Thursday, September 22, 2022

Mental Health Matters

Hello all. Today I want to touch on a more serious, but incredibly important topic both for lawyers, and for everyone out there. Mental health. Somehow our society has labeled the discussion of mental health as “taboo” though that is slowly starting to change. In addition, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This topic hits close to home for me especially now, as last week a member of the Stetson Law community took his own life.

It is okay to not be okay, and today I want to provide some resources and advice if you or someone you know feel as if you are struggling with your mental health. These last few years in our world have been hard on everyone and it is important to know that there are resources and ways to get the help that you need.

First, some mental health statistics. As recently as 2017 the National Alliance of Mental Health compiled a global study that showed:

· 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year

· 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year

· 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

· 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24

· Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.

In addition, here are some statistics from a 2017 study conducted by the American Bar Association which surveyed over 13,000 legal professionals as it relates to mental health and being a lawyer:

· 28 percent of lawyers suffered from depression

· 19 percent of lawyers had severe anxiety

· 11.4 percent of lawyers had suicidal thoughts in the previous year

Secondly, here are some reasons why taking care of your mental health is important.

1.) Our mental health is connected to our physical health. Poor mental health can affect our immune systems which means we may not be able to fight of illness as adequately. Struggling with mental illness can also lead to lower activity levels, which can have a negative impact on overall health.

2.) Our mental health affects our quality of life. Struggling with mental illness can cause people to lose interest in hobbies they previously enjoyed (art, running, music, gardening). Life has many ups and downs, and every day will not be perfect, but it is important to address any mental health struggles you are dealing with early on so that there is not a negative impact on your quality of life and loss of enjoyment in things you once loved.

3.) Mental health awareness can help reduce stigma. As the statistics shared above show, many people struggle with mental illnesses. However, only a small percent actually seek help due to the negative stigma that comes with someone admitting they are dealing with mental health struggles. Getting the help you need and not suffering alone not only helps reduce the stigma around something that should be recognized as normal and important, but it also means that you can get the help that you need and find a support system to go with you on that journey.

4.) Mental health plays a crucial role in relationships. Struggles with mental health can often impact our relationships with friends and family. It can lead to isolation, conflicts, and a sense of loneliness. Taking good care of your mental health or addressing any struggles will allow you to keep this support system in place when you need it the most.

And finally, some important resources should you ever need them. There are many, and each person may be comfortable with a different type of resource.

1.) Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

2.) is a comprehensive website offering advice, tips to living mentally healthy, and a comprehensive list of how you can get help for whatever type of mental health assistance that you need.

3.) National Alliance on Mental Illness – this nonprofit organization had educational materials, ways to get involved and donate, resources to connect you to support or mental health providers, and so much more.

I hope you found this week’s post both helpful and informational. While this is a heavy topic, it is an important one that needs to be discussed as much as possible to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health problems. Please reach out for help if you need it and know that you matter, you are important, and people care about you.

**If you or someone that you know is struggling with mental health concerns please do not hesitate to reach out for help. 988 is the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or you can visit


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Bankruptcy Myths

Happy Thursday all! I’m back again with another one of my debunking blog posts. Today, we are going to delve into the world of bankruptcy myths as I break down myth vs. reality. Don’t forget that while there are many forms of Bankruptcy, Marcie Baker only specializes in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

MYTH: If I file for bankruptcy, my spouse will have to file too.

-REALITY: This is definitely a concern of many people considering filing for bankruptcy. However, those who file have the option to file jointly or just on your own. This determination is up to you and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as the amount of the debt, various income sources, and whether the debt is held jointly or not will be factors that will help determine the best way to file for your case.

MYTH: All of my debt is going to disappear.

-REALITY: Unfortunately, though we would all like our debt to disappear, (wouldn’t that be nice?), filing for Ch. 7 Bankruptcy does have some debts that survive filing such as most taxes, student loans, child support, criminal restitution, overpayment of benefits, and some others.

MYTH: I already filed for bankruptcy; I won’t be able to file again.

-REALITY: Chapter 7, which Marcie specializes in, allows applicants to be eligible to apply for Ch. 7 Bankruptcy every eight years from the date of your previous filing. If you have an immediate need to file again before the Ch. 7 time period is up, there are a couple ways to find relief.

According to Acclaim Legal Services, “If it has been over four years since your Chapter 7 filing:

· You may be eligible to eliminate a portion if not the majority of your unsecured debt obligations with a Chapter 13 discharge.

If it has been less than four years since your Chapter 7 filing:

· You may still be eligible to file a Chapter 13 and reorganize debt, but you are not eligible to discharge debt.”

MYTH: It’s hard to file for bankruptcy

-REALITY: The paperwork is relatively easy to access and there are a number of people who have done so completely on their own. However, those who do file without consulting an attorney risk filing under the wrong chapter or may unknowingly mess up. Even though the paperwork can often be filed on your own, we highly recommend that you consult with an attorney before filing for bankruptcy.

MYTH: Filing for bankruptcy means that my life is a failure.

-REALITY: So not true! Most people file bankruptcy due to circumstances in their lives that are simply out of their control. This could be anything from job loss to sickness, and more people have filed for bankruptcy than you think.

And, if you are still feeling skeptical, go read an older blog post of mine that talks about all of the famous people who have applied for bankruptcy and the lessons they learned!

I hope you all learned something about bankruptcy and found this blog helpful. If you, or someone you know is struggling with a bankruptcy matter, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Remember, Marcie specializes in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, so, for all your Ch. 7 issues, she’s the one you want to talk to!

***The thoughts, facts, and opinions in this blog post do not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such. If you have any questions related to Bankruptcy or another legal matter, please contact our office.


Thursday, September 8, 2022

How to Deal with an Unfavorable Legal Outcome

We have all dealt with disappointment in our lives. Perhaps the sports team we were on lost a big game. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion that you were hoping for. We may feel upset about this for a while, but after some time has passed, we pick ourselves up and press on searching for the next successful opportunity. But how do you deal with a loss or unfavorable outcome in your legal case? Today I want to share some tips and tricks for dealing with a legal outcome that did not go the way that you were hoping.

Get perspective. A good reason to talk to friends, family, or even a therapist is that not only can you express all that is bothering you in words, but those you talk to may be able to provide an objective perspective – and allow you to see a positive spin on things.

Let it out. Confide in friends and family. In especially emotionally charged legal cases, you may even want to seek out a therapist to help you work through the stress and disappointments. Physical activity is also an excellent remedy like a long walk, visiting the beach, or going for a run.

Don’t let it fester. The worst thing that you can do is keep your feelings and emotions bottled up. This is why it is important to let it out and find people who you can trust and confide in. While the case may not have gone the way you hoped, dwelling on the result will only cause anger and sadness and you will not be able to move on with your life normally. It is okay to be mad and upset, but you need to try and find a way to deal with these emotions and move on with your life.

Write it out. While this option may not be something that appeals to everyone, often writing in a journal or in a letter is an outlet for your emotions and can offer a form of closure, especially during a time of high stress in our lives. Even if you think this isn’t your thing – give it a shot! You may be surprised at the difference it makes.

Allow yourself to grieve. As I said before, it is COMPLETELY fine to feel disappointment, sadness, and anger. This is a normal human emotion, and you are allowed to wallow in the face of defeat. All that you have to remember is that this should be a temporary phase in your life – and not one that completely overtakes who you are.

One other legal option is to appeal the result if your case went to trial, but you received an unfavorable outcome. According to a legal blog, “An appeal is not a chance to re-do the trial over again, nor is it an opportunity to convince the appellate court to substitute its opinion on the facts of the case for the decisions made during the initial trial proceedings. During an appeal, the appellate court is interested in determining if a legal mistake was made and if the mistake in the application of the law changed the outcome of the case.” You should know, that while you have every right to appeal, you should not expect a clean slate where you can present your side of the argument again, rather, what you and your attorney have already prepared for trial will be evaluated. It is important to make sure you understand what an appeal entails so that you do not have false hope.

Hopefully, this blog has given you some tips and tricks to deal with the possibility of a loss in your legal case. While it is always best to hope for a good outcome, it is also important to be aware that you may lose your case. Using the tips above may help you better deal with an unfavorable outcome and allow you to move on with your life in whatever way will be most beneficial for you.

**The thoughts, opinions, and facts shared in this blog in no way constitute legal advice of any form. Should you have a legal question or case that you need answers to, please reach out to our office.


Thursday, September 1, 2022

Retainer Fees vs. Deposits: What’s the Difference?

Hi all! Can you believe that August is already over, and Labor Day is upon us? 2022 is absolutely flying by. Today I wanted to highlight an important difference that can often be confusing for clients in the legal world – deposits and retainer fees.

The words deposit and retainer fees are often used interchangeably. However, in the legal world, they can have very different meanings. It is important to know which type of legal fee you are paying so you have a clear understanding of the cost of your case and how it is going to proceed.

So, what is a retainer fee? According to Investopedia, a retainer fee is, “an advance payment that's made by a client to a lawyer, and it is considered a down payment on the future services rendered by that lawyer.” This means that retainer fees will be kept in a separate account from other accounts that the lawyer has so that the money is used strictly for the services in that specific case.

There are also earned and unearned retainer fees. Unearned retainer fees are the fees that have been paid and placed into a separate account, but no work on the case has been done yet.

On the other hand, earned retainer fees are the portion of the retainer that the lawyer is entitled to after work on the case has begun. For example, after completing the pre-trial process of the case, the lawyer will be entitled to the percentage of the retainer fee that covers the costs of that pre-trial preparation.

Generally, a retainer is non-refundable. It is a payment that secures a lawyer’s services, and that advance payment will then be put towards the costs of handling your case.

If that’s a retainer fee, what is a deposit? According to Legal Paige, a deposit is, “a payment towards the total fee for legal services.” Unlike a retainer fee, a deposit is refundable after the lawyers’ services have been completed, or, if agreed upon, the deposit can be applied to the total costs of the case.

Deposits can also be seen as partial payment for services that have been completed by the lawyer, or, if you and your lawyer agree, it can be applied to additional payments being made throughout the client’s case.

I hope you all found this helpful. Especially when your money is involved, it is important to know what you’re paying for and how your money will be used. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule a free consultation!

***The thoughts, facts, and opinions in this blog are in no way legal advice of any form. If you have any legal issues or questions, please contact your attorney or our office.


Time to Say Goodbye

Happy Thursday, all! Enjoy this upcoming long weekend and the unofficial start to summer! Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and to...