How to Defend Against False Accusations of Domestic Violence

Being falsely accused of domestic violence can affect many different aspects of your life, including your employment, personal reputation, financial security, custody of your children and freedom. If you are facing allegations of domestic violence from a spouse, child, partner or other family member, having experienced criminal lawyers in your corner can help you prove your innocence and overcome the stigma that often comes with being accused of domestic abuse.

Many people automatically assume that a person is guilty when he or she has been charged with domestic abuse. This narrow-minded view can destroy lives and violate your right to due process and a fair trial.


Hoe to defend Against False Accusations of Domestic Violence

How to Protect Yourself Against False Domestic Abuse Charges

There are several steps you can take to protect your rights and your reputation before you are wrongly accused. If your relationship begins to go south and you believe that your partner or family member may make false allegations against you, being proactive can mitigate the damage his or her actions may cause if you are falsely accused.

Secure your valuables. It may be hard to believe, but some accusers will deliberately set you up to make things harder for you after domestic abuse charges have been filed. If your accuser takes your ID, birth certificate, phone or cash and then files charges, you may lose focus and have a more difficult time getting the help you need to ensure your rights are protected.

Let friends and family members what’s going on. When accusers claim that someone has hurt them or their children, people often take them at their word and refuse to believe the person who is being charged with domestic abuse. Keeping friends and family in the loop about your circumstances at home and sharing your fears about what may happen can help you avoid being wrongly judged if charges are filed against you. Preparing loved ones for potential trouble and allegations may make them more inclined to back you up, and preemptively seeking the counsel of a criminal defense attorney at our law firm in West Chester can also help you avoid some of the headaches that come with being wrongly accused.

Change passwords, PINs and codes on everything. Accusers have been known to log into the accused’s accounts and send messages from cell phones, email and other forms of communication so it appears as if the accused has been sending threatening messages. Make sure to create secure passwords for:

  • Bank accounts
  • Debit and credit cards
  • PIN codes
  • Computers & laptops at home and work
  • Vehicle entrance/garage codes
  • Mobile phones
  • Any other devices, accounts or systems that require login information

If you’re being abused, gather evidence. Abusers sometimes falsely accuse victims of domestic abuse to try and get ahead of charges that may be brought against them. If you are a victim of domestic violence, collect as much evidence as you can without putting yourself in harm’s way. Immediate help for domestic violence victims can be found by calling the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Whether you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence or are trying to break free from an abuser, a West Chester criminal lawyer at Carosella & Associates will ensure that you receive proper legal representation and your rights are protected.

Prepare your Business for the next Stage. Create a Succession Plan Now.

Prepare your Business for the next Stage. Create a Succession Plan Now | CarosellaMany business owners do not realize that business succession planning is a vital element that should be included in the estate planning process. Not only does it protect your family’s interests if you pass away, it can help your business continue to grow and thrive after you retire or if you become incapacitated.

Drafting a business succession plan before your departure can keep your business on track and make the transition much easier for partners, managers, employees and customers who depend on your business for financial stability.

How to Create a Business Succession Plan

Every situation is different, and experienced estate planning lawyers can advise you on the various factors to consider when creating a business succession plan; and make sure that any partners, co-owners or investors are on board to avoid problems down the road.

Tackling your personal retirement planning and estate planning goes hand in hand with creating a business succession plan. Taking care of retirement planning can help you decide when to retire and determine how much you will need. Estate planning not only outlines your wishes and intent, but can help to preserve your wealth for future generations. Create a written emergency plan that names a person or persons your spouse or children should consult in the event of your

Estate Planning and Retirement Planning for Your Business: Attorney Vince Carosella Provides Valuable Tips to Business Owners.


incapacitation or passing. Include specifics about the steps partners, key employees or advisors are supposed to take in these circumstances.

Review and update your shareholder and/or partnership agreements. This becomes particularly important as the shareholder pool changes or if a business is passed down to family members.

Create formal governance processes. Establishing a board of directors or advisors, developing an employment policy, and reviewing strategies for growth and compensation will help the transition process run more smoothly.

Provide training for the next generation. This gives your employees and any family members who work with you an opportunity to learn about how to run the business and the leadership and dedication it takes for continued success.

Tax Considerations and Probate

It is also important to recognize that the value of your business may grow or diminish between the time you plan your estate and when you retire or pass away. Keeping your succession plan up-to-date can ensure that the valuation of the business is accurate.

Another thing to take into consideration is the probate process your family will have to go through after your death. Skilled wills and trusts lawyers can help you create certain types of trusts that can allow some of your assets and business interests to pass outside of your taxable estate.

If you want to incorporate tax minimization into your estate plan, Grantor Retained Income Trusts (GRITs), Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), and Grantor Retained Unitrusts (GRUTs) can be very effective estate planning tools. These types of trusts can be complex, so working with estate planning or business attorneys who are experienced in drafting irrevocable trusts is a must.

Consulting with a knowledgeable Chester County estate planning attorney can help you effectively pass on your business and give you and your family peace of mind, knowing that your legacy will continue long after you’re gone.

What is a Living Trust and Why you need One

What is a Living Trust and Why you need OneMany people believe that estate planning only involves creating a Will to ensure your wishes are carried out upon your passing. Although a Will is an essential part of the process, there are many other things to consider when you are thinking about the legacy you want to leave behind. There are different types of trusts that can protect your assets and make sure your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. A Living Trust is among the most common.


What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is a legal document that places your assets in trust for your benefit during your lifetime, and spells out how you’d like these assets to be distributed upon your death. It can include bank accounts, investments, real estate, vehicles and valuable personal property. The most common type is a Revocable Living Trust, which may be changed or canceled at any time before your death.


How does a Living Trust work?

You name yourself as the trustee and remain in complete control of your assets, and may move them in and out of the trust as you wish. You also appoint a ‘successor trustee’ who will act as your representative upon your passing and transfer assets to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.


Your successor trustee is permitted to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. He or she can handle financial issues such as managing property, businesses and paying bills. Such details are outlined in a living trust and can be carried out without involvement by the courts. Experienced living trusts lawyers can create a document that covers all legal bases and help your loved ones avoid costly and inconvenient court proceedings.


Why do I need a living trust?

In most states, a Will must go through probate, which can be a long and arduous legal process. The probate process involves establishing the value of your estate, settling any debts, paying taxes and transferring assets to your beneficiaries. Probate adds extra expenses to your estate and delays the distribution of your assets. It can take nine months to two years for probate to be completed. Our Chester County lawyers and Delaware County lawyers are well-versed in drafting wills and trusts, but if your estate must go through the probate process, our seasoned attorneys can provide your family with the legal support they need.


Another advantage of a Living Trust is privacy. A Will is a public document, which means that anyone can scrutinize or contest it, including creditors. Probate also allows the public to see the details of your estate. A living trust is private, more difficult to challenge, and can help to protect your assets from creditors. A living trust is particularly valuable if you have a large amount of assets, and can keep family matters from becoming complicated after you’re gone.


Knowing that the process of settling your estate will be easier for your beneficiaries can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out appropriately. Our skilled legal team provides estate planning services tailored to fit your individual needs. To learn more about the services we offer, contact Carosella & Associates today!

Questions to Ask a Probate Attorney

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you are responsible for handling his or her estate. You may have questions about what is involved, whether the estate will go through probate and a multitude of other issues.

What is Probate?

Most estates in Pennsylvania must go through probate, the legal process that determines the value of the estate, transfers assets to beneficiaries, and ensures that the decedent’s debts and taxes are paid.

Educating yourself about how the probate process works can help to ease burden of conflict within your family and the financial issues you may be facing after a loved one has passed away. Experienced probate attorneys can help you sort out the details of the estate and make the probate process easier and less stressful for you and your family.


Questions to Ask a Probate Lawyer


Before hiring a probate attorney, it is vital to ask these important questions:


1. Is probate an area of practice for you?


Many estate planning and wills and trusts lawyers are experienced in handling probate cases. When seeking an attorney, it’s advisable to ask the following questions to get a feel for how experienced he or she is.


2. Are you familiar with the court to which my case will be assigned?


Hiring an attorney who has experience in the court where your probate case will be heard can speed up the process and make it run more smoothly. Our attorneys in Chester and Delaware County, PA have years of experience in local probate court, can help you avoid delays and ensure all paperwork is correctly completed and filed.


3. What is your strategy for my case? Are there any potential issues such as tax implications that could arise in my case?


A skilled probate attorney will assess your situation and share a strategy that helps you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.


4. How long do you think it will take to complete?


Probate can take anywhere from nine months to two years. Although there are no guarantees on how long probate proceedings will take, your lawyer should be able give you an estimate based on the facts of your case.


5. Will you handle my case personally?


It is common for lawyers to pass some work on to associates, paralegals and other law firm staff. It’s very important to feel comfortable about who you will be working with—ask if you can meet others who may be working on your case. It’s also a good idea to find out their availability and response time if you need to discuss important developments or get a status update.


5. What is your fee structure?


Ask the attorney about how they charge and approximately how much you should expect to pay for services. Attorneys may charge a flat fee or hourly rate. It’s also important to find out if there are fees for phone calls and other legal professionals who may spend time speaking with you and working on your case. If the attorney charges a flat fee, ask how you will be charged if the matter turns out to be more complicated than anticipated. Getting an estimate of court costs can also be helpful.


If you are dealing with the death of a loved one and need help with the probate process, Carosella & Associates’ experienced attorneys in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery County, PA will help you through the process and make it as hassle-free as possible.

Bankruptcy 101: What is Bankruptcy, Types of Bankruptcy and How to File One.

Filing bankruptcy can help you reduce or eliminate debt, halt actions that creditors have taken against you and allow you to get your finances back on track. There are several different types of bankruptcy, and a skilled attorney can guide you on the most effective path to achieving a beneficial outcome for your financial situation.


Bankruptcy Explained by CarosellaThe two most popular types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7-10 years, but your credit can be repaired by making responsible choices and remaining vigilant about properly managing your finances going forward.


Filing bankruptcy can put a halt to:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Collection letters
  • Harassing calls
  • Foreclosures
  • Auto Repossession
  • Creditor lawsuits

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is intended for consumers who are having financial difficulties but do not have the resources to pay their existing debts. Chapter 7 is best for lower-income debtors who have unsecured debt such as credit cards or medical bills.


When you file for Chapter 7, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee will determine if you have any non-exempt property that can be sold to pay your creditors. He or she will also check to see if any recent financial transactions can be undone to repay your creditors as much as possible of what you owe them. If you do not possess any non-exempt assets such as cash or other valuable items, your creditors will not receive compensation for your debts.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a total restructuring of debt for consumers who are behind on secured debts such as home mortgages and car loans. Debtors typically have enough income to pay back at least a portion of their debts through a repayment plan. The goal of Chapter 13 is to resume regular monthly payments and pay arrears over time.


Chapter 13 allows you to catch up on missed mortgage or car payments and possibly reduce payment amounts without forfeiting these assets. Creditors must be repaid within a period of five years. Once a repayment plan is successfully completed under Chapter 13, creditors cannot require you to pay them in full.


Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is typically filed by businesses, but individuals can file under Chapter 11 if they exceed the debt or income limits under Chapters 7 and 13.

Filing for Bankruptcy

Before you file for bankruptcy, it is essential to sit down and itemize your sources of income, major financial transactions, monthly living expenses, and all debts, assets and property. Gather all loan or mortgage documents, recent tax returns and deeds and titles to any real estate or vehicles you own.


Once you have collected this information, local bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine which assets are exempt from seizure. The attorney will file a petition and several other required forms at your Pennsylvania district bankruptcy court.


There are many different factors that must be taken into account when you consider filing for bankruptcy. Carosella & Associates’ seasoned legal team includes some very experienced bankruptcy lawyers in Pennsylvania. Our experienced lawyers will assess your case and guide you through the process every step of the way. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

How to Start Preparing for a Divorce

Going through a divorce can be an overwhelming and complex process. If you are considering divorce, there are steps you can take ahead of time that can make the process less stressful and help you stay organized and focused.


How to Start Preparing for a Divorce - Carosella & Associates


Manage Your Finances

It is important to start putting money aside so you can pay your legal fees and living expenses on a single income. If you are working, deposit all or part of your paycheck into a separate account that your spouse cannot access. Keep track of finances such as your income, your spouse’s income, household expenses, assets and debts.


Reduce unnecessary spending. Refrain from splurging on items you don’t need or making large purchases while you are preparing for a divorce.


If possible, close joint accounts. Typically, both parties on a joint account must give the bank permission to close it. If your spouse agrees, close joint bank accounts and split the money.  If you have credit cards together, either cancel them or remove one person from the account. Be sure to keep copies of all bank statements, credit card statements, pay stubs, tax returns and investment and retirement account statements.


Keep these vital documents in a safe place away from your home, as documentation of all your finances will be very important for your attorney. Open a safe deposit box in your name or store them at a trusted friend’s or family member’s home.  Meet with a financial professional such as an accountant or financial planner. He or she can help you prepare for the economic impact of your divorce.


Prepare for Custody Disputes

Document everything regarding your children in writing. Note which parent takes them to appointments and attends activities such as sports games, recitals and other extracurricular activities. Get records from your children’s school that show who attends parent-teacher conferences and other school functions. Documenting these things will show how involved you are in your children’s lives.


Unless there is violence in the home, stay with your children until your divorce is finalized. If there have been any incidents involving the police or child protective services, get copies of all reports. Drug & alcohol and psychological evaluations may also help to determine why your spouse is ill-equipped to take custody of your children. Store these documents in a safe place. They will be an integral part of determining custody.


Take Care of Yourself

Find a therapist and see him or her regularly. It may be a good idea to have your kids to speak to a child therapist as well. This type of support is essential for your emotional well-being and can help your children get through the divorce process with minimal stress.


Engaging the counsel of a skilled divorce attorney can help make the divorce process easier and less stressful. Our compassionate and experienced divorce law team in West Chester and Chester, Montgomery & Delaware Counties will support you through the process and make sure your interests are protected.

See Also:

Difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure about where to begin. Struggling with debt can make it seem like you are powerless, but it is possible to take that weight off your shoulders and achieve your financial goals.


One of the aims of bankruptcy is to wipe out certain debts to give an individual a fresh financial start. Depending on your situation, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the right option for you.


Difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - Carosella & Associates


What’s the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Most individual bankruptcies filed are Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 cases. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, only your non-exempt assets are used to repay debt. If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must repay at least a portion of your debt.


Your income, assets, debts, and financial goals all play a part in determining which type of bankruptcy is the best choice for your circumstances. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney who knows the ins and outs of bankruptcy law can help you come to a decision that best fits your needs.


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy that is designed to get rid of unsecured debts such as medical bills and credit cards. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is typically for debtors with few assets who want to wipe out unsecured debts.


When you file for Chapter 7, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee will determine if you have any nonexempt property to sell for the benefit of creditors. He or she will also review recent financial transactions to see if any can be undone to free up assets to repay to your creditors. The trustee will ensure that your non-exempt property is sold to pay creditors as much as possible of what you owe them. If you do not own any non-exempt assets, your creditors will not receive anything. Typically, a seasoned Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will be able to protect most, if not all of your assets and all of the unsecured debts will be discharged.


Although there is no homestead exemption in Pennsylvania, Chapter 7 allows consumers to use federal exemptions that protect up to $23,675 of home equity. If you are married filing jointly you may double this exemption. If you are married, jointly held property cannot be taken to satisfy the individual debts of one spouse.


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you make too much money or have considerable non-exempt assets to qualify for Chapter 7, you may have no choice but to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Also called a wage earners plan, Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy designed for debtors with enough income to pay back at least a portion of their debts over a span of three to five years.


It is similar to a consolidation loan in which you make payments to a trustee, who then pays creditors. However, it is interest free and often a much lower payment than if you were outside of bankruptcy. Chapter 13 can protect your home from foreclosure, allow you to catch up on missed mortgage payments and give you the opportunity pay off debts such as spousal or child support arrears.


Whether you are considering filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, there are many advantages and drawbacks to consider. Our experienced attorneys in West Chester will assess your case and help you determine the best course of action to take. For more information, contact Carosella & Associates to schedule a consultation.