Professional Liability

Family Court: What’s A Name Got To Do With It?

Posted by on 10:14 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Family Court: What’s A Name Got To Do With It?

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can really hurt you–people who’ve gone through a divorce often know just how abusive and destructive name-calling can be. Name calling is a form of emotional abuse, which is a factor in divorce about 24% of the time for men and about 55% of the time for women. Name-calling also has the potential to drag you back into court, long after the final divorce decree is written. If you want to avoid that possibility, consider the following: Keep the commentary to yourself when making support payments. You may not mind paying child support for your children, but a lot of people resent having to pay spousal support to their exes, even for short periods of time. That’s understandable–spousal support is a drain on your financial resources, and it leaves you economically tied to your ex even after the marriage is supposed to be over. However, putting mean or snarky comments in the “memo” line of the check when you write out the spousal support payment each month is just going to keep adding ammo to the hostilities between you and your ex. It can also pull you back into court. A man in New Jersey is currently suing his ex-wife for writing things like “bum” and “loser” on the alimony checks she sent. He’s claiming that his ex-wife is intentionally inflicting emotional distress on him. If the lawsuit is successful, the ex-wife could end up writing a lot more checks down the line than she would have if she’d remained civil. Don’t go to war over what the kids call the grownups. If you and your ex have minor children, there’s a good chance that at some point a step-parent is going to get involved (if you or your ex re-marries). The question of what the new step-parent is to be called by the minor children is bound to come up and names like “Mom” or “Dad” can become the equivalent of emotional bombs. If you’re the new step-parent, you probably enjoy the idea of being called “Mom” or “Dad” by the little people you’re helping to raise. If you’re the divorced parent who just remarried, you’re probably relieved that the kids are accepting your new spouse. On the other hand, if you’re the original “Mom” or “Dad,” you may feel like the new step-parent is trying to move in on your territory and undermine you with your own kids. You may not want to share the name with someone who came along well after the children were born. However, what can you do to stop it? The best thing that you can do is try to negotiate with your ex and his or her new spouse about the situation and come up with an alternative that you can all agree on and then, as a unit, gently nudge the kids into using that name for the new step-parent. You might be able to find a variation on the traditional “Mom” or “Dad” that’s suitable.  If that isn’t something you can work out, however, don’t look to the court to put a stop to it. A recent ruling in New Jersey sets the tone for this sort of post-divorce action, ruling that the child, not the adults, gets to decide how...

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Cases Where You Can Seek An Alimony Reduction

Posted by on 12:07 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cases Where You Can Seek An Alimony Reduction

If you’re facing a divorce, chances are that you may be forced to make regular alimony (spousal support) payments to your ex-spouse, especially if you earn substantially more than them or they are able to demonstrate to a judge that their lives will be drastically and adversely altered without spousal support. For many divorcees, paying out huge amounts of alimony to their former spouse can be a daunting prospect which they would rather try to get out of.  If you are in a similar situation and had no prenuptial agreement in place to protect you from paying alimony in case of a divorce, read on to learn instances where you may be able to apply for a reduction on your current spousal support payments. Change in circumstances If you have had a change in circumstances that has affected your ability your pay alimony and support yourself financially, you may have grounds for having your alimony payments reduced. Such circumstances may include retirement, unemployment, reduction in income, or a disability that affects your productivity. You can learn more about this topic by talking with a divorce lawyer. A lawyer can help you apply to have a judge modify your alimony payments as a result of your deteriorating financial situation or increased cost of living. The application to reduce alimony payments often has to be supported by bank statements, tax returns, and other financial documents. Additionally, you may be able to file an application for the reduction of alimony if your former spouse has recently found work that exponentially increases their income or received an inheritance.   Cohabitation with another adult In instances where your ex-spouse is in a new relationship and is living with their new partner, you may have grounds to file an application to reduce alimony. This is however not a sure “get out of paying alimony” card, as the judge will often have to consider whether the ex-spouse still needs the alimony for their upkeep. For instance, the court looks at whether your former spouse may be contributing to household expenses such as rent, in which case you may still require paying them spousal support. However, if your divorce lawyer can prove in court that your ex-spouse is getting financial help from their new partner and will therefore not need as much spousal support to make ends meet, your request could be granted. The above situations can provide sufficient grounds for a downward review of your current spousal support...

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First Time Working With A Court Reporter In Real Time? Here Are Three Tips To Make The Process Run Smoothly

Posted by on 10:06 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on First Time Working With A Court Reporter In Real Time? Here Are Three Tips To Make The Process Run Smoothly

If your law firm has solicited real-time court reporting for a deposition, you might not be sure what to expect. Real-time reporting can be a useful tool for attorneys who won’t be in the same room as the witness and the reporter, as the witness’ testimony will appear on their laptop or computer screen. Here are some tips you can use so that the entire process proceeds smoothly. Provide Access to Electronics in Advance In order to ensure that the deposition proceeds smoothly and real-time reporting occurs seamlessly, you need to make sure that the court reporting service has access to the electronic devices you plan to use when following the deposition. A representative from the court reporting service will install the necessary software and do tests to make sure that you will be able to follow the deposition in real-time. If another lawyer will be following the deposition in another location, be sure to tell your court reporter so that their electronics can be set up properly, too. If you don’t do this beforehand, you will have to deal with a delay during the deposition as everything is set up. This can seem unprofessional and inconvenience the witness and opposing counsel. Prevent Crosstalk One of the most difficult things to manage when using court reporters is the tendency of witnesses and attorneys to talk over each other. This can make it hard for the court reporter to record everything that is being said. If you are transmitting information real-time to a number of locations, crosstalk can be particularly aggravating. Before the deposition even begins, make sure to set some ground rules for everyone present. If you hear crosstalking, take a pause and give everyone an opportunity to repeat themselves or speak on their own so that the court reporter is best able to communicate the speech of everyone involved. Ignore Misspellings and Minor Typos If you are monitoring the real-time court reporting on your own tablet or laptop, you may see misspellings cross your screen and start to be a little concerned. However, it is important to realize that sometimes misspellings happen in a real-time situation so the reporter can quickly keep track of everything being said; a final report will be provided to you at a later date and will likely be edited and cleaned up. Ignore misspellings in the transcript you are seeing, but if you aren’t sure whether all the relevant information is being transmitted, by all means stop the court reporter and address your concerns. Now that you have some tips for depositions using real-time reporting, use the tips above to help things go well. Ask Farrell Court Reporting or other court reporting services for more suggestions so that everyone can get the information they need to...

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Should You Refuse To Treat Patients Whose Parents Refuse To Vaccinate Them To Protect Yourself From Liability?

Posted by on 11:13 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should You Refuse To Treat Patients Whose Parents Refuse To Vaccinate Them To Protect Yourself From Liability?

If you’re a family doctor or a pediatrician, it’s bound to happen sooner or later: you’ll be faced with a parent who wants a medical exemption form filled out so that he or she doesn’t have to get a child vaccinated. What do you do? If you want to stay out of court, you should consider dropping the child from your practice. It may sound harsh, but it may also be the only way to legally protect yourself.  You could be asked to do one of two things that you don’t want to do. The anti-vaccination movement (or anti-vaxxers) represents about 9% of the U.S. population. That’s not an insignificant number. Many anti-vaxxers fervently believe, despite medical evidence to the contrary, that vaccinations lead to a variety of ills, including disorders like autism. As such, you may face an anti-vaxxer who shows up at your office demanding an exemption that will satisfy state laws in order to not vaccinate his or her child. If you refuse, you may be asked to sign a form stating that you acknowledge all of the (real or not) dangers of vaccines and give your personal guarantee of their safety. Forms like that are put out by anti-vaxxers to supposedly “educate” doctors that they believe are simply uninformed of the real dangers of vaccines. In reality, it puts you into an unfortunate position of either capitulating to the parent’s demands or signing a form that attests to all sorts of unlikely research on your part and accepting responsibility for the impossible (that nothing will ever go wrong). If you sign the form, you could face a personal injury lawsuit down the line if the parent decides that anything that’s wrong with the child is the result of the vaccines that you administered. While a lawsuit like that might not be successful in court, you’d still have to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of defending yourself. Of course, you’re not going to sign the form. You already have plenty of liability issues without adding to them. However, unless your patient actually qualifies for an exemption, you can’t offer that either. You also have a responsibility toward the law and other patients. As a medical professional, you know that you’re required by law to report all suspected child abuse or neglect. Does refusing to vaccinate a child qualify? The American Academy of Pediatrics views medical neglect as a form of child abuse, and a parent’s choice to purposefully allow his or her child to remain susceptible to an easily preventable disease could be considered medical neglect. If you don’t report the anti-vaxxer to the child protective services in your state and the child falls ill, you could face potential legal problems that way as well. While you may want to continue trying to work with the parent and hopefully broaden his or her view, you also have other patients to consider. If you have a busy practice that includes infants and those who have auto-immune disorders or other health problems, you could be exposing your other patients in the waiting room to diseases carried by the unvaccinated children. That could also open the door to liability and a lawsuit since you are knowingly putting some of your patients at risk. Having to dismiss a patient from...

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Should You Wait Until After The Holidays To Ask For A Divorce?

Posted by on 9:20 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should You Wait Until After The Holidays To Ask For A Divorce?

You’ve heard of Black Friday, but do you know about Divorce Monday? That’s the unofficial nickname for the first Monday in January each year among divorce attorneys because divorce filings typically increase by as much as a third that month. Why wait? If you already know that you intend to file, is there any good reason to hold off until January? Absolutely. Here are 3 things to consider: 1. You can minimize the emotional fallout. The reality is that the holidays are already fairly emotional for a lot of people. Adding a divorce into the mix is bound to have social repercussions. Joint friends may give you some flak if you file for divorce right before Christmas. If you have children, you may be accused of putting your own needs ahead of theirs. Like it or not, a lot of people may expect you to put on a smile and pretend to be happy for one more holiday season. If you have children, you don’t want your spouse to be able to claim that you caused them significant emotional distress by leaving right at the holidays. 2. You can get into court faster. Another reason to delay is that there simply might not be any point to filing before January. You may not be able to get into court until then anyhow. Family court can get overwhelmed with emergency hearings as parents who are already divorced (or in the process) struggle over holiday visitation schedules. The court will give scheduling preference to those people who already have a divorce in the works or who need an immediate hearing to resolve an issue over those who are just starting the process. The courts may also be short-staffed due to end-of-the-year vacation time and be operating fewer days due to the holidays. Filing in December may just mean waiting longer for a court date to actually get anything done. Aside from just being inconvenient, it could cause problems if you haven’t told your spouse that you plan on filing for divorce. You may be worried about whether or not he or she will continue to provide income and support for you or the children in between the time that you file and the time that there’s a court order in place to control those things. 3. You can take advantage of tax breaks and bonus income. Your marital status on the last day of the year affects your ability to file jointly. If you and your spouse separate before the last day of the year, you lose the advantage of filing your federal income taxes as a married couple. That can affect everything from your ability to stay in a lower tax bracket to how much you can deduct for charitable contributions. If your spouse receives a significant year-end bonus in cash or stocks, you might need to wait until after the bonus is received in order to be entitled to any of it. In some states, any money or valuables received after the divorce petition is filed belongs only to the spouse who receives it. Money and valuables received prior to that point are marital property and subject to division. Keep in mind that these are only things to consider. You may have good reasons for filing now, rather than later....

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How To Speed Up Your Divorce

Posted by on 10:37 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Speed Up Your Divorce

A lengthy divorce is a costly divorce. Costs aside, there are many other negative issues associated with a lengthy divorce. For example, it may distract you from your job and prevent you from traveling since you may be needed for negotiations or court appearances. Here are three measures to speed up your divorce: Apply For a Waiver of the Waiting Period Some states have waiting periods that every couple going through a divorce must go through before being granted the divorce. The waiting, or cooling-off period, is for you to sit back and consider what you are about to do so you can make sure it’s what you want. If you didn’t initiate the divorce, you could also use this period to prepare for it. Fortunately, some states allow for a waiver of this cooling-off period. If that’s the case in your jurisdiction, then you can make the application and, hopefully, hasten your divorce process. Set Up a Reasonable Timeline Sit down with your lawyer and set up a reasonable timeline for the divorce. Talk to your lawyer and understand the different options available for each stage of the divorce. The major stages involve serving your partner with the divorce petition, filing temporary orders (for example temporary custody order), responding to service of process, negotiating major issues, or going to trial. How you handle each step determines how long your divorce takes. For example, when your partner files for temporary custody of the children, consult a lawyer from a firm like Ward & Ketchersid PA and go through the options available to you. After that, make up your mind as soon as possible so that you can move to the next stage. Cooperate With Your Spouse The ideal divorce is the one where you agree on all the issues and only present the court with the settlement agreement for approval. The more issues you leave up to the court to decide, the longer your divorce will take. Don’t forget that your case isn’t the only one the family court is handling, and it has to set dates for each of them. Save yourself some time by agreeing on as many issues as you can. Only let the court handle the really difficult issues you fail to finalize via mediation or negotiation. Cooperation is the key to a fast divorce; cooperate with the court, your attorney, and your spouse. Don’t pick up fights just for the sake of antagonizing your partner. Talk to your divorce lawyer about more ways of hastening the...

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4 Ways To Strengthen Your Legal Case As A Plaintiff

Posted by on 8:16 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Strengthen Your Legal Case As A Plaintiff

If you’re involved in civil litigation, you should be prepared for the discovery stage. This is the time you will need to prove why you deserve compensation for your losses and work towards building a strong case. There are four parts in the discovery stage and knowing what each of these are will help you better prepare for each one. Written interrogatories You may be asked a series of questions about the lawsuit. This will help get the details about what happened and who should win the case. There are usually no more than 25 questions in the written interrogatories. When you’re served this document, it’s critical to the outcome of your case to answer each one thoroughly and accurately. Additionally, if possible provide dates, times and witnesses who may be able to back up your side of the story. The more information you can provide, the better it will be for your case. The deposition Meeting with your opposing parties’ attorney may be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the discovery stage. However, doing so will allow you to work towards building the strongest case possible. Listed below are things you should know about a deposition: 1. You must be sworn in under oath before answering any questions. 2. Your attorney should be in attendance with you. 3. There will be an individual present who will be transcribing the entire meeting, and you will get a copy of it. Request for Admissions Getting to the facts of the dispute is important and may allow for a shorter court case if your dispute gets this far.  The request for admissions is a document that will require you to either admit or deny a certain statement regarding your individual case. Request for Production Documents When trying to recover your financial losses that may be due to an injury, you should do so during this stage of discovery. It’s important to provide the official documentation that states your losses, such as medical bills or a letter from your employer stating you missed work because of this legal dispute. The more factual information you can provide that is proven by reports or written documents at this point, the greater possibility that you may win your case. Being prepared for the discovery stage of civil litigation can be helpful to any plaintiff.  Be sure to consult with a personal injury attorney (such as one from Spiegal And Barbato LLP) who can guide you through this legal process...

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Medical Malpractice: 4 Types Of Documents You’ll Need At Your Legal Consultation

Posted by on 5:33 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Medical Malpractice: 4 Types Of Documents You’ll Need At Your Legal Consultation

From a botched vasectomy to a misdiagnosis, medical errors can occur in all shapes and forms. Sadly, they occur more often than one might think. In fact, a Senate panel was informed in 2014 that medical errors come third in the line-up of leading causes of United States deaths, just behind heart disease and cancer. Regardless of what has happened to you, you will need to have plenty of evidence in order to take a physician, hospital or other medical professional or entity to court. For your attorney to help you the best that he or she can, you will need to provide as much documentation as possible as it relates to your injury. Here are four types of documents that you’ll want to take with your to your first legal consultation: 1. Medical Records These are probably the most important because it is the medical records that will show how everything “went down,” so to speak. In these documents, your attorney should be able to find what and how medical procedures were performed, who all was involved and what type of care was – or possibly was not – accurately provided. Notes from nurses and doctors can help emphasize procedure violations or missteps that could have essentially resulted in your injury. If you have been unable to gain access to your medical records, your attorney can get them for you (with your permission). 2. Medication Records If your medical malpractice claim is centering around the wrong dosage or wrong medication, then you’ll need to get the record of your medication. Your doctor needs to know what, when, how, and how much was given to you in order to paint a full picture of the incident. This can help shed light on who is responsible for the medication error and how it occurred in the first place. 3. Any and All Bills Either out of anger and spite or simply because you know you can’t afford it, you may want to chunk those medical bills when they comes in the mail. Don’t! If you want to receive full and fair compensation in your medical malpractice suit, then you’re going to need these bills. Keep any bills and receipts of out-of-pocket costs so that your attorney can help establish how much in monetary damages you are entitled to. 4. Proof of Lost Wages You may have damages to seek outside of bills and out-of-pocket expenses. In fact, it is very likely that you missed time from work due to the injury that you sustained. Make sure to bring pay stubs, bank statements or some form of record that proves your wages, as you can seek past and future wages that you lost or are at risk of losing due to your injury. If you don’t have these, you can generally request them from your employer. If, for some reason, they don’t want to provide them to you, your attorney can help you get your hands on them. As you are preparing for your legal consultation, if you come across any other documents that you feel may be useful or valuable in your case, pack them up to take with you. It is better to have invaluable documents than to not have all of the right documents or to miss something...

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4 Reasons To Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney

Posted by on 10:01 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Reasons To Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney

Being accused of a crime can be scary and stressful. It can be even more terrifying if you know that you did nothing wrong. If you’re facing criminal charges and want to have the best possible outcome, it’s best that you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. Take a look at the following information to understand the reasons as to why you should have a criminal defense attorney on your side.  You May Be Able to Get Your Penalties Lowered If you end up getting charged with a crime, you will need to be prepared for the consequences that follow. This may include jail time, high fees, and or probation. With help from an attorney, like those at Robert E Long & Associates Ltd, you may be able to lessen these penalties so that you face less jail time or other consequences. With less penalties, you may be able to live a more normal life. This is especially important if you have a family and or work a lot.  Your Attorney Can Examine All Evidence It’s possible that evidence gets tampered with or isn’t looked into well enough during a criminal case. It will be your attorney’s job to help prove that you aren’t at fault and to lessen any punishments that you face. Your attorney will examine all possible evidence to find ways to help improve your case for the better. You need someone who is willing and able as well as capable to do the extra research that is needed. Your Attorney Has Access to Other Professionals and Individuals When fighting a criminal case, your attorney will likely work with other professionals and/or witnesses. Your attorney may be able to locate and communicate with a witness who can prove what you did during the time of the crime. In addition, an attorney will be able to hire other professionals who can help strengthen your case and look into the details more clearly.  Your Attorney Can Fight for A Plea Deal In some cases, a plea deal may be the best possible outcome. Your attorney will work to make this possible for you so that you have less charges against you and less penalties.  As you can see, it’s beneficial to have a criminal defense attorney on your side. If you want to make sure that you’re fully protected and have the best outcome, now is the time to contact a local attorney to discuss your...

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Should You File For Worker’s Compensation Or Take Your Employer To Civil Court?

Posted by on 11:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should You File For Worker’s Compensation Or Take Your Employer To Civil Court?

Most of the time, when you are injured while carrying out a task for your employer, you must file a worker’s compensation claim to receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Sometimes, however, it is not that simple and you will need to sue your employer in civil court. Any time you have been hurt or injured while on the job, contact a worker’s compensation attorney to help you sort things out. There are definite benefits to each action, however, you need to know which action applies to avoid wasting time going with the wrong one. Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim When you file a worker’s compensation claim, you will start receiving money almost immediately. You do not have to wait for the lawsuit to be over. Your medical bills will be paid and you will receive a portion of your wages for the length of time you are unable to work. If you are permanently disabled, you will receive disability benefits as well. However, in a worker’s compensation case, you will not receive compensation for your emotional distress or any punitive damages. If your worker’s compensation claim is denied, you have the chance to appeal the decision. However, you will not continue to receive any money while the claim is being appealed. It is important to note that a denial is not a reason to file a civil suit. Suing Your Employer in Civil Court If your employer does not have enough, or any, worker’s compensation insurance, you can sue the company in civil court. You may also pursue a lawsuit if you can prove your employer purposefully caused the accident or injury. Proving this can be difficult. You will not receive any compensation until the lawsuit is over, and then your employer may file an appeal. Even if you ultimately win the case, it may be a long time before you see any compensation. While you may receive more money if you can file a civil suit against your employer, it might be years before you see any of the money. Unless you are filing a suit because there is not adequate insurance coverage, it may be best to file a worker’s compensation claim and have money coming in right away. Hiring a lawyer like Crowley Ahlers & Roth Co LPA who is experienced in worker’s compensation law ensures all the paperwork is filed correctly and on time. This is especially important if you must file an appeal when the claim is initially denied. The important thing is to have money coming in as soon as possible to avoid adding financial stress that can keep you from recovering as quickly as you...

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