Marriage counselors and divorce lawyers see divorce as complex, emotional, demoralizing and extremely frustrating, especially if the divorcing couple end up in court in order to settle it and all issues related to it. Divorce does not only involve making very important decisions concerning financial, parental (if there is a child or children in the marriage) and personal matters; equally important as these is making sure that the process that you and your spouse choose to end your union is the right one, otherwise it would simply mean waste of time, effort and, especially, money, which you could instead live on after the divorce or use for your kids.

Unlike in the past when divorce was settled only in court, modern time provides divorcing couples with ways of ending their union and settling all divorce-related issues that are faster, cheaper and more peaceful. These various ways, and their difference from litigated divorce, include:

Contested Divorce. Also known as litigated divorce, contested divorce is the traditional way of ending a marital union. It is settled in a family court, open to the public and can drag on for months or years depending on the number of divorce-related issues that need to be settled. Divorce-related issues include custody of child/children, payment (and amount) of child support and/or spousal support, and division of properties, assets and debts.

Because of its adversarial approach, people who sit in court witness how divorcing spouses, through their lawyers, discredit one another in their attempt to win the favor of the judge who will eventually decide on all divorce issues. Aside from a judge-settled divorce process, other results of contested divorce include spouses turning bitter towards each other and making each other feel devastated and destitute.

Uncontested Divorce. Besides arriving at a settlement without having to go to trial, this divorce procedure is quicker and cheaper compared to contested divorce. Uncontested divorce is a private process. It also does not mean agreeing outrightly about the issues related to divorce, however, if there are disagreements regarding certain issues, then negotiations are made. The main issue about this type of divorce is, despite the disagreements and the need to negotiate, the spouses remain to be in control and are sure to get through everything.

Mediated Divorce or Divorce Mediation. This private, out-of-court legal procedure allows spouses to settle all divorce-related issues by themselves. A mediator, who is a neutral third party and who is chosen by the spouses, sits with them to help them reach an agreement. This mediator does not make any decisions regarding any issues – these are made by the spouses themselves. Part of what he or she does is to make sure that the spouses are able to talk and argue openly, but in a way which will not destroy the amicable process which they chose in settling the issues at hand. Though each spouse may or may not be represented by an attorney, who can help them understand the legal matters related to divorce and know if the agreement arrived at is reasonable and worth signing, compared to contested divorce, this process is still much cheaper.

Collaborative Divorce. In this type of divorce process, both spouses have their respective lawyers who, with the spouses, work cooperatively in settling the divorce case. For fair negotiations, it is necessary that each spouse discloses all important information that will affect the divorce and all related issues. In the event that this process does not settle the divorce case, each spouse will have to hire new attorneys who will take the case to trial.

The law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC mentions in its website how choosing to end a marriage can be a difficult decision to make, however, there are times when it just is the best option for you and your partner’s situation. Furthermore, the firm also says that regardless of what form of divorce you pursue, there will likely be a number of complicated legal matters that you will need to work out; this is what makes having an experienced divorce attorney critical. However, before finally choosing someone to represent you legally, it is equally important that he or she is someone you can count on and trust; someone who will help settle you case as fast as possible rather than find ways to prolong it in order to make money out of your case.

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False imprisonment, also called false arrest or wrongful arrest happens when a person wrongfully takes into custody, or holds or keeps another individual against his or her will. This damaging mistake, which usually happens when a person is falsely accused of a crime or when a person wrongfully brings criminal charges against another, can be committed by private citizens or law enforces, particularly those who act outside or beyond the limits of their authority. Specific examples of false imprisonment include: someone holding another person (against this person’s will) inside any confined place; a worker or a security guard detaining someone who is accused of having committed a crime (despite lack of proof); and, detaining someone for personal gain, or due to false information or simply based on pure malice.

False imprisonment is similar to kidnapping; in fact, it is considered a “lesser included offense” of kidnapping, even if the person guilty of the act has no actual serious or evil intent. Thus, like kidnapping, it is considered unlawful because it involves the illegal detention of another individual.

It his law firm’s website, Jeff Benton, makes clear that false imprisonment is not just a criminal offense. It is also a civil offense, giving the victim the legal right to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator in order to seek compensation for whatever damages being falsely imprisoned has done to him or her. Some of the claims for damages that a victim may seek may include: embarrassment and damage to his or her reputation; lost wages during period of imprisonment; illness that the detained may have incurred during period of imprisonment; and, any physical harm that he or she may have sustained when he or she was being wrongfully arrested.

Filing a claim for damages, however, will only be honored by a court if it can be proven that the victim is not guilty of whatever he or she has been accused of. If a person is guilty, though, but the procedure of his or her arrest was not done correctly, like when there was no just cause or if he or she was not read his or her Miranda Rights, then the court may have the criminal charge brought against him or her dismissed, but he or she will not be granted the right to file for damages.

Some states have their own criteria or conditions for a case to be considered as false imprisonment. In the state of Texan, for instance, false imprisonment involves:

  • Non-consensual confinement of a victim
  • Confinement has been committed by the perpetrator intentionally
  • Victim is aware that he or she is being imprisoned
  • Victim does not know any means of escape

It may be necessary for a person to contact a false imprisonment lawyer immediately if he or she has been illegally detained by someone.

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Utilizing the Purchase Funnel

The purchase funnel (and why you should treat your customers differently)

When you see someone buying something in your store, you definitely wonder what it is in them that made them decide to finally make the purchase. What are their considerations, their dilemmas, their doubts? As a marketer, understanding your customer’s journey in buying something allows you to provide the experience perfectly fitted for their needs. After all, the greatest mistake that a marketer can commit is to give every unique customer (with varying needs) the same buying experience.

The purchase funnel is a marketing model that explains every stage of a customer’s buying experience. From pre-awareness to loyalty, each stage tells where the customers are in the process of decision-making. According to the website of Follow Up Power, with the help of CRM platforms you can track where your customers are in the funnel, allowing you to customize your selling depending on where your potential client currently stands.

Here are a short rundown of a customer’s buying experience:

  • Brand awareness – During this stage, the customer is aware of your brand and how it may help him, with or without the desire to make a purchase
  • Familiarity – When a person feels the need to make a purchase, or when the circumstances allow him to finally buy a product similar to what you are selling, he will start the process of familiarity and research. He may read reviews about your product or others that are similar to yours.
  • Short list – As the customer compares your product to others, he is creating a short list of possible purchases based on different factors such as credibility, price, and user feedback. It could be a mental list, a written note, or bookmarked websites.
  • Consideration – In this stage, the person may look for your product for testing. He will also try other products for comparison.
  • Purchase – Once satisfied with the overall experience, the person will decide to buy
  • Re-purchase – Loyalty is soon established when the product is successful in providing what the customers expect. Loyal customers are more likely to upgrade or repurchase, thereby increasing your ROI.

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Wrong Diagnosis

We rely on doctors and nurses for our own health and trust them with the health of our loved ones. They are supposed to be some of the most trusted individuals we encounter. These are honorable and definitely difficult jobs, and we hold those who pursue them to a higher standard than most. However, at times these trusted individuals are not deserving of our reliance. At times, the carelessness, negligence, or poor judgment of a medical professional leads to the worsening of a patient’s condition. This is referred to as medical malpractice. One common occurrence of medical malpractice is wrongful diagnosis. It is important for patients or loved ones of patients to be aware of these occurrences so that they can better avoid them.

According to the website, the following circumstances to more commonly contribute to the misdiagnosis of serious health conditions: the failure to effectively communicate, the failure to recognize the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms, the failure to perform diagnostic tests after observing characteristic symptoms, the failure to correctly interpret diagnostic test, or a lack of pertinent knowledge. These are all signs of the incompetence of the general negligence of a trusted medical professional. When a medical professional fails to provide the care their patients need correctly, they can no longer be trusted to provide accurate treatment. While at times a specific diagnosis can be elusive and mysterious, medical malpractice occurs when the diagnosis could have been easily discerned if all diagnostic procedures were performed and interpreted correctly.

In some complicated medical procedures, there is not room for mistake or accident. Sometimes accidents do happen, and in those tragic situations it is hard to hold someone accountable. However, sometimes mistakes occur specifically because of the carelessness or negligence of a medical professional. In these cases, the victim of such a mistake may be owed certain damages.

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The heart plays a vital role in our body’s ability to properly function. As such, any condition that compromises the way it works can be considered serious and may require immediate medical attention. Among such conditions are congenital heart defect, which is said to affect approximately 40,000 babies in America every year. In fact, according The Children’s Heart Foundation, congenital heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects. They are also estimated to be the leading cause of infant fatalities in the country.

There are several kinds of congenital heart defects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these defects can vary in their severity. Some conditions can be mild, while others can be severe enough to warrant open heart surgery as soon as an infant is born. Conditions falling in the latter category are considered critical. Atrial septal defect may not be specifically defined as a critical condition, but it will still entail a long road of treatment and recovery.

Like other congenital heart diseases, atrial septal defect are typically diagnosed during pregnancy or after a baby is born. However, there are cases when it can be left undiagnosed until adulthood. An atrial septal defect is characterized by a hole in the wall of the heart separating its upper and lower chambers. Left untreated, such a condition can increase the amount of blood travelling through the lungs and cause damage to its vessels. It can also impede proper blood circulation throughout the body.

These issues can be easily mitigated and controlled with early diagnosis. Unfortunately, atrial septal defect can be easily missed. As such, parents should learn to observe for the following signs and symptoms after their baby is born:

  • Poor appetite and tiredness during feeding
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Skipped heartbeats and heart murmurs
  • Blue-tainted lips or nails
  • Swolen arms, legs, feet, or stomach

The specific cause of atrial septal defects and other congenital heart conditions are yet to be determined. Generally, birth defects are believed to be caused by changes in genes or chromosomes during fetal development. However, the CDC also points out that there are specific factors that could increase the likelihood of such complications. These risk factors include certain environmental changes, as well as specific foods or medications ingested during a mother’s pregnancy.

A separate study conducted named one specific drug that could increase the risk of congenital heart conditions like atrial septal defect. This drug is called Zofran, the anti-nausea medication typically prescribed to women suffering from severe morning sickness. If you suspect that your child’s heart ailment is caused by same drug you took to treat your nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to contact Zofran lawsuit attorneys to learn more about your legal options.

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Many people are exposed to toxic chemicals without being aware of the dangers that those toxins could potentially cause them. Whether it is within the workplace, at home, or near industrial or power plants, the emission of harmful substances require warning signs or a negligence claim may be filed.

In the workplace, employers are required by law to take the necessary precautions to warn against and train employees in how to properly handle and protective themselves from toxins. Companies are required to have material safety data sheets (MSDS) that accurately describes the present toxins, first aid measures, reactivity, storage and disposal directions, and spill and leak procedures. Warning labels and signs need to be visible, up to date, and placed in relevant locations to aid employees working with the substances.

According to the website of Pohl and Berk, the most common types of toxins found in the workplace are lead, mercury, silica, benzene, and carbon monoxide. These toxins are poisonous to humans and capable of causing severe discomfort and illness. Symptoms of certain toxins are comparable to the flu. Fatigue, sore throat, dizziness, fever, and upset stomach are all common indicators of possible toxic exposure.

There are precautions that may prevent toxic exposure when harmful chemicals are present, for instance, substituting a non-harmful chemical instead of the more risky product. Isolating or properly ventilating the hazardous material should occur when the material is not in use. Some companies even provide personal protective equipment for employees that are directly exposed to the toxins.

Improper safety precautions against toxic exposure in the workplace can lead to serious long-term consequences. Toxic exposure can cause lasting health issues including cancer. If you believe you have been exposed to toxins and are suffering from the consequences of the negligent actions taken by your employer, consult an attorney in your area about your legal options.

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There are many definitions of theft under New York law, and one of them involves the taking of physical property or money without the owner’s consent for personal use, and that is called larceny. It is not a term that is commonly used in the vernacular, but in legal parlance it is a specific crime that may not be mistaken for any other type of theft. A Westchester theft attorney would be in a position to explain this in more detail.

There are basically two types of larceny: petty and grand larceny. The distinction is largely self-explanatory; petty larceny involves the taking property of relatively small value compared to grand larceny. In New York, petty larceny applies to any act of theft involving property or cash with value of more than $100 but less than $300 and is typically prosecuted as a second degree misdemeanor, good for up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine. A prior conviction for petty theft elevates the second incident as first degree misdemeanor and good for up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine. More than two priors, and it becomes a third degree felony.

Grand theft, on the other hand, is when the value is $300 or more, and the penalties escalate with the increase in value. Property or cash value of $300 to $20,000 is third degree grand larceny; $20,000 to $100,000 second degree; over $100,000, first degree. Aside from the value, grand theft first degree will also apply if in the commission of the crime the defendant used a motor vehicle aside from that as a way to get away or caused more than $1,000 in property damage. Charges range from third to first degree felony, and the penalties can be up to 30 years in prison plus a fine up to $10,000.

If you are charged with larceny, whether petit or grand, it is still a crime, and a conviction effectively marks you as a criminal. Engage the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you and avoid or mitigate the consequences of a conviction.

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Simple Assault in Texas

A basketball player for a Texas college was recently suspended from playing and joining in team events by college authorities following allegations of assault filed by a woman who was said to be his girlfriend. The case is under investigation and may mean the permanent removal of the player from the team and perhaps expulsion from the institution.

Assault may be defined differently from state to state; according to the Texas Penal Code (Ann. §22.02), it is the knowing and intentional infliction of bodily harm or threat thereof by one person on another person. It is not necessary for a person to actually inflict physical injuries on the victim to be charged with assault; it is enough if the victim is made to believe through threats that bodily harm is imminent. According to the website of Ian Inglis Attorney at Law, this is the critical point where many errors can be made.

There are two basic types of assault: simple and aggravated. Simple assault is when there is offensive contact or relatively minor bodily injury, or the threat of bodily harm does not include the use of a weapon. It can range from a Class C to Class A misdemeanor, carrying anything from a $500 fine to jail time of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

Aggravated assault on the other hand is like simple assault on steroids, and the penalties are escalated accordingly. A good example would be when Dave threatens to harm Tom by pointing a gun at him. The gun doesn’t have to be loaded or for Dan to actually shoot Tom for it to be considered assault because it would be reasonable to believe that Dan can and will pull the trigger. When the assault is in a domestic setting, it is automatically a Class A misdemeanor, and depending on circumstances may be elevated all the way up to a first degree felony.

Even when charged with simple assault, it is important to have proper legal representation to avoid getting a criminal record. Engage the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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Limo Rentals for Stress Relief

There is something to be said for not having to worry about your transportation when everything else is going haywire. This is what usually happens on the occasions when renting a limo is justified: weddings, proms, traveling on business, or a really important date. Among the thousand and one things that you need to do, driving is something you can take out of the list in advance and quite easily.  Just keep in mind the following.

Book in Advance

Most reputable limo rentals will require some lead time, although they may be able to accommodate a rush booking when necessary. However, to keep stress low, book your limo at least a week in advance to make sure there are no hitches such as a last-minute cancellation.

Get a Contract

Established limo rental companies will not hesitate to provide you with a contract for your lease which will detail everything, including applicable fees so you will know exactly what you are getting into. Clarify if the contract is “all-inclusive” and if not, what other fees will be added. Get it in writing in a formal price quote. If your limo company will not give you one, look for another service provider or you could be limo-less on the day, or paying through the nose for the “extras.”

Do an Ocular

If you have a regular service, you can skip this precaution. But if you are using a company for the first time, you would do well to check out their physical set-up to see if they actually have vehicles for lease, and to check out the actual vehicle you are leasing. If you are in Austin, you should book with Austin limousine services so you can easily get there. Some companies that offer low rates can afford to do so because they don’t maintain their own vehicles but farm it out to those who do. This can be a hit-and-miss affair; if the company fails to get a vehicle for you, they’ll simply make an excuse and cancel at the last minute. Alternatively, low cost limo rentals may have a vehicle but it may not be the luxurious ride you expect.

If you follow these basic steps to securing a limo rental for that important day, you should not have to think about it anymore until you actually step into it. You’ll be glad you did it.

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Swing Music

Swing music. Tunes that really get you in the groove. A dieing art?

In the years leading up to World War II, swing music dominated dance halls across the United States. Its emphasis on upbeats, lively brass arrangements, and fast tempos made an impression on people, evident in the elaborate, physically demanding style of dance that cropped up around the genre.

swing dancers

Those were the days!

Swing’s rise to popularity was met with some resistance. Some thought that its lack of prominent strings in the instrumentation made it a lower form of music. Others took issue with the lyrics and dancing, which were suggestive for the time.

When the U.S. stepped up its involvement in WWII, swing music lost some of its feasibility. Because it used big bands, it became economically unfeasible to have large bands touring. For one, it was expensive to pay the musicians. Such distractions were superfluous in the wartime economy. More damaging was the fact that many men were sent off to fight, leaving behind very few musicians to play the clubs.

Swing experienced a bit of a revival in the 90s, but the electronic juggernaut that is modern pop music will never yield its dominance to something as old-fashioned as classic swing. Nevertheless, swing holds a special place in the hearts of thousands of people, with swing dance classes remaining relatively popular. Long live the swing!

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