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Divorce is not always easy because there are so many legalities involved in the process. Child custody, property settlements and parental responsibilities are some of the legal issues that come into the picture when getting a divorce. It can be mentally and emotionally taxing and the last thing you want to do is struggle with the process. A divorce lawyer comes in handy during this trying phase of your life. The divorce attorney represents and guides you through the process, making it easier for you to handle. But to enjoy a smooth process, you must find yourself a reliable attorney.

1. Talk to friends and relatives

2. Know what your needs are

3. Do your research

4. Create a budget

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Online incorporation services tout easy, fast, and cheap online incorporation and limited liability company (LLC) formation services. Examples include,, and Storefront and virtual paralegal services such as We the People and those found in the legal services section of your local craigslist also offer similar services. Their web sites and radio and TV sales pitches indicate that forming a corporation or LLC is as quick, easy, and inexpensive as filling out an online questionnaire and paying a fee of $100-150 for the completion of the paperwork and the filing of the documents with the secretary of state (plus the filing fees charged by the state). This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages of these services overall - for specific reviews of a particular provider, you should look elsewhere (and preferably to those with direct experience using the service, as well as at least a year of business operations thereafter).

No legal advice

In the fine print, many document preparation services state they are not law firms, cannot provide legal advice, and recommend that you consult an attorney for legal advice. Here's a word for word example from one web site: "This site is not a substitute for legal counsel.... You should consult legal counsel to determine applicable law for your situation." And from another: "[Our document preparation service] is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm." Only licensed attorneys can practice law and provide legal advice to clients, so these firms are wisely protecting themselves by making it clear that they are not in the business of providing legal advice; they are in the business of preparing whatever forms or filing you tell them to. Thus, the computer programmer's old adage, Garbage In, Garbage Out, applies. If you tell them to form a Nevada LLC, when you really need a California S corporation, they will in all likelihood produce a technically sufficient LLC, but it won't meet your actual business legal needs. Likewise, if you choose not to elect S-corporation status, and end up paying higher taxes as a C-corporation, this is not their fault; they are counting on you to know what you need, or to have consulted a lawyer and/or tax accountant before coming to them.

Many incorporation services would apparently seem to remedy this situation with lengthy FAQs and learning centers, but, frankly, a few minutes or even a few hours of research is not a substitute for a lawyer's college degree, three years of law school, and additional on-the-job training and annual continuing legal education. Any paralegal or incorporation service whose employees do provide legal advice is engaged in the unethical practice of law without a license, a crime in most jurisdictions, and their legal advice, for more reasons than one, should be taken with a grain of salt. Better yet, terminate your relationship with any such person immediately.

The other 'remedy' is to portray incorporation as a one size fits all, cookie cutter purchase, rather than explaining the reality that can be summed up the quote sometimes heard in law school, "The general rule applies to no one in particular." In other words, your circumstances and needs are not those of your friends, neighbors, or other online entity formation customers.

Other Legal Issues

Attorneys will focus not just on forming an entity you have ordered them to, but in taking a step back, assessing your overall business plan and goals, and making sure the legal structure takes into account your particular circumstances, rather than assuming you and your business are exactly the same as the next guy and his business. They will also at least point out, and suggest options for best addressing, legal issues that arise tangentially to forming a corporation or LLC. Such issues that the average incorporation service customer may be blissfully unaware of include securities laws compliance, promissory notes, trademark and service mark issues, and employee and independent contractor law. (Tax issues are also inherent in incorporating, so working with a CPA or accountant is something I always recommend to clients before and after incorporating.) Agreements typical of new corporations or existing business which are growing and have decided to incorporate include employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, supplier agreements, web site terms of use and privacy policies, and shareholder buy-sell agreements. All of these should be customized to your needs, not fill in the blank forms, just as corporate bylaws and LLC operating agreements should be customized, not one size fits all.

But aren't you, as a California incorporation lawyer, biased?

That's certainly a legitimate question, and I obviously have a strong opinion on the matters discussed. It's up to you to take to heart or disregard the opinions and advice in this article, but I would answer it this way: Because I am a business attorney, I have seen the result of using these services in a way most lay people would not, and as a result cannot recommend that most people use an incorporation service. And although incorporation legal services is part of my business law practice, I would encourage most readers to use an attorney of their choosing, in their state - it need not be me and obviously I don't benefit from you using another attorney any more than I benefit from you using an incorporation service. In fact, incorporation services are probably in the long run good for my practice; they provide a steady stream of repair work and dispute resolution for me, that typically cost $1000s more than my flat fee incorporation services.

Summary and Conclusion

In short, comparing incorporation services to a business lawyer is an apples to oranges comparison. One option provides more services and costs more; one provides less and costs less. Neither is a "rip-off" or the definitive solution for everyone. You are more likely to get things right by choosing either than choosing neither and going it alone. The lawyer is licensed by the state to provide legal advice, is subject to numerous ethical rules, forms an attorney-client relationship with his clients, and keeps up to date on changes in the law through mandatory continuing legal education. The incorporation service simply executes on your instructions, no advice, no hand-holding, no legal review of your situation or legal needs. If your instructions do not comport with what's best for your situation, then your result will be less than optimal.

There may be a small group of people who know what they need, and how to do it, but just lack the time, and who are thus well served by incorporation services. (Ironically, most of these people probably realize the value of an attorney's input and would generally hire one to take care of their legal needs, while spending their own time on what they do best, improving their business. This explains why I have business entity formation clients who are attorneys and law firms!). Or who have been advised by their accountant to form a particular type of simple entity (simple being defined as an entity to be formed in their home state jurisdiction and with only one owner). But, in my opinion, the vast majority of potential incorporation service customers would be better served by investing an additional $500 or so to have their entity selected, formed, and set up correctly, with all of their questions answered along the way, with due attention to related legal issues, and to establish a relationship with an attorney for ongoing or future legal services.

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An injury that involves negligent medical care and treatment from a doctor or hospital in Tennessee typically falls under the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act. Tennessee medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within a specific time period. This time period is known as the statute of limitations. If a lawsuit is not filed within the statute of limitations, it will be forever barred.

Calculating the appropriate deadline for timely filing a medical malpractice case can be complex and there are procedural hurdles that must be strictly followed before a claim can even be filed in court. If you think you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice in Tennessee, the best thing to do is contact an experienced Tennessee medical malpractice attorney immediately. This article is meant only to provide a basic overview of the law.

Statute of Limitations in General

All civil causes of actions in Tennessee, such as a breach of contract, auto accident case, or product defect lawsuit, must be filed within a specific period of time or else it can never be filed. If a lawsuit is filed outside of the statute of limitation, then the action will be subject to dismissal by the courts. In medical malpractice cases in Tennessee, the statute of limitations is generally one year from the date of injury. However, there are additional procedural hurdles that must be followed before filing a malpractice claim in Tennessee.

Provide Written Notice of the Claim within One Year

Tennessee law requires that the medical providers be given 60 days advanced written notice before a lawsuit can be filed. The pre-suit notice letter must be sent within the statute of limitations, which is typically one year from the date that the claimant knew, or should have known, about the malpractice. Moreover, the written notice must meet specific requirements. For instance, the notice must provide the following information about the claim:

However, both of these exceptions are subject to the statute of repose, which acts as an absolute deadline for the filing of a medical malpractice case.

The Statute of Repose

The statute of repose for medical malpractice cases in Tennessee is three years from the date of injury. The statute of repose bars lawsuits filed after three years no matter when the injury is discovered and it even eliminates claims for minor children and mentally incapacitated adults. For example, in the case of a child injured during labor and delivery, the parents or guardian of the child have until the child's third birthday to send written notice to the potential defendants and then must file a lawsuit on behalf of the child within 120 days therefore. If these steps are not followed, the child's claim will be forever barred.

Exceptions to the Statute of Repose

There are, however, two exceptions to Tennessee's medical malpractice statute of repose. First, the statute of repose does not apply if the negligent medical provider fraudulently concealed his or her wrongdoing. Second, the statute of repose does not apply to cases in which an instrument is left inside a patient and the patient is unaware. Under these circumstances, the three year statute of repose does not apply and the medical malpractice lawsuit can be initiated, beginning with the written notice provision set forth above, within one year from the date of discovery of the injury.

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