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Collecting Your Spouse's Social Security After DivorceRetirement benefits are marital assets that can be divided during a divorce. Negotiating the division of these benefits can be contentious because of their high value and the significance they serve later in your life. Obtaining a share of your spouse’s retirement benefits may mean sacrificing other marital properties as equal compensation. However, Social Security benefits work differently than other retirement benefits. You can collect a portion of your former spouse’s Social Security benefits without it affecting the benefits that he or she receives.

How It Works

You can receive as much as half of the value of your former spouse’s Social Security payments, depending on how close you are to the full retirement age. In order to qualify:

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Trucks Backing Up Can Cause Serious Construction Site InjuriesA large truck is one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment that you will commonly find at a construction site. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 962 fatalities at road construction sites from 2003 to 2010. Among those:

  • 443 were caused by a worker being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment;
  • 143 were caused by a vehicle backing up; and
  • 84 were caused by a dump truck backing up.

In many cases, workers who are injured by a vehicle that is backing up can petition for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are scenarios where a third party may be responsible for the incident, which allows the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The Danger of Trucks in Reverse

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Four Misconceptions About Divorce Parenting AgreementsEntering a divorce with misconceptions about how the allocation of parental responsibilities will be settled is doing a disservice to yourself. Some misconceptions are myths, while others are based on antiquated ideas about parenting after divorce. All of the misconceptions can potentially hurt you during your divorce negotiations because you have an assumption about how the parental responsibilities will be resolved that makes you resigned to defeat or recklessly overconfident. Here are four myths about parenting agreements during a divorce that are inaccurate:

  1. Mothers Are Assumed to Be the Primary Parent: This is probably the biggest parenting misconception in divorce. Mothers are more likely to receive a majority of parenting time but not because of their gender. The primary parent after divorce is the one who is most capable and willing to devote time to his or her parental responsibilities. Mothers traditionally but not exclusively fulfill this role in a marriage. A father who is the greater caregiver of the two parents may be better suited as the primary parent.
  2. A Working Parent Is Unlikely to Be a Primary Parent: When one parent stays at home instead of working, that parent normally takes on the primary parenting duties. After a divorce, the stay-at-home parent is often the most sensible choice as the primary parent. However, the stay-at-home parent will likely have to find his or her own job in order to fulfill child support obligations. The issue then becomes which parent is better capable of balancing his or her work and parental responsibilities.
  3. Teenagers Decide Which Parent They Live With: A court will consider a child’s preference for his or her living situation if the child is mature enough to give thoughtful reasons. However, child preference is one of a list of factors that courts use to determine which parent the children will primarily live with. A court will not adhere to a teenager’s choice if a majority of the evidence shows that it is not in his or her best interest.
  4. False Abuse Allegations Will Help Win Cases: Domestic violence charges and orders of protection will limit a parent’s contact with the children. If the parent is a danger to the children, he or she can be prevented from seeing the children or limited to supervised visits. However, a parent caught making false allegations will likely be the one who is punished. Besides the criminal consequences, the false accuser may lose parental responsibilities because he or she is considered untrustworthy.

Creating a Parenting Plan

The primary requirement for a parental agreement during divorce is that it serves the best interests of your children. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you make a parenting plan that works well for all parties. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.

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Dram Shop Law Allows Drunk Driving Victims to Sue Alcohol ServersMotor vehicle accidents involving intoxicated drivers can cause serious injuries and death. The victim in a drunk driving crash can sue the driver for personal injury compensation and the loss of a loved one. There is a third-party liability in Illinois that can extend to businesses that serve alcohol to drunk drivers. Illinois’ dram shop law allows a victim to receive additional injury compensation by filing a lawsuit against an alcohol vendor that is deemed partially responsible for a drunk driving incident.

Proving Liability

Illinois’ dram shop law applies to restaurants, clubs, retailers, and hospitality businesses. In most cases, an individual serving alcohol at a social gathering is not liable. For a successful lawsuit against a third-party alcohol vendor, the victim must prove that:

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Consider Long-Term Investments in Divorce SettlementYou are likely to take an immediate financial hit after going through a high asset divorce. You are required to equitably divide your marital properties with your former spouse, leaving you with roughly half of the marital assets you previously possessed. If you have a greater income, you may be responsible for child support and spousal maintenance. Even if you are a shrewd negotiator, a divorce court may not approve a settlement that clearly takes advantage of your former spouse. You need foresight when creating your divorce settlement to prepare for financial recovery and ultimate stability.

Choosing Properties

Most marital properties are measured by their current value when determining an equitable division. For some properties, it is important to consider their future values. Examples include:

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