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Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Legal Blog

A primer of equitable property division in divorce

It doesn't take someone experienced in the field of divorce to recognize that it is, in addition to an emotional process, a financial transaction. Marriage dissolution in Pittsburgh, in part, consists of dividing assets and debts in a way that is fair under the circumstances. This is commonly referred to equitable division of property. While this split is supposed to be fair, it does not have to be equal. Therefore, those thinking about divorce may need someone experienced in this field to help them better understand how to argue for property division that is fair to them.

Many divorce legal issues can be settled through negotiation, but sometimes these matters have to go to court and be resolved by a judge. In these latter instances, a court will look at a number of factors when trying to figure out how to divide marital property. To start, a court will consider the length of the marriage. Then it might consider the employability of each spouse, their incomes, each individual's health, and even their vocational skills.

Be prepared for the changing business landscape

As we discussed on a recent post to this blog, the digital age has reshaped the ways in which business is carried out. While this can make markets broader and communications more efficient, it can also make matters more confusing. In the world of business, misunderstandings and downright deceit can have enormous ramifications. Breached contracts can result in the loss of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and damage to an individual or a business's reputation.

This is why those engaging in business, whether as a company or an employee of one of those companies, need to ensure that they are doing everything possible to protect themselves. This means not only understanding the terms found within their contracts, but also how the electronic world affects those terms. With a rapidly changing world, it is the things we don't think of at the time of contract negotiation that can lead to headaches later down the road.

What is involuntary manslaughter?

The unexpected death of an individual usually raises eyebrows. In many of these instances, people who are close to the deceased individual, as well as the police, often look to place blame on someone else. This can cause Pennsylvania residents to be charged with serious criminal offenses.

Amongst those offenses is involuntary manslaughter. Under Pennsylvania law, this crime is committed when death results from recklessly or grossly negligently carrying out either a lawful or unlawful duty. Those who are convicted of this offense can face penalties that are consistent with first-degree misdemeanors, which can include a significant period of incarceration. If the individual who died in the incident was 12 years old or younger and in the care of the reckless or grossly negligent individual, then the offense is considered a second-degree felony, which, of course, carries even harsher penalties.

What to include in an employment contract

As someone who owns and operates your own small business, you probably try your best to put “aces in places” and hire people you trust will work hard on your behalf. While hiring the right people is a critical component of operating any business, so, too, is setting clear guidelines about what you expect from your employees and what they can expect from you in return.

A well-crafted employment contract gives you an opportunity to do exactly that in a legally binding document that can come in extremely handy in the event that a disagreement arises between you and an employee down the line. While you can address any number of different issues in your employment contract based on your business’s unique needs, there are certain elements many modern business owners choose to cover.

Who can seek child custody and visitation?

For Pennsylvanians who have children, no other family law may mean more to them than child custody and visitation. When they come up, the outcomes of these issues can completely define or redefine one's relationship with his or her child. This means that those who have an interest in maintaining a relationship with a child need to be proactive in ensuring that they protect their legal right to access to that child. On the flip side, those who want to protect their children from contact with those who they deem detrimental to the child will similarly want to take legal action when necessary.

Under Pennsylvania law, only certain individuals can seek child custody or visitation with a child. Parents, of course, fall into this category, but so, too, do those who act in a parental role to a child. Grandparents may also be able to seek custody or visitation, but only when certain factors exist. This includes an existing relationship with the child, the grandparent is willing to take responsibility for the child, and the child is at risk due to some fault of a parent or the child is deemed dependent through state proceedings.

Sleep apnea can cause serious truck accidents

We've talked previously on this blog about the dangers that can be posed by semi-trucks when they are driven in an unsafe fashion. Sadly, Pennsylvania residents can't tell when a trucker is tired, intoxicated, or distracted, which means that at any given time they could be susceptible to being seriously injured or even killed in a negligent truck accident.

One problem that can cause truckers to climb behind the wheel while they are tired is sleep apnea. This medical condition causes interruptions to a person's breathing while he or she sleeps, which in turn causes the sufferer to wake. This can happen as frequently 400 times a night, which can leave an individual seriously fatigued the next day. Perhaps the scariest part of this disease is that a study found that nearly one-third of all truckers suffer from some kind of sleep apnea.

Digital devices can reshape business law issues

With new emerging technologies come changes to the business environment. This is especially true when it comes to the digital world where computers, cellphones, and other devices make interconnectivity a 24-hour affair. Due to this, , Pennsylvania employers and employees alike need to ensure that they are taking the proper steps to protect themselves.One reason is because technology is blurring the line between business and personal activities. A recent lawsuit against a business is shining a light on this ever pertinent topic. There, a man was given a desktop computer by his employer so that he could work from home. The man ended up using the computer for both personal and professional purposes. As the man prepared to leave the company, he attempted to negotiate a settlement package, but no agreement was reached and he was terminated. Upon his filing of a wrongful termination lawsuit, the man's employer obtained access to the computer where it found that the man may have been storing company secrets.The company alleges that the man was hoarding the secrets in order to open up a rival company. The employee, on the other hand, claims that the company violated federal law when it essentially hacked into his computer, thereby gaining access to his personal information. So, the question becomes how far can a business reach into an individual's life when the access to that life is through a company provided device?This issue will be decided in court. But what does it mean for Pennsylvania businesses and workers? It means that they need to carefully analyze their employee handbooks as well as any employment contracts that may apply to them. Only by being clear in these documents can an employer and employee ensure that they have a full understanding of an employer's reach via electronic devices. If you have concerns about how digital access may affect you or your business, then consider discussing the matter with a qualified business law attorney who can assist you in creating the types of documents you need to move forward in the business place with confidence

Pennsylvania firm standing up for those accused of crimes

It's an unfortunate reality that many Pennsylvanians fail to recognize the magnitude of being charged with a crime, even those that seem relatively minor. These individuals neglect to see that a conviction for just about any criminal offense has the potential to carry penalties that include jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can wreak havoc on one's reputation.

Therefore, every allegation of criminal wrongdoing needs to be taken seriously. Evidence needs to be gathered, witnesses questioned, and law enforcement challenged. This is the only way to mount an aggressive criminal defense that has the potential of leading to reduced or dismissed charges, or, in the event that the matter goes to trial, an acquittal.

Pennsylvania's resisting law enforcement law

The police are supposed to work to serve and protect the public. This means patrolling neighborhoods, upholding the law, and stopping crime in progress. As is the nature of their profession, officers sometimes become confrontation with individuals. While this is expected from time-to-time, in some instances it leads to scuffles that can result in an individual facing criminal charges even if he or she isn't accused of doing anything else wrong.

Under Pennsylvania law, it is a second degree misdemeanor to resist law enforcement. This includes trying to prevent a lawful arrest, but it also includes interfering with any other law enforcement duty. However, before a conviction can be obtained for this offense, prosecutors must show that the actions in question were intended to prevent arrest or interfere with a law enforcement duty. Prosecutors must also demonstrate that the defendant's actions gave rise to a substantial risk of injury or required substantial force to be effectuated by law enforcement to carry out the arrest or duty in question.

Workplace conflict can lead to employer-employee disputes

Conflict in the workplace is common, but if left unchecked, it can have an adverse effect on the business.

Here are three areas of concern with issues that seem simple enough to resolve, but which could escalate into employer-employee disputes.

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If you need to speak with an attorney about an important legal matter, contact my law office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation, call 412-455-5388, or contact me by e-mail.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C.

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