Monday, December 29, 2008

Divorces Are Down, Both Nationally and Locally

I always scan the newspaper for divorce stories. I have been wondering how the economy as effected the divorce rate. I was pleasantly surprised to see a story on the front page of the Arizona Star on December 4, 2008 by Gabriela Rico entitled, "Divorces Are Down, Both Nationally and Locally" See full story at Ms. Rico says, "In these scary economic times, couples seem to be sticking to the "for worse" part of their marriage vows and deciding their differences may not be so unreconcilable after all.
Nationwide, divorce filings are down and Pima County appears to be following the trend.
From January through November last year, 4,338 couples filed a petition for marriage dissolution in Pima County Superior Court. That number dropped to 4,261 for the same time this year.
In November alone, divorce petitions in Pima County dropped to 295 compared to 349 in November 2007, according to Pima County Clerk of the Court records."
She goes on to say, "many couples are signing up for mediation or counseling instead of rushing to divorce court. Pima County Superior Court offers mediation to couples who have filed for divorce, and requests for those sessions are also up, said Ford Nicholson, clinical services supervisor with The Family Center, which is part of the court's Family Law division. From January to October 2007, the program received 86 petitions for mediation. During the same time this year, 107 petitions have been received. ‘The focus is to help people try to work on their marriage,’ Nicholson said."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. WM 12/29/08

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Disability Compensation Benefits for Injured Workers*

Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to a worker who has a job-related injury or illness. These benefits may be paid by federal or state workers’ compensation agencies, employers or by insurance companies on behalf of employers.

Disability payments from private sources, such as private pension or insurance benefits, do not affect one’s social security disability benefits.

But workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits may reduce your social security benefits. Other public disability payments that may affect your Social Security benefit are those paid by a federal, state or local government and are for disabling medical conditions that are not job-related.

Some of these are civil service disability benefits, military disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits and state or local government retirement benefits that are all based on disability.

Some public benefits do not affect or reduce your social security disability benefits.

They are:

• Veterans Administration benefits

• State and local government benefits, if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings

• Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

On the other hand, injured workers are also entitled to certain benefits under the workers’ compensation law. Here are the types of workers disability compensation:

• Temporary Total Disability - This benefit is payable when the injured worker is unable to work during a period when he/she is under active medical care and has not yet reached what is called “maximum medical improvement”.

In most states, compensation is paid at two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed statutory weekly maximums above which no worker is entitled to compensation. It is common worker’s temporary total disability weekly benefit to be capped by these statutory compensation limits.

• Temporary Partial Disability - A worker may be eligible for temporary partial disability compensation when he or she is able to do some work but is still recuperating from the effects of the injury, and is, thus, temporarily limited in the amount or type of work which can be performed compared to the pre-injury work.

• Permanent Partial Disability - Compensation is awarded for certain types of permanent conditions which do not cause the worker to be totally unable to work.

• Permanent Total Disability - In order to receive this type of compensation, the employee must prove that he is unable to return to work in any capacity, and that this is a permanent problem.

On the other hand, there are rulings in many states to the effect that a worker, who can perform only occasional, sporadic or undependable work, may still be deemed to be permanently totally disabled. Frequently, states’ workers compensation law permits lawyers to offer evidence of a workers age, education, training and experience in seeking to prove that the worker is incapable of substantial gainful employment.

• Disfigurement/Mutilation - A states’ workers compensation law may permit the employee to be compensated for disfigurement or scarring, frequently in the absence of any actual impairment, and sometimes in addition to actual impairment.

Disabled workers and employees are entitled to a number of benefits under the law. To know more information about how these benefits may be applicable to you as a disabled employee, you need to consult a disability compensation lawyer who is knowledgeable with these issues.

*Written By:
Manuel Salvacion, website located at .Our professional lawyers and legal staffs are is capable of providing expert assistance in your Social Security Disability problems.

*This post is listed for informational purposes only. The Metts Law Firm, LLC did not contribute to the contents or warrant the information provided. This is not intended as legal advice or the offer of legal representation. Please contact
Metts Law Firm, LLC at 803-929-0577.

Divorce: "Divvying Up" the Debt*

In any divorce, financial matters can be the stickiest issue for couples to get around. When you carefully consider all of your debts without bias or hard feelings, the both of you can eventually reach an agreement that is fair to all.

Contacting an experienced attorney is the fist step in getting the best divorce advice for your particular situation. Next, you will want to make a list or spreadsheet of all your joint and individual debts, sorting them into three separate columns. Be sure to include the names of your creditors and the balances owed along with the account numbers. Prioritize which are the debts you will need to pay first, such as utility bills and mortgage or rent.

Once you have listed all your debts, assess your individual incomes. Whoever earns the most will naturally be better able to pay a larger chunk of the debt. This is can be a very crucial detail, particularly in the case of women and divorce, since they will many times be the ones to stay home and care for the children throughout their marriage.

Get a copy of both your credit reports. Decide which, if any, debts can be eliminated or paid off immediately. Be logical about how debts are assigned and try to be sensitive to your spouse’s future plans such as going back to college or starting a new business.

Finally, obtain information with regard to debt consolidation and bankruptcy (as a last resort).

Once you and your spouse have sorted out a fair plan, have your lawyer incorporate it into your divorce settlement or judgment of divorce. While there is no such thing as an “easy divorce,” staying civil and calm throughout the debt division process will certainly help to speed things along for the both of you.

*Written by Nathan Dawson
About the author:
Nathan Dawson writes for http://www.lifeaftermarriage.coma great online source for finance information.

*Metts Law Firm, LLC is not responsible or liable for the content in this post. It is intended for informational purposes only, and not as an offer of legal advice or representation. Anyone seeking a divorce should contact an attorney to get advice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

How to Divorce and Not Wreck the Kids

One of the interesting things about the internet is how a community is formed. Everyone is reaching out to contact and yes promote their ideas and projects. I participate in this process and after screening the emails try to "spread the word" about material I think is helpful. I recently received an email from Suzannah of Bountiful Films about their documentary that will be Thursday January 8th, 9pm on CBC's (Canadian Television) Doc Zone, How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids. Suzannah emailed me that the show, "follows three couples who actually divorce on camera, giving viewers unprecedented access to an intensely private process. We at Bountiful Films intend to show Canadians that despite being overwhelmed by anger and grief, couples can make clear and powerful choices. They can purposefully choose options designed to diminish conflict that make it possible to still function together as parents Watch as they end their marriages utilizing three such options: collaborative divorce, mediation and a do-it-yourself kit."
She goes on to review the film synopsis: "The end of a marriage doesn't have to be the end of a family. Parents contemplating divorce are barraged with "divorce from hell" stories – the kind that leave children scarred for life. But there is another reality. Grass roots Canadians are at the heart of a quiet revolution – couples working on "good" divorces, which acknowledge that the end of a marriage isn't the end of a family. How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids takes viewers directly into the heart of one of the most emotionally devastating life transitions, as three courageous Canadian couples determined to keep the needs of their children front and centre, separate on camera. Roland and Carolye use a do-it-yourself divorce kit. Mike an d Melissa work with a mediator. And Lionel and Sally use a new and controversial process called collaborative divorce. How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids delivers the latest compelling evidence to convince separating parents to keep conflict away from their kids."
You can get more information about Bountiful Films or view the trailer their web site at or at or embedded below:

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. WM 12/22/08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Does it help to hire a Disability Attorney?

There are many advantages of having an attorney to assist in applying for disability. Most attorneys will not charge a fee to evaluate the case. Additionally, most attorneys work on contingency, which means the ATTORNEY DOES NOT GET PAID UNLESS YOU WIN. So an applicant has nothing to lose and everything to gain by consulting a disability lawyer. Further the attorney can assist with getting the necessary medical documentation, work history, etc. to prove disability.

The Disability Mystery

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance in the form of monthly compensation to workers who can no longer work due to an injury, medical condition, etc.

When applying for disability benefits, the following information is necessary when you initially contact the Social Security Administration. You may apply in person, on line or by phone.

1. Original copy of birth certificate or any valid document of applicant’s age

2. Social Security Number

3. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all medical care providers, hospitals, etc. that provided services relevant to your injury or medical condition

4. List of jobs and companies done in the past

5. Proof of income (W-2 from employer or federal tax returns if self employed)

These documents are used by the SSA to determine whether you have earned enough work credits to qualify for benefits. If you have, then they can determine if you meet the legal definition of disabled to actually get the disability benefits.

A group of individuals from the State’s Disability Determination Services made up of a health care specialist and expert disability will evaluate the information provided. To determine if an applicant is disabled, they will consider the following:

1. Whether the applicant’s injury or medical condition prevents “substantial gainful activities” or employment

2. Whether the applicant’s injury or medical condition is included on a list of impairments developed by the SSA and listed on their website ( If not, they will consider the severity of the existing injury(s) or medical condition(s)

3. Whether the applicant is currently working

4. Whether the applicant can perform similar jobs that he/she previously had for the last 15 years or has transferable skills to do other types of employment

Most applicants will be denied benefits when they first apply. It could be for a number of reasons.

To resolve these issues, applicants should consult an attorney. Most attorneys offer a free consultation regarding Social Security Disability.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Virtual Divorce Next?

An AP story on November 15, 2008, entitled "Husband’s Virtual Affairs Push Real-Life Wife to Seek Divorce" caught my eye. See the entire story at either or
The article states that "a virtual affair is ending a real-life marriage in southwest England.
Amy Taylor filed for divorce when she discovered her husband cheating in Second Life — an online community where players adopt personas called avatars, mingle with others and teleport themselves into a series of artificial worlds. ‘I caught him cuddling a woman on a sofa in the game,’ Taylor told the South West News Service press agency. ‘It looked really affectionate. He confessed he'd been talking to this woman player in America for one or two weeks, and said our marriage was over and he didn't love me any more.’"
The article goes on to say that "the online drama shows how emotionally invested some people have become in their virtual identities, said Ellen Helsper, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute who has studied the impact of the Web on relationships. ‘For a while there was this impression that as long as it's online, it doesn't matter. But research has shown it's not a separate world,’ she said, adding that infidelity was ‘just as painful, whether it's electronic or physical.’"
The distraction of the internet and internet relationships have long been a cause of divorce but this is a new angle. There are already many web sites that allow a person to complete divorce documents online. Perhaps the next step is for people to experience a virtual divorce online to see if a real divorce is appropriate for them. Time will tell!
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM 12/15/08

Monday, December 08, 2008

Obama’s Family and Audacity of Hope

I thought it was important to read "Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama to better understand what he thinks and stands for. He is an excellent writer. He writes like he speaks. Although the book was a few years old, it is consistent with what he said during the campaign. I like seeing a movie about a book before I read the book. I find I am less disappointed and the book fills in the blanks. "Audacity of Hope" was the same for me. He had one of the best description and analysis of the history of American foreign policy I have ever read. What I was not expecting but should have was his discussion about family. He wrote about not just the American family but his family. The opposition tried to portray Obama as elite and not a typical American. In fact he is very typical of a father and husband in an intact family. Many of you will recognize yourself. His discussion of his daughter’s birthday party, brought back many memories for me. I was going to quote some of what he said but when I tried, I found I could not do it justice. Get the book and read the chapter on Family. It is worth it. It is worth quoting some of what he said about family.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM 12/8/08

Monday, December 01, 2008

Marriage, Divorce, and Mediation in China

We recently went on the Tucson Chamber of Commerce trip to China. It was wonderful! I loved walking on the Great Wall, feeling the vitality of the Shanghai, the exotic quality of the Forbidden City, and the warmth of the people. I realized that in China my nonverbal communication skills were better than my verbal skills. As always I was curious about marriage and divorce and asked our young guide about marriage and divorce in China. The wedding dresses are red and not white. Although that is changing. There is no formal wedding ceremony but a big meal. What surprised me the most was when she said there was mandatory mediation before a couple could get divorced. I googled divorce in China and found the following interesting article Divorce in the People's Republic of China: Analysis of a new law Journal Contemporary Family Therapy by John W. Engel. See article at :
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM 12/1/08