October 2012

Counting The Days

The custody cliché of the mother taking care of the kids while the father comes by on alternate weekends isn’t common anymore. Even if one party is considered the custodial parent, kids often spend plenty of time with the non-custodial parent as well. Pennsylvania child support calculator considers the number of days with each parent when calculating the monthly amount.

PA child support guideline assumes that when child is in the care of the non-custodial parent, that parent is covering the child’s meals and other expenses. So the more time a child spends with the parent paying child support, the lower the calculated support will be. This is why it is essential that parents count the days of support carefully so that a fair level of support can be calculated.

Custody days also affect the type of custody: sole or shared. PA child support guidelines consider custody to be sole custody if one parent has the children less than 40% of the time or 146 days per year. In this case the main determining factor in Pennsylvania child support calculation is the non-custodial parent’s income.

However if each parent has custody at least 146 days per year then Pennsylvania family law considers this to be a shared custody arrangement. The support formula considers both parents income as well as the actual number of days per year each parent has the children. Attorneys need to be sure to use a PA support calculator that considers both these scenarios.

Although many other states have similar laws, it is essential that attorneys use specialized Pennsylvania divorce law software to come up with a support amount that is fair to the kids, the parents and adheres to Pennsylvania state law.

Situations like these are why we offer state-specific divorce software such as EzSupport-PA, our PA support calculator. When you determine child support using our software you can be confident that the amount calculated is valid under current Pennsylvania law. Our other child support products include NY, NJ and AZ child support calculator. We hope to add other states to our divorce financial settlement lineup in the near future.

Child support isn’t about what’s fair to the divorcing couple, but rather what is needed by the children. Use state-specific legal software programs designed to accommodate local family law ordinances to calculate the proper support and maintenance amounts for your clients.

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The Secret To Saving Money On Real Estate Settlement

As a real estate professional, you want to maximize your profits. However too many businesses focus on increasing revenue while forgetting the other half of the equation: reducing expenses. If you can reduce your costs on each transaction, you make more money with every settlement you are part of. One way to cut costs is to find better way to track a property’s mortgage lien release.

Real estate buyers tend to believe that a transaction is done once they sign the papers or once the check clears. Settlement agents know the real conclusion is when the mortgage lien attached to the property’s existing mortgage has been released. Once that happens, the buyer has free and clear title to the property.

Unfortunately the release of mortgage lien doesn’t always occur quickly. Buyers trust their real estate agents to follow up on any post-closing paperwork, and tracking the lien is one of those duties. If the lien doesn’t release quickly, the agent must waste time following up with the lenders. Your time is valuable so when you waste them then you waste money, drive up costs and cut your profits.

The problem is that tracking one mortgage lien is not an effective use of time. It doesn’t take much longer to investigate ten liens or a hundred liens than it does to research one. Wouldn’t it be better to turn that task over to a service that specializes in mortgage lien release tracking? Yes it would.

Easy Soft’s lien release tracking service does the work for you. We keep an eye on any liens attached to a property and let you know as soon as the release of mortgage lien occurs. What’s even better is that this service costs you nothing. Yes, we said nothing. How can we make money if we don’t charge anything? Actually we do charge $35 per lien, but that is a cost you pass through to your client.

How to you use the service? It’s pretty complicated so follow closely: you open EasyHUD, pull up the client’s HUD-1 form and click a button. Phew–done. Okay maybe it’s slightly more complicated that than, but not much. Most of the information will be pulled from the client file so you just have to fill in a couple of additional fields, but that’s about all there is to it.

Find out more about how we can help you run your real estate practice more efficiently by automating processes. EasyHUD and our other legal software programs are designed to address the needs of legal and real estate professionals quickly, simply and affordably.

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Why Would You Voluntarily Give Up Alimony Or Child Support?

Sometimes it is best for New Yorkers getting divorced to accept less alimony or child support than might be first calculated. Does that statement surprise you? It seems like a typical divorce financial settlement is about getting as much as possible from the ex, but it might be advantageous for one party to push one of those numbers down. The spouse isn’t really giving up money, but rather balancing alimony and child support payments.

In a typical NY no fault divorce, alimony and child support calculations are pretty straightforward. NY family law software makes the process easy as attorneys just have to enter information on income, custody, assets and such and then let the software do the work. At the end they have amounts that are considered fair to both parties in the divorce. So why would you want to change the numbers?

The first reason is that in a NY no fault divorce alimony affects child support. The amount of alimony agreed on changes the spouses’ respective incomes and therefore affects the child support calculations. As alimony goes up, child support goes down because the receiving spouse is expected to shoulder a greater amount of the child’s living expenses. The difference is not dollar for dollar, but instead child support goes down a fraction for every extra dollar of alimony.

Since the changes are unequal, it might seem like the best divorce financial settlement for the recipient is still the highest alimony possible. Sure child support will be a little lower, but the total amount received will be higher, right? Sort of. The problem is that in the eyes of the law–and the taxman–alimony and child support are not equal.

Child support for NY divorces is not considered income any more than food or clothing bought for the child would be. That means it is not subject to income tax. However alimony is considered income. The recipient must pay taxes on it and the payer gets a tax deduction for it.

Consider a case where NY family law software calculates $500 per month in alimony and $500 per month in child support. The payer might prefer to pay $1000 per month in alimony and $0 in child support for the tax deduction. The recipient might prefer an agreement that is all child support so the income is non-taxable. One spouse might budge on the dispute in return for some other concession.

Child support for NY divorces, or indeed divorces in any state, are not always simple spreadsheet calculations. That is why you need legal software programs that let the attorneys analyze different cases so they can come up with an agreement that is fair to both parties, and of course to the children involved.

Don’t settle for less than the best legal software for divorce and child support calculation. Try Easy Soft state-specific child support applications and see the advantages for yourself.

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Accountant In A Box

One of the most daunting tasks facing attorney is the administration of a trust. Nearly all law offices have a trust account to handle various transactions, and mismanagement of those accounts is not only a disservice to your clients but could also lead to legal penalties including disbarment. The parties don’t even have to have criminal intent. Simple mistakes can lead to serious penalties when it comes to trust accounting.

The law requires that a trust overseer use a proper accounting system and audit trail to account for every penny in and out of the account. In the past this meant contracting with certified accountants who had the skills needed to administer the funds but that is no longer necessary with today’s legal software programs.

A dedicated product like Easy Trust includes features designed specifically to make it easy for attorneys and other professionals to administer escrow funds with all the confidence of an experienced accountant. The trust management software automatically maintains a comprehensive audit trail so there is no chance of undocumented transactions. It enforces basic accounting rules to prevent you from making some of the basic trust accounting mistakes.

Your office must still maintain due diligence. Trust accounting software has the tools to assist in the administration of trusts but must be backed by policies that ensure all transactions are entered completely, accurately and in a timely fashion.

Easy Trust integrates with our law office billing software to handle all of your office’s bookkeeping and accounting needs. You can handle trust transactions from your office computer without having to keep track of paper documents and ledgers. Print out audit reports to document trust transactions whenever you need to.

Does this mean you can fire your accountant? Probably not. Even the best legal software won’t turn you into a CPA overnight. It’s still best to consult with a professional experienced with trust administration to ensure your system is set up correctly. However you can turn the daily bookkeeping tasks over to the law office management software rather than paying your accountant to do it.

Download a demo of our law practice management software and explore the many accounting features included.

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UTBMS, LEDES, OMG!!

Jargon can be confusing, and the worst kind of jargon is the acronym. You might be able to puzzle out words but who can make sense of strings of seemingly random letters? Just what are UTBMS and LEDES and what do they have to do with your legal billing software?

UTBMS is the Uniform Task-Based Management System.

What? You say that isn’t enough information? Well, okay. The UTBMS is a set of codes set up by a group of organizations including the American Bar Association. These codes standardize the documentation of legal tasks so that bills from different legal practices across the country can be analyzed and evaluated on an apples-to-apples basis.

UTBMS codes are simple enough to use in manual billing, but are also integrated into most legal software programs. The format of the codes is X###, where X is a letter indicating the general type of service and the #s are numerical digits specifying the specific task. For example the L400 series is trial preparation and includes L420 (Expert Witnesses) and L450 (Trial and Hearing Attendance). Attorneys use these codes to generate standardized invoices with law office management software.

UTBMS is most often used with electronic rather than manual billing, and most electronic billing uses a format called LEDES or the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard. Law billing software that generates electronic invoices in LEDES format can be processed any electronic billing system.

There is a strong movement in this country to move to paperless billing. As a consumer, you probably get very few paper invoices anymore and there is a good chance you pay your bills with debit cards or direct electronic transfers. Attorney’s clients are starting to expect the same option with legal invoices, so lawyers need to use legal software programs that can handle electronic billing.

Easy TimeBill includes electronic billing capabilities. Users can enter tasks using UTBMS codes and generate electronic invoices in LEDES format. It integrates with our other law office management software such as Easy Trust to create a centralized, one-stop billing solution for law practices.

Use Easy Soft law practice management software and let us worry about the inner workings of UTBMS and LEDES. You can simply enter your case information and generate invoices, confident that the underlying details are being handled by Easy TimeBill.

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