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Jackson Missouri Legal Blog

Recognizing and easing children's stress amid divorce

No matter how hard divorcing parents work to focus on their children's well-being, kids will experience stress during and after the break-up. They're likely going to be dividing their time between two households. They may move -- which means changing schools and having to make new friends.

Even if they'll continue to spend the majority of their time in the home they know, no longer having both parents around can be a source of anxiety.

Are nursing homes liable when residents hurt each other?

When people make the difficult decision to move a loved one to a nursing home, they are often concerned -- and rightfully so -- about that loved one getting the medications, food, hydration and exercise they need. They want to feel secure that their parent or another family member won't suffer a fall or other injury because someone wasn't there to help them move. They may not consider the possibility that their loved one could be harmed by another resident.

Sadly, however, nursing home residents sometimes are the victims of violence by roommates or others in the nursing home. Some residents suffer from dementia and other conditions that can cause them to be violent. Others may be on medication that alters their behavior. Sometimes, residents simply don't get along, and disputes turn violent.

2 Missouri counties aren't prosecuting some marijuana offenses

While marijuana is still illegal for recreational use in Missouri, prosecutors in our state's urban areas are increasingly making it a policy not to prosecute people for possessing small amounts of the drug. In the past seven months, prosecutors here in Jackson County as well as St. Louis County have adopted this policy. These two counties encompass about a third of the state's population of just over 6 million.

Policies of not prosecuting "low-level" marijuana offenses are in place in large metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia and smaller urban areas as well. However, for a state where medical marijuana was just legalized by voters in last November's election, these decisions by county prosecutors may come as a surprise,

Is a revocable living trust right for me?

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to determine how your assets will be managed while you are alive and after you die. If you set up this type of trust, you will transfer property, like your house or bank account, into the trust, and a trustee will manage that property on your behalf or the behalf of your beneficiaries.

This type of trust is referred to as a living trust because it is created while you are living. It is referred to as a revocable trust because you can alter or eliminate the trust while you are alive.

How parents with alcohol issues can emotionally harm children

If you're divorcing a co-parent who has an issue with alcohol abuse, you're likely conflicted about what kind of custody arrangement to seek. Assuming that you have no evidence that your spouse has been physically or verbally abusive to the kids, you may not want to (or believe that you can) limit their custody rights if they're seeking shared custody. However, mental health professionals note that parents who abuse alcohol can be detrimental to a child's mental health in a number of ways -- some of which can impact them well into adulthood.

Having an alcoholic parent can cause considerable stress for children. Much of that is due to the unpredictability that comes with substance abuse. Kids don't know when their parent is going to be happy, loving, angry or depressed.

Why caring for an elderly parent can damage sibling relationships

When elderly parents become ill, disabled or develop dementia and are no longer able to care for themselves, their adult children often take on the responsibility of caring for them — particularly if the other parent is deceased. However, when there's more than one child, that doesn't necessarily mean that the responsibilities are divided equally.

In fact, one author of a book on this topic says that 90 percent of the time, one sibling takes on the bulk of the responsibilities. Sometimes, this is because that sibling lives closer to the parent than the others. However, often, the author notes, the level of responsibility each adult child takes on — or doesn't — "has a lot to do with the relationship they have with their parents."

Is your loved one being neglected or abused in a nursing home?

If you're going to be spending some time with a loved one in a nursing home this holiday season, you may have an opportunity to better observe their care and conditions than you usually do. No one wants to believe that an elderly family member may be suffering from neglect or abuse. However, it happens all too often.

Following are some things to look for that could be signs of neglect or even abuse.

When is force legally justified under Missouri law?

We all want the right to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our property from attackers and thieves. That's why all states have self-defense laws on the books. However, those laws vary. That's why it's essential for Missourians to understand the self-defense laws of our state.

Physical (non-deadly) force is considered justified when a person reasonably believes it's necessary to defend themselves or someone else from an unlawful use of force by someone else. It may also be used if a person believes it's necessary to prevent someone from committing theft, tampering or property damage.

An elder law attorney helps you protect your finances

Older American citizens are vulnerable to many kinds of abuse and exploitation. Financial abuse, in particular, is a risk for all elders including those in the Jackson region of Missouri. Elders often fall victim to scams targeting older people, and they could even suffer financial abuse at the hands of a care provider or a family member.

The problem is so pervasive that the National Center on Elder Abuse cites financial abuse as something that costs older citizens nearly $3 billion each year. If you are aging, this information probably causes you a great deal of distress. You may wonder how you can protect your financial legacy and keep yourself safe from costly scams or abuses as you age.

Swerving to avoid accidents often lands you in another one

When cars come into uncomfortably close proximity of something, panic ensues. The driver may try to stomp their foot on the brake, speed up or try to veer their vehicle away from the incoming object. They feel they often have to react within a split second and try to get their cars away from each other with no regard to what else is on the road.

Unfortunately, this quick maneuver is often responsible for more harm than good. No matter what type of setting you find yourself in, pulling a quick swerve with your vehicle can put you into more danger than what you originally were going to crash into. As the air gets colder, the sky grows darker and the streets become more slippery, you should be aware of the risk of swerving your car too hard in a lane.

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