Stephen K. Underwood, Attorney at Law

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  06:39:00 pm, by admin   , 241 words  
Categories: Wills & Estates

Healthcare Proxy NY | Buffalo NY Wills & Estates Lawyer

Make a Healthcare Proxy, Healthcare Proxy Lawyer Buffalo NY

Why do I need a Healthcare Proxy?

The Terry Schiavo case demonstrates that the failure to execute a health care proxy, and living will, can break families apart, cause long-lasting feuds, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, involve legal wrangles that last for years and mean quite literally the difference between life and death.

A Health Care Proxy allows you to appoint someone you trust to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. The agent does not have authority until such time as you are unable to make decisions.

In appointing a health care agent, you can make sure that health care providers follow your wishes with respect to treatment. You may give the person you select as your health care agent as little or as much authority as you want. You may allow your agent to make all health care decisions or only certain ones. You may also require your agent to follow the terms set forth in your living will with respect to the extent of treatment.

How much does it cost?

Attorney Fee:
Range $150.00 - $250.00 (depends on the circumstances).

Need a Health Care Proxyr?

If you need a Health Care Proxy please call (716)-656-7676 for a free phone counsultation or CLICK HERE for a free web consultation. The first consultation is always free, and you will always speak directly to Stephen K. Underwood.

  06:23:00 pm, by admin   , 307 words  
Categories: Family Law

Burden of Proof | Child Custody NY | Buffalo NY Family Court Lawyer

How to Prove a Child Custody Case, Custody Lawyer Buffalo NY

What is the burden of proof in the initial custody case?

A parent must show that it is in the "best interest of the child" for them to have custody.

What factors does the court consider in determining the best interest of the child?

1) Domestic violence is a significant factor;
2) Who is the primary caretaker of the child;
3) Who is the more fit parent;
4) What is the nurturing ability of the parents;
5) Who has better judgment;
6) The desirability of keeping siblings together;
7) The wishes of the child; if of sufficient age;
8) The parents' lifestyles;
9) The parents' religion;
10) Whether a parent will encourage or discourage visitation;
11) Continuity of a stable environment;
12) The age of the child;
13) Substance abuse or chemical addiction of a parent;
14) The quality of each parents' home environment;
15) The parental guidance each parent provides for the child;
16) The ability of each parent to provide for the child's emotional and intellectual development;
17) The financial status and ability of each parent to provide for the child;
18) The relative fitness of the respective parents including their mental condition;
19) The length of time the present custody arrangement has been in effect;
20) A parents' sexual behavior; character or lifestyle (only if it directly affects the child).

Does either parent have a better chance of getting custody under the law?

Not in the initial custody case, however the parent who first obtained custody has a better chance of retaining custody unless the non-custodial parent can prove a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a change in custody.

Need a Family Law Lawyer?

If you need a Family Law Lawyer please call (716)-656-7676 for a free phone counsultation or CLICK HERE for a free web consultation. The first consultation is always free, and you will always speak directly to Stephen K. Underwood.

  04:14:00 pm, by admin   , 679 words  
Categories: Eviction

The NY Eviction Process | Buffalo NY Eviction Lawyer

How to Evict a Tenant, Eviction Lawyer Buffalo NY

Eviction is a Legal Process. You the landlord CANNOT just call the police and have a tenant thrown out on the street because you want the tenant out. The tenant has the right to due process.

There are two (2) types of evictions:

1) Non-payment
2) Holdover

A nonpayment eviction is an eviction for nonpayment of rent. Under New York State Law, a landlord seeking to evict a tenant for non-payment must first give the tenant a chance to pay, by giving the tenant a three-day notice in writing, stating that the tenant has three days to pay all the rent in full or the tenancy will be terminated.

A Holdover eviction is an eviction for remaining on the premises after the lease has expired or remaining on the premises after receiving notice that the lease has been terminated because of a breach of the lease agreement or after receiving notice that the landlord is terminating a month to month tenancy.

Regardless of the type of eviction, the procedure is mostly the same and begins when the tenancy is terminated. In a non-payment case the eviction can start after the three (3) day notice is given and no payment is made in three (3) days. The act of non-payment terminates the tenancy. The holdover eviction can start as soon as the tenancy is terminated because of breach, or after the expiration of the notice period in a month to month tenancy.

Once the tenancy is considered to be terminated the landlord may file in court for eviction. The landlord CANNOT go directly to the sheriff. The landlord must get a court order first. To get the court order, the landlord files a petition and obtains a hearing date. The hearing date MUST be no less than FIVE DAYS from the date of service of the petition on the tenant. The hearing date is required to be scheduled between five (5) and twelve (12) days after the tenant is served with the petition.

Service is made either by having a third party personally hand the petition to the tenant (or other type of personal service). If the tenant is avoiding service it may be made by nailing the petition to the door and sending a copy by mail (Nail and Mail). (Note: If service is made by nail and mail, and the tenant does not make a personal appearance in court, the landlord will be unable to get a money judgment on that day for the arrears in rent, however the landlord will get the warrant.)

The hearing is a summary proceeding. If the judge finds that the tenancy is terminated because of non-payment or for holdover the judge will sign a warrant of eviction. The landlord may also obtain a money judgment for the arrears due in rent if personal service was made or if the tenant makes a personal appearance in court.

Once the warrant is signed by the judge the landlord will then need to submit the warrant to the sheriff. The sheriff must give seventy-two (72) hours notice to the tenant before enforcing it. The landlord has no right to garnish wages without a money judgment. If the landlord does not get a money judgment during the eviction proceeding, he may sue the tenant in small claims court at a later date.

One other option for a tenant may be to file for bankruptcy. If the warrant of eviction was issued prior to the bankruptcy filing the eviction needs to be cured and future rent needs to be posteded with the bankruptcy court. In some cases, the filing of a bankruptcy case creates an automatic stay of the eviction proceedings against the debtor.

Landlords beware. The landlord tenant law in New York is heavily weighted in favor of the tenant. There are strict procedural rules and if the tenant shows up to court with the back rent money he will not be evicted for non-payment.

Need an eviction Lawyer?

If you need an eviction Lawyer please CLICK HERE for the Terms and Conditions, and Pricing.

  03:31:00 pm, by admin   , 275 words  
Categories: DWI

How to Choose a NY DWI Lawyer | Buffalo NY DWI Lawyer

How to Choose a NY DWI Lawyer

If you have been arrested for DWI in Buffalo NY you are going to need an experienced DWI attorney. Regardless of whether your DWI is a felony, you should seek an attorney with criminal law experience, and one that understands the new DMV Regulations regarding Repeat DWI Offenders

Choosing a lawyer with criminal law experience is important for the following reasons:

1) The stop by the police may have been unconstitutional.

2) The damaging statements you made to the police may not be admissible in Court.

3) The police may have made an unconstitutional entry into your home to make the arrest.

4) The DWI defense requires knowledge of the rules of evidence.

5) The end result of the case may impact your driver's license, criminal record, reputation, job, insurance rates and your freedom.

Choosing a lawyer that understands the new DMV Repeat Offender Regulations is important because:

1) Depending on your driving history a new DWI Conviction could lead to a 2 year, 5 year, or Lifetime Drivers License Revocation.

2) Even if you are not convicted of DWI, a finding by the DMV that you refused to take the breath test, can impact your driving record to the same extent as if you had been convicted.

3) A failure of the attorney to understand the new regulations can lead to unintended consequences for you.

If You Would Like to Read More About DWI

Visit my Dedicated DWI Website

Otherwise Contact me now for a Consultation

Please call (716)-656-7676 for a free phone consultation or CLICK HERE for a free web consultation. The first consultation is always free, and you will always speak directly to Stephen K. Underwood.


  08:39:00 pm, by admin   , 739 words  
Categories: Divorce

Uncontested Divorce NY (No Fault Divorce) | Divorce Lawyer Buffalo NY

No Fault & Uncontested Divorce, Divorce Lawyer Buffalo NY

NO FAULT Divorce is Now Available in New York State

Uncontested Divorce or Default Divorce is the most inexpensive and discreet way for people to obtain a divorce in the State of New York. It only works, however, when both parties are in agreement about the terms of the divorce. The terms include: custody, child support, maintenance (formerly called alimony), distribution of marital assets and debts.

What are the advantages?

a) Neither party will be required to appear in court.

b) Low cost

What are the disadvantages?

a) It is not fair if one spouse dominates the other in the negotiation process.

b) Will not work if the parties are unable to talk rationally with one another about settlement.

c) Only one party is represented by an attorney.

How It Works?

The first thing you need to know about uncontested divorce is that the lawyer you get to do your uncontested divorce cannot represent both of you. Typically the lawyer will meet with the party that initially made contact and enter into a retainer agreement. The lawyer will work with that party to draft an agreement that is likely to be acceptable to both parties. The lawyer will also produce additional documents that the unrepresented party will have to sign to avoid going to court.

After the documents are produced, the client will deliver the proposed document's to the unrepresented party for review. If the unrepresented party feels uncomfortable signing the papers he or she is encouraged to hire a lawyer for the purpose of reviewing the papers. Once the parties are both satisfied with the proposed papers the divorce agreement is executed by both parties and the unrepresented party executes the documents necessary to avoid going to court.

Once the unrepresented party executes the documents more documents are prepared by the represented party and submitted to the court for review and signature.

How long does it take?

Uncontested divorce can happen faster than people realize. I once obtained a divorce for a couple in twenty (20) days (he paid extra), but it usually takes eight (8) to twelve (12) weeks if there are no delays.

How much does it cost?

The attorney fees for uncontested divorce vary widely. Some lawyers charge as much as $2500.00, and others advertise that they can do it for as little as $450.00 (they usually don't include the costs or say in the advertisement that you will have to pay more for a divorce agreement).

The minimum expenses and court costs for an uncontested divorce in the State of New York are about $350.00 (does not include attorney fees).

In general, beware of the lawyer who charges $450.00 because he or she will likely have organized his or her practice around an extremely high volume of divorces and relatively little time will be spent with individual clients, and he or she will expect to increase the fee if children are involved, if any significant assets or unusual debts are involved, or if anything else about the divorce requires that he or she spend significant time on the divorce.

Also beware of the cheap "do it your self" internet divorce companies because you will most certainly be doing all the work with little or no direction. In the end you will wind up paying a lawyer to fix your mess after the court rejects your papers. Remember, if it sounds to good to be true it is, and there is no such thing as a free lunch.

In addition, please understand that there may be additional costs and attorneys fees associated with real estate transactions and other transactions necessary to complete the terms of the agreement that are not included in the price for divorce.

My rates for an uncontested divorce are as follows:

Attorneys fee:
Range $1000.00 to $1500.00 (depending on the circumstances.)

Minimum Costs:
$350.00 (index number, RJI, note of issue, dissolution, certified copies)

Need a Divorce Lawyer?

If you want to get more information on Uncontested Divorce, click HERE to go to my other website devoted entirely to the subject of Uncontested Divorce

If you want to get started on your Uncontested Divorce Now, click HERE to make a secure payment on my Uncontested Divorce website.

If you need a Divorce Lawyer please call (716)-656-7676 for a free phone counsultation or HERE for a free web consultation. The first consultation is always free, and you will always speak directly to Stephen K. Underwood.

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