When Do I Need a Business Law Attorney?

business lawyer

Do you need a business law attorney? If you’re a business owner, it might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it can also save your company should a legal issue arise. Here are some situations when you might need a business law attorney.

Lawsuit Protection

Is someone suing you? A lawsuit can come up for any number of reasons. It could be a former employee filing a discrimination, hostile work environment, or wrongful termination suit. On the other hand, it could be a customer or client suing you for personal injury, breach of contract, or misleading marketing. Even if the lawsuits are frivolous, you still need an attorney to represent you and protect you and your business.

Drafting Contracts

You know your business better than anyone, so it might seem natural to assume you can write up contracts that protect you. However, there are legalities that you might not be aware of. Therefore, it’s critical to have a business lawyer help you with drafting and negotiating contracts to ensure your legal protection.

Compliance Issues

You might not know about every state and federal requirement and regulation when it comes to running your business, but a business lawyer does. Everything from incorporation to building property, from paying taxes to providing products and services out of state, there are regulations your business must comply with or face serious ramifications.

You might not need a business law attorney every day, but protecting your business should be your number one priority. When the time comes that you need legal representation or a business lawyer for guidance and advice, contact the trusted and experienced team at McCutchen McLean, LLC.

5 Ways An Attorney Can Ease The Pain Of Divorce

divorce attorney meeting with client

Even in the best of circumstances, if a divorce is in your future, you need a divorce attorney. Good legal representation is critical to help protect yourself, but it’s also vital for your mental and emotional well-being. We’ll show you five ways an attorney can ease the pain of divorce.

#1: Your Rights

The number one way a divorce lawyer can help you is by helping protect your rights through the process. Your lawyer will work for your best interests, from reaching an acceptable settlement, to property division and custody, to preparing you for trial.

#2: Legal Process

Trying to navigate the complex legal system during your divorce may increase your stress and anxiety at your most vulnerable time. Your attorney’s job is to know and understand the legal process, so you don’t have to. They will guide you through the proper steps from the beginning separation to the final judgment.

#3: Division of Assets and Property

Splitting up the things that make up a marriage can be one of the most emotional parts of a divorce. Understandably, the division of assets and property can lead to contention during the divorce process. Determining what is and is not marital property can also be a source of conflict. A divorce attorney will work with you to ensure a fair division.

#4: Parental Rights and Custody

The most important part of your divorce concerns your children. Hammering out parental rights and obligations can be the most emotional and taxing part of the process. Without a family court lawyer, you may not understand what the family courts of South Carolina deem appropriate parenting time, decision making authority, and child support. A good divorce attorney can help explain the nuances of custody and child support during this difficult phase of a separation or divorce.

#5: Loose Ends

When your divorce is final in the courts, there may be additional items that need to be wrapped up, such as final distribution of assets, transfer of property and debt, name changes, and insurance beneficiary changes, to name a few. Your attorney can help you tie up these loose ends to avoid post-decree misunderstandings, allowing you to move forward with this new phase of your life.

Life is complicated enough. Don’t try to manage a divorce and all the mental and emotional weight that goes with it by yourself. Contact the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC, to help ease the pain of your divorce.

Probate Is Rarely Easy. Here’s How An Attorney Can Help…

probate law attorney

Probate is the process of administering a person’s estate once they’ve passed away, and hiring a probate attorney is one of the most important things you can do. If you’re facing probate of a loved one’s estate, here’s how an attorney can help.

Reduce Family Fighting

Everyone assumes their family won’t fight about money when someone passes, but the elevated emotions and upset can lead to disputes even in the closest families. A probate attorney can help minimize the conflict and work to resolve any disagreements.

Reduce Stress

Handling the probate process on your own can be incredibly stressful and complicated. Understanding the legal ins and outs of the probate system can make all the difference in the outcome, timing, and stress on you and your family. That’s where an attorney comes in. Having them on your team will reduce everyone’s stress, including your own.

Quicker Resolution

Administering an estate without legal representation can draw out the process and take significantly longer than it might otherwise. A probate lawyer can help expedite it through the courts efficiently simply by understanding the process and what needs to be done. You can focus on your family and recovering from your loss while your attorney represents you, your family, and your best interests.

Protecting your loved one’s assets after they pass away is an essential aspect of the probate process. Protecting you and your family is your attorney’s job. The team at McCutchen McLean, LLC has extensive knowledge and experience with the South Carolina probate system. Contact us today to find out how we can help your family.

Divorce, Annulment, Or Separation: What’s The Difference?

A pair of scissors cutting apart a cardboard man and woman holding hands.

If your marriage is in the process of unraveling, you’re not alone, but it’s important to know what you’re facing if headed toward divorce. While it’s an emotionally driven process, knowing the difference between divorce, annulment, and separation will benefit you.

Separation

Separation is a common term for a marriage that’s in trouble. It’s a way to test the waters of being apart, work on reconciliation, or stay apart for a full year to qualify for a no-fault divorce. However, in South Carolina, the courts don’t recognize “separation” as a legal term. A married couple can separate, live in separate homes, separate their finances, etc., but they are still considered legally married until they get a divorce. Couples can, however, seek maintenance, spousal support, during the separation by filing for an Order of Separate Support and Maintenance with the court.

Divorce

In all states, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. Therefore, the process must go through the court system to be legally binding. The courts recognize five different reasons for divorce in South Carolina, including physical cruelty, abandonment, adultery, habitual drunkenness, and no-fault. Once filed, a family court judge will preside over the case to help determine the conditions of dissolution and settlements.

Annulment

Unlike a divorce which dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment indicates the end to a marriage that was not valid to begin with because of a condition that existed at the time of the “marriage”. Reasons the courts will consider annulling a marriage include:

·                Coercion to marry

·                Bigamy

·                Incest

·                Fraud

·                Mental incompetence

·                If one party was underage

·                Lack of cohabitation

No matter what, the end of a marriage can be a stressful, emotional, and often overwhelming time. Whether you know the best option for you or you need guidance to determine the right course of action, it’s critical to have an experienced legal team in your corner. If you’re considering separation, divorce, or annulment, contact the team at McCutchen McLean, LLC.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Business Owners Make Prior To Death

A business owner spells the word "mistakes" using wooden blocks lined up on a table.

Estate planning is a wise move for most people, especially for business owners. If you are an entrepreneur, it’s vital to make sure you prepare for the unthinkable so your legacy remains intact. Here are the three biggest mistakes business owners make before death.

Mistake #1: Lack of Succession Planning

As a business owner, you must have a plan in place for after you’re gone. The number one thing to build now is a succession plan. Leaving what you’ve spent your life building in unknown hands is a recipe for disaster. Make a succession plan now. You can update it in the future as your business grows and changes.

Mistake #2: Waiting too Long to Make a Plan

Most of us think we have plenty of time for planning and hence put it off indefinitely. But fate can take a cruel twist, leaving your business without leadership, a vision, or a plan. If you die prematurely or unexpectedly, and don’t have a plan, your business could die with you. Don’t wait to put it in writing.

Mistake #3: Making Informal Arrangements

Having an estate plan for your business made informally without legal representation and filing is not much better than no plan at all. Working with an attorney will ensure that the paperwork is accurate, filed appropriately, and that any amendments stand up in court.

Don’t let lack of preparation determine the demise of your life’s work. Estate planning for your business is critical to its success after you’re gone. To get started, contact the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC, for the experience and advice you and your business can depend on.

3 Ways A Business Law Attorney Can Help Resolve An Employment Dispute

Wooden table inside a law office with a gavel and a block labeled "Employment" sitting on it.

Every business owner has a dispute with an employee at some point, and vice versa. Here’s how an attorney can help you resolve it.

As an employer or employee, you aren’t immune to disagreements from time to time, and that includes employment disputes. When there’s discord between an employer and an employee, you want to have the best chance at resolution. Here are three ways a business law attorney can help.

#1: Negotiations

When employment disputes become legal issues, negotiations should only occur with legal representation present. You want witnesses and documentation for corroboration and support by the courts. Negotiations between you and your employee or employer without the support of legal counsel can lead to more issues.

#2: Understanding Merits of Your Case

No matter the dispute, you believe you are in the right. Whether it’s a case bound for negotiation or litigation is another matter. A business attorney can review your case and its merits with an understanding of the law and how it applies to your complaint. They can advise you on how to proceed and if it’s in your best interest to do so, and whether that should include negotiation, settlement, or litigation.

#3: Protect Against Further Claims

Any legal action taken by you or against you has the potential to open you up to additional claims. This is especially true for employers. Employee termination, sexual harassment complaints, and toxic work environments, for example, require careful investigation and proof to move forward in the justice system. A business attorney can help you ensure you’re covered, so you don’t end up with additional claims against you.

If you’re facing an employment dispute, don’t try to manage it yourself. Instead, protect yourself as an employee and your business as an employer by enlisting the professional legal help of the attorneys at McCutchen McLean, LLC.

McCutchen McLean Named Best Family Law Firm by Lexington Life Magazine

McCutchen McLean law office building in Lexington, South Carolina.

Are you looking for the best family law firm in South Carolina? Readers of Lexington Life Magazine think McCutchen McLean is the best of the bunch.

Lexington Life Magazine lets readers vote to determine the best local businesses, and McCutchen McLean, LLC won Best Attorney – Family Law. As we strive to provide the best legal services to the people of Lexington and the surrounding areas, it’s thrilling that our community agrees that we are exceeding their expectations.

About Lexington Life Magazine

Lexington Life Magazine is family-owned with a focus on direct mail advertising. Their focus is primarily churches, civic groups, businesses, and schools in Lexington and the surrounding areas. They provide valuable advertising and marketing to local businesses at an affordable rate to help ensure they thrive. At the same time, they provide information to consumers in the area. Over 50,000 people read the monthly publication, gaining access to all of the helpful information contained in each issue.

About McCutchen McLean

Founded by James McCutchen and Robin McClean and located in Lexington, South Carolina since 2018, McCutchen McLean works to provide the best legal representation to residents in the area and beyond, with clients across the state. Our focus is family law, including divorce, custody, and alimony, but we also work with clients on legal matters that involve probate, estate planning, business, and tax law.

Best Family Law Winner

Nominees for Best of Lexington Life come from Chamber Shareholders and readers and community members vote on them. Being recognized as a nominee was thrilling for us. Winning Best Attorney – Family Law validates our hard work to provide the best legal representation to our clients and their families.

Recognition by our community is an honor, but our true privilege is our service to our clients. The team at McCutchen McLean, LLC is grateful for the recognition and the continued support from our Lexington neighbors, friends, and clients.

How to Prepare for the Division of Assets During a Divorce

House keys on table during divorce court proceedings.

Is there any way to prepare yourself for what occurs during a divorce, including the division of assets? Divorce is one of the most stressful life events, and nearly half of all married couples go through it. The division of assets can be one of the most challenging aspects of the process. Here’s what you need to know to help you prepare.

What is Marital Property?

During a divorce, the division of assets includes anything acquired while married, including belongings, property, and financial assets. Even if it was only in one spouse’s name, it’s still considered marital property if obtained during the marriage. There are some exceptions, including personal gifts and inheritances. In most cases, you retain ownership of anything that belonged to either of you before the marriage.

How are Assets Divided?

While a mutual agreement on the division of property and assets is ideal, it’s often harder than it might first seem. When the court must step in, these are the things they consider:

  • How long you were married
  • The value of the property, assets, and estate
  • Whether or not there was marital misconduct on either side
  • How much each spouse contributed to acquiring the property
  • Child custody and support issues
  • Any prenuptial agreement that might be in place

Dividing up your belongings, finances, and property when going through a divorce can be one of the most emotional, contentious, and complex pieces of the marriage dissolution process. This is why it’s a great idea to have a strong legal team in your corner. If you’re facing divorce, don’t go it alone. Contact the experienced team at McCutchen McLean, LLC.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition for Your Business Upon Your Incapacity

Business ownership transition with a trust.

If you’re a business owner and you’re in the process of creating a will and trust, it’s critical that you include your company. There are multiple reasons it’s essential to ensure a smooth transition for your business should you become incapacitated.

Why it’s So Important

If you die without a trust in place, one that includes your business, your assets will go through probate, as will your business. When your personal finances are stuck in probate, it can create a hardship for your family. The same is true of your business. If held up by probate, it can cause substantial hardships for your employees. If there is no trustee named, there isn’t anyone with authority to write checks or make financial decisions, at least not until the court appoints one. The wait can lead to the failure and shutdown of your company, sometimes temporarily but often permanently.

What to Include in the Trust

You don’t have to die for a trust to take care of the business you’ve spent your life building. If you get sick, injured, or somehow incapacitated, a trust is just as valuable, if not more so. When you’re creating a trust to protect your assets and your family, including your business, will also protect them. The trust will designate an individual to serve as your trustee separate from your personal finances when your business is in the trust 100%. This trustee, often someone other than a family member, will take over daily decision making and, in some cases, voting rights. This is just the beginning of how a trust can protect you and your company.

To find out more and to create a trust that protects not only your family but also your business, contact the experienced legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC today.

4 Types of Child Custody In South Carolina

child custody and visitation

Divorces or breakups can be contentious, especially when you have children, as child custody is often the most challenging part. South Carolina Family Court Judges consider the child’s best interest when ordering custody, including their education, development, physical and emotional well-being, and safety. Generally, there are several types of custody arrangements to consider when discussing child custody with the other parent.  

#1: Sole Custody:

Sole custody means that the custodian makes all decisions concerning the child without the necessity of consulting with the other parent, or even telling the other parent about the decisions before they are made. Because there is no “joint raising” of the children under a sole custody provision, these types of custody orders are not generally favored if both parents are fit, have a history of being involved with the children, and able to care for the children.

The sole custodian has both legal and physical custody of the children. Legal custody means the ability to make all decisions for the minor child, such as education, religion, healthcare, appearance, extra-curricular activities, etc. Physical custody means the place where the children reside most of the time.

#2: Joint Custody

At this time, joint custody is the type of custody most ordered by our family courts, as it allows both fit parents input into the major decisions touching upon the minor children. In most joint custody orders, there will be a designated “primary custodian” and sometimes a “secondary custodian”. Usually, the primary custodian is the parent/person with whom the children reside most of the time (physical custodian). The primary custodian is required to consult and confer with the other parent about major issues concerning the children (legal custodian issues), prior to making a final decision. However, if the parents cannot agree, the primary custodian is allowed to make the final decision.

#3: Shared Custody

Shared custody generally refers to an arrangement where custodians have equal or almost equal parenting time with the children. It may be appropriate in situations where both parents have actively raised and nurtured the children prior to the parents’ split; or where the parents live close enough not to disrupt school or other schedules, and the parents have a cordial relationship conducive to amicable co-parenting. Many times, there is still a designated primary custodian for the sole purpose of final decisions if the parents cannot agree on a course of action for a child after truly discussing their respective point of views on the matter. However, some shared custody arrangements do not designate a primary decision-maker. Parents who opt for this type of arrangement should do so cautiously, as failure to plan for final decisions could result in both parents taking equal but opposite positions. This often results in conflict between the parents and confusion for the children.

#4:  Split Custody

Split custody refers to the situation where one parent has primary physical and legal custody of one or more children, and the other parent has primary physical and legal custody of the remaining child or children. Here, the siblings are split between the parents. This appears to be the least favored option as it means the siblings do not generally share the same household most of the time. It may be appropriate in situations where there is a large age gap between siblings or when a child poses a threat to the siblings and/or requires extra care.

Your custody arrangement will also determine the type and amount of child support owed.

Because child custody decisions can have far-reaching effects on the children and the parents, it is always wise to seek experienced legal counsel first. The attorneys at McCutchen McLean, LLC are able to assist you in making the appropriate custody decisions for your particular needs and situation.

Reviews

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James McCutchen drafted our estate planning documents and he did a fantastic job. The entire process was easy and affordable. I highly recommend James for any of your estate planning or probate needs.

Angela

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James McCutchen helped me with my business contract for my new business venture. He was able to offer helpful and informative suggestions and recommendations for my contract. It is reassuring to have someone like James look over my contract to know that I will be covered. His service was outstanding and I highly recommend him for your legal needs!!

Travis

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I recently had a tax issue with the IRS. I called McCutchen McClean law firm and they were able to fit me in quickly. They sat down with me, reviewed all the documents, listened to my concerns, and gave me wonderful advice as to how to fix the issue. They were friendly and understanding. Now, my tax issue is resolved, taking a HUGE weight off my mind. I would recommend them for any tax issue you may have! The service, hospitality, knowledge, and professionalism was outstanding!

Alasen

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We recently used James McCutchen and we could not be any happier! He was very kind, thorough when answering all of our questions and the best part of all we got everything completed pretty quickly. We highly recommend James. Thanks again for everything!

Abby

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I have referred several clients to them. My clients are very happy with the outstanding, timely service they receive. James and Robin are extremely smart and professional, yet speak in "plain english" so everyone walks away educated regarding their tax, estate or family law issue.

Gayle

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Smart people that do great work.

Charles

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I used Robin McLean as an attorney to secure a divorce about 20 months ago. I found her to be efficient, reasonably priced, and very well skilled. I was completely happy with her work. She did what she said. Since that time, I needed additional help with paperwork and she responded promptly and to my complete satisfaction. I highly recommend Robin as an attorney.

Howard

! NOTICE ! No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.