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Newton NJ Personal Injury and Family Law Blog

Same-sex couples face unique issues when divorcing

Same-sex couples who are seeking to get a divorce may find that it may be more complicated than they anticipated. This is because the length of their marriages may not reflect the true length of their relationships. How long a marriage lasts may play a key role in whether an individual receives spousal support and how property is divided. In lengthier marriages, those who earn or who have less than their spouses may receive alimony or larger shares of marital property.

However, it is possible that a court will look beyond the official marriage date when creating a divorce decree. Of course, there is no guarantee that this will happen, and it could leave those without significant earnings or assets vulnerable. There may also be issues related to child custody as only one person may be considered the child's legal parent.

With shorter daylight hours, wildlife collision risk increases

With the end of daylight savings time come shorter days and more wildlife activity. As more drivers find themselves out between dusk and dawn, the period when wildlife is most active, they increase their risk of colliding with the animals. Autumn is an especially busy time for deer and bears. This is why experts recommend that drivers in and around New Jersey take several precautions to avoid such accidents. This advice is good year-round.

First of all, drivers should maintain moderate speeds in wildlife-heavy zones. Transportation authorities post signs warning drivers about such areas as moderate speeds give drivers more time to react. When wildlife does cross the road, drivers should slow down or stop and flash their headlights. Wild animals usually don't travel alone, so one should honk the horn to dissuade any others from crossing. Also, people should look out for movement and shining eyes on the roadside.

How violence in marriage spills over into co-parenting

Individuals who are subjected to abuse during their marriage may experience harassment during the first year of co-parenting a child with their former spouses. The level and type of harassment depends on what type of abuse those in New Jersey or elsewhere may experience. Researchers at the University of Illinois broke subjects into groups that had experienced coercive controlling behavior and those who experienced situational couple violence.

Those who experienced coercive controlling behavior found little support from the child's other parent. Coercive controlling behaviors include isolating a partner from friends or controlling how that person makes or spends money. Those who were subjected to situational couple violence found that the child's other parent did a better job of being there for the child. They also found that the other parent was there to back the parent up and otherwise provide support.

Floor choice, maintenance affect rate of slip and falls

Poor flooring choices and lack of maintenance can lead to more slip and fall accidents. Employees of corporations across New Jersey and the rest of the U.S., especially those in the retail trade and real estate fields, are at risk for possible injuries as a result of these accidents.

CNA Financial Corporation has released a Slip and Fall Study Report that provides details on slip and fall liability claims from the start of 2010 to the end of 2016. The study's authors concluded that floors on 50 percent of the surveyed sites failed to have the minimum dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) level. In other words, half of floors were insufficiently slip-resistant. They also found that slip and fall accidents tend to be more frequent than they are severe. However, some accidents resulted in traumatic brain injuries. These led to more general liability claims than requests for workers' compensation.

Parental knowledge can improve the child custody process

Child custody issues may be one of the greatest fears for New Jersey parents heading into a divorce. In addition to ending the relationship between spouses, a separation can also mean major disruption and changes to the parental connection with their children. When a parent has been a daily part of their kids' lives, even a shift to joint custody can be difficult. Child custody negotiations can be emotionally difficult and pose logistical problems. In fact, many couples postpone divorces for years in order to avoid child custody disputes.

It is possible, however, to have a child custody process that leads to a positive solution for all parties. When fathers come into a child custody hearing or conference with information and recommendations for custody, it can play a major role in protecting their close relationships with their children. Even more, when the parents can both work together with their lawyers to develop a parenting plan, they can decide together on the type of custody arrangement.

Vehicle defects, long hours contribute to truck crashes

Trucks are more likely to crash on New Jersey roads if they have safety defects or if their drivers have been working a long shift, according to a study. The research was sponsored by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and published in December 2016.

Federal statistics show that 3,852 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2015. Sixty-nine percent of those fatalities were riding in passenger vehicles, 16 percent were truck occupants and 15 percent were bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians. To better understand why these crashes occur, IIHS researchers teamed with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to study truck crashes that occurred in North Carolina between 2010 and 2012. Of the 197 crashes and control pairs analyzed in the study, over one-third involved fatalities and 17 percent involved a serious injury.

Child support and health care not covered by insurance

New Jersey parents who are negotiating a child support agreement typically consider several different types of expenses. One category that should be addressed is that of uninsured medical expenses. These costs include medically necessary health care bills that are not covered under the child's insurance. These expenses may include dental or vision care bills, co-pays, deductibles and prescription costs.

To be included in most child support orders or agreements, the treatment or health care must be medically necessary. While a child support order will generally include provisions for a child's health insurance, extra costs like co-pays and deductibles are common under most U.S. insurance plans.

Study shows even minor health issues endanger truck drivers

Investigators at the University of Utah School of Medicine have published a study finding links between the medical histories and crash records of commercial truck drivers. The records of 49,464 drivers in New Jersey and across the U.S. were examined to produce the following conclusions.

Drivers with three or more medical conditions double, and sometimes quadruple, their chances of being in an accident. Such drivers meet with an average of 93 accidents for every 100 million miles they drive. For all the drivers in general, the number went down to 29.

Mirrors as a workplace safety tool

New Jersey employers are required to keep their workers safe. The use of mirrors may make it easier to see around corners or otherwise provide workers with increased vision in tight spots. Mirrors may be better than simply equipping a forklift or other moving object with the ability to make noise when moving in reverse. This is because the noise in a warehouse or other workplace could negate any noise a forklift or other object makes.

There are many factors that should be considered when determining what type of mirrors or domes should be used. For instance, the type of vehicle, the amount of traffic in a given space and the design of aisles within the work space will influence the best type of mirror or dome to use. The good news for employers is that mirrors or domes come in a variety of shapes and designs to best meet their needs.

Study shows kids do better in shared parenting arrangements

During a divorce, the change in the life New Jersey kids experience at home can have some negative impacts on their health, happiness and performance at school, especially if one parent is granted full custody. In fact, one parent, usually the mother, is still awarded physical custody of the children in 80 percent of all child custody cases.

There are a number of reasons the courts have continued to award full custody to one parent. It was believed, for example, that the actual divorce could cause stress for the children. Some believe that shared parenting arrangements could put the children right in the middle of the conflict or put them in a situation where they will be pressured to side with one parent over the other. As such, many believe that it is more beneficial for the children to stay with one parent and see the other parent once a week and on the weekends.

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