In what follows we consider two cases that provide insight into the value of testing men for prostate cancer. While there has been some discussion of late about the value of testing men for prostate cancer (in particular concerning the PSA test) certain facts remain undisputable. First, prostate cancer affects PSA levels. Second, men of African-American descent have a greater likelihood of having prostate cancer prior to metastasis. Third, if prostate cancer is diagnosed early, the man has in excess of a ninety seven percent likelihood of surviving past five years. Further, when it is not identified until after it has reached an advanced stage, there is currently no known cure. Fifth, normally doctors hold the view that at the minimum a doctor ought to have a conversation with men of a specific age about screening for prostate cancer and that conversation and any testing ought to happen at an earlier age for African-American men.
In one malpractice matter, a man of African-American heritage routinely saw his family doctor. Over time, the physician treated the man for a number of medical concerns. Most notably were prostate related ailments. Yet, the doctor did not properly carry out testing during the time the man was without symptoms or diagnostic testing to rule out the possibility of prostate cancer during the times the man had prostate related probles. When the man was 57, he read an article which described the benefits of screening and asked the doctor to test him. At the time he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which had already spread. The law firm that represented the plaintiff reported the matter was settled for three quarter of a million dollars.
Consider the next published case of a forty one year-old African-American male who had been involved in an ad campaign meant to raise awareness about the risk of prostate cancer in middle-aged males of African-American descent asked his physician screen him for the cancer. The physician did not inform the patient that no PSA test had been obtained. The patient saw the doctor again two years later. The doctor again failed to order a PSA test. This time the physician did not even perform a digital examination.
Later that year the patient saw another doctor in the same practice. This doctor performed a digital examination and ordered a PSA test. The result the mant, who was about to turn forty five, had stage 4 prostate cancer which had spread to the bone. The law firm that handled this matter reported achieving a settlement in the case as it was pending an appeal of a $2.75 Million verdict.
What these claims illustrate is that, irrespective of any doubt regarding the advantages of testing male patients for prostate cancer, not doing so might lead to the spread of the disease and in time, the death of the man : a death that might have be avoided. In case you or a member of your family was not diagnosed until the cancer had spread because the physician never informed the man concerning testing procedures or otherwise caused a delay in the diagnosis or treatment of the cancer, you ought to contact an attorney right away.
The life is full of hassles and you cannot avoid ups and downs. The most common thing we find in all the people across the world is they are, in one or the other way, facing problems. Again, the problems come with many faces but the one that can ruin up your family is the case of divorce. When your past sweet memories of wedding and marital life do not work and you feel enough of it, it is the time to seek some expert divorce attorneys like Austin divorce lawyers.
Austin family law attorneys are expert in tackling all family issues including the divorce. Austin family lawyers protect you and your family by working through the process of case of divorce and they guide you legally. The Milner Law Firms Austin family attorneys are familiar with divorce laws and an help you advising on how local state government law can be helpful to get the best solution for your case.
Whether you want to file for divorce or it is a matter of divorce and finance, Austin divorce lawyer is always there to help you out. Austin family attorney services also include child support in the matter of child custody. They also make you aware of divorce law in your state and guide you accordingly. By hiring Austin divorce attorneys, you are updated with latest divorce law news and they can also guide you on how to tackle such cases legally.
When it is a matter of divorce court case, you should never take it lightly. It requires a special skill set that Austin divorce lawyers have. They are professional and experienced in tackling such family issues. The professional attorneys are also good at convincing which that will try to sort out the problem in best possible way to avoid further legal procedure. They offer highly skill expert mediation and arbitration service. However, if nothing works, they diplomatically tackle the situation!
The Milner Law Firm is in ethical practice and that is what makes them master in tackling divorce cases. Every customer is treated with all respect and is personally assisted. They have the passion to find a resolution in divorce case that would protect the children, maximize the financial security and last but not the least, promote a positive future.
Hiring expert divorce lawyer may not bring all the sweet memories back but then they certainly help you reducing the pain that has been given by your partner.
Numerous men and women will require the services of the family law court system at some place in their lives. Many could never foresee that they would discover themselves in the court room having employed the services of a family solicitor.
Here are a few examples of positive reasons why a person or family may require the services of a Family Law Solicitor. Adoption of a child or baby is an exciting life-choice however there are many legal aspects that have to be dealt with. A family solicitor could be helping a couple complete their family, or drawing up the papers that helps a single parent feed and cloth their children.
However, it is an unfortunate reality that many end up in the family law court for less pleasant reasons. The possibilities are endless however, they could be going through the process of divorce, fighting someone over child custody, they could be in the process of getting sued for child support, or being taken to court for alimony. There are sad cases of family members being accused of abuse or paternity cases where one is fighting to prove or disprove that they are the paternal father. In these types of cases there are no exclusions due to age, gender race or religion; all are expected to attend court. The impact of a courts decision in all these matters is likely to be significant in terms of the future of the family.
Those who have been married, divorced, living as domestic partners, or even those involved in a civil union may appear in family law and court if there is not a ‘happily ever after’ solution. The courts will decide who gets what in terms of property and persons. So who gets which visitation periods of the children, who keeps the family home, who owes for the debt the couple accrued while together will all be decided and more. It is often very difficult, upsetting and complicated to work out all the details of who gets what. However the process is there to settle disputes and allow people and families to rebuild their lives.
So with all of this to worry about you should seek the advice and services of a family law solicitor. Professional legal advice will make certain that you interests are suitably protected.
Relationship agreements (sometimes called nuptial agreements) can give you peace of mind. So if you plan to get married, start cohabiting or are about to enter into a civil partnership then some form of formal relationship agreement can protect you both.
Being the CNN loyalist and avid conspiracy theorist that I am, I couldn’t help but zoom in on the plague of child molestation cases that dominated the headlines circa. 1999. It seems that through time even celebrities are not immune, Michael Jackson, Roman Polanski, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bishop Eddie Long, former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt who confessed his guilt, and R&B singer, R. Kelly had bouts with the accusations as well. Without a doubt, the Catholic priests seemed to take the lead in such an evil taboo that society has been forced to talk about. So-called cult leader, David Koresh, of the Branch Davidian was also accused as well as the Mormons of Utah, who have always been held in contempt by the other 49 states that look down on them for their lawful practice of polygamy.
In the case of the Catholic Priests, it is strange that to my knowledge, I haven’t seen any of them ever serve a prison sentence. My best guess is, they are covered by the Vatican, which is its own sovereign entity. So there is no way they can really be sued. So basically, what we are seeing is more or less “here is your money, leave us alone payments, that are made out to be civil law suits for damages, emotional distress, and ‘pain and suffering.’
However, none of these made my ‘conspiracy theory’ alarm go off as did the infamous 2002 case of H.E. Rev. Dr. Malachi Z. York-El, who was known as the leader of the Nuwaupians. To bring the reader up to speed, H. E. Rev. Dr. Malachi Z. York-El, is a Consul-General and Diplomat for Liberia, West Africa, whose passport number is: D/003828-04, which would bring with it Diplomatic Immunity. Accusation per accusation, this case seemed to me very bizarre and far-fetched. Rev. Dr. York was accused of molesting up to 13 children, up to 10 times a day, for up to 10 years!! My first thought was, “That is a lot of sex,” and immediately my suspicions started.
Just think, if we take one child for let’s say 5 times a day for 5 days a week, if I am correct, that is 25 times of having sex in one week. Now, multiply that 25 times by 13 children and that is 325 times he would have had sex for that week, correct? Now, we take 325 times a week by 52 weeks, again if I am correct, that comes to 16,900 times he would have had sex in a year!!!! Now, let’s take that into perspective against the 20,000 times the Great Wilt Chamberlain said he had sex in his lifetime!! I would also challenge any pornographic film star to equal those numbers as well. OK let’s finish it up, take that 16,900 times 10 years, if I am correct again, that comes to 169,000 times!!!! Which in my mind would be a world record indeed. I was quite surprised when Viagra didn’t want to use him as a spokesman and even more surprised when Guinness Book didn’t list him as well!
While downtown Atlanta, I ran into some men who were ‘propagating’ the Nuwaupian doctrine and defending Rev. Dr. York’s innocence. Many of the issues I had with what was being said in the media about the case were confirmed with my conversations with them.
Issue 1: How could Rev. York be arrested even after presenting his Diplomatic credentials to the arresting officers? The Nuwaupians answered that because of the doctrine that Rev. York has presented to the world, there are people who wanted him off the streets as a free man at all costs. Taking into consideration, that Malachi York is also a sovereign who knows what his status and the UCC CODES entail. This was also something that he wrote about in one of his books called, “Let’s Set The Record Straight.” In it he outlined the history between America and Morocco and the treatise that were made between them, namely the Treaty Of Peace And Friendship, which is the oldest treaty that is still recognized to this day.
Issue 2: Why would Dr. York plea guilty after originally entering a plea of innocent and the evidence clearly proved him innocent? This was done because Dr. York was told the women who were with him at the time of his arrest, would be let go if he would plea guilty, being that they were Innocent and it was he who the prosecution really wanted in the first place.
Issue 3: How the hell could somebody possibly have sex that many times, yet alone have enough time? Again, they confirmed my suspicions with facts and common sense. It was clear that children were behind this plot, because any adult would have know it is impossible to have sex that many times. Put to me as such, H. E. Malachi Z. York has written over 400 books. That’s right over 400 books!! Now, find any person who publishes books and ask them how long the process of writing and publishing just one book is and see what they say.
Issue 4: How did the whole mess start in the first place? They told me that it was all started by a group of kids who lived on the Nuwaupian land and could not break rules as they wanted. It was against the rules to have sex if they weren’t married, they couldn’t dress in skin tight clothing and go out to party. They got fed up with the rules that were in place to keep the order that was established by Dr. York and that was their way of getting back at him. They then conspired with the racist sheriff by the name of Howard Richard Sills, of Putnam County, GA, who hated the Nuwaupians and could not come to grips with the reality that a group of Black people lived together, had wealth and no criminal records. In return, for a conviction, the government promised them they could sue Dr. York for millions of dollars and split the pot between them.
It was also the result of the 476 acres of land that the Nuwaupians owned stood in the way of an economic plan that the Putnam County government had in development for the next 20 years. This economic plan included turning the city of Eatonton/Putnam County, GA into a tourist attraction/resort area of sorts. This also had ties with neighboring Greene County that has a major resort area called Reynolds Plantation and a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Reynolds Plantation is owned by Mercer Reynolds, who is a close friend and business partner of Former President Bush the younger. Recently, Reynolds has been in the headlines for having to sell some his assets to satisfy lenders.
Now with all these things being said, let’s look at some medical evidence to prove that Rev. Dr. Malachi Kobina York could not be guilty of these false allegations:
1. Dr. Frederick Bright, MD OB/GYN, who is licensed to practice in the state of Georgia, was called in as a medical expert by the family of Dr. York to review the information and evidence that was brought in by the government/prosecution as early as Dec. 2002. After his examination of the evidence and testimonies of the alleged victims, he found many what he termed ‘consistent inconsistencies.’ This case was purely a ‘hearsay’ case!
2. In child molestation cases it is the normal procedure to have medical examinations done within 72 hours of the alleged molestations, the acute stage of the alleged events, to obtain forensic evidence-skin, hair, semen, saliva, etc, from the genital areas. What Dr. Bright found was that no history of events was taken by the examiners to determine the level of evaluation necessary for each victim which is very critical.
3. Some of the children had STD’s, including Chlamydia and Herpes 1. Dr. York upon examination, was found to have had none of these diseases and did not even have the anti-bodies present to suggest that he was even treated for any of these diseases and had them cured. For the record, all of the alleged victims didn’t have an STD. This shows an inconsistency. They all should have had the same STD, because they testified that Rev. Dr. York would go from one to the other. There was no DNA evidence ever found to suggest that Rev. York had engaged in any sexual acts with any of these alleged victims. There were no pregnancies. There were no testimonies of condoms being used and these girls were at the age of puberty.
4. When interviewed, none of the children gave any exact dates of the “molestations” that occurred. This includes nothing about “I remember because it was two days before my birthday.” They always gave very vague time frames, like it was the summer of 1998 or it was the fall of 1999, which doesn’t give a defendant anyway to prove he was not in said place at said time. Many of their testimonies contradicted each other about who was present when what they saw was supposedly happening to the other. There were also no mentions or testimonies by any of the alleged victims of any abortions or anything about each time Dr. York changed the bedding or anything about plastic covers on sheets.
5. There were no recorded interviews or statements(written, audio, or visual) from the alleged victims that could be evaluated by the defense experts which means the government/prosecution could make any statements necessary to bring charges against the accused. This is very important because the absence of recorded interviews prevents scrutiny of the prosecutions statements by the defense. Also, in the event contradictory information is identified, the contradictions can easily be dismissed or explained away by the prosecution. THIS TYPE OF CONDUCT SUGGESTS THAT THE GOVERNMENT/PROSECUTION HAD NO INTEREST IN ACCURATELY RECORDING THEIR FINDINGS OR THE VICTIMS WERE GIVING UNRELIABLE STATEMENTS. WHICH EXPLAINS WHY THE COURT WAS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC DURING THE TRIAL AND THE TRANSCRIPTS WERE SEALED AFTERWARDS!!!!
6. 5 other children were taken from the Nuwaupian land that was called Tama-RE, Egipt of the West, without consent and knowledge of their parents and given examinations by state agencies and not one of them were found to be abused, sexually, mentally, or physically.
7. 8 of the 13 who originally alleged abuse by Dr. York, recanted their own testimonies on sworn affidavits. Too add to that, many of their own immediate family testified against them and said they were lying
8. The government’s ‘Star Witness’, Abigail Washington, recanted her testimony of abuse as well on a sworn affidavit and even recanted her testimony that Rev. Dr. York was guilty of the money structuring charges.
9. FBI LEAD INVESTIGATOR, JULAINE WARD, TESTIFIED UNDER OATH, IN COURT THAT SHE HAD NO EVIDENCE OR EYEWITNESSES TO PROVE OR SUGGEST THAT REV. YORK TRANSPORTED OR CAUSED TO BE TRANSPORTED, ANY CHILDREN FOR THE PURPOSE OF ILLICIT ACTS. NOTE TO THE READER: THIS WAS THE SOLE REASON FOR THE ENTIRE TRIAL!!!!
10. Assistant D.A. Richard Moultrie, stated for the record that he had no video tapes to prove any of the allegations. This is important because supposedly, video tapes were said to have been made of Dr. York engaging in these alleged acts.
In closing, I would like to add some little known facts about Rev. Dr. York that I found from doing a little research. Dr. York over the past 40 years has written more than 400 books on religious, scientific, and historical topics. THAT’S RIGHT 400 BOOKS!! Anyone who has written a dissertation, thesis paper, research paper, documentary, etc, knows how much energy and time goes into writings such as these. So ask yourself, “How the heck does someone have enough time to write 400 books, yet alone do it while molesting 13 kids everyday, all day for over 10 years?” IT’S ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE!!
Some people are at risk of having or getting certain forms of cancer. With colon cancer, as an illustration, people with certain conditions , with particular symptoms , or with a family history are at risk. If a person both has a family history and also has complaints of symptoms such as blood in the stool, physicians usually acknowledge that a colonoscopy is needed so as to check if the individual has colon cancer or rule it out. In addition to testing patients who are at a greater risk level, physicians also typically suggest that asymptomatic individuals who are 50 or older go through routine screening in order to spot any cancer that may be developing in the colon before it reaches an advanced stage.
Yet in order to be reliable a colonoscopy needs to be complete. It must cover the whole length of the colon. Among the reasons that a doctor might not finish the colonoscopy is poor prior preparation resulting in inadequate visualization or the existence of an obstruction which makes it impossible to pass the scope beyond the location of the obstruction. When situations like these occur the physician ought to inform the patient and suggest that the patient either undergo an alternative procedure or a repeat colonoscopy. A failure to do so may result in an undetected cancer which can grow and progress to an advanced stage prior to being detected.
One lawsuit that was documented concerned a woman who died of colon cancer in her mid forties due to the fact that her cancer was not discovered until it had already metastasized even though her physicians for years had information that she was at high risk. Look at her medical history. She had a family history of colon cancer. During the length of six years, doctors conducted three colonospies on this patient. On many occasions she continued to tell her doctors that she was experiencing pain in the abdomen and that she saw blood in her stool. At a minimum, on one occasion the woman’s blood work also showed that she was anemic. All 3 are possible symptoms of colon cancer.
The notes from 2 of the colonoscopies revealed that there was incomplete visualization of the ascending colon and cecum as the scope could not be passed beyond the transverse colon. Yet, the physician who conducted the three colonoscopies and followed the woman during this time kept indicating to the woman that her symptoms were caused by hemorrhoids.
The woman was finally diagnosed with colon cancer when her tumor was detected during exploratory surgery as a way to figure out the cause of her problems. A large percentage of her intestines was taken out because of the cancer. Chemotherapy followed but the woman eventually passed away from the cancer. As a result of the physician’s failure to follow up on her symptoms in light of two incomplete colonoscopies the womans surviving family pursued a claim. The law firm handled the case was able to publisize that they were able to achieve a recovery for the family in the amount of $875,000
Physicians use diagnostic tests to discover or exclude specific diseases including specific kinds of cancers. For example, the colonoscopy is a procedure employed to find or rule out colon cancer. But the test is only as good as the accuracy with which the test was carried out. A colonoscopy employs a scope to visualize the interior of the colon so as to determine whether there are polyps or tumors in the colon
If the total colon is not visualized, as in the claim above, a physician should not count on it to exclude cancer. Doing so makes about as much sense as only listening to one of your lungs, examining only one of your eyes, or ordering only part of a complete blood count. When the patient does have cancer this may result in a delay in diagnosis that allows the cancer time to grow and progress to an incurable stage. Under such circumstances the doctor who relied on such an incomplete procedure might be liable.
California state divorce laws are not that difficult to understand if you have good information. With the right advice, instructions, and explanations, you can get your own divorce started without hiring an attorney, and save a lot of money on legal fees.
This article will provide an overview of California state divorce laws in the context of how you can start your own divorce. You will learn what California law says about the roles of the Petitioner and the Respondent and implications of each role in the divorce.
The Petitioner and the Respondent. According to California Family Law Code Section 2330, every California state divorce starts with a Petition. The legal term for divorce in the code is “dissolution of marriage”.
The Petitioner is the person who first files papers and gets the case started. The Respondent is the other party. A Response need not be filed, but it is a good idea, otherwise the inactive person has little say about when or how the divorce is completed, unless there is already a written agreement. In order to become officially involved in the divorce, the Respondent will need to fill out and file California Family Law Form FL-120 (the Response).
In general, the more both parties participate, the better. After a Response is filed, the divorce can be completed only by written agreement or court trial. Agreement is better.
Equality. Once a Response is filed, the Respondent has equal standing and there is no legal difference between the parties or their rights, and either party can take any available legal step.
The Petition. So if you are the one who will start your divorce, you will be the Petitioner, and you will need to fill out California Family Law Forms FL-100 (the Petition) and FL-110 (the Summons) and file them with the Clerk at the appropriate courthouse. According to California state divorce law (as described in Family Law Code Section 2331), you will then need to serve your divorce papers on your spouse.
The only thing you need to know before you do this is that you want a divorce. The issues can all be sorted out and resolved later. However, it would be smart to learn the basics about California state divorce law before you start.
Advantages to serving the Petition:
Starts the clock ticking on waiting periods. California state divorce law states that the Respondent has 30 days to respond.
Causes automatic restraining orders to take effect, as per the instructions on the back of Family Law Form FL-110 (the Summons).
Has psychological value for Petitioner and tells Respondent a divorce is really going to happen.
Helps establish the date of separation. According to California state divorce law, the date of separation is whenever you can prove that one spouse intended to make a complete, final break (not just a temporary separation), with simultaneous conduct furthering that intent.
Possible downside. Serving papers can upset your spouse and stir up conflict if you dont properly prepare him or her ahead of time.
Getting a smooth start. Unless your soon-to-be Ex is an abuser/controller, you will probably want to start things off as nicely as possible. An abrupt start will probably increase conflict as an upset spouse is more likely to run to an attorney who will probably make your case more complicated.
So take some time to prepare your Ex and let him/her get used to the idea that a divorce is about to start. If you arent comfortable discussing things in person, write a nice letter. Let your spouse know you are committed to working out a settlement that you can both agree to and live with. Unless you are under time pressure, dont serve your Summons and Petition until your partner seems ready to receive the papers calmly.
The Response. A Response should be filed within 30 days of receiving the Summons and Petition, but can be filed any time before Petitioner declares the Respondents default.
Filing a Response is not an aggressive act. In fact, it is usually a good idea for the Respondent to take part in the action, especially if you have kids or property or debts to be divided. It is easy to do.
The only disadvantages are Respondents filing fee of about $320 for a California divorce, and the possibility that you might have to file a questionnaire about your case in order to avoid a case conference hearing.
There are numerous advantages to filing a Response. If theres no Response, Respondent has little control over when and how the divorce is completed, so the Respondent feels insecure. By filing, Respondent joins the case on an equal standing with Petitioner, so Respondent feels more a part of the process, more in the loop, more confident. Experience and studies show that the more Respondent participates, and understands the California state divorce process, the better the outcome is likely to be.
Most people who wish to help their fiance(e) immigrate to US have a doubt on what form to file, whether K1 visa or Form I 130. It depends on the the length of the relationship, the supporting evidence, the number of times the sponsor or the petitioner has physically met their fiance(e), are few of the considerations to file the appropriate form.
Only the citizens of the US may file a K1 visa for a fiance(e). If you are a legal permanent resident you may then have to file Form I 130 to petition your spouse. A K1 visa is issued to the fiance(e) of a United States citizen to enter the US and marry the United Citizen within 90 days after the entry of the fiance(e) into US. A K3 visa is used by a US citizen to bring his or her spouse to the US. Form I 130 is used by a US Citizen or a legal permanent resident to petition his or her spouse for a green card.
The average waiting time for K1 visa is approximately 7-9 months, K-3 petitions take approximately 8-10 months and Form I 130 petitions take approximately 8-12 months to be processed.
What Form Must I File?
If you are a US Citizen and you wish to bring your fiance(e) to US to get married you must file K1 visa application. On approval of the petition by the US Citizen, the fiance(e) may travel to United States for a period of 90 days. A K-1 visa requires a fiance(e) to marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days of entry into the United States. The fiance(e) may then obtain work permit to work in the United States. It is mandatory that the US Citizen and the fiance(e) must be married within the 90 days period , so that the fiance(e) will be eligible to apply to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident.
If you are a US Citizen and you wish to bring your spouse to US then you must file K3 visa application. You can apply for a K-3 visa for your spouse only after you have filed the I-130 petition. Your spouse can enter the US on a K3 visa while the I-130 is pending and must apply to adjust status to a permanent resident with the USCIS upon approval of the petition.
Form I 130 is used by either by a US Citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident to petition their spouse to immigrate to United States. This process is a lengthy process when compared to that of K1 and other processes.
A K1 visa holder will not be able work or leave the country until they apply for adjustment of status. When they file for adjustment of status, applications for employment and travel will also have to be filed. After 90 days of filing the petition, the spouse may be able to travel and work.
A K-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa and the spouse may travel out of the country. The K 3 visa holder must apply for an EAD/work permit and it has to be filed along with the adjustment of status application.
Once the adjustment of status application is approved, the applicant acquires legal permanent resident status. They may then obtain employment immediately and also travel outside the country.
Mediation will usually happen in five different stages;
1) The initial meeting
2) Joint meeting
3) Working with the mediator
4) Evaluation of the mediation
5) The settlement
The initial meeting is where each party is assisted by a mediator in exploring and clarifying the issues and feelings involved and decide if mediation would be a positive option in resolving the difficulties. The Joint meeting will start the parties concerned in the dispute by working towards and create a workable settlement or agreement about the future. This meeting will build a mutual understanding of the parties ongoing working relationship. The acting mediator will need to interact constructively with the parties while at the same time be completely impartial at all stages even within the parties company. Evaluating the mediation process would look at the contribution and results that both parties involved have given with a concept of improving the relationship for both parties interest. It will then be vital to ensure that both parties have recognised that they have developed various new techniques to resolve disputes through mediation which could be very helpful in relation to work in the future.
Every mediator will conduct the mediation process differently, it all depends on the mediator, the dispute and the parties involved. There are generally some key stages which help to set out the basic structure of the mediation process. A mediator would be appointed by both parties who have agreed on the choice, this is usually done either independently or through their personal legal advisers. The mediation date would then be set by both parties with an agreed neutral place for the mediation to take place. The venue should have at least three separate rooms so private discussions can be held, one for each party to the dispute and one room that is used for the face to face negotiations between parties.
The mediator should receive all documentation and a case summary from both parties before the mediation can take place. This allow the mediator to be ready for the mediation and should allow them to understand the dispute more fully. The mediator can also contact both parties or their legal advisers before mediation begins in order to clarify any points about the case. Mediation is an informal process, but all involved will have a legal duty to sign a mediation agreement that states the basic rules and procedures that will applying to the mediation process.
On the mediation date, each party will have an initial private meeting with the mediator followed by a joint meeting with both parties and their legal advisers. This allows each party to share their own views and point out the main issues that they have. Once this has happened there is a session of private and confidential meetings that take place during the day, these meeting will generally consist of the mediators seperate meetings with each party that look into the main issues in order to completely understand both parties needs. Towards the end of the day, the mediator will encourage the parties to start constructive and fair negotiations.
All property division pursuant to a divorce in Washington state starts from the simple premise that all assets accumulated during the marriage will be presumed to be “community property” and split 50/50. But in practice the 50/50 split often does not end up being the result because of such legally cognizable factors as: the earning power of the parties upon termination of the marriage is highly unequal, one party made the entire down-payment, the property came by inheritance, and quite a few others. Often time this arises in shorter marriages where the parties have acquired a piece of real-estate. So how does one answer this question?
The mortgage rule is a legal tool used to characterize property acquired, using both community and separate funds, over a period of time. Harry M. Cross, The Community Property Law in Washington, 61 WASH. L. REV. 13, 39-49 (rev. 1985). The mortgage rule examines whether both parties concerned were obligated to make payments in order to retain ownership of the disputed asset. If there was no such continuing obligation, then the character of the asset is retrospectively determined to be proportionate to the ratio of separate and/or community funds used to acquire the asset. Absent a continuing obligation, the character of the property is retrospectively determined to be proportionate to the ratio of separate and or community funds used to acquire the property It is precisely this mortgage indebtedness that itself constitutes a contribution to effect the final determination of what proportionate share either party should be entitled to. If the other spouse signs the promissory note they become liable to the bank and later third parties for repayment. Even if that party had low income and no assets to secure the loan it is still a contribution. If separate funds are used to make a contribution and are traceable a lien for the down-payment amount could be found but only to that extent of that separate contribution to the down payment. However, In Re Hurd changes this slightly in that the separate character of a cash down payment can be transformed into community property by titling the home in both parties names. (Thus we see some significance in whose name an item of property actually stands.)
This includes such assets as the appreciation of retirement plans that were purchased before the marriage. The value of such an asset must be analyzed to determine what portion grew or accumulated during the marriage and the value prior to the marriage.
Washington state divorce law purposefully vests a substantial degree of leeway to the Judges hearing your case (and I say Judges because the Commissioners only deal with pre-trial issues, modifications, and contempt; they can’t divide the equity in your home or business). Carefully planning from the start of your case is necessary to develop the evidence needed in property characterization. It also gives the attorney time to become familiar with what both parties real financial futures might look like upon final dissolution of the partnership. This is especially important where one is not dealing with a trivial amount of assets, or if you feel your spouse has a significantly higher earning potential.
Division of real estate under Washington state divorce law can also be made not in accordance with whose name is on the title to the property. Whose name the property is titled in, does not settle the matter conclusively but may be considered by the judge among other factors as possible indicia that the parties wished to make it separate.
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has been laying out proposals for changes in legal aid that will limit the types of cases where legal aid is available, therefore savings significant costs. Currently over 2 billion a year is spent on legal aid in the UK, an amount that is more than ten times that of France. Areas where legal aid will no longer be available will include claims against hospitals, doctors and schools, immigration, benefit and employment disputes and family law cases. Also in the proposals is that fees for legal aid solicitors will be cut by 10%. It is being seen by supporters as removing legal aid where it is being wasted but keeping it where it is really seen as necessary, while critics say that it will mean the poorest members of society will in some cases be unable to get justice.
So, what will be the impact of these changes should they go ahead?
One area of law that has significantly increased over the last decade is no-win no-fee suits. Currently the costs, and therefore solicitors fees, are recovered from the losing side. This is something that will no longer be possible.
In most cases legal aid will no longer be available in cases against public institutions such as doctors, hospitals and schools. Cases that will be affected will include those seeking legal action after medical mistakes. With regard to schools it is likely to limit the number of accident claims and appeals against school entrance. Some would argue that not being able to take legal action for genuine accidents is a good thing while other say it means that institutions will no longer be held responsible for a lack of care.
Family Law is seen as an area that will be impacted most by these proposed changes. Half of the total money saved will happen in the area of family law alone. Legal aid will still be available in cases that involve domestic violence, forced marriage and child abduction, but in a relatively straight forward case it will not be the case.
In general it is expected that the number of so called minor legal disputes will be less commonplace. This is something supporters see as a major plus points, on top of the obvious fact that it will save public money. The changes may put to an end (to an extent anyway) the increasing culture of looking for blame to profit from unfortunate situations, such as minor accidents. Some see certain cases as people taking advantage of legal aid where they would not pursue the case if they had to pay for it themselves, even if they could afford to. This will therefore reduce unnecessary legal action.
There are, of course, potential problems. Some are worried that the less well off will suffer unfairly, that there will be situations where people will not get justice where someone better off, and able to afford legal advice themselves, will be able to carry a case forward. It could also lead to irresponsibility with businesses, organisations and individuals held less responsible for their actions.
Andrew Marshall (c)