Arbitration and Mediation: Faster, Cheaper and more Peaceful Alternative Divorce Procedures

Many individuals who reach a point in their marriage at which they can no longer envision a future with their partner, decide that divorce is their only option. Divorce, however, is never easy. It is not only time consuming and financially straining; it can also be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. For, besides having to deal with the emotional impact that their marriage is ending, there are also a wide range of concerns that must be addressed, often in combative ways. These concerns include child custody, property division, and financial matters, among others. Thus, to simplify their separation many spouses seek alternative ways, ways that will save them time and money, and from the unnecessary emotional strain.

Unlike in the past when the only way to settle a divorce case, as well as issues related to it, was in court, there are now alternative processes that allow spouses to work together towards a settlement. Two or these processes are arbitration and mediation which allow spouses to work through their separation on their own, not leaving important decisions in the hands of a divorce court judge.

As different from a court-litigated divorce or contested divorce, which is adversarial in nature, open to the public, decided by a judge and which can drag on for months or years depending on the number of divorce-related issues that need to be settled, arbitration and mediation are private legal procedures.

Arbitration, specifically, is the process wherein an arbitrator or a third party individual (can be a lawyer or a retired judge) chosen and hired by the spouses, acts as a private judge. In this procedure, the spouses prepare their arguments and evidences which will be presented to the arbitrator by their respective lawyers. The arbitrator will decide on the case based on arguments and evidences presented. The divorce issues that can be settled in arbitration include child custody, visitation rights and schedule, child and/or spousal support, division of property and assets, and modifications to a former divorce decree. The issue of a final divorce order, however, cannot be arbitrated since arbitrators are not authorized to grant a divorce, annul a marriage, or change official family status.

All decisions made by an arbitrator are binding, even if both spouses find these contrary to their interests. These cannot be appealed to a higher court either, making both spouses stuck with whatever is decided by an arbitrator. Though arbitration has been used as an alternative dispute resolution for many years, not all states recognize it.

Divorce mediation, on the other hand, is done through the help of an objective and neutral third-party individual, called a mediator, who is usually chosen by the spouses themselves. Though the mediator can share his/her opinion to give light to the issue that need to be settled, he/she can never decide or impose anything on the couple.

Divorce mediation offers the following benefits:

  • Allows spouses to arrive at the most agreeable and workable solutions;
  • Gives the spouses total control of the proceeding and its outcome;
  • Promotes openness between the spouses;
  • Much cheaper compared to a court-litigated divorce and can take much lesser time; and,
  • Ensures privacy as the procedure involves only the spouses (with their respective lawyers, if they have one).

Despite the possibility of divorce putting order back in one’s life, the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. strongly suggests that spouses, especially the one filing the divorce petition, consider a number of different factors before going through with a divorce in order to make the outcome as beneficial as possible and to avoid any errors which may arise. These factors include:

  • Knowing your family’s financial situation;
  • Determining your living arrangements following the separation;
  • Considering what type of child custody and support
  • arrangement you may want;
  • Being aware that your behavior will be under close scrutiny throughout the divorce process; and,
  • Consulting with an attorney before proceeding.
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Seat Belt can Save Lives; However, These can also Cause Deaths

There are occasions when a vehicle has to be recalled, either by the manufacturer or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through a court order due to the following reasons:

  1. The same type of problem or defect has been identified in a group of vehicles of the same design and same year model;
  2. The defect poses a risk to the safety of the driver, passengers or anyone else on the road; and,
  3. The vehicle itself or any of its parts do not comply with the minimum performance requirement standards set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These standards make sure that a vehicle can be operated safely and that the driver and passengers would have enough protection from serious injury or death in the event of a crash. The FMVSS has actually set standards for tires, brakes, lighting, child restraints, air bags and safety belts, among others.

Vehicle recalls usually happen due to complaints consumers make to the vehicle manufacturer or to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a department of the NHTSA. In October of 2014, for instance, Chrysler had to recall about 184,215 of its SUVs worldwide due to defective airbags and seat belts; this was besides the more than 850,000 vehicles that Ford already recalled in September of the same year (due to the same problem).

Seat belts keep drivers and passengers from hitting with great force any of a car’s interior parts (such as a door window, dashboard, or windshield) during an accident, thus, providing them with the best protection against serious injuries. Sadly, however, seat belts are not only known as life-saving devices. In some instances, instead of saving lives, these have caused injuries or death – due to defects.

A defective or malfunctioning seat belt may be because of poor manufacturing or poor design. Every year, at least 10,000 (of the more than 30,000) individuals who die in car crashes are said to have died due to faulty seat belts.

“Despite all the government testing and consumer warnings,” according to New Jersey car accident lawyers, “ innocent people are still being injured and killed daily by dangerous products. Whether the harm was caused by a manufacturing defect or a failure to warn of possible side effects, a product liability lawyer can fight to get compensation for your pain and suffering.” This it is important that you contact a car accident or a personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident.

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Sustaining Spine Injuries in the Workplace

Regardless of the type of work environment employees operate, there is always risk of an accident which can result to injuries. Risk of an accident, however, is always higher in and around construction zones where dangerous tools and heavy machinery are abundant; add to these the frequent unstable conditions within the area. These and many other factors, the most dangerous of which is negligence either of the employer or of the workers themselves, can be causes of catastrophic, even fatal, injuries.

Worker fatalities in construction sites was 899 in 2014, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). For decades now, OSHA has also identified falls, electrocution, getting struck-by-object, and getting caught-in-between, as the four top causes of injuries and deaths in construction sites.

With routine maintenance, due care, and strict observance of OSHA-mandated safety precautions, many injuries could be prevented. One type of serious injury which thousands of workers sustain is spinal cord injury. Every year from 2003 through 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics received reports of over a quarter of a million claims due to back and spinal cord injuries. Besides causing workers too much pain and discomfort, these injuries also limit their ability to walk, work, and live the full and independent life they are accustomed to.

How severe a spinal cord injury is depends on which part of the spinal cord is affected; one sure thing, though, is that the higher in the spinal column the injury occurs, the worse will be the outcome. Cervical spine injury (neck area) affects the neck, arms and hands; Thoracic spine injury (chest area) affects the torso and parts of the arms; spine injury at the lumbar or low back area affects the hips and legs; and, injury at the sacral or pelvis area affects the groin, toes and parts of the leg.

A spinal cord injury could be complete or incomplete. Complete spinal cord injury affects both sides of the body; it also renders all body parts (below the affected area) without sensation and function. Incomplete spinal cord injury, on the other hand, means some functioning below the affected area. Those with this type of injury may still be able to feel parts of their body which they cannot move, may have one side to their body functioning more than the other, or may be able to move one of their limbs more than the other.

Aside from causing physical, psychological and emotional pains and suffering, a spinal cord injury can also result to a lifetime of medical costs. Due to this, spine injury lawyers from the Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, law firm advises injured workers to find out and know about their legal rights and options to seeking the compensation that will save them from crippling financial situations. A highly-skilled lawyer may be able to provide them the legal assistance they may need regarding this matter.

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Dangers of Explosions

For most people, explosions are something they only see in TV shows or movies. They feel distanced from ever being near an actual threatening explosion. The frightening reality is that explosions do occur in the real world and often result in severe injury and/or death. If the victim is able to come out alive after the accident, they often face life-altering injuries with impairments that change the course of the rest of their lives.

Not all explosions are preventable. Accidents sometimes occur in certain industrial settings. According to the Cazayoux Ewing Law Firm, many explosions can be prevented when all involved parties act safely and fulfill their responsibilities as expected. Unfortunately, protocol isn’t always followed and results in unsuspecting victims suffering due to the negligence of others.

An explosion could occur anywhere. By the same token, there are certain places where an explosion is way more likely to occur. These include industrial factories, nuclear or chemical plants, oil rigs, and manufacturing facilities. These places are at high risk for many types of accidents, but explosions are one of the more serious problems that could occur. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 138 deaths related to explosions in 2013.

Even if an explosion occurs at a less likely location, you can still take legal action against the responsible party. A few examples of less severe explosion accidents include failure to store chemicals properly, failure to train staff to properly handle flammable materials, and defective gas-powered appliances such as stoves, ovens, or water heaters.

 

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What You Should Know About The Volkswagen Scandal

German automaker giant Volkswagen is under pressure to refit its newer cars after the discovery of an intricately designed software device intended to defeat emissions tests. The controversy has caused the car company to lose $28 billion worth of market value in just one week. Apart from this decline, the refitting itself would cost the company more than $6.5 billion. The international scandal impacted the car market so hard that Martin Winterkorn decided to step down just days after the revelation.

According to the website of The Driscoll Firm, the “defeat device” enables the car to sense that it is under an emissions test, allowing it to make certain adjustments to meet emissions standards. But how is it possible? The software analyzes factors that would tell whether the car is driving in road condition or it is being tested. These factors include the position of the steering wheel, the duration of the engine operation, the barometric pressure, and the speed.

The trick begins once the car senses that it is being tested. During an emissions test, the car will switch to “dyno calibration,” where it will use a rich mixture for combustion. You might think that a rich mixture produces more unburned fuel and pollutants, which will definitely fail any emissions test. But because Volkswagen cars are equipped with NOx adsorbers (also called NOx trap or LNT), whose trapping capacity is enhanced with unburned fuel, a rich mixture fuel is what they need to pass the test.

On the other hand, during normal conditions, the affected Volkswagen cars will drive using a leaner mixture. Now, a study proposed by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found that during regular operations, the car emits up to 40 times above the emissions standards. This is because leaner mixtures now only pass through the exhaust’s NOx adsorber (i.e. not trap it), allowing high levels of NOx gases to be released freely in the air.

If you’re a Volkswagen owner, this software trickery could significantly affect you. Apart from being deceived that you had bought a clean diesel car, future recalls to reprogram the software might require a visit to your local dealership, which could mean precious time wasted.

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Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries qualify as some of the most dangerous injuries a person can sustain. Spinal cord injuries refer to any injury sustained to the spinal cord (stretching from the neck to the lower back) which results in a temporary or permanent change in the body’s sensory/motor function. These injuries can result from either trauma (such as gunshots and car accidents), or disease (such as polio or spina bifida).

Spinal Cord injuries can result in two types of paralysis: partial paralysis (known as paraplegia), and total paralysis (known as quadriplegia). Paraplegia often results from a thoracic or lumbosacral injury- or an injury occurring at or below thoracic spinal levels- affecting the arms and hands, or at or below the lumbosacral level- affecting the legs and hips. Quadriplegia often results from cervical injuries, or injuries that occur in the area of the spine located in the neck. If it is a “complete” injury, all areas at or below the point of injury are effected.

Louisville personal injury attorneys usually know that an injury of this nature can result in a victim’s life being “dramatically altered, resulting in the need for mobility aids, caretakers, and additional support.” these injuries require extensive hospital treatment and long term medical adjustments which can ultimately be very costly to the victim and their family in more ways than one.

Effects of a spinal cord injury can be permanent and life altering. Unfortunately, in many cases, a spinal cord injury was preventable and occurred due to the carelessness of another. Should you or someone you know be the victim of a preventable accident resulting in a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to certain damages which can aid in the medical expenses associated with spinal cord injuries.

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Dealing with Insurance Bad Faith

Have you ever had a relationship that you thought you could trust and then, suddenly, they pretend like you don’t even exist or worse – even try to worsen your situation for you because they have delicate information that you had trusted them with that they use against you?

This need not be a situation that is confined to a more romantic setting as these do happen in a more corporate circumstance – such is the case of people who suffer from situations involving insurance bad faith. Unlike a romantic relationship, after all, one that involves you and an insurance company can be taken to court if the latter cheats on the former. And this has happened enough over the years for there to be legal statutes over the matter.

According to the website of lawyers Smith Kendall PLLC, insurance companies are held legally liable to pay claims properly and promptly, as is the agreement between the two parties that has been made in good faith. Should an insurance company withhold such claims without due evidence, reasonable excuses, or justifiable intent – they are subject to legal action from the client who had trusted their services. If the insurance company can be proven to have acted in bad faith either willfully or maliciously, then the policyholder is warranted to receive better compensation than the initial, agreed upon investment.

It can be understandably intimidating to go against a large corporation as insurance companies are often backed by numerous resources and even private lawyers of their own. You needn’t have to, however, as there are insurance lawsuits out there who are dedicated to serving the individual against the threat of being cheated by larger corporations.

If you or someone you know has been unjustifiably and horribly treated by an insurance company by unlawfully withholding claims without proper evidence or reason, then it is of the utmost importance that legal action is sought in order to rectify the situation and you can get the closure and justice that you deserve.

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Determining Fault in Personal Injury Cases

Dealing with any sort of lawsuit can be one of the most stressful situations that anyone has to deal with. It requires patience, diligence, and dedication in the pursuit of justice. However, for those who are directly involved with the case – there can be a lot of pain and hassle involved. This is the case for any kind of lawsuit but one of the more personally difficult ones are those surrounding personal injury, according to the professionals with Abel Law Firm.

Personal injury is a broad term that involves a situation wherein one party was injured due to the (either intentional or malicious) negligence of another party. This definition can, of course, be more complicated than it sounds. This specific kind of lawsuit can branch out into different subsets such as that of premises liability, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accident, et cetera.

For example, if there had been a car accident and the spinal cord of a passenger was injured and the other driver was killed, that already involves three different kinds of subsets of personal injury. If that hypothetical car accident was, say, caused by a construction site – then the fault rests in neither of the drivers. There are a lot of complications that can be involved in personal injury and if you are already suffering from such trauma and so many ordeals, legal action may not always be the priority – when it is legal aid that could very well allow for you to be given the best resources necessary for you to have the most efficient and effective route to recovery.

Personal injury lawyers in TN, for example, can have the resources necessary to represent your case in a court of law as well as have intimate knowledge of all factors of the case, including medical jargon and technical knowhow that is often necessary to any legal proceeding involving personal injury. They can help more than you know – and give you more help than what you thought you needed.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident due to negligence, contact professional help immediately to know the best way to proceed after such a disorientating event.

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Devastation and Injuries Caused by Explosions

There is a scientific law that states that energy cannot be destroyed – only transformed. If you take apart all the bits and bobs that make a watch – all its gears and cogs and wiring – it is still a watch, just with the pieces parted from each other. Nothing about what makes the watch what it is has changed in such a way that it cannot be put back together. Should a watch be subject to a chemical compound and then heated to a maximum amount, there is a probability of there to be a severe reaction.

This is talking of a smaller scale kind of reaction – but these kinds of situations on a grander scale are, unfortunately, possible. Such is what happens during an accident that results in an explosion. Explosions that cause injury and destruction (and in the worst possible scenario, death) are often due to negligence. Chemicals and such things don’t just explode out of their own volition, these are not natural disasters. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, these kinds of circumstances that involve explosions can devastate hundreds, possibly thousands, of people – or even entire economies, simply because of the massive scope of the explosion.

Information from the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® suggests that sometimes these explosions occur as a result of negligence. Failure to properly maintain or inspect hazardous chemicals or materials can trigger a tragic accident; and those that sustained injuries during the explosion are innocent. In these cases, the negligent party should be held responsible.

Think of your skin as parchment; upon an explosion, all of your energy is then converted to ash in the wind and unidentifiable bone. Think of everything you have ever worked for and built; upon an explosion, all of it can turn to unlivable, indistinguishable rubble. These circumstances are more often avoidable and they should have been, were it not for the willful or intentional negligence of a single party or an entire corporation. Either way, there is fault that lies somewhere and it is the duty and right of those negatively affected to seek justice for the consequences dealt unto them.

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Drug Crime Consequences and Prevention

This is no new problem – drugs. Addiction to substances has been a legitimate problem since the innovation of medical science and the potential for its abuse in the wrong hands. Over the years, there have been more creative ways to acquire it until it has become hazardously easy to obtain these drugs. And all it takes to become hopelessly addicted is to start once.

This kind of problem is one that requires a solution and those who suffer from its hold need help – yet to be convicted of a criminal drug charge, or to even be falsely accused and have it be on your record, can damage the potential opportunities you should have had. Should one mistake, a problem that has been infecting people over centuries upon centuries, then define your entire life? This does not have to be so.

Drug crimes, in relation to representation in the media, are also dramatized and antagonized without putting in how hard quitting or recovery can actually be. It is a heated debate among many various groups of people and so cases like this in court can be twisted and turned for the benefit of propaganda instead of the actual person who has to suffer this crime. Some people are even turned unwittingly dependent on a drug, not from their own volition but the addiction remains.

A Westchester drug crimes lawyer can tell you that a single criminal charge, even something like this, can have worse effects than that of more heinous crimes. That is why, should you find yourself in a situation wherein you require the services of a criminal defense lawyer, it is imperative that they are a dependable firm that is committed to justice. The defense for your case is highly dependent upon the situation and upon the people handling such delicate information. Any little fact that may have been misrepresented could mean the end of everything you have fought for – which is why you need someone who is experienced in this kind of situation.

This is no new problem – but there are people out there who can help now, in all the right ways.

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