Adopting a Stepchild

Posted by on Jan 9, 2020 in Adoption | 0 comments

Whenever someone becomes a stepparent, they usually do not end up adopting their stepchild. In many situations, however, it may be appropriate for the stepparent to formally adopt the child. Usually, this is to legally recognize the bond between a stepparent and child and to symbolize a step forward from a difficult past. 

But because of the individual’s unique role as a stepparent, the adoption process looks a little bit different. Whether you’re a stepparent looking to adopt your stepchild or want to let a friend or loved one know about the process, keep reading.

Keep in mind…

Something you should keep in mind is that adoption rules vary from state to state. You cannot assume that the rules are the same in one state as another, and you should check the rules in the state in which you are planning to adopt a stepchild. After all, the last thing you want is a hold up in the adoption process because you weren’t familiar with the rules in your specific state.

With that being said, there are many similarities in the adoption processes among the states, so reading this blog post should give you an idea of what to expect.

The Process

In most states, you will begin the adoption process by filing a petition to adopt your stepchild in your local district court. Next, you’ll need to see if the child’s other biological parent is still alive. If they are, you’ll need to go through the process of getting their parental rights terminated. Sometimes, the other biological parent will voluntarily give up their parental rights, but if they do not, you may have to have to fight to have their parental rights terminated in court. This is done by demonstrating that they are not fit to parent the child you are looking to adopt. 

Once the other parent’s parental rights are terminated, you’ll move on to the next stage of the adoption process. This is usually a hearing in front of a judge. Children that are above 12 years of age must give verbal or written consent to be adopted. Then, the judge will investigate your background to see if you’re the right fit to parent the child. They may look at your financial circumstances, criminal history, and health history to gain any insight as to whether or not you would be able to successfully parent a child. 

The Result

If your petition for adoption is successful, you will have full custody of your stepchild. It will be as if you were the child’s original biological parent. Therefore, if you and your partner separate and divorce, you will have the same opportunity to fight for custody as any other biological parent would.

Action Items 

While the adoption process may seem simple on paper, you do not want to attempt to represent yourself. Keep your chances of winning custody of your stepchild high and hire an adoption attorney as soon as possible.  

Read More

The Three Important Qualities of Healthcare

Posted by on Jun 11, 2019 in Medical Issues | 0 comments

Even the healthiest person needs to see the doctor. Routine checkups, appointments with specialists, and treatments like medications or surgeries are essential aspects of a person’s interaction with the medical care system.

But not all medical care is created equal; many doctors and hospitals provide improper or inadequate medical care. As a result, patients need to be scrupulous in determining if they are receiving proper care. The three most important characteristics to consider when determining the adequacy of healthcare coverage are cost, access, and quality. In this article, we elucidate upon these characteristics as well as your options if these needs are not being met.

  • Follow the money

The American government gives more money to its medical care systems more than almost any other country in the world. And yet, many citizens cannot afford their health care coverage.

If you are being priced out of affording your insurance premiums, you have very few options. Depending upon your income and assets, you may qualify for either government-provided medical care programs or receive federal subsidies for your private health care coverage.

Another important aspect to consider when analyzing the cost of healthcare is the cost of actual procedures, medications, or any other treatment that was suggested by a medical professional. After all, healthcare is not adequate if a person cannot afford to reap the benefits of healthcare recommendations.

  • Access is key

Healthcare coverage, to be adequate, must be accessible for its patients. The most immediate issue with accessibility is being able to physically access hospitals, clinics, or doctors’ appointments. Many low-income patients may not have their own vehicle or the nature of their medical ailments could cause them to be unable to drive on their own.

Transportation problems are just one accessibility issue to consider. Disabled individuals receiving accommodations or professionals that are abreast with the current standards for disability-friendly care is essential for healthcare to be considered adequate.

  • Qualifiable quality

It is crucial that medical care professionals keep up with evolving standards or updated information about medical care. Healthcare coverage is simply not good enough if, in its provision, a doctor prescribes a treatment that is not industry-standard or medication that has since been deemed risky.

Not only is medical care of this nature not adequate, but it might also be dangerous. As the website for the law firm McCutchen & Sexton explains, many patients experience healthcare that is negligent enough to constitute a crime. Doctors are free to make mistakes, as all humans are prone to do, but the mistakes of workers in the medical care industry have much heavier implications than workers in other industries.

Improper or criminally negligent treatment includes doctors providing an incorrect diagnosis of someone — mostly if that misdiagnosis leads to harm for the patient. Misdiagnoses that can be litigated often stem from incorrectly interpreting test results or inaccurately instructing other doctors and medical care professionals in treating patients.

Suing a doctor may seem like an extreme step; these professionals are entrusted with our lives and are seen as heroes for their actions in saving others. But this reputation comes with responsibility. All aspects of healthcare deserve to be adequate for a patient, including the access, cost, and quality of the care.

Read More

Beautiful Smiles 101

Posted by on Mar 10, 2019 in Dentistry | 0 comments

Last week, my daughter was talking to me about how she wanted to get her teeth whitened over the summer. She has school pictures every fall and she wants a glowing smile. I don’t blame her. Every kid wants to look their best on picture day. But I did start to wonder if there was anything I could do as a parent to help prevent teeth staining in the first place. My wife and I cook dinner for the kids just about every night. Could what we’re feeding them have anything to do with the color of their teeth? I started looking online and found some great information from the website of Babylon Dental Care. The folks at Babylon Dental Care have tons of experience with teeth whitening and maintaining healthy looking teeth.

It turns out, there are plenty of different foods that can stain your teeth. I didn’t know diet could have such a large impact on teeth health. I was always told that brushing and flossing twice a day would take care of most teeth problems, but it’s more complicated than that.

One of the biggest foods that I need to be aware of as a person is highly acidic foods. Foods with high acidity like tomatoes, lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits can wear away at the enamel in your teeth. When your enamel is worn down, it creates an environment where stains can form more easily. Plus, a dull yellowish color is what lies under your enamel. These foods cause teeth to look dull in color and can cause stains to form.

Dark fruits like blueberries and blackberries aren’t great for teeth either. These fruits stain our fingers if we pick them up, and they stain teeth in the same way very easily. These fruits are super healthy for us. They are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, so I’m not going to keep my kids away from them, I’m just going to have them drink water while they’re eating them so they can wash the juice out.

Just like dark fruits, dark wines can also stain teeth. This isn’t relevant for my kids, but it’s definitely something to think about for my wife and I. The acidity present in red and white wines alike doesn’t do our enamel any favors. The biggest drink that I need to be concerned with as a parent is soda. Soda is chock full of sugar. This sugar feeds the bacteria in our mouth and thus increasing the rate at which our enamel breaks down. Dark sodas can also contribute to stains. Too much soda can eventually lead to cavities forming.

My kids are still a bit young to be drinking coffee, but they might start enjoying some in the next couple of years. I’ll make sure to let my daughter know that coffee is one of the biggest teeth stainers out there. The dark color in coffee can seep into teeth. It’s hard to avoid it especially because we tend to drink coffee immediately after we’ve brushed our teeth in the morning.

Read More

How Can A Brokerage Firm Trick You?

Posted by on Mar 8, 2019 in Financial brokerage | 0 comments

Anyone who works alongside a financial advisor knows that there are inherent risks to investing. I always figured that people agreed to take on all of the associated risks when they put their money into the hands of an advisor, but it turns out that you can hold brokerage firms accountable for your losses if they are negligent in advising you properly or disclosing information to you.

Financial advisors make it seem like they have your best interests at heart. They operate on the premise that they win when you win. But the financial sector is a very complex field. There may be situations where your broker could be motivated to mishandle your money in order to make other clients profit. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should hire claims against brokerage firms attorneys.

Stockbrokers have a responsibility to do the research and know inherent risks with every investment option they advise towards. If a stockbroker is going to advise that someone invest in the technology sector, or in recreational marijuana companies, they must know the factors at play affecting those markets. They must inform customers of all the risk factors associated with the investments in each market. Failure to do so is considered to be a general breach of fiduciary duty. It is a form of negligence on part of the stockbroker.

Sometimes brokers will partake in the practice known as churning. Churning is unethical and illegal. It occurs when a broker begins to buy and sell securities excessively with another customer’s money in order to create commissions that benefit the broker. Broker’s must have control over a customer’s account in order to partake in churning. This can be spotted when a broker starts to make frequent purchases and sales that do not match the investment goals that you agreed upon.

When a broker invests in securities that have more value than the assets in the customer’s account, this is known as trading on margin. Trading on margin puts investors at a significant risk due to the volatility of stocks and index funds. Customers can end up losing huge portions of their assets by trading on margin. The process itself is legal, but brokers must always make customers fully aware of the practice and its risk before partaking in it. If the broker does not inform customers before they trade on margins, they can be held liable for any losses they incur.

Brokers can also be sued for advising towards investments that do not match what the client has expressed a desire for. Some investors are looking to invest in high risk options, hoping to gain returns that are above average. On the other hand, some investors are looking for safe investments that generate low returns over the course of a long period of time. Stockbrokers have a duty to discuss what a customer is looking for in terms of investment. They also have a responsibility to take this into consideration and advise customers towards the investments that match these needs. A failure to do so is known as improper broker recommendations. This violates the stockbroker fiduciary duties.

Read More

Tucson Needs to Know What Medication Errors Look Like

Posted by on Aug 28, 2018 in Medical Issues | 0 comments

I love Tucson. It’s a vibrant city that has an incredible mix of people. There’s a wonderful college vibe to the downtown because of the university, and then there’s the more laidback, retirement vibe further north where the golf courses take over. The city has the best weather, the best food, and the right kind of attitude for any group.

But it also has a medication error problem. With a lot of young people who are inexperienced in the world mixing with a lot of more elderly people who are perhaps not as able to focus as in their younger days, there’s a lot of potential for the wrong medication to be prescribed without the person taking it realizing the problem. That’s why we all need to do a better job watching out for that event.

So, how do we do that? Well, Russo, Russo, & Slania P.C. Attorneys at Law have very helpfully laid out what major medication errors look like. They list three key signs that the medication someone is taking is the wrong one: an inability to concentrate when they were previously able to do so, a gradual decline in health that isn’t explained by other factors, a diagnosis of unexpected ailments that has no particular connection to their health otherwise.

If you are seeing those symptoms in someone taking medication, whether they’re at the University of Arizona on anti-depressants or they’re in a nursing home in Oro Valley, you need to take the proper steps to help that person return to a better medication and to better help.

How do you do that? By contacting medical professionals and perhaps a medical lawyer like those found at Russo, Russo, & Slania. This is a serious issue that requires at very least a serious medical response, and perhaps a serious legal response as well.

These steps have to be taken immediately because the results of taking the wrong medication can be dire, including everything from organ failure to seizures, and from allergic reactions to death. With such huge risks, it’s obvious why doctors and potentially lawyers have to be involved in this situation when it occurs.

I firmly believe that Tucson is the best city in America, but it is uniquely at risk for medication error problems. With so many snowbirds and college students, with such a large number of very young and very old residents, it’s easy for these problems to be missed.

All of us have to work harder to watch out for the signs listed above and to take the steps mentioned here.

We want everyone in Tucson to enjoy the city to their fullest extent. That means helping them make sure that they are taking the medication that is right for their conditions and that keeps them at their optimum health levels. Whether the mistake was accidental or intentional, we have to help make sure it is corrected before permanent damage is done.

Let’s commit to keeping Tucson a health city as well as a fun and relaxing city.

Read More

A warning about vehicle defects

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in Automotive Dangers | 0 comments

When you’re out riding in the car you just bought, you’re probably thinking all kinds of romantic thoughts: about road trips and date nights and rolling the windows down and letting the wind flow through your hair.

You probably aren’t thinking about the danger of potential automotive defects. However, along with all those wonderful, happy romantic thoughts, you probably should be.

There have been a number of highly publicized and terrifying instances of automotive defects in the news in the last few years.

In 2009, Toyota cars were found to begin accelerating on their own, which led to several deaths. In the end, the company had to recall 9 million cars. That wasn’t even the first time such a problem had occurred with a major automotive brand. A similar incident occurred with Audi in the 1980s.

Ford vehicles had a long-running problem—for six years—with fires being started by turning the ignition. Ford also had problems with its cruise control starting fires. And then, Firestone tires on the Ford Explorer at one point had a tendency to explode.

This problem can’t be avoided by avoiding Ford, nor avoiding Firestone tires, Audi, or Toyota. The truth is, all vehicles have potential issues, and it is crucial that you be aware of this and do everything in your power to check and recheck every part of your car for potential defects.

Be sure to check (or have someone else check) your airbags, seat belts, tires, and engine, since defects in these areas can often lead to injuries.

Also, be sure to check regularly for news about your vehicle. Google your make, model, and year regularly to see if anything new pops up. Additionally, be sure not to throw away any mail related to your vehicle. Read everything you get carefully. That goes for emails as well.

If you do hear about a problem, be sure to immediately take your vehicle in to get checked by a certified mechanic. If they have not heard about the defect, demand they research it or else take your vehicle to another place.

Remember, this is not just about old cars or used cars or rental cars. Many problems can occur in cars that are brand new off the lot. Just because your vehicle has 5 miles on the odometer and you’ve just pulled out of the car lot doesn’t mean there are not potential problems lurking in the engine, the tires, or the seats that could lead to injury, or even, in some cases, death.

If you already feel you’ve been a victim of a vehicle defect, make sure you get your vehicle checked immediately, and then, contact a lawyer. You may be able to sue the car company or join a class action suit.

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their vehicles, and their concerns should be about driving safely and reaching their destinations without incident with other drivers. Unfortunately, that isn’t the world we live in, and we need to be aware that the car we drive may be the biggest danger on the road.

Read More

Construction Accidents and the New York Labor Law Statutes

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Construction Accidents | 0 comments

One of the greatest challenges that construction firms need to face today is keeping up with the demands of progress, specifically, how to accomplish so much in shorter time periods. With the designs of buildings becoming bigger, taller and more intricate, requiring workers to render longer work periods, however, often ends in situations that post threats to worker health and safety.

According to the Hach and Rose law firm, construction is a necessary but also inherently dangerous industry that can leave workers exposed to a wide variety of construction site accidents and injuries. Any failure on the part of a general contractor, property owner, or machinery manufacturer to make sure that construction sites and construction equipment are safe may result in a devastating accident that causes innocent workers undue injury. In most states in the U.S., construction workers who suffer an injury on the job may not have any legal options available to them outside of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. However, the state of New York provides further protection for construction workers through certain New York Labor Law statutes, allowing them to pursue compensation from liable property owners or general contractors.

A regular sight in construction areas are heavy machineries, like cranes, concrete mixers, forklifts, bulldozers, loaders, caterpillars, excavators, crawlers and  road rollers. These machineries, undoubtedly, make construction tasks easier and faster to accomplish; however, due to their huge size, wrong operation or requiring an untrained or careless worker to operate any of these can result to a disabling or even fatal injury.

Milwaukee personal injury attorneys know that injuries from construction sites are usually the most serious injury cases. Every year there are thousands of construction accidents that cause serious injury and death. Legally, construction companies are required to provide safety programs and formally inspect work sites with a safety engineer, but, unfortunately, accidents still occur resulting from the inadequacy of these provisions.

The site owners, architects, insurance companies and manufacturers of equipment can all be held responsible for inadequate safety provisions when a construction site accident occurs. In addition, the general contractor and all subcontractors are also required to provide a reasonably safe site, to warn of hazards, to hire careful employees, to coordinate job safety and to supervise safety compliance.

Due to risks of accidents and injuries that construction workers are exposed to every day, the U.S. Congress passed into law (in 1970) the Occupational Safety and Health Act (or OSH Act). The Act aims to:

  • Ensure all working men and women of safe and healthful working conditions;
  • Assist and encourage the States in their efforts in ensuring safe and healthful working conditions;
  • Provide for information, education, research and training in the area of occupational safety and health; and,
  • Authorize enforcement of the standards developed under the Act. Enforcement of these standards has been delegated by OSH Act to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was created in 1971.

Despite OSHA’s untiring efforts in enforcing health and safety standards in the workplace, however, the U.S. Department of Labor continues to receive reports of injuries and, sometimes, deaths due to accidents. Based on results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, in 2013, fatal work-related accidents totaled to 4,585; in 2014 the number of deaths went up 2%, registering 4,679.

Fatal accidents in construction sites include workers being struck and killed by a forklift or other heavy machineries, being struck by falling objects, electrocution, and falls, which frequently occur while workers are on ladders or scaffoldings.

Work-related accidents resulting to injuries or death entitle workers or their families (in case of worker’s death) to file a claim with their state’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance office. Financial benefits, however, are often too small or delayed, that is if the application for claim is not rejected. Besides these, the Worker’s Comp also restricts injured workers from further pursuing legal action against their employer. Under certain circumstances, however, this Worker’s Comp’s provision may be ruled against by a court, especially in cases where the injury is too severe or is fatal.


Read More