The Legal Insider

September 2011

7 Most Common Reasons for Divorce

National Law Journal featuring LegalmatchDivorces are common these days. It's unfortunate and happens for a wide range of reasons. Largely, statistics aren't even kept to see why. However, a recent survey showed these 7 reasons why most couples call it quits:

  1. Money—Often one spouse is not good managing their money. If they're not paying any taxes, you could be held 50% responsible if you're filing together. One spouse's bankruptcy can also change your credit score and prevent you from getting loans or jobs.
  2. Infidelity—In many states, the spouse who is responsible for the dissolution of the marriage may be responsible for giving up more than their half.
  3. Mis-expectations—You thought your spouse was "going to be an astronaut/doctor" is not what we're talking about. It covers things like habitual unemployment.
  4. Addictions—It's excruciating to completely sever ties with a spouse who has succumbed to addiction, but when the safety and health of your family is at stake, it's time.
  5. Physical relations—I'm sure you've heard about the French guy who was ordered to pay his ex-wife for "lack of sex." A physical relationship is important to most spouses.
  6. Sudden change of heart—It may seem odd, but it's a common occurrence. Decreased affectionate feelings can happen from a midlife crisis or simply fade over time.
  7. Society/Family—Societal and familial pressures can be a breaking point in a number of marriages when the stress simply becomes too much. Unfortunately, these are often some of the messiest divorces because it's rarely a mutual decision.

First Day of School Liability

There are a lot of questions and fears we have when sending our children off to school. Anything can happen these days, so it's best to know ahead of time if the school will be liable for onsite injuries. As with many other personal injury cases the circumstances play a major role.

The most important factor in a successful lawsuit against a school is determining if it's a private or public institution. Most public schools are exempt from negligence charges because they have government immunity. In some cases, proximate cause may determine if the problem was foreseeable, like failing to properly supervise or permitting a student to take on a dangerous task.

Private schools are another matter. Since private institutions do not have "sovereign immunity" successful personal injury judgments are easier to obtain. All land owners and businesses are responsible for exercising reasonable cause. That means you must prove the school did not properly exercise proper care and was the direct cause of the injury. Some common injuries include:

  • Slip and fall
  • Bullying
  • Fighting
  • Harassment

If your student suffers any harm, you should speak with an attorney to protect your legal interests, and hopefully prevent these issues from occurring in the future.

Precautions When Renting an Apartment

Each of us remembers our first place. It's likely most of us have a few outrageous stories about parties, acrobatics, flooding, or the odd wastebasket fire. There are even those roommates that turn out to be a nightmare and leave you high and dry.

If it's your first apartment or your fiftieth, you always need to prepare. So what can you do to protect yourself and your family?

  • Living together contracts—Outline the terms of the cohabitation agreement and specify who gets what if the relationship dissolves. These contracts are ideal for renters bringing in a roommate or unmarried couples living together.
  • Rental contracts—Every landlord these days has a version of the same boilerplate rental agreement. However, some property owners will try and slide thing by. Having a lawyer look at your rental contract can save you loads of cash in the long run.
  • Damages—You may be liable for damages in cases of serious personal injury and/or death. These are normally not small settlements. So if one of the guests gets too drunk at your party and is cited for DUI/DWI or hurts someone else, you could be held fiscally responsible.
  • Insurance—Renters insurance is a great idea for any apartment because it protects you from a wide range of mishaps like theft or flood damage. Contact your local provider for more details. Renters' insurance can be very affordable for the peace of mind it provides.
  • Liability—Besides those listed above, slip and fall is one of the most common liability claims. A lawyer can draft an agreement pointing out any potential risks and have your roommate acknowledge your disclosure and release you from liability for their injury. Your landlord likely has a version of this in your rental agreement; however, they may still be liable for injuries like toxic mold or ill kept units.

A personal injury or contract lawyer can help you out with these types of situations. In most cases its best to hammer out the contract details before moving in with your friend or significant other. However, anytime is a good time to lay out specific provisions especially if there is only one person responsible for paying the rent. I'm sure you've seen those Judge Judy tenant cases.

5 Common Criminal Charges for College Kids

There are lots of mistakes to make out there. Unfortunately, the mix of friends and college peer pressure land a number of students in jail or with heavy fines.

Below is a list of common juvenile crimes that we see everyday. Check out the list below and be ready in case you're caught doing something out of character or illegal.

Buying Alcohol with a Fake ID—Penalties for using a fake I.D. can include a $500 fine or more. In some cases, you can also be charged with forgery. This is a felony, which if convicted, could change your job, school, and loan opportunities drastically.

Minor in Possession—You can get a ticket for underage possession of alcohol even if you're not drunk and it's unopened. Got your attention? Fines, jail time, court ordered rehab, and probation are all possible outcomes.

Marijuana Possession—Sure, it's legal in many places, but only with a prescription. Did you know that some schools are able to legally drug test their students?

Assault—Universities are for learning, but a number of other extracurricular activities like dating (domestic violence) and sports (fighting) can land you in hot water. Assault is largely considered a misdemeanor crime but based on severity can be upgraded to attempted murder.

Public Indecency/Urination—You are heading home from the big party; you're pretty drunk and HAVE TO GO, like now. That's normally when the patrol car happens by and they cite you. While "Public Indecency" and "Urination in Public" are normally just fines, they can cost big bucks. If you're within the vicinity of children, you can even earn yourself some jail time.

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