Deciding to pick up the phone and make that dreaded first call when you feel the time is right to contact an attorney is a petrifying moment. It’s one of those times in your life where you just have to take the plunge, dial the phone and make the call.
As the unavoidable unfortunately happens, your child’s welfare has to be prioritised. Divorce or separation is never easy, but this does not mean your child’s interests will be compromised.
The day that you most dreaded in your divorce has come—the receipt of your attorney’s billing statement. After having put it aside, and having found ten other things to open in its place, you are left with the one, unopened envelope, bearing your attorney’s logo, and certainly carrying no news of anything good. You carefully open the envelope; you are surprised by how many pages fit into that one envelope. Unfolding the pages of the billing statement, there it is for you to see: every single minute spent on your case, either detailed so precisely, you find it irritating that your lawyer would have been so picayune, or detailed so generally, you cannot understand how that much time was purportedly spent, doing so little. And what is the only thing missing? The majority of your initial retainer.
As a St. Petersburg practicing attorney with 26 years of experience in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, the last twenty years having been spent in family/criminal and personal injury law as Attorney Hanks, P.A., I am here to tell you that I take no greater interest or appreciation in creating that billing statement, than you did to open and read it. And not matter how much I prepared you for this moment when you first read and signed my fee agreement, you likely did not realize the math involved: .10, the lowest hourly percentage for which most attorneys will bill, when applied to a $275.00 hourly rate, equals $27.50. Ouch. Read your letter to me? $27.50. Sent you that email? $27.50. That time, last week, when you called me to ask about your hearing date? $27.50. And that is just at that hourly rate. Applied to the higher hourly rate of attorneys in bigger cities or in bigger firms, those small activities could run $35.00 each ($350.00 per hour), $45.00 each ($450.00 an hour), and so on. How quickly then, will your retainer be exhausted?
So, how can you prevent this? What can you do? My first suggestion, at least if you are not already in an hourly billing arrangement, is to ask your attorney for a flat fee quote, for part or all of your case. This is not as unusual as it may sound. Criminal Defense fees are standard flat fee arrangements. Personal Injury and Probate fees are usually flat fee arrangements as well, though these will be based on a percentage of the recovery or the amount of the assets. Professionally, I have had my fill of hourly billing arrangements, even in family law cases. No client wants to see how much I am charging for an email response and I do not want to account for every email I send a client. In this age of electronic communications, many of emails are sent when I am out of the office, either in Court waiting for a hearing, in a break between depositions, or even out to dinner with my family. To have to account for them the next day or days after, becomes a burden.
For the attorney, the basis for a flat fee in a family law case, whether the case is a divorce, child custody, child support or paternity case, is the same as the basis for a flat fee in a criminal case. Each case is going to have the same initial, basic components, and the same, initial procedures. For my clients, in a Florida family law case, these are the pleading stage, the exchange of mandatory disclosure (financial documents), and the attendance at an initial, family mediation conference. I know the amount of time each one of those actions takes, both before in preparation, during, and upon its conclusion. No matter what the dynamics of the case, these three elements will be present. For the client, the flat fee is somewhat of a relief. They know that their case, at least up to a point, will cost “X” amount of dollars. I say up to a point, because mediation may not settle all of the issues in a case. Depending on what issues are left over to be tried, then different amounts of time will be needed to bring the case to a conclusion. But even in those situations, I will try to provide my client with a flat fee quote for their representation beyond the mediation, and through a trial.
But what if you are already in under an hourly billing arrangement, how do you get the most out of your retainer?
1. Understand The Billing Arrangement. Recognize that you are under an hourly billing arrangement. Recently, I had a divorce client, who had received a billing statement tell me, “I didn’t know you billed for emails or phone calls.” Well, most family lawyers do, as our time I one of the things we are selling. Whether we spend ten minutes in a phone hearing on your behalf, or ten minutes answering your email, the cost is the same. Therefore, clients should only contact an attorney, when he or she absolutely needs advice or information. If you call me to ask if there is anything new in your case, I will be happy to tell you that there is no new update to provide you, but I have to charge you for having had that phone conference.
2. The Minimum Fraction of Time: Keep in mind what I wrote earlier, that the minimum slot of time for which an attorney will generally bill you, is .10—six minutes or one tenth of an hour. If you send me five separate, short emails to review, you will spend much more of your retainer than you would have spent, had you sent me one longer email to review. The same applies to phone calls. Ten phone calls over two weeks, will cost much more than one longer phone conference, or even an office conference.
3. The Attorney’s Assistant or Paralegal. Whenever possible, is to speak to the attorney’s assistant or paralegal, instead of the attorney. My hourly billable rate in St. Petersburg, Florida, is $275.00 an hour, but I bill my paralegal at $75.00 an hour. If you want to confirm your hearing date or time, you can get this information from my paralegal at a much better rate, than getting me on the phone. Now this will not work for anything that requires legal advice or consultation. In those instances, the paralegal should put you through to the attorney, but you will then get billed for having spoken to both. However, for any time that you are simply seeking procedural information, contact the paralegal or legal assistant. He or she can inform you just as easily as the lawyer can, and at much less of a cost.
4. Follow instructions. This would seem to be unnecessary to relate, but I have found this is the source of the greatest increase in billable time, and the greatest reduction of a retainer. It is, though, quite basic, and at the heart of any successful representation. Comply with your attorney’s instructions. When your attorney asks you to provide certain documents, provide them. I have had clients who have refused to provide many of the financial documents necessary for mandatory disclosure (tax returns, bank statements, etc..), on the belief that those records are either not relevant to the case (Florida’s financial disclosure requirements are the same—whether it is a new divorce or a modification of an older custody judgment), or the client believes the records should not be seen by the other party, for the sake of confidentiality. This leads to additional and unnecessary communications with me or my paralegal, then to letters and motions to compel filed by the other side, and finally to an actual hearing, so that the client can be told by the family law judge, what I have been telling him or her all along—provide the documents. And at that point, the client has not only run up his or her own legal fees, but now may be subject to paying the other side’s attorney’s fees, for having to take that step. It is simply a waste of a retainer, and potentially hampers the progress of the case on the actual issues such as alimony, child support or child custody, if the client has to raise more money to continue the representation.
If you follow these steps, you can guarantee you will make your own legal representation more affordable and more effective. And as a result, you will be more satisfied with your attorney, and more likely to refer a friend with a divorce, time-sharing or other family law case. So, both you and your lawyer come out ahead.
Mark Hanks, Attorney Hanks, P.A.
Your Family Attorney
St. Petersburg, Florida
Being a good parent is hard enough on a good day. However, when you’ve just gone through a divorce, making sure that your kids are doing fine is always much harder. You can be a good parent after a divorce though so doesn’t think that this is an unattainable goal.
When you use your parenting skills in a divorce, you help teach your kids to deal with various challenges, helping them to grow into well-adjusted individuals. If you’re going or have gone through a divorce and are trying to figure out how to be a good parent through it all, use these tips.
Put The Child First:
Many times a divorce is going to be messy and complicated. You and your former spouse may hate each other and have trouble even being in the same room. However, this attitude isn’t going to do any favors for your child. You need to make sure that you’re not focusing on yourself throughout the divorce.
Since it can be a fairly lengthy process, talk to your children openly throughout the entire ordeal and ask how they’re doing. They may not be coping so well. Also, when you begin to figure out custody agreements and other important details that are about the kids, get their input. They may not be very happy about the entire situation, but involving them in the process and showing them that you care, is going to help with the transition.
Remember It’s Not About You:
Well, at least not entirely. Obviously, your divorce is going to be a huge part of your life, but you are an adult. You have increased coping mechanisms as well as a mature perspective that your children lack. If you’re starting to fall into the victim mentality, then make the decision to turn this attitude around.
Accept the fact that even in the worst of marriages, you probably made some mistakes as well. When you get to this point, you’re not only helping yourself, you’re also showing your kids that it’s OK to be wrong sometimes and you should always acknowledge your mistakes.
Look At The Positives:
It’s always hard to see anything positive coming from a divorce, but there are many life lessons that you can gain from going through this process. Similarly, your kids can also gain more experience from you. However, you can’t do this if you simply refuse to deal with the problem at hand. As you go throughout the divorce, take each experience as a life lesson.
Many of them are not going to be easy, but if you pay attention, you will come through this experience and be a wiser and stronger person throughout the rest of your life. Make sure that you talk to your kids throughout the process and mention some of the lessons you’ve learned. They can similarly take your lessons and apply them to their lives and future relationships.
Always Be Respectful:
When a divorce with children happens, it’s likely that both parents will have custody or visitation rights. This is going to be hard to deal with, but you can’t let your own feelings get in the way of your children’s happiness. Working through the challenges of successfully communicating with an ex is a goal, which you’re probably not going to get right the first time.
Try to maintain a respectful relationship with your former spouse. This not only sets a good example for your kids, it also helps to make the entire ordeal so much easier
These are a few of the basic ways to make sure that you continue to be a good parent both through and after a divorce. Divorce is difficult for both parents and their children, so make sure that you pay attention to your kids and continue to make them a priority throughout the entire process. Divorce can be a positive or negative factor in a child’s life depending on how you react to it. If you treat it as a learning experience, it can help to grow the relationship that you have with your children.
However, it does take time and effort, so make sure that you’re being a mindful parent throughout the entire process to make the transition easy for your children.
Military divorces are much like any other divorce. Two people decide they no longer want to be married, and go through the process of separating property, assets and determining child custody issues. However, the way these concerns are addressed, and the way things are separated between the two parties, requires a consideration of the military member’s lifestyle and benefits. Understanding how survivor benefits and military pensions are divided up, and how custody of children is determined, is important for both spouses considering divorce.
Many military marriages involve an active duty spouse and a civilian spouse. The lifestyle of these families adapts to the military world, with active duty personnel moving regularly for various deployments, and with the military spouse frequently away from home. Families that fit this description should be aware that the courts will rarely grant full custody to the active duty spouse.
When determining child custody, the courts always look out for the best interests of the child. It is understood that, while the active duty spouse is doing much for his or her country, the lifestyle is ill suited for raising children. Military families should assume that child custody will go to the non-active spouse, and this will likely include child support payments.
Division of Military Pensions
Active duty service members are entitled to a pension after 20 years of service. The courts answer the question how to divide up this pension in the case of divorce. Most military couples are aware that the non-military spouse is entitled to half of the pension after 10 years of marriage. However, not all are aware that this division is negotiable.
The couple can come to an agreement on the division of the pension in their own way. This includes if the marriage has been shorter than the standard 10 years, and it includes the possibility of a payout of less than 50 percent of the pension after the 10-year mark.
The 10-year and 50 percent standards are simply guidelines for the court to go on. The arguments presented by both divorce attorneys and the decision of the court can produce a number of different results. Each spouse may wind up with more, or less, than he or she was aiming for.
It should also be noted that only after ten years of marriage can the finance center pay the awarded portion of the pension to the spouse. If the non-military spouse wins some of the pension, but the marriage did not last for at least ten years, it is the responsibility of the retiree to make the payments to the ex-spouse.
Some spouses make the mistake of assuming that the Survivor’s Benefit Plan (SBP) – the payout that happens upon the death of the military spouse – will still go them in the event of death. While the SBP can be awarded to the divorced spouse during the divorce proceedings, this is certainly not guaranteed.
If the ex-spouse is not awarded the SBP, then he or she will stop receiving pension payments in the event that the military member dies. This is something to remain aware of during divorce negotiations.
Military Divorce Lawyer
Spouses considering a military divorce should seek the help of an experienced military divorce lawyer. This will help ensure the best possible results from the divorce.
Though the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), state DOMAs were not affected by the ruling. This means that same sex couples cannot get legally married in states, such as Florida, that enacted a DOMA.
This also means that gay and lesbian couples cannot get divorced in many DOMA states and oftentimes do not have any legal remedy to separate. If the domestic partners did not adopt each other’s children, even if both partners had been considered the parents of the children, then child custody, visitation, and child support laws usually will not apply. Equitable distribution laws (laws related to division of marital assets and debts) do not apply, so separating property and liabilities can get real messy, real quick. Further, alimony and spousal maintenance laws do not apply, so a partner who spent years homemaking and taking care of children may suddenly become destitute. So what are separating same sex couples to do?
Domestic partners who are dissolving their relationship should seriously consider entering into a collaborative family law process.
Collaborative family law is a form of private dispute resolution that allows clients to enter into agreements and achieve results that could never be attained through a court process. Each client retains a separate attorney who advises and counsels the client and helps in the negotiating process. A neutral facilitator, who is a mental health professional or mediator, helps the clients focus on their interests, such as the welfare of clients’ children, continued relationships with each other’s family members, or financial stability. If there are substantial assets or debts or a business, a neutral accountant or financial planner will be brought in to educate the parties in finances, help fairly and cost-effectively divide property and liabilities, and, if requested, develop a budget for the clients’ future.
As you can see, collaborative family law is a holistic process that takes into account not only the legal, but also the emotional and financial needs of the clients.
The crux of collaborative family law is that the clients agree at the beginning that they will not seek to resolve their dispute through court battles, but rather they will come to a mutually agreeable settlement through this private process. The clients, and their attorneys, enter into a participation agreement which disqualifies the attorneys from representing the clients in any contested court action. This provides a safe space in collaborative meetings because each client knows that the other client’s attorney is not conducting opposition research and is committed solely to helping the clients reach a mutually acceptable agreement. This allows clients to feel more comfortable offering and listening to potential solutions.
In truth, the disqualification clause has much more of an effect on heterosexual couples who are getting divorced, rather than homosexual couples who are separating. This is because, as stated above, most DOMA state courts just do not have remedies that would properly address the clients’ concerns, and so attempts to fight it out in court will oftentimes be dismissed.
If you are experiencing a same sex separation, make sure to speak with an attorney who offers collaborative family law, and check to see whether the attorney has received collaborative law training that meets at least the minimum Basic Training standards of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
If you have questions regarding a Tampa Bay collaborative family law process, or you want to learn more about your Florida family law rights, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover currently serves as Research Chair of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida and Vice President of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay. Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida) and has completed over 40 hours of basic and advanced collaborative family law continuing legal education credit.
(U.S. Law and Generally) When your spouse leaves you and your children, it’s not long until you feel the financial pinch in your pocketbook. In your new role as a single parent, taking care of your children and your household expenses on a single paycheck soon becomes challenging, especially since you no longer have your spouse to help you financially.
How to Receive Child Support
If you have asked for money for your children and your spouse refused to help out, you can get a court to order your spouse to pay child support while you are separated. Here are steps you can take to start receiving child support:
1. Locate the OCSE in your area. In some states, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is called the Friend of the Court (FOC) and is located in the county courthouse. Find your local OCSE by conducting an Internet search of your city or state or call the clerk’s office of your local courthouse.
2. Complete an application. OCSE has applications for child support online that you can print out and complete prior to meeting with a caseworker.
3. Schedule an appointment. The OCSE takes new cases by appointment, but some offices allow “walk-ins.” If you visit the office as a walk-in, be prepared to wait since most offices are very busy. Be prepared to pay a fee since OCSE’s charge an annual service fee to the custodial parent to open a child support case.
4. Bring relevant information. Your case worker will need information such as your spouse’s address, telephone number, employer’s name, annual income and type of vehicle he or she drives. This information will be used to locate your spouse should he or she fail to either receive or respond to child support papers served on him or her. Child support payments are usually collected through the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. You will also be asked to provide information such as your employer’s name, health insurance information and whether you have received child support in the past. The case worker will also give you other documents to complete.
5. Attend your court hearing. Your case worker will take you through the child support process, which includes filing your documents with the court, serving your spouse with a copy of the papers and scheduling a court hearing. Your spouse will have an opportunity to respond to the papers you filed as well as attend the court hearing.
Consider getting Legal Advice
Filing for help from an absent parent, whether it’s California or New Hampshire child support, is a lengthy process and can become complicated, particularly if your spouse objects to paying support. If your spouse had a larger income and carried health benefits for the family, consider filing for a legal separation rather than a divorce, at least for the time being. There are several financial benefits to getting a legal separation for both of you, but this is something that you should discuss with a family lawyer.
An attorney experienced in family law will get your OCSE case moving along while advising you of the legal separation process. The ultimate decision to file for a legal separation is up to you, but in the meantime, your attorney can relieve your financial pressure by getting court-ordered support from you spouse so that you can better provide for your children.
Mother of two and author, Molly Pearce knows the challenges that single parenting presents. She shares this info in the hopes that it can simplify the child support process for readers. New Hampshire child support lawyers, Tenn and Tenn, P.A., also hope to make the seperation and divorce process easier by providing knowledgeable and experienced representation to families in need.
Stacey Hessler, the mother who abandoned her four children, banker husband and warm bed in Florida to join protesters in the Financial District close to Zuccotti Park has made headlines again. This time, Hessler is in the news for divorcing her husband of 19 years, relinquishing custodial rights to him and literally taking him to the cleaners with a whopping $85,000 settlement. Many might recognize the stark irony of the divorce settlement. Here is a “professional protester” as the divorce filing lists her occupation, raking money in from the very institution she protests against on Wall Street! It is the height of contradiction. Listing her (ex) husband as a banker on an annual salary of $65,000, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ employee’s annual income was recorded as $0 on the divorce filing initiated by her husband, Curtiss.
The reason for the divorce is reportedly listed as “irreconcilable differences”, which does not come as a surprise, given that Hessler’s chosen life style since abandoning her family to join Occupy has become significantly different. Chosen life style, divorce payout and other facts aside, Stacey Hessler raises, yet again, the issue that we are most concerned about at Provda Law Firm; the real casualties of divorce. Stacey has left four children without a mother to become a professional protester and to pursue her own interests. Divorce, one can safely assume, became the unavoidable for a variety of reasons; all associated with Hessler’s choice. While there is no scrap of evidence or fact to suggest that Curtiss, the ex-husband, will be unable to adequately cater for the financial, emotional and other needs of the children, the fact remains that they stand a higher risk of being psychologically affected by what must seem to them as a mother’s rejection. Research confirms that children from broken homes suffer emotional and behavioural needs more than their counterparts from homes where the parents remain together.
The direct implication is felt on society in many ways, including the vicious cycle in the relationships and marriages of many of the affected children. At Provda Law Firm, we encourage parents going through divorce to always put their children’s interests first; to think beyond the pain, hatred, anger, disappointment or any other negative emotion they have towards the other party and to focus on their children’s future. The salient question should be whether or not the other party is able to contribute positively to the children’s lives. An answer in the affirmative means that concerted effort must be put into ensuring that the children do not suffer more than they necessarily have to on account of the divorce.
Stacey Hessler may have abandoned her four children and husband, she may be nearly $90, 000 richer directly or indirectly from the institutions she now fervently protests against, she may be many things to different people, depending on the view point, however by giving custody of the children to her apparently more stable ex-husband, it would seem that she had their best interests at heart at the end of the day. Although some might say she has a rather funny way of showing it.
This article was written by Bruce Provda, a New York divorce attorney. For advice on divorce, child custody, support and maintenance as well as other related family law issues in the State of New York, call Bruce Provda at Provda Law Firm, 40 Wall Street, 11 Floor, New York, NY 10005, (212) 671-0936 or visit his divorce law website.
When most people think of divorce, they envision scenes from War of the Roses or Kramer vs. Kramer. Yet more people in Tampa Bay are learning that there is another way, collaborative divorce, which is just a sensible method to resolve private family disputes. However, just as mediation was characterized in the 1980’s and 1990’s as a rich person’s option, many people think that the collaborative process is only for the very wealthy. Not only attorneys, but also a collaborative facilitator and financial professional are retained, so only the very rich can afford the collaborative model, right?
A four year study conducted by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals found that 87% of female participants and 47% of male participants of collaborative family law cases had an annual income of less than $100,000.
Though the collaborative process may not be the cheapest in all cases, it has a substantial opportunity to save you money as compared to the courtroom battles we have all come to associate with divorce.
First, child issues, such as custody schedules and decision-making authority, are some of the most emotional and costliest issues in family law matters. Lawyers in courtroom cases tend to prepare interrogatories (questions) to be answered under penalty of perjury, set depositions, conduct opposition research to put the other spouse in the worst possible light, and prepare for trial. Attorneys’ invoices pile up along each stage of this process. Alternatively, these fees and costs can be greatly reduced in the collaborative process where facilitators, who usually are licensed mental health professionals, can cut through the clutter of emotionally-charged issues and bring the clients (and lawyers) to focus on the future and best interests of the children.
Similarly, a financial professional (who is usually either an accountant or financial planner) adds cost-saving value to the process. In litigated cases, lawyers prepare “requests for production of documents and things” that demand reams of financial documents which could conceivably be relevant. Searching for those documents cost clients tremendous time and money while, when received, the requesting attorney will spend countless billable hours meticulously combing through the documents. In the collaborative process, on the other hand, the financial professional will only request documents that are necessary to make an informed settlement option. His or her expertise in finances enables the financial professional to review and assess the documents and develop settlement options more quickly (and often times at a lower rate) than attorneys.
Finally, the dirty little secret in family law is that the vast majority of litigation cases eventually settle. However, because having a judge decide on the parties’ personal matters always remains a threat, in traditional courtroom divorce the attorneys will always work on two tracks: (i) attempt to settle the case while (ii) conducting opposition research and preparing for the courtroom battle in case the parties cannot come to an agreement. In the collaborative process, attorneys are retained solely for the purpose of settlement and are contractually barred from taking disputes to be decided in court, and so they are not racking up those billable hours planning to fight it out in court.
Now, back to the question, is collaborative divorce only for the wealthy? Absolutely not, and I would be happy to speak with you and talk more about how the process can help your family.
If you have questions regarding how a Tampa Bay collaborative divorce process can help you, schedule a consultation with attorney Adam B. Cordover at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
Adam B. Cordover is Vice President of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Adam spearheaded the taskforce that drafted the Hillsborough County collaborative family practice administrative order signed by Chief Judge Manuel Menendez.
5 Things Social Workers Need to Understand About Hate Crimes
Though many people consider “hate crimes” to be relatively new phenomena thanks, in part, to tougher laws being enacted around the country, the truth is this: Hate crimes in America are as old as the country itself. Crimes have been committed against individuals and groups based on race, gender, religious preference, sexual orientation and cultural background for centuries. If social workers hope to help people dealing with hate crimes, a deeper understanding must be had. Here are five things that social workers need to understand about this brand of crime:
One of the ways to prevent children from turning into perpetrators of hate crimes is to teach them about acceptance at an early age. Social workers can work in conjunction with teachers and families to ensure that young, elementary-aged children learn to respect each other’s differences, celebrating them rather than berating them. The NCPC has excellent lessons for children in grades one through five that center around diversity.
2.What Constitutes a Hate Crime?
Most of us are aware that a crime committed against a person because of their race or sexual orientation is considered a hate crime. But what else may constitute a hate crime? This information is important for every social worker to have. A victim of a hate crime is singled out because of perception. The perpetrator holds a certain perception about the proposed victim’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, physical handicap, mental disability, marital status, personal appearance, family responsibility, political affiliation or matriculation.
Hate crimes do not have to be violent. Examples of non-violent hate crimes include verbal abuse, telephone harassment, the painting of swastikas or other hate symbols, the use of racial slurs and cemetery desecration. A hate crime need not be violent to have a profound effect on the victim and friends and family of the victim.
Just as with reactions to illness, death and other devastating events, people respond differently when they, or the ones they love, become victims of a hate crime. Victims of hate crimes typically report feelings of anger couples with feelings of betrayal. There can be an overwhelming sense of powerlessness, resentment, isolation and sadness. Victims of hate crimes may also have an aroused, even paranoid, sense of suspicion. Victims of hate crimes report drastic changes in lifestyle as a result of their attack, whether mental or physical. As a social worker, it’s important to sit back and listen to the victim, gaining an understanding of just what effect the crime has had in order to provide the best therapy.
4.The Right Not to Report
Much like a victim of rape has the choice whether or not to report the crime, regardless of the seeking of treatment, a victim of a hate crime is not required to file a report with law enforcement. Regardless of personal beliefs, social workers must support whichever choice the victim makes. In some cases, medical personnel may be required to report the attack, however, it is still the victim’s right to not pursue hate-crime related charges.
Social workers should seek out resources of assistance within their local communities for victims of hate crime. Having this information on hand and immediately available will make the therapeutic process less stressful for the victim. Beyond local resources, social workers should know about national programs such as Network of Victim Assistance, National Center for Victims of Crime and the American Civil Liberties Union.
For social workers, understanding hate crimes is an important facet of the profession. Along with understanding what constitutes a hate crime, social workers must understand their impact and the resources available for victims and their families. For more information on hate crimes, be sure to visit NOVA, an all-encompassing site for victim assistance.
Robert Neff is a writer who brings awareness to world events such as hate crimes. Social workers help victims of the crimes. If you are interested in a career as a social worker check out Case Western’s online MSW degree.
Separating parents have long expressed frustration with certain aspects of the family justice system, with fathers’ rights groups in particular defiant in their stance against the apparent bias in favour of mothers when it comes to addressing the ongoing residence of the children. In a bid to tackle this issue, the Government has proposed several changes to the family justice system by way of the Children and Families Bill (“the Bill”).
One amendment put forward by the Bill is that Residence Orders and Contact Orders will cease to be, and a single concept Child Arrangement Order will take their place. The reality of Residence Orders and Contact Orders in their current form is that one tends to be seen as a “victory” over the other, adding to the animosity between conflicted parents.
The proposal follows from the Government’s response to the 2011 Family Justice Review, where it announced its commitment to promoting the importance of both parents remaining responsible for the care of their children. As a result, the concept of “shared parenting” has overshadowed the remainder of the legislative changes to become the buzzword(s) of the Bill.
A public consultation on the notion of shared parenting ran between June and September 2012 and the Government concluded that the starting point in any matter before Court should be that both parents should be involved in a child’s life (presuming of course that welfare is not an issue).
The concept of “shared parenting” to many evokes the presumption of a 50/50 division of residence and contact between parents, which is reinforced by a Child Arrangement Order. However, this is simply not the case and a starting point of 50/50 residence is in fact discouraged in the Family Justice Review.
It is crucial to remember that the Court will always give the most weight to the interests of the child when considering childcare arrangements. Therefore, whilst those parents who have less contact following the breakdown of a relationship are likely to feel let down by the justice system, those feelings are ultimately not the Court’s concern. The paramount consideration remains the child’s best interests and, more often than not, the Court deems that those interests are unlikely to be best met by a straight down the middle 50/50 split of residence.
That said, the importance of maintaining a relationship with both parents, taking into account all aspects of parental responsibility, is very much at the forefront of the changes proposed by the Bill. Contrary to much public opinion, this notion is nothing new to the Courts and does in fact form a major consideration in deciding almost all of the cases which appear before them.
What does the Children and Families Bill mean for you?
It has long been understood by the Courts and related agencies that more often than not, an ongoing relationship with both parents and close members of both extended families is likely to be beneficial to a child’s well-being following parental separation. It is also understood however that the quality of those relationships, rather than the quantity, is likely to be the most crucial factor in fostering and developing family relationships to the child’s greatest benefit.
Proponents of “equal access” for parents are likely to be disappointed by the Bill which does not, on that view, go far enough.
However, it will be open to the Courts to test the question of what shared parenting amounts to exactly and it may yet be the case that the Bill goes quite some way in leveling the playing field in respect of parents’ involvement in their children’s lives.
For advice regarding children matters or any other aspect of family law, contact Lisa Kemp
Changes in child custody law reflect the changes in American families that have taken place over the last several generations. Earlier eras assigned child care duties to the mother and tasked the father with supporting the family’s economic needs. While this traditional structure still prevails in some families, many homes today see both parents working outside the home and sharing child care responsibilities. There are also families today in which the father takes care of the children while the mother serves as the breadwinner.
While the structure of families has evolved greatly in modern times, child custody laws in some states have failed to keep pace. Some fathers trying to win custody of their children may be confronted with archaic statutes that preference maternal rights and leave fathers wondering if child custody laws are biased against them.
Washington Child Custody Laws Are Gender Neutral
Child custody statutes vary by state. While a handful of states retain an explicit preference for awarding primary custody to the mother, the state of Washington has adopted a gender-neutral standard. In Washington State, as well as many other states across the country, the prevailing factor in child custody cases is what outcome is in the best interest of the child. While there is no guarantee that a father won’t encounter a biased judge, the laws in Washington regarding child custody make no reference to gender. In fact, in Washington divorce cases, state statutes encourage parents and judges to agree to joint custody whenever possible.
In Washington State, joint custody may be awarded if the following minimum conditions are met: each parent is active in making decisions for the child, the proximity of the parents allows a joint custody arrangement to be feasible, and the parents are willing or able to work together to serve the child’s best interests.
If one parent is awarded sole custody, the non-custodial parent will usually be awarded visitation rights. Visitation rights are granted in almost all circumstances, except in cases of abuse or abandonment. Child support in Washington may be ordered of either parent, regardless of gender.
Custody Cases in Washington State Require a Parenting Plan
Washington law requires parents who are fighting a custody battle to submit, and eventually agree to, a parenting plan. Each parent may draw up their own plan and then negotiate a final agreement in front of a judge or mediator. Alternatively, both parents may agree on a joint parenting plan by themselves, and then present it to a judge for approval.
Parenting plans will differ for each family, and joint custody is often different from equal custody. Although Washington law does not preference maternal rights, it does allow that the best interest of the child may require a majority of his or her time to be spent with one parent. While gender is not a factor is assigning these responsibilities, the courts will take into account each parent’s financial status, work schedule, proximity to the child, the existing relationship between the child and each parent, and the parents themselves.
Fathers Often do not Fight for Child Custody
Statistics demonstrate that nationwide, mothers are granted sole custody more often than fathers. These statistics do not necessarily represent a legal bias against fathers; the fact is that many fathers do not ask for sole or joint custody, but cede these rights without contest. In Washington State, there is no legal reason why a father seeking to protect the best interests of his children should not get a fair hearing.
About the author
Kevin Danielson is a freelance writer who concentrates on a variety of legal topics such as Personal Injury, Brain Injuries, Family Law, Intellectual Property and others as well.
(U. S. Family Law and generally) Child support is an important aspect of the legal system, especially when a couple separates or divorces. After all, it is during these time periods that emotions tend to run extremely high, and that can cause one or both of the parents to shirk their parental responsibilities in lieu of getting a so-called revenge against their former partner or spouse. Therefore, it is necessary for the legal system to impose specific guidelines that determine how much child support must be paid on a monthly basis and which parent is responsible for paying it to ensure that the child’s needs are taken care of.
Abuse of the Child Support System
Unfortunately, not every parent who receives child support utilizes it in an appropriate way. For example, some parents will take the bulk of the money and use it on themselves. When this happens, the child is often left with only the most basic food and a lack of proper clothing and other necessary supplies. Although most parents would never do something like this, it is an issue that some children face, and it is important for the child to receive assistance as soon as possible. In other words, if you are parent who is responsible for paying child support, you need to keep an eye on the situation. If your child is always hungry and wearing old, ill-fitting clothing each time you have visitation, it is a good idea to petition the court to do an assessment of their living situation. This can be especially useful if you desire full custody because improper usage of child support can be construed as the actions of an unfit parent.
Adjusting Child Support
In some cases, it might become necessary to adjust the amount of child support that you are paying. However, the amount that was first set when your divorce was finalized is legally binding. Therefore, it is best to utilize your lawyer in order to file a petition to have the child support amount amended. You will need to have a good reason for your request, however. For example, if your salary has changed dramatically or if you have proof that you ex is not using the money properly, you can ask for a reduction. Unfortunately, not all judges will approve your request. Remember that Riverside County child support laws in California for example, can differ from say child support laws in Dekalb county Georgia. If you use a lawyer, however, your odds of making a strong enough case to receive proper consideration from a judge will be increased.
If you are on the receiving end of the child support and you believe that you are not getting enough money, you can also file a petition with the assistance of a lawyer. Because the child support is based on a formula that considers the amount of children that you have and the annual salary of both you and your ex, you should definitely consider filing a motion if you lose your job or your ex gets a promotion. There is nothing in place that will cause an automatic adjustment to occur if the financial status of one or both of the parents changes, so your only recourse is to ask a judge to increase the child support based on the evidence that you submit.
Regardless of which side of the child support you are on, it is important to do your best to remain civil with your ex. After all, this is not only in the best interests of your children, but it will also help you in front of a judge.
Freelance author Anthony Joseph enjoys writing about the laws that affect children, and contributes this article toward raising awareness on child support issues. The Riverside County child support lawyers from Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, know that these laws can either work for you or against you. They have more than 140 years of combined experience, and know exactly how to provide a successful legal defense.
As a step parent, getting the legal rights of a biological parent can be a complex procedure. In California, you need to be married to or living with a biological parent, over the age of 18 and at least 10 years older than the child. Read on to find out the other requirements you need to fulfil to get the rights of a biological parent, when you are a step parent.
About the Author
Christina M. Hernandez is the Director and Owner of Attorney Assisted California Centers in Orange, CA. Attorney Assisted is a leading paralegal service provider in Orange County, preparing and filing all legal documents. Also known as Legal Document Assistants, they are a more affordable alternative than going through lawyers for the same notary services. We also offer full divorce services, handling all divorce papers and child support orders for our clients.
Cerebral palsy is a broad term for a condition that affects an individual’s posture, muscle tone, balance and movement. Cerebral palsy can result during embryonic development or it can be the unfortunate result of a traumatic birth injury. Often, cerebral palsy results from inadequate blood or oxygen. Other possible causes can be seen here. There are five different types of cerebral palsy, each explained below.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
When children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, most children will be diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy. In fact, spastic cerebral palsy affects between 80 and 90 percent of cerebral palsy sufferers. This type can affect one side of the body, it can affect two limbs, or it can affect all four limbs. When two limbs are affected, this is known as spastic diplegia. When four limbs are affected, this is known as spastic quadriplegia.
Spastic cerebral palsy causes muscle tightness and can sometimes cause an individual to have difficulty communicating. The symptoms of this type of cerebral palsy are treated with physical therapy, stretching, exercises, and sometimes, Botox. It is important to note that this does not affect an individual’s intelligence.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy
Athetoid cerebral palsy affects about 20 percent of cerebral palsy sufferers and the symptoms are slightly different from the previously mentioned type of cerebral palsy. Athetoid cerebral palsy can cause slow, involuntary muscle movements, especially of the torso and of the extremities. Sometimes this type of cerebral palsy also affects face and tongue muscles, in which case drug and speech therapy is required. Muscle tone with this type of cerebral palsy is mixed; it can either be too high or too low.
Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy
Hypotonic cerebral palsy results in very uncontrollable, floppy arms and legs. It also tends to affect the individual’s posture, so they will often slouch or lie down. Trouble controlling and holding the head in a neutral position is also difficult for individuals with this type of cerebral palsy. Additionally, fatigue is a very common symptom of hypotonic cerebral palsy.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Ataxic cerebral palsy is the least common type of cerebral palsy, and less than 5 percent of individuals with cerebral palsy will have the ataxic variety. This type of cerebral palsy affects how well an individual can balance and coordinate their muscles. Individuals will have poorly defined muscle tone and will have difficulty moving.
Mixed Cerebral Palsy
It is possible for individuals to be affected by a combination of different types of cerebral palsy, which is known as mixed cerebral palsy. When this presents, it is most common for the spastic and athetoid types to be mixed together, although mixing of any of the types of cerebral palsy is possible.
Sometimes cerebral palsy cannot be prevented, as it can occur during embryonic development. However, sometimes cerebral palsy is the result of a traumatic birth injury. Again, this can be unpreventable or it can be result of medical negligence.
If you or someone you know has a child with cerebral palsy, and you believe it could be the result of medical negligence, consider seeking the professional help of an experienced birth injury lawyer. Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. is a law firm comprised of cerebral palsy injury and birth injury lawyers located in Illinois. For more information about birth injuries and cerebral palsy, visit the website at www.CerebralPalsyInjuries.com.
Cerebral palsy is often seen as a muscular disorder, but it is actually a combination of several neurological conditions that can affect the muscles quite dramatically. The word “cerebral” references the cerebrum, which is a part of the brain. Therefore, cerebral palsy is a disorder that originates in the brain. This article discusses cerebral palsy risk factors.
Cerebral Palsy and Medical Malpractice
Some babies are born with noticeable signs of cerebral palsy, while other children have symptoms but are not properly diagnosed for a few years. However, most cases of cerebral palsy are noticed within the child’s first three years of life. One key sign of cerebral palsy includes the child being slow to do any of the activities that are normally done at their age, such as sitting up, crawling, laughing, and talking. A lack of muscle control is also a noticeable sign of cerebral palsy.
Medical malpractice can be a risk factor associated with the disorder. However, it’s not only medical malpractice that can cause cerebral palsy; many children are born with cerebral palsy where medical malpractice was not proven to be a part of the equation.
Hypoxia and Cerebral Palsy
There is a condition that develops when the brain does not receive the proper amount of oxygen; this condition is called hypoxia and it can develop over the period of time between birth and the few days after birth. Babies born with a limited oxygen flow to the brain have a 40 to 70 percent chance of ending up with a life-long disorder such as cerebral palsy, while the other percentage will end up with no disability.
Limited oxygen flow to the brain can sometimes occur for no known reason when the baby is in the womb, but it can also occur during the birthing process. When the baby is in the womb, the following things can happen: the umbilical cord may become wrapped around the baby’s neck; there may be an infection; or the baby may suffer congenial heart disease. All of these issues can result in a decrease in oxygen to the baby’s brain. Hypoxia occurs in approximately 2 to 10 of 1000 births in the Unites States.
Head Trauma and Cerebral Palsy
Head trauma is serious, and it can result in cerebral palsy. Head trauma can occur as a result of medical negligence during the birthing process. When head trauma happens to full-term babies during labor or delivery, it is usually evidenced by the abnormality of the pH in the cord blood. In addition to pH, the baby usually scores quite low on the Apgar scale, and the fetal monitor will often indicate oxygen deprivation.
Cerebral palsy is a serious condition that develops in nearly 10,000 new babies every year in the United States. It is a life-long condition that significantly affects the quality of life for children and their families. It’s important for new parents to better understand cerebral palsy, its risk factors, and learn what they can do to improve their situation.
If your child was born with cerebral palsy and you believe that it was a result of medical malpractice or hospital negligence, seek a legal professional to review your case. Janet, Jenner & Suggs, Attorneys at Law represent cerebral palsy victims nationwide. For more information, visit the website of cerebral palsy attorneys Janet, Jenner & Suggs at www.Cerebral-Palsy-Injury.com.
When two people decide that it is time for them to end their marriage and get a divorce, the idea of alimony payments is always brought up. Alimony is a monthly financial payment from one spouse to support the other after a marriage ends. Alimony payments were historically made from the husband to the wife, the idea being that the husband was the one who worked and the wife would be the one to stay home and raise children. Since the ’70s there has been a movement in the other direction towards equality, and today where many wives support stay-at-home husbands, alimony is paid both ways. This is determined by assessing the financial situation of each person involved and after taking into account certain factors concerning the marriage. Here are the guidelines that are followed to determine who is awarded alimony after a divorce.
Determining Who Has the Ability to Earn an Income
The main factor that is taken into consideration when it is determined which person will pay alimony is the ability to earn an income. Alimony used to be easier to determine when there was only one earner in a marriage, but in today’s world it’s far more difficult. In many cases, both members of the marriage have good careers and earn their own income, but they still wish to be awarded alimony. It can be difficult to discern which party needs the extra income. When there is only one person with an ability to earn a living because the other spouse gave up a career to raise children, then that person would be the one who would be required to pay alimony. The court also takes each person’s ability to earn a future income into consideration, so if a stay-at-home wife left a successful career, that would also count.
Determining Who Has the Ability to Pay Alimony
In some cases, neither spouse earns an income, but instead live off of a passive income. Lotto winnings, a trust fund, income from investments, or savings are all examples of passive income. In these cases, the person who the money belongs to is the one who has the ability to pay alimony, even though they are not actively earning an income.
Standard of Living and Length of the Marriage
One of the big factors of a divorce is making sure each person has the ability to maintain the same standard of living that they had during the marriage. A high standard of life would need to be maintained for each person, which would result in higher alimony payments.
The amount of time the marriage lasted is also a major factor. If a week-long marriage ends in divorce, then there would not be a significant amount of alimony paid out. However, if a marriage lasted over 10 years the amount of alimony would be significant.
It can be difficult to see your marriage come to an end, but even worse is being in a situation where you give up your career and dedicate your life to one person only to end up divorced with no form of income. Alimony is designed to protect people from situations like that, and the first step to getting alimony is to know the guidelines that are followed when determining who is awarded alimony.
If you are going through a divorce and you think you will have to pay alimony or are hoping to receive alimony payments, contact a lawyer who can advocate for you. Charles R. Ullman & Associates is a spousal support/alimony divorce law firm located in North Carolina. For more information about spousal support, visit the website at www.DivorceLawCary.com.
The process, as well as finalizing a divorce can be extremely hard on a person mentally. Facing possible financial ruin definitely adds to the stress. In general, most people lack the knowledge they in order to recover and move on financially. Knowing what to expect and how to handle it, is the only way to get through a divorce with your assets still intact. Surviving financially is especially important if you have children and other dependents.
How Divorce Impacts Your Money
Getting a marriage license is less than $50 in most states, but dissolving that union is going to cost much more than that. Even if the couple kept their finances separate and agreed to take their own money & assets and part ways amicably, the filing alone can be costly. If for some reason a mediator is needed, fees can go into the thousands. The situation only gets more complicated from there. Married people generally see an increase in wealth through their union, while divorced people lose 77% of their net value on average, according to DailyFinance.com. When children are involved, one spouse may end up owing child support or alimony which can greatly reduce their money left for all of their other independent expenses. On the other hand, the spouse who is supposed to receive child support or alimony may have a hard time getting their former partner to pay up. Additionally, divorce means splitting your assets and income while doubling the bills.
Take Action Before You Even File for Divorce
This is a very important step that could save you loads of money and time when the proceedings start. Once your partner knows you have filed, they may make every effort to hide money, transfer funds from mutual accounts to their own, and put away assets. Even if the judge rules against these actions, it’s going to be very hard to recover them, and waiting for a judgment could take a very long time. Smart actions for you to take include: getting copies of all financial statements, acquiring credit reports, and setting aside money for living expenses.
Restructuring Once the Divorce is Final
Here is where the real work begins. Getting back to stability once the divorce is finalized will be challenging, but possible. If you are paying child support or alimony to your ex-partner, it may take a while to adjust. Having your support payments drafted automatically from your checking account is the best way to handle it. This way there won’t be risk of forgetting to make payments, and there will be an electronic record of paying. Keeping other financial obligations simple for a while is advisable; now is not the time to go out and purchase high ticket items. The divorced person needs to be very forward thinking for at least the first year after separation; make plans for tax returns, stocks, and savings ahead of time. A well mapped out plan for paying existing and new bills will get you through it. This will put you on the path to rebuilding your financial worth. MoneySmart.gov has additional information on adjusting to the change in income and additional expenses spawned from divorce.
When a divorced couple has children, life can get very complicated. Each parent is now on their own and suddenly realize all of the small things they did not notice when they had the other parent to back them up. Parents of babies and toddlers are tested by late nights and early mornings, with no one to alternate sleep, feedings, changing, and difficult nights with. Mothers and fathers of school aged children have to handle the morning routine: getting the kids to school, meeting with teachers, and driving the kids to after-school activities, all on their own. Managing life after divorce as a parent is not easy, but life will get back to normal much faster if steps are taken to deal with the challenges, instead of just hoping for a solution.
Struggles of Single Parents
Going through a divorce and living with divorce are very complicated life events which statistics show that many people in this country go through. Below are the two main challenges for single parents:
This can be tricky one when the other parent doesn’t want to play nice. Developing a set schedule, if at all possible, for visitations will make it a little easier to figure out childcare. After visitation is established, each parent needs to find their own sitters or agree on one childcare or babysitter for both schedules. Both parents should have their own backup in case help bails at the last moment. This will keep the other parent from having to cancel their own plans to watch the children.
If child support or alimony is in play, you could come out a little better or a little worse; this depends on if you are the one receiving it or not. Large house payments and car leases might not have fazed you before, but now that there is one income, it’s likely time to downsize. The best way to downsize is to move into a smaller house with lower rent or mortgage; otherwise, make sure you’re not overdoing it on the spending – credit card bills can drown a single person.
Coping with Stress
Divorce and death are the two most stressful events for people to deal with in life. Stress can take its toll on the individual and potentially destroy their life. With such a high stress situation, how does a single parent cope? Below are the five best ways to cope with stress during a divorce.
Manage your weight with diet and exercise
It’s not about vanity or attracting another partner, keeping a steady weight will keep your hormone levels normal.
Get out and be around the people you used to spend time with
When you’re married, you tend to push aside others in your life to spend time with your spouse. If you’re dealing with divorce, now is a great time to reconnect with the people you lost touch with. Reconnecting will give you a chance to talk to people about things other than the stressful separation – it also gives you ‘adult’ time away from the kids.
Laughing is a great coping mechanism; when you laugh your body releases serotonin and reduces cortisol levels. Watch a funny movie, go watch a comedian, or just have your kids tell you about their silly perspectives on childhood things.
Don’t turn to vices such as smoking, drinking or drugs
This one is important for everyone, but most especially for parents. As tempting as it may be to turn to vices to get you through the divorce, do not give in. Smoking, drinking, or using drugs will only make you feel ‘okay’ for a very short while; most of the time, using these substances end up making you feel much worse as soon as they clear your system. More importantly, you don’t want to set that example for emotionally vulnerable children.
Read more about coping with stress on the CDC webpage.
Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP is a family divorce law firm located in New Jersey/New York. For more information, please visit us at www.Ginarte.com.
One of the most common of all childhood disabilities, cerebral palsy, is a disorder which impacts the individual in many different ways. People who live with this condition experience difficulties in movement, motor skills, and muscle tone. Also commonly known as CP, the main cause of cerebral palsy is brain damage which happens in utero, during childbirth, or very shortly after childbirth – in some rare cases, cerebral palsy cans be from brain injury which occurred before the child researches 5 years old. Causes of CP are varied and sometimes unknown; BBC Health points out that some causes include an infection during the pregnancy of the mother or fetus can cause this disorder – other factors include fetal injury in the womb and during childbirth, and infant seizures.
Facts About Cerebral Palsy
- Cerebral palsy is the number one most prevalent motor disability in children
- According to the CDC, an average, 1 in 303 children are diagnosed as having cerebral palsy by the time they are 8 years of age
- African American and Caucasian children suffer from CP at a much higher rate than Hispanic children
- Boys are 1.2 times more likely to have CP than their female counterparts
- 40% of children with CP also have a mental disability
- 35% of people who have cerebral palsy also have epilepsy
- 1/4 of children with CP actually have both a mental disability and epilepsy
- Babies born prematurely and/or of low birth weight are more likely to have CP
- A twin is 5 times more likely to have cerebral palsy
- Children conceived through IVF are 1.6 times more likely to be born with CP
- Medical costs for children with only CP are ten times more than a child without a disorder
- Children with cerebral palsy and mental disabilities will face medical costs which are 26 times higher than a child without either
Signs and Screening
Sometimes symptoms of CP are not clearly visible or easy to pinpoint. Signs of this disorder are not as cookie cutter as they can be with other conditions; each person may have completely different symptoms than the next person. Most commonly, cerebral palsy will start to raise questions around early infancy; when a baby fails to meet developmental milestones, parents often start to become concerned. Babies with CP often miss important markers for rolling over, sitting up, crawling/scooting, and walking. Less obvious signs in infants are abnormal postures, underdeveloped muscle tone, and twitching – these signs might only be noticed by a doctor with experience in this area. Most experts will agree that the earlier a child is identified as having CP, the better. Diagnosis is also very important for families of these children as they will then be able to receive help for care of the child through insurance and certain government programs. Diagnosing a child involves monitoring & screening for developmental cues, and medical evaluations.
While there is no cure for CP, there are treatments which can help the individual manage their symptoms. Intervention treatments and programs have proven effectiveness for both children and adults suffering with cerebral palsy. Common treatments include speech therapy and physical therapy, both of which are usually carried out through adulthood. Learn more about research and prognosis for cerebral palsy on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s webpage.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a Cerebral Palsy injury law firm located in Chicago, Illinois. For more information, please visit us at www.cerebralpalsyinjuries.com.