get it over with as quickly as possible because the pain is too much to bear, or you may simply be anxious to move on with your new life. However, the extra caution you use when making decisions can mean the difference between a hopeful future or one full of struggle.

What should be included in an estate plan?

An effective estate plan provides protection for the estate planner and the estate planner's loved ones, family and friends. Because of this, estate planners should know what documents to include in their estate plan.

There are several different types of documents that should be included in an effective overall estate plan. Different estate planning tools can be tailored, however, to the unique needs of the estate planner and their estate and to match the wishes of the estate planner. A thorough estate plan can provide peace of mind to the estate planner that their wishes will be fulfilled and their estate will be distributed how they want it to be distributed. This can also provide peace of mind that the estate planner's loved ones, family members and friends will be cared for.

Who is prohibited from purchasing firearms in Pennsylvania?

Many people may not realize this, but Pennsylvania has stricter firearms laws than much of the country. In fact, it has been ranked the 10th toughest state with regards to gun laws. Gun laws vary from state to state, which is why it is important to know where one stands when they enter Pennsylvania.

It is possible to openly carry a gun across the state without a license, except in Philadelphia. However, in order to concealed carry, individuals over the age of 21 must apply for a license to carry firearms in the county office where they reside.

What are the benefits of creating a living trust?

Preserving one's legacy and ensuring their assets are distributed in the manner they want are often the driving force for Pennsylvania residents to draft wills. Having completed the task, they most likely don't give it another thought, and very likely do not utilize other estate planning tools. What many fail to realize is that their will might get tangled in probate for a long time, tying up the estate and resulting in legal fees. It is possible, however, to protect loved ones from probate, if proper estate planning is carried out.

One of the most comprehensive ways to avoid probate is by setting up a living trust. A living trust has three parties-the person setting up the trust, known as the grantor, the person who manages the trust, known as the trustee, and the person for whom the trust is established, known as the beneficiary. To avoid probate, all three parties would have to be the same person. Therefore, as grantor, one would set up the trust and transfer all assets into it; as a trustee, they would handle the property; and as a beneficiary, they could continue to use the property.

Surviving college life could lead to criminal charges

Today's college students are no different from those who went before them. They still experience similar stresses regarding academic performance, social engagement and integration, and more.

Even though alcohol has been a part of college life for decades, so-called "study drugs" have come into the mix as well. Students are now using medications ordinarily prescribed for people with conditions such as attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder without a prescription. If your son or daughter ends up using them as well, the odds of facing criminal charges increase.

Experienced advice helps avoid common estate planning errors

While creating a last will and testament is an important estate planning step, it is not the only one Pennsylvania residents should be taking. Unfortunately, not many people realize there are a number of tools available to distribute one's assets to loved ones, and it is possible to tailor them to one's unique situation.

An executor plays an important role in asset distribution. Choosing who to appoint is an important decision and should not be made solely on the basis of kinship. Having a knowledgeable, trustworthy and reliable executor may be a better choice than a relative, depending on one's circumstances. When making the decision, it is important to sit down with the appointee and explain what will be needed of them during estate administration. One must also make sure all the information the executor will need to distribute one's assets are provided to them.

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