Monday, September 28, 2015

What to Expect in a Child Custody Dispute

Anyone experiencing the upheaval of a child custody dispute can attest to the anxiety this causes for all parties involved. Not only will you likely have emotional stress, but you may also experience a strain on your finances as a result of the issues. Although these cases are not exceptionally complicated, the extreme emotions involved can cause upset for everyone. Learn what to expect if you are involved with this type of conflict.

The Court's Responsibility

Even if a parent makes few mistakes and takes great care of their children, it is still possible to lose custody of a child or children. The court's duty and responsibility is to protect the interests of the youngsters involved. This may include discontinuing custody with one party if the judge thinks this is best for a child.

Stability and Status Quo

Kids often struggle in the presence of change. Moving to live in a new home can be a major source of upheaval in a youngster's life. For this reason, courts often prefer to leave a situation unchanged for minors whenever possible. For a judge to force a change in living circumstances, something significant would need to occur to make this move necessary. As long as the youngster is safe and thriving in a home situation, the court would probably not institute a change.

Legal Representation

The lawyer you hire depends on the dispute. Some people may need a very aggressive attorney who will instigate an adversarial battle to prevail. Other people may take a more cooperative approach, instead trying to work together with the other parent to figure out the best situation for the children. Legal representation can be quite expensive, and an attorney bill can skyrocket out of control if you don't monitor it carefully. Keep tabs on costs with ongoing summaries of charges.

Maintain Focus

The court's focus should also be the parents' focus-the welfare and interests of the youngsters. It is easy to get caught up in your personal desires for child custody at any cost, forgetting about what might be best for your children. The best way to provide the most stability and love for children is to avoid fighting over them. Instead, work with the other parent to care for them cooperatively and to determine where they will live.

Any child custody case will involve some level of negotiation. Parents will need to work out who transports the kids, handles everyday expenses, and makes daily decisions for discipline and upbringing. If parents can keep cool heads and work together for the good of the kids, then everyone wins in the end. Kids will feel valued and loved by their parents, and they will see a positive example of how to work out their differences.

To learn more about their options for child custody, Stroudsburg, PA residents should visit
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Finding A Workers' Compensation Attorney

Although no law states that you must hire a workers' compensation attorney, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to handle a claim on your own. When you're going against highly skilled adjusters working for the insurance companies that have constant access to lawyers, hiring legal representation is essential. Trying to handle your own case may save you a few bucks, but it will cost you plenty in the long run.

When Should I Seek Representation?

Trying to determine when to hire an experienced workers' compensation attorney isn't easy. However, if your employer denies that you were injured on the job, or if the insurance carrier refuses to pay, you need to call a lawyer right away. Some less obvious reasons to seek representation include the following instances: if the adjustor promises benefits but keeps giving you reasons why the check hasn't arrived yet, if your employer's attorney asks you to give a deposition, and-the worst-case scenario-if you are denied medical treatment. All of these situations should be viewed as red flags.

Why Should I Seek Representation?

Believe it or not, many people ask that question. The simple answer is: you have rights! Nobody wants to be the bad guy in any situation, but insurance companies have a knack for making victims feel that way. Do not let these self-interested parties determine what's right or wrong; in our system, that is what judges and juries are for.

If you were in a work-related accident, you are likely dealing with the complex legal system for the first time, and dealing with it while you are in a state of duress. Meanwhile, the insurer or employer who you are seeking compensation from will hire lawyers who handle these kinds of cases every day. Therefore, you need skilled representation from a lawyer who can match the defense at their own game and provide you with guidance and support during what will be a tough time.

How Can I Find A Lawyer?

Finding representation is simple. First, check the Internet. Almost everyone advertises legal services online these days. Read the reviews posted, ask your colleagues and coworkers for referrals, and check the local Yellow Pages. Advertising comes in many forms; use it to your advantage. Also, check with your state's American Bar Association. They keep tabs on everyone practicing law in the state, and, more importantly, they keep track of complaints and malpractice claims. Though the Bar will not refer you to a specific workers' compensation attorney, they will certainly provide you with all of the tools you need to make an informed decision.

You have rights. Exercise them. Do not let your employer bully you when it comes to getting the compensation you deserve. Too many people lose the monetary support they are entitled to claim because they do not know that help exists. If you have been injured on the job, and your job refuses to pay, call an experienced workers' compensation attorney right away.

When looking for a workers' compensation attorney, Mobile, AL employees should consult
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

The importance of finding a good divorce lawyer cannot be overemphasized. Divorce attorneys are plentiful, so it's crucial that divorcing couples analyze their choices and select the person best for them. Since family law cases are extremely sensitive and everyone involved is under stress, it can be easy to make mistakes. Fortunately, it's just as easy to avoid these following mistakes when choosing a family law attorney.

Mistake 1: Hiring a Lawyer Too Late

Many couples hesitate to hire a divorce lawyer. They think once they do, everything is final and their marriage and family relationships will automatically disintegrate. In reality, it takes a year for most divorces to be finalized, and many families go on to live amicably after divorce. Divorce is filled with complicated issues such as property divisions, child custody, alimony, and so forth. You need a professional to help sort through these, and you must retain him or her as soon as possible. Find the best lawyer possible soon after you decide to divorce.

Mistake 2: Googling

Everyone relies on Google today, but search engines are not the best places to find divorce attorneys. Most people don't randomly Google physicians, local schools, or houses of worship. Instead, they ask family members, friends, and trusted colleagues. When divorcing, you should do the same. A friend or family member can give you a specific recommendation based on experience, whereas Google can only show you things like websites, degrees, and statistics.

Mistake 3: Hiring Someone With No Basic Answers

Just because a lawyer graduated from Harvard or Yale does not mean he or she is the best family law attorney for you. For example, your lawyer may have recently transitioned from corporate or criminal law and still be familiarizing himself with what divorce attorneys do. Therefore, he may not know the answers to questions such as how do you handle property divisions, or how many divorce cases has this firm settled. If the attorney can't answer your questions satisfactorily, you should move on.

Mistake 4: Hiring Someone Who Makes You Uncomfortable

Divorce attorneys become long-term fixtures in their clients' lives. Your family law attorney will be no different, so feeling comfortable around him or her is vital to a good case. Watch a prospective attorney's body language and tone of voice. Is his tone too cold? Is her body language closed (crossed arms, clenched hands, and so on)? Does the attorney seem reluctant to learn specifics about your case? If yes, you should keep looking.

To learn more about divorce attorneys Manassas research Google. You can also look at Kustell LLC for more great information.
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Learn More About Paternity

When a child is born and there are questions about who the father is, a paternity action may be filed. Generally, blood tests and DNA samples can determine the true father of a child. However, paternity cases often go beyond the simple determination of fatherhood to issues of care and financial support.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Common Questions and Answers About Family Law

Also known as matrimonial law, family law is an area of legal practice that deals with domestic subjects, including marriage, civil unions, guardianship, adoption, child custody, domestic violence, restraining orders, and more. Because these matters are usually kept quiet for the good of all parties involved, the average person has many questions when they visit a family lawyer for the first time. Here are the most common questions attorneys answer on a regular basis.

What is the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment?

Although both can be used to dissolve a marriage, there are important legal distinctions between the two. The most obvious is that an annulment treats the marriage as if it never happened. As such, neither party is subject to any penalties, contracts, or agreements that might normally accompany a dissolution of marriage. Fraud, forced consent, and underage marriage are the most common grounds family law attorneys use for seeking an annulment.

How is Child Custody Established?

If the former couple cannot agree on primary guardianship, a court will make the decision for them based on what is in the best interests of the child. At that point, the couple may discuss visitation privileges and come to an agreement, or the court set a schedule for them.

What is Child Support?

Because caring for a child can be expensive, the court may order a parent to pay a certain amount of money to the spouse who retains primary custody on a monthly basis. These payments may be used to cover the following expenses:

- Clothing, food, and shelter

- Medical care

- Educational needs

What is Alimony?

Also known as spousal support, alimony is a means of financial assistance that is paid from one spouse to another during or after a divorce. In most cases, it is ordered by a court when one spouse is substantially dependent on the other for maintenance and support. For example, alimony is often ordered when the spouse who stayed home with the children must go back to work after a long absence. Because that spouse may not have the work history and/or skills to support themselves in the manner they've become accustomed to, alimony may be ordered to help them make up the difference after separation or divorce.

What is Mediation?

Because filing for divorce can be an extremely lengthy, expensive legal process, many couples choose family law mediation instead. A simple, surprisingly effective method of resolving disputes, mediation puts the two parties together to discuss an amicable settlement. Although lawyers may be involved in the process, it is really the third-party mediator that gets the sides talking. When successful, this dispassionate interlocutor can save couples huge amounts of money on legal fees.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Stress, emotion, and uncertainty about the future make family law cases extremely difficult to get through. An experienced attorney can help explain your legal rights and protect your interests both in and out of the courtroom. Whether you are fighting for custody of your kids or filing a restraining order against an ex, a seasoned attorney can lend a hand during a stressful, confusing time.

Now that you have answers to these common questions, you can decide for yourself if you require assistance from a family lawyer.

When looking for an attorney that handles family law, Grand Rapids, MI residents go to Ada Legal Group. To learn more, visit
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Sunday, September 13, 2015

FAQ's About Social Security Disability Benefits and Answers From Social Security Disability Lawyers

Question: I filed for Social Security Disability benefits and the Social Security Administration denied my claim. What do I do now?

Answer: It is not uncommon for the SSA to deny an initial application for benefits. If you get denied, you need to act immediately. You only have 65 days from the date stamped on the SSA letter denying your application to file an appeal and preserve your disability claim.

Question: If the SSA approves my application for disability benefits, what will I get?

Answer: Disability benefits may include Medicare health care insurance, individual benefits, and family benefits. Your monthly financial benefits will be based on the formula in the Social Security Act, as well as the amount that the federal government counts as your Social Security earnings from employment before you became disabled.

Question: How do I know if I am disabled for purposes of receiving disability benefits?

Answer: According to the Social Security law, an eligible disability means the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months or result in death." If you are not sure if you qualify, you should check with both your family doctor and our Michigan lawyers about a potential claim for disability benefits.

Question: I have not worked in recent years. Could I still qualify for disability benefits?

Answer: The SSA requires a specific amount of Social Security earnings, or "work credits," to qualify for disability benefits. As a general rule, if you worked for 5 out of the last 10 years, you probably have enough "work credits." You certainly should contact the SSA or consult with an experienced Michigan disability lawyer to find out whether or not you qualify.

Question: I have a serious mental or psychological condition that prevents me from working. Can I still receive disability benefits?

Answer: According to the Social Security Act, a "disability" can be either physical or emotional, or a combination of both. The key is that a doctor finds "objective medical evidence" that you your condition prevents you from working for at least 12 months.

Question: Can I apply for disability benefits on my own?

Answer: Yes. You can file your own application for disability benefits, and represent yourself in all legal proceedings. However, statistics show that people with legal representation, especially on appeals, win their disability claims much more often than those who try to represent themselves.

Question: I cannot afford to pay an attorney fee now. Can I still get legal help with an appeal of the SSA decision to deny my application for disability benefits?

Answer: Yes. Some law firms waive their attorney fees, unless they convince the SSA to approve your claim for disability benefits. If they win, their fee is defined by the Social Security Act and kept very reasonable.

Question: I was denied disability benefits last year, but my medical condition has gotten worse. Can I try again to get disability benefits?

Answer: Yes. There is no limit to the number of times you may apply for benefits. If you feel that you now qualify, you should file another application with the SSA.

Question: If the SSA approves my claim, how long will these benefits last?

Answer: You can get benefits for as long as you remain disabled from employment and meet all other SSA requirements. From time to time, the SSA may review the level of your disability by sending you for a medical evaluation.

Question: My disability was brought on by alcoholism or drug addiction. Can I still qualify for disability benefits?

Answer: Maybe. To determine whether you still have a potential claim, you should consult an experienced attorney. The Social Security law states that you cannot get benefits, if alcoholism and/or drug addiction is a contributing factor that is material to the determination that you are disabled. However, people who used to abuse alcohol or drugs can qualify for benefits, based on other unrelated and disabling health problems.

Attorney Marya Sieminski joined the Sam Bernstein Law Firm in 2003. She is admitted to practice law in Michigan state courts and in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School. Marya has worked as a trial lawyer for 10 years and exclusively represented victims in personal injury litigation and in workers compensation claims. She also was appointed by the Governor to serve on the State of Michigan Workers Compensation Qualifications Advisory Committee.
The Sam Bernstein Law Firm, our Michigan personal injury law firm, has protected the rights of the injured and disabled for three generations.
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

5 Qualities to Look for in a Divorce Attorney

When it's time to decide on a divorce lawyer, take advantage of the free visits that most attorney's offer. Talk to several lawyers. When you're done, how does this lawyer stack up? Here are 5 things to consider.

  1. Is the Attorney Honest with You? Ask some hard questions. Is there a special asset you want to keep? Ask if it can be protected? Do you want spousal support? See if the attorney thinks it could happen. Judge the answers and compare your first visits. If any lawyer is telling you just what you want to hear, cross that firm off your list.

  2. Can the Attorney be Your Champion? Do you sense that he believes what you have to say about why you're getting a divorce and does he agree with the outcome you are seeking? You want a lawyer who is firmly on your side and ready to fight for you if necessary.

  3. Is this Attorney Knowledgeable? Ask about the attorney's experience and ready any online reviews or rankings. Be sure to ask if he has handled cases that have the same rough spots as yours and what was their outcome. You want an attorney who is knowledgeable about divorce laws in your state and one who is knowledgeable about any special issues or concerns you case might have. You also want an attorney who is looking ahead at your future and helping you plan for life after divorce with advice on anything from dealing with child custody issues to financial issues.

  4. Can the Lawyer Act and Not React? Words you don't want to hear are "let's see what the other side has to say". You want a lawyer who is willing to act on your behalf; not one who is just reacting to the demands or requests made by the opposing side. Check the attorney's reputation in the legal community. Is he or she well respected by peers and judges? That respected legal professional is who you are looking for to represent you.

  5. How Does the Lawyer Treat You? Do you feel that this attorney is ready to help you through a hard part of your life? You should feel respected and you should feel that the attorney is compassionate and ready to help. Again, ask some questions. How long will it take the attorney to respond to a phone call if you have a question? Will you meet with him or a member of his staff? Even a simple divorce is difficult and you want to find an attorney that will give you the support you need.

An experienced divorce lawyer should answer your questions and never be irritated or antagonistic because you are asking them. You want a divorce attorney who understands you, understands the issues in your divorce and will help you come out the other side ready for a new start.

A graduate in Marketing and Sociology, Chad is a writer at heart. Writing allows him to utilize his skills honed by years of experience. He writes for Adam Rieth Divorce Attorney Queen Creek
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Monday, September 7, 2015

Social Security Disability Application Denied! Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

Whether or not you hire an attorney for your appeal is entirely up to you. While you can go it alone, statistics show that people who are represented by attorneys have been more successful and are awarded benefits more often than those who represent themselves. Before you make this very important decision, take the time to consider how an attorney might benefit you.

Medical Background - a lawyer with a medical background will prove to be an invaluable resource for you in your quest for Social Security disability benefits. If you are like most people, you may find that trying to read a medical record is like trying to read a foreign language. If you hire an attorney with medical experience, she will be able to explain your records to you and help you understand their relationship to your disability claim.

Litigation Experience- a lawyer with litigation experience will properly prepare you to testify at your hearing, make oral arguments on your behalf at the hearing and cross-examine any adverse witnesses offering testimony. Also, the right lawyer will protect your right to a fair hearing by objecting to improper evidence and procedures.

Gathering Medical Evidence- a lawyer will take care of ordering and reviewing all your medical records and gathering other important evidence.

Communication with Treating Doctors- a lawyer will contact your doctors to obtain reports on your behalf that are consistent with SSA regulations.

Referral to Additional Doctors or Specialists - a lawyer will have the appropriate knowledge and contacts to refer you to additional physicians if necessary for your treatment.

Communication with the Social Security Administration- a lawyer will handle all communication with the SSA regarding your claim including obtaining documents from your file, requesting that a prior application for benefits be reopened, seeking time limit waivers, requests for vocational expert examinations, requests for consultative examinations, etc.

If Necessary, Represent You in a Federal Court Review of Your Case- an attorney can represent you in a federal court review of the case if necessary and agreed upon. An experienced attorney will know how to structure the appeal to give you the best chance of obtaining benefits.

No Attorney Fees Unless Benefits Awarded on Claim- you may think that you can't afford to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim. The good news is that lawyers who handle disability claims work on a contingency basis. This means that you pay the lawyer nothing unless your claim is won. Additionally, the there is a cap on the fee an attorney can charge and all fees must be approved by the SSA.

If you cannot work because of a medical condition and have been denied Social Security disability benefits, you are probably feeling discouraged and exhausted. Now is not the time to give up! Many disability claims are denied originally and then won on appeal. Once you have been denied benefits, you have a limited time request a hearing before an administrative law judge. If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, the sooner you do it the better. It is very important to arrange for representation as early as possible to give your attorney time to prepare for your hearing.

Whatever route you decide to take, keep your chin up and good luck with your Appeal!

Rebecca Sposita is a Social Security Disability lawyer, focused exclusively on representing injured and disabled individuals in Medical Malpractice litigation and Social Security Disability. Rebecca earned her Juris Doctor degree in 2005 from The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Rebecca is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, National Association of Disability Representatives, National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives and Michigan Association for Justice. Rebecca has been admitted to practice as an attorney in the U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Michigan. For additional information on the topic of Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), please visit
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Friday, September 4, 2015

Tips For Comparing Divorce Lawyers

Even mutual separations are tough on both parties. Divorce lawyers are available to aid in dividing finances, property, and assets. They are also instrumental in custody negotiations. If you're going through a separation, use these four steps to help ensure you find the right divorce lawyer for your specific situation and budget.

Stay Focused

You need to be realistic about your situation. Although it can be difficult, try to keep emotions out of negotiations. Feelings of anger and betrayal are counterproductive and make the process harder. Coming to a settlement without court dates and attorney fees is always the best way to handle a separation. If it is in any way possible, work to settle out of court with your spouse. However, this is impossible for many former partners.

Consider Your Needs

If trusting your partner to uphold your rights is something you cannot do, you're going to need an attorney. Before you begin searching for divorce lawyers, you need to define what you expect to get out of your divorce. Identify details about your expectations for finances, property, and custody. Know what types of special services, if any, you need from your defender. If you don't have children, there's no need to pay an attorney who specializes in custodial matters. If you're concerned about getting your share of finances, consider divorce lawyers experienced in dealing with financial matters.

Choose Three Possible Attorneys

Searching can become a long and difficult process. To help you search efficiently, define acceptable rates and expectations ahead of time. Narrow your options down to the three best candidates and schedule consultations. Find possible hires by asking your peers for recommendations, because chances are you know someone who has been through the divorce process. Online directories, phone books, and physical advertisements are other ways you can find an attorney.

Interviews and Research

Once you've settled on three potential hires, you need to set up interviews and thoroughly research the background and reputation of each. Ask to see any special certifications the law office has, and request to meet the personnel who would work on your case. Have someone review rates and payment options, and make sure you're aware of any unusual or unexpected fees. It is hard to estimate total payment until after your divorce is settled, but some lawyers will give you a tentative quote.

Ending a marriage is tough, but with the right lawyer you can enter a new chapter in your life. Begin searching for qualified law professionals in your area today.

When considering divorce lawyers in Elmira, NY, residents visit Barton, Smith & Barton, LLP. Learn more at
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Social Security Disability: How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved

If you find yourself dealing with a long-term disability, one of the first places you should turn is the Social Security disability program. The benefits are essential for those who need them, but this highly complicated federal system can be difficult to navigate. There are things you can do to improve your chances of successfully establishing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and I hope to cover those in this and upcoming articles.

First, it's essential to understand SSA's eligibility requirements. Social Security does not allow for partial disability benefits-you are either disabled or not. You also must meet certain technical requirements regarding your work history and payment of Social Security taxes. You must prove that you are unable to perform any of the work you have done in the 15 years before you became disabled, and you must prove that you are unable to sustain the physical or mental demands of other jobs.

You must also have medical evidence and opinions about the symptoms and limitations caused by your condition, specifically how it affects your ability to work. The SSA will have its own doctors assess you, and to prove your disability claim, you must also present evidence, preferably from your treating doctors, concerning those limitations. You are strongly encouraged to enlist the services of an attorney who specializes in disability law. They have "been there/done that" time and time again and are in the best position to prove your case.

Beyond proving your disability, there are other factors that may affect the likelihood of approval of your claim and your long-term financial well-being. With 30 years of legal experience, I have learned that there are ways to improve your chances of winning a disability claim.

One key factor is your doctor's determination that you are in fact disabled and unable to work. If your claim is denied, it's because the SSD-assigned government doctors determined your medical conditions were not disabling. Under SSD law, the opinion of a treating doctor is given greater weight than those of government doctors. Therefore, it's essential that your doctor supports your claim and makes an accurate assessment of your limitations.

Second, it's important to continue seeking medical attention. Many disability claimants have difficulty affording continued medical care due to lost insurance or income. Nonetheless, you should seek the opinion of your treating physician, and provide a current record of treatment to prove your symptoms and limitations. You may also want to talk to your doctor about whether you should be evaluated by a specialist.

It's also important to follow your doctor's orders, as a failure to continue treatment can negatively affect the outcome of a disability claim. Likewise, be open and honest with all parties - including your doctor and the SSA. Inconsistent records will cause issues when it comes to getting your claim approved.

In addition to these issues, there are other factors that affect the likelihood of being approved. We will cover those further in upcoming articles. After practicing in disability law for nearly 30 years, I've learned a great deal about the intricacies of this system and hope to share those with you to simplify the process and to get the help you need, hopefully. Check out for more insight. Robertson Wendt from The Law Offices of Robertson Wendt. Visit us today at
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