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Writing the first legal letter

Discussion in 'Division of Marital Property' started by LegalCuriosity, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. LegalCuriosity

    LegalCuriosity Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi team,

    I am not from the United States but I am super curious about the way there system works. I have a lot of questions, but my first question is:

    How does the relationship between an FBI supervisor and US Attorney work.

    From what I understand, it is the US Attorney that directs the FBI special agents. But that naturally makes you wonder what a FBI supervisors rule would be?

    I assume that an FBI supervisor would have control during a violent incident. But if a US citizen reported a crime to the FBI, does the FBI agent then ask the US Attorney for permission to proceed? Or do they do an investigation and then ask the US Attorney to charge the defendant?

    The other thing that confuses me (actually the primary source of my confusion) is that the former FBI director James Comey was criticised for announcing that Hilary Clinton would not be charged with a crime when this should have been the role of the US Attorney or Attorney General. However, there news articles that say that the FBI charges people. I have removed the link because for some reason this site is not letting me post this - I assume the link is causing the issue.

    Any clarification would be appreciated. The more detailed the response the better. I really find this stuff fascinating.
     
  2. LegalCuriosity

    LegalCuriosity Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi team,

    Just looking for some general guidance on the best way to word a letter making an offer to pay a set amount of money to settle a property relationship claim.

    At the moment I intend to write the letter with a brief background followed up by an offer.

    Here is a super simple example with made up facts:

    "Dear John/Jane Doe

    Our relationship started on the 1st of December 2019 and ended on the 1st of December 2020. Blablabla During the relationship I was the sole earner while you remained at home. Blablabla I also carried out the domestic duties of the home including cooking, cleaning, and washing. Blablabla

    More blablabla about how the relationship came to an end.

    As a show of good faith, and in the interests of resolving this issue promptly, I am prepared to offer you $40,000 as full and final settlement of our relationship dispute.

    Kind regards,

    Bobs your uncle."

    Some questions:
    1. Should I refer to the law I am relying on (I am not offering half of the property, $40,000 is to get rid of the person (a "nuisance payment") as they are arguably only entitled to $2,000)
    2. Should I include in the letter my legal argument for why I am not offering half the property?

    Just a heads up, I have a lawyer so I have a good understanding of my legal position. To save money, I am writing the letters and then asking my lawyer to check the letter.

    So my advice is not so much around my legal rights, but how to write the letter like a lawyer would (refer to the law, argue my position, or simply make an offer without providing a legal basis for the offer).

    It is preferable that the letter be as good as possible before emailing it to my lawyer to save time with the lawyer providing feedback and making changes (which will cost me money).

    This will be the first letter I ever send. A legal template for marital property disputes would be perfect.

    Cheers team.
     
  3. LegalCuriosity

    LegalCuriosity Law Topic Starter New Member

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    This seems like an error - why was my post that has nothing to do with Family law (about the FBI and US Attorney) added to my post about family law?

    The alert I got said I need to keep all my posts together. I can't tell if it was a bot that has made an error if if I actually need to make all my posts in one thread. How are people supposed to reply? And my post that was combined with this one has nothing to do with Family law... the right people are unlikely to read it.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    It's possible that one of our moderators just took a quick look and thought you were writing two threads on the same topic.

    Addressing both the topics in this thread:

    1 - The letter you want to write would have to conform to the laws of your country so we can't help you with that since this site is concerned with US law.

    2 - For a discussion about how the FBI operates you might also have better luck at:

    City-Data.com Forum: Relocation, Moving, General and Local City Discussions
     
  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    The Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) will work with the federal law enforcement agency (which may be FBI, IRS, ICE, Secret Service, US Park Service, or any number of other federal agencies) to develop the criminal case. Since it is the AUSA that will prosecute the case, he or she is the one that decides what is needed to make the case and he or she conveys that to the agents. But the AUSA does not supervise the agents, that is the job of the agent's supervisor. For the FBI agent, that is the special agent in charge (SAC). The SAC is the one that directly supervises the agents in most tasks, does their annual appraisals, approves leave, and all that other stuff. The AUSA provides the law enforcement agency with what he or she needs from the agency to make the case stick. The AUSA cannot require the agents to follow his/her direction (unless what the AUSA wants is required by law or court order) like a supervisor can but of course the agents are interested in getting their cases prosecuted so they are in most cases going to follow the AUSA's decisions.

    It depends on the type of case and the relationship of the US attorney's office and the particular law enforcement agency office. For some crimes the agents will decide which matters to investigate, work up the case, and present it to the US attorney for a decision on whether it will be prosecuted. You'd see that most in cases where the agents already have a good idea that the US attorney will take that kind of case or where the investigation needed is pretty minimal. Where the prosecution decision is uncertain or significant resources would be needed, the US attorney's office is consulted first to ensure there is interest in prosecuting before going forward.

    The FBI does not charge people. In most federal cases, the actual charges are filed by indictment of a grand jury as required by the Constitution. It is the AUSA that presents the case to the grand jury. Where indictment is not required, the AUSA may directly file the charges by presentment. In either case, the decision to file charges is made by the US attorney's office, not the law enforcement agents. So any site saying the FBI files charges is incorrect.
     
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  6. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Is this a marriage in which the divorce will be decided by a US court? If so, in what state?

    Note that there is no one size fits all template for this. What you need depends on the circumstances of the relationship, the assets of each spouse, and which state's law applies. But in general in an offer for a marital settlement one would not recite all the details of the relationship — the start date, end date, who washed the dishes, who earned the most money — all that stuff doesn't matter. Nor is a lot of legal explanation provided unless that's pertinent to some part of the offer being made. You are simply making an offer to settle the property division for $X. The other spouse will either take it or not. Typically the simpler the letter, the better.

    In general, I don't use draft documents my clients send me to use. They typically aren't very good and the time I'd take to edit what they provided would be more than just drafting the document myself. So you may find that your work in drafting a sample settlement letter will largely be wasted unless your lawyer specifically asked you to do that.
     
  7. LegalCuriosity

    LegalCuriosity Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for all the responses guys.

    @Tax Counsel: I am already quite familiar with the law relating to property division in my jurisdiction having already studied it. However, I am not a lawyer and have never taken a course that covers legal writing. My knowledge of the law relating to property division is consistent with what my lawyer has already told me - with the exception of one issue that pleasantly surprised me (but was unrelated to property division).

    I have written legal letters before, but in the context of employment issues. The letters probably weren't perfect, but they were considered acceptable.

    I have a copy of a legal research and writing book. It is very informative for writing memos and opinions, but unfortunately provides very little guidance for writing a letter to an opposing side in a legal dispute.

    I should add that my letter is making a very low offer based on a part of the law that the other side (not having access to a lawyer either) would not be aware of. Specifically, I am relying on the fact that the marriage did not last long enough to require equal division of property. An offer of $40,000 (as a made up example), will likely confuse the recipient of the letter as this is nowhere near half the property. That is why I referred to the beginning and end of the relationship in the letter.

    Would you still think it is unnecessary to mention the start and end date of the relationship along with the legal basis for what will no doubt be a confusing offer to someone who has assumed that once you are married, property needs to be divided equally in all circumstances?

    Regarding your response about the FBI, does this mean that the US Attorney/Attorney General could have proceeded to charge Hillary Clinton if they wanted to?

    Did the FBI Director (and all federal agents really) have a de facto veto power over a charging decision of a AUSA because they can simply not present the case to the AUSA?

    Sorry, I just find US law really fascinating. I grew up watch American tv shows and always had a lot of questions about it.

    Thank you for your reply.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  8. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    If you plan to tell your spouse that the law in your state is that he/she doesn't get half unless the marriage lasted X period of time then I would mention that the relationship lasted only X period of time and thus he/she won't get half. Giving exact dates of when the marriage started and when the separation occurred is probably unnecessary detail, IMO. Again, I favor keeping such letters short and to the point. The more you say, the more there is for the other side to argue about.


    Yes.


    Of course any case that the US attorney doesn't see can't be prosecuted. Law enforcement agents make decisions all the time about cases they won't investigate or bother the prosecutors with for a variety of reasons, whether because it's a weak case, lack of resources, or whatever.

    In the Clinton matter the US Attorney General made the decision to accept whatever the recommendation was from career prosecutors and the FBI due to the appearance of conflict of interest from a meeting she had with Bill Clinton. The FBI director apparently took that as his cue to make the public announcement of the decision not to prosecute. However, it really should have been the US Attorney's Office that announced that decision, not the FBI. No law controls who makes that announcement, but as a matter of practice that is the role of the prosecutor, and it gave the appearance of the FBI director overstepping his bounds.
     
  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    That's not correct, although there could be situations in which an AUSA (assistant U.S. attorney) will give guidance to an FBI agent.

    No.

    If the FBI investigates a suspected crime and believes there is sufficient evidence to proceed, he or she will refer to the matter to the U.S. attorney's office to possibly pursue an indictment.
     

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