Divorce

Divorcing? Here’s What You Need to Consider

No one goes into a marriage thinking about divorce, but nevertheless, over 750,000 couples get divorced every year. You have probably heard or read the statistic that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. While true, this doesn’t diminish how difficult, stressful, and emotional, it can be to go through one. The process can be confusing and emotionally taxing, and Casale & Bonner P.C is here to help guide and support you through it. Here are some things to consider:

Custody

Often the most involved and difficult aspects of divorce are child custody and visitation rights. Every parent wants to have a large part in their child’s life, and this can lead to some intense legal battles. If the parents can come to a resolution outside of court, then they can ultimately decide how custody and visitation will be handled. If not, the court will decide who shall receive custody based a numerous factors such as who the “primary caretaker” is, and the child’s preference if they’re old enough to decide. Ultimately, the court will decide based on the best interests of the child.

  • When determining the best interests of the child, the court will factor in the following factors:
  • Both the physical and mental health of each parent
  • The need for a stable home environment
  • Who has been most involved in the child’s life thus far
  • The child’s preference if they’re old enough to express it
  • Evidence of parent drug or alcohol abuse or any other run-ins with the law
  • Any special needs the child may have
  • The family dynamic and relationships with others in the household

Support

Child and spousal support is another thing that those going through the divorce process must deal with. It ensures that the non-custodial parent is providing financial support for any children and that the spouse with the higher income is providing financial assistance to the other. There are a couple of factors that go into the amount that one must pay in alimony or child support. Incomes, health insurance plans, relative assets owned, and general need, amongst other factors, all factor into the amount one must pay.

Division of Property

Similar to child custody matters, the division of property can be settled out of court. While it can be difficult to reconcile any disagreements, settling out of court allows for the couple to come to a decision themselves, without the court deciding for them. If agreements can’t be made outside of court, then a family law judge will decide how the assets and property are split.

Some of the factors that play into the decision include but are not limited to:

  • Incomes of each spouse
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Expected future cash flow (pensions, retirement, etc.)
  • Obligations of spousal support in previous marriages
  • The ability of each spouse to provide for themselves
  • Tax consequences of dividing the property

Divorce can be not only stressful and emotional for the spouses, but those connected to them as well. Allow the team (link to about us page) at Casale & Bonner P.C. to walk you through the process from start to finish to make the experience as stress-free and efficient as possible. The compassion, patience, and dedication we show each of our clients is unparalleled.

Call Casale & Bonner P.C. 570-326-7044 to speak with a lawyer. We are here to be your guide through your divorce, protect your rights, and help you obtain any compensation that you deserve.

Head Injuries & Your Right to Compensation

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can range from mild to severe. Regardless of the severity, the physical, sensory, and cognitive symptoms can be very upsetting. If you or someone you know has sustained a traumatic brain injury due to an assault, slip and fall, auto accident, or sports incident, contact an attorney at Casale & Bonner, P.C. by calling 570-326-7044. We can’t cure a brain injury, but we can help ease the difficulty associated with medical bills and other costs.

Mild & Severe TBIs

A concussion is classified as a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is often missed initially. This classification is assigned when a force or impact to the head causes loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation lasts fewer than 30 minutes. Medical imaging may be normal, but the victim may experience headache, difficulty thinking, frustration, memory loss, sleep disturbances, mood changes, and other problems that can last a year or more. While called “mild,” the effects can be very difficult to deal with.

A severe traumatic brain injury may initially present as a mild TBI. In the hours or days following the injury, the victim may exhibit dilation of one or both pupils, clear fluid draining from the nose or ears, weakness, lack of coordination, severe confusion, agitation, and other symptoms.

Causes of TBI

Any blow to the head can cause TBI. The extent of the damage is determined by the nature of the injury and force of the impact. The most common causes of TBI are falls, auto accidents, sports injuries, violence (assault), and combat injuries. Shaken Baby Syndrome also causes head trauma.

Schools can help by ensuring that all students have the latest and safest protective equipment when participating in sports and that coaches strictly enforce rules that prohibit students that show signs of concussion from returning to the field. A study by Boston University showed that 110 of 111 former NFL players showed signs of repeated head trauma and brain damage, even with high-quality protective helmets. Football isn’t the only sport with a high incidence of TBI. Cycling, baseball, basketball, scuba diving, soccer, skiing, and hockey also contribute to the high TBI stats.

Outcomes

People who have sustained traumatic brain injuries may develop seizure disorders, buildup of fluid in the brain that causes brain swelling, infections, damage to blood vessels, ongoing headaches, vertigo, paralysis, altered sense of smell or taste, swallowing problems, hearing loss, inability concentrate, memory loss, outbursts, depression, and more. Research has shown that TBIs can lead to degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

Statistics

The Pennsylvania Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board has compiled some statistics pertaining to TBI. In a 2015 summary, the Advisory Board reported that over 245,000 people have brain injury-related disabilities in Pennsylvania. Over 2,200 die from brain injuries annually. Nearly 50,000 people are seen in emergency rooms every year following brain injuries. Almost 36,000 Pennsylvania youths of ages 19 and under have sports-related brain injuries every year. Over 8,500 of the victims of TBI have disabilities that are long-term or last throughout their lives.

Your Legal Representatives

If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury due to the action or inaction of another person, the lawyers of Casale & Bonner, P.C. will help you file a lawsuit against them. Monetary compensation cannot take away the pain and heartache of TBI, but it may ease the financial burden associated with ongoing medical care. We hope that by holding the person/people responsible for their action/inaction, they will recognize their wrongdoing. This may provide some comfort to victims, knowing that the parties have been held responsible and will, hopefully, act with more caution in the future. Call Casale & Bonner, P.C. at 570-326-7044 for more information.

Can Your Criminal Record Be Sealed?

Clean Slate Legislation

Recently, Pennsylvania legislators passed a law that allows some criminal records to be sealed, rendering them invisible to some searchers — including prospective employers. While this law may be advantageous to you, you may not be benefitting from it. Find out why, and how to ensure your record is sealed. As always, if you need personal assistance with this or any other legal matter, call Casale & Bonner, P.C. at 570-326-7044.

Are Your Criminal Records Visible?

When you’re applying for a job, an apartment, or school, you will likely be subject to a background check. These checks yield results that include criminal records. Therefore, a criminal record can adversely affect your ability to get a job, become enrolled in classes, or even rent a place to live. Governor Tom Wolf has approved Clean Slate to allow people with records of convictions that are 10 years old — if they have had no more convictions — to have their records sealed.

Who Is Eligible?

While there is a provision in Clean Slate for automatic record sealing after a 10-year period, only certain offenses will be sealed. Misdemeanor records will be automatically sealed after 10 years if the defendant has had no new convictions. Second and third-degree misdemeanors are included in this automatic process. Some first-degree offenses are now eligible to be sealed, excluding violent and sexual offenses, among a few others. In cases where you have more than one first-degree felony or an additional felony, you will not be eligible for the automatic process, and you will have to wait longer than the stated 10-year period. The eligibility guidelines are difficult to understand. Please consult one of our lawyers for assistance in finding out whether or not your case can be sealed.

Your Convictions Are NOT Expunged

Keep in mind that your records have not been expunged. Your criminal record remains in the criminal justice system and is visible to law enforcement, employers who must consider these records per federal law, and any employer that uses FBI background checks. If your records have been sealed, feel free to respond to questions — except those from criminal justice agencies — as if the offense did not occur.

Is Clean Slate an Automatic Process?

Right now, your number-one consideration is to ensure that you have paid any and all court fines and costs. All fees must be paid before you are eligible for Clean Slate. Beginning in January 2021, Clean Slate will be an automated process for those who are eligible and have paid all of the fees associated with their case. Until then, you must petition for your records to be sealed. This is a process best accomplished with legal assistance. We are happy to help you determine your eligibility and file your petition.

Clean Your Slate

Remember, Clean Slate does NOT expunge your record. You may continue to seek expungement even if your record is sealed. Review the Clean Slate legislation for details, and give one of our legal experts a call at 570-326-7044 for assistance.
Personal Injury Law

The Reality of Abuse

The Case

Sexual abuse cases can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Many are particularly difficult because all too often a child is victimized. High profile cases are even more difficult; we have represented cases involving both. At Casale & Bonner, P.C. we don’t shy away from cases that are tough. We step in to help our clients seek justice and the compensation they deserve.

Our firm represented a child who had been abused during early adolescence by a trusted authority figure. It was a high-profile figure, with a reputation for being altruistic and admirable. These cases often occur in settings that are supposed to be supportive and safe, but instead, are often the location where children became easy prey for otherwise trusted, known, and respected adults.

We file claims in the best possible venue for our clients. We consider all possible defendants to include in the case to maximize the compensation for the victims, our clients.

We coordinate our efforts with other law firms who are often representing other victims; hire experts and validate claims to determine their validity and severity.

While we fervently wish we could have protected our client and other victims from these heinous abuses, we are satisfied to have obtained closure and settlement, often in the seven-figure range; helping our client to begin the healing process.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and Darkness to Light, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. In 90% of child abuse cases, the victims know their abuser. Children aged 12-17 are victimized at a higher rate than adults. In 2000, children were sexually assaulted at a rate 2.3 times higher than adults.

Emotional and mental health issues are often the first sign of abuse. Abuse survivors are 30% more likely to develop serious medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Many have non-life threatening medical problems like fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, and more. Academic problems and absenteeism are both common symptoms of sexual abuse. To build our client’s case, our staff obtained and studied voluminous records detailing our client’s medical and psychological treatment, along with his school records. All of his records were consistent with the expected results of a victim of sexual abuse.

We Represent You

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, urge them to seek help from a medical and psychological professional. When they’re ready, we’re here to represent their rights. Our team’s diligence, expertise, knowledge, and aggressive representation will go to work for you. Call 570.326.7044. Casale & Bonner will take on the toughest cases — our clients deserve the best.

Don’t Drive Under the Influence

In Pennsylvania, along with the rest of the US, DUI is a very serious crime. The penalties are stiff and the charges will negatively impact your entire life. At Casale & Bonner P.C., we don’t want you to suffer through the consequences if you don’t have to. Step one in staying away from a DUI charge is education.

What is DUI?

DUI, or driving under the influence, is the charge brought against a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs — even prescription drugs.

Anatomy of an Arrest

If a police officer sees any behaviors that lead them to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will pull you over. The first thing they will do is make observations: check if your eyes are bloodshot; listen for slurred speech; smell for alcohol in the care; etc. Typically, they will then ask the driver to exit the vehicle.

Roadside testing may include standing on one leg, walking and turning, and a breath test for alcohol intoxication. If the results of any of these tests give the officer probable cause to believe you are impaired, they will arrest you for DUI. You will be handcuffed and placed in the police vehicle for transportation to the closest place for blood testing. You may receive your Miranda rights at this time.

When you arrive at the local hospital or other blood collection station, you will be asked to submit to a blood alcohol test (BAC). You do not have to give consent, but be aware that in Pennsylvania, you do not have the right to refuse. If you do refuse, there will be consequences including suspension of your driver’s license for at least a year. This year is the result of your refusal, not the DUI charge. If you are found guilty of DUI and receive drivers license suspension time, this will be added to the refusal to take the BAC time. Please be aware that during this time, you do not have a right to a lawyer. You must make this decision on your own, knowing the consequences.

After the test, you will likely be detained and have a right to call Casale & Bonner at 570-326-7044 for legal advice and representation.

Avoiding DUI

The best idea is to avoid driving under the influence altogether. If you are drinking or imbibing in any kind of substance that impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, don’t get behind the wheel. Ask a friend who has not been drinking to give you a ride. Call a taxi or Uber. Find a way to stay off the road. The best defense is a good offense. Don’t get behind the wheel of a car and you can’t be pulled over.

Contact us with any questions or to retain our services.