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Fathers may face additional custody challenges in divorce

Divorce can involve a lot of difficult decisions, but custody of children is often one of the most contentious. While some divorcing spouses in Virginia desire an amicable co-parenting relationship, this can be difficult to achieve for many reasons. For example, the court's view on parental roles could come in play.

Due to traditional gender roles in parenting, many fathers feel that they receive diminished custody rights. Fathers may be overlooked because mothers are often considered to be more nurturing and thus more important in child development. This can make fathers feel isolated from their obligations and alienated within their own roles in terms of parenting.

A will may not always be enough

Virginia residents and others may wonder if having a will is good enough to constitute an estate plan. For some, the answer may be yes. However, this depends on a person's needs and goals, both while alive and after passing. If someone merely wants to transfer his or her belongings to family members upon death, a will can be an effective tool. Of course, it may not be the most efficient manner to accomplish this task.

There are also estate planning tasks that cannot be accomplished with a will alone. Granting powers of attorney requires an individual to fill out a different document or set of documents. Furthermore, it may be wise to look into a living will as well as medical directives. These tools can provide a person with a greater say in the treatment that he or she receives while still alive.

Drunk Driving Research Shows Alarming Growth Rate Among Veterans

Driving under the influence is a serious problem across Virginia and other states, but a new report details how this issue is impacting veterans at an alarming rate. According to The Military Times and research conducted by the American Addiction Centers, unhealthy drinking behaviors among veterans increased 60% since 2014. These behaviors included drunk driving and binge drinking. The data examined was taken from the Centers for Disease Control.

The research also examined the possible reasons behind such an increase, finding that emotional and psychological trauma among veterans may contribute to the potential for substance abuse and related behaviors. In addition, some data from a Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey suggests that members of the military are immersed in a drinking culture as nearly 43% of respondents from certain branches admitted to binge drinking at least once per month.

Consequences of a second DUI conviction in Virginia

With the holiday season in full-swing, it is common to be spending time with family, reuniting with friends or attending work parties. These festive gatherings will typically have plenty of food, fun and maybe even alcohol. As you may already be aware, the holiday season is a time when DUI arrests increase dramatically. If you are not already taking the proper steps to stay safe while driving this holiday season, you should seriously consider doing so. Especially, if you already have a DUI on your record. A second DUI in Virginia will cause you to receive harsher penalties than your first.

Being convicted for DUI can be an overwhelming and stressful experience that can bring with it a stigma of irresponsibility. Having it happen a second time will likely bring all these same emotions back to. But hopefully before that happens, here is what you can expect from a legal point of view by a second DUI conviction in Virginia.

Duties of an estate executor

When an individual creates a will in Virginia, they usually need to name an executor of their estate. The executor is in charge of making sure the terms of the will are carried out. It is important for the person entrusted with this responsibility to approach the task in an organized way.

Executors must keep track of assets in an estate, ensure that they are distributed to the correct beneficiaries and take care of filing state and federal estate taxes. An executor will likely need to spend a lot of time reviewing a will to ensure that they are carrying out the wishes of the person who created it.

Driver fatigue is a significant cause of auto accidents

Virginia drivers face a greater risk of getting into an accident if they've been getting less than seven hours of sleep a night. A study from the AAA Foundation concluded that every lost hour of sleep raises a driver's crash risk. People who only sleep for five or six hours double their accident risk compared to those who get a full eight hours of rest. When sleep times go down to four hours, the chances of getting into a wreck quadruple.

Other research attributed 7 percent of all motor vehicle accidents to drowsy drivers. Nationwide, that percentage represents approximately 330,000 accidents per year. When looking only at fatal accidents, sleepy drivers contributed to 16 percent of them.

NTSB says current drunk driving limits are too low

Drivers in Georgia are considered dangerously intoxicated when they get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. Despite years-long campaigning by the National Transportation Safety Board to reduce the drunk driving threshold in the United States to .05 percent, these calls have largely fallen on deaf ears. Opponents of stricter drunk driving laws say lowering permissible BAC levels would adversely affect the hospitality and tourism sectors and turn safe drivers into criminals. However, the results of a recent study suggest that the public is unconvinced by these arguments.

When researchers from the Texas Medical Center's Health Policy Institute asked Americans about lowering drunk driving thresholds, 55 percent supported a nationwide .05 percent BAC limit, and 46 percent said that any alcohol found in a driver's system should be enough to warrant DUI charges. According to government car accident figures, 29 road users die every day in drunk driving accidents in the United States that cost the nation's economy about $44 billion annually.

Developing an advance health care directive

For most individuals, thinking about your medical wishes if you become incapacitated or pass away is not a pleasant conversation, but it is entirely necessary. Establishing a trusted individual to carry out your wishes gives you, your family and your agent peace of mind if a tragic health event should occur.

In Virginia, a form exists titled the advance health care directive. It works to outline who you want making your medical decisions, as well as whether you would want extraordinary measures to prolong your life. These important designations help your family members avoid arguments and confusion if you become incapacitated or pass away, and it gives you the authority to make these decisions before you would face injury or death.

Increased wealth and credit discrepancies may boost divorce risk

There are many wonderful benefits associated with economic growth in Virginia and other parts of the country. However, having a larger bank account and more financial responsibilities more may not be so good for some marriages. A survey of more than 2,000 adults by a leading bank holding company found that money is the top source of relationship stress. Thirty-five percent of the individuals surveyed also considered finances to be the main "trouble spot" with their significant other.

Simply being financially secure doesn't necessarily mean couples are likely to need the services of a family law attorney. In fact, couples with similar financial situations and equally good credit health are usually in good shape. The potential for stress comes when there is a greater mismatch in credit scores and similar financial health indicators, according to research reported by the Federal Reserve Board. The study further found couples with higher credit scores were more likely to enjoy long-term, committed relationship and less likely to end a relationship after a few years together.

Strategies for writing a dispute-proof will

Grief for a lost loved one can sometimes turn to resentment among surviving family members once they learn the terms of the will. By taking a few important steps, however, a Virginia estate owner could prevent or reduce hurt feelings among heirs.

When someone writes a will, they need to name an executor for the estate. This person will be responsible for seeing that the terms of the will are carried out. Although many people choose a close relative, spouse or friend as their executors, this may be setting the stage for discord if the person does not possess the skills to do the job. A poorly chosen executor might create accusations of stealing by ignoring heirs or failing to accomplish necessary tasks. Assigning a corporate trustee to manage the will could ensure competency and impartiality.

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