Factors that may Result to a Modification in Child Custody or Visitation Rights Decision

Though states usually differ in some of the factors they consider in the determining who between the parents gets custody of the child, there is one constant principle that serves as a guide in every decision making: the child’s best interest.

What actually may be considered as falling within the scope of “best interest of the child,” can definitely be contested; however, the following have been deemed necessary to be included in the determining factors:

  • The amount of involvement each parent has in the child’s activities;
  • The level of relationship the child has with each of his/her parents;
  • A parent’s lifestyle, stability, and health which can affect a child’s academic performance;
  • The child’s age and gender; and/or,
  • The health risks and safety of the environment where the parents live.

Child custody is one of the most sensitive divorce-related issues, not only because it concerns the future of another person, but also because many spouses never get to agree on the issue, necessitating a court proceeding wherein the family judge will have to be the one to decide on the matter.

After determining who gets custody of the child/children, it is implied that the other parent, the non-custodial one, will have settle for visitation rights in order to be with his/her child (many courts, however, now consider awarding custody of the child to both parents, especially if this decision will be in the child’s best interest). Both custodial and non-custodial parents are expected by the court to abide by and respect all court decisions pertaining to the future of the child; all court decisions shall be binding unless these are changed by the court itself due to a petition from either of the parents.

Any of the parents may request for change or modification in custody decisions; however, this would only be honored by the court if the petitioning parent can prove (without doubt) that current situations indeed necessitate a change in the court’s original decision.

Some of the more specific reasons why an original custody decision or visitation rights may be modified by the court, include:

  • Frustration of the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights;
  • Estrangement of the child’s affections from the non-custodial parent;
  • Change of residence without informing the non-custodial parent;
  • Material and substantial changes in the life of the custodial parent (such as his/her remarriage);
  • Child’s preference;
  • Unfavorable environment;
  • Relinquishment of custody; and,
  • Death of custodial parent

As pointed out by a Manhattan Beach child custody lawyer, any parent will naturally do everything for the sake of his/her child, even if it means keeping the child away from his/her other parent, especially if such parent can be proven as unfit. This may not be an easy task though, as it will require legally acceptable and convincing arguments to make the family court judge recognize and accept any new evidences. In this endeavor, a highly-competent child custody lawyer could be one of the best persons who may be able to help convince the judge to modify early decisions arrived at.

A Legal Solution that Will End Your Debts

After six months delinquency in paying your mortgage, credit card bills, car loan, student loan and other types of loans, your creditor bank will be forced to consider your account as bad debt. This will make (your bank) refer your account to a collection agency, the job of which is to make you or your business firm pay whatever it takes (which is often through harassing tactics).

Millions of Americans suffer too much stress and worry due to overwhelming debts which has already become impossible for them to settle. Many run why or quit their job after being humiliated by collection firms. Well, obviously, they have not heard of, or are just too afraid to try resolving their problem through, Bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is the U.S. government’s way of helping business and individuals save themselves from overwhelming debts to have a brand new financial start. To file Bankruptcy is to legally declare an individual’s or a firm’s incapacity to pay debts.

The US Bankruptcy Code law has different Bankruptcy chapters, each designed to address an individual’s or a firm’s specific financial situation. Chapter 7 bankruptcy law or liquidation bankruptcy law, for instance, provides for the selling of certain assets and/or properties by a court-appointed trustee. The proceeds will be used to pay off non-dischargeable debts (which are usually government-related) with the remaining amount to be returned to the owner of the property and assets.

There is also Chapter 13 bankruptcy law or Debt Adjustment plan, wherein the court requires debtors to design a three-year debt-payment scheme, making payments more affordable. Besides allowing debtors to keep their properties, this chapter also lets them continue with the operation of their business.

There are other bankruptcy law chapters, such as chapter 11(also known as business reorganization) and chapter 12 (which is designed for families whose farming or fishing business produces a regular annual income). The beauty of bankruptcy is, it will not only enable you to legally settle your debts; it will also erase some of your debts which are not protected or dischargeable.

When filing for bankruptcy, seeking help from a highly-competent bankruptcy lawyer, may turn out to be necessary as he/she will help you wisely determine which chapter will best work for you, as well as guide you in correctly considering the real necessity of filing one.

The OSH Act and the EEOC: Passed for the Protection of Employees

Many usually think that offices and other places of employment (except construction sites and other industrial working environments) are places safe from accidents. Not likely the case! This is why the Occupational Safety and Health Act (or OSH Act) was passed into law in 1970, to make sure that employees are provided (by their employers) with safe and healthful working environments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, in facts, says that offices are places where accidents frequently occur.

The most common injuries suffered office workers, based on records, are repetitive strain injuries, sprains and strains, neck, head and/or back injuries, and electrocution. These are usually caused by any of the following: Trips/slips or falls, overexertion and strains, improper storing of office materials in the storage room or in working areas, poor indoor ventilation, air quality and lighting, electrical wiring across hallways or working areas, and, disturbing noise.

The law firm Robert Wilson & Associates says that office environments, although not on the list of highly-hazardous work environments, present their own dangers. Injuries in the office may even be severe enough to cause short-term or long-term disabilities and therefore may qualify an accident victim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, filing a successful workers’ compensation claim can be a difficult process, and many claims get rejected for small, technical errors. It would may be an advantage for an injured employee to seek legal assistance from an experienced office injuries attorney who may be able to help make a strong case for the approval and release of Workers’ Comp benefits sought by the injured employee.

OSH Act is not the only law that employers are required to observe, though. There are also the rules which are strictly enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These rules, which are embodied in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, illegalize discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, promotion, wages, fringe benefits, job training, firing, referral, etc., on the basis of race, national origin, color, sex or religion.

One specific form of abuse and discrimination suffered by employees, especially before 1991, was sexual harassment. The, EEOC, according to the New York City sexual harassment lawyers of Cary Kane LLP, considers the following as sexual harassment acts:

  • Demands for sex as a condition of employment
  • Unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct that affects a person’s ability to do their job properly because it is so offensive, intimidating, or abusive
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Inappropriate physical contact, including touching, kissing, hugging, standing too close or intentionally brushing up against a person
  • Sexually explicit or suggestive comments, jokes, teasing, or innuendo
  • Commentary or questions about the victim’s sex life, body, or clothing
  • Displaying, posting, or circulating in the workplace emails, pictures, cartoons, or other written or graphic material of a sexually explicit, demeaning, or obscene nature
  • Verbal abuse or derogatory comments of a sexual or gender-specific nature
  • Staring, leering, whistling, or obscene gestures.

Sexual harassment, as well as acts of negligence of carelessness in an office environment which results to accidents and injuries, can be committed by anyone: an employer, a manager, a senior co-employee or an co-employee of the same rank. Like the right of an injured employee to seek compensation for his/her work-related injuries, an employee who is or has been suffering from sexual harassment can seek help from the EEOC to make the unjust act stop or, if it has caused him/her sufferings and damages, to seek compensation for whatever harm he/she might have already suffered.

Drinking and Driving an 18-Wheeler: Being Alcohol Impaired Can Easily Result to a Deadly Accident

Drivers, who are licensed to operate a commercial vehicle, such as buses and Class 8 trucks (these are trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GWVR) that exceeds 33000 lb, such as big-rigs, otherwise called semi-trailers or 18-wheelers, are required to observe a higher standard where alcohol intoxication limit is the issue. Compared to the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit imposed on drivers of smaller vehicles, like cars and SUVs, the BAC limit on drivers of commercial vehicles is 0.04%. This means that commercial vehicle drivers who will be caught driving with this BAC level can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

Getting caught driving with the 0.04% BAC limit, however, is not the only issue that big-rig drivers should worry about. Stricter than this BAC limit while driving is the lower limit of 0.02% BAC which will result to about 24 hours of suspension from driving. Additionally, those who will register a 0.08% BAC, even while off-duty, may still be charged with a DUI.

This strict implementation of the BAC level on commercial vehicle drivers is to ensure the avoidance of road crashes wherein trucks are usually the cause. Laws against alcohol-impaired driving are being strictly implemented due to the study results which show that truck drivers, many of whom drive for as long as 11 hours (with very short breaks) drink and/or take illegal drugs, thinking that these will boost them and enable them to stay awake and alert (truck drivers are usually paid by the mile; thus, the more miles they cover, excluding detours, the higher their take home pay). However, the only results of drinking alcohol and taking drugs are sleepiness, fatigue, and impairment.

As the Williams Kherkher law firm explains, truck drivers who cause accidents due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be held liable under criminal law as well as civil law. Thus, victims in truck accidents caused by intoxicated drivers may be able to seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver or from the trucking company where the liable driver is employed.

According to the Abel Law Firm, compensation may include:

  • All related medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship/parental support
  • Funeral expenses
  • Wrongful death of a loved one

It is the duty and responsibility of a truck driver to always stay sober when operating his/her truck. Impairment will only lessen his/her ability to safely operate the huge and dangerous vehicles that he/she is operating, thus, putting the lives of many in danger. Any act that will violate the laws on drunk driving can make them face serious criminal charges, harsh penalties, and civil liabilities for whatever injuries and damages their drunkenness might cause.

Defective Car and Car Parts: Products of Negligence and Carelessness

More than five million motor vehicle accidents occur in the U.S. every year; at least two million of these are accidents involving cars. As explained by a Racine car accident lawyer, a car accident not only causes traumatic experience, but also severe physical injuries. or even death. Car accident injuries can profoundly impact a person’s life and can include costly medical treatment, lengthy rehabilitation periods, lost income, and short- or long-term disabilities.

Often, car accidents happen due to the negligence or recklessness of another person. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the top four causes of accidents are drunk-driving, speeding, driver error (like failure to use signal lights or failure to buckle-up) and driving distractions, such as texting while driving, which is the leading type of distraction among young drivers in the U.S. All of these causes fall under the control of the driver, however, a study conducted by the NHTSA has also identified other causes of car crashes, but which fall outside the driver’s control; and since these are not obvious to the driver, the risk of accident is increased, and the extent of damage and severity of injuries, possibly greater.

These other causes include defective car parts and/or vehicular parts that do not meet the safety standards required by the NHTSA. The NHTSA, which was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970, has been given authority by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act “to issue vehicle safety standards and to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or do not meet Federal safety standards.” (http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/recallprocess.cfm)

In the past, and even today, so many defective cars and car parts continue to be recalled because these increase the risk of accident, putting so many lives in danger. Some of the defects that have already been found in cars include defective braking system, exploding airbags, defective child seats or, seat belts, headlights or signal lights that do not work properly, or tire tread depth that falls short of government standard. Due to these defects (plus so many others) there have been more than 390 million cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, mopeds and recreational vehicles, as well as 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment, 46 million tires, and 42 million child safety seats have been recalled due to safety defects since establishment of NHTSA in 1970.

Another law firm, called Williams Kherkher, also emphasizes the fact that accidents due to the negligence or recklessness of another party makes that party liable and legally responsible in paying financial compensation to help mitigate the present and future damages suffered by the victim.

Domestic Violence: A Class A or Class B Misdemeanor

Between 2001 and 2012, there were 11,766 American women who were murdered by their current or former male partners. Domestic violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, affects millions of American households every year. About 1.3 million of the victims are women, while 835,000 are men.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that is used to gain or maintain control and power over a marital or an intimate partner. As explained by a Nashville criminal defense attorney, in some states, such as in Tennessee, domestic violence may refer to any alleged assault that occurs between individuals who (are currently or were formerly) married, living together, dating, engaged in a sexual relationship, related by blood, or otherwise related through marriage. Thus, besides a spouse, a dating or a sexual partner, victims in domestic violence include children, other relatives living with the aggressor; some states also include step-parents, step-children, and in-laws as protected by domestic violence laws.

Domestic violent behavior includes any form of action through which a person knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causes bodily harm; its purpose is to cause fear of imminent bodily harm or physical contact that is highly offensive or provocative to any reasonable person. Those guilty of violence in a domestic setting are usually charged with Class A or Class B misdemeanor.

Though it causes fear and harm in spouses or sexual partners, many victims cannot easily break free, one reason is because the abuser controls their money supply, making them totally dependable, financially-wise, on the abuser.

While statistical facts indicate that domestic violence is the third most common cause of homelessness among families and the leading cause of female homicide and injury-related deaths during pregnancy, the San Jose criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office Of Daniel Jensen, P.C., believes that to be charged with domestic violence can be an extremely difficult situation to deal with. Worse is the fact that the only thing many of those accused are really guilty of is the act of self defense against their partners who really are the ones committing the abuses.

A domestic violence charge, much more, a conviction, can affect both the present and future personal, professional and family life of the accused. In the event of divorce, he/she can lose his/her chance for child custody, as well as in many other divorce-related issues.

You may just have been unjustly accused, but defending yourself and proving your innocence will never be easy. Having a highly-competent criminal defense attorney by your side may just give you the advantage you will need during the litigation of your case.