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Many divorced people count themselves lucky for not having had kids with their former spouse. I’m amongst that group, but I can tell you, not having kids didn’t save me from years of bad married life.

Why did I stick around? That’s always the first question I get when I mention my bad married years, and it is, of course, the best question. If I was so unhappy, why didn’t I just leave?

I wish I had a better reason for it. It’d be nice to say there were still good times (there weren’t) or that we still loved each other on some level (we didn’t). The truth is, I was a bit of a coward, and I was also worried about the house.

To understand, you have to know what that house meant to me. I’d spent more than a decade saving up for it on my own when I meant my now ex-wife. She had enough in savings to let us put down a big down payment on the house of my dreams. I want to emphasize that it was at the house of my dreams because that is important for later.

I’d wanted a house just like the one we bought since I was a little kid. A neighbor of mine had an old Victorian that I used to ride by and wish I lived in. I love older houses that have been restored. There’s something magical about them that is lost with newer homes. My wife didn’t much care, if she were being honest (which I’m not sure she would be if she told this story). She knew it was something I wanted, and she wanted a place to settle down, so I got to make the choices.

Now, I put in most of the money, most of the time and work (I’d saved for a decade, and she’d gotten her money when her grandfather died), and it was my dream home, so you would think that I could count on keeping the house. You would think wrong, though, because whenever things would get heated, she would threaten to make sure she kept the house in a divorce. This was her big threat. I’m not sure, looking back, why she wanted to threaten that. She wanted out of the marriage as much as I did, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for her to force us to stay together, but that’s how it was.

Eventually, it all became too much, and I decided it was worth losing even my dream house to break things up and start over. I wish I’d known then that there are lawyers that specialize in dividing up property (here’s a good example of a law firm that does it), but I didn’t, and I did end up losing the house.

The funny thing is, she ended up selling the house not so long ago, and I happen to have the money in my bank to buy it back if she’ll sell it to me. I may end up getting what I wanted in the end after all. And this time, it’ll definitely be mine.

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It’s time to change overtime laws. Businesses are too often abusing employees and making them work absurd hours for too little compensation.

Consider this example of a waitress. She works sixty hours a week because her boss has cut the staff to save money. This works out fine for her boss, though, because time and a half for a waitress is still just a little over three dollars an hour, all of which is eaten up in taxes. For the waitress, hour 59 is the same as hour 1: all her money comes from tips.

For those in other businesses, bosses often have to be sneakier. It is not at all uncommon across the country for bosses to demand meetings be attended but then refuse to allow employees be on the clock. In many professions, it is common for bosses to demand employees do extra work before clocking in or after clocking out. An example of this would be paperwork. Many bosses will ask employees to fill it out, but they will first clock the employee out to save on overtime.

No matter whether the wage is too low or the boss is manipulating the numbers (and it’s worth pointing out here that this latter strategy is an illegal business practice), something needs to change. There’s no reason workers should go on being compensated poorly when many businesses could, in fact, afford to pay their employees properly.

The laws have to change. Firstly, waitresses and other employees who are paid mostly in tips should have a different system for overtime. Tipped employees should get an extra one half of their average tipped hour whenever they cross forty hours. That would force employers to pay a reasonable amount and would keep them from making horrendous schedules regularly.

On the second issue, employees should be given more obvious and direct means to complain about employer practices that illegally withhold earned income. Many of these issues continue solely because the employees don’t know who to contact to complain. Other times, it’s because employees don’t even know their rights in the situation. More information (perhaps through training, perhaps through pages that are required to be posted in the business) should be offered to these employees, so they know they are being cheated and are able to immediately contact someone to look into the issue.

The idea of overtime was designed to make sure any amount of work over a reasonable full-time job would be compensated reasonably. It was also meant to be a penalty for employers who would rather rely on too few employees and save money. By making employers pay more, they were forced to instead consider simply hiring enough help and allowing their employees enough rest.

For too long, these important points have been lost on the American public. But, with low unemployment and a relatively strong economy, there’s no reason more can’t be done to ease the burden left on the shoulders of the American worker.

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It is always an unfortunate fact of life that you will have to plan for after you’re gone. People want to make sure that their family can be taken care of. That what they’ve worked for in life will be able to help those they love continue on without them. And most importantly they don’t want any conflict in the planning stages of planning their estate or in the distribution of their estate upon their death. Life never goes so smoothly however, and many couples are the example of unforeseen conflicts flaring up.

The life advice column on the Newsday website is often home to disputes between couples and families. One particular issue we’ve seen commonly arising is the planning of a couple’s estate and the effect it can have on their children involved. One particular couple in question submitted their situation to the Ask Amy column on September 26, 2017. The couple had been married for 12 years, and the wife has said that she had experienced nothing but cold behavior from the husband’s sons from a previous marriage. She believes this is the case because it stems from her husband wishes to bequeath a considerable sum in his will to his son and his wife. She is opposed to this because she doesn’t feel that she shouldn’t have to leave money she contributed to their marriage to children that treated her like she didn’t exist. Apparently, after twelve years of marriage, she hasn’t been fully recognized as some sort of maternal grandmother figure in their family. She says that she contributed a large amount of her net worth into her marriage and still wishes to use her money to recognize long-standing and other relationships she has made in her life. The biggest response that Amy gave is that she should convince her husband to reason with his own son to treat his wife better. Amy also suggests seeing an estate planner to get her and her husband’s wish down on paper.

In a situation such as this invisible feeling mother-in-law, there needs to be careful planning that goes into the binding documents of their estate. The estate planning attorneys at Arenson Law Group understand that family dynamics and relationships need to be properly respected when drafting any formal estate plan. As such an intimate topic, it is important to have trust and respect between the participating parties. The last thing anyone wants is conflict, and evidence of disputes before the plan is even finalized is often a foreshadow of larger disputes in the future.

The invisible mother in law should hire an attorney instead of asking Amy. That way she can carefully plan her monetary assets and dispel them where she wants. Marriage is a bond between people, but it doesn’t have to be financial. In this case, separate estates for her and her husband seem like the best option in my opinion.

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When people think about maritime law, they often do not think of our modern legal system, but often immediately jump to fanciful ideas like piracy or parlays, or other outdated notions given to us by movies and television. In fact, there are still important laws on the books that govern how legal cases are handled when something happens at sea, including the Jones Act (Maritime Injury) and the Death on the High Seas Act, which helps determine liability and compensation for families who have lost a loved one in an offshore accident.

Recent, high-profile accidents like the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico have reminded the public that accidents happen off the U.S. coast, far away from the standard jurisdictions that govern our daily lives. So, it only makes sense that there must be specific laws that apply when something takes place far, far away from shore. The Death On The High Seas act was first passed in 1920 and allows for the families of a person who was killed due to negligent or reckless actions or unseaworthiness of a vessel to pursue compensation under maritime law. The act was updated in the year 2000 to include the loss of life in aircraft crashes or mishaps. Maritime law applies to accidents that occur more than three nautical miles from U.S. shores for passengers on a vessel, and more than 12 nautical miles for workers or passengers on commercial airliners.

The most common types of accidents that are covered under the Death On the High Seas Act include explosions, sunken or overturned boats, onboard fires, mechanical errors or defects, failure to properly follow safety guidelines, failure to provide necessary medical care, or failure to properly train personnel. If a person loses his or her life due to any of the reasons above (or other reasons not listed here) their immediate family may be able to file a lawsuit against the party responsible. Immediate family members are defined as spouses, parents, children, or other dependent family members, typically.

The type of compensation a person can recover under the Death on the High Seas Act will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, but usually, maritime attorneys who have experience with these type of cases (and there are several in Houston who helped handle Deepwater Horizon claims like this firm here), will help the family pursue compensation including: funeral costs, loss of companionship and future earnings, expenses related to counseling and therapy, and other financial expenses related to the death.

In the end, no one wants to lose a family member in an accident, and it is especially hard when the person is away for long periods of time while in the shipping, drilling, or fishing industries, and they lose their life far away from their loved ones. Fortunately, due to laws like the Death on the High Seas act, families have legal recourse to take if they lose a loved one due to a tragic accident on a vessel, rig, or aircraft.

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In Texas, licensed gun owners are now legally allowed to openly carry handguns in public and certain private premises, provided that the handguns are inside holsters or carried in a belt. This has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

One of the obvious advantages of open carry is that it can reduce crime. The mere fact that the public or private space has a person who is openly carrying a handgun is enough threat for bad guys to think twice, because of the possibility of retaliation and failure to commit the crime they want to commit. The fact that the handgun is openly carried is also an advantage, because it makes the handgun more accessible, and therefore the owner will be able to react and respond on time, in case a reaction or response is needed.

The overall advantage of having an open carry law in the state is safety.

Disadvantage

It can also be said that the open carry law can promote the opposite of safety. Many people, especially who are not used to having deadly weapons lying around, will not feel very comfortable if some stranger in the premises has a holstered gun.

Even though open carry can reduce crime, it can also do the opposite, and this is because of abuse of accessibility of handguns and the ease of bringing them around premises.

But the danger doesn’t just involve bad guys. Even the good guys can pose as a threat to the general public, especially if they are inexperienced. There are known instances of accidental misfires. Causes of misfires may vary, but they mostly involve accidentally dropping the gun and negligently leaving live rounds in the gun’s chambers.

Another overlooked disadvantage is the confusion regarding the law. According to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, the open carry law stipulates that handguns should be in your belt or holster at all times, unless there is a legally justifiable reason to use the weapon. Even if you have such a reason, there is a chance that the police will still arrest you in the pretense that you broke the law. In other words, this open carry law can be a legal nightmare in its own right, and sometimes, you have to think if the advantages really outweigh the disadvantages.

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It doesn’t matter whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, as it will always have an emotional and psychological toll to the parties involved. It doesn’t matter if you are the one who initiated the divorce, the reason why the divorce has been filed, or are merely a child that has been caught up with your parents’ issues.

Anger

Anger is an appropriate response in separation, especially if the reason behind the separation or the idea of the separation itself has a negative core idea, like when your spouse has been cheating on you or beating your children. But anger is not always a good thing, as it may result into increased irritability, which can even compromise your relationship with your children.

Anxiety

Anxiety in divorce is often rooted to the uncertainty of the future, now that you and your spouse are arguing about division of your assets and liabilities, child custody, spousal support, and other legal aspects that can tremendously change not just your future, but also the future of your children.

Emotional Alienation

The involved spouses may even focus their energies too much on the negative emotions that it may result into alienation behaviors, such as disinterest in activities, withdrawal from social interaction, and even emotional detachment to their children.

Escapist Behavior

Extreme feelings of sadness, downright depression, and low self-worth may lead to behaviors that may distract them or make them escape these emotional and psychological responses, such as overeating, oversleeping, overworking, and on the worst instances, even suicide.

Guilt

Guilt can be warranted and unwarranted. It can be justified for those who have been the initiator of divorce, but it can be unjustified for children who feel that they are the reason behind the divorce. Children may be significantly affected by divorce, so it is best to talk to them about it.

Positive Effects

It is important to note, however, that the emotional and psychological effects are not always negative, and if they are, they are not always permanent. Divorce can lead to positive responses such as relief from getting out of a toxic marriage and hopefulness because of the possibility of a fresh start.

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Filing Bankruptcy may Help Homeowners Save their House from Foreclosure Under Certain Situations

 

Foreclosure is a legal process in which a creditor or lender takes possession of a property (which serves as a collateral for a loan) due to a borrower’s or mortgagor’s failure to keep on making mortgage payments to the lender. Creditors usually do not begin a foreclosure process on any property unless mortgage payments have been delayed for about two to three months. After this length of delay, some creditors (usually banks) still willingly work out deals with homeowners, like allowing them to settle unpaid mortgages through a loan modification, however, many other creditors do not and, instead, begin a foreclosure process, wherein they repossess and usually sell the unpaid property at a public auction. Proceeds from the auction will be used to repay the mortgage and any legal fees. On the part of a homeowner, who would try to do anything to save his/her house from being foreclosed on, he/she may take advantage of the loan modification solution or try other alternatives, such as filing bankruptcy.

The U.S. bankruptcy law, which originates from Title 11 of the United States Code (also called United States Bankruptcy Code) is a federal statutory law designed to help or enable consumers and businesses to either eliminate or repay their debts under the protection of a bankruptcy court.

Homeowners facing foreclosure may find bankruptcy as a tool to help them keep their house; specifically, Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 may help them accomplish this. As explained by Ryan J. Ruehle Attorney at Law, LLC, it is important for consumers and businesses to understand the different bankruptcy chapters available as each chapter is designed to address and solve specific financial problems and debtor situation.

Through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, for instance, (this is also called a wage earner’s plan), a homeowner is allowed to propose a three to five-year installment repayment plan which could allow him/her to repay all or part of his/her debts to his/her creditors. It is necessary this time, however, that a homeowner never again delay or miss mortgage payment, otherwise, there may be no other way to save his/her house from being foreclosed on.

Under Chapter bankruptcy, on the other hand, a homeowner may just be able to save his/her house but only if his/her creditor foreclosed on his/her home without following the proper procedures; this will allow him/her to file a wrongful foreclosure suit. Otherwise, if his/her creditor is able to foreclose on his/her property, there will be no means of getting his/her house back. The greatest benefit of filing Chapter 7, if this were the case, is saving the homeowner from still having to pay his/her creditor any deficiency balance (a deficiency balance arises if the proceeds from the foreclosure sale are not enough to cover the balance of the mortgages).

According to the law firm Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., wrongful foreclosure can be an extremely difficult thing to go through. A homeowner will also most likely have no idea if his/her house was being foreclosed on wrongly. This is why it may be necessary for homeowners to get help from a qualified legal counsel who may be able to help them fight for the right to keep their home.

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An Insurance Coverage Employees should Most Likely Have

 

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded more than three million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, and 4,405 deaths. These statistical data are so much lower compared to the yearly average of accidents, injuries and deaths before 1971 (the year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA was passed into law), thanks to the consistent efforts of OSHA in implementing health and safety in work environments.

Workplace accidents resulting to injuries and deaths, however, continue to happen, making these a major concern of federal, state and local governments. Each time a worker is harmed, different issues are brought into the open, including the concerned employer’s compliance with workplace safety laws, the severity of the injury sustained by a worker and the effect it will have on this worker’s financial future.

Some accidents cause no more than minor scratches, while others are more serious, requiring days or weeks of bed rest. Some injuries are definitely severe, however, causing long term disabilities (LTD) that render a worker unable to work for months or even years, taking away his or her capability to earn wages.

It is a good thing that some employers provide their employees with a long term disability (LTD) insurance policy as part of their comprehensive employee benefits package; this is to protect their employees from losing any form of earnings during the long period when their injury or illness will keep them out of work.

As explained by the Hankey Law Office, long-term disability (or LTD) coverage is an insurance plan structured so that you receive compensation for the wages you lose as the result of an injury, illness, or any other condition that prevents you from working. It is similar to life insurance, in that it will provide you with financial compensation in the event that you suffer injury from an unexpected tragedy, but instead of covering medical expenses, it reimburses you for lost, future wages.

An LTD policy usually stays effectivity for 10 years or until the insured employee reaches the age of 65. An employee can start enjoying the benefits of his/her LTD policy after his/her short term disability insurance benefits have ended (the short term disability insurance benefits, which employers may also provide for employees or which employees may purchase on their own, typically last between three to six months).

Despite employees’ eligibility to receive LTD benefits, however, many applications get denied or are awarded benefits that are lower than what the policy stipulates. Many insurance providers, obviously, are guilty of avoiding making payments, thus, they do all things possible to deny claims, delay assessment of applications or payment of claims, or pay much lower benefits.

Since an insurance policy is a legal contract, it would be wise if the injured employee make the application for the benefits through the help of a legal expert who is adept in the LTD insurance benefits law.

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Estate Planning for the Finacial Future of Loved Ones

The first step in Estate Planning is the drafting of a Will. It is in a Will that a testator (the person making the Will) is able to legally identify everything that he/she will want to pass on to his/her spouse, children and other dependents, as well as what or how much cash each will have. The testator, according to Chicago elder law litigation attorneys, may also choose to draft a more elaborate Will wherein he/she can elect his/her preferred guardian for minor children (who will make sure that they are provided for, both personally and financially, upon death or incapacity), name a health-care proxy, who will make medical decisions for him/her if ever he/she gets incapacitated and, elect an executor, or the person who will manage the estate left for distribution. This executor is also tasked to see to it that the testator’s last wishes are fulfilled, that all unpaid debts are settled and, after payment of all debts, whatever remains will be distributed to all heirs.

The mental capacity of a testator during the drafting of his/her Will is essential as this is a guarantee that he/she is never influenced by anyone and that he/she is perfectly aware of his/her decisions. Equally important are the observance of the rights of every legal heir and being counseled by a knowledgeable and experienced legal professional to ensure that the Will’s contents comply with the laws of the state where the testator resides or where the estate owned is located).

A lawyer’s assistance can also help effectively address any litigation due to a Will contest that any heir may file. Contesting or challenging the validity of a Will can be filed by any heir who feels that he/she deserves more than what was left for him/her. An heir can also question the testator’s mental state when the Will was drafted, citing any possibility of influence or manipulation by someone with interest in the assets and properties.

As estate and trust disputes involve family members, all issues, therefore, are considered sensitive. Failure to address disputes effectively can only result to rivalries between family members which can create rifts in their relationship.

Family members should understand that an estate plan is meant to put order in their properties and assets, as well as to make sure that they will be able to enjoy the maximum value of everything through reduction of tax and other expenses. Thus, in the event of disagreement, which can lead to litigation, if the family members themselves fail to allay anyone’s doubts, then only a knowledgeable, experienced and skillful lawyer probably can.

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Placing the Blame on Truck Drivers in the Event of Truck Accidents

There are more than 15 million trucks operating in the U.S.; about two million of these are semi-trucks, also called big rigs or 18-wheelers. Due to their very large size and very heavy weight, these can cause major property damage and serious or fatal injuries in the event of accidents. For this reason, the federal government requires that those who will operate a truck should have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which they can earn after going through a special training and education, and a series of tests that deal with the proper operation and handling of this types of vehicle.

Thus, as pointed out and emphasized by the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, drivers of semi-trucks, have greater responsibility on the road than drivers of other types of motor vehicles because if an accident were to occur, great damage and serious injury would likely result. Unfortunately, despite the great responsibility which they fully know they should display, some truck drivers are negligent and drive irresponsibly. However, in spite of the threats of trucks due to their huge size and the irresponsible behavior of some drivers, truck operation will continue to go on due to the major contribution this make in the notion’s economy.

Once a driver earns a CDL, he/she and his/her employer are expected to comply with all federal laws enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation. A few of these laws, which are meant to ensure the safe operation of trucks and the avoidance of road crashes, require:

– Maintenance and regular check of trucks;
– Use of parts, such as tires and brakes, that pass the quality standard set by the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ;
– Strict observance of the hours of service, which is the maximum number or hours drivers are allowed to drive, and the required number of hours of rest;

Despite all the laws, yearly rate of truck accidents remain at 500,000. These accidents result to more than 100,000 injuries and at least, 4,000 deaths. Many studies show that majority of truck accidents can be blamed on drivers of smaller vehicles most of the time; however, this finding is contrary to the findings of the FMCSA, which say that no less than 90% of accidents are the fault of truck drivers.

Contributing factors to truck accidents include driver fatigue, impairment due to alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal drugs, driving too fast despite poor weather or road condition, not being familiar with the road or the truck, inattention and driving distractions, improper way of attaching the trailer, improper loading of cargo, failure to double-check blind spots, and failure to ensure that the brakes are in good working condition.

Truck accidents are more numerous in some states due to the presence of many more trucks in these locations. In the state of Texas, for instance, Dallas truck accident attorneys of The Benton Law Firm confirm that the number of truck accidents have suddenly increased over the recent years due to the recent oil boom which has resulted to more 18-wheelers on the road.

Truck accidents, far more than any other type of automotive accident, can result to catastrophic or fatal injuries, causing many families to face devastating consequences. This is why it is often possible for those who have been injured or killed in a truck accident to take legal action against the party responsible for their suffering.

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