Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Steps To Take Before Filing For Divorce

Filing for divorce is a big undertaking. Your life as you know it is about to change dramatically and permanently. Divorce proceedings can be challenging, time-consuming, and complicated, especially in high-asset divorces, even when there isn't a custody dispute. In order to set yourself up for success, you'll want to be sure that you get all your ducks in a row before really diving into the process.

As your trusted divorce attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks, I'm here to share with you some of the important steps you should take before filing for divorce in Camden County MO


1. Organize All Financial Documents

One of the most challenging and intricate aspects of getting divorced is dividing financial assets and responsibilities. Before filing for divorce, you will want to have access to all documents that outline your assets and liabilities so that down the road you and your attorney can more accurately assess them with a value and determine which assets and debts were accrued during the marriage and which were accrued prior to the marriage. 

2. Identify How Much You And Your Spouse Earn (Or Your Income Potential)

Before filing for divorce, it would be helpful to know exactly how much money you and your spouse is each earning. If you have been out of the workforce for a while (to take care of the children, for example), it is also important to evaluate how much you are capable of earning so that you and your attorney can make an informed determination about whether maintenance (alimony) should be part of the relief requested as part of your divorce.

3. Watch Your Accounts Closely

Your financial security can change in the blink of an eye as one or both parties prepare to file for divorce.  If you had shared bank accounts and credit card accounts with your spouse during your marriage, watch them closely for large withdrawals of cash or large credit card purchases.  When possible, consult with your attorney early about if and how you can protect yourself from your spouse making significant changes to these accounts during the build-up to divorce.

4. Take Inventory Of Valuable Assets

A lot of the marital resources go into establishing a home. Furniture, appliances, vehicles, real estate, jewelry... between the two of you, you and your spouse will probably have accumulated a few or several items of substantial financial value during the course of your marriage. Before getting divorced, you will want to take inventory of all your valuable financial assets and be sure you can locate each of them.

5. Schedule An Initial Consultation With Your Attorney

Even if you have gone through the process before, it is impossible for you to know every aspect of family law and how it pertains to your case. We encourage you to contact a family attorney in your area to help you evaluate your unique situation and determine what steps are most important for you to take. Having established a relationship with your attorney early on will serve as a valuable resource as your divorce progresses.

O'Donnell Law Center Is Here For You

Filing for divorce can be daunting, but our law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to help make the process easier in any way we can. To learn more about our family law services in Osage Beach MO, visit our website at www.ODonnellLawCenter.com. You can also call our Center directly at 573-552-0317


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.


Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Non-Compete Agreements: A Complete Overview

Contracts are your business' biggest safety net: they protect your interests, your trade secrets, your responsibilities, and countless other important factors. The exact type of contracts you need may vary slightly depending on your industry, but there are several basic contracts that can benefit practically every type of business. We explored a few of them in our previous blog titled 5 Example Contracts Your Business May Need. This week, our Lake of the Ozarks law firm is here to delve a little bit deeper into one of these specific contracts: non-compete agreements.


What Is A Non-Compete Agreement?

A non-compete agreement is a contract some employers ask their new hires to sign before beginning work. Though they are often signed at the same time, non-compete agreements are distinct from confidentiality agreements and it is important to understand the distinction between the two. Confidentiality agreements ensure that employees will not reveal the company's private methods, client list, or other sensitive information to outside sources. Non-compete agreements ensure that employees do not compete with the company for a certain period of time and in a specific geographic area.

How Does A Non-Compete Agreement Work?

Non-compete agreements are designed to protect the company's interests by preventing the employee from competing with the company in various capacities should they become employed elsewhere. Generally, non-compete agreements are designed to protect a business from having an employee who:
  • Starts a competing business in the same location
  • Pulls the existing customer base over to a new competing business
  • Goes to work for a competitor in the same location

What Limits A Non-Compete Agreement?

Non-compete agreements are typically limited by two predominant factors: location and duration. In order for a non-compete agreement to be enforceable, it must have a duration and scope that can be considered "reasonable" in the eyes of the law. Typically, non-compete agreement will not hold up in court if they:
  • Span too great a time period
  • Cover too large of a geographic area
  • Prevent the employee from earning a living in his/her field

The duration of many non-compete agreements ranges from two to three years. The geographic scope typically depends on how wide the customer base is for the company.

Questions About Non-Compete Agreements? 

At O'Donnell Law Center, we specialize in business law at the Lake of the Ozarks. If you are a business owner who is preparing to hire employees for the first time, we would be happy to help you draft a comprehensive non-compete agreement that will protect your business interests. If you are an employee preparing to start a new position, we can review your new employer's proposed non-compete agreement to ensure it is something you can be comfortable signing. Whatever you need, you can be confident that our Lake of the Ozarks attorney and the rest of our team will do everything we can to take the burden off of your shoulders. To learn more about our legal services in Camden County MO, visit our website at www.ODonnellLawCenter.com.


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.


Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3

Osage Beach, MO  65065

Friday, June 17, 2016

You've Just Been In A Car Accident. Now What?

Even minor car accidents are often scary and stressful, and serious wrecks can be absolutely devastating. If you have been in a car accident at the Lake of the Ozarks (especially if you have never been in a wreck before) you will probably find yourself overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. While we certainly hope you and your loved ones are never in need of this information, our personal injury lawyer in Osage Beach MO is here to help you prepare for the worst with this quick checklist of things to do immediately following an auto accident.


Get All Involved Persons Out Of The Road
The very first thing you should do is get everyone out of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. If possible, remove your vehicles from the roadway as well. If you remain in the center of the road, you risk suffering further injury or damage from being hit by another vehicle. Protecting the safety of everyone involved should always be your first priority.

Stay At The Scene Of The Accident
You should remove yourself and your vehicle out of the way of the road, but that doesn't mean you should leave the scene of the accident. In fact, it is important that you remain there until law enforcement arrives. You could face criminal charges as a hit-and-run driver if you leave the scene of an accident, especially if the other driver or passengers were seriously injured or killed.

Call The Police
If it's your first time being in a car accident, you may assume that it is not necessary to get the police involved, particularly if no one was hurt. However, it is important that you call the police. The police will file an accident report that will contain important information when it comes time for the insurance companies to determine who was at fault and which company should pay for the damages, prosecuting or defending a criminal citation issued to the at-fault driver, and determining liability in a personal injury action. 

Exchange Information With The Other Driver(s)
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, take a moment to exchange information with each of the other drivers involved in the accident. Examples of information you should gather include:
  • Driver and passenger name(s)
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • License plate numbers
  • Makes and models of all vehicles
  • Location of the accident

If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names, addresses, and phone numbers as well. Their testimony could prove valuable at a later date. If you have a camera or a smart phone with you, you should also take pictures of the scene of the accident.

Call Your Insurance Company
Once the police have completed their police report and all necessary business at the scene of the accident has been attended to, you should call your insurance company and inform them that you have been in an accident. They should then contact the other driver(s) insurance companies to work out who should have to pay for the damages.  Provide your insurance company with any information that can help support your case, such as the police report and witness' contact information.

Track Your Medical Bills
If you sustain injuries from your accident that require medical attention, it is important that you keep careful track of all medical bills related to your car accident. You may need to send copies of these documents to your insurance company and your attorney. 

Contact Your Attorney
If you have sustained serious injuries from an automobile accident, in may be in your best interests to consider hiring a car accident lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks to pursue damages on your behalf. Your attorney will be able to help you evaluate your accident and counsel you on the best course of action to take. 

O'Donnell Law Center Is Here For You
If you have been in a car accident in Osage Beach MO or any of the surrounding areas, it is probably reasonable to assume that you are already under a great deal of stress. O'Donnell Law Center is here to take your burden off of your shoulders as much as possible. If you are in need of a car accident lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks, we hope you'll keep us in mind. We would be happy to assist you in any way we can.


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.


Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

8 Core Characteristics To Look For In An Attorney

If you are considering hiring an attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks, it is safe to assume that you are navigating a unique situation that is either entirely new to you, rather stressful, or (more likely) both. Ideally, the attorney you choose should be there to guide you and relieve your stress as much as possible. There are many attorneys to choose from, and you should choose the one that will represent your best interests well. When interviewing prospective attorneys, looking for these core personality traits will help you find the one who will best look out for your specific needs.


1. Experience
The different legal disciplines are as vast as they are varied. Even beyond the broad categories (family law, criminal law, personal injury law, business law, etc), each specific case has endless nuances and subtleties all its own. In order to maximize your chances of a strong resolution, it is important that you choose an attorney who has experience working with your specific type of case.

2. Reliability
When you hire an attorney to represent you, you place your fate in their hands. Whether you are using their services to help you incorporate your new business or defend your rights in the face of criminal charges, how they handle your case will dramatically impact your future. With the potential for so much at stake, it is important that you choose an attorney who you can rely on to handle your case with the utmost precision, professionalism, and accuracy.

3. Persistence
Legal cases rarely progress in a straight, unhindered line; they typically experience several ups, downs, twists, and turns along the way. If your case takes a downward turn, it is important that both you and your attorney continue to persist without being dissuaded. This type of tenacity can be hard to come by, but it should be a crucial personality trait of the attorney you choose.

4. Trustworthiness
As we discussed earlier, if you're hiring an attorney, you are probably experiencing a significant and unique stress in your life (getting divorced, navigating a customer dispute, seeking compensation for a personal injury due to another person's negligence, etc). You are in need of assistance in a way that you may have never been before, and it is crucial that you find an attorney who will not take advantage of your situation in any way. You need to be able to trust your attorney wholly and completely.

5. Timeliness
As they work their way along their winding paths, most legal cases have several distinct deadlines that must be met along the way. If they are not met in a timely manner, the consequences for your case may be disastrous. For this reason, it is imperative that you find an attorney you can trust to respond to each deadline and detail quickly and efficiently.

6. Accessibility
Because of the many twists, turns, and deadlines that must be addressed during a typical legal case, you'll want to find an attorney who you know you can contact when necessary. Your attorney should be available to answer your questions and keep you up-to-date on your case's proceedings. If she will be unavailable for any reason, she should let you know who you can contact in her absence.

7. Creativity
No two legal cases are the same, and the solution that worked for one of your attorney's previous cases may not be as effective for yours. An excellent attorney should be able to think outside of the box and come up with unique, creative solutions that will work best for your situation. It can be hard to recognize creativity in a person before you get to know them, but asking your potential attorney how she would handle a situation like yours may be a good place to start.

8. Sympathy
In a general sense, attorneys have a bad reputation for being harsh, cold, and uncaring. While there are certainly some attorneys who fit this description, there are many who don't. The right attorney will be able to express genuine sympathy and compassion for your situation. Your attorney cannot provide you with the emotional counsel that a therapist can, but she should still be able to respect and sympathize with the challenges you are facing.

O'Donnell Law Center Is Here To Take The Burden Off Of Your Shoulders
The consequences of your case may affect your life for years to come, and it is crucial that you find a legal team who will represent your interests as they would their own. If you are looking for an attorney in Camden County MO, we would love the chance to talk to you. For more information about our legal services in Osage Beach MO, contact our Center directly by calling 573-552-0317.


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.


Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Friday, June 3, 2016

3 Things You Should Know About Probate

"Probate" refers to the process of filing and proving up a deceased individual's will and distributing his or her assets to the surviving heirs. If there is no will, it is the process of opening an estate and distributing assets according to Missouri statute.   The probate process can be time-consuming and technical. If you have recently had a family member pass away, hiring a probate attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks may help to simplify the process.

O'Donnell Law Center is here to help with all of your probate needs. This week, we wanted to share with you a few things we believe you should know about probate.


1.  Your Personal Representative Will Be In Charge Of Handling Your Estate.
Since you won't be present to handle the necessary steps required to close out your affairs after you pass, your personal representative will have to step in and handle these tasks for you. If you have a properly executed will, you will have named a personal representative in your estate planning documents. If you pass away without a will, the court will appoint someone on your behalf. The court may also need to appoint someone if the person you named is unable to fulfill the responsibilities for any reason and you did not identify a back-up representative. 

Your personal representative will be in charge of paying any debts, taxes, and/or other expenses that must be paid out of your estate first, and then distributing any remaining assets among your heirs.

2.  Having An Estate Plan Does Not Necessarily Prevent Your Estate From Going Through Probate.
Because probate is time-consuming, your heirs may have to wait several months (or even years) before receiving your assets after you pass if your estate must go through probate. Not only that, but the assets you leave behind may be somewhat depleted after covering all the probate costs. Consequently, it is often desirable to prepare an estate plan so that you can avoid probate altogether. However, many people do not realize that having a simple will in place does not necessarily prevent their estates from going through probate. It is possible to build an estate plan that may not need to spend a significant amount of time in probate after you pass, but you will need an experienced estate planning attorney in Camden County MO to help you.

3.  If Your Estate Plan Is Out-Dated, Your Estate May Need To Go Through Probate.
Some people view estate plans as things they can simply check off their lists once completed. While it's true that a fresh estate plan may not require much attention for the first few years, it's important to realize that estate plans are not "one and done" documents. Your financial situation, your marital status, and your familial relationships are all subject to change, and depending on any changes that do occur, the directives you set in your estate plan today may not be applicable a few years down the road.

Depending on how out-of-date your estate plan is, your situation may still need to go through the probate process.  To avoid this, review your plan every couple of years with your estate planning attorney.

Contact Our Estate Planning Attorney For More Information..
The team at O'Donnell Law Center is here to take the burden off of your shoulders. Our estate planning team has experience probating wills and probating estates when there is no will. We can also assist with trust administration and establishing guardianships and conservatorships. Contact our Center to learn more about our estate planning services at the Lake of the Ozarks!


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.


Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065