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Newton NJ Personal Injury and Family Law Blog

$4,200 per month in child support ordered in Kodak Black case

New Jersey rap fans may know that Kodak Black has been in the middle of a child support battle for some time. The final orders were recently issued in the case, and Black will have to pay the mother of his 2-year-old son $4,200 per month.

News sources report that the woman accused Black of refusing to turn over his financial information and of claiming he earned much less than he does. The woman asked the judge to detain Black in jail for his alleged refusal to disclose his financial data.

Motorcyclists need to drive defensively

New Jersey bikers know that while riding a motorcycle can be fun, it can also be dangerous. Motorcyclists are likely to suffer more serious injuries in an accident than they would if they were riding in an automobile. Both driving defensively and wearing safety gear can help to prevent accidents.

Beginning riders should take a course on motorcycle riding before they hit the road. Safety gear, such as specially made jackets and suits, help protect the skin from road rash and other injuries should an accident occur. A helmet to protect the head is another must. Serious head injuries can occur when an unprotected head slams into the ground.

Road safety advocates fear surge in marijuana impairment

New Jersey is among several states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, but some road safety advocates believe that laws like the one passed in the Garden State could lead to a sharp increase in impaired driving accidents. They point to crash data from Colorado, Oregon and Washington revealing that traffic collisions rose after marijuana was approved for recreational use, but experts say that the data is inconclusive and does not link the rise in accidents with increased consumption of the drug.

A poll conducted on behalf of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America suggests that most Americans are more concerned with road hazards such as distracted driving than they are about marijuana impairment. While an overwhelming 91 percent of those polled believed that driving after smoking marijuana was dangerous, only four out of 10 of the respondents felt that the drug contributed significantly to the alarming rise in car accidents observed over the last few years.

Truck tracking designed to cut fatigue accidents

Drivers in New Jersey may worry when they take roads crowded with large trucks and buses. These large vehicles can provide unique risks and dangers to other motorists. The hazards can be accentuated further when truck drivers are fatigued or otherwise distracted, preventing them from concentrating fully on the road.

There is a system designed to monitor and log transportation hours that is gaining implementation in the trucking industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has mandated the use of Electronic Logging Devices, or ELDs, beginning in December 2017. It requires truck drivers to install a device in the truck to manage, track, record and share time on duty.

Communication can help resolve co-parenting challenges

New Jersey couples considering divorce may be particularly concerned when they have children. Dealing with child custody and co-parenting can be stressful for the parents, but at the same time, a strong relationship with each parent is very important for the psychological security and health of their children. When there is no abuse or neglect, it's very important that children are supported to maintain close, positive relationships with both of their parents, even after the divorce. The difficulties of child custody can be some of the most emotionally difficult aspects of the divorce, and adjusting to co-parenting and divided time can be hard on both parents and children.

When both parents prioritize the interests and needs of the children, this can help resolve disputes about child custody more calmly. Shared custody, a common agreement in which children split time between their parents' homes, can come with an array of logistical challenges, some as simple as lost or misplaced items or homework files saved on the wrong computer. Dealing with these types of issues in a positive, flexible way can help children feel secure even when they frequently switch their home base.

Study shows 'Pokémon Go' may have caused traffic crashes, deaths

While many New Jersey residents may love to play "Pokémon Go," a new study shows that the popular smartphone-based game may have led to a surge in traffic injuries and deaths after its July 2016 launch. The study was conducted by researchers at Purdue University and released online in November.

For the study, researchers examined accident data for Tippecanoe County, Ind., in the months surrounding the release of "Pokémon Go." They then matched up the accident data with Pokéstops, which are areas that players visit to obtain game supplies, throughout the county. They found that motor vehicle collisions jumped countywide after the game came out, but they spiked by 26.5 percent at intersections near Pokéstops. Over the first 21 weeks of the game's availability, they estimated that players caused approximately 134 accidents near Pokéstops, which may have resulted in 31 injuries, two deaths and $500,000 in vehicle damage.

Child custody and supervised visitation

New Jersey law has a preference for joint child custody when parents do not live together, but some circumstances can make giving one parent sole custody a better option. In cases where one parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or if there are allegations of violence, that parent might be denied custody but granted visitation rights. In these cases, a court order might require supervised visitation, which means a third party must be present when the parent visits the child.

Supervised visitation can happen in the parent's home or at another designated location. The supervisor could be a family member or a social worker. Supervised visitation is designed to allow a parent to maintain contact with their child while protecting the child from possible harm from a parent whose fitness as a parent is questionable.

AAA study shows how truck safety devices prevent crashes

According to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, lane departure warning and onboard, video-based systems; air disc brakes; and automatic emergency braking are the safety devices that can most effectively prevent truck-related crashes. Drivers in New Jersey and elsewhere in the U.S. tend to be wary of sharing the road with trucks and are naturally eager to see these measures put into use by trucking companies.

Onboard safety monitoring could prevent 63,000 crashes, and lane departure warning systems may be able to stop 6,372 accidents. Emergency braking could cause 5,294 fewer crashes, and air disc brakes may halt 2,411 collisions. Case studies have shown that 44 to 86 percent of safety-critical events could be prevented. On average, 500 deaths also could be avoided.

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.

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