Ending a Marriage without being too Argumentative

Ending a Marriage without being too Argumentative

Apr 01

Marriage counselors and divorce lawyers know that the process of divorce is complex, demoralizing, emotional and, often, extremely frustrating, especially when it is settled in court. Contested divorce, which is the traditional way of ending a marital union, is divorce settled in a family court, wherein all decisions regarding divorce-related issues (child custody and visitation rights, child support, alimony or spousal support, and division of property, assets and debts) are made by a family court judge since the divorcing spouses refuse to agree or cannot reach an agreement on these issues.

Other than a family court judge deciding on all issues, contested divorce is also open to the public, thus, all those present in the courtroom witness how each spouse, through their respective lawyers, discredit and destroy one another, often in order to win the judge’s favor. This type of divorce can also drag on for months, even up to a couple of years, and the longer it takes to settle everything the more expensive it becomes.

Avoiding all the unpleasant effects associated with contested divorce is the most probable reason why many divorcing couples in the U.S. now choose alternative processes, one of which is mediated divorce or mediation, a private and out-of-court legal procedure wherein divorcing couples are given the chance to settle by themselves all divorce-related issues in a friendly way. If there is one thing that mediated divorce promotes, it is preserving the respect between the spouses, which is necessary in recognizing each other’s rights and interests, and vital in living out their parental roles (for though they may end being a couple, their being parents to their child/children, if they have any, does not end).

As explained in the website of the law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, “mediated divorce is among the least contentious and time-consuming processes through which a couple may legally dissolve their marriage. In a mediated divorce, partners utilize the services of an objective mediator to resolve any outstanding disagreements through an amicable and collaborative process. This divorce process can truly be beneficial to any couple who have moderate disagreements concerning the conditions of their divorce.”

Mediated divorce offers the following benefits:

  • It allows the spouses to maintain a good relationship with each other. This will lead to faster and easier resolution of future problems;
  • It enables the spouses to resolve all issues peacefully and within a much shorter period;
  • It is less expensive compared to a contested divorce; and,
  • It helps the spouses communicate better with each other, thus making them understand more each other’s interests.

While the presence of mediated divorce lawyers (for each spouse) is not really necessary, a spouse seeking the assistance of one who is highly qualified can be more beneficial because a lawyer can help his/her client understand more the laws of contested divorce, what he/she can bargain for, how to bargain for these interests and which terms (from the other) party may be accepted, rejected or subjected to negotiation.

Common Scams In Overtime Pay

Common Scams In Overtime Pay

Oct 16

An employee who renders overtime work is entitled to be compensated for such. The Fair Labor Standards Act provides rules that employers must follow when paying their employees. This law defines what an overtime pay is, when employees must be paid an overtime rate, and who is eligible for overtime pay. Overtime pay lawyers will tell you that some employers use deceptive and illegal tactics to avoid paying overtime pay. Here are some examples of the common scams used by employers:

1. Misclassification

Employers often change the classification of employees from non-exempt to exempt to avoid paying overtime wages. They often give them titles such as “manager” or “supervisor” and claim that such positions is exempt from overtime pay.

2. “Off the Clock”

IN addition, employers often demand that their employees work “off the clock” after rendering 40 hours of work in a week so are exempted from paying overtime pay. Likewise, they refuse to pay their employees for legally mandated breaks or force workers to clock out when they eat at their stations and go on a working break.

3. Miscalculating Workweek

By definition, a workweek consists of 7 consecutive days, regardless of which day is the start of the week. Some employers calculate the average hours worked over a number of weeks to avoid paying overtime.

4. Pre-approval

Another tactic employers use to avoid paying overtime wage is to require employees to seek prior approval for overtime before they are paid.

5. On-Call Work, Meetings, and Take Home Work

Employers do not consider on-call work, work-related meetings, or take home work as overtime hours and hence will not pay their employees overtime pay when engaging in these kinds of work.

These are just some of the common practices that employers utilize to avoid paying overtime wage. If you had been denied your overtime pay, you have the right to sue your employer.

Motorcycling: Made Unsafe by Negligent or Careless Drivers

Motorcycling: Made Unsafe by Negligent or Careless Drivers

Jul 04

Motorcycling: Made Unsafe by Negligent or Careless Drivers

There were 8.4 million private and commercial motorcycles registered in the U.S. in 2014. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a motorcycle is any two- or three-wheel powered vehicle which can be used off-road, on-road or for dual-purpose (both on – and off-road). Only those that are used on-road and for dual-purpose, though, are required to comply with federal and state certification standards as well as be registered before these can be allowed on public roadways (motorized bicycles, and mopeds or light scooters, which are light powered two-wheel vehicles with engines smaller than 50cc, are usually allowed to run on public roadways without registration).

Compared to cars, motorcycles are unquestionably much more economical in terms of fuel cost. Riders can also easily weave through traffic by lane splitting (though this is not illegal, it should be done safely and in a prudent manner). The continuous increase of motorcycles on the road only shows how famous this vehicle has become and is still becoming. Besides more and more people going to work or running errands using a motorbike, the presence of recreational riders on roads and highways during weekends has also become very noticeable. One consequence of the increase of motorcycles, however, is the growth in the number of riders getting involved in accidents.

From 2010 to 2012, fatal motorcycle accidents were 4,502, 4,612; and, 4,957, respectively, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Motorcycle riders are always vulnerable to serious or fatal injuries both in single and multiple vehicle crashes; this is due to the lack of protection which should be their cushion from the force created during impact.

In single vehicle crashes only the motorcycle is involved. Examples of this include a motorcycle crashing into a solid fixture, such as a concrete support structure, a lamp post, or a telephone pole or booth, or crashing on the pavement probably due to uneven road surface, potholes, or slippery road (because of ice, sand or oil). Multiple vehicle accidents, on the other hand, involve other vehicles, such as a car.

Some easily assume that single motorcycle accidents could only be the fault of the rider, who may be riding too fast, especially when entering a corner. This is not always the case, however, as has been proven in many occasions, wherein a motorcycle accident happened because of someone else’s act of negligence. This is also true in multiple vehicle accidents, wherein drivers of other vehicles are usually the ones at fault.

A study by the NHTSA shows the causes of multiple motorcycle accidents to include drivers committing errors which result to accidents, drivers denying motorcyclists their right of way, drivers behind the wheel even when drunk, or drivers failing or not bothering to check for possible approaching motorcycles before making a turn or when entering an intersection.

According to the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., a motorcyclist is susceptible to a number of serious injuries after an accident, some of which can require expensive medical attention and cause debilitating and long-lasting health conditions. The financial damages resulting from injuries sustained in an accident should not be the responsibility of the motorcyclist, especially if the one at fault in an accident was the driver of the other vehicle. A civil lawsuit against the at fault driver can help the injured motorcyclist seek the compensation he or she may need.

Motorcycle Means Danger

Motorcycle Means Danger

Mar 15

Despite the lack of bodily protection, motorcycles riders are obligated by state and federal laws to follow the same traffic safety rules like all other drivers. A motorcycle, which may refer to any two-wheel or three-wheel powered vehicle, should first comply with state and federal certification standards and be licensed or registered for it to be operated on public roads.

Many studies, both from governmental and private organizations, as well as from the US and around the world, say that motorcycles are dangerous. Compared to cars, motorcycles are lighter, smaller, easily affected by road hazards, less stable, less visible, require more riding skills, and encourage speeding. But if motorcycles are really much riskier to ride and more dangerous than other types of vehicles, then why, besides ensuring fuel economy, do many people prefer these (and their number only seems to increase year after year)? Believe it or not, it is because of the already mentioned simple and crazy reason: it’s dangerous. Add more wheels to a motorcycle and surely people will stop buying and riding it. But as long as motorcycles remain to be designed the way these are now, then these will continue to be loved, resulting to many more purchases, rides, and, sad to say, injuries and deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that, in accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, motorcycle riders are up to 40 times more likely to get injured or die than the driver of the other vehicle. From 2011 to 2012, the number of motorcycle riders who got injured in accidents was 81,000 and 93,000, respectively; death rate was 4,630 in 2011 and 4,957 in 2012. About 58% of these injuries and deaths were due to multiple-vehicle crashes, or crashes which involved another vehicle.

Multiple-vehicle crashes are usually results of: a vehicle crossing the centerline and hitting the motorcycle head-on; a motorcycle rider overspeeding; lack of alertness due to distracted driving, a more common fault among drivers of another vehicle; impaired driving, which can be the fault of both driver and rider (drunk riders, however, face greater danger because intoxication will definitely affect their alertness and balance); failure of drivers to check for possible oncoming motorcycles before making a turn or changing lanes; and failure of drivers to respect motorcyclists’ right of way.

In its website, the Abel Law Firm makes clear that drivers who injure or kill a motorcycle rider in an accident that is a result of their act of recklessness or negligence can be held legally liable for their actions. Determining liability, however, can be difficult as the accused liable party can argue that the rider was partly at fault in the accident.

Cyber Crimes

Cyber Crimes

Oct 09

The computer and the use of the Internet have provided such great benefits to the world today and have greatly helped in advancing our lives. However, with such high-tech and powerful tool, many people have also taken advantage of the internet for their own personal gain. In order to help, protect, and ensure the safety of everyone using their computers and the internet, computer crime laws have been passed and implemented in and around the United States. These laws are enforced to cover a wide variety of conducts that may damage or intervene with normal computer operations.

There are a number of cyber crimes that can be committed using a computer. One of the most common cyber crimes is computer hacking, where a person uses a computer to “break-into” another computer in order to damage or disrupt that computers’ system, functions, or network. Computer hacking is also widely used to get private information from another person, and usually exploited maliciously.  Unauthorized access can also be considered hacking, because these actions are used to get information, intercept information and even changing resources without the owners’ consent.

The effects of cybercrime are widespread and varied. Many people are even committing them without knowing they are doing it. This may have dire consequences on their life, as the penalties for cybercrimes are harsh and severe. Internet cybercrimes are covered under the California Penal Code §502, which values the “protection of the integrity of all types and forms of lawfully created computers, computer systems, and computer data is vital to the protection of the privacy of individuals as well as to the well-being of financial institutions, business concerns, governmental agencies, and others within this state that lawfully utilize those computers, computer systems, and data.

In order to protect your rights as an individual when you think you have been accused of a cyber attack, immediately contacting a lawyer would be the best course of action. Legal representation during such situation is vital in making sure your rights and interests are vindicated. Not everyone accused of a crime are guilty, therefore your rights should be maintained thoroughly. Furthermore, internet cybercrime laws are fairly new, and since not everyone is familiar with it, many of the accused do not fully understand the charges they are facing and will not be able to defend themselves properly. A lawyer will be the one who will guide and represent them through the whole process in order to reduce charges and even have them dropped completely.