Bowden Cyr, PLLC - Attorneys At Law

Oakdale Minnesota Legal Blog

Memes, an unexpected source of driver distraction

Drivers can be distracted by any number of things, and that apparently includes memes. This was one of the findings of an online study run by the market research firm Wakefield Research and involving about 2,000 drivers from Minnesota and across the U.S. However, it is far from the only important finding.

First of all, 99% of respondents ranked phones among the top three distractions for a driver. Nearly half of respondents said that distracted driving was their top concern whenever they are on the road. Yet they also conceded that they use their phones behind the wheel with the average time coming to 13 minutes each day.

Balancing divorce and work

The legal aspects of a divorce in Minnesota can take up a lot of time, and much of this time can conflict with a work schedule. Court dates often interfere with important meetings, and official documents from the court may interrupt important activities at the office. While all of these conflicts can appear to be very difficult, there are several ways to carefully balance divorce proceedings and work.

The first step to balancing a divorce and work is to be very careful with scheduling. One way to do this is to set aside specific hours during the day to deal with divorce matters. An attorney should be made aware of which specific hours their client is available to discuss the case or schedule mediation or court appearances. When looking for legal representation, finding a lawyer that's close by can help with scheduling.

Autonomous technology could stop drunk drivers

People in Minnesota have good reason to be concerned about the dangers posed by drunk driving. In 2017 alone, 10,874 people lost their lives across the country as a result of car accidents connected to impaired driving. There have been various efforts to put a stop to the practice, from public awareness campaigns to law enforcement crackdowns. However, drivers operating under the influence continue to pose a threat on the roadways.

At least one auto manufacturer is looking for a technological solution to the problem, involving some of the same technology that is helping to create self-driving cars. Volvo announced that it will begin installing anti-drunk driving systems in its new cars in the early 2020s. These systems will include sensors and cameras installed inside the car to look for signs of drunk driving. The sensors will pick up on drivers who have failed to engage with the steering wheel for an extended period of time, those with their eyes closed or those who seem to be violently weaving back and forth on the road.

Is your spouse trying to hide assets so you can't get them?

When a Minnesota married couple decides to divorce, there are typically numerous issues they must resolve before they can achieve a settlement. For instance, if you're one of many parents in this state who are preparing for divorce proceedings, your children's best interests are likely one of your highest priorities. You and your spouse will have to agree on custody issues, as well as financial provisions to cover expenses associated with your children's needs as your family moves on in life.

Finances are often a contentious issue in divorce, especially if your spouse refuses to follow the rules. Minnesota is an equitable property state, which means the judge overseeing your case will decide how to fairly divide all marital assets and debt. The split will not necessarily be 50/50. If your spouse refuses to fully disclose a list of assets and liabilities or is acting angry or defensive when you inquire about financial issues, it might be a sign that you have a hidden asset problem on your hands.

Travelers survey reveals reasons for driver distraction

Minnesota residents may be aware that distracted driving is a widespread issue and even engage in it themselves. The Travelers Companies has been able to gather some interesting data on this trend through a survey of more than 2,000 consumers and executives. It can be found in the 2019 Travelers Risk Index.

Forty-four percent of those who were surveyed admitted to sending emails or texts while behind the wheel, making this the most prominent form of distracted driving. After that came social media use (23 percent) and taking pictures or recording videos (22 percent). Nineteen percent are not deterred by the law, saying they will not stop driving distracted on account of it.

Cryptocurrencies may be the future of spouses hiding money

Minnesota residents going through the divorce process are starting to see the role that cryptocurrencies play. Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that were introduced in 2009 with Bitcoin. The currency itself lives online and is traded on a blockchain. A blockchain is an encrypted ledger designed to detail different transactions.

It is common for those who invest in cryptocurrencies to have shares in unregulated markets. This increases the challenges that divorcing couples face when attempting to identify the value of and divide cryptocurrency assets. Because of this challenge, divorces involving cryptocurrency may take longer and can be more expensive.

How social media can affect Minnesota divorce proceedings

In light of the modernization of the ways in which people share information about their lives and changing states of mind, divorce attorneys are now introducing social media posts, direct messages and photos as evidence in court. Approximately 81 percent of divorce attorneys discover evidence on social media that they deem to be worth presenting in court. Facebook is utilized as a principle source of evidence in approximately 66 percent of divorce cases. Online affairs are precipitating factors in one-third of all legal action in divorces.

Although social media is a relatively new vehicle of communication, some states have already begun to address the admissibility of social media posts as evidence. A spouse's post on social media is admissible in a divorce case unless the post is obtained illegally as stated by a short list of states. However, divorce attorneys are generally not permitted to create fake profiles in the interest of gaining access to social media posts that may be presented as damaging evidence in court. Nevertheless, public posts and even private posts that are reshared by a mutual friend or acquaintance are all admissible as evidence in favor of or against a party in a divorce case.

Taking steps to limit the impact divorce will have on your kids

As a parent, you likely consider the well-being of your children to be one of the most vital aspects of your life. As such, you may have a desire to shield them from harm, but if you and the other parent decide to part ways, you might be wondering what you can do to prevent your kids from suffering.

While divorce can be difficult on kids, how you handle the process could have a substantial impact on how they cope with the coming changes. While helping your kids find a way to handle what is happening in their lives may appear intimidating, it could also prove imperative.

Traffic deaths top 40,000 for three years in a row

Though the number of traffic deaths declined by one percent from 2017 to 2018, the fact is that the years 2016 to 2018 each saw over 40,000 such deaths. To put it in perspective, traffic deaths have risen 14 percent from 2014 to 2018. This is according to the National Safety Council, which also notes that 4.5 million people were seriously injured in car crashes in 2018. Minnesota saw a 5.8 percent rise in traffic deaths from 2017 to 2018.

Maine, Kansas, New Jersey, Wyoming and Rhode Island, on the other hand, saw a 9.4 percent decline during that same period, so trends vary from state to state as well as from year to year. As for the causes of this upward trend, one factor is the growing number of in-dash infotainment systems. These, along with smartphones, which are also more and more common, pose a distraction for drivers.

How courts make child custody decisions

While it makes sense that family courts want to focus on the needs of children, many Minnesota parents may be uncertain about how they determine the best interests of the child. This standard is used to make decisions about child custody and visitation, and there are a number of factors that the courts keep in mind in order to come to a conclusion about the preferable custody arrangement. In general, family courts want to make sure that both parents have an active role in their children's lives absent a situation of abuse or neglect. However, that framework can look different for various families based on their needs and circumstances.

One factor that family courts assess when making child custody decisions is the parent's ability to meet the children's physical and psychological needs by providing food, shelter, health care and clothing as well as love, support and guidance. This can involve financial calculations, and the parents' mental and physical health and abilities may also be taken into consideration. Providing a safe environment is also important. Courts may be concerned, for example, about a parent living with roommates who cannot provide a separate space for the child.

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Bowden Cyr, PLLC - Attorneys At Law

7825 3rd Street North | Suite 204 | Oakdale, MN 55128 | Phone: 612-254-6409 | Fax: 651-731-5496 | Oakdale Law Office Map