Even small business owners can benefit from asset searches

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers. 

We’re fortunate in the West that we have a functioning legal system. We take for granted the fact that people who commit crimes will pay for them. It’s thanks to this legal system that disputes are resolved, and people can get the restitution they deserve. Each year in the United States, there are some half a million Federal tort cases. Though many of these cases never make it to court, those that do offer significant monetary compensation. On average, the compensation payout for injury lawsuits in 2015 was $60,000. The average awarded in damages lawsuits was only a little less, at $50,000.

This underscores how seriousness courts take damages litigation.

Despite the seriousness, the legal system doesn’t always work the way that we would like it to. For instance, let’s suppose that you’re suing somebody for damages. You want to make sure that they compensate you for all the negative consequences of their actions. In preparation, you hire a well-referenced lawyer and go through the court system. In other words, you do everything by the book. Yet, when it comes to collecting the payment that you’re owed, things can go off-book quite quickly.

Sometimes it can turn out that the whole litigation process was in vain. The person or company that you were suing simply doesn’t have the funds or the assets to meet your compensation demands. It turns out that they have few, if any monetizable assets. As a result, you end up with expensive legal fees and little to show for it.

Occasionally, the person you are suing may be able to hide their net worth. Perhaps they have money stowed away in their houses or perhaps they have an offshore bank account. This is where a professional asset search can help. Professional asset searches allow you to look for evidence of the net worth of the person you are suing before you go through the court system. This allows you calibrate your claim, depending on how much money they person can pay.

But asset searches are also worthwhile for a secondary reason. You can find out whether a person is doing anything to hide their net worth from you and the court system. In court, you can use asset searches to portray how much the defendant can afford to pay. With this knowledge, the court might decide to increase the amount awarded, more than they would had the information not come to light.

The transfer of assets to avoid being sued can be a real and pressing issue for those trying to get compensation. This is why so many people are looking for new ways to secure the money that is owed to them. 

While I hope you will never have to take a client or contractor to even small claims court, these tips are important to keep in mind from both the plaintiff and defendant perspectives. As a business owner, you should file the correct paperwork with your state to separate personal and business assets, but must be aware that in a professional asset search, there is likely to not be a separation.

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Baby List: 5 to 8 months

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A lot has changed in just a few months. Baby A is now super mobile and thisclose to walking. With all those changes, our list of musts has changed too. The basics are still super important and we still use most of those every day. But in addition to the previous list, we have baby-proofed the house (and are working on house proofing the baby!), updated her wardrobe and learned a lot.

More Baby Proofing:

Feeding:

Teething necessities:

Toys:

  • Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks and Rock Stack Bundle She loves these! The next toys we buy will be a set of wooden blocks!
  • Random ball she pulled into the cart at Babies R Us
  • Books we could swim in books. A has a bookshelf in her room that is nearly brimming with books. Board books for now and some chapter books for later. She is getting more and more interested in reading as she gets older.

Misc:

  • We love the rash guard from Hanna Anderson for A’s swimming lessons. It’s great for the swim diapers and great for keeping ahold of a wiggly baby!
  • Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System, White This has replaced our on the go version except at school. We just needed something that wasn’t going to eat batteries every couple of days. This one plugs in. She is really ambivalent about the projector though.

Things A has outgrown or is quickly growing out of:
Swaddles – as soon as she could roll over we stopped using these. We tried the wearable blankets, but A wasn’t in to them. She now sleeps with a lovie and a very light blanket in her crib. Yes, she can roll over. yes, she can pull it away from her face. Yes, we check on her regularly throughout the night. Yes, she is still getting up a couple of times a night to nurse.

Nursing pillows – A just doesn’t like them anymore. Which means less work for me, so I’m all for it.

Play mat– pretty much as soon as A could roll over and crawl away, she became super uninterested in her playmat.

Jumper/Exersaucer –  She tolerates this still for short periods of time, but actually prefers her pack and play because she can pull up to standing and can move around.

Pacifiers – she can take them or leave them except at nap time and bed time. Sometimes she just doesn’t want them at all.

 

You’re a new mom

You're a New Mom! When I was pregnant, I hated the phrases “just you wait” or “I’ll remind you of that when…” Now that Avonlea is here, I hate the phrase “you’re a new mom” as much if not more.

I’ve been surprised at how this phrase is used to be condescending and demeaning and everyone from strangers to medical professionals use it to “excuse” or justify my behavior or worse devalue my concerns.

Somehow the new mom designation translates to being uninformed or ignorant in addition to overly emotional, irrational, harried and unstable. Even worse is when the person says, “you’re a new mom” with an eye roll or a tone that indicates you “silly woman.”

Let me be clear, I’m not being an overly emotional new mom because I’m tending to my daughter’s needs. I’m not being an irrational new mom by being prepared. I’m not just being a new mom because I notice changes in my daughter’s behavior and ask questions. I’m not just being an overly concerned new mom because recommended courses of action aren’t working. I’m being a mom.

I first encountered this phrase when I was at the local Macy’s and trying to find a place to change my daughter’s diaper and if necessary feed her. (This was after finding out that the handicap doors didn’t work, so I shouldn’t have had my hopes up.)

Not only was the bathroom not equipped with a changing table but trying to find a chair to sit in for nursing or giving her a bottle was almost impossible.

In desperation, I found a handicap dressing room with a seat. Thankfully even though we were just going to the store for a short time, had packed an extra outfit, a bottle and a few diapers. Poor girl needed the new outfit, two diapers and drank the entire bottle.

When we emerged from the dressing room with a new outfit and a happier (not screaming) baby, fellow shoppers commented on how I “must be a new mom” because I was “over prepared.”

I don’t think I was even a bit over prepared! I was just prepared and knowing my daughter and her general needs doesn’t make me over prepared.

By far, the worst and most condescending comments about my being a new mom has come from a medical specialist we’ve seen.

After our terrible experience in the Pediatric Unit when Avie was four days old (see above photo), I’ve become a much more vocal advocate for my daughter. I’m not afraid to request the next steps in treatments and I’m willing to do my homework.

When the physician recommended course of action isn’t working the timeframe he indicated it would and I say I want to try something else, don’t tell me just being a “new mom.” I want my daughter to get better. I want to make sure this isn’t going to cause long-term issues because we weren’t proactive enough.

So when a nurse or physician essentially blows off my well-researched questions or indicates my wanting to try something else is just because I’m a new mom, it makes me irate.

I highly doubt non-new mothers would ignore their child’s symptoms or would want to be unprepared for a diaper blow out. All parents should feel comfortable advocating for their children whether they are first time parents or fifth time. Period.

Maternity leave is a joke

Maternity Leave
Image from: mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kunm/files/201311/maternity-leave.jpg

 

I knew maternity leave in the United States was bad. As indicated by President Obama’s remarks from June 2014 here and the extensive coverage those remarks received. I knew it was hard on mothers and children, highlighted by this blog post on the Huffington Post from Regan Long, an educator here.

What I didn’t know was that even with an employer who provides short-term disability leave, there isn’t any flexibility because of the carrier policy.

As MetLife explained to me, in the world of maternity leave it’s cut and dry: either you had a C-section or you didn’t. There’s no grey scale for complications from a “normal” delivery. There’s no flexibility if your child has complications.

If like us, you had to return to the hospital less than 24-hours, the clock doesn’t start over. Or even worse, if your child was early and is in the NICU. In fact, you could have to go back to work before you ever brought your child home.

It doesn’t matter if your physician says you can’t drive for several weeks, or indicates for your health and the health of your child you shouldn’t return to work for 12 weeks. Unless you can afford to use up all of your sick and vacation time or have an employer who is willing to give you unpaid time off (FMLA is unpaid by the way), you may have to choose between following your physician’s orders and providing for your family.

Then the complications will start to multiply because using all of your sick and vacation time to recover and care for your child will also mean that once your child enters daycare and is exposed to all the daycare germs, you won’t have any paid time off to care for her. Since you can’t take a sick child to daycare, you’re in a bind again. God forbid you also get sick or get sick from returning to work too soon.

It infuriates me that maternity leave policy providers, like MetLife, can say things such as, “it’s better than no leave!” Or “it’s not up to us, that’s the policy.”

Where’s the compassion in the policy, MetLife? Where’s an employer or policy provider standing up and saying this isn’t right? Where’s caring about the health of employees and their families above a bottom line or policy definition, MetLife?

Like Regan Long said in her piece, “I’m reminded that I should be thankful I have a job.” And like Regan, I too will do whatever it takes to keep my family afloat, even if it means sacrificing my own health.  I just wish no mother would have to make that choice.

Don’t even get me started on paternity leave…

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 78,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.