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The Choice of Adopting a Child

Posted by on May 27, 2018 in Adoption Law | 0 comments

The decision to adopt a child will have a profound effect on you and the adopted child. Unlike a guardianship, the unique aspect of adoption is that the process is aimed at creating a permanent change in the statuses of the adopting parent and child. Adoption is a very important human service for children in need of parents and parents longing for children. In fact, research has indicated that adoption provides children with necessary safety, security, and developmental support.

According to, adoption is, “the establishment of a legally recognized, lifelong relationship between adoptive parents and the adoptee(s) in question. Adoption is a permanent choice for birth parents.” Interestingly enough, since 2007, fewer people are choosing to create this lifelong relationship. According to one study, total adoptions in the United States dropped from 133,737 in 2007 to 110,373 in 2014. Despite this drop, there was a slight increase in infant adoptions over this same timeframe, with 18,078 in 2007 and 18,329 in 2014.

In fact, I did not realize how many different forms of adoption there are until I came across an article by BB Law Group PLLC. The article listed the following types of adoption: domestic adoption, foreign adoption, adoption of an adult, adoption by a step-parent, same-sex adoption, and adoption by a grandparent or other relative.

These specific types of adoption as described in the article can be reduced to three broad types: international adoption, domestic adoption, and foster care adoption. Foster care adoption is when the adopted child is initially placed in public foster care, and the adopting parents adopt the child after some time. Domestic adoption occurs when the child and parents seeking the adoption are residents in the same country. International adoption is adoption that occurs outside the country where the child was born.

Of course, given that adoption is such a huge decision, it comes with a lot of emotions, paperwork, and compassion. Raising a child is a decision that you should carefully plan, discuss, and implement. suggests that while you must ask yourself, “Is adoption right for me?”, it is as important to ask yourself “Am I right for adoption?”  These questions require a deep internal examination of the reasons why you want to adopt. This examination is crucial and should take some time. You are about to embark on a lifelong journey that is permanent. You must be honest with yourself, for your well-being and the well-being of your potential child.

Once you know the reasons why you want to adopt, you should conduct thorough research on adoption literature. Read scientific studies, blogs telling personal experiences, or adoption information provided on other platforms. The point is your decision to adopt should go through a substantial review process to make sure you are making the right decision. If, after some time, you decide your reasons for adoption are sound, and you do end up going forward with the decision, it can benefit your life in ways you never imagined.

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The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefit

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in Social Security Disability Benefits | 0 comments

The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays cash retirement benefit, disability benefit and death benefit to all of its insured members – individuals who have worked in Social Security-covered jobs and have earned the required number of credits (these credits are earned through payment of Social Security taxes which are identified as “FICA,” short for Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Payment is automatically deducted from employees’ monthly take home pay). Disability benefits are paid to members who have sustained total, permanent disability through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI, which the SSA introduced in 1956, is one of the two largest programs of the U.S. Federal government (the other is the Supplemental Security Income or SSI, which was created by the SSA in 1974). This Supplemental Security Income (SSI) was specifically designed to provide cash benefits to:

  • Disabled adults with limited income and resources;
  • Disabled children who are below 18 years old and who have limited income and resources; and,
  • People 65 years old or older who may be without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR).

SSI benefit is also meant to help provide for its recipients’ basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter (some legal aliens may also be eligible to receive the cash benefits paid under the SSI program). Disability, for SSI purposes, is defined as any physical or mental impairment, (including emotional or learning problem) that:

  • Has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months;
  • Has resulted, or can result, in severe functional limitations (in the case of children) or in the inability to perform any substantial gainful activity (in the case of adults); and,
  • Can be expected to result in the disabled person’s death.

“Limited income” and “limited resources” mean:

  • Limited income – money earned from work; money received from Social Security benefits, Workers Compensation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, unemployment benefits, friends or relatives; and free food or shelter.
  • Limited resources: things a person owns, such as: cash; bank accounts, U.S. savings bonds; land; vehicles; personal property; life insurance; stocks, and whatever can be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.

Dealing with a serious disability can make everyday life a challenge, and for many of those in this position, earning a living wage can be extremely difficult. For this reason, the Social Security Administration provides income support through various programs to Americans with disabilities who struggle to make ends meet. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is one such program that has played a substantial role in helping disabled children, adults, and their families across the country. SSI benefits are available to those living on low incomes, who are aged, blind, or suffer from a disability, with sometimes increased benefits for families to help provide a level of support that more accurately matches their needs.  

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Common Construction Site Accidents

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Workplace Injuries | 0 comments

Construction sites can be very dangerous environments because of the presence of hazardous substances, construction machinery and equipment, and other objects and conditions that may injure or kill construction workers.

According to a construction site article on the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, construction workers and innocent passersby who have been injured because of someone else’s error may be able to get worker compensation or personal injury compensation. Below are some of the common construction site accidents that happen because of the negligence and error of construction companies and construction site managers.

Slip and Fall Accidents
Companies and managers need to make sure that the construction site is in its safest condition to prevent injuring workers and passersby. They should take away or limit the objects that can potentially trigger a slip and fall accident, such as loose wires, spilled chemicals, unattended tools, and uneven surfaces and holes that lack warning signs.

Construction workers are often required to work on elevated places, such as in high floor levels, windows, and roofs. This puts them at risk of falling, especially because of defective scaffoldings and ladders, and lack of protective gears and safety procedures.

Falling Objects
In construction sites, there is always the risk of objects falling and hitting the head of unsuspecting victims. The objects may come in many forms, like unattended materials, heavy objects such as machinery and equipment, and sharp objects such as construction tools.

Construction sites are unfinished products, so it is not uncommon for electrical systems to be unfinished as well. Exposed wires may get in contact with the elements, or worse, with the construction workers, giving them electric shock and possibly injuring or killing them.

Explosions and Fires
Construction may involve flammable materials such as chemicals, wires, gases, and even explosives themselves. Without the proper storage and safety procedure, the construction site may be susceptible to explosions and fires.

Machine Accidents
Accidents in construction machinery, equipment, and vehicles, may be some of the most devastating construction accidents, as they can result into traumatic injuries, amputations, and property damages. They may be caused by defects and malfunctions, worker errors, or negligence on the part of the construction company or site manager.

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DUI South Carolina Laws Explained

Posted by on Oct 12, 2016 in DUI | 0 comments

In the state of South Carolina, you can be convicted for DUI if your BAC level exceeds 0.08%, regardless of whether or not you are driving impaired. When you are caught for DUI, South Carolina law requires that you subject yourself to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content. The website of Truslow & Truslow , Attorneys at Law reveals that a DUI conviction can have life altering consequences to the offender.
While you have the right to refuse to take either a breathalyzer or blood test, such refusal can have several consequences depending on whether it is your first, second, or third offense. South Carolina has one of the most stringent rules when it comes to BAC level. For drivers below 212 years old, the maximum BAC should be 0.2%.

One of the most common penalties for a DUI charge is license suspension. For first offense, the penalty is usually 6 months suspension of license. Succeeding offenses can mean a 9 month long suspension of your driver’s license. Aside from that, you could server a jail sentence which could run for 60 days for 3rd offense. Unfortunately, in South Carolina, a DUI offense remains on your driving record for a period of 10 years.
Another common penalty is the installation of ignition interlock device or IID which is a requirement if you get charged with DUI. For second time offenders, you will be required to install the device on your car for a period of 2 years. For third offense, the ignition interlock devices need to stay on your vehicle for a period of three years.

It is worth noting that law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC level at the time you were driving. Watch out because the prosecutors will try to prove that you were still culpable for DUI even beyond that time.

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Types of Substance Abuse

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Drug Laws | 0 comments

People use and abuse substances for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, there is a huge price to pay and substance abuse often results to criminal acts. According to the website of Nashville criminal attorney, Brent Horst, an estimated 13.5 million people consume alcohol regularly and more than 86 million are abusing alcohol. In addition, the 2014 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse estimated that 16% of the respondents used illict drugs in 2013.

Substance abuse is characterized by a pattern of use that brings about significant impairment or distress. It can affect a person’s performance at work, school, or home. There is a variety of substances in the market that an indiv idual can abuse and here they are:

1. Stimulant Abuse

Examples of stimulants are cocaine and metamphetamine as well as legal substances such as nicotine, caffeine, and over-the-counter stimulants. From the name itself, stimulants cause the release of the neurotranmitters dopamine and norepinephrine causing the stimulation of the brain’s reward and pleasure center. For this reason, it makes the user feel good. However, abuse of stimulants result to the depletion of energy and makes the user crave for the drug.

2. Depressant Abuse

Depressants include various opiates such as heroin, morphine, and opium. It also includes sedatives such as Xanax, Ativan, and Valium. These substances slow down the central nervous system, lessens inhibitions, creates relaxation, and decreases pain. However, they carry a high risk of overdose and addiction and also has related health problems. When abused, it can cause psychological and physical dependence as well.

3. Psychedelic Abuse

Psychedelic drugs are popularly known as hallucinogens in medical parlance. These substances distort perceptions, thoughts, and sensations. Those with underlying mental problems face a very high risk of triggering mental health problems.

4. Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug and is now being used for recreational purposes. It can trigger short-term euphoria, physical relaxation, distorted perception and thought, increased appetite, and impaired memory and physical coordination. When taking marijuana, driving is not advisable due to the risks associated with it.

5. Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is the oldest and most widely used psychoactive substance. It can affect every organ of the body. Abuse to the substance can lead to aggression, impaired judgment, diminished inhibitions, and mood problems such as depression and anxiety.

It is worth noting that substance abuse is responsible for a phenomenon known as tolerance, which requires a larger amount of the substance to produce the same level of intoxication.

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Truck Driver Error – The Cause of Many Truck Accidents

Posted by on Feb 6, 2016 in Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

As opposed to the results of a number of surveys which say that drivers of passenger cars are more at fault in majority of road accidents wherein trucks are also involved, is the result of a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which says that truck accidents are more due to errors committed by drivers of semi-trucks (also called 18-wheelers or big rigs). The FMCSA is a separate administration within the US Department of Transportation (DOT); its primary mission is to enforce laws that will reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles (CMV), such as large trucks and buses.

The most common truck driver errors that have been identified by the FMCSA include: driver fatigue; driving too fast for road conditions; drivers impaired due to use of prescription or over-the-counter-drugs; overspeeding; unfamiliarity with the road; lack of experience in operating a semi-truck; lack of focus on the road; distracted driving; improper attachment of trailer; failure to check “no-zone” areas or blind spots; failure to make sure that truck brakes are in good working condition; and, depowering of the front brakes to lessen wear and tear of tires and breaks and so save on operating costs. All these errors lead to many other things that directly affect the capability of truck drivers to react to danger correctly and on time.

Many truck accidents are direct results of driver error and negligence; however, these accidents may be significantly mitigated by an experienced driver who is mindful of those around him or her. It is common knowledge that semi-trucks pose a serious risk to other drivers due to their enormous size and heavy weight. Thus, if a driver does not possess the required skills to operate a truck safely or commits an error that results in an accident, fatalities and people sustaining severe injuries are not remote possibilities. In 2013 alone, records from the Highway Loss Data Institute, a non-profit research organization, showed 3,500 fatal large truck accidents. These accidents resulted to the death of 570 truck drivers, while the remaining count involved drivers of smaller vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Injuries, on the other hand, exceed more than a hundred thousand. About half a million truck accidents occur every year, leaving so many victims and their families burdened with emotional and physical pains, and in financial difficulties.

No one wants an accident to occur, not even the truck driver who may be at fault in the accident; however, due to the injuries or death of victims, erring truck drivers should only be made to face justice as well as compensate their victims for all damages resulting from (victims’) injuries.

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Sell Your Mineral Rights Now

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Geological | 0 comments

One of the greatest opportunities of residents in areas where shale gas abounds is the chance of earning huge amounts of cash, either instantly, if they sell mineral rights, or over a period of years, by leasing their mineral rights to giant oil-producing firms.

Shale gas, which is trapped inside soft, layered sedimentary rocks that have formed from merged mud or clay, is the main source of natural gas (which is used in American homes and commercial buildings) and petroleum.

The production of shale gas, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), has increased over the past years, allowing the US to become an oil-producing country from an oil-dependent one.

Aside from the companies engaged in the extraction of oil from productive shale gas areas, the residents are the other group who will tremendously benefit from this shale boom, that is, if they are able to decide correctly on what to do with their mineral rights and/or property – lease or sell.

There are companies that are willing and are ready to pay millions of dollars in cash to property and mineral rights owners. Selling means cash up front – whether your property produces something or nothing at all. If your property proves to be really productive, you may regret having sold it or wished that you had sold it at a much higher price. How productive an area of land really is may never be known, though, unless the firm starts digging and actually strikes oil.

However, if your land proves to be unproductive and, therefore, definitely far less the amount that you have been paid, wouldn’t you be glad that you had sold it, and say that you have made the right decision – millions of dollars in your bank account despite a non-productive land. This is the very risk taken by firms as well: purchasing mineral rights the productivity of which is uncertain.

Owners, however, should refrain from deciding to sell (their) mineral rights abruptly, lest they end up getting paid a certain amount of cash when they could have gotten a much bigger amount. The Mineral Auction, like other firms which aim to help owners get the best deal for their rights, advises mineral rights owners to never have second thoughts about selling their rights. It is true, the Mineral Auction continues, that there are individuals who have been rewarded greatly in their decision to just lease their rights, making more money in the long term. This case is not the same for everyone, though, as many others never received the economic payout that they hoped for.

Another very important advice that the Mineral Auction imparts to mineral rights owners is to make sure that they are guided in every selling transaction by a mineral rights broker, who will help them receive only the best offer for their rights.

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Painful Experiences Suffered by Pedestrians from Cars Accidents and Insurance Providers

Posted by on Aug 23, 2015 in Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

Car accident always put the lives of drivers in danger, causing them physical injuries besides damaging their properties. If drivers, who are fully protected by the car’s body and crash-protection devices, like seatbelts and airbags, imagine the severity of harm a moving car can cause pedestrians. With nothing to protect them from the forceful impact caused by an incoming vehicle, an accident will surely leave them with a severe injury.

When it comes to lawsuits based on car and pedestrian accidents, there are no more familiar entities than law firms and car accident lawyers. The website of the The Benton Law Firm in particular says that unprotected pedestrians can suffer severe injuries which can affect them for the rest of their lives; these injuries, the firm continues, include broken bones, lacerations, head injuries, brain damage, and road rash.

Based on studies about injuries to pedestrians, their type and severity depend upon the type of vehicle involved in the accident. Vehicles with bumpers higher than a person’s waist level, such as SUVs and trucks, the force of impact made by these vehicles can throw a person forward, with the possibility of these same vehicles running over the victim afterwards. Vehicles with bumpers below the waist level, however, would lift a person onto the car’s hood.

Every year about 70, 000 pedestrians are hit by cars; around 4, 500 either die on the spot or a few days after the accident. These fatal accidents, according to the National Safety Council, happen more frequently in rural areas, where traffic is light and vehicles run at fast speeds; the absence of shoulders, sidewalks, and street lighting at nighttime, which will make walk paths more visible for pedestrians, likewise increase the risk of accidents. Non-fatal pedestrian accidents, on the other hand, occur more in urban areas, where traffic is heavier due to the greater volume of cars and pedestrian activities.

Even if you own a car, you too are a pedestrian at certain times of the day. When you are walking, jogging, waiting for the traffic light to indicate “walk,” etc., these are the times when you too need to protect yourself against drivers who may fail to notice you.

If, despite your care, an accident still occurs due to a negligent or reckless driver, then you may be entitled to receive compensation either from your, or from the at-fault driver’s, insurance provider. Spiros Law personal injury attorneys are probably all too aware that dealing with insurance companies, is not easy, despite proofs of your injuries due to the accident. This is because insurance firms aim to make profit, not pay huge compensation amounts.

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Situations that Adversely Impact a Foreign National’s Immigration Status

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015 in Family Issues | 0 comments

Every year the Center for Immigration Studies estimates about 400,000 US citizens marrying individuals with foreign nationalities. With marriage being one of the fastest ways to obtain a US green card, many resort to it, even fraudulently, to be able to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States.

There are actually three ways through which a foreign national may obtain a U.S. permanent resident status fast: marry a U.S. citizen, a beneficiary of an immigrant petition, or a person who has been lawfully granted US permanent residency. The chance of obtaining a green card, however, can be adversely affected if the marriage soon ends in divorce or annulment.

There three possible situations wherein divorce can adversely impact a foreign national’s immigration status:

1. When divorce occurs before the conferment of a permanent residence status.

While marriage to a US citizen or to a lawful US permanent resident may help an alien obtain permanent resident status, the actual granting of such status may be denied if the termination of marriage through divorce or annulment happens before the permanent resident status is granted to the alien spouse. In other words, as divorce or annulment ends the legal marriage between the alien spouse and his or her (sponsoring) spouse, so too is the alien spouse’s chance of being granted a green card.

2. When divorce occurs after the granting of a conditional green card; and,

If divorce or annulment happens within two years after the alien spouse has been granted a conditional green card, the chance of obtaining a permanent resident status may be canceled. This is because, for the permanent resident status to be granted to the alien spouse, application to such must be jointly filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by both spouses within the 90-day period that immediately precedes the second anniversary of the alien spouse’s receipt of the conditional permanent residence.

Termination of the marriage will make the joint application impossible. This will necessitate the alien spouse to file, instead, a waiver for the required joint application, otherwise, he or she may be put in deportation proceedings (a copy of the divorce decree, documentation, like a joint bank account, joint real estate holdings, joint credit cards, etc., and affidavits from both spouses’ mutual friends who would confirm that the marriage was sincerely entered into, should be filed with the waiver. These documents will prove that the marriage was entered into in good faith).

Only after USCIS has ascertained that the marriage was not fraudulent or entered into simply for the purpose of helping the foreign national obtain a green card will it approve the waiver and change the alien spouse’s status from conditional resident status to permanent resident status.

3. When divorce occurs after an unconditional green card has been obtained

For alien spouses who have been issued unconditional green cards (which are valid for 10 years, unlike conditional green cards which lasts only for two years), the only effect of divorce on their immigration status is the length of time they must be in permanent resident status before becoming eligible to apply for US citizenship.

The United States have been drafting more laws over the past years which will eventually allow foreign nationals to obtain their green card faster than other applicants. Among these laws is the law on marriage. Many times though, marriage between a foreign national and an American citizen never really work out since the foundation of such marriage is not strong; thus, many end in divorce, with the foreign national saying goodbye to his or her dream of obtaining a green card.

The laws and the procedures of divorce are complicated, so much more are the laws on immigration. According to the website of Marshall & Taylor PLLC, despite the seeming simplicity of an absolute divorce process, there are related legal issues which can be very burdensome to any of the spouses involved. This is what renders the assistance of a seasoned divorce lawyer necessary in a divorce proceeding, especially in one of the spouses is a foreign national who has not obtained US citizenship yet and only has a conditional resident status.

Austin immigration lawyers would probably be informed of how the procedures involved in attaining permanent resident status can be negatively impacted by divorce. Under this situation, the alien spouse needs to file certain documents (within a specified time), otherwise, he or she may lose the chance of having the conditions of his or her residence status removed, as well as the privilege of staying longer on US soil.

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Advantages of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeries

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Plastic Surgery | 0 comments

The very first thing that people notice in us is our face. Our face can hint about and reveal a lot of things, like how we feel, what we may have in mind and, regardless of how hard we sometimes try to conceal it – how old we are.

Have you thought about how old your face says you are? Does your face make you look younger, older or just exactly how old you should look?

As we age, we go through and experience many different things which affect the texture of our skin, our facial skin most especially. Lines, wrinkles, creases, age spots and scars – these are just some of the results of too much exposure under the sun, our grave mistake of allowing stress and worry take hold of us, traumatic accidents, skin disease, burns, birth marks, birth defects and so forth.

To bring back the suppleness and youthfulness of our skin, we resort to cosmetics, creams and, if necessary, surgical procedures. There are two available procedures that are aimed at improving a patient’s body: cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is specifically intended to enhance one’s appearance, while plastic surgery repairs or reconstructs defects on the face and body in order to correct any dysfunctional or impaired area of the body.

Regardless of the procedure one wishes to undergo, it is important that he or she knows if such procedure is the best for him or her, the length of recovery time, the cost, if necessary, and if the doctor who will perform the procedure is board certified.

In 2014, the top 5 cosmetic surgical procedures and the number of patients who have had such procedures are breast augmentation (286,000), nose reshaping (217,000), liposuction (211,000), eyelid surgery (207,000) and facelift (128,000). The top 5 reconstructive procedures, on the other hand, are tumor removal (4.4 million), laceration repair (251,000), maxillofacial surgery (199,000), scar revision (177,000) and hand surgery (130,000).

Over the past five years the number of patients who have undergone cosmetic and reconstructive procedures under the care of board-certified surgeons have always gone beyond 10 million; also counting those who have received treatment under non-certified surgeons and/or their assistants, the number of patients will exceed 12million.

The number of male patients, for both cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries, has also increased over the past years. Procedures performed on men, which are usually due work-related reasons, include: cosmetic eyelid surgery for the removal of puffiness, hooding and bags; procedures on the nose; skin treatment, like botox injections, in order to smooth wrinkles; removal of brown spots, broken capillaries and hair through laser procedures; burn repair surgery; hand surgery; congenital defect repair, like cleft palate; and, scar revision surgery.

Both procedures help make a person look more youthful and, therefore, look more refreshed. Majority of those who have undergone either cosmetic or reconstructive surgery have also felt younger, more confident and more energetic.

The website of Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery explains the importance of achieving a patient’s desired image. Cosmetic surgery patients place a lot of faith in their doctors to help them reach their appearance goals.

Many have undergone either a cosmetic or reconstructive surgery in the past, only to go to a real expert afterwards for botched surgery – to correct another surgeon’s mistakes. Whichever body part you wish to be treated, one fact remains: it is your body and, whatever mistakes will be committed, you are the one to suffer. Thus, never just entrust your treatment to one who claims to be an expert. Research and inquire about him or her from past patients.

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