Daniel v. Daniel - Military Benefits as Marital Property in Divorce

April 15, 2014

Those filing for divorce in Hammond against a military spouse should be aware of the fact that unvested military benefits may be considered marital property for purposes of asset division. americanflag.jpg

The issue arose way back in 1981 with the case of McCarty v. McCarty in the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was decided that federal law precluded the award of military retirement benefits as marital property upon divorce. However, that decision invited congressional action - and Congress passed the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, codified in Title 10 U.S. Code, Sec. 1408, effective as of 1983. Essentially, the new law holds that military retirement pay is considered marital "property," which could be subject to asset division in divorce.

However, the ruling doesn't mean that former spouses automatically are entitled to a portion of their ex's military retirement pay, and each case is decided according to individual facts and state law. Many jurisdictions continue to grapple with the issue, as evidenced in the recent case of Daniel v. Daniel, heard by the Ohio Supreme Court.

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Termination of Parental Rights in Indiana

April 4, 2014

The Indiana Supreme Court recently reversed and remanded decisions in two similar family law cases regarding termination of parental rights due to a technical legal error. This means both individuals in question will have the opportunity to once again assert to the court why the state should allow them to retain their parental rights.
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Gary family law attorneys recognize that these are some of the most wrenching cases, and the courts will decide them on the basis of what is in the best interest for the child.

A termination of parental rights ends the legal parent-child relationship. Once this is formalized, the child is available to become legally placed for adoption and is potentially eligible for certain state-provided benefits.

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Transmutation of Non-Marital Property in Indiana Divorce

February 28, 2014

As a general rule, the only property in a divorce proceeding that is subject to division is marital property. book.jpg

The question of what exactly constitutes marital property is one that family courts continue to wrestle with on a daily basis. For the most part, however, marital property is considered that which was earned or acquired during the marriage - unless you agree otherwise. Separate property is that which belongs to only one spouse, either because it was owned before the marriage, received as a gift during the marriage, was an inheritance or personal injury award or was acquired in one spouse's name and never used for the benefit of the other.

However, these rules aren't without exception, and one of those is the transmutation of non-marital property. Those filing for a divorce in Gary should educate themselves on this issue, particularly if they own a small business.

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Mottershaw v. Ledbetter - Improper Evidence Exposure in Injury Case

February 25, 2014

Preservation of the integrity of the judicial process means that jurors should only weigh that evidence which is considered relevant to the case. Extraneous information could be unfairly prejudicial. It's the judge's job to act as referee to make sure this doesn't happen. eaglewatching.jpg

Usually, the question of what can and cannot be heard by jurors is decided long before the personal injury claim goes to court. Numerous pretrial hearings will be held to hammer out any disputes with regard to what evidence is pertinent.

In some cases, evidence that is deemed inappropriate for the jury still makes its way into the courtroom, either due to rogue questioning by an attorney or misunderstanding of a witness or some other oversight. In these situations, the court might determine there are grounds for a mistrial or a retrial.

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Claims for Indiana Medical Errors Must Clear Pre-Trial Hurdles

February 15, 2014

It is not enough in medical malpractice lawsuits for the plaintiff to simply provide evidence of wrong-doing or negligence. Before you even get to court, your law firm must clear a number of critical hurdles.
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There are statutes of limitations on the lawsuit, but there are also numerous deadlines for various filings that must be met before a claim can move forward.

Patients first have to file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, which will appoint a medical review panel of three physicians to evaluate the case. If there is one defendant, two of the three doctors must be from the defendant's specialty. If there are multiple defendants, the department must try to make sure the panel displays the most appropriate representation possible.

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Lesko v. Stanislaw - Criminal Case Can Impact Divorce Asset Division

February 10, 2014

Those exploring the possibility of filing for a divorce in Saint John, Indiana should be aware that prior and pending criminal cases could impact the division of assets in your divorce.
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This is true regardless of whether the alleged crimes were financial in nature because the court could find that the actions amounted to a type of financial misconduct. This could be grounds for skewing the asset division in the direction of the non-accused party.

This is what happened in Lesko v. Stanislaw, reviewed recently by the Maine Supreme Court.

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Indiana Child Injury - Side-Impact Testing Coming for Car Seats

February 10, 2014

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking to better protect your child in the event of an accident. Officials recently proposed upgrades to the current vehicle safety standards regarding child-restraint systems. The new measures would, for the first time, test their efficiency in side-impact tests for seats that carry children weighing up to 40 pounds.
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"As a father of two, I know the peace of mind this proposed test will give parents," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Our child injury lawyers in Highland understand that car seats are a child's best defense against injury and death in the event of a motor vehicle collision. It's not only critical that parents are selecting the proper seat for their child and that it's being used correctly, but that manufacturers are making these seats to be as safe as possible. With this new testing system, we'll be able to know just how safe they are when it comes to side-impact collisions.

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Indiana DUI Accidents a Super Bowl Sunday Risk

February 1, 2014

Law enforcement officials throughout the state will be cracking down on drunk driving during the Super Bowl weekend. It's all a part of the "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk".
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When it comes time for the big game, fans will be cheering either the Seahawks or the Broncos at a local sports bar, a restaurant or over at a friend or family member's house. With these gatherings, we see a significant increase in the number of drunk driving accidents into the early and late evening hours. Many departments will have higher staffing levels to help get those dangerous drivers off of our roadways.

Our Highland drunk driving accident lawyers note these Super Bowl gatherings usually begin in mid-afternoon and extend deep into Sunday night, creating mayhem that rivals some of the other big drinking days, such as St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, July 4 and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when kids returning from college regroup with their friends. Luckily, over 170,000 NFL fans pledged to be designated drivers this season - a new record! But that doesn't mean we're in the clear. We're asking you to step up and do your part to help make our roadways as safe as possible during this year's Super Bowl extravaganza.

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Indiana School Injuries & Liability Claims

January 31, 2014

Our kids spend more than a quarter of their waking hours at school, or commuting back and forth. We expect that when we send them there, they will be safe and protected.
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Sadly, this is not always true. A recent report indicated that one out of every 14 students this year will suffer some type of unintentional yet temporarily debilitating injury while at or commuting to school. That's approximately two children per classroom, and runs the gamut of everything from a school bus crash to a concussion during gym.

Another recent study, this one conducted by researchers with the Brown University Alpert Medical School and published in the journal Pediatrics, indicates that some 90,000 children are treated in emergency rooms across the country for violent acts that occur at school.

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Hammond Child Support Claims When Parent is "Voluntarily Underemployed"

January 30, 2014

During the recession, it was understandable that many parents paying child support sought modification of those orders, to more accurately reflect the reduced income they were earning at the time. businessmanwithnotebook2.jpg

Child support orders in Indiana can still be enforced for parents who are receiving unemployment benefits, but the amount may be significantly less if the court grants a modification in line with current income.

As we emerge from these tough times, we find that some people are still struggling more than others. But in some situations, the courts have found parents who could work and earn more if they wanted - but they aren't doing it. The courts call this being "voluntarily underemployed."

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Indiana Highway Accident Leaves 3 Dead, Dozens Injured

January 24, 2014

A massive mangle of metal and ice was still being sifted and cleared more than 24 hours after a major wreck on I-94 in Indiana, near Michigan City.
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Ice, snow and white-out conditions are believed to have played a role in the fatal crash, which reportedly claimed three lives and resulted in dozens more injuries. Authorities reported at least one person was believed to have been trapped in a vehicle for hours before rescue workers could bring aide.

Our personal injury lawyers note two of the injured - two men, ages 79 and 48 - were listed by hospital officials in critical condition. Those killed included a Michigan couple in their late 60s.

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Northwest and Central Indiana Interstates Dotted By Truck and Automobile Crashes This Winter

January 24, 2014


A 2008 National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Survey provided a number of conclusions concerning pre crash factors, including, but not limited to destructed driving, crash ability, road construction and environmental considerations.United States Department of Transportation Causation Survey.pdfAn assessment of the roadway design, environmental conditions, and participant interviews. Among such cases, roads slick with ice and other debris were the most frequent roadway-related critical causes of accidents.

The incredibly bad weather in Northwest and Central Indiana clearly reflects how the current icy and snowy weather and resulting slippery road surfaces have resulted in accident after accident. Perhaps the worst of which took place, January 23 2014, on Interstate 94, and US 421.The collision involved over 40 vehicles, including 15 tractor trailers and at least three fatalities. Whiteout conditions probably played a role making it difficult for truck and automobile drivers to see the road in from of them. displaymedia photo in michigan city.jpeg

Just days ago, another multiple vehicle crash involving semi-trucks and other vehicles took place on Interstate 65, just outside Lafayette, Indiana. As a result, northbound and southbound. Lanes were closed for hours. Slick roads,winds, snow and fog limited visibility.

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Stepparent Adoption Can Be In Child's Best Interest

January 15, 2014

Termination of parental rights is something the Indiana family courts take very seriously. Such proceedings will only be initiated if the either the parent losing the rights consents or the court deems the action to be in the child's best interests. walkingatthebeach.jpg

Cases of direct abuse or neglect are some of the most obvious reasons, but another common reason termination would be requested would be if a stepparent wishes to initiate a formal adoption of the child. This cannot be done without first terminating the other parent's parental rights.

Our Highland adoption attorneys recognize there are many sound reasons why stepparents and their marriage partners would want to do this. In many cases, it's simply making legal what is already the reality. To start, it may give every child in the household equal status. It's a demonstration of not only affection, but commitment. Beyond that, the stepparent may want to solidify his or her legal relationship to the child, should the biological parent die or become incompetent.

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Indiana Traffic Safety Watch: Two Killed Helping Disabled Vehicle

January 8, 2014

A newly-married couple departed from their wedding reception and headed back to their hotel when they witnessed another vehicle run into some winter-weather road troubles. According to the Chicago Tribune, the couple saw another vehicle slide off the road and into a ditch. The two parked their vehicle in a nearby driveway and attempted to help the stranded motorist. The new groom walked to the troubled vehicle while his new wife waited in the car. As the groom helped the driver, he and the stranded driver, a local teacher, were hit by three passing vehicles. Both were killed.
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The road was not icy, but they were two banks that were piled up along the ditch from snow plow trucks. Officials believe that these banks forced the two closer to the traffic while walking for help. No charges are expected to be filed against drivers involved, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Our Highland car accident lawyers understand that we all have car troubles from time to time. Whether it's caused by unpredictable weather conditions or a breakdown that leaves you stranded. The key is dealing with these kinds of unfortunate mishaps is to know what to do and how to correct the situation without putting yourself or anyone else in danger.

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Drunk Driving Injuries in Highland in Focus as Indiana Looks to Reduce 2014 Risks

January 1, 2014

Most Americans can agree -- impaired driving is a serious threat to everyone on our roadways. Officials with the National Safety Council (NSC) report that roughly 97 percent of surveyed drivers say that it's a serious threat. At the same time, about 75 percent of drivers say that they support more severe and tougher penalties against those who endanger others by getting behind the wheel after drinking.
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Still, someone is killed in an alcohol-related accident every 30 minutes in the U.S. And although there have been some serious changes in the 80s and 90s to help to reduce the risks of these accidents, the progress has since leveled off.

Our accident attorneys in Highland know about 40 percent of all traffic accident fatalities involve alcohol. With the New Year, we're asking drivers to resolve to stay sober behind the wheel. Officials in Indiana and throughout the nation are working to help curb the dangers, too.

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