April 12

Ease the Strain of a Contested Divorce

While it is true that in many cases of divorce, the couple decides, together, that dissolving the marriage is the best course of action, many cases are not so easily resolved. In fact, contested divorce cases are commonly portrayed in the media, especially among couples with complex assets, children, business interest, or multiple properties. In the real world of divorce, the fact is that in many cases, one spouse wants to divorce the other, regardless of the other spouse’s feelings or wishes. When this happens, the divorce becomes contested and emotional, and often results in a courtroom battle for resolution.

How to Avoid Courtroom Drama

Even unhappy couples can avoid a lengthy and expensive courtroom battle by following some simple guidelines provided by expert divorce mediators. As such, divorce experts recommend the following to ease the strain of a contested divorce:

Get Help – At the first sign of a contentious battle brewing, divorcing couples should consider seeking the professional guidance of a counselor, divorce coach, or mediator. These individuals are trained to be objective, supportive parties to the divorce process, and can provide a safe, constructive approach to resolving conflict.

Show Compassion – Compassion is not one of the most common terms used in the same sentence as divorce. Even so, experts recommend showing compassion as one way to ease the strain of divorce. Even if the spouses cannot agree on an issue, it is important that they each attempt to show compassion and understanding for the feelings and desires of the other.

Communicate – Communication is one of the most important keys to a successful divorce. Both spouses should make an earnest attempt to be forthcoming, honest, and respectful during the process of divorce. Defensiveness, anger, and bitterness will only widen the gap between the spouses, which often results in additional conflict.

Take Time – Just like planning a wedding takes time often, so does divorce as well. If one spouse does not want to divorce, it may be helpful for the couple to take some time to consider the situation and determine the best way to proceed. In many cases, it just takes a bit of time for both parties to come to an understanding of the feelings and desires of the other.

Find all Options – A heated, contentious battle does not have to be the answer when one spouse wants divorce and the other does not. For many couples, options like divorce mediation or an uncontested divorce provide non-contentious options for dissolving the marriage, which does not require appearing before a judge. The best way to determine what options are available is to speak with an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with West Virginia’s divorce laws and guidelines.

April 12

West Virginia Shows High Rate of Fatal Automobile Accidents

It is an unfortunate reality that many automobile accidents in West Virginia result in fatal injuries. In addition to the loss of life, fatal automobile accidents result in financial hardship, pain and suffering, and in many cases, property loss as well. Even the most cautious, safe motorists can fall victim to the tragic events that surround automobile accidents, and in some cases, accidents are just that – and are unpreventable. However, in many cases, fatal automobile accidents are the result of negligence, recklessness, or preventable situations.

While understanding statistics may not prevent all automobile accidents, driver awareness is an excellent tool to help reduce the chance of a catastrophic accident. In fact, the more aware that drivers are of the circumstances that contribute to automobile accidents, the more likely they are to avoid many such circumstances.

Automobile Accident Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regularly releases information and statistics on automobile accidents in order to raise awareness. Statistics released in 2011 indicate the following concerning West Virginia:

There were 337 fatal automobile accidents in West Virginia in 2011

  • 238 of the fatal automobile accidents occurred in rural areas
  • 99 fatal automobile accidents occurred in urban areas
  • 463 motorists lost their lives in fatal accidents in 2011

The majority of motorists killed in automobile accidents were over 21 years of age
261 vehicle occupants died in fatal accidents including 132 individuals who were not properly restrained, and 84 individuals who were properly restrained

Traffic statistics in 2011 indicate that only a handful of fatalities in West Virginia were among young children and toddlers, which officials believe is due to a high rate of safety belt and child seat use. Additionally, in West Virginia, children up to age eight are required to sit in a child safety seat.

In addition to the number and concentration of automobile accidents, the NHTSA and other agencies regularly release data regarding the cause of automobile accidents. In 2011, the most significant causes of automobile accident fatalities include:

  • 250 roadway departures
  • 202 single vehicle crashes
  • 114 speeding accidents
  • 110 rollover accidents
  • 37 intersection-related accidents
  • 34 accidents involving large trucks
October 28

Basic Immigration Facts

Immigration is an area of the law that affects every resident of every state throughout the United States. Immigration laws have been constantly debated and updated to meet the changing needs of the diverse population of the U.S. West Virginia is not exempt from the impact of immigration laws. While our state is not as likely as the southernmost states to be in the middle of the immigration debacle, it is nonetheless, an important area of the law.
In order to help West Virginia residents better understand immigration law and their individual rights and responsibilities, we have created a list of some of the most common questions and answers, as well as basic facts concerning immigration.

Common Questions and Basic Facts

Q: What is the standard definition of an alien?
A: An alien is any individual who was born in a nation other than the U.S. who lives inside the U.S. without becoming a legal U.S. Citizen, which is known as being naturalized.

Q: What are visas?
A: A few standard types of visa are available to an individual in order to become a U.S. Citizen or gain access to U.S. amenities, including an immigrant visa and a nonimmigrant visa. An immigrant visa is designed for individuals who want to live in the U.S. permanently. This is also often referred to as a green card. The nonimmigrant visa is designed for individuals who only want to remain in the U.S. for a short duration, such as individuals attending school, participating in business activities, or those traveling as tourists.

Q: How to individuals apply for a visa?
A: To apply for a visa, the individual must visit the U.S. consulate nearest their current residence. At the U.S. consulate, the preliminary application will be completed, and any additional requirements will be detailed. It is recommended that anyone applying for a visa complete the process well in advance of their intended trip into the U.S. to avoid delays.

Q: What happens if I cannot get a visa, but remain in the U.S.?
A: Individuals who remain in the U.S. without gaining a visa or citizenship are commonly referred to as “illegal aliens”. What this means is that these individuals do not enjoy the same laws and liberties as U.S. Citizens. In most cases, these individuals are often unable to gain professional employment, attend higher education facilities, or possess a driver’s license.

Q: Can I be denied entry into the U.S.?
A: Yes. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) can deny entry into the U.S. to any individual who fails to meet certain requirements, or who does not have appropriate answers to official questions. Individuals can be denied entry based on physical or mental ailment, criminal history, or previous 180 stays outside the U.S.

Q: Do I need the assistance of an immigration attorney?
A: The services of an immigration attorney may not be required; however, having the guidance of someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in immigration law matters can be extremely helpful and, is highly recommended =. Often, immigration attorneys are able to provide options and support that can prevent unnecessary delays in processing paperwork or gaining entry into the U.S.