Law

Legal Separation or Divorce : Which Is The Better Option?

 

shutterstock_134380532There comes a point in time when married couples realize that there is no point continuing their relationship. When their marriage is in shambles, the first thing that comes to mind is divorce. But there is another possible option that they can consider and that is legal separation. These are two different legal issues that couples can resort to if they want to end their marriage. But which is the better option? Would you rather be legally separated or divorced?

Knowing The Difference

Before deciding on the better option, it is worth understanding the difference of the two. Legal separation is an agreement entered into by couples acknowledging that they are still married but not living together. It is a contract that defines handling of assets, liabilities, and other financial matters.

Divorce, on the other hand, dissolves the marriage. This means that they become single again and thus can marry again. The couple signs an agreement that lays down details on distribution of properties or assets, child custody, visitation, and support.

The Right Choice

Staying legally separated is a better option than divorce for a variety of reasons. It gives the couples time to decide if they really want to divorce or give their marriage one more try. By opting for legal separation, you are protecting yourself from desertion. If there is no agreement, the spouse could be charged for desertion or abandonment.

Second, legal separation gives the children of the married couple to prepare themselves emotionally for the change or adjust themselves to the new situation. Divorce can carry with it a social stigma which can carry over to the children. It is quite clear that the most affected when married couples decide to end the marriage are the children.

A third reason to choose legal separation over divorce is that a spouse can still enjoy the medical benefits of their spouse’s health care plan. If they are a spouse of a military personnel, legal separation is the best option if they want to enjoy the benefits provided by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, provided that they stay married for a minimum of 10 years to enjoy the benefits accorded to members.

Ending a marriage is never an easy decision. There are many individuals who will be affected most specially children. So as much as possible, try and work out your differences and save the marriage for the sake of your children.

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Detroit Woman Claims Stillbirth Due to Police

Pregnant WomanA suspect in a case of shoplifting, Shenika Parchman, has lost her appeal to charge Detroit police with a lawsuit. Detroit federal judge, Denise Page Hood, had dismissed the case back in January 2015.

In 2011, Parchman was arrested for shoplifting at a Meijer store, a popular hypermarket, while she had been nine months pregnant at the time. In the week that followed after her arrest, she gave birth to a stillborn son and since then, the suspect has claimed that it was the rough treatment of her by a Taylor-based police officer during her arrest that had led to the death of her child.

It was, however, her failure to provide evidentiary support of the claim – the fact that she could not name a particular officer during her deposition being one of the key points of her case – equated into the failure of her appeal to file a lawsuit against the Detroit-area police.

A report from the Associated Press states that the court has rejected her appeal on the grounds of there being “no reasonable juror” for her claim since Parchman could not properly identify the Detroit police officer in question or that she had been injured at all during her arrest.

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Armed police drones now legal in North Dakota

droneDrones are becoming more and more utilized in a variety of different fields. Businesses such as DHL and Amazon caught the attention of many by making use of these robotic apparatus to make deliveries. Media outlets have also been known for using drones to capture hard-to-reach shots for breaking news. Now, the lawmakers at North Dakota add to this growing list, being the first U.S. state to legalize the use of armed drones for law enforcement.

As NPR reports, the passing of the new law allows North Dakota law enforcement to make use of armed drones equipped only with “less than lethal” weapons such as rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, bean bag cannons, and Tasers. The law also requires the police to obtain a search warrant before these drones can be used.

Republican state Rep. Rick Becker was the main proponent of the original bill and is none too happy with how parts of the law had turned out, emphasizing his views that drones should not be weaponized. He had first introduced the bill to push for measures requiring police to obtain appropriate search warrants before making use of drones to survey areas for evidence. However, hurdles in the legislative process caused him to make certain compromises. He was quoted by the website Arstechnica, saying, “…the committee accepted amendments and I didn’t fight them because I wanted the bill to pass at least to require warrants.”

Despite these compromises, Rep. Becker sees the law’s passage as a decisive step away from concerns of privacy invasion. However, Arstechnica notes that he remains determined to introduce a new bill that will advocate for the “non-lethal” use of police drones.

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Abortion Laws Challenged in Oklahoma

shutterstock_121866532It seems that the battle between pro-choice and pro-life rages on despite the four decades the issue had to be resolved after the ruling in Roe v. Wade which established the constitutional right of women to privacy that limits how far the government can interfere in personal life decisions, which includes the right to abort. In Oklahoma, the right to abort is being effectively hamstrung in terms of legal and assisted abortion as two new laws (similar to laws in 8 other states) would effectively close down two of the three abortion clinics in the state.

The first law is SB 1848, or the Oklahoma Protection of Human Life Act of 2014, which requires that an abortion physician or clinic to have admitting privileges in a hospital in the vicinity. The second law is HB 2684, or Oklahoma Medication Abortion Ban, which restricts the use of abortifacient drugs i.e. mifepristone-misoprostol, by requiring physician administration and supervision, and none at all after the 49th day of pregnancy. Both laws go into effect on November 2014.

Pro-choice advocates condemn these new restrictions as a thinly-veiled attempt to shut down abortion clinics and to prevent women from getting a legal abortion. They say that such restrictions on legal abortion will only induce those who want one to do it illegally, which can seriously endanger their health.

The largest abortion provider in the state, Dr. Larry Burns, has sued the state to block the implementation of SB 1848, claiming that the law is unconstitutional. An earlier lawsuit was filed two days prior by the Reproductive Services, another abortion provider, to challenge HB 2684. Similar laws had already been ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, and the plaintiffs expect that the same fate will befall these two pieces of legislation.

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Boundaries of Freedom of Speech

shutterstock_129165905The right of Americans to say what they mean, verbally or symbolically, is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. However, this does not mean that you can say anything to anyone anywhere at any time. There are boundaries that have been established over the years by the courts to ensure that the freedom of speech of one person does not impinge on the rights of other people or cause undue harm. The body of case law over this issue is extensive and complex, but there are some general rules that make it easier to determine when the line has been crossed in particular circumstances. Here are some instances where speech is not protected under the Constitution.

When it incites violence

Keep in mind that words can be powerful incentives to act. While a person who speaks may not be the physical actor in an illegal or violent event, if the words incite this type of event, he or she can be held criminally liable. A good example is inciting a group of people to kill or injure a certain type of person as a matter of principle. This presents a clear and present danger that has to be prevented.

When they are “fighting words”

It is not simply a comic way of describe derogatory, insulting, or obscene words that elicits an immediate, violent response from the listener. This is actually a legal doctrine to define when a verbal act is not protected and can be criminally punished.

When they are false

Libel and slander are the terms used for any verbal or written declaration that misleads the listeners into believing falsehoods about another person or an organization. There is no protection under the law for saying something which is not true and results in damage to the subject of the lies.

When it conflicts with government or social interests

When saying something can put others in danger, even if it is true, the freedom of speech can be suspended. In times of war, for example, broadcasting troop movements would be a breach of national security. In a trial, the court can issue a gag order on witnesses and attorneys to ensure fairness subject to certain criteria.

While Americans are justly proud of their constitutional rights, these are not absolute. There can be restrictions placed if the circumstances justify it.

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