All About Paternity Actions

Divorce proceedings are stressful enough as it is. Not only does one have to deal with the emotional pulls that come with ending a marriage, but one has to begin a process that is long and draining — physically, mentally, and financially. It’s safe to say that most people would rather avoid going through a divorce. Unfortunately, life happens, and for a wide variety of reasons — divorce is often unavoidable.

When the two parties involved in a divorce have children together, that makes matters even more complicated. Ironing out custody and visitation rights can add weeks to an already long process. A less discussed matter when it comes to children and divorce is paternity actions. Keep reading to find out more about paternity actions in the event that you or a loved one need one in the future.

What is a Paternity Action?

First — the basics. A paternity is action is a legal process that designates a man to be the father of a child that is 18 years or younger. While there are some rare exceptions, the only parties that are eligible to file for a paternity action are: the mother, the alleged father, the child, and the state.

Why File a Paternity Action?

That is a long list of reasons why someone may file a paternity action:

  • The alleged father may not believe he is actually the father
  • The mother may seek child support and must prove the man is her child’s father
  • A man wishing to gain custody or visitation rights by proving paternity
  • A state agency wishing to recover child support from the child’s alleged father
  • A child wishing to know the identity of their father

Of course, other reasons persist as well.

The Process

No matter what the reason is for the paternity action, there is a standard process to establish paternity under the law:

First, the petitioner files their claim, outlining why they believe the man in question is the father of the child.
After the petition is filed and the alleged father is notified, the father has a certain time period in which he can respond to the petition in writing. He has three main options: (1) agree that you are the father and allow the law to name him as such (2) Contest allegations (3) Acknowledge that he could be the father and request a DNA test
If DNA testing proves a child-parent relationship exists, the court will begin the process of determining the child support payments needed and custody/visitation rights.

If you have been met with a paternity action petition and have any doubts that you are the child’s father, it is imperative that you contest the allegations. If you were to agree that you were the father and DNA testing later proves that isn’t true, it is unlikely the court will reverse their ruling. Paternity action attorneys like the lawyers at Alexander & Associates are the best people for you to reach out to when you’ve been served with a paternity action. Don’t attempt to represent yourself!

The Qualities Your Lawyer Needs to Make a Difference in Your Divorce

In some cases, the outcome of a divorce can seem like a foregone conclusion. You may believe that you are in the ideal position to receive full custody of your children, all the support you need, and all the property you feel is rightfully yours. Alternatively, you may be resigned to visitation, paying a large support bill, and seeing your property taken from you.

In both cases, you would probably feel a lawyer won’t be able to change the outcome of your divorce. You may feel it doesn’t matter which lawyer you choose or if you choose one at all. After all, it’s all set in stone already. However, this assumption is rarely accurate, and you will likely come to regret them later.

The truth is, the lawyer you choose can have a profound effect on your divorce. Getting the right lawyer can help ensure your property is divided fairly, child support and alimony payments are fair for both parties, and the child custody agreement suits the needs of everyone in your family.

How can a lawyer turn divorce proceedings around like that? There are several key qualities you want to see in your lawyer. If you find a lawyer that meets all those qualities, you may be able to either ensure you get that positive result you were expecting or else reach a much more positive outcome than you ever thought possible.

So, what are those qualities? You’ll find them all laid out in the best lawyers. Consider Adams Law Firm, which is one of the most successful family law firms in Houston. What has made them stand out? Let’s look a little closer.

  • Dedication: This can be the defining characteristic of a good divorce lawyer. Firms that handle family law cases see an almost unbelievable number of divorce cases come in every month of the year. It’s easy to put in a minimal effort, but a firm like Adams Law Firm actually turn people away when the load is too heavy. That allows them to dedicate more time to each client and each divorce case.
  • The right kind of experience: All the dedication in the world won’t do much for you if your lawyer doesn’t really know the law or know how to pursue your case. You need your lawyer to have experience like you find at Adams Law Firm, where they have been practicing for 35 years. That experience, importantly, is also the right kind of experience. They have the awards and reputation to show they’ve taken cases like your and achieved great results.
  • An interest in you: Beyond the above two qualities, you want your lawyer to actually care about you, your family, your divorce, and how the outcome will affect you. Adams Law Firm promises a personalized relationship with clients. That is exactly what you’re looking for.

There are lots of divorce lawyers out there, but getting the right one can make all the difference with your divorce. Use the qualities above to find the right divorce lawyer for you so you can stay connected to your kids and you don’t have to lose out on the life you’ve been living.

How I Overcame My Fear of the Dentist

We all have our fears, none of which should bring the feeling of shame. I, for one, had a fear of the dentist. I couldn’t get over it; I can’t see what they are doing with all those whirring noises and sharp objects, and I was so scared of them ruining my smile. This fear had me in and out of dental offices, creating appointments and then never really following through with any of them. It is an unfortunate scenario since dental work is essential for the health of your teeth. 

As with any other fear, overcoming it seems simple when you’re away from it. It’s easy to say “sure, I’ll sit still this time” when you’re at home looking to make another appointment, but once you’re there, things are very different. After a few attempts, I got fed up. I started to look online for ways to overcome a fear of the dentist since apparently, I wasn’t able to figure it out on my own. 

That’s when I stumbled upon a great article covering the same topic. It lists a few options for ways to deal with your fear of the dentist. Not all of these ways will help you get over your fear, but they will certainly help you cope with the anxiety. Not all of these work for everyone, since all cases differ entirely. However, what worked best for me was bringing along a family member I could trust, as well as my music so I could distract myself while controlling my breathing. I was still terrified, but this combination of things allowed me to lessen the fear for some time while the dentist got work done. 

As time progressed, I slowly got used to it to the point where I was daydreaming. I wasn’t looking at what tools he was using, or listening to any of their sounds. I just laid back and got work done on my teeth, and the next thing I knew, I was being patted on the shoulder and heard some mumbling. I had my music turned up a little too loud, but when I took out my earbuds, I was blown away when the dentist told me he was done. I moved my tongue around my mouth, and everything felt intact. I was surprised but overjoyed. Sure, it was still scary at first. Even the next couple of times I went after that I was scared and had to do the same thing. The second time didn’t go as smoothly, but I still mustered up enough courage to let the dentist get his job done. 

It feels like a miracle to me, finally being able to make an appointment with the dentist and be done with it. I’d highly recommend taking a look at the list of options at your disposal and exploring the ones that feel best for you because coping with your fear is incredibly liberating.

Hollywood Has Numbed Us to Explosions

Explosions always look so cool in the movies. The good guy runs in slow motion as cars fly everywhere, windows break, and huge fireballs chase just behind. These scenes are thrilling for many reasons (Hollywood is, after all, very good at what it does), but one thing that makes them fun is the knowledge, deep down, that the characters we care about are going to make it out okay.

The use of explosions in this manner certainly increases ticket sales as people like to watch such amazing effects on the big screen. However, they also hold a burden of responsibility because they minimize the terrifying nature of explosions in reality.

Just as shootouts in movies minimize the true danger and horror of a real shooting, so explosions teach us from an early age that they are cool and fun and no one important gets hurt.

This almost certainly leads to young boys and girls experimenting with fireworks instead of recognizing the danger they hold. At the same time, it allows us to minimize tragedies when they occur in real life, and to blow off any efforts at prevention.

We have become accustomed to demanding thrills at all times in our modern lives. We want to see videos of the horrors taking place in the world because Hollywood has taught us to find pleasure in this. Humans already struggle to empathize with those they don’t know. When Hollywood encourages this reaction, we end up becoming voyeurs of tragedy, frantically clicking around for better videos, more extensive recaps and roundups of what happened. We want all the gory details because, on some level, subconsciously, we think it’s all fun and games. None of these people are real.

This numbness comes with a price. We all become less safe. We all become at greater risk of injury or death through explosions, gunfire, and other forms of unnatural violence.

Just as Hollywood helped create this problem, so Hollywood can help out now. It is not so difficult to change the narrative behind explosions in a film. Indeed, in the aftermath of 9/11, movies did just that. There were far fewer examples of plane crashes and city-wide explosions in the years that followed, and when they did occur, they were done with an eye to the tragic side of such events. Filmmakers make particular efforts to show the trauma that explosions cause.

We saw close up the grieving and the horror, and while we remained entertained (it is too much to ask Hollywood to stop doing that), we were at least equally horrified.

In recent years, however, Hollywood has again forgotten this lesson. Unfortunately, it may take another epic tragedy for it to learn its lesson again. Until then, we all, as consumers, have a duty to avoid movies that earn their money off the glorification of violence.

More needs to be done to make our society aware of how violent it is. One way to do that is to turn off the movies and pay attention to the actual tragedies happening outside.

Marriage and Prenups

At a time when over 50% of marriages end in divorce, many people are turning to prenuptial agreements to make sure they will be protected if the marriage goes south. There is a lot of debate surrounding this practice, however, with some claiming that you would not need to draft a prenup if you truly loved and trusted your partner. Most of the time, prenups simply take care of how assets are divided, but could they also include more stringent rules that affect your life after divorce? The divorce between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes came with such a “lifestyle clause.”

According to a recent article on MarketWatch, there was allegedly a clause in the divorce settlement between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes that forbid her from dating another man for a certain period after the divorce. Some people speculate that this is why Katie and Jamie Foxx have only recently been spotted holding hands in public, even though many people have suspected the two to have been dating for about five years now. According to the American Bar Association Journal, the number of these “lifestyle clauses” are on the rise. According to a divorce lawyer in Atlanta, he has seen all kinds of things, such as “weight clauses” where a woman would not receive alimony if she gained a certain amount of weight after the wedding. In one case a wife limited the amount of football her husband could watch on Sunday, and in another, a husband limited the number of times his mother-in-law could visit. Some slightly more reasonable lifestyle clauses mandate that children be raised under a particular religion even if the couple gets divorced. Of course, all of these demands are nearly impossible to enforce, but in the event of a divorce, they could be used as leverage.

Instances like this make it easy to see why many people are not fond of the idea of a prenuptial agreement. Particularly when there are clauses that dictate how your partner should look, it comes off as incredibly shallow and demeaning to the other person. Of course, in the case of incredibly public figures like Tom Cruise, a lot of his net worth is based on his appearance, and he has to worry about all of the paparazzi running around that could potentially ruin his reputation with just one scathing article, whether it is true or not. Clauses about cheating in a relationship and how children should be raised are much more reasonable, especially if it is an issue for both parties.

Prenuptials can definitely be useful if you have a lot of assets you would like to protect, and many lawyers can help you draft one, like Kessler & Solomiany, LLC based in Atlanta. In many cases, prenups can save you thousands of dollars in attorney fees if your assets are divided up already. However, this does not mean that a prenup should be used to control every aspect of your partner’s life since these rules can rarely be enforced effectively.

Behind Your Back

Dishonesty from a broker has the capacity to greatly affect an investor’s portfolio in a negative manner. One method that is made out of pure dishonesty and has the potential to cost an investor large sums of money is unauthorized trading done by the broker. This act is essentially stealing money directly from the client’s account. These cases can be difficult to pinpoint as they are usually done stealthily and brokers typically attempt to cover up any evidence or deny the allegations. If the original investor is interested in solving this dilemma they can do so by taking immediate approach against the broker’s actions.

It is most important to realize that in unauthorized trading cases the investor will have the best chance of success if they can immediately protest the activity on their account. A fault in human nature, greed is one of the most powerful and one of the most destructive traits the human psyche is capable of acting on. Greed is capable of fully consuming people and taking their reasoning captive while they ruin many lives as well as their own. The love for money begins to outweigh their respect for others and their property. In unauthorized trading incidents, financial brokers make decisions on behalf of the client without their permission, which technically is considered stealing. The lack of confirmed approval sets them apart and makes the distinction as being official unauthorized trading.

Cases like these typically involve large sums of money and are committed by petty financial brokers. They act in secrecy and lies in order to protect their scheme that will pay for their next quarter’s bonus. These brokers are unethical betrayers of the law. Regulations and procedures attempt to keep instances like this to a minimum, but when they do occur the damages incurred are usually significant. Thankfully these incidents do not have to be the end of the road for investors who have experienced betrayal on behalf of the people they trusted their money with. Betrayal in any form is a hard event to process, but when large sums of money that most likely took decades to accrue are used in a manner that is not pleasing to you the betrayal hits even harder.

To conclude, financial brokerages can be dens of lions and snakes. Betrayal from brokers who made a commitment to protecting the financial interests of the client can be a tough pill to swallow. Thankfully there are skilled citizens who can intervene for the sake of the investor. One bad investment does not have to ruin someone’s life.

The Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act

In recognition of the many benefits of trees, a bill, called the Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act, was introduced in the U.S. Congress. This Act hopes to help lower energy usage and utility bills through the targeted planting of residential shade trees. It explicitly cites the benefits of proper tree siting, including stormwater management, reduced energy load demand, and carbon sequestration. It would establish a grant program to assist electricity providers in planting shade trees to insulate residential buildings and minimize home heating and cooling demands.

The U.S. Forest Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says that trees do more than just create an outdoor living environment that is beautiful, healthy and safe. Trees offer and provide all these benefits and more:

  • They act as natural air-conditioner, lowering the temperature, especially during summer, from 6 to 8 degrees as compared to neighborhoods without trees;
  • They reduce residential heating costs from 10-15 percent and residential air-conditioning costs from 20-50 percent;
  • They lower blood pressure, slow heartbeat, and relax brain wave patterns;
  • They provide inviting and cool areas for recreation and relaxation;
  • They capture carbon dioxide (CO2), helping reduce the overall concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere;
  • Homes landscaped with healthy trees sell more quickly and add as much as 20 percent to a property’s market value;
  • They provide homes for more than 80 species of wildlife, such as birds (woodpeckers, nuthatches, and eagles), and other animals, like salamanders and squirrels.
  • A community that is lined with trees increases the value of homes by 25 percent;
  • Trees attracting business – people linger and shop longer when trees are present;
  • Where a canopy of trees exists, apartments and office spaces rent more quickly; workers also become more productive and there is less absenteeism.
  • Trees reduce runoff and improve water quality by absorbing and filtering rainwater.

These are some of the reasons why, in landscape architecture designs, one element that is ever present is trees. According to the Hamlin Tree Care, trees are assets and, therefore, worth investing into whether in residential or business areas.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer that begins in the mesothelium, the protective layer of bodily organs. Typically, mesothelioma develops in the protective layer of the lungs, but it is also known to develop in the lining of the abdominal cavity and in the membrane around the heart.
The most common cause of mesothelioma is asbestos, a mineral used in construction and insulation. Asbestos has been commonly used in various industries in the 19th and 20th century, and even though it is limitedly used today, there are still known cases of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma development.

Who is at Risk?

Mesothelioma lawsuit attorneys even exist, because of how serious unwarranted cancer development is. These days, the people who are most vulnerable to asbestos exposure are those who work directly with asbestos, such as asbestos plant employees, those who contact products with asbestos, such as military ship employees, and those who are in high-risk industries, such as construction workers and auto mechanics.
But take note that they are not just the ones vulnerable. Their families may also be at risk, because once these workers go home with asbestos all over them, their loved ones are also exposed to the substance. Other people at risk include those who live in residential areas near asbestos plants and those who are having renovations in homes that have asbestos.

What are the Effects?

Asbestos has a fiber-like structure, so it is not surprising that it breaks down and gets inhaled by those around it, especially the workers. This is what triggers mesothelioma. What is worse is the fact that the symptoms don’t even show itself immediately. There are instances where it takes years before these symptoms to occur, and many times, the mesothelioma is already on bad stages.
Symptoms may vary depending on the affected area. As said earlier, the affected area can be the lungs, abdomen, or heart. If the lungs are affected, the patient may experience chronic coughs with blood. If the abdomen is affected, the patient may experience abdominal pain and bowel movement issues. If the heart is affected, the patient may experience chest pain and heart beat problems.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Property owners are legally obligated to make sure that their premises are safe. Failure to oblige to this responsibility may result into lawsuits, particularly when a person has sustained injury because of the owner’s negligence. This is called premises liability.

One of the most common premises liability claims are from slip and fall accidents, which can result into head injuries, back problems, fractures, sprains, and at worst, death. It is important to know the most common causes of slip and fall accidents so you can prevent them yourself.

Wet or slippery surfaces
Unattended liquids and other slippery materials on the floor may result into a slip and fall accident. In private properties, these materials include spilled drinks and pipe leaks. In public properties, these may include excessive or improper use of wax. In hazardous workplaces, these may include grease, oil, soap, and other industrial substances.

Defective equipment
Sometimes, slip and fall accidents occur not because of third-party materials such as slippery substances, but because of the equipment itself. The most common defective equipment includes floors, escalators, and elevators. For floors, uneven surfaces, potholes, and cracks can trip people. For escalators, the sudden jolt of defective parts can cause people to trip. For elevators, the tiny crevices can trap small body parts such as fingers or clothing such as the tips of dresses.

Weather conditions
The weather is a common contributing factor in slip and fall accidents in external premises. The rain, snow, and ice can make parking lots, sidewalks, and the like to become slippery. A pile of leaves can also be slippery to unsuspecting pedestrians.

Low visibility
There are also instances where there are no dangerous obstructions that may trip nor substances that may slip the victim. But what makes the premises still prone to slip and fall accidents is the inadequate lighting. Lack of visibility in the area can cause people to trip, slip, and fall because of easily avoidable factors.

Many accidents are a result of negligent behavior and a lack of care. Slip and fall accidents are taken seriously that there are even legal professionals who specialize on them. But you don’t want to entertain the hassles of medical bills, attorney fees, and wasted time in court. The best option is still to avoid slip and fall accidents yourself, and knowing their most common causes is your first step for their prevention.

Is Your Elderly Loved One Getting Proper Nutrition In Nursing Homes?

Proper nutrition is one of the major issues affecting the elderly in nursing homes. It is important for senior citizens to be properly nourished to avoid health issues. Experts on Chicago nursing home neglect will tell you that nursing home staff has the responsibility of ensuring that their residents are given their proper food. The family and relative of the elderly must be educated with the signs of malnutrition which could be the following:

Oral Symptoms

The neglected elderly might notice canker sores and excessive redness in the mouth of their loved one. Malnutrition can lead to yeast infection which is the result of white patches in the cheeks and tongue.

Muscle Problems

The lack of nutrients stocked in the muscles might lead to the muscles becoming visibly flaccid. Muscle problems due to poor nutrition of the elderly may cause prolonged fatigue.

Eye Symptoms

Malnutrition in the nursing home may cause redness in the eyes or swelling in the cornea of the patient. This will cause the vision of the patient to be impaired and deteriorated.

Malnutrition is one of the major problems affecting residents of nursing homes or care facilities. It affects around one-third of the residents. As the resident becomes older, problems such as chronic or acute diseases can increase, which can impact the balance between nutritional needs and intake. Now more than ever, it is extremely important for signs of malnutrition to be detected and treated.

Malnutrition in the nursing home can be a result of facilities lacking sufficient personnel to take care of the residents. Studies have revealed that every certified personnel must be handling 2-3 patients. The lack or proper nutrition may also be due to the high turnover rate of nursing home staff at 93% annually. The lack of training on the part of the caregiver may also have an impact on the care of the elderly patient.