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How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Safeguard Your Rights During Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, which is commonly known as spousal mistreatment is a term used when one person who is in an intimate relationship or marriage, tries to dominate the other one. Admit it or not, spousal violence can happen to anybody. When your partner tries to control you either physically, emotionally or mentally, is the start of familial aggression. We get horrifying digits from all over the world about the cases of marital aggression.

There are various reasons that can be held responsible for familial aggression. Jealously, low self-esteem, difficulty in controlling anger are the common ones. However, some men live all their life thinking that they have the right to control women as they are not equal to men. All these circumstances, sometimes lead to male partner trying to control or dominate the female partner. This domination gives birth to emotional, mental, physical and sexual abuse. Alcohol and high drug usage are several other factors which can be held responsible for spousal brutality. People who rely on high consumption of alcohol or drugs are not able to control their violent impulses and hence, result in marital brutality.

If you are witnessing domestic violence in your home, then it is high time for you to stand up against the cruelty. If avoided for a long period of time, it could result in putting your health at risk. The easiest thing you could do is to contact a lawyer, who can help you end the cruelty. Sooner or later, you would have to realize that tolerating domestic violence is also a crime and you need to gather all your courage to stand up against the violence. Consequently, he/she can advise you the steps to be taken to guard your name, reputation, and life from the danger.

Domestic brutality is an unlawful act for which the abuser may get arrested or prosecuted. If necessary steps are not taken, when the cruelty happened for the first time, you will notice it increasing in both severity and frequency. The wisest thing you could do is to take the help of a practiced and skilled criminal defense attorney who can help you get a fair justice. An experienced lawyer is well-acquainted with the laws and ensures your rights are not violated in any form.

Trying to dominate your partner in a relationship is a criminal offense. If you are witnessing cruelty in your home, then get in touch with a criminal defense attorney. A hard-hitting legal representative will not only represent your case in the court, but will also fight for you to get a justice. As the law is complicated, therefore, you would always require someone who has complete legal information, learning and experience and can work for you to guard your rights. Before you give your case to anyone, invest a little time in knowing about the previous history and the reputation of the attorney. You may also ask your friends and family members for references who might have availed similar services.

Amethyst Johsnon shares how an experience criminal defense attorney can help you safeguard your rights during a domestic violence. She walks the entire process with you and ensures your rights do not get violated in any form.

Defending a Professional License

Certain professions require a high level of skill and a degree of expertise to be able to perform the necessary duties. Because of this, several states demand these professionals obtain licenses to ensure the standards of service are met. Various entities are in charge of issuing and maintaining these professional licenses.

Most often people think of medical professionals like doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists when they think of licensed professionals. However, several other professions also require licenses, such as lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers and professional educators. Without these certifications, workers cannot practice their jobs.

The boards and agencies responsible for setting the standards of the industry also are in charge of the issuance and revocation of the licenses. This means the boards can impose disciplinary actions, conduct hearings and even suspend a person’s license, although there are ways to appeal these actions.

To obtain a professional license, a person first must prove he or she meets the requirements to earn the license, such as the educational attainment and references. Additionally, he or she must complete and pass a background check. If the application is denied, that action can be appealed.

Once a license is obtained, some professions require the person to maintain it. This could mean having to continue education classes, regularly attend seminars or various other requirements. If a person fails to meet them, he or she could face a disciplinary action.

Some professions also require a person to disclose if he or she is charged with a criminal offense or convicted of the crime. Simply being charged, or even failing to disclose the charge, could result in a disciplinary action. The licensee would have the right to appeal the action with the assistance of his or her attorney.

Disciplinary proceedings can occur as a result of a variety of scenarios. For instance, if a patient or another person who used the licensed professional for a service alleges he or she is incompetent or breached his or her ethical duties, the licensing board could investigate the situation.

In these instances, the licensing board could require the person appear at a hearing in which the board could impose sanctions on the individual’s license. This could include putting the person on probation, restricting the services he or she could offer and suspending or revoking the license completely.

If a board hearing is held, the licensee and his or her attorney have the right to appear. During most formal licensing board hearings, both sides will present their arguments. Evidence can be presented and witnesses can testify for both sides. The hearing operates similar to a civil hearing.

Once the hearing is complete, the board or agency will determine if any disciplinary actions should be taken against the person and if so what they should be. The board could have the license suspended, revoked or permanently taken away. Additionally, a person could be fined or reprimanded in other ways.

Fighting a disciplinary action, no matter how minor it may seem, is critical to licensed professionals. When a person is reprimanded, it becomes public. This means potential clients or patients could view the information. Working with an attorney to defend your professional license is important to your career.

Veronica Bayo Clifford is a criminal defense and immigration attorney at Clifford Law Group in Raleigh, North Carolina. Veronica and her husband Nicholas Clifford founded the firm to advocate on behalf of men, women and students facing various charges and assist them with administrative matters, including general license defense. Veronica also is skilled in handling immigration matters, including visas, employment and immigration and deportation.

Robbery Charges and The Importance of Criminal Defense Law Firms

The crime of robbery is a felony in all U.S. states. A defendant may be charged with a first, second, or third-degree felony, depending on where the alleged incident took place and if a weapon was used. The general, accepted definition of the crime is when a person intentionally and unlawfully takes either money or property from another through the use of threat, assault, violence, or force. Citizens who are charged with it should contact criminal defense law firms immediately. Here’s why.


Under most state laws, there are five distinct variations of the crime. The least serious charge involves sudden snatching, which is when a pickpocket or a purse snatcher steals money or property from another person’s body. If he does not use a weapon to do so, a defendant will typically be indicted on a third-degree felony. If convicted, a judge can impose any combination of the following in many states: up to $5,000 in fines, up to 5 years of probation, or up to 5 years in jail.

The other four types of robbery under U.S. state law include robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery with a firearm, home invasion robbery, and carjacking. All of them are first-degree felonies that involve minimum prison sentences and/or fines if convicted. A conviction for robbery with a deadly weapon, for example, may result in any combination of the following in many states: up to $10,000 in fines, up to 30 years of probation, or up to 30 years in prison.


With the exception of homicide, robbery with any kind of weapon is one of the most serious offenses on the books. The weapon does not need to be used for violence or force for the charges to stick; simply possessing one during the crime is enough. When a firearm is used, a defendant may also be charged with an additional offense in some states. If convicted, a judge must impose a minimum mandatory prison sentence.

Regardless of the degree, the offense is serious business. A conviction will most likely result in prison time as well as crippling financial penalties. Not to mention the fact that it will remain on your record indefinitely, which may make it difficult to secure employment. Yes, some companies are willing to hire ex-cons, but they are far less forgiving when it comes to applicants who were convicted of a serious violation.

Get Legal Help!

If you or someone you know has been accused of robbery, time is of the essence. The State is busy building its case and will be ready when the court date comes. Preparing a proper defense for robbery also takes time. Criminal defense law firms must assemble qualified teams, review evidence, procedure, and interview witnesses.

Possible Defenses

Every case is different. But one truth remains constant — human beings aren’t perfect. Witnesses often make mistakes, and the wrong person can be falsely accused or misidentified. As such, an experienced attorney will always look for inconsistencies in witness statements and testimony. He may also be able to secure a lesser charge for certain defendants through the plea bargaining process.

Don’t gamble with your life. If you are facing a serious accusation, contact criminal defense law firms now.

What Did the Benefice System of the Medieval Church Provide?

The benefice system of the Medieval Period Roman Catholic Church was written into canon law. It originally involved gifts of land to priests as a reward or payment for providing spiritual services to parishioners.
The benefice land grant system was an important feature of the medieval church.


  • Originally the benefice was granted by a bishop or a lord to a priest occupying the land who performed stipulated duties attached to the parcel. Benefices were bestowed for life and provided for everyday expenses. Any extra revenue from the spiritualities was used for charitable donations or for good works.


  • The benefice system allowed the early medieval Roman Catholic church to amass large land holdings contributed as a form of tithe by the faithful. Revenue from the benefice was often given to the Church, adding to its wealth. Income from performing the assigned ecclesiastical duties was often the only type of paying job available to medieval Church hierarchy members.


  • Under canon law, pluralities, or more than one benefice, were forbidden. By special papal dispensation, this codicil was often skirted, allowing priests to get paid without performing their duties on multiple plots of land. Benefices were often conferred by royalty or feudal authorities for political considerations, leading to abuses of the system, which led in part to the Reformation.

Canon Law Requirements for Godparents

Canon law is the religious code that adherents of certain Christian faiths must abide by to be in good standing with their church. The canon laws of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church have guidelines for choosing godparents for a child’s baptism.Godparents are part of the Christian sacrament of baptism.

General Guidelines

  • The parent or guardian of the child must choose the godparent. Catholic children may have only one godparent of each sex. A common practice in the Eastern Orthodox Church is for the parents’ bridesmaid and best man to be the godparents of a first-born child, although the parents are free to choose other godparents.

Personal Guidelines

  • For Catholics, godparents must be at least 16 years old. For Orthodox Christians, the godfather must be at least 15 and the godmother 13. A godparent may not be the child’s biological or adopted mother or father.

Religious Guidelines

  • For Catholics, the godparent must be a Catholic who has received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. In certain cases, a Catholic child’s family may receive permission to have an Eastern Orthodox godparent. Orthodox Christians must choose godparents who are baptized members of the Orthodox Church and who have a knowledge of the faith and the Church’s moral teachings. The godparents must also understand the meaning of baptism as defined by the Church and be in good standing in sacramental communion.

Other Guidelines

  • A Catholic godparent must not be guilty of breaking canon law. Those who have received a canonical penalty may not be godparents. Eastern Orthodox godparents may not be guilty of sins known to the community.

How Does Common-Law Marriage Work?

How Does Common-Law Marriage Work?

How a Common-Law Marriage Begins

  • A couple moves in together and share a home. They agree to marry, but there is no ceremony. They move in together and live together for an extended period doing all the same things that a husband and wife would do. They consummate the relationship. They share the bills. They may purchase a home. They may have children. It is clear that they have a romantic relationship. They publicly refer to each other as husband and wife. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, they must “agree that they are married, live together and hold themselves out as husband and wife.”

How the State Recognizes Common-Law Marriage

  • If the couple lives in a state that recognizes common law, after the amount of time dictated by the statute passes, the couple is treated as husband and wife by law. The amount of time they must be married before they are considered married by law varies from state to state. States that accept common-law marriages are Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, as well as Washington D.C. A handful of states recognize common-law marriage if a couple is together before a certain date, meaning new unions are not recognized. They are Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. New Hampshire recognizes common-law marriages for reasons on inheritance only. According to U.S. federal law, if a couple has a common-law marriage in one state, they are considered married in all states.

Benefits and Restrictions on Common-Law Marriage

  • In states where common-law marriage is recognized, couples can file joint tax returns, have full visitation in hospitals and collect health and inheritance benefits. A couple who is considered married by common law must go through the same legal proceedings to separate as if they had actually been married. This law comes from the theory of common-law marriage as one of estoppel. This means that a couple cannot claim that they are married and then change their minds when they have a dispute.

How to Prove a Common-Law Marriage in Texas

You don’t need a marriage license or a wedding ceremony to be married in Texas: it’s one of the few states in which it is still possible to establish a legal common-law marriage. This is important in a number of situations, such as if one of you dies without a will, or if you separate and need to divide your property. In Texas, you must pass a three-pronged test to prove a common-law marriage.

Image of a husband and wife.

Covering the Basics

  • First, you must meet the basic legal requirements for married couples in Texas. A common-law marriage isn’t a means to create a union that would otherwise be illegal in the state. This means that the parties must be a man and a woman, and neither can be married to anyone else. You must not have had a divorce in the previous 30 days. The parties can’t be related to each other and must be at least 18.

Three-Pronged Test

  • To prove a common-law marriage in Texas, you must meet three requirements. First, you must mutually agree to be married. For example, a man can’t insist he’s your husband if you don’t consent. Second, you must tell other people you’re married. This can be done through several means, such as introducing your partner as your husband, signing an apartment lease as husband and wife, or filing a joint tax return or credit card application as spouses. Finally, you must live together in Texas as husband and wife. For example, if you told people in Louisiana that you were married, but never represented yourself as a married couple after you moved to Texas, you wouldn’t qualify for common-law marriage in Texas.

Making It Official

  • If you meet the requirements, your union will be considered a legal common-law marriage. You can formalize the common-law marriage in Texas by filing a declaration of marriage form with the Bureau of Vital Statistics at your county clerk’s office. Keep in mind that not all states will recognize the validity of your union. If you decide to move from Texas to another state, consult with an attorney or contact the new state’s county clerk to find out if your common-law marriage will be valid there.

Providing Proof

  • You may need to provide proof of your common law marriage in court if, for instance, you are getting divorced and need your property divided. If you have proof of all three elements — mutual consent to being married, living together in Texas as husband and wife, and telling other people you’re married — then the court will recognize your common-law marriage. Your own testimony or testimony of witnesses can help. Documentation that you’ve lived together in Texas is a form of proof, as is showing joint tax returns or credit cards you signed as spouses.

California Common Law

California does not recognize common-law marriage. Many people incorrectly believe that if two partners live together for a certain length of time, their relationship constitutes a common-law marriage in California. On the contrary, there are only 12 states that recognize common-law marriage (as of 2010) and California is not one of them.

The state of California does not recognize "common law" marriage.

Where It’s Recognized

  • Twelve U.S. states recognize common-law marriage: Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire (but only for inheritance purposes), Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. The District of Columbia also recognizes common-law marriage.

Marriage Criteria

  • If you live in one of the states that recognize common-law marriage, you should know that such a marriage can exist only when: a heterosexual couple live in a state that recognizes it; they have lived together for a significant length of time (not defined by any state); the couple present themselves as a married couple, using the same last name, calling each other their spouse, and filing a joint tax return, for example; and the couple intend to be married.


  • Unless all four of the above statements are true, there isn’t a common-law marriage. Just like in a conventional marriage, when a common-law marriage exists, a couple must go through the same formal divorce process to end the marriage.

Expert Insight

  • Family Law Free Advice states that if a couple move from a state that recognizes common-law marriage to a state that doesn’t, the new state will usually recognize the marriage. That means that if a couple lived in Montana, where their common- law marriage was recognized, and they move to California, California will most likely recognize the couple as being married.


  • In the book “Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples,” it says that if you live in a state that recognizes common-law marriage and don’t wish to be married, it’s a good idea for both of you to sign a statement clearly stating your joint intent. If you use the same last name or share property, it’s important to do this; otherwise a common-law marriage may later be found to exist.

How to Get a Divorce From a Common Law Marriage in Colorado

Colorado recognizes common law marriage when a couple has been living together and holding themselves out to the public as married, even if they never had an official wedding or applied for a marriage license. Common law marriage in Colorado has the same legal effect as traditional marriage. Therefore, common law couples must get divorced in the same way as traditionally married couples.
Leaving a common law marriage requires getting a traditional divorce.


  1. Determine whether you have been in a common law marriage. There is no hard and fast rule, but the three top elements in Colorado are cohabitation, mutual agreement to be married, and holding yourselves out to the public as being married. Other factors to be considered are how taxes are filed, bank accounts are kept, and whether the couple share a last name.
  2. Discuss with your partner issues such as child custody, support, and property division. If you are able to come to an agreed settlement, you will both save a lot of money in attorneys fees.
  3. Sign a divorce agreement with your partner if you can come to an agreement. Outline the obligations of the parties such as who will take care of the children and how property will be divided. If you are unable to come to an agreement with your partner, you will need to seek the court’s assistance in resolving property or child custody disputes.
  4. File for divorce with the local Colorado district court. If you fail to formally file for divorce from a common law marriage in Colorado, you will remain married, and any subsequent marriage will be void and in violation of bigamy laws. The court will set a hearing to determine how the divorce should be terminated and the details of property distribution. If there are children involved, there will likely be a separate hearing or series of hearings to determine custody. If the divorce is not amiable, then you will likely need to hire an attorney to help you through the process–especially the child custody issues.
  5. Attend all hearings set by the court related to your divorce. If you are unable to attend, move the court to reschedule. When attending the hearings, bring all documentation to show when the marriage began and why you are entitled to certain property rather than your spouse. If you owned property prior to the common law marriage, or inherited property individually during the marriage, bring documentation to show that you paid for maintenance of that property with your own separate earnings for the duration of the marriage. If possible, bring documentation to show that the property was not used for the benefit of the marriage.

Rules of Fasting for Catholics

The Roman Catholic Church has many traditions that date back for centuries. One of the oldest traditions is fasting, especially during the season of Lent. For hundreds of years, the Church has outlined strict fasting laws for Catholics to follow, not only during Lent, but also on every Friday of the year. Today, there are only two required days of fasting–Ash Wednesday and Good Friday–and Catholics are only required to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

The Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is completed on Easter Sunday.

Fasting Definition

  • According to, bishops of the United States Catholic Church have defined fasting as “partaking of only one full meal.” Under this definition, you can also eat a small amount of food at breakfast time and again at lunch (or in the evening, depending on when you choose to eat your full meal), however these other two eating periods combined cannot equal a full meal.

Abstaining Definition

  • Abstaining is different from fasting, but is also practiced during the month of Lent. Abstaining means that you must refrain from eating any meat whatsoever. You can eat animal products, such as eggs, milk and butter, but not meat itself. You are also allowed to eat juices made from meat, such as broth, gravy, consomme, seasonings or sauces.

Age Requirements

  • According to Catholic Canon Law (the rules governing the Church), you must begin abstaining on the required days at the age of 14, but you are not required to fast until age 18. Between the ages of 18 and 59, you must fast and abstain on the required days.

Required Days

  • According to the Canon Law, you are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, if you meet the age requirements. Each Friday during Lent, you are required to abstain, but not to fast.


  • There are exceptions to every rule, even the Catholic Canon Law. Catholics age 59 and older are not required to abstain or fast. You are also not required to fast if you have special health issues, such as diabetes, or if you are pregnant or nursing.

Instructions for Filing a Common Law Lien

A common law lien is a legal recourse in some states in which the claimant places a lien on real or personal property of the owner, provided that the claim doesn’t fall under any of three categories: 1) statutory, 2) security interest or 3) judicial. A common law lien allows the lien holder to attach a claim to the property if the owner has failed to pay him for services rendered or work performed. In essence, the lien allows the claimant to pursue and collect on a debt.
Placing a lien on the owner's property is the first step to collecting a debt.

The Lien Holder

  1. File a statement of Intent to Record a Common Law Lien against the owner’s property with the county recorder in the county where the real or personal property is located. Your statement must include information on the property owner, the address and description of the property’s physical location and the amount of the debt you claim is owed. You must file within 60 days of the date you last performed work or provided service. The county official will send a copy of the Intent to Record to the property owner.
  2. Allow 30 days for a response from the property owner.
  3. File suit against the property owner within 30 days if he responds with a Request to Commence Suit. If you don’t file suit within 30 days, the lien becomes void.
  4. File a Certificate of Satisfaction if you and the property owner reach an agreement about settling the debt. The certificate releases the lien against the property. Record the certificate with the same county recorder where you filed the statement of Intent to Record a Common Law Lien.

The Property Owner

  1. Send the lien holder a Notice of Request to Commence Suit within 30 days if you wish to challenge the lien holder’s claim. Send the notice by registered mail or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address on the lien holder’s statement. The lien holder has 30 days to file suit. If you agree that you owe the lien holder a debt, then contact the lien holder to try to negotiate a settlement.
  2. File an affidavit of service with the county recorder to request the release of the common law lien after 30 days if the lien holder has not filed suit. Include on the affidavit the date the lien holder received the Notice of Request to Commence Suit.
  3. Write an additional statement that the lien holder has not filed suit and that the courts have not rendered an unsatisfied judgment. Attach a copy of the Notice of Request to Commence Suit and a copy of the certified mail return receipt indicating when you mailed the notice to the lien holder. Be sure to keep copies of the notice and the affidavit records.

How to Make a Person a Legal Godparent

Naming godparents is a Catholic tradition performed at a child’s baptism ceremony. To make one or two people your child’s legal godparents, you will have to do so under the rules of the church in your diocese and Catholic law. This law sets guidelines for the sacraments godparents must have taken, the minimum age the godparents can be and the oaths the godparents must take.

You can choose one godparent or two godparents of the opposite sex.


  1. Write a list of possible godparents for your children. Family members and close friends who are also members of the church are eligible to become your child’s godparents.
  2. Check whether each person on your list meets the minimum requirements according to Catholic law. These requirements say that the godparents must be: one male, one female or one male and one female; practicing members of the Catholic faith; sufficiently well-connected to the family; willing to pray for the child regularly, set an example of Catholic living, give encouragement to the child to follow Christ; be at least 16 years of age.
  3. Choose one male, one female or one male and one female from your list who meets all requirements. Ask for their permission, then arrange that they be present to learn their roles during the baptism ceremonies.
  4. Practice the prayers and rituals that the godparents will perform at the baptism. A formal practice is usually arranged between the priest and whoever else is participating in the baptism ceremony.
  5. Hold the baptism with the godparents present. Sign the appropriate papers to officialize the baptism, provided by your priest.

How to Make Petitions to the Pope

A private meeting with the pope is hard to get. But petitioning the pope is easy. It can be as simple as sending a letter to the Vatican. Someone at the Vatican reads all correspondence, and usually letters and petitions are acknowledged. To get action, though, you’ll likely need strength in numbers.

Petitioning the Pope

  1. Write the petition. Figure out what you want and write it clearly and concisely. A petition to the pope should usually begin with the salutation “Your Holiness” or “Most Holy Father.” From there, start with what you want the pope to do, and then give background information explaining the circumstances and why your petition is a good idea. Emphasize spiritual benefits for members of the Roman Catholic Church, if any.
  2. Get others to join the petition. The more people the Vatican hears from, the more likely Vatican officials are to take a petition seriously. The more seriously Vatican officials take a petition, the more likely the pope will hear about it for his consideration. If possible, get a local bishop or even a national bishops’ conference to support your petition. As an example, when Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter in 2000 proclaiming St. Thomas More the patron of statesmen and politicians, he cited a recent petition he had received from political leaders and bishops with ties to various cultural interests, which he took to be “a sign of the deep and widespread interest” in the request.
  3. Consider consulting an expert. If your petition is straightforward, like asking the pope to name a patron saint, then a letter may do. But if your petition is likely to be contentious, like asking the pope to keep a parish open that a local bishop has ordered closed, then it needs to be presented to the correct Vatican office in the correct form. For that, you’ll probably need a canon-law lawyer.
  4. Send the petition to the Vatican. The pope’s name on one line and Vatican City on another is enough to get a letter to the Vatican. But if your petition concerns a particular congregation of the Vatican government, you may want to send it directly to the bishop who heads it. Go to the Vatican’s website,, to find out the various congregations and contact information for them. You can also send an email message to the pope at, but regular mail may make it more likely you will get a response.

How to Write a Common Law Separation Agreement

Common-law marriage occurs when two people are living together and agree that they are married. Common-law marriage is only valid in nine states, including Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Montana and the District of Columbia. Common-law marriage is grandfathered in five additional states where marriages occurred before the common law legislation was enacted, including Georgia and Oklahoma. If you are separating from your common-law partner, you must complete a property settlement and separation agreement letter. This letter discusses custody and financial issues. Although you do not have to secure a lawyer, it is highly recommended.

Common law separations are handled in your district court.


  1. Date your letter. Identify both parties and their role in the marriage. State that the letter is an agreement, that both parties are in agreement and that both parties signed the letter amicably.
  2. State when you were married and identify the city and county you were married. State that you are separating, that you will live separately and that everything is divided according to the terms of the agreement.
  3. Identify any children born from the union. State their full names, Social Security numbers and birth dates. Determine who receives custody or how it will be divided. Discuss all aspects of visitation, including weekends, holidays, school schedules and summers. Add any special conditions, such as no smoking around the children, no moving without prior written approval and 60-day notice, results of abuse and exact pick-up and drop-off times. Set a date where the agreement will be reviewed for changes.
  4. Explore child support. You should have already contacted the child support division in your state and received child support requirements. Simply restate them in the letter.
  5. State any agreed-upon spousal support. Identify the exact amount and when it will be paid. For instance, what day of the month will the support be paid? Tell the court when the support stops, whether it is a specific time frame or on a specific event, such as graduation or marriage to someone else.
  6. Provide a detailed description of all property shared by the couple, and identify who will receive what property. No law exists for automatic, equal division of property, so this must be spelled out in the letter. Both parties have legal claim to any property they brought into the relationship. Identify all real estate, furnishings, personal property and vehicles. Include information about who will keep the house and what exchanges will be made for the real estate property.
  7. List all debts and identify who is responsible for those debts. Personal debts will revert to individual parties, but debts incurred while the couple was together will have to be divided. Be detailed about how the debts will be divided.
  8. Discuss all insurance issues, including health, auto and life insurance. List who will be responsible for minor children’s health insurance. Identify who the insurance covers and how long the insurance will cover the insured party.
  9. Discuss retirement accounts, and identify what percentage each party is entitled to. List every retirement account and give detail on how they will be distributed.
  10. State that each person is free from the interference of the other party. List restrictions about residence locations, but restate any freedom about profession and associations. State that neither party can harass the other party in places of employment, residences, on the street or anywhere else.
  11. Submit a waiver signing over all interest in the property you are not receiving, and have the other party do the same. Sign and submit a waiver of interest in the estate after the assets have been divided, and have the other party do the same.
  12. Identify who is responsible to enforce the agreement. Typically this is the court. State what will happen if the agreement is violated, including who will pay legal fees.
  13. State that this agreement is binding, that it invalidates all other agreements and that everything is disclosed. Include a statement of understanding.
  14. Sign and date the letter, and have your spouse do the same. Have the notary for the county and state notarize the document and date it.

International and Domestic Law

With globalization and recent reshaping of the global landscape the paradigm shifted, and the international law moved away from its classical definition of regulating relations between nations and extended well beyond regulation of ‘the conduct of states toward their own citizens’.


Playing a new role in domestic governance that is aimed at positive transformation and enhancement of capacity and effectiveness of domestic institutions, international law’s new role is bringing in new concerns and anxieties not to mention fear for some countries. This article aims to discuss and critically examine reasoning behind the ways in which international law plays a role in domestic governance according to the model proposed by Slaughter and Burke-White in their ‘The Future of International Law Is Domestic (or, The European Way of Law).

New ways, new concerns

Slaughter and Burke-White propose three ways in which international law plays or is starting to play a role in domestic governance: strengthening domestic institutions, backstopping domestic government and compelling action by national governments. In addition, they rightly outline potential dangers of using international law in affecting domestic politics such as ‘weakening local government actors by siphoning off both funds and personnel’ , undermining democratic processes and preventing domestic experimentation with alternative approaches, giving ‘national governments new license to undertake otherwise illegal or unjust policies’ , domestic institutions becoming sources of abuse for national governments.International and Domestic Law

Although the reasoning behind the ways in which international law is utilized in relation to domestic governance to provide effective response to newly arising global challenges ‘in pursuit of global objectives’ is clear and holds rationality and validity, it is yet a bit far from a comprehensive analysis of the potential consequences of implementing a ‘properly designed and structured legal rules and regulations to backstop domestic political and legal groups trying to comply with international obligations’.

Upon examining the proposed ways the question arises with regards to the future of international law, whether it will be domestic or a ‘Global State will emerge’ and what will be the nature and character of the newly emerged system. According to B.S. Chimni, ‘Slaughter believes that international law will essentially play a benign role bolstering democratic institutions and progressive practices, critics worry that international law turning domestic will mean that an imperialist global law will prevail’ . Therefore, Slaughter and Burke-White, in their reasoning neither fully appreciated nor met the challenge of answering the question. What will be the shape of domestic governance and national laws, how do the three ways proposed impact the nature of domestic law? That needs to be put in a wider perspective though a much deeper analysis.

Another factor which was briefly covered is the impact of the said ways on democracy. As J.H.H Weiler rightly states: ‘what is required is both a rethinking of the very building blocks of democracy to see how these may or may not be employed in an international system which is neither State nor Nation’ . Mechanisms developed to support backstopping of states with the good intention to support nations and help them comply with international obligations might lead to serious consequences in relation to democracy.

Another point of concern is related to those very organizations which aim to ‘support the states’ such as World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and their role in the mechanism proposed by Slaughter and Burke-White. As Held points out ‘decision making in leading IGOs…is often skewed to dominant geopolitical and geo-economic interests whose primary objective is to ensure flexible adjustment in and to the international economy’ . Thus, problems exist in relation to transparency of decision making procedures, development of agenda, accountability leading in turn to challenges associated with democracy on a global scale.

Although the proposed ways to develop and consolidate ‘regime of liberal international sovereignty’ might carry positive intent and, if properly designed and implemented serve good to developing nations, it is yet cannot be denied that major power and economic inequalities exist and the gap between poor and rich states is growing. Thus, the question arises whether the proposed by Slaughter and Burke-White ways will bring positive change or turn into weapon in the hands of the strong and would return the world to a transformed in shape and form colonization.


Slaughter and Burke-White’s strengthening domestic institutions, backstopping domestic government and compelling action by national governments might serve the purpose of achieving ‘good’ internationally, however, their reasoning fails to address important issues and/or consequences such as democracy, nature of global law, sovereignty, power inequality and potentiality of abuse. Ways developed to serve good purpose might turn into the ‘evil’ tool. There is much work to be done in order to assess democratic legitimacy of specific international arrangements; estimation should be performed of potential impact of specific international legal arrangements on domestic governance and democratic practice. Moreover, a thorough analysis should be performed on the ground of the actual behavior of international institutions and domestic interests.

[1] A Slaughter, W Burke-White, ‘The Future of International Law is Domestic (or, The European Way of Law)’ (2006) 47 Harvard International Law Journal 331

[1] ibid 347

[1] ibid 347

[1] ibid 328

[1] B S Chimni, ‘The Past, Present and Future of International Law: A Critical Third World Approach’ (2007) Vol. 8 Melbourne Journal of International Law 12

[1] Ibid 12

[1] J.H.H Weiler, ‘The Geology of International Law-Governance, Democracy and Legitimacy’ (Gulbenkian Foundation Conference on Globalism, Lisbon, 2003) p. 15-16

[1] D Held, ‘The Changing Structure of International Law: Sovereignty Transformed?’ accessed 25 March 2015 p.174

[1] ibid 169