Family Lawyers & Therapists Work Together on Divorce

family lawyers and therapists

Picture for a moment the following Florida collaborative divorce scenario. We’re inside a Bay Area law office. Two people who have decided to dissolve their marriage due to irreconcilable differences sit across from each other at a table. Each is flanked by family lawyers and therapists. The nervousness is palpable.

The soon to be ex-husband repeatedly sips from an over sized cup of coffee; the nearly ex-wife taps her index finger on the mahogany table in an endless percussion. The therapists and lawyers begin the meeting by stating what their clients hope to achieve, and the mood in the room changes to one of acceptance.

Divorce is not a lovely process by any means, but collaborative divorce proceedings can lessen the painful journey, says St. Petersburg therapist KathyDan Moore, LMFT. You can open a tab to her page by holding the Ctrl key and clicking here. This is not a courtroom; no judge presides with the gavel at the ready. Others are not deciding the fate of these plaintiffs. They entered into this marriage contract on their own terms, and they will now dissolve it. They have the control. This is the main benefit of collaborative divorce.

After all the arguments and impasse, the most painful decision has already been made: this marriage will soon be over. What remains is the aftermath. And these lawyers and therapists are there to help. Meetings with just the lawyers may have already occurred; now, this joint meeting is the kickoff for a timeline of mutual agreeance. What financial and custody agreements must be solidified before this marriage ends? It’s decided here. Inside this room is the beginning of the end. And after all the months of fighting, that realization is comforting.

The therapists remind the couple that thanks to their willingness to undertake Florida collaborative divorce, a judge will not be the one who has the final say in their settlement. These spouses have decided to limit emotional pain by collaborating with professionals trained in such cases – and by doing so, they will limit the financial fallout of the divorce as well. Both nod. They are willing to go through the divorce process without adversarial attitudes.

Even though they understand what they hope to accomplish from the meeting, as the session progresses, negative emotions flare.  One spouse points at the partner’s lack of daily help with child-rearing as a reason for lessened visitation and begins listing all the ways he has fallen short of paternal expectations. He counters with a reminder of his breadwinner status in the relationship and therefore his lack of time.

The therapists manage the situation and remind their clients of the goal at hand. Cooperation is tantamount to the success of Florida collaborative divorce; without it, a more traditional divorce proceeding will be necessary. Both parties share information openly and state what they hope to keep from the union. By speaking clearly and without passion, they are able to come to an agreement.

The therapists had already pre-qualified this couple for the collaborative divorce process, so it’s not surprising that by the end of the hour, there’s a solid plan in place for dissolution. If an agreement had not been reached, new lawyers would have had to be hired and litigation begun.

The session is over. The lawyers leave to draw up a Marriage Settlement Agreement, which the spouses will willingly sign. And that courtroom battle that seemed inevitable months ago during all the disagreements? It never comes close to fruition.

For more information about collaborative divorce and how involving both a therapist and a Florida divorce attorney can save you time, money and heartache during marriage dissolution, visit the website for the Coleman Law Group.

Truck Accident? Here’s what you need to know.

Truck and highway at sunset. Truck Car in motion blur. Truck accident

A truck accident brings with it unique legal questions and challenges. That’s not surprising – after all, commercial trucks loaded to the brim can exceed 80,000 pounds in weight, and accidents involving such heft can be truly devastating. Still, a large truck’s involvement in a fender-bender does not immediately guarantee that the driver is at fault. Read below as we outline some of the legal basics to understand regarding truck accidents.

Comparative negligence still applies. Yes, that truck is huge. And yes, the driver may have swerved at an inopportune time, leading to a jackknife. Cars may be smashed domino-style down a whole stretch of highway. But what of the carelessness shown by the other drivers involved? Were one or more in the truck’s blind spot? Was a motorist weaving in and out of traffic, cutting off the truck’s path at the worst moment possible? Remember: It is still possible to prevail in a lawsuit when a driver is partially at fault – but if the percentage of culpability is high, chances are low or nil.

You may or may not be able to sue the trucking company that employs the driver. Many truck drivers are independent contractors. One week they may haul tomatoes, oranges and grapefruit; the next, they may be at the steering wheel of a baked goods rig. Drivers who are in fact employed directly by the company whose goods they are hauling have an employment relationship with that company. Therefore, the company in theory can be held liable.

The same holds true for hazardous materials. Imagine a truck accident occurs and a slurry of hazardous waste spills onto the ground, releasing airborne pathogens and affecting the health of nearby passengers. If it can be proven that the driver was not offered proper training for such a haul, damages may be sought. It is the hazardous material company’s duty to inform the driver that what they are carrying can cause real harm.

When the other driver is at fault, recovering for lost wages due to injury is reasonable. Hopefully, your injuries are mild and recovery is swift. Even minor injuries can mean lost wages, however, and just as with a regular automobile accident, you are entitled to sue for lost income. In this case, make sure you retain a truck accident lawyer to review the case. He or she will look at each detail of the accident and deduce whether you stand to benefit from a lawsuit.

Commercial trucks are modern-day mammoths of our roadways, and when they are improperly operated, injury or death can occur. If you are a victim of a truck accident and have questions about your rights as a victim, contact the Coleman Law Group at (727) 214-0400 for a free consultation.

Uber SCREWS UP? Who’s at Fault in a Rideshare Accident?

Yellow Taxi Sign On Roof Of Car. Uber accident rideshare accident

You’re relaxing in the cushy backseat of an Uber when the driver takes your comment I’m in a bit of a hurry literally and runs a red light. What happens when a rideshare goes bad? Read below as we examine who is at fault in a rideshare accident and what you can expect if you’ve been involved in one.

Think Uber, Lyft and services like these are solely transportation organizations? Guess again. They’re technology conduits that connect drivers with passengers. As pure transportation companies, taxis fall under a whole different legal umbrella than rideshares. This difference can be major when it comes to seeking recompense for personal injuries.

Let’s examine Uber in particular. Part of that fee you paid to the driver includes what the company calls a ‘safe driver fee.’ That money goes to cover driving safety education and background checks. Even a huge company like Uber can’t control the traffic, though. Therefore, they cannot guarantee your total safety while out on the roads. No one can.

Not only can Uber not issue this guarantee, but anyone injured in a rideshare accident can’t expect the same treatment as, say, someone injured by a trucker employed full-time by a single company. Rideshare drivers operate as independent contractors. Therefore, their company can deny liability in many cases.

When the Uber is not available to rides sharers and is being driven for personal use, the company absolutely assumes no liability. However, let’s say that the Uber is available to accept passengers and an accident occurs. In this instance, the driver’s personal insurance policy comes into play, but if they requested coverage through Uber and the damages exceed their personal liability limits, payouts will come from Uber’s policy.

What about when the wreck in question involves an Uber driver carrying a passenger? This is where Uber’s liability policy can be accessed. Both the driver and the passenger could be covered. The main word here is could.

If you’ve been involved in an accident as a rideshare driver or passenger and believe that the rideshare company has not given you your just recompense, contact the Coleman Law Group. Our compassionate, aggressive lawyers will examine the nuances of your case and give you our honest opinion regarding your chances in court. Each of our lawyers is dedicated to specific cases, ensuring that full attention is given to each client.

No rideshare should end in pain and suffering, lost wages or other hindrances. Those who experience such loss may be eligible to bring a civil suit against the rideshare company or the driver’s personal insurer. For more information, contact the Coleman Law Group at (727) 214-0400 for a free consultation.