Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action: Divorce TV

The Association for Conflict Resolution’s Family Mediation News published in the Fall 2008 issue an article by me entitled, "Lights, Camera, Action: Divorce TV." It discusses how I produce my own public access television program about divorce. You can see the entire 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. You can get more information at our web site at WM 1/25/09

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Are you Stressed Out over Injuries from an Accident?

If you suffer serious personal injury as the result of an automobile accident, whether you are driver, passenger or pedestrian, life can become very difficult. Physical injuries affect your ability to work, take care of your family, and pay your bills. If you were involved in an automobile accident and it was not your fault, you may need to consult with a personal injury attorney. You may want an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get all the compensation you are entitled to such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering resulting from the accident. A personal injury attorney can help give you an idea of how much your case is worth and the steps involved in filing a lawsuit, if your case can’t be settled for a reasonable able sum based on your medical bills, lost wages, lasting bodily injuries.

Dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming and a bit frightening for most people. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you deal with these issues and help you make the best decisions for you and your family. A good attorney can also help you determine if a settlement offer made by an insurance adjuster is fair to you. There are a lot of legal issues to consider regarding automobile accidents. It may help to have someone on your side to advise you of your rights, deal with the insurance company and court system, and help you get your life back on track.

Things you should do if you are ever involved in an accident include, getting a copy of your accident report and getting the contact information for all witnesses; getting copies of your medical bills and photos of the injuries and vehicle; and follow the instructions of your doctors. When you meet with a personal injury attorney provide the attorney with all of your information. And most importantly, talk to an attorney before you sign any releases. If you need the services of an attorney, the sooner you hire one the more likely you are to properly protect your legal interests.

Most attorneys who represent victims of automobile accidents do not charge any consultation fee and work on a contingency fee basis, which means the attorney will only get paid if you get a financial settlement. So it should not cost you anything to see if an attorney can benefit you and whether you need legal representation regarding your case. So if you are involved in an automobile, truck, motorcycle, dog bite, or any other type of accident, suffered injuries, and it was not your fault, call a personal injury attorney today. You may be happy you did. Let your attorney worry about the court process. While you may be entitled to financial compensation, there is no guarantee that you will be offered the compensation you deserve for your damages. Your attorney can help you understand how the legal process of settling an accident case, both the good and the bad.

Mediation in South Carolina - Is it right for you?

Family court mediation involves a third party mediator who meets with and assists couples in reaching an agreement regarding any domestic disputes they may be having. Many counties in South Carolina require mediation in any contested family court case, such as divorce, child custody, property division or alimony. The mediator’s role is not to decide what is best for the parties, but to facilitate discussion and dialog between the parties to help them work through the issues and hopefully reach an agreement. The mediator is there to listen and assist the parties in their decision making. However, the parties are the ones who decide what their agreement will be. The mediator can meet with the parties in the same room or can travel back and forth between the parties, whichever the parties are most comfortable with. The amount of time that it takes to mediate a can depends on the parties comfort level and the issues involved.

Certified mediators undergo training before attempting mediation. You can verify the mediator’s certification before you start the process. Meeting with a mediator to discuss the issues that need to be resolved with your spouse can also be therapeutic, as often times, this is the best chance many people have for getting both personal and legal issues heard. It can be helpful for both parties to listen to the other’s point of view, especially if there are children or custody is an issue. Often times when dealing with a divorce the parties are so winning or being right, that they lose sight of the big picture, their children. No matter how the case ends, if there are children, the parties will have to find a way to share their time. As mediation can make the court process a lot less stressful and scary for any children involved, this alone can make mediation a more attractive alternative.

Mediation can be a more economical and amicable solution to resolve family law matters such as child custody, property division, and alimony. It’s always worth a try to consider mediation if you feel willing to compromise with your spouse to settle your legal disputes. Some reasonable give and take is necessary for mediation to work. However, mediation is not right for all family law cases, such as cases where there is domestic abuse or one or both of the parties are unwilling to compromise for the purpose of settlement. In these instances, mediation is rarely effective or worthwhile.

When meeting with a mediator, be prepared to list all the pending issues, as well as what you are willing to compromise. Finding a common ground with your spouse is the ultimate goal of mediation. Finding an attorney who is also a mediator can be even more helpful. The attorney is likely able to put any agreement reached in writing to be used in court when the parties finalize their case. Remember, mediation gives the parties way more control that the court system ever will. One of the advantages of mediation is the satisfaction of agreeing to a settlement versus being told what you will be required to do. So if you feel that you and your spouse may be able to compromise, give mediation a try. If it is clear that you don’t see eye to eye, a divorce attorney is probably the best option.

If you have or are are considering a family law or domestic case in South Carolina, contact a Mediator or Attorney today for advice specific to your case.

M. Rita Metts is a licensed Attorney and Certified Family Court Mediator with more than 15 years of Family Law experience, including divorce, custody, alimony, etc. For more information visit the website at, email, or call 803-929-0577.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Serious Personal Injury: South Carolina Workers Comp, Disability, and Auto Accidents

If you can no longer work due to and serious personal injury or medical condition, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). SSDI is a government run tax-funded program that provides qualifying individuals and their family members with income in the form of monthly disability payments. To qualify for SSDI you must fit all of the following criteria: 1) have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity”, and 2) the condition must be expected to last at least twelve months, and 3) must be under the age of sixty-five, and 4) must have worked five out of the last ten years unless under the age of 22. The current time frame for these claims in South Carolina is approximately 24 months, which includes the initial application, reconsideration, and hearing stages of a claim.

Recovering from a serious personal injury is often a long and difficult process. Added to the physical and emotional stress brought on by any major injury are the legal and monetary problems that come after an accident. Long periods off work or of reduced productivity place pressure on your finances. You may face loss of income and fall behind on your bills. If you do not have adequate health insurance, you will face a mounting pile of medical bills as well, resulting in debt collection and impaired credit. Or worse, limited or no access to necessary medical treatment. Knowing your options will help you get your life back on track and provide peace of mind for you and your family.

If your personal injury is work related, you may be eligible to receive Workers Compensation insurance payments. Your employer, in exchange for you not suing them because of your injury, pays your medical expenses, and may be required to pay weekly compensation benefits and compensation for permanent injury or impairment. Most employers in South Carolina are required to carry Workers Compensation insurance on their employees, with a few exceptions. It was designed as a way to reduce litigation while providing the employee with an avenue for compensation and limtiting the employer's liability exposure. There are time limits to notify your employer of the injury as well as filing a claim, so consult with an attorney immediately.

When you suffer personal injury because of an auto accident, your compensation usually comes from the auto insurance company of the driver at fault, and possibly your insurance company if the other driver has insufficient or no insurance to compensate you. As with an injury at work, after a serious auto accident, if you fit the qualifications for SSDI you may still collect this as well. It will cost you nothing for our law firm to evaluate your case to determine your legal needs. In fact, in many small or minor impact accidents, you may be able to handle the negotiation with the adjuster on your own and save yourself money. The same usually does not apply for serious injuries.

Recovering from a major personal injury is difficult. With time and patience, you will regain a life that you can enjoy. It is important for you get started on the application processes for aide as soon as possible. By taking care of the legal and monetary aspects early, you can free yourself to concentrate on getting better. As always, consult with an attorney when deciding on any legal actions. A good attorney can lead you through the lengthy SSDI application process and insure that you are receiving the correct compensation from both Workers Comp and auto insurance companies.

Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis for most personal injury claims, which means you will not have pay anything if you do not get any compensation. One of the most important things to remember regarding an injury claim, whether it is disability, workers compensation or an accident is medical documentation. Quite often a claim is denied or underpaid because the claimant can't document their medical condition or injuries. Many times the injuried associated with a work related accident or serious automobile accident may qualify the claimant for disability benfits in addition to any other benefits. As many times the injuried associated with a work related accident or serious automobile accident may qualify the claimant for disability benfits in addition to any other benefits, it is extremely important to seek legal advice.

Reasons to use an Experienced and Dedicated Family Law Attorney in South Carolina

If you live in South Carolina and you are going through a divorce you need to hire professional staff because you will need legal advice. Hiring an experienced and dedicated attorney is the best option if you are looking at paying alimony, fighting for child custody, and much more. There are five grounds for divorce in this state, as well as jurisdictional and venue requirements.

When you hire a family law attorney for a child custody issue you are making a good decision. There are muliple factors that courts look at when considering custody which an attorney can help you with. The court process can be very stressful on children as well as the parties. When you use a professional staff experienced with divorce they can help you understand the court process and advise you of your rights throughout the entire process.

When you are going through a divorce you may have problems with mediation and agreeing to certain things in the divorce like the amount of money you have to pay or should receive for alimony and child support. You might feel you deserve custody also. Mediation is when you will sit with a court appointed professional staff that will try and make the both of you come to agreements about the divorce. Mediation is required in many South Carolina counties in divorce, child custody cases, alimony and property division, as well and other states around the nation. An attorney can help you work through agreements and possibly bypass the mediation process in the courts. Alternately if you hire an attorney who also a certified mediator, you get the benefits of both legal advise and/or mediation services, depending on your needs.

Hiring a family law attorney can help you come to agreements with your spouse during the divorce process. You do not want to fight and be bitter through the process because it can cause you to lose rights. However, if one of the parties is impossible to work with then the judge may recognize this. An attorney can help make the process more fair when it comes to alimony payments and if you even have to pay anything, child support and visitation and more.

Consulting with an experienced attorney when you are going through a divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, adoption, alimony or property division in South Carolina is the best option you can chose. You need to consider a family law attorney because the entire process can be too stressful to endure on your own and you may lose valuable grounds by waiting. The consultation allows you to gather sufficient information to protect your family and find out your rights. Finding an experienced and dedicated attorney will help you ensure the outcome is fair and at the best interest of the child. An attorney can help you calculate alimony payments if you should have to pay them, get the most time in visitation or even full custody, and help with mediation. You need a professional staff to work with you through the entire process. Itcan even help to speed up the entire process by coming to agreements with the other party.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Top Ten Ways To Protect Your Kid s from the Fallout of a High Conflict Break-up

People pass on to us items which they think would be helpful in our blog. Suzannah Kelly of Bountiful Films recently forwarded to me Joan Kelly’s Top Ten Ways To Protect Your Kid s from the Fallout of a High Conflict Break-up. Bountiful Films says that "Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. is a groundbreaking clinical psychologist and researcher who began studying the impact of divorce on children in 1968. Joan is an author, therapist, mediator, and parenting coordinator with four decades of experience working with high conflict parents who are separating. She has more than 85 publications, including Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce which she authored with Judith Wallerstein."
1. Talk to your children about your separation.
Studies show that only 5 percent of parents actually sit down, explain to their children when a
marriage is breaking up, and encourage the kids to ask questions. Nearly one quarter of parents
say nothing, leaving their children in total confusion. Talk to your kids. Tell them, in very simple
terms, what it all means to them and their lives. When parents do not explain what's happening
to their children, the kids feel anxious, upset and lonely and find it much harder to cope with the
2. Be discreet.
Recognize that your children love you both, and think of how to reorganize things in a way that
respects their relationship with both parents. Don't leave adversarial papers, filings and
affidavits out on your kitchen counter for children to read. Don't talk to your best friend, your
mother, your lawyer on the phone about legal matters or your ex when the kids are in the next
room. They may hear you. Sometimes kids creep up to the door to listen. Even though they’re
disturbed by conflict and meanness between their parents, kids are inevitably curious - and ill equipped
to understand these adult matters.
3. Act like grown-ups. Keep your conflict away from the kids.
Even parents with high levels of anger can "encapsulate" their conflict, creating a protective
buffer for the children by saving arguments or fights for a mediator’s office – or a scheduled
meeting at a coffee shop. It may seem obvious but so many separating parents continue to fall
down on this front. When parents put children in the middle of their conflict and use them as
messengers, sounding-boards, or spies, children often become depressed and angry and
may develop behavioral problems .
4 . Dad, stay in the picture.
Long-term studies show that the more involved fathers are after separation and divorce, the
better. Develop a child-centered parenting plan that allows a continuing and meaningful
relationship with both parents. Where a good father-child relationship exists, kids grow into
adolescence and young adulthood as well-adjusted as married-family children. High levels of
appropriate father involvement are linked to better academic functioning in kids as well as better
adjustment overall. That's true at every age level and particularly in adolescents. Fathers, be
more than a "fun" dad. Help with homework and projects, use appropriate discipline, and be
emotionally available to talk about problems.
5. Mom, deal with anger appropriately.
In their anger and pain, mothers may actively try to keep Dad out of the children's lives - even
when they are good fathers whom the children love. When you’re hurting, it’s easy to think you
never want to see the ex again, and to convince yourself that’s also best for the kids. But
children’s needs during separation are very different from their parents. Research reports
children consistently saying, "Tell my dad I want to see him more. I want to see him for longer
periods of time. Tell my mom to let me see my dad."
6. Be a good parent.
You can be forgiven for momentarily "losing it" in anger or grief, but not for long. Going through
a separation is not a vacation from parenting - providing appropriate discipline, monitoring your
children, maintaining your expectations about school, being emotionally available. Competent
parenting has emerged as one of the most important protective factors in terms of children’s
positive adjustment to separation.
7. Manage your own mental health.
If feelings of depression, anxiety, or anger continue to overwhelm you, seek help. Even a few
sessions of therapy can be enormously useful. Remember, your own mental health ha s an
impact o n your children.
8. Keep the people your children care about in their lives.
Encourage your children to stay connected to your ex’s family and important friends. If possible,
use the same babysitters or child-care. This stable network strengthens a child’s feeling that
they are not alone in this world, but have a deep and powerful support system – an important
factor in becoming a psychologically healthy adult.
9. Be thoughtful about your future love life.
Ask yourself: must your children meet everyone you date? Take time, a lot of time, before you
remarry or cohabit again. Young children in particular form attachments to your potential life
partners and, if new relationships break up, loss after loss may lead to depression and lack of
trust in children. And don’t expect your older kids to instantly love someone you’ve chosen – this
person will have to earn their respect and affection.
10. Pay your child support .
Even if you’re angry or access to your children is withheld, pay child support regularly. Children
whose parents separate or divorce face much more economic instability than their married
counterparts, even when support is paid. Don’t make the situation worse. In this as in all things,
let your message to the kids be that you care so much about them that you will keep them
separate, and safe, from any conflict. They will appreciate it as they get older.
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 1/12/09

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Should You Settle Your Injury Claim without a Lawyer?

You definitely do not need an attorney for every small accident case. What is a small accident case? There are no hard and fast rules, but usually a small case involves an accident with no damage, or little damage to the vehicle and the treatment for any injury lasts no more than a few weeks. In a small case, the medical bills usually will not exceed a few thousand dollars and the injuries will not be permanent. These are cases that can often be settled without the assistance of a lawyer. In my practice, I tell clients that it may not be cost effective to use an attorney for small case because most of the recovery may go to pay the attorney. Someone may have just as good a chance of recovering a settlement near or equal to one that an attorney could get in a small case. Consumers may be well served by handling the case on their own without an attorney. But even if someone has small case, this book can help in understanding the issues which must be considered. There are some considerations consumers should be aware of before simply accepting an offer from an insurance company.

First, in accepting an offer to settle an injury claim the consumer is assuming they know clearly the nature and extent of their injuries and whether any further medical treatment may be necessary. Accepting the insurance company's offer will require providing a release. As mentioned before, the purpose of a release is to forever bar any further payment, even should the injured party's medical condition become worse or be far more serious than originally believed by them at the time the release was signed. Therefore, consumers must be absolutely certain they will not require further medical care. The amount received must fully compensate them for physical and emotional pain, suffering, scarring, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of the enjoyment of life, as well as any out-of-pocket expenses incurred. They must be confident the amount will cover expenses likely to be incurred in the future as a direct result of treatment related to the injuries received in the accident.

Second, many general releases prepared by insurance companies are broadly worded. They include language releasing, not only the insurance company and party directly involved, but other potential parties whether named in the release or not. Signing such a broadly worded general release has the potential of unintentionally releasing claims against the injured party's uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist carrier, as well as potential claims, such as for medical malpractice resulting from treatment received in the accident.

Additionally, in cases involving more significant damages, particularly when there is a relatively small bodily injury policy covering the defendant, consumers sometimes attempt to avoid hiring a lawyer and work out a settlement with the defendant's insurance company accepting their policy limits. Often they do this with the intention of seeking further compensation for their injury from their own UM/UIM policy. This has the potential for actually preventing them from being able to seek such damages. Florida statutes require that notice be given to the UM/UIM motorist carrier before settling with the at-fault party and giving them a release of liability. The injured party must obtain the written consent of their own UM/UIM carrier before such a settlement occurs in order to preserve their right to seek further damages under their own policy of insurance. The failure to obtain such written consent may result in the UM/UIM carrier claiming prejudice against their interest and denying coverage altogether.

Finally, most consumers have virtually no experience in evaluating what an injury claim is worth. They should be very wary of relying on any representations of value argued by the opposing claims adjuster. That adjuster's one goal is to settle it for as little money as possible. They are trained in this process and are evaluated constantly by their company. Consequently, a consumer may feel comfortable negotiating a small case, as I've discussed above, howeve they should be very careful about undertaking the evaluation and negotiation of any accident with more significant injuries.

About the author
Attorney James W. Dodson is a Clearwater, Florida personal injury trial lawyer with over 20 years experience representing clients in all types of injury claims including vehicle accidents, fall cases and wrongful death. He is the author of three books offered FREE to consumers as a guide to dealing with accidents and insurance. Visit his website at for FREE copies of these books, other articles, videos, news and commentary.

Divorce Lawyer

In the unlikely event you have to retain the services of a divorce lawyer, ensure they have adequate experience and you can rely on them. If this happens you will need an attorney where at least fifty percent of their work in this area and unless you're expecting problems, preferably one trained in divorce mediation who practices it professionally. Still, you also need to feel at ease with them; someone who immediately instills a sense of trust.
Attorneys that tend to follow the mediation route are good at giving settlement advice but you may need an attorney who is more familiar with courtroom settlements. To save time, always ensure you know exactly what you are going to say to your divorce lawyer and what questions you need answered.

Plan each conversation by making an agenda and write down the things you want to talk about; take notes on the content of the conversation and the amount of time spent on phone calls. Physical meetings will cost more so if an item can be dealt with by mail or on the phone this will save money.

Your divorce attorney is just a resource for legal matters so do not try to get them personally involved as that is not their function; if you need emotional support there are others who can help with this. Try not to involve you divorce lawyer with any tales of bickering that you and your ex-partner are involved in that are not directly pertinent to the divorce.

The most important aspect for you to get sorted out is the control of the situation which should be yours and then you will be able to use your lawyer more effectively. Your legal representative must be told up front that while his or her advice is essential, all decisions regarding the divorce will be made by you. You must also let them know that you expect copies of all correspondence to be sent to you for you own records and if you contact them by phone, you expect a reply within one working day.

Not all cases need a courtroom to be decided upon so you could employ a lawyer just to help you with a marital settlement, legal information or advice. For someone taking this route, it is only important that you approach a lawyer to have certain aspects explained once you have carried out you own research. Divorce lawyers can draw up or assist with marital settlements their clients have drawn up themselves, but in this scenario, if things awry at least you will have someone who is familiar with your case.
About the author: Tab Solon is an independent website builder who owns and runs mainly news sites on various topics such as and

Men v. Women: Who does better in a divorce?

While the walk down the aisle ends in marital bliss for many couples, for an equal number the end of the aisle is a place far, far away from happily ever after. People who divorce often do so in eager anticipation of reclaiming their lost independence, forgotten autonomy and an identity lost during the course of the marriage.

Upon divorce, a couple's marital property, property acquired by the two during the course of their marriage, is divided up according to the applicable state law. Parties may divide and settle their property 50/50 or in some other arrangement depending upon the given laws. The hope is that the parties are treated fairly.

But even in a situation where all the assets are divided 50/50, divorced women may find that a seemingly fair settlement is still far from equitable. Women are typically awarded custody of the children. Because our predominant social values suggest that children are best situated with their mothers, women often do the lion's share of child rearing in divorced families, even in shared custody cases.

Any parent who has ever fought a custody battle knows that child care responsibilities are a privilege, not a burden. Unfortunately, most divorce settlements fail to account for the damaged future earning potential of a woman with child care responsibilities. Since mothers usually take some time away from their careers, and since women still earn slightly less than men, it is fair to say that most women, even prior to divorce, have lower earning power than their male spouses.

The problem of lower earning power is exacerbated by child care responsibilities. They reduce a woman's available work hours, thereby making it more difficult for her to increase her income through promotions, client cultivation and so forth. This marked reduced earning capacity is not factored into a divorce, since settlements focus on dividing marital property.

Ultimately, the overall economic quality of a man's life, based on earnings and amount spent on living expenses, increases after his divorce. He continues to earn more but bears fewer family expenses. The overall economic quality of a woman's life, post-divorce, decreases.

Of course, both parents are expected and legally required to contribute to the cost of raising their children, but the law still does not provide a mechanism to compensate a woman for the earning potential she has lost based on her decisions to marry and have children. Women often opt for careers that they feel will be more conducive to motherhood, working lower paying jobs because of the fewer hours they require.

A difficulty in reforming marital property laws to compensate these women lies in the fact that many women, even in today's modern world, make career decisions based almost entirely on their family plans. Thus, a college professor who might have become a successful businesswoman had her family plans been different, has no way to show a court her lost earning potential. Her decision to take a lower paying job cannot be weighed by the court, since there is no real evidence of material economic damage.

The objective of a divorce court is to give each party what he or she fairly deserves based on their earnings during marriage. It is next to impossible to factor the broad social pressures that shape women's career decisions into a given divorce settlement.

Legal scholars must either find a way to assess the lost earning power of the female spouse, or women as a collective must find a way to have their families and make honest career decisions too. The Medieval Period may be long gone from our history, but there are still some remnants of the dark age of divorce law at work in our courts today.

The Author: Corie Lynn Rosen

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Essential parts in separation agreements

It is vital to keep in mind that even though a separation agreement can be a very potent document it cannot end a marriage; a divorce is the only thing that can end a marriage. However they can work together, while a divorce will end the marriage the agreement can take care of the particulars.
Or, it can be used on its own so that a divorce can come later, or not at all. Some separated couples get back together or remain apart but never actually terminate their marriage with a divorce.

Filing the agreement is sometimes done with a divorce but usually done when one party needs help enforcing it. It does not need to be filed with the court to be legal as long as it is correctly signed.

Some provinces cannot enforce certain terms of the agreement unless both spouses have had independent legal advice (from a lawyer) or sign a waiver of independent legal advice witnessed by a lawyer before signing the agreement. It is always smart to have a lawyer take a look at the agreement before signing it.

Make sure your spouse gets independent legal advice too. This can prevent him or her from later asking a court to overturn it on the grounds that he or she did not understand what he or she was signing.

The care and financial support of children, spousal support, and division of property and debt. These are the main issues that need to be taken care of in a separation agreement. If you do not have one or any of these issues to deal with then the agreement will be easier to make.

The crucial aspects of a separation agreement that you need to know are: 1. to understand what an agreement can and cannot do; 2. to make sure that it is signed correctly after receiving independent legal advice; and 3. to make sure it deals with the important issues of children, income and property.

About the Author
James MacKenzie
This writer suggests that you visit for additional hints on a separation agreement.

The Family Law Attorney is helpful to settle Things over

Ann Arbor, December 2008 - "Bitter words and harsh times can create even more uncomfortable, awkward and very tense situations or environments for the parties involved and even for those around them. Having a professional who can help to fix these situations and draft and create fair, just settlements for divorced couples can be invaluable to these couples as they go through the divorce process" says Mr. Robert Dawid of
Speaking about Family Law Attorneys, Mr. Robert Dawid said "Strangely, when one thinks of a Family Law Attorney, they often think of those lawyers we have seen on television that have sinister ideas and intricate plots to destroy the lives of their opponents. What one will discover if they spend any time at all with any Attorney is that this is simply not the case. The vast majority of Attorneys are committed to discovering what is fair and implementing a settlement that reflects this. A Family Law Attorney is not interested in taking a bad situation and making it worse. This does not benefit them at all and goes against the sense of fairness and equality that they fight to protect. A family should never go through a divorce alone, without the counsel of a professional to guide them through what can become ugly situations and hard times."

He added, "If there are children involved in the divorce, these situations can become bitter messes from the very beginning. Former couples sometimes spend countless dollars and a great deal of time trying to decide who is going to have custody of their children after their divorce. What is often forgotten in situations such as these is: what is best for the children? A Family Law Attorney will bring their expertise in these situations and past experiences in similar cases in helping the family decide what is best for the children. Many families face the unpleasant requirement of putting their children through a messy divorce when the parents cannot get along or stay married to each other any longer. When divorce seems inevitable, the parents will usually fight often, be miserable and create tense situations inside the home, which their children often pick up on. So, getting divorced may be the best thing for the children in some cases, as nobody wants their children to grow up in these circumstances."

Speaking on the move, Mr. Robert Dawid said, "A messy divorce, however, will often create the very thing the parents were trying to avoid, a tense and uncomfortable situation for their children. Having a Family Law Attorney to help the parents through these troubled times will help to smooth the situation and create a fair and calm environment for the children"

About For legal advice or consultation regarding bankruptcy, is the best place to look for in this planet. The advantage of approaching for legal help is that the initial consultation is completely free.

For more info, visit

Robert A. Dawid Attorney at Law Robert A. Dawid, PLLC 122 South Main Street, Suite 353 Ann Arbor, MI 48102 (734)277-2567 (734)769-8284-Fax

Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Divorce?

I'm sure you expect me to say "yes". I am an attorney after all. And guess what? You're going to be right.

Lots of people hesitate to hire an attorney because they feel that we make things worse - not better. They worry that a lawyer will add conflict and make things worse. That's sometimes true.

But generally, I think we bring a lot to the table. We have the training and skills to make things go more smoothly. Most importantly, we know the danger zones and can help you avoid making expensive mistakes.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when they don't have a lawyer -

Mistake Number 1 - They forget to divide assets - they may not even realize there is an asset to divide. The most commonly overlooked asset is the retirement plan - especially pension plans that do not have an account balance and will not pay out any money for a long time. Sometimes these are the most valuable things a family owns and they don't get divided.

Mistake Number 2 - Some assets require a special process to be divided. With the pension plans I mentioned earlier, I've seen lots of mistakes. Some people, for example, suggest that they will divide the plan by borrowing against it. Big mistake. There are much better ways to divide the plan using special federal laws that make the division a tax free transfer. That's just one example of an asset with a special process for division. There are others.

Mistake Number 3 - You may draft a document that is unenforceable. Some people fail to do what they agreed to do. When that happens the document needs to be binding and enforceable. There are right ways and wrong ways to draft these documents and you need to be sure it's done properly.

Mistake Number 4 - You may assume that property division is required to be 50/50. That's not always the case. In many instances property can be divided in some way other than an equal split and you might have been the beneficiary.

Finally, Mistake Number 5 - This is the biggie. When you don't have an attorney you fail to take advantage of years of experience from someone that has done this many times before. I've been a Raleigh divorce lawyer for more than twenty years. I've learned that there is a sense of security in knowing that you have someone on the team that can guide you and help you be objective and rational. Having that person on board, and trusting their advice, helps you reach agreement faster and with less anxiety and stress.

I always like to ask for help from someone that has done it before not matter what I am doing. I get help when I go backpacking, when I buy a house, when I make decisions about raising my kids. Divorce is difficult. This is the right time to get some help.

If you are worried about a lawyer taking things in a direction you don't like then remember who's the boss. You are hiring the lawyer. You get to make the calls. You are the decision maker because you are the one that has to live with the divorce settlement after it's all over. You are the decision maker - not your lawyer.

Get the help and advice you need and manage your lawyer so that things are handled in the manner you wish to have them handled. Again, you are the boss. After all, you're the one paying the bills.

Speaking of paying the bills - you may have some anxiety about legal fees. You may not have cash available right now due to the expense of separation. This is a time to seek help. I've had clients go to parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends and get financial help. I've had clients get bank loans, credit card advances and 401(k) loans to get through this period. There are options. Talk them through with your lawyer.

This is a tough time - maybe the toughest thing you will go through. Get a lawyer on your team - someone you trust and can count on to help you through the process. One way to get to know a lawyer better is through their website especially if it offers a video that gives you a sense of the lawyer before you commit to a meeting.

Arthor: Lee S. Rosen is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of Rosen Divorce in North Carolina. Rosen Divorce is the largest divorce firm in the Southeastern United States. For more information visit

Monday, January 05, 2009

Not Your Dad's Divorce

My daughters often send me articles they think will be a good subject matter for our blog. The latest is an article in the December 15, 2008 issue of Newsweek by Susanna Schrobsdorff entitled, "Not Your Dad's Divorce." See entire article at
Ms. Schrobsdorff, starts out by saying, "The traditional "Dad gets every other weekend" formula is logistically easier than what Jorgen and I planned. But ours is an increasingly common arrangement. "It's not like it was 20 years ago," says Dr. Leslie Drozd, editor of the journal Child Custody. "There's no longer the same presumption that young children must be with their mother."
Courts are changing as well; in the small percentage (5 percent) of custody cases that do go to litigation, judges are now more inclined to disregard gender and look at who's the better parent, says Gary Nickelson, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "Now they look at parenting skills. Who took care of the children before the divorce?" Most often, children still end up living primarily with the mother; according to the most recent census, Moms are the official primary residential parent after a divorce in five out of six cases, a number that hasn't changed much since the mid-1990s.
Nationwide, the proportion of divorced spouses who opt for joint physical custody, where kids spend anywhere between 33 and 50 percent of their time with one parent and the rest with the other, are still small—about 5 percent, according to an analysis of data from the 1990's on post-divorce living arrangements by clinical psychologist Joan B. Kelly in the journal Family Process in 2007. But in California and Arizona, where statutes permitting joint physical custody were adopted in the 1980s, a decade earlier than in most states, the joint physical custody rates were higher, ranging from 12 to 27 percent.
Formal custody assignments don't tell the whole story of increased involvement by divorced fathers. Research to be published in the journal Family Relations in 2009 shows that there have been significant increases in how much non-resident Dads (those who don't have primary custody) are seeing their kids. In 1976, only 18 percent of these Dads saw their children (ages 6-12) at least once a week. By 2002, that number had risen to 31 percent.
"It's likely that more fathers are seeing their children mid-week for dinner or an overnight. It's a change that really started in the 1990s," says Dr. Robert Emery, one of the co-authors of the Family Relations study (along with Paul R. Amato and Catherine E. Myers). "There's been a cultural shift—a father's involvement with their children is seen as important and positive," says Emery who is the author of "The Truth About Children and Divorce" (Penguin, 2003)."
Her parting advice is the same as I tell clients, "The willingness of both parents to cooperate is the key factor in how kids adjust to a divorce. Gary Nickelson reminds parents that they should start creating a collaborative relationship with an ex-spouse early. "You're not going to sign the child-custody agreement, whatever it is, and be done with your wife or husband. I tell my clients, if you're lucky, you'll be sitting next to them for graduations and marriages and all kinds of achievements, so learn to get along."
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. More information on our web site at WM 1/5/09

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Hurt on the Job?

Worker’s Compensation protects businesses if an employee is hurt on the job. In most instances if an employee is injured at work, the employer is responsible for paying medical expenses, temporary weekly compensation benefits, and compensation for permanent impairment. In most situations, Workers Compensation is the exclusive legal remedy for the employee. In the event of a work related injury, whether driving to a meeting, a slip and fall, sprained back, etc., the assistance of an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney can help you get the benefits and financial compensation you are entitled to.

Worker’s Compensation attorneys are an important and critical investment for job related injury claims, for both employers and employees. For employers, a lawyer can help insure that the claim is legitimate and that fair compensation is given. For employes, an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer can help get the maximum benefits and financial compensation the employee is entitled to. The laws involving Worker's Compensation can be complicated and difficult to interpret, so it is important to find an attorney that you feel can give you what you need, i.e. legal advise, a shoulder to lean on, someone who cares about the outcome of your case, paying attention to detail, high level of dedication, years of experience, etc. Decide the qualities that are important to you.

The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Domestic Problems?

Families comes in all shapes andsizes. Therefore, it is difficult to develop laws to resolve all legal issues involving the family. For this reason, family laws regarding divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and property division are complex in nature and Family laws are hence quite complex in nature and difficult for the average individual to follow and comprehend. Family law covers all aspects of domestic issues between parents, children, husbands, wives and domestic partners. Laws vary from place to place and courts consider different factors in their decision making.

If you have questions regarding a family law or domestic matter, a family lawyer then help is just a click away. Call as early in the process as possible to avoid losing a much needed advantage. It is worth the consultation fee. A family law attorney can help you with your family issues like divorce, legal separation, alimony, domestic violence, child custody, child support, division of marital property and debts, etc. Many attorneys are also certified mediators and can provide you with mediation support if you and your family would like to try to reach an agreement on the issues through negotiation. A mediator is a third party who can assist you and your family in reaching a joint resolution to the problems.