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Philadelphia Family Law and Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Fighting opioid addition through workers' compensation

Many U.S. states are using their workers' compensation programs to help slow the overprescribing of opioid prescriptions for injured workers. In addition, they are also trying to help those workers who are already addicted to the drugs avoid consequences that can include death.

Many workers who are injured on the job are prescribed drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin. According to one worker who was injured in 2004, OxyContin, Percocet and morphine were used to treat his pain and he says that the drugs ruined his life. He was not able to work and therefore could not afford his opioid habit. As a result, he started selling cocaine until he ended up arrested and in jail for two years. He now works as a licensed counselor, helping others who have become addicted and need treatment.

Is my pet considered property during a divorce?

Earlier this year, Alaska saw a new law go into effect. That law requires that courts now take an animal's well-being into consideration during a divorce. It also lets judges consider joint custody of a pet.

While Alaska may be the only state with this type of law, a Rhode Island legislator has introduced a similar bill. However, across most of the country, pets are still considered property in most courtrooms during a divorce.

Workers' comp rates cut in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's governor's office released a statement this week announcing a 6.21 percent decrease in workers' compensation rates. The decrease is expected to save businesses in the state about $150 million.

The decrease, according to the statement, will help businesses "create jobs that pay in Pennsylvania and at the same time, maintain fair benefits for workers injured on the job."

Why should young parents have an estate plan?

Estate plans generally seem like something you might consider once you hit your forties or fifties, but many young people benefit greatly from an estate plan much earlier on. If you think you're too young for an estate plan, you might want to reconsider.

Traditionally, estate plans help individuals use the law to pass on their property to others without losing a large portion of it to taxes when they die or become incapacitated. While many people wait until they feel "more established" to begin creating an estate plan, the benefits can add up well before reaching middle age.

Forklift safety: How to prevent accidents on the factory floor

Forklifts are dangerous pieces of machinery, and the process of loading and unloading them puts workers at significant risk -- which often goes unrecognized until an accident happens.

In order to protect the driver, those doing the loading or unloading and any bystanders, there should be some basic precautions taken regarding forklifts:

Pennsylvania workers' compensation: 4 things you should know

Many of the cities in Pennsylvania were built around specific industries, like manufacturing plants and steel mills -- and many of those industries are still thriving today.

Unfortunately, employees in those industries are exposed to dangerous working conditions as a matter of course -- and even the safest workplace sometimes still has an accident. That makes it important to know both your rights and your responsibilities under workers' compensation as an injured employee.

How are your finances after divorce?

One thing many divorcing couples think long and hard about after how a divorce will affect their children is how a divorce will affect their finances. Will they be able to pay all of their expenses?

If finances were a big part of the divorce to begin with, then it is likely going to be about the same after the divorce is final. You will need to understand how the divorce will affect your family's finances. If not, then you may need to have someone explain the changes in your finances. This could be a friend, a family member or even your divorce attorney.

Purchasing property? Check for easements and restrictions

Owning property is often far more complicated than it seems at first. Many property owners throughout the years have found what seems to be a perfect deal and signed on the dotted line, only to find that an easement affects how they may use it, or allows someone else access.

If you are considering purchasing a home or some other type of real estate, be sure to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process. There are many ways that a real estate deal can go sideways, and an unanticipated easement is certainly one of them.

Do nontraditional roles in the home increase the risk of divorce?

A recent study found that nontraditional roles in the home increased the chance of divorce. One newspaper asked several people why they thought this was. The answers were interesting.

One couple responded that they thought men helping around the house with chores and other tasks was the new normal. This, they thought, was because they believe that in this economy, it takes both parties in a marriage working to make it. In their home, the chores get done by whoever has the most time.

Will an inheritance be split as a marital asset?

When you're going through a divorce, one question you might have is about who is entitled to an inheritance. When you inherit money or assets during your marriage, those assets aren't considered to be marital property. Instead, the property is assigned to the person who received it as separate property. For example, if your uncle passes away and leaves you a boat in only your name, then it goes to you. If your uncle leaves you a boat and includes your spouse's name as well, then you both have a share of that asset.

If you decide to share your inheritance, then it may be considered to be marital property when you go to court. For example, if you inherit $100,000 and place it in a joint banking account, the court and your soon-to-be ex can argue that it was intended to be shared as a marital asset between you. Likewise, if you purchase a property for your family with the money, it's no longer inheritance and now converted into marital property.

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