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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Custodianship | 0 comments

Determining Custodianship in the State of Texas

Determining Custodianship in the State of Texas

One usual cause of disagreement between divorcing couples is child custody, as there are times when both parents do not want to be separated from their child. In the olden days, due to the observance of a practice called “maternal preference,” child custody was awarded to mothers. This was based on the presumption that mothers were naturally better equipped with the love and concern necessary in raising their children.

In court-litigated divorce cases that involve the issue of child custody, the court usually does not ask a child to testify; the judge also would never decide to talk with the child privately to hear his/her interests, thus, parents who are worried over their children testifying would be baseless fear. The court, instead, hires a lawyer or a social worker who will represent the child and inform the judge of what their interests are.

Though it is the court which has the final say with regard to custody, having a lawyer on your side, someone who is really versed in family law would be a big influence in swaying the court’s decision to your favor. Having custody of your child does not mean that you are more capable financially, nor does it mean that you can decide anytime to move or change residence or state, however. Since your former spouse also has rights over your children, regardless of how limited it is, you will need his/her approval (or the court’s approval) before moving to another city or state can be done.

A court may decide to award any of the following types of custodianship:

  • Legal custody – courts in some U.S. states sometimes decide on awarding this type of custody to both parents (called joint legal custody). Legal custody gives the custodial parent the right and responsibility to decide on matters concerning the child’s growth and basic needs, like education, religion and health care.
  • Physical custody – this type of custody gives the custodial parent the right to live with his/her child, while the other parent, visitation rights. In the event that the divorced parents live quite near one another and the child spends considerable amounts of time with both of them, then the court may allow joint physical custody instead.
  • Sole custody – though many courts are now veering away from entrusting a child to only one parent and increasing the role played by fathers in a child’s life after divorce, sole custody would still be the decision if one parent is judged to be unfit due to factors, such as dependency to drug or alcohol, neglect or abuse of child, mental incapacity or an unfit new partner.
  • Joint custody – this type of custody has various forms:
    • joint physical custody;
    • joint legal custody;
    • joint legal and physical custody

Divorced couples who are awarded joint physical custody also usually enjoy joint legal custody, but not vice-versa.

Though states may differ with regard to the factors these consider when deciding over a child custody case, one factor remains constant: the best interest of the child. In the state of Texas, specifically, courts determine custodianship or conservatorship of a child using the following standards: (i) assurance that the child will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child; (ii) provision of a safe, stable, and non-violent environment for the child; and, (iii) encouragement of parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child even after they have separated or dissolved their marriage.”

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2017 in Car Accident | 0 comments

Traffic Growth, Car Accidents, and How to Protect Yourself

Anyone who lives in a major metropolitan area can attest to just how serious traffic can be. Every year, as more drivers move to bigger city hubs, traffic likewise increases, not only doubling or tripling traffic times for many commuters during the busiest traffic hours, but making roadways more dangerous for drivers. According to Tucson car accident lawyers at Russo, Russo, & Slania, P.C., car accidents are already among the top causes of serious death and wrongful injury in the U.S. every year, and these numbers only continue to increase with increased drivers, traffic, and safety hazards.

More concerning is an article from NPR that cites a government study showing 2015 traffic deaths to have increased by the largest margin in decades, attributed to job growth and more people driving on shared roadways. Sobering as the statistics may be, there are a number of ways to protect yourself against collisions and injuries on the roadways. As safety is the goal, start by examining the safety measures your car has to offer. Ensure that your car meets safety standards and that such standards, such as airbags and seat belts are working properly. Seat belts are particularly important as almost half of the deaths coming from the increase in traffic fatalities in 2015 were caused by passengers not wearing seat belts, according to the same study from NPR. The next highest causes were drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving.

Given these causes, there are specific ways of decreasing your chances of a collision. Always have a designated driver if you are drinking, watch your speed, and put away your smartphone to protect yourself on the roadways. You cannot control other drivers and can consequently never be completely protected from crashes, but ensuring that you hold yourself accountable for the same safety standards you expect from other drivers will lower your chances of an accident. Additionally, avoiding certain roads and highways that have a high concentration of traffic may decrease your commute time and increase your protection.

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Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Fraud | 0 comments

Understanding The Basics of Wire Fraud

Mobile phones and computers provide individuals with a great way to send information across state lines. Whether it’s an email, text message, or any other form of communication, they will surely utilize state lines. While most communication tools have made it easier for people to communicate with each other, the lines of communication have also become an avenue for committing crimes such as wire fraud. In this article, we shall understand the basics of wire fraud.

Wire fraud is any action that is intended to defraud others of their money or property. These acts utilize an electric form of media to initiate the plan. Most wire fraud cases are prosecuted under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO). These actions consist of three major elements that needs to be proven in court:

  1. Intent
  2. A “scheme or artifice to defraud” or otherwise obtaining property by fraud
  3. Use of mail or any wire communication to get the scheme in motion

As it involves the use of communication that crosses state lines, all cases of wire fraud are prosecuted under Federal laws. The penalties for wire fraud are dependent upon the aggravating factors. It is worth noting that the penalties for mail and wire fraud can be quite severe. It carries a jail sentence of up to 20 or 30 years, excessive fines, or both. If RICO is applied on the case, any property used by the defendant in committing the crime shall be seized by the government. To determine the fine, the court will look at the amount of the original fraud and the value of the material gains, if any, resulting from the fraud.

Just like any case, wire fraud needs to be filed within the statute of limitations. The defendant cannot be prosecuted, brought to trial, or made to pay punitive damages unless they are indicted within five years.

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Posted by on Aug 20, 2016 in Social Security | 0 comments

The Levels of Appeal After Rejection of Social Security Disability Application

Retirement from work is an unavoidable course in every employee’s life, provided it is not suddenly and unexpectedly ended by a disabling injury or illness. Disability or illness, whether work-related, is often the cause of financial burden to so many workers, especially mid-income earners. Besides loss of income due to inability to report for work, many also eventually lose their savings due to the high cost of medical treatment.

Unlike during the early part of the 1900s, however, when workers were often left struggling financially whenever they got injured or ill, cash benefits started to be paid to injured or ill workers, whether their injury or illness was due to work. After U.S. states, one after another, passed into law the Workers’ Compensation Act during the first quarter of the 1900s, the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935.

The Social Security Act, which first served as a form of social insurance, was originally intended as a solution to the problem of poverty suffered by senior citizens during the 1930 Great Depression. Continuous changes and improvements in the Act, however, have caused its positive effects to flow through time; today, it addresses not only old age needs (through pension) but also provides cash assistance to both workers and non-workers suffering from serious illnesses or permanent total disabilities.

Due to fraudulent disability claims in the past, application and evaluation of applications have been made much stricter, often resulting to rejections even at their initial phases of filing. Rejected applications, however, means that an applicant can make an appeal within 60 days after receipt of the decision.

Social Security disability benefits appeal usually undergoes four levels:

  • Reconsideration, which is a comprehensive review of the claim, is to be made by people or evaluators who did not take part in the first decision;
  • Hearing by an Administrative law judge, which is conducted if the applicant still disagrees with the decision reached after |the Reconsideration level. An applicant can present new proofs or introduce witnesses who will help confirm his/her rights for the claim.
  • Review by the Appeals Council. This council may be requested to review the decision arrived at during the hearing if applicant is still not satisfied. The appeals council has the right, however, to reject an applicant’s request if it finds the administrative law judge’s decision to be sound and correct. If it decides to consider the request, however, then it may either issue its own decision or return applicant’s case to the administrative law judge who will conduct a further review on the claim.
  • Federal court review. A fourth option is available if applicant still does not agree with the decision of the Appeals Council, especially if the council’s decision is rejection of appeal made. This fourth level is request for a federal court review. The Social Security office will inform the applicant whatever decision it arrives at, as well as give him/her instructions on how to raise his/her concern to the federal court.

As explained by Social Security disability claim appeal lawyers from the Hankey Law Office, a rejected disability claim is a devastating blow that can plunge your financial future into uncertainty. Fortunately, it is possible to appeal an unfavorable decision concerning your disability claim, whether this claim was wholly denied or only partially approved. Assistance from a highly-competent lawyer, who will guide through the whole process of your appeal can be an advantageous move.

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Posted by on May 22, 2016 in Workers' Compensation | 0 comments

All You Need To Know About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can bring severe pain that usually affects the arms or legs. This usually results from malfunctions in the peripheral and central nervous system. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, while the condition can affect just one limb it can spread to other areas of the body. It may result from physical trauma and may bring life-altering changes for the individual.

Symptoms of CRPS may include the following:

  • Consistent burning or throbbing pain in the arm, leg, hand, or foot
  • Sensitivity to touch or cold
  • Swelling in the painful area
  • Changes in skin temperature– it may feel sweaty at times and cold in other times
  • Changes in skin color ranging from white and mottled to red or blue
  • Changes in the texture of the skin becoming tender, thin, or shiny in the painful area
  • Changes in the hair and nail growth
  • Stiffness in the joints, swelling and damage
  • Muscle spasms, weakness and loss
  • Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Bear in mind that the symptoms may change from time to time and from one person to another. Usually, pain, swelling, redness, and noticeable changes in temperature as well as hypersensitivity may occur first. If the pain has become too unbearable, it is time to consult your doctor to determine the cause. For complex regional pain syndrome, early treatment can prove crucial.

Complex regional pain syndrome has two types:

  • Type 1. Also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, it takes place after an injury that does not directly damage the nerves in the affected limb. 9 out of 10 people with complex regional pain syndrome suffer from reflex sympathetic syndrome.
  • Type 2. Type 2 is often referred to as causalgia and follows after a distinct nerve injury.

When not treated right away, complex regional pain syndrome may lead to more debilitating conditions such as:

  • Tissue Wasting (Atrophy). Characterized by difficulty moving arm or leg or limb due to stiffness, it may lead to deterioration and weakening of the skin, bones, and muscles
  • Muscle Tightening. It may lead to the contraction of the hands and fingers on the foot into a fixed position
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