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Kansas City Legal Blog

More U.S. veterans binge drinking, drunk driving

The U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a huge emotional toll on American military members from Kansas and elsewhere. As a result, more veterans may be binge drinking and drunk driving, according to a new study.

By analyzing behavioral risk factor data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers from the American Addiction Centers found that veteran rates of binge drinking increased from approximately 14 percent in 2013 to nearly 16 percent in 2017. According to experts, women binge drink when they consume more than four drinks within two hours. Meanwhile, men binge drink when they have five or more drinks in two hours. The study found that the largest increase in binge drinking was among female veterans. The rate for female vets spiked nearly 3 percent between 2013 and 2017 while the overall rate increased just 1.6 percent.

Is your construction company facing a fraudulent mechanic's lien?

When working on a construction project, you may need to enlist the help of subcontractors and will you will likely need to work with other companies in order to get your supplies. Often, these business relationships can prove immensely useful, and your construction project can get underway and completed successfully.

However, it is not unusual for projects to hit snags along the way that can delay the project or put it on hold indefinitely. In particular, if subcontractors, suppliers or other parties claim that you have not paid them for their services, they could put a mechanic's lien on the property. While these liens can be useful in legitimate cases, it is not unheard of for parties to make fraudulent lien claims.

Reducing the potential for construction disputes

The last thing you need while you are trying to complete a construction project is for a dispute to arise. It often doesn't matter which parties are involved in the dispute; what matters is that it could cost a significant amount of time and money for everyone.

It may be possible to reduce the potential for problems to occur. Most issues arise because of misunderstandings, delays or failures in the administration of the contract. The remainder often comes about when one of the parties makes incomplete or unsubstantiated claims.

Weighing pros and cons of parallel parenting and co-parenting

Divorced parents in Kansas City have many options in regard to raising their children. However, there are two major parenting structures that are recommended to divorced mothers and fathers. These structures are known as co-parenting and parallel parenting, and each has its own set of pros and cons.

Co-parenting is the structure generally recommended when both parents are able to look past their differences and avoid conflict with one another. This structure requires the exes to maintain contact and work together to give the children a sense of stability and safety. When co-parenting is successful, the children get to enjoy stable, close relationships with both parents instead of having to deal with vastly different parenting strategies. However, co-parenting relies on the ex-partners' ability to get along. Mutual respect is key for successful co-parenting. If exes are still arguing and fighting, co-parenting won't work.

What parents can do to help their children after divorce

Parents in Kansas who are going through a divorce might wonder how they can make it less difficult for their children. If parents can keep children in the same school and avoid disrupting their routine as much as possible, it may help children adjust. They should try to make sure their children can keep relationships with family on both sides and avoid conflict in front of the children. Parents should also try to keep household rules and expectations consistent as they talk honestly with their children about the divorce.

Parents who get along well and who can afford it may consider a setup called "nesting" or "birdnesting." Children in this arrangement stay in the family home, and parents alternate living there.

Contentious child custody and support issues

Child custody and child support can be contentious and difficult issues for many divorcing parents in Kansas. After a split, parents will often have less time with their children and, particularly, less unscheduled time. Some parents may be able to put aside their differences and reach a fairly amicable agreement on co-parenting and sharing time. However, other parents with more divisive relationships may instead wind up going through a longer battle over custody and other issues concerning the children.

Both mothers and fathers often feel as if they have been treated unfairly in family court. Mothers may feel they are not taken seriously, while fathers may believe they have been the victims of gender bias. Statistics seem to support that notion, with 80 percent of parents with primary custody being mothers. However, in most of those cases, a custody dispute was not at issue, and the father was not seeking child custody. When fathers take action to seek custody, they have a much higher likelihood of success, despite the presence of traditional or unfair judges.

How to avoid financial mistakes during divorce

Kansas spouses who are getting divorced should avoid some common financial mistakes. For example, in the emotional turmoil of divorce, a recently separated ex might be tempted to go on a shopping spree to feel better. However, the bills will eventually come in, and this can cause financial problems.

Making a financial plan is important because it can help guide decisions during and after a divorce. For example, it can be a mistake to sell some retirement assets because there could be significant taxes to pay. If a person needs to pay bills, there may be better ways to do so. One should be especially careful in deciding what to do about the shared home. The mortgage and upkeep could be too much for a person to afford on a single income.

How a court may view a breach of contract claim

As a Kansas business owner, you probably rely on relationships with other people in order to conduct your business. You need vendors, suppliers and others with whom you enter into contracts. Whether you are providing the goods or services or receiving them, you intend to hold up your end of the bargain, and you expect the other party to do the same.

However, not everyone does. In those cases, someone may have told you that you could sue for "breach of contract," but you aren't sure whether that really applies in your situation. In order to know for sure, it would help to have some information about what that means in contract law.

Drug use increasingly evident among drivers who die in crashes

The laws in Kansas against drunk driving have been clear for years, but drug-impaired driving is more difficult to detect than alcohol. Research assembled by the National Transportation Safety Board has revealed a substantial increase in drug use among drivers who died in crashes. In 2006, toxicology testing of deceased drivers measured the presence of drugs, such as prescription drugs, marijuana or opiates, in 30 percent of victims. By 2015, the number of deceased drivers testing positive for drugs had gone up to 46 percent.

When the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration conducted random roadside tests, the agency identified evidence of drug use among 22 percent of drivers. Authorities blame the growing problem of drug-impaired driving on widespread prescription drug abuse and the increasing availability of legal marijuana nationwide. Law enforcement currently has limited means of easily measuring intoxicants other than alcohol. The safety board wants the NHTSA to develop standards for a roadside oral fluid test that law enforcement agencies can use to check for drug use. The safety advocates want better training for police officers so that they can notice the signs of drug impairment during traffic stops.

The various theories behind drunk driving laws

In Kansas, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08 percent. However, various groups are of the opinion that this limit should be reduced. In fact, the legal limit in Utah will be .05 percent starting at the end of December. The National Traffic Safety Board also agrees that drivers should not operate motor vehicles with a blood alcohol content of more .05 percent. Research from the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute found that most Americans were in favor of such a reduction.

Each day, 29 people are killed on average because of accidents involving drunk drivers. By reducing the legal alcohol limit to .05 percent, it would reportedly save 1,800 lives annually. Furthermore, it would cut down on the $44 billion lost because of drunk driving accidents. Ultimately, the goal is to make roads as safe as possible, and lowering blood alcohol limits may only be one step in that process.

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