Questions to Ask a Lawyer After a Dog Attack

It is estimated that every day in the United States, an average of one thousand people become victims of an attack by a dog. Whether that person experiences a mild nip or suffers a more severe injury, it is important to make sure all parties involved come to an agreement that benefits the person bitten. We may think of the possibility of a dog attack and feel confident it will never happen to us or a loved one, but the fact remains that if you are near a dog the risk is always there. Even a dog you know who has acted friendly toward you in the past may try to bite without warning.

The possibility, too, that an attack in which you are involved is perpetrated by a friend’s or relative’s dog may make your situation awkward. On the one hand, you or your child is hurt and may need to seek medical attention. On the other, the dog in question may have been friendly to you in the past and is likely a beloved pet of somebody you have known for years. It is no surprise that many dog bites go unreported in this country for fear of straining personal relationships. Would you want to cause a rift with a best friend or cousin over a dog bite? You may not be bothered to do anything for a warning nip, but what if the bite requires stitches and shots? What if the dog bit a child, and your son or daughter becomes deathly afraid of animals as a result?

In severe situations, if medical and/or psychiatric help is needed somebody will have to pay the bills. Dealing with insurance companies can prove frustrating, particularly if one hedges in compensating you for your injuries. If the dog’s owner is insured, you should work with him/her to make sure they have all the information so they can handle payment of any medical expenses. You may also wish to consult with a personal injury attorney who works with victims of dog bites. As you search for a good lawyer, you’ll want to keep a few questions in mind.

1) What steps do I need to take? If you have already seen a doctor about the injury, what information does the lawyer need?

2) How will the lawyer mediate between you and the dog’s owner?

3) What happens if the owner’s insurance company denies the claim?

4) What type of compensation can you get?

You want to preserve your relationship with the dog’s owner, but if you or your child is injured you must also take steps to completely recover. Seeking help with a personal injury attorney can help you.

Mediation in Custody Cases – Divorce Lawyers Recommend Mediation in Child Custody Disputes

Until they enter a courtroom for a custody hearing, most parents don’t realize how much control the court has over matters of the heart. There is no such thing as a “cookie-cutter” family, and not every divorce can be handled in a mechanical fashion, but family courts are not set up to deal with all the vagaries of each case, nor can they fashion the law to meet the needs of each unique situation. This is why; when it comes to custody, divorce lawyers strongly recommend mediation.

According to his book, Divorce Mediation’s Astonishing Costs/Benefits, Dr. Robert Emery concludes that families benefit from the persistent benefits of being able to control their own destiny through mediation. Rather than giving the court the power to make these decisions for you, this book empowers families to make the choices that best suit their family’s needs.

Divorce lawyers strongly support the use of mediation, whenever possible, to resolve disputes over custody. In this safer and more cooperative environment, trained mediators, couples and attorneys can sit down and work out a plan that is in the best interests of the children.

Mediation allows couples to open up more and start a constructive dialogue about how they want their post-divorce family to function, without the structure and formality of a courtroom setting. Decisions that are made in this format are more effective and lasting, because the individual parties take ownership of them.

According to Dr. Emery, “how you negotiate your divorce settlement is going to start you down a path that you will be walking for many years to come.” Working with an experienced divorce lawyer, as well as a child custody mediator, can help you prepare for a more amicable post-divorce relationship.

Pat Marrison Law is owner of Marrison Family Law, is devoted to family law in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. For over a quarter century, Pat has handled Colorado Springs legal cases involving divorce, military divorce, spousal maintenance, child custody, support and visitation, marital property division, adoption and paternity suites.

What Is Mediated Divorce?

When spouses have decided that divorce will be the best option for their relationship and their family, they do not have to feel limited to settling these important matters in a courtroom. Though court may be the right option for some couples, others may find alternative measures to settle their divorce are most effective. Mediated divorce is a relatively recent development in these types of proceedings, allowing spouses to work together to settle the terms of their separation without stepping into a courtroom.

Mediated divorce utilizes a third-party mediator to facilitate the decisions that must be made during a divorce. Though there are few formal qualifications for mediators in most states, it is important for couples to choose this person carefully. In order for this type of process to be effective for a divorcing couple, the two people must be willing to work together and compromise as needed. Choosing a mediator together is a great way for spouses to set the stage for an effective divorce proceeding.

An experienced divorce lawyer often makes an excellent mediator for families who are considering a divorce of this kind. Divorce lawyers have a great knowledge of what issues and concerns must be handled in a divorce. Also, a good divorce lawyer will be able to help each side determine what is most important to them both and help them reach a decision they can be satisfied with. This type of divorce proceeding puts the power of decision-making back into the hands of the people it affects most.

Top DUI Attorney in Glendale, AZ

DUI is also known as Driving Under the Influence. The influence is mainly due to intoxication by being under the influence of alcohol or any drug. It is the act of operating any motorized machinery after or during consuming alcohol or other drugs. DUI or DWI are synonymous terms that represent the criminal offense of operating (or in some jurisdictions merely being in physical control of) a motor vehicle while being under the power of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. It is a criminal offense in most countries.

A DUI Attorney is a person who can help a person charged under the DUI law. A lot of people are booked under such cases because of the increasing rate of drug/alcohol consumption. Therefore, a lawyer is a person who can help you. A DUI attorney can provide you a wide range of advantages. A DUI lawyer possesses good experience when it comes to defending DUI suspects and they are acquainted with the DUI laws of their state. They even propose the best deal when it comes to bargaining with the prosecutor and the case.

Most of the countries have taken strict rules for anyone who is convicted of injuring or killing someone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He or She can be heavily fined, as in France, in addition to being given a lengthy prison sentence. Many states in the U.S. have adopted truth in sentencing laws that enforce strict guidelines on sentencing. For example, if a defendant is sentenced to ten years, he or she will be in prison for that entire time. This is different from past practice where prison time was reduced or suspended after sentencing had been issued. A DUI charge can be frustrating and depressing and it can result in serious consequences. So a DUI attorney is first and essential requirement.

DUI attorneys will also be able to help you get a driver’s license back and/or have the DUI charge reduced or dismissed. If the suspect was arrested for driving under the influence and had his license administratively suspended by the arresting officer through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a DUI attorney can appeal the license suspension and, hopefully, recover the license before going to court. This will allow the suspect to keep driving until the case is in trial, while the judge has not decided whether or not to revoke or suspend the license criminally.

If the suspect in a DUI case is a first time offender, the DUI lawyer maybe able to have the charge reduced to a reckless driving. This will result in lesser fines, a reduced time of probation, a reduced sentence all together and may not involve a trial in the court. Last but not the least, one of the most important benefits of using a DUI attorney is that he or she will be able to determine if the officer has reasonable cause to stop the driver and whether there was reasonable cause to have the driver conduct DUI test. At the same time they would know whether or not the test was conducted properly.

DUI laws keep on changing from time to time and only a lawyer knows them completely and in-depth. Sometimes you may feel that instead of presenting a defense, accepting your offense is better. But your attorney will definitely help you in many ways. You should completely brief him about your case as your attorney should have full details of the happening. A DUI Attorney is also required because your reputation is at the stake if you are booked under the case.

Those are the reasons why people need a criminal defense attorney. Whether someone was arrested for simple DUI or extreme DUI, chances are they will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony and will need the proper representation. For more information about DUI Attorney Glendale AZ, I highly recommend you to review AC Law Group. AC Law Group is the law firm to call in Glendale AZ. They are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will help protect your rights.

All in all, if you are booked under DUI case then you should hire a DUI attorney. One should not choose a lawyer who is a generalist in all criminal cases but a specialist who gives you the best advice on your case and takes the administrative license suspension as serious as the criminal charges.

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The Mediation Process – Some Real Benefits

Unknown to many there is a certain amount of benefits to be derived from mediation, as in relation to a dramatic court battle. Individuals who are in this category lack the knowledge of the benefits one may find within the legal system. However, known to others are the tremendous amounts of advantages the process of mediation can, and will bestow, upon them instead of losing in a court dispute.

Naturally, since mediation is not a formal proceeding inside a court room, it may be more cost-effective than experiencing the glitter and depressing results of a courtroom “win-lose” drama. Mediation is a notch below being in court before an indignant judge, who is looking for a winner and a loser in the final decision to be rendered. Additionally, less time will pass during mediation. Courtroom time is more consuming and the cases are longer. Mediation is more flexible; whereas, the court’s calendar is more rigorous. Mediation is less stressful and is time efficient, as in relation to the courtroom where it is more stressful and less flexible.

Furthermore, many mediators may use a flat fee structure that is set up front; whereas, a lawyer may use a high hourly fee where the final amount is unknown until the case is over. Additionally, mediation may call for a variety of fee scales for the benefit of the parties depending on what action is being taken. However, in the alternative, fees from professional litigators, such as lawyers, must be watched.

Obviously, mediators are more accessible as in relation to lawyers who are not. There is an increased quality and quantity of communication during mediation; whereas, in the legal courtroom action, such quality communication may be one-sided from the lawyers only. Mediation will allow for creativity in the agreement process and also a tailored solution by the parties without confusing legalese’s language from the lawyers.

Mediation is future focused very quickly on how the parties will move forward, while courtroom drama will require digging up acts from the past as evidence. Naturally, there is a greater degree of working together in mediation, working things out, and an opportunity to be heard; whereas, in the courtroom only the lawyers may speak in most cases. Additionally, the parties are somewhat assured that what is important will be heard in mediation from their own lips and not just the lawyer’s version.

Finally, one big advantage of mediation also has over courtroom drama, is that the sessions maybe conducted online. Furthermore, courtroom drama may require the presence of the parties in many cases. If they are not present an arrest warrant may be issued for the defendant and/or the plaintiff’s case dismissed.

Both Sides Win in Divorce Mediation

A divorce is rarely a pleasant thing. However, there are many more situations that can make a divorce even more problematic. For example, when the two of you have trouble communicating and you cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, separation of property and other details. Another burden of divorce is the expense that is involved.

Divorces are very costly and the more you debate about and need attorneys to go to court about, the more it’s going to cost you. The both of you will end up putting a lot of money in your attorney’s pockets but maybe still not feeling like you have resolved anything.

This type of legal battle often turns two people who just want to go their separate ways into long time enemies. But there is another option that might work for you. If you are seeking divorce and you both agree to go your separate ways but you are not 100% in agreement over other arrangements such as bills, property or other shared items from your marriage, then consider divorce mediation instead of lawyers.

Mediation is part of a legal process known as Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, and it can greatly help you find common ground over your divorce without the long and expensive process of going through the courts.

For example, if you and your partner are arguing over who gets the house or who is responsible for which joint bills you had together, then you can work together with a third party who is not bound to either one of you in a financial manner and work it out through mediation.

This will give you the opportunity to talk about what you want and share your feelings without feeling like you will be judged or attacked. The mediator can hear both sides and help you find an agreement that you both are happy with. You will walk away from the experience feeling like you have resolved something and that there is a conclusion you can live with, instead of like one party “won” and the other one “lost” while really you both spent a ton more money than was needed to resolve the issues.

In divorce mediation through ADR, both sides can win. You can be adults about your separation and handle the issues in a mature way, with just a little help.


In a mediation process, the parties approach their case with the objective of seeking peaceful resolution. Mediation can take place through or with no attorneys in attendance, and can have diverse arrangements and approaches depending on the training and preference of the mediator and the inclinations of the parties.

Transformative mediation is premeditated to facilitate the parties attain insights and reach deep resolution of underlying emotional issues, which makes available the key to resolving more on the surface issues. Transformative mediation is a comparatively new expansion in the mediation line of work, and requires a highly urbanized and difficult to get hold of skill-set by the mediator. It is practiced by relatively few mediators.

Facilitative is the mainly common type of mediation, and uses methods to aid a discussion between the parties with the objective to come to a declaration that is right for them, free of legal rights. Facilitative mediation tends to be need-based instead of rights-based mediation, and will more or less always have the parties jointly in the same room with the mediator. Facilitative mediation will time and again assist parties by having them work on communication and problem-solving skills during the mediation assembly.

The key disadvantage to facilitative and transformative mediation is the inadequate information and support that is provided. The mediator have to stay neutral, usually may not offer legal or other guidance, and there not even be a requirement that important information is disclosed by the parties. Mediation and compromise almost always means that one or both sides willingly give up a few legal rights. Facilitative mediation is almost certainly not suitable where there is a noteworthy disparity in negotiating power, such as in cases of physical or emotional abuse, or if one of the parties feels cowed by the other. If you are in such a situation but are considering mediation, it will be important to communicate your concerns to the mediator at the beginning of the session.

Hence, “evaluative” mediation is the replica most frequently practiced by lawyer-mediators, the mediator shares his/her viewpoint of how the court might view the legal issues, and will try to forge agreement based on the mediator’s view of the law. Lawyer-mediators trained in both facilitative and evaluative models may use various hybrid approaches to help the parties reach agreement. If successful, the mediation results in a written agreement and agreed court orders to formalize the agreement.

The main disadvantages with evaluative mediation are that it usually happens after parties have been well-established in their positions, and decisions are made on the basis of the strength of legal positions rather than on the basis of what is most important to the parties. Generally, both sides are pushed to finding the middle ground from their positions, with the result that both may feel bitterness. The process tends to be expensive and inefficient because the parties are usually in separate rooms and cannot talk to each other. Because of the unsatisfactory emotional component, a sizable number of settlements that result from evaluative mediations tend to be relatively short-lived, as resentful parties may be reluctant to comply with decisions they feel they were pushed into.

How to Choose a Mediator

When you go looking for a mediator, you are likely to find a few basic types competing to provide you services.

Many litigators like using retired judges. It helps the lawyers to have someone else push their clients toward settlement. These people know the law and every trick the lawyers might pull. They tolerate no nonsense. If your case will draw on their long courtroom experience knocking heads together, then you should seriously consider using someone like this. The flip side is that some of them are so used to the gravitas of their former position that they become one-trick ponies. They play shuttle diplomat, taking turns beating up each side on the weakness of its case until settlement occurs. In mediator-lingo, they tend to be highly “evaluative.”

Then there are lawyer-mediators. Like retired judges, these people have a high tolerance level for conflict, know the law and know the tricks of the lawyer trade. They may have experience in the walk of life that is the subject of the mediation. They can be evaluative but the better ones have more in their toolkit. Their professional backgrounds are based on clients coming to them for advice and solutions, so sometimes they have a hard time stepping back and not pressing the parties toward what they think is the “right” answer. However, that tendency can sometimes help the parties come up with creative solutions.

Most therapist-mediators (psychologists or social workers) have no trouble being neutral and non-directive. It is their professional training. They understand that the parties may need a patient observer and safe space to talk things out and can be terrific at facilitating that discussion. However, sometimes, as with everyone else, their background gets in the way: they have to learn to push toward closure even if there are lingering emotional issues. They have to avoid the urge to “help.” Also, while many therapist-mediators can navigate the emotional storm of a divorce or family dispute better than the average lawyer, in other areas their experience may not be as strong.

Specialist mediators are people who have worked or studied in the area in which the dispute is taking place. They have great substantive knowledge and a deep understanding of the field of play. They can speak the language. The flip side is that they may have a hard time going outside the conventions of the industry to help the parties craft a solution and, depending on how extensive their mediation training is, may rely more on their substantive knowledge than their toolkit of dispute resolution tools.

Everybody has pluses and minuses, and these generalizations do not apply to everyone. There are empathetic former judges, hard-bitten social workers, creative and patient lawyers and versatile specialists. Most of us strive for balance in all these qualities, and as the mediation field is evolving we learn more and more about what works in different situations. As a prospective user of mediation services, you should consider the alternatives and the personal qualities of the person or people you choose to help you resolve your disagreement.

Is Divorce Mediation Right For Your Situation?

Divorce mediation is a process whereby a mediator works with both parties to reach an agreement on all terms. A mediator is there only to keep the process structured and help each party accomplish their goals as much as possible.

The objective is to be able to have an open discussion and sharing of ideas to make progress. The mediator keeps each party in check so there is no yelling or talking over one another. Both sides are able to express their desires, and the mediator helps organize all the information and identifies the major issues.

Mediation serves as a forum for discussing all the major issues related to divorce. The ultimate goal is to come up with solutions that the two sides can agree to. This will involve each side compromising on certain issues as well. Generally, all the issues related to divorce are either classified as division of assets and debts, financial support, and parenting.

The ultimate advantage of this process is that it allows the parties a chance to resolve the issues on their own, as opposed to having a judge do it for them. This increases the likelihood that both sides will be content with the outcomes.

Mediation is also less hostile often times than litigation. This makes it a lot easier on the children as well, as opposed to having it drag on in court for months or even years. It’s far more simple and straightforward, and doesn’t require the need for lawyers to get involved unless desired.

Divorce mediation can be used to resolve all issues. Even if domestic violence has been a part of the relationship, mediation is still a possibility as long as the abused party agrees to it. Any concerns can be relayed to the mediator, attorney, or hearing officer.

Always keep in mind that you or the other party can withdraw from mediation at any time.

As mentioned, divorce lawyers don’t have to be apart of the process. This is strictly up to each side. You can consult a divorce lawyer before mediation to get a better understanding of what to expect and advice on decision making. Lawyers can be present during the session(s) as well. When an agreement is in place, then both sides are encouraged to review the terms with a lawyer.

Mediation is not always the best route for every case, but can be ideal if both sides are more concerned about what’s best for their children and want to have a good post-divorce relationship.

What Does a Family Mediator Do?

Recently, a friend called from out of town and asked me about mediation. He and his wife are getting divorced, and he was having a problem negotiating with her. While they are really not that far apart in their positions, nothing was happening because he and his wife were having difficulty communicating. Since my friend couldn’t be objective, I thought he may not be the right person to start the negotiations. It is almost impossible to negotiate if one party is involved and can’t see the “forest for the trees.” Since they were using a family mediator, I suggested that he speak to the mediator and have him negotiate. My friend’s response was a little perplexing; this mediator wanted the parties to negotiate between themselves, which I found difficult to understand. That brought me to the topic of this article of “what does a family mediator do?”

A mediator is like an ombudsman who negotiates between parties. In order to negotiate fairly and neutrally for both parties, a mediator must understand the parties’ needs. To make that determination, a mediator must have good listening skills, patience, tolerance, flexibility, creativity, and persistence, as well as the ability to handle conflict and be empathetic to the affected parties. While listening to the parties, the mediator must also be very careful not to project his or her opinions or values onto the parties and risk introducing issues that are not the concern of the parties themselves.

Once the mediator has helped the parties narrow the scope of the issues important to them, he or she will often meet privately with one party or the other in order to present the other party’s point of view, This meeting, known as a caucus, is private so that a mediator can challenge one party’s position, without diminishing it in front of the other party. The mediator might challenge the party by pointing out the weaknesses of their position, for example. Though this evaluative method is very useful to bring parties closer to an agreement, it also risks alienating the party. Often, if the mediator voices the other party’s point of view too strongly, the mediator may appear to take sides. This can usually be alleviated in advance; if the mediator includes some explanation of this evaluative role at the beginning of the process, the parties will know that what the mediator does to one, he or she will do to the other equally.

The mediator, as an objective third party, is often able to identify options that the parties might not think of themselves. This creative component of a mediator’s role is the one most mediators enjoy. Warring parties often become so entrenched in their positions that they see agreement only as weakness. The mediator, however, can often craft solutions that can incorporate elements of compromise and gain for each party. Being able to “think out of the box” is, therefore, a critical skill for an effective mediator. The mediator may go back and forth between the parties in an attempt to move them closer to a consensus until a resolution is reached.

If an agreement is reached, the mediator must ensure that it is reduced to writing. That does not mean that the mediator must be the scrivener, however. When parties are represented by attorneys, the attorneys will usually write the agreement with the mediator merely ensuring that it is done. If the parties are unrepresented, then the mediator will usually draft the agreement as well. Once drafted, each party must sign the agreement, which then becomes binding on the parties and enforceable. In family mediation, the agreement is called a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) and will include a Parenting Plan if there are children in involved. Once signed, the MSA is presented to the judge in a final hearing (like a trial), in which the judge will incorporate the agreement into an order that can be enforced by the court.

While we are on the topic of what a mediator does, it begs the question: what does a mediator not do? Firstly, a mediator can’t practice law or whatever secondary profession they have while mediating. A mediator must at all times be an unbiased and objective third party whose sole role is to facilitate the mediation process.

The mediator is there to assist the parties in reaching an agreement that they craft together. When the parties are represented, it is easy to let the attorneys answer any legal questions that arise. The harder scenario is when parties are not represented. The mediator can provide information required for the parties to make informed decisions. Even if the mediator is an attorney, however, he or she may not apply that legal information to the specific facts of the parties’ case and provide legal opinions. The only legal advice the lawyer/mediator may give is that the parties have a right to hire a lawyer to assist them with the mediation and the case. Similarly, if the mediator is a psychologist or therapist, and discovers that the clients or their children require counseling during the process, the mediator may suggest that the parties get counseling. Even if the mediator is a counselor, however, the mediator should not do the counseling.

Whether the mediation is a divorce, contract, foreclosure, or any other matter, the mediator’s role is the same. He or she must serve as an unbiased objective third party to assist the parties in resolving their disputes. In order to do so, the mediator must identify and clarify the issues for the parties, evaluate and test the parties’ positions, try to find creative solutions that allow each party to gain and compromise, and ensure that any agreement reached is reduced to writing. Despite whatever additional training a mediator has, the mediator may not serve in any other capacity to the clients. Though still fairly new, mediation has becomes an important tool within our legal system for resolving disputes that saves people time, money, and helps preserve relationships.

Howard Chusid, Ed.D, LMHC, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, and a Board Certified Professional Counselor. He is also a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Circuit Civil Mediator and a Qualified Arbitrator. Howard works with a group of caring professionals who offer a cooperative approach to divorce and other family disputes. Each professional provides the support services necessary to navigate the many complex issues people face during the confrontational times that break up creates. We can be reached at The Helping Place, LLC at 954-455-0388.