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The use of social media is becoming more and more common. In fact, as of January 2014, 74 percent of adults who used the internet also used social media sites, a Pew Research Center report found. (Since that time, it is estimated that that number has grown.) As social media provides a forum for individuals to share their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and photos, it makes sense that some people who have been injured in an accident turn to social media to share details. However, social media effects on a personal injury claim can be negative, and using social media while in the midst of the claims process is not advised. The following considers what you need to know about how social media affects your personal injury claim: Social Media Posts Can Be Detrimental to Your Claim of Physical InjuryPeople who are pursuing a personal injury claim are usually doing so because, in part, they have suffered physical injuries, such as a broken leg, chronic pain, concussion, traumatic brain injury, soft tissue injury, etc. As such, they are seeking damages for two things: first, expenses associated with the injury such as the costs of staying in a hospital, and second, noneconomic damages for pain and suffering that resulted as a direct consequence of the physical injury. In order to substantiate these damages, a claimant will usually call upon medical experts, as well as any other specialists or witnesses, including family and friends, who can testify to the claimant’s pain. The job of the defense, or the person/party against whom the claim is being filed, is to do the opposite — try to drag up evidence that suggests that damages are not nearly as severe as the claimant purports. One of the best sources of evidence is social media profiles. Consider a claimant who is seeking damages for chronic pain, some loss of mobility, and an inability to enjoy physical activities that he or she once loved, such as hiking. The defense scours through the claimant’s social media pages and stumbles upon photographic evidence that suggests the contrary — photos of the claimant enjoying a beautiful hike in the mountains, while smiling, and with friends. As a result, the judge rules that the claimant is not entitled to compensation for these damages as the photos show clear and convincing evidence of not only the claimant’s physical capabilities, but of his or her enjoyment of life as well. Evidence on Social Media Can Be Used Against You to Disprove Claims of Emotional Distress In addition to physical injuries, those who are involved in accidents often suffer emotional distress as well. Loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, depression, and withdrawal and isolation are all things that have been reported by those involved in accidents. And, just like with physical injuries, a claimant who wants to be compensated for his or her emotional injuries must offer proof. The defense in a personal injury claim may turn to Facebook and other social media sites or forums, such as a claimant’s personal blog, in order to disprove claims of emotional distress, depression, etc. And the evidence that they use may be more surprising than you would think. Rather than the obvious — such as pictures of the claimant enjoying life or smiling amongst friends — the defense may use something as seemingly innocuous as posts on the claimant’s page wishing the claimant a happy birthday, while making the claim that if the claimant was socially isolated and friendless, he or she would not receive birthday wishes from so many other users. Although the link between birthday wishes on a Facebook page and depression may seem loose, be sure that the defense will pull upon anything they can in order to reduce the amount of money they are liable for. Are My Social Media Postings Public Record? The examples above raise a question of privacy, with those who have been injured in an accident asking, “Is my social media public record?” The answer is yes. Anything that you post publicly on the internet, or that others post about you, may be used as evidence and therefore used against you during a personal injury claim. Private messages cannot be accessed without consent or a warrant. Anything else, however, is up for grabs. Best Practices for Social Media Posting anything online after an accident may be dangerous to your claim, even if you think that what you are posting is harmless or is in no way related to your injury. After you have been in an accident, you should temporarily suspend all of your social media accounts. At the very least, you should be sure that your account is set to private, and that you do not accept any new friend requests during the time period after your accident. You should also ask friends and family members to refrain from posting anything related to you after your accident and to set their profiles to private as well....

If you are looking at some serious penalties or time in prison, you will want to have the best criminal defense lawyer fighting for you. If you are looking at prison time or a hefty criminal penalty, you should most likely look to hire the best criminal defense lawyer possible, unless your income qualifies you to get a court-appointed lawyer. To put it simply, the legal system is designed in such a way that, even if you have a great mind and a high IQ, representing yourself in a criminal trial in a competent manner is almost impossible. Because no one criminal case is exactly like another, criminal defense lawyers are trained to pick out the special portions of each case that make them unique. In addition, the best criminal defense lawyer for you may be able to spot certain arguments and factors that could mitigate or even negate any potential crime. When it is all said and done, getting an attorney to represent you in your criminal trial is a necessity. How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help A criminal defense lawyer has many jobs. In addition to calling witnesses in your defense and cross-examining witnesses that the prosecution puts forward, your criminal defense attorney may also: Work with you and the prosecutor to negotiate a "deal." These deals, also known as "plea bargains" can often reduce your potential sentence or eliminate some or all of the charges brought against you. However, prosecutors are often unwilling to negotiate with defendants that represent themselves. Figure out a good sentencing program for your situation. In the event that you are found guilty, your criminal defense attorney may be able to work your sentence in a way that would prevent you from winding back up in the criminal justice system. For instance, instead of going to prison for 10 months, your criminal defense attorney may suggest that you go to prison only for 6 months and spend the remaining 4 months in a drug treatment facility to help you with the drug problem that landed you in trouble in the first place. Help you with the emotions that often go along with criminal trials. Defendants in criminal prosecutions often feel embarrassed, depressed, and fearful and can also suffer from low self-esteem. Provide you with a reality check. Defense lawyers often know what is going on much better than you will during your criminal trial. Defense attorneys have the advantage of remaining objective throughout a proceeding and can offer insights into how the trial is actually going and what is likely to happen in the near future. These assessments and reality checks are often essential when a criminal defendant is trying to decide whether or not to accept a prosecutor's plea bargain. Point out important legal rules and regulations that you would most likely never find on your own. Many rules and laws about criminal prosecutions are buried within regulations and laws, and even prior court opinions. For example, if you were to represent yourself, you may never know if the search that the police conducted of your apartment was lawful or not without understanding the many nuances and intricacies surrounding the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Navigate your case through the state legal system where your case is being heard. In addition to written rules, such as the local rules of court, that must be obeyed and followed, there are often many "unwritten rules" that go along with each jurisdiction. For example, if only certain prosecutors are able to make and approve plea bargains, your criminal defense lawyer may save you time (and maybe even jail time) by talking to the right person the first time. Explain about some of the "hidden costs" that come along with pleading guilty. Many people that represent themselves never think about the consequences of pleading guilty if it could lead to a shorter sentence. For example, if you plead guilty, you may find it very hard to find a job once you have completed your punishment. Be able to spend more time and effort on a case than a defendant that chose to represent himself (after all, it is the attorney's job to represent you!). Be able to more easily gather evidence and statements from witnesses that are going to be called by the prosecution. Many witnesses, understandably so, refuse to give statements or information to people that were allegedly involved in a crime, for fear of their own safety. However, these witnesses are often much more willing to talk to an attorney about their upcoming testimony. Find and hire investigators that can investigate not only the alleged crime but also the witnesses that the prosecution is going to call to the stand. If these investigators can find evidence that would make a witness's testimony less believable, this could help your case tremendously. Find and hire "expert witnesses" that may be able to present evidence that would tend to show your innocence or rebut evidence that the prosecution presents which would make the prosecution's case less credible. Reading Books Probably Won't Help You Too Much Unbeknownst to many criminal defendants that seek to represent themselves, reading books that spell out crimes, punishments and defenses will probably not lead you to victory in your case. Indeed, there is quite a vast difference between reading about the law and actually practicing the law in court, as any seasoned lawyer will tell you. Understanding the currents, subtleties, ebbs and flows of a criminal trial is what can make the difference between winning and losing your case. The "prosecutorial discretion" is a prime example of these ebbs and flows. The simple decision of what to charge a criminal defendant with can make the difference in how a case is handled. For example, what may appear to be a simple crime on paper could realistically be cast to be a multiple count indictment, or a simple misdemeanor. Which prosecutor is charged with making this decision can have a great impact on your case. Criminal defense lawyers are skilled at negotiating with prosecutors to figure out what counts to charge. So, if you are really set on representing yourself in court, you should, at the very least, retain the best criminal defense lawyer possible to act as a coach during your trial. Free Case Review from a Criminal Defense Expert  As you can see, a good criminal defense lawyer can not only make your job easier, but also improve your chances of winning your case or obtaining a more favorable plea bargain. Even if you qualify for a court-appointed attorney, there's nothing keeping you from speaking with an experienced attorney to obtain a second opinion on your case. The good news is that there are criminal defense attorneys near you who are available to provide a free legal review of your case. Reach out to one today....

There’s more to filing for divorce than simply submitting your complaint to the court. Following these ten tips will help you achieve a better outcome in your divorce. Be Certain You Want to Get Divorced While this may seem obvious, the decision to get divorced is an emotional one, and shouldn’t be made when you’re feeling overly emotional. Make sure you’ve exhausted all hope of reconciliation before you file for divorce. Once you’ve served your spouse with divorce papers, it can be difficult to go back on that decision, even if you’ve changed your mind. The court can grant a divorce even if only one spouse wants to end the marriage. If you’d still like to give marital counseling a try, do so before you file for divorce. Interview Attorneys It’s a good idea to interview more than one attorney before you decide to file for divorce. You’ll want to work with an attorney that fits your style, and understands your goals for litigation. Avoid lawyers who offer you solutions before listening to the particular facts of your case. Attorneys come at different price points and experience levels. Gather Financial Documents Divorce cases depend heavily on documentation. Your financial account records, phone records, mortgages, and car notes are all likely relevant to the divorce. To the extent possible, gather all the documents you’ll need for your case before filing for divorce. If you and your spouse have a shared file of paper records in your home, make copies of everything before meeting with your attorney. It’s also smart to obtain records of your shared online accounts. Not all spouses react well to being served with divorce papers, and some will make it difficult to access documents after you’ve filed. Save yourself potential future headaches by getting your hands on the documents ahead of time. Determine Your Goals for Custody If you have children, their custody situation is probably at the forefront of your mind when getting a divorce. You should know that, absent extreme circumstances, you and your spouse will end up sharing custody of the children. It’s a good idea to sit down and carefully review your work schedule, your children’s schedule, and your other obligations and come up with your desired schedule for custody. If you can come up with a arrangement that gives both you and your spouse time with the children, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of most people who file for divorce. Make Necessary Purchases or Sales In most jurisdictions, the judge automatically issues an order at the beginning of your divorce case that prohibits you or your spouse from selling, buying, or otherwise encumbering or disposing of any marital property. Courts do this to prevent either spouse from draining the bank accounts, or dissipating the marital estate out of spite. If you’ve long been meaning to upgrade your car, or sell a rental property, you’ll be prevented from doing so if you file for divorce first. While it’s not appropriate to drain the bank accounts before filing for divorce (as that can come back to bite you), if you have a legitimate sale or purchase that’s been in the works, it’s best to complete it before filing for divorce. Figure Out Your Living Situation Do you want to stay in the same house with your spouse during the divorce? Do you plan to move elsewhere? Do you want your spouse to move out? Decide what your goals are for your living situation, both during and after the divorce. How you behave in the weeks and months leading up to your divorce can affect your chances of winning use of the marital residence during the divorce. For example, moving in with a relative or friend in the weeks leading up to your divorce won’t help your chances of staying in the residence during the divorce. Speak with your attorney about how to best position yourself for the living situation you desire. Talk to an Attorney About Joint Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Depending on how you and your spouse handle your joint financial accounts and credit cards, your attorney may advise you to close the accounts or leave them the same. You don’t want to be in a situation where your spouse has the ability to run up bills in your name or drain the bank accounts – both circumstances may take the entire divorce to sort out. Your attorney can best advise you about whether you should divide the accounts in half, close them, or leave them the same before filing for divorce. Don’t Live Like You’re Single Even if your marriage is for all intents and purposes over, refrain from living the single life prior to filing for divorce. In most jurisdictions, even if you and your spouse are living separately, having a romantic relationship with another person is still considered adultery. Additionally, a judge may consider money you spend on a paramour dissipation of the marital estate, and could require you to reimburse your spouse for those expenditures. In any case, it typically doesn’t help your case to have started another relationship before your divorce has been filed. In some states you can begin a relationship after filing for divorce; speak with your attorney about how the court will view dating before your divorce is complete. Prepare a Marital Balance Sheet You can’t decide your financial goals for your divorce without having an accurate picture of your assets and debts. While it’s not usually necessary to hire an accountant prior to filing for divorce, it’s a good idea to put together a simple balance sheet showing all of your assets and debts. Include real property, cars, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other assets, as well as any mortgages, notes, credit cards, and other debts. This can give you an idea of what you and your spouse will split, and you can start working on your desired division of the marital estate. Determining your total assets can also help you set a budget for how much to spend on your attorney and the divorce litigation. One often overlooked aspect of divorce is the emotional toll it may take on you and your family. Just as important as hiring an attorney and obtaining relevant documents is surrounding yourself with people who can help you through this difficult time. Develop a Support Network One often overlooked aspect of divorce is the emotional toll it may take on you and your family. Just as important as hiring an attorney and obtaining relevant documents is surrounding yourself with people who can help you through this difficult time. If you have the financial means, it can help to speak with a therapist or other mental health professional. At the very least, speak with friends who have been through divorce. Let your family and friends know that you’ll be leaning on them for advice and moral support. Being emotionally stable will better prepare you to make smart decisions as your divorce progresses....

child custody Custody issues can confront people in many different circumstances. Perhaps a custody issue has arisen due to a divorce or maybe two unmarried parents have to decide on which parent will have custody of the child. Regardless of the situation, custody is always a difficult and emotional issue that is rarely solved in one trip to court. One of the most important things to remember regarding custody in Virginia is that the law considers a court’s ruling on custody to be modifiable based on a material change in circumstances. Permitting modification of the custody order allows parents the opportunity to petition the court to make changes to the Order when a significant change has occurred in their lives and family dynamic. Below are some answers to questions that you probably have if you find yourself facing a custody issue: “What court hears custody disputes?” Depending on the situation surrounding your custody dispute, either the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court or the Circuit court will have jurisdiction over your case. If the custody issue has arisen from a divorce proceeding then typically the issue will be dealt with in circuit court and if it has arisen outside a divorce, it will be dealt with in juvenile court. Lorem ipsum amet consetetur sadipscing elised diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores. Cleveland Slaughter BUSINESSWOMAN UNCONTENSTED DIVORCES An uncontested divorce is filed on the grounds of separation vs. a contested fault based divorce where one party files on a ground such as adultery, cruelty or desertion. The ability to file an uncontested divorce is hugely desirable for many couples that wish to separate and divorce under the best possible circumstances for themselves and their families. An uncontested divorce protects couples from ever having to see the inside of the courtroom and provides a timely end to a troublesome and difficult situation. The requirements for filing an uncontested divorce are as follows: 1. Separation: The couple must have been living separate and apart for the required statutory period of either: a. One year, or b. If there were no children born of the couple’s marriage and the couple has a signed separation agreement (also known as property  settlement agreement) then for six months; 2. All of the issues have been agreed to by the parties; and 3. Child support, spousal support, custody, and/or visitation is either a. Not Requested; or b. Agreed in a written and signed agreement. Important for you to remember if you are separated and intend to file an uncontested divorce: Resumption of sexual relations or living together will reset the clock on the separation period to zero and the time will be calculated from the last occasion where there was cohabitation....