Post-divorce dynamic’s are extremely emotional. The threat of “I’m taking you back to Court” often has the same effect as a lit match does on gasoline. Sometimes that is exactly the result someone is looking for. The trouble is, that tone is something that Court’s in Maine are getting very tired of.
Our Family Law team fields daily calls from people who want to return to Court with some “new” information that will surely make the judge side with them. We consistently hear comments like, “My husband is an alcoholic” or “my wife is mentally abusive”. Maybe the claims are true, maybe they are exaggerated, but constantly running to court for modifications can get expensive.
The key phrase in Family Law modification is “substantial change in circumstances“. That may sound simple enough, but it is not. Your former partner may have a conviction for Operating Under the Influence and that means they are unfit and unsafe for your children, right? Well, if the conviction did not involve a child in the vehicle, or serious jail time that made the parent unavailable for an extended period, what is the true impact on the child’s well-being? Many normally responsible people make mistakes, and an anecdotal event does not always translate into parental unfitness.
To establish whether there has been a change in circumstances “substantial” enough to warrant a modification of the existing order, the Court will examine how the stated behavior effects the child or children. The legal standard is “the best interest of the child”. Our Family Law team, headed by John Turcotte and myself, has the experience to know when a “problem” warrants judicial intervention and when other less incendiary options will suffice. At Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice we are always prepared for Court battles, but, more importantly, we know when they are necessary.
“When should I create a Will?” I would love to attribute this quote to just one person; however, I am repeatedly asked this question. People tend to put off estate planning for a variety of reasons, but getting started early will only give you more power and control.
Let’s say you were offered the chance to invest in Amazon when it was $1.00 a share, would you do it? With the benefit of hindsight, of course you would, but hindsight is 20-20 and you will never get that opportunity back. Creating an estate plan, or even just a basic Will, gives you the benefit of hindsight. You can change your Will anytime you want, so long as you remain competent to do so. A properly executed Will guarantees that should something unexpected happen, your assets will be distributed in accordance with your current wishes. If those wishes change, you can easily update your Will.
My wife and I created our Wills when we were only 30 years old. I put myself through the “Hit By a Bus” analysis. While this is about as fun as it sounds, it is a useful and short exercise.
There is only one question, “If I get hit by a bus today, am I sure all of my assets are going to the people or organizations I want them to go to?”
If you pass without a Will, your assets will be distributed by the laws of “Intestate” succession. Please click this link and let me know if these laws look like an easy area for your heirs, who likely have little or no legal training, to understand. Of equal importance, this process can end up being more expensive and less exacting than creating a plan from the beginning. MarketWatch, a financial planning website, published an article on the importance of having a will even if you are not “rich”.
Our Estate Planning team is headed by Bob Raftice and his almost 30 years of experience. We recommend looking at your Will after major life events (i.e. a wedding, a new baby, divorce etc.), or once every five years. This does not mean you have to change your Will; rather, the question is, does that life event, or the passage of time, cause you to view your plans and current Will differently.
If you would like an initial estate planning consultation, or to have us do a review of your existing plan, please contact us below.
There has been a significant uptick in Bed and Breakfast and Inn sales in Maine. The real estate team at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, headed by Attorney Jerome Gamache can help buy or sell any property in Maine.
Dana Moos and Rick Wolf, both of The B&B Team Inn Consultants and Brokers, represented the buyers and sellers. Greg Soutiea, one of the new co-owners of Craignair Inn and Restaurant, alongside his wife Lauren, had this to say about working with Jerome:
“We chose to work with Attorney Jerome Gamache of ATR after interviewing several firms for our purchase of the Craignair Inn and Restaurant. We found Jerome easy to communicate with and very responsive during the several month long transaction. He also had experience working with other purchases of Bed and Breakfast type properties, which was a big selling point for us.
Jerome and paralegal Robert Dixon were both very knowledgeable and helpful as minor (and major) issues came up throughout the transaction. Together their team was able to help us to remain calm and ultimately get to the finish line and complete the transaction to purchase the property.
We would definitely recommend ATR and Jerome for anyone looking to make a similar purchase and will continue to utilize the knowledge of the firm as needs may arise in the future.”
If you are interested in learning more about buying or selling your Inn, bed and breakfast, or any commercial or residential property, please contact the real estate team at Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice to set up a consultation.
Congratulations Katie and Thom at Island Lobster Company on this exciting new venture coming to Peaks Island! We look forward to visiting and enjoying fresh caught seafood and the sights of Casco Bay from the deck!
Co-owner Katie Werner has this to say about working with Attorney Jake Bowie on the acquisition of the property and business, “Thank you, Jake! You made the legal process a breeze!”
Take a minute to click the link below to read about this coming Maine rooted trap-to-table restaurant, or to schedule a time to speak with Attorney Jake Bowie about any of your real estate and business needs.
On January 15th attorney general nominee William Barr shared his opinion on the current state of the marijuana laws. His comments sent publicly traded Marijuana Companies spiraling down before mounting a comeback later on in the trading session.
William Barr said that the current system around marijuana laws is “untenable” and that he personally supports prohibiting marijuana all throughout the United States. Barr went on to say that although he feels this way personally, he would not go after cannabis businesses that comply with state regulations.
Marijuana remains a Schedule A drug under Federal Law, so comments of this nature could certainly spook individuals or businesses looking to establish themelves under Medical or new Adult Use Marijuana laws throughout Maine.
The question is, what does this mean? Sadly, in my opinion, this does not offer any more clarity than we already had. William Barr seems to be echoing the sentiments and following guidelines that are already in place. Compliance will be the single most important factor in the early days of this new industry. For the moment, the Federal government seems content to let States like Maine establish and enforce their own rules. As long as your business adheres to all of the rules and regulations of the State enforcement agencies, the status quo looks like it will remain the same.
I would urge anyone looking to get into the Marijuana field to bring a corporate attorney on very early in the process. It is much easier to comply with the rules from the outset rather than facing stiff fines, criminal liability, or loss of license down the road.
Businesses are already positioning themselves by applying for “Conditional Use” licenses or compiling all the necessary paperwork to be ready to submit their application the day Maine begins accepting them.
As always in this industry, all of this could change on a moment’s notice. I will be sure to update this article if this occurs.
Every individual or entity will have different factors that will impact your application process. If you want to schedule an initial consultation please reach out to us by clicking below.