Massachusetts Financial Statement: Knowledge is Power

While it’s always a good idea to know your financial status, for court-related business it's sometimes required.  One example is when you are involved in a divorce case in which money or support is an issue, such as alimony, child support, attorney’s fees, or division of property.  If you are a resident of Massachusetts involved in a case like this, you’re going to need to fill out Form CJ.D 301 or the Massachusetts Financial Statement.  The specific version of the form you'll fill out depends on your annual income – if it is less than $75,000.00 you’ll fill out the Massachusetts short form CJ.D 301S, while if it's over that amount you’ll fill out the long form CJ.D 301L.  

Each of these statement forms is designed to provide a general picture of your financial status. They take you through a step-by-step process in which the first step is to calculate your net weekly income based on weekly wages and benefits minus your itemized deductions.  Using this net weekly income, you can calculate a gross yearly income from which you subtract your expenses, including attorney and legal fees, to end up with a net yearly income.   In addition to calculating income, you are required to list your total assets including including real estate, motor vehicles and retirement plans, life insurance, checking or saving accounts, etc.. Finally you should note any liabilities, including the nature of the debt and to whom it is owed.  Listing all of these things helps to give the court an idea of what your financial needs and capabilities are vis a vis those of a partner or a child.  

There is lots of assistance available to you should you need to fill out either financial form.  The Massachusetts court has a self-help tab, and you can check out the video below for instructions on filling out the short form. Using PDFfiller to fill out the form can also save you time and trouble – the filled in document is automatically saved in the cloud and can easily be sent for signature to your attorney without ever leaving PDFfiller’s platform.  Get started filling out the Massachusetts Financial Statement short form CJ.D 301S today and remember the old adage, “Knowledge is Power!”



CA Summons Unlawful Detainer

Summons Unlawful Detainer: The Best Defense

Being a good landlord requires knowing what to do with bad tenants.  Before you start managing any kind of rental space, you should make yourself familiar with the state landlord tenant law.  If you are a landlord in California, one form you will want to be aware of is the SUM.130, or the California Summons Unlawful Detainer Form.

‘Retaliation’ describes a situation in which a landlord creates conditions that are uncomfortable for tenants in order to cause them to willingly abandon their rental contracts. That, generally speaking, is a big no-no.  In most states a landlord can’t evict a tenant, raise the rent or change the terms of tenancy simply because a tenant has complained about conditions.   In California it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who has exercised a legal right to complain about unsafe living conditions, joined or organized a tenant union, or withheld rent.

However, if you have a tenant who is behind on the rent, violating the terms of the lease, or becoming a public nuisance, you may start a legal process of eviction.  This process begins with serving the tenant with a written notice which will vary depending on the type of offense (for more on this see the California Courts self help guide for landlords).  Once that period of the notice is up (start counting the day after it is served), you may begin your unlawful detainer case.

To start the unlawful detainer case, fill out 3 forms including a Summons Unlawful Detainer Eviction (Form Sum-130), a Complaint Form UD-100, and a Civil Case Cover Sheet Form (CM-010).  Make 2 copies of the Summons and the Complaint, get them stamped at the Courthouse, and keep the extra copies – one for you and the other for your tenant. You must serve your tenant with the unlawful detainer papers in person and then file a Proof of Service Summons Form (POS-010).  Then you have to wait…

If the tenant does not respond, you may ask for a default judgement, in which case you can proceed with the eviction and potentially take back monies owed from a paycheck or bank account.  If the tenant does respond by filing an Answer for the Unlawful Detainer, you may then move on to a trial stage.  For more about that, again see the California Courts Self-Help page).

For more assistance with your CA summons form, you may want to talk to a lawyer to look over your forms.  This is particularly true in the case of foreclosed properties or if there are other occupants in the rental unit.  For now, click here to get started filling out your CA unlawful detainer form with PDFfiller.  And remember the old saying, “the best defense is a good offense!”

TAR 1801

Improving Your Resale Value: TAR Commercial Contract

What does it mean to make improvements on a commercial property? It generally refers to adding certain kinds of utilities and services, such as electricity, telephone, water, sewer, etc. which ultimately may  increase your property’s resale value. If you are looking to buy or sell a commercial property in Texas, these kinds of improvements may be an important tool for leveraging a better sales price, and should be listed on your Texas Association of Realtors TAR Commercial Contract.

Some ways in which property values can be increased include expanding or upgrading existing buildings or constructing new ones, changing the use of the property or making new services available, or lowering existing expenses.  Two ways to do that are either through renegotiating the lease, or by lowering your property taxes.  Another increasingly popular way of adding value to your property is by going green with energy-efficient appliances or new green technologies and energy conserving design. These kinds of facility improvements may not only bring your costs down, but have long-term environmental benefits.

Just remember that although improving commercial property is generally a sound strategy, things might not always turn out as planned!  While a property that already has improvements will usually contribute a certain amount of value to the site, improvements can in some cases lower property value, particularly if the site’s potential buyers wish to use the property for another use. Remember when we used to have solar panels on the White House?

However you go about improving or adding value to your property, in Texas the form that is used for the sale of improved commercial properties is the Texas Association of Realtors Commercial Contract for Improved property or TAR-1801. TAR forms are the official forms produced by the Texas Association of Realtors. The TAR Commercial Contract Form is among the many TAR contract forms for Texas real estate transactions available from PDFfiller.

Get started filling a Texas commercial property contract with PDFfiller today and get creative in terms of thinking about not what your commercial property can do for you, but what you can do for your commercial property!

Michigan Answer

What to Do When You’ve Been Served? The Michigan Answer

“You’ve been served!” – the dreaded phrase that indicates that you have received a summons to appear at civil court.  While this part of the civil dispute legal process is fairly familiar, it may be less clear what to do next if you’ve landed yourself in this situation.  While the specifics can vary from state to state, we will take a brief look at Michigan’s Civil Answer form to find out what comes next.

The first thing that you should know is that you have a limited time to respond once you’ve been served with a summons.  In Michigan if you’ve been served in person you have 21 days after receiving the summons to file a written answer with the court, and 28 days if you were served by mail or outside the state.  So get on it!

Secondly it’s important to keep in mind that you are required to respond by filing what is known as an ‘answer’ to the summons.  In Michigan that form is the form MC 03, or the Michigan Answer form. The Michigan Answer must be filed in the same court where the original complaint was filed, as well as served to the original plaintiff.

The MC.03 form itself is fairly easy to fill out.  It starts with the contact details for the plaintiff and defendants and their representing attorneys.  This is followed by a section where you can refute the plaintiff’s claims on a paragraph by paragraph basis.  On the last page is an area for you to check the affirmative defenses that explain your side of the dispute.  This is when you have the chance to say your piece and you should do it now as the court may prohibit you from raising these defenses later!

If you use PDFfiller it’s easy to produce four professional-looking copies of the Civil Answer Form – one to be filed at the court, one served to the plaintiff or their attorney, one with certification of service filled out and again filed at court, and the last one for you to keep for your records.

Probably the most important thing to remember is that if you do not appear and answer a summons as required, the court may enter a default judgement against you.  Which in almost all cases is not a good thing!  So get started filling out your Michigan Court Answer  with PDFfiller as soon as possible and serve it right back!


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