Monday, November 12, 2012

Copyright Law - A Detailed Explanation of the 'Fair Use' Clause

Copyright Law, as defined by the Berne Convention, is the right of a creator to the Intellectual Property of their work, to the marketing and general use of that work. It has many different clauses, according to the type of work being copyrighted, but is generally applied to literary works, works of art, music and Intellectual Property, the use of ideas. It does not apply to Patents or Trade Marks which each have their own laws and regulations. A work which is copyright to a specific person or company does not need to be registered, and copyright takes effect from the moment creation is begun through, according to the type of work involved, to many decades after the creator's death.
For works of literature, including shorter articles and journalism, a certain amount of a work may be used by other people or companies under the principle of Fair Use. That is, a portion of the work for review purposes, as a reference in another work or as a quotation to back up, or refute, another work. Copyrighted works used by others under the principles of Fair Use do not require the approval or permission of the copyright holder.
Whilst copyright is clearly defined by the Berne Convention, the Fair Use principle is subject to many different laws, on a national level, which may differ one from another. The laws concerning Fair Use are different, for example, between the United States and European countries and, although the term Fair Use originated in the United States, it has been a part of British legislation since 1709.
Fair Use of a work is explicitly limited in scope. The taking of a significant portion of a work to produce a new work, even when this new work has additional information added to it, is a breach of the various existing laws. The use of a smaller portion of an original work to enhance a new one, whereby knowledge made available to readers takes primary importance, is considered acceptable in most cases. Courts set up to consider what is Fair Use and what is copyright infringement are required not only to assess the size of the work being used and its placement within a new work, but also the scope of the quoted text. Thereby it has been shown, under United States laws, that a short extract taken from another work which may be considered to contain the heart of that work is a substantial extract, and falls outside the realms of Fair Use.
Fair Use is also limited when the original work is harmed by an extract or publication in another work. Courts have been required to consider whether the publication of a new work containing extracts from another will affect the market potential of the original and, effectively, the possibilities for the original author to gain financial recompense for the original. A new work which supersedes an original, pushing it from the marketplace, but which contains extracts from that work may be judged to fall outside the rules on Fair Use, as the new work potential or substantially harms the author of the first.
It is generally considered, by people using the works of others under a claim of Fair Use, that a certain length - for example, three hundred words - brings usage into the realm of Fair Use. Further, it is believed by some that a non-commercial enterprise using the works of others also falls under the Fair Use rules. In both cases the person using another's works cannot necessarily claim Fair Use, depending on the nature of what is being copied and the manner in which it is to be used. Courts have often defined the use of a shorter text as falling outside Fair Use according to its scope and substantiality but accepted longer extracts. A non-commercial enterprise using the works of another will also fall outside of the Fair Use clauses and legislation as the use may harm the originators work and income or marketing capabilities. There is no set size of a work which may be used for another, each case is judged individually upon its merits and, unlike in all other cases before a court of law, it is required that the defense justify their case of Fair Use, rather than that the prosecution should prove it.
Fair Use of copyrighted works is a very complicated area, especially with written works. It is further complicated by the use of disclaimers - which are often invalid when used against Fair Use - and the use or lack of use of attribution which may, in some cases, bring copying of a work within the scope of civil law as theft and plagiarism. Fair Use does not apply in all countries in the same way as Copyright Law, with only five countries presently having clear and concise judgments and legislation on what may be called Fair Use and what falls outside of its terms. For all other countries legislation is contained within national copyright laws and the Berne Convention.
A fair rule of thumb is: consider how substantial the extracted work is; whether the new work adds significantly to present knowledge; whether the new work is a reference, scholastic or critical work; whether the original work and its marketability will be damaged in any way. Should a chosen extract meet all the criteria the chances are that it may be considered Fair Use.
Viktoria Michaelis is an American student (born July 1992) currently resident in Germany studying Business Studies and Economics at Bremen University. She has had fictional works published in several anthologies and regularly writes in her personal Blog Viktoria Michaelis: Secrets & Desires on a wide range of subjects from Beauty and Health through to Women's Issues and Adult subjects.

Injuries During Birth and Medical Malpractice

The birth of your child is meant to be a time of celebration and joy, but sometimes unexpected events during birth can lead to more pain and anxiety surrounding the birth of your child than expected.
Usually, medical teams in the United States are competent and do their best to provide a safe birth for you and your baby. Injuries during birth do happen, though, and can leave lasting trauma for baby and parents.
Many birth injuries, such as facial paralysis, broken collar bones, and bruising go away fairly quickly. The most worrisome birth injury is probably traumatic brain injury, which can be caused by a prolonged lack of oxygen to the baby. This prolonged oxygen deprivation can cause long-term mental impairment or seizure disorders.
If your baby has suffered from a birth injury such as brain injury, the long-term effects can be a lot to deal with. Hopefully your doctor did everything possible to prevent harm to your baby, but there are some cases where doctors are at fault for birth injuries. When a doctor does not provide a patient with a reasonable standard of care or was negligent in their professional duties, the case can be considered for medical malpractice.
Some behaviors that might be considered medical malpractice include:
• Not responding or a delayed response to fetal distress
• Untimely ordering of a c-section
• Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
There can also be cases of negligence involving the maternal health, including:
• Delayed or lack of response to excessive bleeding
• Unwatched infections after surgery or birth
• Improper administration of epidurals or Pitocin
If you think that you or your baby has suffered injuries because of a negligent medical team, you should contact an attorney specializing in medical malpractice cases who can review your case to determine if you have legitimate grounds to file a claim. Most doctors do all that they can to ensure both maternal and baby health and malpractice cases should not be taken lightly.
If your medical malpractice claim seems solid, your attorney may request compensation for your injuries, including related medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and, in the case of long-term injuries, compensation to provide for your child throughout his or her lifetime. A medical malpractice attorney will know how to properly file a claim, how to work with insurance companies, and, if necessary, how to file a lawsuit against the responsible doctor or hospital.
Again, medical teams usually do their best to protect maternal and baby health, but medical malpractice cases do happen. If you think your child is the victim of medical malpractice, contact an attorney as soon as possible to review your options.

How to Find a Commercial Law Attorney for Your Business

Good management is essential to keeping any business afloat. So is good legal advice. One person who can help you manage your company's legal affairs is an experienced commercial law attorney. Commercial law is the term used to refer to the various statutes, regulations, and other legal requirements involved in forming, operating, and dissolving a business. Businesses are considered legal entities that must abide by various laws, including contract laws, environmental laws, employment laws, intellectual property laws, and laws governing commercial transactions, among others. Commercial law is extremely diverse and complex. To ensure that your company is complicit with the various laws affecting your business, you should consult an experienced commercial litigation attorney before start-up.
There are many lawyers to choose from, so it is best to do research to find the right person for the job. One good source of advice is other entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses. They can often refer you to commercial lawxers who helped them achieve their goals. You can also talk to other people who have experience working with lawyers. When you find a lawyer who you believe is a good fit, you should meet with him. Talk to him, ask questions. The following are important criteria to consider when choosing a lawyer for your business:
  • The lawyer you choose should have experience and expertise in commercial law. He should be able to guide you in choosing what kind of business entity to establish. He should also have experience with taxation. He should be able to create a variety of business contracts for use in all of your business dealings.

  • The lawyer should be able to defend you and the business should contract disputes arise.

  • A business lawyer should be up to date with changes to business laws and be able to give you sound advice.
A commercial law attorney can help your business in a variety of legal matters, including taxation, employment contracts, intellectual property protection and compliance with various environmental and consumer protection laws at both the state and federal level. In addition, the attorney can represent your business interests in a variety of transactions, including real estate transactions, contract disputes, product liability lawsuits, and much, much more.
To keep a business running, it takes a combination of the right people, the right ideas, and good decisions. When you choose a knowledgeable commercial attorney, you can be sure that the legal side of your business is in good hands. The Corpus Christi commercial litigation attorneys at Snapka Law Firm have the experience and resources to successfully represent your company's interests throughout the course of your business.

Bail Jumping for Beginners in Washington State

BAIL JUMPING:
In Washington State, a person commits the crime of "Bail Jumping" if he or she has been released on their personal recognizance, or on bail, and released with the knowledge they are required to return to court for a subsequent hearing. Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(1). A person is also guilty of bail jumping if they have knowledge of the requirement to report to a correctional facility to serve a sentence and fail to do so. Id. In layman's terms, if you are charged with a crime and do not show up to court when you know you are supposed to, or if you do not report to jail (or prison) to serve your sentence when you know you are supposed to, you are guilty of the crime of bail jumping.
The crime of bail jumping can be a felony or a misdemeanor. The class, or level, of the bail jumping charge depends on the offense you are originally charged with and fail to appear for. Bail jumping is:
(a) A class A felony if the person was held for, charged with, or convicted of murder in the first degree;(b) A class B felony if the person was held for, charged with, or convicted of a class A felony other than murder in the first degree;
(c) A class C felony if the person was held for, charged with, or convicted of a class B or class C felony;
(d) A misdemeanor if the person was held for, charged with, or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor.
Revised Code of W`shington 9A.76.170(3).
DEFENSES:
Is there any defense to bail jumping? Yes. There is an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense means you admit that you committed the act, but it was legally justified. The defense is laid out in the bail jumping statute. It states:
It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this sectionthat uncontrollable circumstances prevented the person from
appearing or surrendering, and that the person did not contribute
to the creation of such circumstances in reckless disregard of the
requirement to appear or surrender, and that the person appeared
or surrendered as soon as such circumstances ceased to exist.
Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(2).
The question is: What is considered "uncontrollable circumstances"? Uncontrollable circumstances mean you have no control over the circumstances that caused you to miss court. An act of God may qualify. For example, if you miss court because a tornado picks up your car (or you) and smashes it (or you) to the ground, then you may have a pretty good defense that you missed your required court date based on uncontrollable circumstances. If you are in the hospital, that may qualify if you can get a note from your doctor that you were hospitalized and were physically unable to go to court. Be careful, however, if you were in the hospital because of something you did, the prosecutor may argue that you "contributed to the creation of such circumstances". If you are kidnapped and being held hostage, that may also qualify as a defense. Whatever the uncontrollable circumstance that keeps you from making your court date, just make sure that as soon as you are able, you get yourself on the court calendar so that you comply with the requirement of appearing or surrendering as soon as your uncontrollable circumstance, ceases to exist.
There may be other defenses that would fall under the category "burden of proof". That means the prosecuting authority simply does not have enough evidence to prove each element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, they may not have any record that you were given notice of the required court date and therefore, could not prove the element of knowledge.
Generally speaking however, proving a charge of bail jumping is relatively easy for the prosecutors. All they need is 1) a certified copy of the promise to appear to court on the specific day that was signed by the defendant when they received the court date, and 2) a witness, such as a court clerk who can testify that on the date the defendant was required to appear, the court record indicates he or she did not appear.
A copy of the promise to appear signed by the defendant shows knowledge of the requirement to appear. In the county where I practice, the language in the order setting the next mandatory court date states:
The Defendant is ordered to appear at all Fit for Trial Hearings[a pretrial or status hearing]... The Defendant's failure to appear
at Trial or at the Fit for Trial or any other hearings set by the
Court may result in issuance of a Bench Warrant, Forfeiture of
Bail and/or criminal prosecution for Bail Jumping pursuant to
Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170.
A bail jumping charge can be very difficult to defend against. Simply forgetting your court date is not a defense. Division Two of the Washington State Court of Appeals held that based on a plain reading of the statute, "I forgot" is not a defense. The prosecution only has to prove that he received knowledge of the court date, not that he had knowledge of the date everyday thereafter.
For the defense attorney, they must research the law and the records in the case. They must determine whether the hearing was one for which the defendant was actually required to appear. There are different types of hearings and not all require mandatory appearances. They must research and determine if the defendant actually had knowledge of the requirement to appear at the hearing and if so, if there is any actual evidence to prove it. Is there a live witness like a clerk that will be called by the prosecution? Is there a certified copy of a signed promise to appear? Finally, they must investigate the reason for the failure to appear and determine if it was an "uncontrollable circumstance".
SENTENCES FOR BAIL JUMPING:
As stated above, bail jumping is a misdemeanor if the defendant "was held for, charged with, or convicted of a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor." Revised Code of Washington 9A.76.170(3)(d). The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. In those cases, the sentencing judge has the authority to sentence the bail jumper anywhere from 0 to 90 days in jail and up to a $1000 fine. In addition, the defendant may be placed on probation and be required to pay probation fees.
If the bail jump offense falls into one of the felony classes, it becomes a little more cnmplicated. In Washington, the sentencing scheme basically works on a grid system. The vertical edge of the grid is the "seriousness level". The horizontal edge is the "offender score". There are 16 levels of seriousness in the Washington system. Level sixteen has only one offense: Aggravated First Degree Murder. The only two penalties for that offense are Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole and the Death Penalty, regardless of your offender score. The lowest seriousness level is One. That level includes crimes such as Second Degree Theft (theft of property valued between $750 and $5000) and Forgery. The offender score consists of qualifying prior felony convictions. When you determine the seriousness level of the offense and the offender score, you will find the "standard range" sentence the court must impose. There are exceptions to imposing a sentence within the standard range but that is a discussion for another day. Generally, the court must impose a sentence within the standard range. If that happens, no one may appeal that sentence. If the court imposes an "exceptional" sentence outside the standard range, either party may appeal.
Bail Jumping on a charge of First Degree Murder has a seriousness level of six. With an offender score of 0 (zero), the standard range sentence is twelve months plus one day (which means prison) to fourteen months. The offender score only goes to nine on the sentencing grid. Anything higher than nine will fall into the standard range for an offender score of nine. The standard range for Bail Jumping with First Degree Murder with an offender score of nine is 77 to 102 months in prison.
Bail Jumping on an original charge of a Class A felony has a seriousness level of Five. The standard sentencing range begins with 6 to 12 in your local county jail. For an offender score of nine-plus, the range is 72 to 96 months in prison.
Finally, Bail Jumping on a Class B or C felony has a seriousness level of Three. With an offender score of 0, the range is one to three months in jail. The range for an offender score of nine-plus is 51 to 60 months. Sixty months, or five years, is the maximum sentence.
CONCLUSION:
As you can see, the offense of bail jumping is easy to commit. If you simply forget your court date, you can be charged and convicted of bail jumping. You can also see it is easy to prove for the prosecution and difficult to defend against for the defense and the consequences are serious.
So, the word to the wise is DO NOT MISS COURT! The wise will not even be late. If they call your name and you are not there, you risk getting a Failure To Appear, a bench warrant and a charge of bail jumping. Assist in your defense, not your prosecution; do not miss your court date.

Securing a Patent Is the First Step in Realizing a Return for Your IP Invention

Obtaining a patent is the first step in monetizing or selling your intellectual property patent for a profit on the open market. IP brokers are experts in assessing the value of and selling patents to U.S. based or global investors. Patents sales take place in industries such as computer and other technology, medical devises, communications including mobile technology, and other intellectual property assets to a range of inventors and entrepreneurs who are always looking for new and improved IP products.
A patent for your invention ensures you have "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling" the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States," according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Granted for new inventions, patents are also granted for improvements on existing patents, including the invention itself or the design of a new invention.
The U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) is the institution that awards patents. The process of obtaining a patent requires that you keep a detailed record of your invention including every step taken in creating the invention, including how you came up with the idea. Along with this description, diagrams of each step, including modifications and prototypes are most often required. Although USPTO mandate is to give assistance in helping you secure a patent, they strongly recommend you secure a patent attorney or other experienced professional to guide you through the patent process.
At the time of application, your invention cannot be for sale. You should also research the approximate value of your invention or have the professional you hired help you in this process. There are associated fees to get a patent so you will want to make sure that your invention is worth at least the cost of obtaining the patent. Small entity fees are much less than those that apply to those not meeting the definition. The official designation of "small entities" includes individuals, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Small businesses industry-specific, and based on the number of employees and annual receipts.
You will also need to complete a thorough patent search to make sure your invention is new. While this part of the process is time-consuming, it is a necessary step. You or your representative will need to search scientific and technical journals as well as a Patent and Trademark Depository Library. Not only should you search for U.S. patents, but depending on your invention and the degree of protection you are seeking, foreign patents may be applicable as well. You are likely to find similar patents and be able to prove how your patent is different or improves on earlier designs.
When it comes time to file an application, there are two primary options. You can file a provisional patent application or PPA that provides you with a patent pending status, essentially locking in the date of your application. This step involves a smaller upfront outlay of cash, however a regular patent application is required within one year.
An oath or declaration claiming that the inventor is the first to have invented the subject or product accompanies the application material. There are many other fees associated with the patent process, depending on whether you are seeking domestic and/or global protection, if you want to apply for an expedited process, and other options.
What follows your submission of application is an examination process that involves an USPTO examiner who will gather precise information about your invention to verify that it is indeed unique and to define the scope of the protection you are seeking. The entire patent issuance process generally takes 12 to 36 months, depending on the industry associated with your invention. Paying for a prioritized examination generally reduces that time to colder to the 12-month period. Once your invention is in the patent pending phase, you may begin the process of selling or monetizing your invention as it then that you have secured the rights to the invention.
Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D. is a writer with a vast array of subject matter expertise. Along with publishing articles for large and small businesses, she researches, writes and publishes reports on various public policy issues.

Trademark and Brand Enforcement in Social Networking - Using Terms of Use

In today's Web 2.0 world, businesses face new ways to broadcast their presence and advertise their goods and services, and the Internet is an effective, far-reaching tool for brand marketing. As businesses explore new ways to advertise online, it has become apparent that brand marketing has transcended buying ad space on popular search engines and other informational sites to actively engaging with their consumers in conversations and sharing information. Now businesses must embrace social networking as a marketing strategy.
Social networking sites have continual membership growth. Facebook, for example, is estimated to have more than 350 million active users. Twitter now boasts around 32.1 million users. MySpace attracts about 115 million people to its site each month. With such a wide consumer base at the ready, how have businesses used these social networking sites to their advantage? As businesses move into the cyber frontier, how they protect their brands is critical. To help businesses police their brands and leverage the power of social media, these social networking giants have put mechanisms in place to help guard against fraud, impersonation, and rights infringement. After all, social networking strategies only work if everyone plays by the same rules.
Social Media as a Marketing Tool
Facebook, the largest social networking site, is a good example of how social networking sites have become an effective marketing tool for businesses. Facebook has developed its website to allow for Pages, customizable mini-sites geared toward organizations, products, or public personalities, to join the conversation with Facebook users. A Page essentially allows fans to become brand advocates. It allows users to post comments, view news and information about a certain product, and learn more about a company. Businesses have jumped on this viral form of advertising.
Facebook now has more than 1.6 million active Pages. More than 700,000 local businesses have created Pages to reach their target demographics. In fact, it is estimated that Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans. The Page form on Facebook requires the creator of the Page to be the official representative of an organization, business, celebrity, or brand. As such, the representative becomes the Page Organizer, able to add and remove content, manage the information appearing on the site, and increase the viral effects of the advertising. Each Page (depending on the type of organization selected) comes equipped with pre-selected formatting options, such as tabs for Discussion Boards, Events, Information about the organization, and Photos. The Info tab, for example, lets you share key information about your company, such as Website, mission, overview of the business, and products. Fans can post comments on a company's wall, view videos, and read about upcoming events or promotions. Every time a Page has activity, such as postings or announcements, this activity becomes visible on the NewsFeed. Information about your fans regarding their activities on your Page also becomes available for viewing by their friends, thus opening the door for others to become a fan of your Page.
This is what causes the viral nature of advertising on Facebook. Businesses can capitalize on this market and gain valuable information from tools such as Facebook Insights, which, includes data on fans' engagement with posts from a business's Page. Businesses have also "opened up shop" on Twitter and MySpace. Some businesses have launched official Twitter accounts and allow (or require) employees to post daily or weekly Tweets, often about promotions or events.
What's interesting about these sites is that there isn't a filter that blocks out negative or unflattering information. As such, questions arise as to what a business can do once the angry "fan" or follower posts negative comments on a wall, if a disgruntled former employee opens a page in your name, or if someone poses as a representative of your business claiming your company name or brand as their username.
Social Networking Sites and Their Terms of Use
The simplest and most cost-effective way to protect a brand on social networking sites is to utilize the site's dispute resolutions mechanism. Most of the social networking giants have procedures in place for submitting complaints about copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and privacy concerns.
Facebook: The Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities asks users to agree that they are the rightful owners of all the content and information they post on Facebook. They are also asked to agree that they will not create accounts for anyone without their permission. Users are not allowed to post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates other's rights or otherwise violates the law and Facebook reserves the right to take down content or remove a webpage that is found to be infringing on those rights. Facebook provides its users with tools to help address intellectual property issues. Most of these tools are forms that are submitted electronically.
Twitter: The Twitter rules specifically state that they don't monitor user's content and will not censor such content except in limited circumstances. Twitter does not allow impersonation of others that does or is intended to confuse, mislead, or deceive others. However, ways for monitoring such impersonation has proved to be a problem for Twitter since their biggest concern is fake accounts. Twitter also reserves the right to reclaim usernames on behalf of businesses or individuals that hold legal right or trademarks in those user names. To prevent name squatting, Twitter suspends accounts that are inactive for more than six months.
Business owners using social networking sites would be wise to read the terms of use to be well-versed in protective actions these companies have put in place to help police brands. It's a new marketing world, and greater tools can lead to greater risks if a business isn't careful. Just as businesses benefit from social networking sites, the social networks rely on businesses to leverage their power. It's a symbiotic relationship-and must be protected.

The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Lawyer

Unfortunately for many of us, sometimes accidents happen and legal proceedings have to be taken. There are many different people who believe that hiring a lawyer should be the last line of defense against the thing you feel wronged by, whether it's a corporation, business, store or individual. This is simply not the case, because every single situation is different, especially in the case of wrongful arrest. It is important to realize that hiring, or at the very least contacting, an experienced lawyer should be one of the first options on your list of things to do. Included below are the most crucial reasons why.
Hiring a Lawyer Can Prevent Charges From Even Being Filed
In the event of the arrest of you or someone you know, emotions tend to run high and it's easy to feel scared or overwhelmed. One of the first things that you should do is call a lawyer or call someone who can get a lawyer for you. It is a common misunderstanding that being arrested equates to having charges filed against you. It does not. Often when you request a lawyer early, it deters charges from being filed against you at all and you are then released. A classic example of this is when people immediately proclaim that they won't say anything to police without having their lawyer present. This is for their protection, is precautionary and often works.
Early Representation Can Often Lead to Mitigation
There are many facts that experienced lawyers will be able to relay to you once they are called. In the event, charges have been brought on you, a knowledgeable attorney can assist you with a list of ways that you may be able to mitigate your case, get a lesser sentence or even plea bargain. These are all best case scenarios when it comes to the options they lay out for you versus serving jail time.
Make Sure You Hire a Specialized Lawyer
Those who are on the other end of the spectrum, those who may wish to file claims against either a separated spouse or a doctor that is incompetent, or something that deals with a specific person in a particular entity, it is best to get a lawyer who specializes in that field. So whether it's a divorce lawyer, personal injury lawyer, malpractice lawyer and so on: it's vital to hire the right kind of lawyer. A family health lawyer is more versed in illness and claims than a corporate lawyer is.
Understand That It Isn't That Expensive to Get Legal Representation
Many people are under the assumption that it costs an arm and a leg for a good attorney. This is not always the case. Especially when you take into account the fact that many law firms are required by the state to do a certain number of pro bono cases, or cases where they do not charge any fees. It's important to realize that even if you do have to shell out a bit of money in the end, it will be worth it to feel like you were adequately represented and your issues or problems were extinguished.

Aging in Place: Tips for Living At Home As Long As Possible

Part of the long term planning we do in Elder Law involves coordinating where seniors will live their twilight years. Two factors that strongly influence the outcome are the following: First, that seniors prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as they possibly can. Second, that the Great Recession has caused such hardship that elders are no longer as financially able to leave their homes to enter senior communities and assisted living facilities.
Needless to say, there are many financial considerations to take into account when it comes to aging in place. However, just as important, and often overlooked, is the actual physical layout and condition of the home.
Most homes are built to be suitable for people who are young, healthy, and mobile. As people age, however, their home can present challenges that make living in the home uncomfortable, difficult, and even dangerous. With proper planning and some remodeling, however, seniors' homes can remain comfortable and elder-friendly.
Lighting, for example, is important to all people, but particularly so for older people. The home should be well lit, with easy to operate switches. Designers suggest equipping many of the lights with dimmers, so that the lighting can be maintained at a comfortable level, and increased or decreased as needed. Consider rocking switches, which can be easier on arthritic fingers than a traditional light switch.
The bathroom can be a major obstacle to aging at home. Many seniors suffer from arthritis, joint problems, and limited mobility. This can make getting into a traditional shower or tub difficult. A good solution is to replace the tub or shower with a walk-in shower that, if possible, is large enough for two people to sit or stand in comfortably. This will make it easier for a caregiver to assist with bathing if it becomes necessary. If grab bars are not added at this stage of the remodeling because they are not immediately needed, it would be wise to reinforce the walls so that grab bars can be installed in the future. A temperature regulator would also be a good idea to install in the shower or bath, because older skin is less sensitive to heat and can easily be burned. Consider installing a bidet.
Flooring is another important consideration. As seniors become less mobile, they can easily trip on rugs or have problems walking on carpet. A practical alternative is to install hardwood or laminate flooring that is smooth, easy to walk on, and reduces the possibility of tripping. Hardwood or laminate flooring is also a practical solution if the occupant needs to use a wheelchair or walker. Just make sure the flooring has enough friction and is not slippery.
Other useful modifications include to use drawers instead of cupboards or cabinets where possible, raise dishwashers and low cabinets to avoid excessive bending, widen doorways if possible to accommodate a wheelchair, and design an entryway that does not require a step. Many geriatric care managers suggest that your home be modified so that you can live on the ground floor if necessary. This may require installing a bathroom on the first floor, or expanding an existing half-bathroom to a full bathroom.
As baby boomers plan for the future, they are taking into account modifications they can make to their homes now to prepare for their later years. Manufacturers have also started developing product lines to meet the demands of an aging population that wants to age in place.
If staying at home for as long as possible is important for you or your loved ones, take steps now to put plans and modifications in place to facilitate this goal.

Real Estate Agents Act - Increased Disclosure And More Scrutiny Between Employees And Contractors

With the introduction of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 the transactional relationship between the agent and buyer or seller has been altered.
Under the new act, the obligations salespeople owe to vendors and purchasers has changed. One big change is that the amount of information that has to be supplied and disclosed by the salesperson to the vendor and purchaser has now significantly increased.
Real Estate Agents Approved Guide
The sales person now has to provide more information in writing in regards to payment structures for the salesperson. Sales agents can obtain the approved guides in relation to the changes from the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA).
Agents, salespeople and branch managers must also now disclose if they receive any other benefit from a sale. When a property is being sold, the vendor will be asked to sign a declaration stating that they have received the Approved Guides. These declarations provide protection to both the vendor and the sales person.
In regards to purchasers, salespeople and the agency also have obligations to provide the REAA Approved Guide relating to sale and purchase agreements to any purchaser at the time of their signing any offer to purchase a property. The purchaser will also be asked to sign a declaration that they have received a copy of this.
These obligations on the salesperson are in the interest mostly of information sharing and should ensure that vendors and purchasers feel more secure in their dealings with salespeople. The need to comply with these further obligations ideally should be incorporated into the agreements between the salesperson and the agent. Agents and salespeople should also check their work contracts with their insurers for insurance purposes.
Employee or independent contractor?
Under the old act of 1976, real estate agents could be engaged as an independent contractor. This caused a lot of uncertainty of who was a contractor and who was an employee. The Employment Relations Authority, regularly had to intervene to ascertain which one it was. The new act defines real estate agents as salespeople. Section 51 states that in the contract between the sales person and their employers, it needs to specifically state whether they are contractor or employee.
The agreement between the agency and the salesperson needs to be carefully drafted with unambiguous language. Taking a dispute to the Employment Relations Authority to determine the relationship between agency and sales person can be a costly affair.
An agency still has the same liabilities for the actions of the sales person whether they are a sales person or contractor. The major difference between employee and contractor is that that the relationship with employee is governed by the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Holidays Act 2003
In summary
The wider effect of the 2008 Act should still filter down to the public, and should serve to provide further protection of the interests of both sides of the transaction. In the meantime, it is a good time for agencies to review their internal processes when engaging both employees and contractors.

Managing Redundancy During Pregnancy and Maternity Leave

In practice, the rules that an employer should follow are relatively straightforward. In July 2012 ACAS published new guidance on this topic, in an attempt to clarify the matter for employers.
Redundancy is potentially a fair way of dismissing an employee and this is the same in relation to employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave. Assuming the redundancy is genuine an employer must go through a fair process including consulting, exploring alternatives and applying fair selection and scoring criteria. In these respects the law recognises that pregnancy is a unique condition and requires special treatment.
The key principle for an employer to appreciate is that they must ensure that a woman who is pregnant or absent on maternity leave is not disadvantaged as a result. This period is known as the "protected period".
Advice for employers - What to Do and What to Avoid
Is it fair to dismiss?
Dismissing an employee by reason of redundancy is potentially a fair reason for a dismissal, even during the protected period. Unfairness arises if a woman is selected because she is pregnant or on maternity leave.
Special Consideration
A woman is entitled to special consideration during the protected period. If she suffers any disadvantage during this period, such as dismissal, that she would not have suffered had she not been pregnant or on maternity leave, she will have a claim for automatically unfair dismissal.
Direct discrimination
Dismissing a woman unfairly during the protected period by reason of redundancy amounts to direct discrimination. There is no need for the woman to demonstrate that a comparator was or would have been treated any differently. The detriment itself is sufficient.
Right to return
A woman who has been absent on maternity leave has the right to return to the same job. If this is not possible, she is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy. The employer has a duty to show that an offer of an alternative role was explored and offered if available.
Redistributing workload
An employer cannot redistribute the employee's workload while she is on maternity leave and then determine that her role has been made redundant as a result. This would give rise to an automatically unfair dismissal and a discrimination claim.
Consultation
A failure to consult a woman on maternity leave about the risk of redundancy, even if difficult to achieve in practice, is likely to amount to unlawful discrimination. As a practical matter, try to agree the method by which you will keep in touch prior to the employee going on maternity leave.
Selection criteria
Using attendance or absence relating to pregnancy/maternity leave as a selection criterion to score a female employee is likely to be considered automatically unfair and give rise to a claim for unfair dismissal and pregnancy-related discrimination. Selection criteria need to be non-discriminatory.
Suitable alternatives
A woman who is made redundant whilst on maternity leave must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy available, even if she does not apply for it or is not the most suitable candidate. A suitable alternative is one that is no worse than her previous job when it comes to status, location and terms.
Removing disadvantage
Special treatment should not go beyond what is necessary to remove any disadvantage. Any excessively favourable treatment that goes beyond that which is necessary to redress any disadvantage may result in a discrimination claim from a male counterpart.
Competitive process
If there is more than one employee on maternity leave and only one suitable alternative vacancy, the employer must score and select the most suitable out of those candidates.
Maternity pay
If the employee qualifies for statutory maternity pay they are entitled to receive 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay even if the redundancy takes effect during the statutory maternity period. However, any enhanced maternity pay is unlikely to be payable unless the employer's contract or policy says that it is.
Equality applies to all
Equality laws apply to all employers, regardless of size.

Ongoing Regulatory Mandatory Compliance Is Out of Control - Hurting Jobs and Small Businesses

We claim that we want jobs, more small businesses, more opportunity for minorities, but it's all a big fa├žade, because if we really wanted that we wouldn't be doing what we are doing to small businesses, solo professionals, and the self-employed. We have too much regulatory oversight attempting to regulate morality, you can't, you cannot fight human nature. Still, we are making things worse in our schools with this politically correct pragmatic way of teaching, that "everything is negotiable" and there is no right answer, oh yah and at Harvard now you are allowed to cheat on the tests as we've heard in the media.
Now these, kids forgo their 3rd year law school tuition in trade for working for the government for 5-years, then they make all these regulations, even though they've never had a job or worked in the industry. Think I am kidding, I'm not, and worse after working for the government they conveniently take that revolving door and go work for the other side - probably after they realize all the damage they've done in government. Let me give you ONE example, but I could continue to for 45-hours straight after all I've seen in the private sector.
For instance, FINRA has a new 3-hour test that financial planners must take. No eating, bathroom breaks, and if you fail to pass one of the sections you lose your license. Further, the questions are purposefully tricky, double negatives, and ambiguous and it is hard to tell what the answer is. If you don't speak English well, you will not be able to pass the test. Then they treat you like crap at the testing center, which is not conveniently located as many people have to travel 100s of miles to get there.
Plus, you have to take a study course, pay for it, and pass, just to be able to take the test. Worst of all you have to take the damn thing every year, a different version with different questions and all the new regulations that Washington DC feels are needed to protect the so-called consumer investor. These are the same investors whose complaints are deemed to be faked or false 75% of the time by an actual government SEC study, as those investors simply made bad investments and tried to hang it on their advisors.
Now we have consumers and investors who are not responsible for their investments or choices. These rules and regulations are made by regulators who've never been in the field before due to Congressional instructions after bills that no one reads are passed and the test company lobbyists help write the bills sending in their own lawyers the day before the bill is presented to Congress for vote, but everyone just has to wait until the pass it to see what was in it. Do you doubt what I'm saying, well then I suggest you read this book:
"What Makes You Think We Read the Bills?" by Senator H.L. "Bill" Richardson, Caroline House Books, Chicago, IL, 1978, pages, ISBN: 0-916054-78-0.
Yes, this book was written in 1978 but realize the problem still exists, as I quoted above Nancy Pelosi's famous remarks the night before the Obama Care vote (Affordable Health Care Act). You know what we need, we need a "Red Magic Marker Committee" to line out about 2/3 of all the Federal, State, County, and City rules and regulations on small business which do nothing more than waste everyone's time and destroy business efficiency.
Next, we need a rule or law which states that if you make a new law you have to delete five old ones. And if you pass an omnibus bill, every Congressperson must sign that they personally read it, or a member of their staff did, along with which pages each person supposedly read; under penalty of perjury with enforcement and prison sentences for violations. Lastly, all Testing Companies or Regulatory Compliance Service Firms must register any and all campaign contributions to all decision makers and all committee meetings attended or correspondence to regulators in public rule making sessions.
Enough is a enough - let's take back Washington DC - They work for us, we don't work for them.

Instead of Reacting, Stand For Yourself to Meet Your Needs During Divorce

Whenever we react to someone or something, we can often spend a lot of negative energy arguing, defending, explaining, or convincing. Instead, wouldn't it be far more satisfying to put that energy into standing for ourselves and our own needs? Certainly, when you are going through a divorce or facing any family law issue, it is far more productive and rewarding to focus your energy on rebuilding positive family connections and meeting your own needs rather than negatively reacting to your spouse, your lawyer or the legal system. The former empowers you while the latter makes you a victim.
Some suggestions for standing for yourself during the divorce process or when facing a family law issue:
1. It is important to remember that when we are focusing on someone else's perceived shortcomings, chances are that we are neglecting ourselves. If you notice yourself having a strong negative reaction to someone or something, you might ask yourself what you have been avoiding or not facing in your own life. For example, perhaps you haven't spoken to your mother in many years after an explosive argument and falling out. You also find yourself often blowing up at your children, your ex, or anyone or anything around you. Sure, you can justify your blowups but why not instead explore the anger you haven't expressed towards your mother by keeping silent all these years? This is just one example. The point is that you might try identifying any areas in your life that you have been perpetually avoiding or putting off. This will put the focus on yourself and your own needs which in turn will likely reduce the need to focus on someone else's perceived shortcomings.
2. Identify specific actions you can take to stand for yourself. For instance, in the example above, you might write a letter to your mother where you fully expresss your feelings. Chances are you will notice that your frequent blowups at those around you simply disappear. After identifying any areas that you have been avoiding, you might try listing specific and concrete actions that you can take to deal with the area head in a positive and productive way.
3. Communicate your feelings and needs in a productive (rather than destructive) way that brings about positive results. For example, perhaps your parents or former in-laws are driving your crazy by constantly telling you how to parent your children. Rather than reacting by defending or arguing with them, you might stand for yourself by calmly and assertively telling them that you appreciate their concern as your children's grandparents and are confident that you have a parenting style that always looks out for your children's best interests.
Specifically, in divorce negotiations, the goal is generally to achieve a global settlement with terms that are beneficial to both parties. Therefore, at the outset of negotiations, it is important for both you and your spouse (in conjunction with your attorneys) to identify values and specific goals. This will reduce the chance that both energy and money will be spent on reacting to each party's behavior, which unfortunately can keep you polarized and disconnected from standing for yourself.

What Are the Advantages of a Registered Trademark?

A trademark is a symbol or sign that can distinguish your services or products for those of your competitors. It may be designated by several symbols including the TM (Trade Mark) and SM (Service Mark), as well as the Circle-R or the federal registration symbol.
Why Register a Trademark
Some people assume that they can protect their brand by simply using the symbol in commerce. However, there are benefits in registering a trademark instead of relying on the common law rights. These advantages include the following:
1. Ensuring exclusivity
When you register your trademark, you can obtain the legal exclusivity in using your logo or name in the business. Moreover, a registered trademark can reduce the risk of being prohibited from using your logo or name by other traders. Business owners are likely to encounter legal issues when they receive a letter of "cease and desist" from a lawyer, which require them to stop using the symbol that others already own.
2. Nation-wide coverage or protection
Those who register their trademark can obtain geographical coverage instead of rights that may be restricted to a particular area or region where they trade. Furthermore, business owners who have plans of expanding overseas may obtain rights even in other countries because of a registered trademark.
3. Preventing or deterring other traders from using your symbol
A registered trademark may serve as a constructive notice to the public of your ownership of the logo or symbol. In addition, the registrant has the freedom to initiate court proceedings or legal action for trademark infringement. This process prevents other traders from the unauthorized use of your symbol. A few countries including Canada and the United States recognize the common law trademarks, which allows a trader to take legal actions in protecting an unregistered symbol that is in use. However, the common law on trademarks do not offer much legal security, as compared to registered trademarks.
Important Considerations
The term "trademark" includes any brand, name, word, device, label, pattern, or packaging that can be used to identify a company's products and services from those of others. It may also be a phrase, logo, design, or a combination of all these elements. Furthermore, there is a range of marks that are considered unconventional because these do not belong to the standard categories. These marks may be based on sound, smell, or color of a product. There are also marks or logos that are popularly used in describing products instead of distinguishing the goods from other traders.
There are instances when a trademark may not be registered because of several factors. For instance, the symbol is not distinctive or may be offensive. Some logos may also be deceptive, which means they tend to mislead the public by making others think that the services or goods offered have a certain quality that are not evident in the product. Moreover, a mark is not allowed to be registered when it promotes illegal drugs or substances, and the logo includes images or words that may be against the law.

Learn The Cold Hard Facts Of Identity Theft Before It's Too Late

Purse snatchers, pick pockets, and bank robbers still pose a threat to the world. The few that try or even commit these crimes usually get caught because they are visible and the authorities can get descriptions and data. These criminals can run but they can't hide.
Technology and communication have produced the most dangerous and educated criminals in the history of society. The Phantoms of Identity Theft are invisible and growing stronger by the minute. Much like roaches they crawl through the nook and crannies of lives waiting patiently for victims to turn out the lights granting them the freedom to crawl.
It can happen to you or a member of your family within the blink of an eye. Phantoms of identity theft are thieves without borders.The stakes are high. Rolling the dice of life without knowledge of identity protection can destroy and strip people naked and chain them to poverty. Sadly the Phantoms usually keep the key and never unlock the chains.
Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance. Careless habits with no thought of present moment awareness can lead to disaster. Habits are part of the footprints people leave in their path as they walk the journey of life especially when a roadmap or destination is not planned. Risky behavior on this journey can turn into a battle and even a deadly war.
What you don't know can and will hurt you! Few people are teaching the consequences and protection about identity theft. Society and authorities have placed the fastest growing crime in the world on the back burner.
Every day millions of people fall victim to the unscrupulous deliberate acts of the faceless Phantoms that lurk in every possible corner of the world. No one is safe, young or old, poor or wealthy, especially the children and the dead.
The time to wake up is now. The roses people plant today produce razor edged thorns bringing blood with the prick of a finger. The Phantoms use these thorns and begin with just a prick of a finger until they draw blood then they cut off the hand. These are criminals with no conscience who laugh and party after destroying lives.
Phantoms lure their prey and strike at will. But it is too late for victims who have neglected to become aware and get the education for prevention. These evil criminal minds steal social security checks, invade Medicare, children's college funds, retirement investments, or money in visible accounts such as checking or savings, and even medical records.
If the Phantoms of identity theft have a virtue, it is patience. They wait with intent. They set goals with intent. They calculate with intent. And never forget, their intent is to destroy lives.
The it will never happen to me mentality is much like a small rabbit eating grass in a meadow while the birds of prey are circling overhead. Beware of The Phantoms of prey. Yes you could be the next target.

Did You Recently Receive a Ticket in Virginia for Reckless Driving or Speeding?

You may want to put that ticket in a safe place where you will not forget about it. Unlike most states, Virginia will not send you a reminder about your pending traffic ticket. The officer writes the time and date of your pending trial on the ticket at the time of your stop. The only thing you will receive from Virginia in the mail is a bill and the threat of your license being suspended if you fail to pay your fines that are owed to the court. By the time you receive this letter from Virginia, your court date will have already passed. At that point, you will have already been convicted of the offense. After you are convicted, you have extremely limited options on how to minimize the impact of the ticket.
If you receive a reckless driving or speeding ticket in Virginia do not wait until the last minute. A large number of people end up forgetting about their court date.
I hear horror stories all of the time from people whose insurance companies have increased their premiums by double or more because of a reckless driving or speeding conviction. They call and ask if there is anything they can do to get the conviction overturned. "If I had known that I would be paying such a high surcharge I definitely would have hired an attorney to represent me." The sad fact is that you have a very limited time period for appeals and motions after your court date has passed. If you do nothing now, your conviction will NOT be reversed later.
Reckless Driving is not just another speeding ticket. Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, a Criminal Offense.
Ignoring your court date OR paying your fine can result in:
- 6 points on your driving record
- License Suspension
- Increased Insurance Premiums
- A Criminal Record / Failed Background checks
- Possible job losses now or in the future
- Up to 12 months in jail (driving 90+ mph)
- Fines up to $2,500 (driving 90+ mph)
Warning to CDL Drivers
A Reckless Driving conviction will cost you your job and ruin your career. Do not ignore this ticket. Contact us today to discuss your options 804-325-1697
Warning to Out-of-State Drivers
Virginia takes Reckless Driving very seriously. You could be charged with Reckless Driving for 17 different offenses. Were you charged with speeding over 80 mph? Driving 20 mph over the limit? Were you are involved in a single-car accident? All of these offenses ard Criminal charges in Virginia.

Economist Favors Total US Immigration Overhaul

In a key development, a noted financial expert has strongly advised Washington DC to boost the quotas for immigration with a view to perking-up the national economy. He claims that the nation requires extra untrained overseas people to work in agriculture & other fields. It also requires additional qualified migrants to work in industries which are high tech. It must also inspire the overseas investors to shift to the US and those students--who do graduation from the many American universities--to remain inside the country.
Still, he claims that the existing national policies on immigration are not very positive even as these are obstructing economic revival of the country. The policies suitably tailored to defy unauthorized overseas movement of people followed by many states of the US have already done severe damage to the agricultural field by terrorizing the lowly-paid unlawful migrants engaged in the fields.
He further alleges that the restrictions placed on the figures of the H-1B permits are negatively influencing industry-more so from the high-tech field. Simultaneously, Washington DC is making it much more difficult for the students, graduating from the various American universities, to remain inside the nation.
Study revealed that when the total number of the available H-1B visas was increased by 100% during 1998, it had an instant positive outcome on the share price of the industries which were high-tech. The domain of high-tech characteristically comprises nearly 80% of the total H-1B permits which are offered.
An upper limit exists on the total number of the H-1B permits which may be offered in a given year even as 85,000 H-1B permits are proffered every year. The processing of the H-1B permits starts at the starting of the financial year on April 1 every year. In the current year, 2013, the limit was touched post just 2 months during early June.
The economist further claims that 20% or one-fifth of the nurses, appearing for the licensure examination in the American hospitals, at the present are overseas born even as the nurses from the Asian country of Philippines take home, on an average, 4% over and above the US-born nurses as, it appears, they are comparatively superior at the given job.
He continues that until the global meltdown during 2008, the US boasted of a fertility rate of 2.1 births for every woman. The said rate has presently decreased below 2 even as it signifies that the populace of the US is not only fast becoming aged but also heading north. Hence, it is cost-effectively very important that extra immigration takes place.
The financial expert adds that by 2030, nearly 70% of the Hispanic migrants will have their own house in the US. It is crucial, he claims as, in case it fails to materialize--as the populace of the US decreases--there will be comparatively lesser demand for accommodation even while the property prices will fall down even more. Concurrently, there won't be sufficient untrained labor to take care of the specific health requirements of the fast-ageing American people.
He further says that in the meanwhile certain competitors of the US from across the globe--such as Canada, Australia & the Singapore--are adopting innovative and effective measures to inspire brilliant young graduates & industrialists to settle and do a job there. Post graduation, a large number of students from India and China are also opting to go back to their home nations.
The economist concludes the subject when he says that the requirement for complete reform is urgent and pressing, adding that the American leaders can't and shouldn't delay the same further, as it would make the situation only worse and give the many American rivals an edge over it (the US).
Ajay Sharma is an immigration expert who provides his valuable advice to people seeking immigration in countries like Canada , Denmark, USA, Australia and many others. With years of experience under his belt, he is the principal immigration consultant of ABHINAV.com, which is in business since 1994. Over the years, Abhinav has continually stood the test of time and has helped its clients in accomplishing their relocation dreams to foreign lands, successfully and smoothly.

What's the Big Secret?

In order to qualify as a trade secret, the intellectual property at issue must, generally speaking, (1) derive value from not being generally known or readily ascertainable; and (2) be protected as a secret through reasonable security measures. I often get calls from prospective and existing clients that tell me they own a trade secret for such reasons as:
  • I came up with it
  • Noone else has it
  • It is a secret in my company
While these may, along with other factors, be important when analyzing whether or not you own such a secret, they are not, alone, sufficient to qualify for such protection. A trade secret owner must instead meet the definitional requirements, generally stated above.
So, you should adhere to the following five guidelines when determining whether or not you may have a protectable secret:
1. Identify what you believe to be your intellectual property. In doing so, identify it with particularity. For example, do not simply say software. Instead identify what part of that software makes it qualify, and in doing so, identify that which you would exclude as not being yours alone (understanding that the entirety of your software may still be entitled to protection as a compilation trade secret).
2. Identify how the property enables you to profit and gain a competitive advantage.
3. Identify the security measures you have implemented and use to protect the secrecy.
4. Consult with an intellectual property attorney to confirm the existence of a trade secret, identify additional means to protect, and devise a strategy for addressing any misappropriation.
5. Be prepared to take action in the event of a misappropriation.
Ultimately, adhering to these five guideliness will help you react quickly, either with court intervention or otherwise, should an issue arise related to your property. An attorney will be able to more quickly analyze your position and advise you regarding what to do next as well, including whether you merely own UnIntellectual Property. This will save you time, money, and possibly your ability to continue to claim rights in the property as a secret.

Helping Fathers Get Their Child's Custody

A divorce is a painful event in the life of a married couple. The divorce often leaves scars on the entire family and more so on its young members. When it comes to awarding a child's custody it is seen that courts favor mothers but there are many cases where it has been seen that a father is given the responsibility of the child's upbringing. In case, you are a father and going through the trial of divorce then feel free to read this post.
Start Getting Involved With Your Kids:
If you are worried about the care and upbringing of your kids and also going through a divorce process then the first step would be to start getting involved in your kid's life so as to make them realize the love of a father. Moreover, you can also win their trust and love by spending more time with them. Usually, fathers are not so involved in their children's life but doing so can help you win their custody.
Furthermore, watching your kid happy with you is also a plus point because the court can easily realize that the child can live happily with their father. Showing dedication towards every activity and interests of your kid's will help turn the custody appeal in your favor.
If you are at a stage in your marriage where things cannot be reconciled and separation is inevitable then a divorce lawyer will prove helpful. The divorce lawyer will also help you with matter related to child custody. Based on the advice given by the lawyer you can then present your case and claim the custody of your child in the court.
Complete Documentation of Your Kids:
Making a complete profile of your kid's needs and their issues regarding spending time, behavior changes and studies will be a plus point. You can easily write down all the problems, needs and requirements of your kid and present it to the court. This step will also be helpful for the court to understand your interest in parenting.
Even after losing the custody of your kids, if you really want to be with them, make sure that you have the ability to provide all the basic necessities to them. You can also present the file to the judge while court hearings about your interest in parenting. To make the custody process quick, hiring child custody lawyer is a must and you have to be very precise while choosing the a legal representative.

Things You Should Never Put in Your Will

A will is a vital estate planning document, and allows you to distribute your assets and property according to your wishes. At a minimum everyone should have a will, even if you believe you do not have many assets. It is a common misconception that only rich people need estate plans. A will has a number of limitations you may not be aware of. However, there are several items that should NOT be included in a will:
Property held in a living trust or joint tenancy - property deeded to a living trust cannot be willed to someone else, and a will cannot change the right of survivorship in joint tenancy, which passes to the joint tenant by law. Don't let the legalese scare you. Let an attorney help you ensure that any property you leave is handled in the way you want.
Accounts with designated beneficiaries - financial accounts and life insurance proceeds go to beneficiaries who are designated by you via a designated beneficiary form, and cannot be given to someone else through a will.
Contingency gifts - leaving assets that are contingent on the beneficiary performing a duty or act (like marrying or attending college) is not always legal. Generally speaking, you cannot "manage from the grave" by making an inheritance contingent on someone getting married, changing their religion, etc.
Provisions for those with special needs - this should be done via a special needs trust.
Provisions for pets - pets do not have the legal ability to own property, so consider establishing a pet trust to care for your pet(s). Did you know that you can leave money for the caretaker of your pet and of course choose who or what organization you would like to care for your pet.
Funeral instructions - since a will may not be read until after the funeral, leave instructions for your funeral arrangements in a letter of instruction or discuss your wishes with loved ones. It is also advisable to get funeral insurance. Save your loved ones from the hassle of chasing money immediately in the aftermath of your death.

Fire Rescue Personnel: What to Do When You're Hurt on the Job

Fire rescue personnel suffer work related injuries from time to time. A mistake doesn't have to happen for an injury to occur in this line of work. Smoke inhalation, burns, cuts, broken bones and other injuries can be sustained while responding to an emergency call. Worker's compensation is available to help get the medical attention needed for a healthy recovery.
Firefighters face dangerous situations everyday in their line of work. This can be anything from a small fire to a wildfire. Most recently, Denver area firefighters are fighting wildfires near Fort Collins. Over 300 firefighters were called to the scene to help extinguish this fire. The area in which a wildfire is located in can be treacherous terrain. Trees can fall, exhaustion can occur, the ground can be uneven or have unseen holes, and flames can get out of control. Even with every precaution put in place, an injury can still occur. As an injured firefighter, you have the right to file a Workers Compensation claim.
What is the First Step in Starting a Worker's Compensation Claim?
The first step in filing a Worker's Compensation claim is to notify your employer. Talk to your supervisor and ask that you be given an injury report to fill out. Your employer is obligated by law to provide you with a list of two doctors from which you will choose on Doctor. If you employer does not give you a list you may select your own doctor.
The only exception to this is when an injury is so sudden and serious you must get emergency care right away. If that is the case, then notify your employer once things stabilize.
What is the Second Step in Starting a Worker's Compensation Claim?
Second, it is critical to seek medical attention. At the hospital, explain that the injury occurred while you were in the field responding to an emergency call. This will start the process of filing your claim. The hospital will ask a series of questions to include in their initial report regarding what you were doing and how the accident occurred. Some of the questions they may ask a Firefighter would coincide with the type of emergency call they were responding to, if they had a full squad responding and if all of the Firefighter's safety gear was worn and worked properly. Questions pertaining specifically to the fire itself as to how involved it was, what type of building it was and what method of putting the flames out was used. They will ask for the circumstances surrounding the injury as well which could include safety precautions taken, response time, proper equipment being available and a proper command center being put in place.
It is very important to remember the sequence of events during the fire emergency call as closely as possible when filling out this paperwork. If you fell, it is important to remember what happened that made you fall, what direction that you fell in and what direction you landed in. The small details are important.
The Worker's Compensation website for Colorado has a FAQ section to help answer the most commonly asked questions are available here. Another item to keep in mind is that you should keep every receipt for anything you've spent out of pocket regarding your injury. Copies of all of these receipts should be made and submitted to the Worker's Compensation office for reimbursement.
Follow Up Care
Follow up care will be set up following your injury and/or release from the hospital. Firefighters can sustain a wide variety of injuries stemming from severe burns, burnt tracheas, broken bones, paralysis, organ damage and less severe injuries. With some of these injuries being severe, it may take months of rehabilitation and treatment to be able to return to the Firehouse again. A firefighter that has suffered severe burns may require several skin graft procedures and extensive physical therapy upon being released from the hospital. It is important that every procedure is completed and that every physical therapy is attended.
It is possible that breathing treatments may be needed for the rest of your life following an injury pertaining to your lungs. Lung function tests may be a large part of the follow up care process. Follow up care is an important part of both your healing process and your worker's compensation claim. Not following through with after care may show worker's compensation that you aren't really as injured as the reports state.
Worker's Compensation law can be very confusing. Attorneys are available to help you understand the difficulties that may come along with fighting for your rights as an injured Firefighter. You may ask why you need a lawyer to begin with and think you will be able to handle the claim on your own.
Britton Morrell, attorney at Kaplan Morrell, has helped injured workers with workers' compensation, social security disability and employment law claims since 1995.

Children and Women Labor Law

Recently I visited a packaging factory which was owned by one of my friend's father. They manufacture corrugated boxes (carton) with labor intensive processes. The formation of corrugated box includes many processes starting from the loading of huge paper reels on the corrugation machine, cutting and creasing, pasting, slotting, printing and ending with the stitching and bundling of the carton.
When I went to the manufacturing area of that company I was not surprised watching old women stitching and bundling the carton whereas small children transporting the corrugated boxes to the ware house and cleaning the waste of manufacturing area. When I asked the reason for hiring old women and such children for these tasks the owner of that company told me that due to the intense competition and increasing oil/gas and electricity prices it's very difficult to survive so to reduce their manufacturing cost they have to opt for such options.
If we talk regarding what Pakistani government has laid rules for the right of the labor in Pakistan we will come across different labor laws such as article 11 which states that child labor is prohibited and article 37(e) states that women should not be employed for the job which is not in accordance to their sex and age.
When I asked the owner of that company that is he not afraid if government comes to know that he is violating the labor law. He replied while smiling, afraid no way. Such activities are so common in Pakistan no one even give heed about this, everyone is just busy in earning in one way and another. Such statement from the owner tells us that the agencies which are protecting the labor laws in Pakistan are very inefficient and corrupt. If someone is caught, they very easily escape by bribing the officers.
Such exploitation of labor especially little children is not in favor of the country as they are the merely future of that nation. If they will be brought into the labor work from their childhood then who will go to schools and become future doctors, engineers and entrepreneur. Governments need to look after such activities and ensure that the department which has been kept responsible to ensure no such activities occur is working efficiently and effectively. Child labor results in the wastage of natural talent as these children if given opportunity to study can excel in different fields instead of just picking the garbage and doing donkey work.

Things to Know About Labor and Wages

A wage/overtime attorney can help you if you have disputes concerning your pay and your overtime. Before you refer your case to these lawyers, however, you have got to know the basics about the laws covering labor and wage pay. You need to know that so you can decide for yourself if you have a strong case or not.
If you remain ignorant about these matters then you might not know when your rights are being violated and you might just go on working under the same conditions when you do not have to. Knowledge can empower you in this case. When you know that you are right and that you have been taken advantage of, then you can fight with the help of the right wage/overtime attorney to back you up.
Fair Labour Standards Act- Employees are given protection and guarantees with the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, which is the law concerning the wages, overtime pay and wnrking hours of an employee. Under this law an employee should be paid for overtime once he works for more than 40 hours per week. This law is applicable to most employees. If you are one of the following then this law covers you:
- You are an hourly employee.
- You are an employee whose pay is based on commission or bonuses.
- You are receiving a regular salary.
Those categories would cover most -- if not all -- workers.
The Minimum Wage- An employee is guaranteed that he would be paid no less than the minimum wage. That minimum wage has been determined by the government as the least amount that a person must have (in an hourly wage) in order to live a 'normal' life. There are certain cases where the minimum wage would not apply and these are:
- When an employee is still in training. The government is allowed to pay him something lower than the minimum, provided that they meet criteria.
- Employees who receive tips from the customers and clients are allowed to be paid less than the minimum as long as their tips would likely reach a certain amount.
Overtime- Overtime is paid when a worker works for more than forty hours each week. The rate for overtime pay is 1.5 times higher than that of regular pay. It is computed for each hour over the regular 40 hours a day. There are certain types of employees who are not required to be paid overtime if their salary already includes some form of compensation in exchange for it. These employees include doctors and executives who have irregular hours. Government employees, such as fire-fighters and police officers, also have other rules for overtime pay.
Getting an Attorney- In cases where your employer has failed to pay you overtime you will need an attorney to help you out. They will be the one to tell you if you have a case under the Fair Labor Standards Act. There are many lawyers who specialize in this field of law. You can even conduct a search for wage/overtime attorney online.

Occupational Health and Safety - Where It Can Take You

From January 1 2012, the Australian Government implemented brand new OH&S regulations with the aim to harmonise the legal requirements throughout the nation. Currently, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are operating under the new 'Occupational Health and Safety' system.
The former lack of standardisation proved to be problematic and the current consistency now allows employers to gain a thorough understanding of their legal obligations through safety training, better ensuring employees' rights are paramount. Employers also better understand their rights and expectations.
In response to the new laws, the Australian Council of Trade Unions has created their national "Speak Up" campaign. The campaign is designed to empower employees to know their rights and have confidence to voice OH&S matters with the main focus being to reduce death, injury and illness at work.
The campaign provides all workers should:
  1. Have the option to deny an unsafe work task
  2. Know all safety hazards involved in their job role
  3. Be granted access to a qualified safety-officer to represent any occupational health and safety issue
  4. Overall have an acceptable working environment
To ensure these requirements are met, safety officers must comply with legislation, know how to identify hazards and assess and control occupational health and safety risks. As OH&S training is one of the most important facets of businesses today, these laws will affect a large variety of industries across the nation.
The new harmonisation of occupational health and safety laws brought in on 1 January 2012 bring significant changes workplaces need to be aware of.
  1. Though the model is labelled a 'Framework' each state will govern under separate legislation mimicking that framework
  2. Individual fines are up to $600,000 or 5 years imprisonment
  3. Company officers have due diligence requirements
  4. Company officers have a positive to prevent risk to safety
  5. Volunteers are now immune
  6. Fines increase to 3 million for corporate offences
  7. Obligations are placed on persons conducting business rather than the employers (small businesses and organisations are included)
  8. The Act makes clearer obligations towards the duties of contractors, referring to workers rather than employees
  9. All clients and visitors to workplaces have duties
  10. Consultation is required between all workers rather than employees
With qualified safety officers in high demand now is a better time than ever to find out about completing an OH&S certificate or diploma qualification,
For more on this see the safe at work website and OHS Management for more information.

Top 5 Questions For Those Injured On The Job

California injured workers face an uphill battle in their workers compensation cases ever since the work comp reforms of 2004 and 2012. Without a workers compensation attorney, the deck is stabked against the injured worker. There are many questions facing an injured worker, however I will narrow them down to five for this work comp article. These are the questions which generally come up in the early stages of a workers comp case.
How will I pay my bills while I'm on work comp? If you've been injured at work and are temporarily unable to return to work because of your workers compensation injury, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. If your work injury case is accepted by the insurance company, you will receive temporary disability benefits. Workers comp temporary disability benefits range from a minimum of $206.17 to $1010.30 as of 2012. Work comp temporary disability is not related based on two thirds of your average weekly wage. If your claim is denied or on delay, your workers compensation attorney can help you collect state disability insurance while your workers comp claim is being litigated. All California workers pay into the state disability system unless you have a private short-term or long-term disability policy.
The employers work comp doctor says nothing is wrong with me, what do I do? Early in most workers comp cases the injured worker will see an industrial medical doctor. Most of these doctors work for the employer and insurance company directly. In order to get repeat work comp business, they must do their bidding. Think about it, they only have to deal with the injured worker once but have to deal with the insurance company forever. A work injury lawyer can assess the opinion of that first doctor and how it relates to your workers compensation injury. If you are not receiving the upper level of work comp care, a knowledgeable workers compensation attorney can direct you to a work injury doctor who will properly assess your workers compensation injury. Most work comp insurance companies have medical provider networks which are complicated to navigate. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you through this.
I received a list of three doctors in the mail from the state, what do I do? If you do not have a workers comp attorney you will be required to use a doctor from a state panel. Unless you have years of regional workers compknowledge this is a dangerous prospect for you as the lists are full of defense oriented workers compensation physicians. If the insurance company objects to the findings of your work injury physician or you ask for a panel of doctors, immediately seek the advice of a work injury attorney before you pick a doctor on that list. Once you have seen a doctor on that list and you do not have an attorney, you're stuck with that doctor's opinion. Before you see a doctor on that list, seek the advice of an experienced local work comp attorney first.
The workers compensation insurance company says I have a work comp injury but I get no disability money? Often times the insurance company's doctor will find that you have an injury that gives you little or no disability. A workers compensation lawyer can help you obtain a second opinion within the workers compensation insurance company medical provider network as you are entitled to three opinions within that network. A work injury attorney can also help you obtain an opinion to and including medical examiner for a state panel qualified medical evaluator.
I have a work comp injury but received a denial letter from the workers compensation insurance company, what do I do? If your claim is denied, the insurance company will not be paying you any work comp benefits unless the situation changes. You can litigate your work comp case yourself, but I would advise against it unless you happen to be a workers compadjuster or have similar years of knowledge. If your claim is denied, it is considered essentially worthless by the insurance company. So by hiring an experienced local workers comp attorney or personal injury attorney you have nowhere to go but up. A work injury lawyer can obtain medical evidence you are going to need in court to find that denial or negotiate a fair settlement.

Avoid Disasters While Vacationing in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County in South Florida, is a fun place to vacation in. Thanks to its proximity to the Atlantic Coast, the pristine beaches, and the boats that horde the harbor of the city, Fort is also called the 'Venice of America'. Though the city is an outstanding holiday retreat, you will need to look into the following tips to stay safe in Fort and avoid disasters that ruin your vacation.
Though Fort Lauderdale is a safe city and the tourist areas including the beaches and the boulevards are particularly crime-free, you must still exercise caution. You are advised to stick to your group and never attempt to walk around on your own, especially at night. While in crowded places, you must see to it that you check your belongings from time to time. Incidents of pick pocketing are rare but they do happen. Hence, you are advised to be vigilant always.
The North East and South East parts of Fort Lauderdale are safe. However, when you visit the North West and South West parts of the city, you must make a note of the crime in the area. You are not advised to venture in the western suburbs at night, either solo or with your group. Areas like the Florida Turnpike, Andrews Avenue and the Broward Central are not good for tourist visits. Do not schedule any sightseeing trips to these places at all. You'd better stick to the beaches, downtown Fort in the East, and Las Olas for shopping.
There is a different kind of threat if you decide to explore Wilton Manors, a gay hangout, in the middle of the city. Straight tourists do not like the obvious passes and seduction that many gays are notorious for, in these parts. Thus, if you are straight and hugely moral, you'd be better away from the Wilton Manor locality in Fort Lauderdale.
Rental cars in Fort are popular places for thieves to loot. Thus, you will need to ensure that your rental cars are locked always, and that you never leave any valuables in the car. You are not to choose a rental without proper insurance papers, as stoppages on the road for paper verifications are common practices.

What You Should Know About Work Related Problems

It is important that we do well in our work, but it is also important that we maintain all the other aspects of our lives. We cannot just focus on our work and neglect the other things that are just as vital to us.
Other things that we have to be on the lookout for are the different issues that we might encounter at the work place. We should know about these issues, so we would be aware of how to deal with it in case it happens to us. Here are some of the major issues that you ought to know about:
· Benefits- This is one of the biggest areas of concern for both employees and employer. The employees would want to get as much benefits as possible and the employers know the value of a good benefits package in improving employment retentions. The problem starts when the package falls short of what has been promised to the employees.
· Pay Raise- Large companies usually have systems in place in order to determine the right order to be followed for pay raises. It is the smaller companies that might have a hard time in following this. It becomes a major issue as employees become more tenured.
· Pay Equity- Employers should make sure that they have a system to be followed when it comes to pay equity. Unequal pay among employees, especially those in the same position can be a major concern and a cause of problems.
· H.R. Dept. - Some employees are not satisfied with the way that their company's HR department is handling their concerns. They expect it to be capable of helping them out and explain things that they don't understand about their status as employees and other things related to that.
· Micromanagement- A lot of business owners are still following this type of management even after it's been proven that it's really not productive at all. The employees should be given the sense that they actually have some form of freedom and that their every move is not being watched.
· Lack of Communication- While employees should be given some freedom when it comes to the actions that they can do, they should also have the feeling that they can talk to their bosses anytime that they want. Communication is very important in business to make sure that everyone knows what is going on.
· Workplace Condition- Since people started working for large companies, workplace condition has always been a major work related issue. How safe and clean is it? If there are obvious dangers in place then people might have some reason to be worried about their condition.
· Salary and Compensation- This is probably the biggest concern of employees. They are not working for fun after all, they're in it for the money and salary delays could be the biggest source of problem.
These are just some of the issues that an employee might be concerned about. You should look into these and know how you can deal with them, in case you encounter problems with it.