Established in Harrisonburg in 1935.
The Blog of Hoover Penrod PLC, Attorneys at Law
Serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester and Nearby Areas of Virginia
Injured in an accident through no fault of your own? There are many types of compensation that can be sought through a personal injury lawsuit. The best way to learn what you may be entitled to is through a free one-on-one consultation at our Harrisonburg office.
Hoover Penrod attorney Hannah Hutman has been recognized by the American Bankruptcy Institute as one of the "40 Under 40" Emerging Leaders in Insolvency Practice. Honorees were selected by a steering committee of insolvency professionals who looked at a range of characteristics for each nominee including:
- Achievements in client representation
- Training and education
- Professional dedication
- Community service
- Personal integrity
- Sustained career progress
Attorney Hutman was selected from more than 200 nominees and was publicly recognized alongside other 40 Under 40 honorees at ABI’s 2018 Winter Leadership Conference.
“The goal of ABI’s “40 under 40” initiative is not simply to create a one-time ceremony, but to fully engage those selected as future leaders in the insolvency profession and to build on the initiative each year.”
About Attorney Hutman
Hannah Hutman represents individuals in bankruptcy proceedings and creditor negotiations in Harrisonburg and beyond. A member of the panel of Chapter 7 trustees for the Western District of Virginia, Attorney Hutman has an impressive record that includes assisting regional and national banks with restructuring obligations, asset liquidations, and foreclosure.
Attorney Hutman is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer Rising Star in both Ohio and Virginia. If you are in need of a bankruptcy attorney in Harrisonburg or surrounding areas, please call 540-433-2444 to schedule your initial consultation with this exceptional attorney today.
About the ABI
Founded in 1982 and made up of more than 12,000 members, the American Bankruptcy Institute is the nation's largest association of insolvency professionals. Membership in the ABI is open to all bankruptcy professionals, including “attorneys, auctioneers, bankers, judges, lenders, professors, turnaround specialists, accountants and others,” and comes with access to continuing education opportunities and an impressive body of growing research in the bankruptcy field.
The ABI is a nonpartisan institute in which research and dedication to this area of practice have established both our members and leadership as experts in the field. ABI is frequently called on by Congress to conduct briefings for legislative staff, to analyze proposed bills, and to testify on matters related to bankruptcy law.
About Hoover Penrod PLC
Hoover Penrod PLC was established in 1935. Since that time, our attorneys have striven to provide the most effective legal representation for people living throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Our attorneys focus on various areas of practice, including family law, bankruptcy, personal injury, and real estate law, enabling us to meet the varied legal needs of people living in our community through litigation, mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law.
Dedicated and effective, our attorneys are here to listen to your story and provide you with honest information about your options. If you are in need of an attorney in or around Harrisonburg, call Hoover Penrod at 540-433-2444 to schedule a case review today.
As the appointed Commissioner of Accounts for the Circuit Court of Rockingham County, Virginia, I am charged with helping steer fiduciaries through the probate process. Following qualification by a fiduciary in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, copies of all relevant documents are sent to me. My office opens a file and produces what we call an “Introductory Letter” to each fiduciary.
In this Introductory Letter we attempt to describe, as best we can, the process that the fiduciary is going to undertake in his or her journey toward compliance with the language of the will, if there is one, and the probate and/or other laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia to which he or she may be subject. This letter will be framed depending upon the fiduciary’s position, be it executor or administrator of a will, trustee of a testamentary trust, or guardian or conservator for an infant or an incapacitated person.
In this office, we review and approve inventories, audit and approve accountings - including copies of bank and brokerage accounts - offer advice to fiduciaries and beneficiaries and hold hearings on various matters. In future blogs, we will discuss various aspects of what the Commissioner of Accounts does in more depth.
Commissioner of Accounts
Harrisonburg/Rockingham County, Virginia
Most people manage to make it through life without ever being involved in a lawsuit. If you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to file a lawsuit or having a suit filed against you, you probably don’t know exactly what to expect. Unfortunately, lawsuits are glorified in the media and misleadingly portrayed as exciting and gratifying events. In reality, most lawsuits are much less thrilling and much more stressful than the media lets on. As a result, very few people truly appreciate what they are getting themselves into. While you may recognize that litigation can be expensive and risky, here are a few things that you may not have considered:
Litigation can be extremely stressful. In general, fear of the unknown and lack of control are some of the primary reasons why people “stress out” in life. When first considering litigation, you may feel strongly that you are “in the right” and may be so angry that you are not able to fully appreciate the risk and stress involved with your suit. If you’re like most people, you fail to appreciate the fact that you can’t control the outcome of the litigation and you won’t know the outcome until after the case has been put in the judge or jury’s hands to decide. It’s easy to forget that judges and juries are humans, and even when the best lawyers present all of the right information, the judge or jury doesn’t always “get it right”. If you are considering litigation you should be prepared to handle the stress caused by being unable to control the outcome of your case.
Litigation is can be extremely time-consuming. Some people have the false impression that they can turn their case over to their lawyer, check in on the case from time to time and otherwise go about their normal lives. This is rarely the case in any significant litigation. As a litigant, you will need to be heavily involved the litigation process, meaning you may be required to gather masses of documents, review the important information in your case, attend depositions, and regularly consult with your attorney regarding important decisions, all under strict deadlines. Being involved with significant litigation is akin to taking on an additional part-time (or even full-time) job, a commitment that should not be underestimated.
Litigation can be extremely invasive. Depending on the nature of your case, you may be required to divulge very sensitive information about yourself, such as your financial condition, your medical history, and your personal life. Being in litigation can be like having the other side rummage through your dresser drawers while you stand and watch. Even if you have nothing to hide, this process is not fun and many people are shocked to find out that one of the hidden costs of litigation is giving up some privacy.
Therefore, before “charging” into Court, you would be wise to consider exactly what you are getting yourself into. You should carefully weigh ALL the costs and benefits of filing a lawsuit (including the effect on your personal life and mental health), and should seriously consider the alternatives, such as settlement and mediation. If you ultimately decide to push forward with litigation, we think we’re pretty good at guiding our clients through the process, but an important part of that process is giving our clients an HONEST appraisal of what to expect BEFORE they dive in.
To schedule a consultation and learn more, please call our Harrisonburg office at 540-433-2444 today.
Adopting your spouse’s child is a wonderful experience but sometimes the legal and emotional issues can feel a bit overwhelming. The purpose of this article is to ease that anxiety and provide you with some basic information about the step-parent adoption process in Virginia.
There are typically two scenarios which lead to a step-parent adoption. The first situation would occur when the child’s biological parent is deceased and the surviving parent subsequently marries. In this type of scenario, the step-parent, along with the biological parent, files the following documents in the Circuit Court where the child resides:
- A Petition for Adoption
- A Final Order of Adoption
- Form VS-21 (Report of Adoption)
- Form VS-6 Application for Certification of a Vital Record with identification and payment attached
In most instances, the final order of adoption will be entered in one month of the filing and without a hearing. If the Court processes the VS-6 form, then you should expect to receive a new birth certificate for the child, naming the step-parent as a parent, within six to eight months.
Other ways people find themselves considering a step-parent adoption may include:
- A biological parent abandons the child for a period of more than six months
- The court has previously terminated the rights of the noncustodial parent
- The birth parent consents to the adoption
- The noncustodial parent has been convicted of certain crimes
The first step is to terminate the parental rights of the noncustodial parent. This termination of rights may be done either by consent of the parent, under oath and in writing, or after a hearing before the court on why termination is in the child’s best interest.
Note that terminating parental rights is not easily done. If consent is given, then an investigation by a child placement agency may, in the court’s discretion, be waived. However, if consent is not given, then the investigation will occur. Once this occurs, the procedure is the same as outlined above.
The best course of action is to consult with an attorney prior to taking any of the steps outlined above to determine the most efficient strategy for completing the adoption process. If you live in Winchester, Staunton, or surrounding areas of Virginia, please call 540-433-2444 to schedule a consultation at the Harrisonburg office of Hoover Penrod PLC today.
If you or your spouse is contemplating separation or divorce, you are likely to have many questions:
- Who will move out of the home?
- What will happen with our children?
- Who will pay our bills?
- What will we do about our property?
- Will I have to pay, or will I be entitled to receive, child support or spousal support (alimony)? If so how much will the support payments be?
- What other issues are there that I’m not thinking of?
- Which of these issues do I need to resolve first?
And how can I resolve these issues with my estranged spouse?
Every marriage, and therefore every divorce, is different. These issues and how they may be resolved are unique to each case, and the different options can be complicated and even overwhelming. The emotional aspects of separation and divorce can make it even more difficult to navigate these complicated issues.
The first step, if you or your spouse is contemplating separation or divorce, is to speak with an experienced domestic relations attorney to help you identify the important issues in your case and come up with a strategy to resolve those issues. If possible, it is best to meet with an attorney to discuss your options before you separate and, if not, you should meet with an attorney as soon as you can so that you can ensure that you are moving forward in the best way possible from the beginning.
The goal in your divorce case is not to have a “battle” or even to take your case to trial. The Harrisonburg domestic relations attorneys at Hoover Penrod PLC are experienced in helping you identify what issues need to be resolved in your case and in helping you solve those problems as efficiently and productively as possible. They can advise you as to your options and strategies not only in Court, but also in how to use other methods such as negotiation, mediation, and collaborative law to resolve disputes.
If you or your spouse is considering a separation or divorce and you want to speak with an experienced domestic relations attorney, call Hoover Penrod PLC at 540-433-2444 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We serve Staunton, Winchester, and all surrounding areas from our Harrisonburg, Virginia location.
Divorce is difficult, even for the most amicable couples. This is because, in reality, there is not one divorce, but three divorces which occur at the same time, and are intertwined affecting each other:
- The legal divorce
- The financial divorce
- The emotional divorce
The Collaborative Law process is an alternative choice to litigation or mediation which addresses the “three divorces”.
Why Collaborative Law?
Collaborative Law grew out of the recognition that some litigation, like nuclear war, is unwinnable. Parties and their attorneys often find themselves saying the same thing: even when we win, we lose. The costs, when measured in lost relationships, lost productivity and attorney’s fees, far too often outweigh the gains. Despite this recognition, we still get trapped by our adversarial reflexes and in our adversarial methods. Angry clients instinctively turn to the Courts with demands for justice. Justice rarely occurs in the Courtroom in a way that both parties are happy with.
The Collaborative process allows each party to negotiate using interest-based negotiation/mediation principals while having their attorneys at their side every step of the way to achieve a fair and acceptable agreement. People in Collaborative Law cases do not use unfair advantages or “jockeying” for position to force an unsustainable settlement. So often, children become the unintended victims in divorce proceedings. In collaborative divorce cases, the parties pledge at the beginning of the process to insulate their children from the proceedings and to act in such a way as to minimize the impact of divorce on them. One of the best features of Collaborative Law is not that it avoids litigation, but that it avoids hasty and soon-regretted last-minute settlements driven by the schedule and demands of litigation. The parties often enter into temporary agreements on particular issues and “test drive” the terms.
What parties can realistically hope to do by using Collaborative Law is reduce the antagonistic feelings that result from a hard-fought battle, and increase a genuine sense of resolution. They can hope for significant savings in cost of litigation. They can expect much more willing compliance with the terms of the collaboratively reached agreement than the terms of an imposed Court Order. They can expect, privacy, integrity, and respect from one another and from their attorneys, so that the parties have a continuing, if not improved relationship with the other party.
In Collaborative Law each spouse has an attorney who is also an experienced negotiator and provides legal advice and explanations to the client on the spot. Collaborative lawyers and their clients approach each other and their disputes with a written commitment not to sue or even threaten to sue. Each party makes a formal commitment to finding a way to resolve the dispute in a manner that is also acceptable to the other, even if the process of doing so is extremely difficult.
The focus is on obtaining a fairly negotiated result while reducing conflict between the parties. On average, the cases are settled and a written agreement is in place within two to three months. In cases where Collaborative Law has been used, even if reluctantly and hard fought, there have been more rapid settlements at a fraction of the normal cost associated with litigation.
For more information about how our family law attorneys can help ease the process of divorce, please call Hoover Penrod PLC at 540-433-2444 to schedule a consultation at our Harrisonburg office. We serve the Virginia communities of Winchester, Staunton, and all nearby areas.