The Law: My First True Love

What Will Happen To Your Child Support When Your Ex Becomes Disabled?

You may have some mixed emotions if you are a custodial parent receiving child support from the other parent, and you hear that your ex has become so disabled they are no longer able to work at a regular job. Even though you may be sad about the news, you may also be concerned about your children’s welfare. If you are relying on child support to help care of the children’s basic needs, it is important to know what your rights and responsibilities are in this situation.

Modifications to Child Support Payments

A person who has become disabled does not get a free pass to quit paying child support. They are still required to make the payments as ordered by the court, and they must go back to court to get the amount lowered if needed. Depending on the state you live in, the judge will look at the disabled person’s current income, and may also consider yours at the same time. If there is a significant decrease in your ex’s income, the child support may be modified to reflect this.

Sources of Income for Disabled

A newly disabled person may start receiving income and assistance in the following ways:

  • From long term disability (LTD) insurance payments through their employer.
  • From social security disability income (SSDI) payments.
  • From an insurance settlement due to a personal injury or worker’s compensation claim.
  • Through Federal and state welfare programs.

A judge will count LTD and SSDI payments as income when considering a modification petition since these types of income have been made possible due to an employed (or self-employed) person’s benefits or earning record.

However, if your ex has been approved to receive SSDI payments, then any of their minor dependents would also be eligible for auxiliary benefits through the Social Security Administration. In this case, you would receive payments directly from the government to use in behalf of the children, but your ex’s child support requirement can be modified to reflect this.

If your ex receives a settlement due to a personal injury or worker’s comp claim, this will also be considered income, but assistance from federal, state welfare programs and SSI (supplemental security income) are not considered income and would not be used when determining child support or modification.

Ways to Collect

If your ex applies for SSDI payments, they should also include their dependents as part of their claim. If approved, you will start receiving the auxiliary payments directly from the SSA to use for their benefit and you may receive a percentage of your ex’s SSDI monthly payments also, especially if they owe a significant amount in child support. If you have been receiving any sort of state assistance for the children such as SNAP benefits or Medicaid, the state will likely be involved in helping you get your child support payments and back payments.

If you haven’t been receiving any public assistance, you may need to consult with an attorney from a place like Garrett & Silvey Law Firm for help to get a judgment against your former spouse for back support and to enforce the court ordered payments. The judge could order a percentage of any worker’s comp or personal injury claims be paid to you.

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What Are Your Out-Of-Court Divorce Options?

If you and your spouse have made the mutual decision to end your marriage, you may be wondering whether it’s necessary to have your decision (and any resulting split of assets and debts) ratified by a court. If you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce, it may seem unnecessarily stressful or costly to have to file official documents and go before a judge. Fortunately, there are ways for you to avoid seeing the inside of a courtroom while still ensuring that your divorce follows the proper legal channels. Read on to learn more about out-of-court divorces.

Are court divorces necessary?

Some legislators in Minnesota are attempting to streamline the divorce process by allowing individuals to legally separate on their own, without ever requiring their divorce agreement or property settlement to be reviewed and approved by a judge. However, this legislation is unusual — and some even say unconstitutional.

Currently, to obtain a legal divorce in any U.S. state, you’ll need to have the terms of your divorce officially sanctioned by a court. The U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions give courts the sole authority over family law issues, such as divorce and child custody. Unless these courts eschew their own duties, it is unlikely that the legislature will be able to create an alternative divorce process.

What are your present options if you’d like to divorce outside the court process?

This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to go through a lengthy, messy trial. In many cases, you and your spouse may be able to hammer out your agreement with the assistance of an attorney. If there are no disagreements about how the divorce or asset division should be handled, you and your spouse may even be able to use the same attorney. This attorney will draw up your proposed agreement and submit it to the judge for approval.

Unless the agreement is fundamentally unfair, it will likely be approved by the judge — without ever requiring you to step foot into a courtroom. Your attorney should be able to anticipate any questions the judge may have about your agreement, and will incorporate the answers to these questions within the body of the agreement.

This streamlined process is especially useful in cases involving minor children. If you and your spouse agree on a fair division of custody and child support, you’ll not only save thousands in legal fees, you’ll avoid a long process of hearings, fact-gathering sessions, and unnecessary stress. For more information, contact a family law expert like Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC.

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A Quick Guide To Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Between 200,000 and 400,000 people die each year from medical malpractice in the United States. Medical malpractice is defined as either an action or an omission by medical professionals that lead to permanent damage or even death. Medical malpractice often leads to the victim suing someone in the healthcare field. There are some defined reasons to sue for malpractice. If you think you (or a family member) have a medical malpractice case on your hands, it is a good idea to know what these reasons are.

Negligent Prescription of Medication or Medical Devices

If a healthcare provider prescribes medication or medical devices that cause injury to the patient due to a doctor’s mistake, there is a strong possibility the patient can file a lawsuit. Manufacturers of medications and medical devices spell out the proper usage of products. If the manufacturer warns against the use of the product in situations similar to the patient’s situation and the doctor prescribes the product while blatantly ignoring protocol, this can lead to serious damage to the patient. In this example, the victim can file a malpractice suit against their healthcare provider.

Informed Consent

Before an operation, doctors are required by law to explain all risks of the procedure to the patient. This is so that the patient can give informed consent saying that they understand what is happening and what may occur if things go wrong. If the surgery goes badly and the patient ends up debilitated in some way, they cannot sue the doctor. However, if the surgeon failed to disclose all the things that could go wrong, the victim may certainly be able to sue for malpractice.

“Res Ipsa Loquitur” or The Thing Speaks for Itself

In these types of cases, res ipsa loquitur, is pretty simple. The idea is that what happens speaks for itself. It is so obvious, there is no defense for what happened. In most cases, this type of malpractice is proven by items left behind during surgery. The old wives’ tales about a doctor sewing a patient back up and forgetting to remove a clamp, a glove, or even a watch. This mistake is easily proven by an x-ray showing the item that is still in the person’s body.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be difficult to prove. However, with a good lawyer and strong evidence of damages caused, victims can win their cases. In all cases, harm must have been caused by a negligent doctor. Without that harm, there is simply no lawsuit. 

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How To Assign Post-Mortem Guardianship Of Your Children

No parent likes to think that he or she will die and leave behind children that are too young to care for themselves, but it does happen. When both you and your spouse die suddenly, do you know where your children will go? It is a very sad, confusing and scary time for children, and you want yours to be in good hands. They can be, if you “will” them to someone else’s care. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. A family lawyer can help you establish post-mortem guardianship of your surviving children the right way.

First, Find One or Two People to Be Guardians

You want to find a guardian or couple of guardians who are good with children, share your ideals and parenting styles and who already know your children very well. Do not leave your children with a distant cousin or a family friend whom your children have only met once or twice. Once you have selected the most appropriate candidates, you will have to get their permission to be your children’s guardians. A lawyer will not make it legal and binding if your chosen candidates do not fully agree to take the position. If you have extended family willing to take your children in, they still have to make it legal and binding.

Next, Sit Down with the Lawyer

Although those you have chosen to be guardians do not have to be at the initial meeting with the lawyer, it is better for everyone if they are. They will be responsible for your children completely, in the event of you and your partner’s untimely demises. Therefore, they may want to contribute stipulations to the legal guardianship contract or just be present to hear what your stipulations are. Once the lawyer has drawn up the guardianship papers, then you, your partner, and your selected guardians all have to sign the document in the presence of the lawyer. 

Why You Involve Family Law and Not Wills and Probate Law

Willing children to another adult is considered slavery. Ergo, you cannot “will” your children to their emergency guardians and cannot consult with a wills and probate lawyer. Because your children would become part of their guardians’ families, you have to go through a family lawyer, like those at Woehrle Franklin Dahlberg Jones PLLC, to designate guardians in the even that you and your partner are no longer living.

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What Is the Difference Between Disability Benefits & Worker’s Compensation?

If you get hurt on the job or become ill and are no longer able to work, there are a number of insurance benefits that may be available to you. You will either be entitled to worker’s compensation or disability insurance. How do you know which one you are entitled to?

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance helps you if you become ill or are injured, but the medical problems are not work-related. This type of insurance will usually pay you benefits weekly. The insurance company pays out these benefits to you for a temporary, predetermined amount of time.

These types of insurance companies will pay you a portion of what you typically earn if you are incapacitated and can’t perform your duties at work. You would have had to set up a disability insurance plan with your employer and made payments towards the plan in order to have the option of this benefit.

Worker’s Compensation

All employers must carry worker’s compensation insurance to protect their employees for injuries and accidents that happen in their place of business. If you are injured at work or by a work-related activity, your employer must legally pay for any medical bills and lost wages that you might incur. 

Worker’s compensation is intended to provide benefits for you if you are injured or if some illness is caused by the work environment. If you become permanently or temporarily disabled do to work, they may also pay for your medical bills as well.

Some Insurance Companies Will Pay You Both

There are certain situations the can occur that you may be able to collect both disability insurance benefits, as well as worker’s compensation benefits. If you are hurt at work and that has caused some type of cumulative effect on your health or if a previous work related injury continues to get worse, you can file for both disability and worker’s compensation insurance benefits.

Successfully Report Your Claim

If you are injured on the job, it is important to report it to your employers as soon as possible. Then, your employer will contact their insurance company to pay for you medical bills and any other benefits you may be entitled to. Resources like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S. are also available to help ensure the paperwork of your claim best describes your current situation.

What if Your Employer Refuses to File a Claim?

Sometimes employers or insurance companies may try to dispute your claim for worker’s compensation or disability insurance. A worker’s compensation lawyer can help you file your claim. State disability programs may pay out until your case resolved. Then, your workers compensation benefits will pay back the state organization.

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Child Attacked by a Neighbor’s Dog? How a Lawyer Can Help with the Dispute

Did your child visit a neighbor’s home and was injured by their dog? You may be able to sue your neighbor and get compensated if your child was not at fault. Find out what a personal injury lawyer can do to assist you with the incident and how much you will have to spend to hire one.

How can a lawyer assist after an attack?

A lawyer can help you with your case after you answer a few questions about what transpired on the day of the incident. You may be asked if your child was taunting the dog in any way, such as by handling it roughly or making animal noises to get a reaction. Your lawyer must ask you those questions to make sure your child did not play a role in angering the dog, which resulted in him or her getting injured.

Your lawyer will also investigate the nature of the type of dog your neighbor owns. Some dogs are known to be vicious, so it is the owner’s responsibility to keep the dog locked up or on a leash when visitors are around for safety. Before moving forward with the lawsuit, your lawyer will provide services such as:

  • Getting a copy of your child’s medical record
  • Finding out if the dog has attacked other people
  • Discovering the length of time your child will need treatment

It is possible that your case can be settled out of court so you can get compensated faster. If your neighbor takes responsibility for the actions of the dog, your lawyer can settle the dispute through mediation. Going through mediation will make everything agreed upon legally binding in court because documents will be signed. However, if your child will need long-term treatment and your neighbor does not agree to cover the expenses, a lawsuit will be necessary.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?

If mediation is all that is needed to settle the dispute, you can expect to pay an hourly rate that is at the discretion of the specific lawyer hired. However, lawsuits are commonly based on paying a contingency fee that will be an average of up to 40% of what is won. There are no upfront fees necessary when a contingency fee is paid.

Make sure you are not stuck with big medical bills from your child’s injury that was the fault of the neighbor’s dog. Research your options by contacting local law firms such as Otorowski Johnston Morrow & Golden P.L.L.C.

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A Criminal Defense Attorney

Sometimes the difference between conviction and acquittal is how someone interprets the evidence in a case. When you are accused of a crime, you might feel overwhelmed, confused, and out of your depth. A good criminal defense attorney trains for years in order to understand how to build a case and carry it through all of the stages of a trial. If you are innocent, a lawyer is your best bet at proving it. If you are guilty, a lawyer will make sure that your rights are respected and you get a fair trial with a fair punishment for your crimes. 

Legal Rights

Any legal system is only as good as the people charged with enforcing it. Human error is one concern. A misplaced piece of evidence, an untrustworthy witness, or a moment of weakness can spell disaster for your case. While human error is a problem, you also have to consider people who try to bend the rules for whatever reason. A good lawyer will help you to know what your rights are at each stage of your trial and will help to protect you against those who would put your rights in jeopardy. You might not know exactly what your rights are or how they can be threatened, so trust a lawyer to see that you receive justice.

Building a Case

To win a case, you need more than a burning conviction of your own innocence, and you need more than facts. You might feel like as long as you have facts in your favor, you will come out on top, but the problem with facts is that someone always has to make sense of them. A lawyer will know how to build a solid case to make sure that a jury knows exactly what the facts are in your case. Telling a coherent story, interpreting various pieces of evidence, and putting the pieces of your case together so that they paint one definite picture is not something you should try to do on your own. 

Taking a case to court can be an overwhelming task, the sort of thing you should not attempt on your own. A lawyer will have the training, the legal team, and all of the resources necessary to show your case in the best light at court. Rather than try to take the legal system on by yourself, you should take your case to a lawyer. For more information about what a lawyer can do for you, contact a firm such as Druyon Law.

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