Category: General

Vision

Raise The Standard

Whose vision are we under in this nation?

When did we come to live in a nation where we kill babies and where we worship pornography, killing the essence of our self worth?

When did we start believing as a nation that there is nothing we can do as the death rate of suicide in our young people continues to rise?

When did we ruin the circle of life to the point where we seem to be heading toward euthanasia of our old people?

Where did the value of life go?

If we do not have this basic core of belief of the fundamental value of life in our nation, then it is no wonder all the other inalienable rights we thought we had are disappearing.  If the essence of life is not a value in our society, then certainly slavery of humanity to the will of a select group of individual must not be a problem!  Or is it?

Our societal and individual rights, as set forth under the constitution, were founded on basic moral principals.  At the time, there where voices within the land that raised up the standard and made it plain to see and follow. These foundational principals started with a basic premise that we have rights that cannot be taken from us as individuals. We call these inalienable rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. (Declaration of Independence)

Sometimes our government enacts laws we do not even understand and it seem so far away from us.  It seems to have little bearing on how we live.  How is helping defeat laws that allow abortion or casinos or other such laws going to help the challenges you’re facing today?  Most of you would say it would not.  However, it’s the many parts of the puzzle that make up the finished product.

One bite at a time our right to live life under Godly, moral standards is being taken from us.  This is not new to this world.  Even a brief, look through “His-story” will show that one conquering ruler after another begins a battle plan, take-over plan, acquisition, one step at a time, one bite at a time.

Your voice matters. This day, I speak to you to rise up.

Submitted by Susan V. Carroll, Esq.

 

Civil Division in Bay County

Going to Court

Bay County Civil Law Division

COURTROOM CONDUCT

The Judges and Hearing Officer(s) assigned to the Civil Division in Bay County expect that all litigants, whether or not they are represented by attorneys, will conduct themselves in an appropriate fashion so that all parties will be afforded a fair opportunity to present their case.

The following are meant to assist you in meeting appropriate standards of conduct when you appear in court.

1. Be Truthful in all statements that you make in court. False statements under oath constitute perjury which is a criminal offense.

2. Do not call or write the judge. As a general rule, documents and testimony can be read or heard by the Judge only when in the presence of both parties.

3. Be courteous. Do not interrupt anyone who is speaking. If we have an objection to something a witness says, your attorney will say, AObjection@, and the court will allow her to state the nature of the objection.

4. Treat all the court personnel with respect, including bailiffs, judicial assistants, clerks, court investigators, self-help personnel, judges and hearing officers.

5. Do not make faces or gestures at the opposing party, his or her attorney, witnesses or the Judge while in the courtroom or the Judge=s chambers. Speak directly to the Judge or your attorney, not to the opposing party or a witness. You will be given an opportunity to be heard in court.

6. Show your respect for the court by wearing appropriate attire. Do not come to court in shorts, tank tops, blue jeans, T-shirts, or sneakers.

7. Do not bring food or beverages into the courtroom and do not chew gum or eat candy in the courtroom.

8. Make arrangements for someone to care for your children prior to appearing in court. DO NOT BRING CHILDREN TO COURT without prior order signed by the Judge.

9. Be aware that witnesses you bring to court are not usually permitted to remain in the courtroom while you, your spouse or former spouse or other witnesses will testify.

10. The courthouse is located in a congested area. Parking is limited and time consuming. You must also be prepared to pass through a metal detector at the front door. Please arrive for your hearing at least 15 minutes before the hearing is scheduled to begin.

Panama City – Florida’s Divorce Capital

Panama City, Florida boasts about being  home of the the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” with international recognition for the natural beauty of our spot on Florida’s Emerald Coast.

But the title “Florida’s Divorce Capital” is not one you’ll see advertised but Panama City has the dubious distinction of having the highest per capita divorce rate in the nation.

According to data crunched by the Wall Street Journal in 2010, Florida is in the top ten states with the highest rates of divorce. When results are evaluated by county, Bay County (Panama City) had the highest rate of divorce in Florida.

Furthermore, the nationwide publication, The Daily Beast, reveals that Florida also has 11 of the 50 cities in America with the highest divorce rates. Their research reveals that Panama City has the highest per capita divorce rate in the nation, with nearly 16 percent of the population being divorced.

This is not news to Panama City divorce attorneys, who have to ask, “why?”

Florida marital counselor Dr. Joel Prather has several theories as to why Panama City is home to so many divorcees. These include:

• Couples coming to the area for job opportunities that are then lost, causing financial strain
• Disproportionate amount of military personnel in the area, leading to divorces when troops are deployed or when front-line troop members come home injured
• High joblessness rate among long-time residents due to company layoffs and other economic issues
• Easy access to bars, nightclubs, alcohol, creating a “party” atmosphere that can disrupt quality time spent nurturing a relationship
• Temptations found in that “party” atmosphere that may lead to infidelity

One significant factor contributing to the high divorce rate in Florida is the flexibility and simplicity of the state’s divorce-related laws. It is somewhat easier to obtain a divorce in Florida than in several other states.

Key Factors To Discuss With Your Divorce Attorney

magnifying-glass Just the Facts and only the Facts, Please!

When you think about divorce cases you may think, “Are they not all the same?” The answer to this is: “No, they are not!” Each case, whether it has custody issues, alimony issues, equitable dissolution issues or even is just a plain uncontested settlement matter is what we call, “Fact Driven.” Therefore, the facts of a case become very important.

I remember once when I was in a final hearing (trial) and my client was testifying. Prior to the trial, we had conducted discovery, taken depositions and gone through mediation, so I thought I knew basically everything I needed to know about my client, until I heard my client ask the opposing counsel on cross examination whether he was inquiring about the child at issue or his other child. Well, I can tell you I did a double-take because this was the first time I had heard about any “other child.” I immediately asked for a break to determine what was going on. When I questioned my client he told me he never thought about telling me about this other child, because I never asked! I explained to him that every form he ever filled out asked about all children. He then said he just really had not wanted to get into a discussion about a child who was not part of this case. As you can imagine this was not the answer I wanted to hear.

The facts you tell your attorney are extremely important and if in doubt you should tell ALL. EVERYTHING about your life might be relevant to your attorney whether you think it is important or not. Let your attorney decide the level of importance and then you can both work together to figure out how you are going to present the facts to the court. Based upon this thought I would like to share with you some of the IMPORTANT things you need to tell your attorney even if they forget to ask!
This list is not in order of importance, but these are some of the things you should make sure your attorney knows:
1. Tell your attorney about any and all criminal actions you have ever been involved in. This is one of my favorites – I was conducting an initial client interview and we were discussing at length his options regarding obtaining full custody of the children. I was thinking we maybe should even seek sole custody. Right before the interview was about to conclude the client said that maybe he should ask me if I thought his criminal history might have any bearing on the case. I was needless to say somewhat stunned when I realized that there was a page long rap sheet on the client. The moral of this story is always tell your attorney about any criminal actions you have been involved in whether or not there was a conviction or pre-trial release, arrest or even warrants issued. Do not forget any juvenile issues or records you consider “sealed.” My motto is that if it happened, someone will remember it and it will come out. I want to be the one to decide when this happens – not leave it up to opposing counsel.

2. Are you dating another client of the attorney? For example, if your girlfriend said, “Go see my attorney, she is awesome.€ So you come to talk with me and yet both of you forget to tell me you are dating one of my clients. Then at trial the other side calls your girlfriend who is now mad at you and hates your guts to come and testify against you. At that point I may have to recuse myself from both cases because I cannot put one of my clients on the stand and ask questions that may be adverse to them. It becomes a very sticky wicket, so to speak.

3. Tell your attorney about things you would rather keep hidden. I want to know every “skeleton€ hanging in your closet. If I know about an issue in your life, then I have the possibility to mitigate the potential damage. If I do not know about it then I just get blindsided and become less effective on your behalf. So, if you have been Baker Acted, Marchman Acted, spent time in any mental health clinic, for any type of mental or drug and/or alcohol use then I need to know. This is definitely a “need to know item. Will it necessarily be damaging to your case? That will depend on the FACTS but if I know about it I can show the court how well you are doing even with past issues and in this manner seek to overcome any potential problems.

4. Discuss any litigation you have ever been involved in of any type. This can become important if perhaps you are in a social security disability lawsuit or a personal injury lawsuit or a lawsuit involving employment or even your children. The outcome of these cases could change the way we file or litigate the matter. If you have been involved in other litigation in the past it is helpful for me to know what happened and the result. Once again do not think ANYTHING is unimportant, let me be the judge of that.

5. What is the worst thing that has ever been said about you? One question I always want to know is “What is the worst thing the other side is going to say about you and is it true? If you do not tell me that you have an anger problem and then the next thing I know is we are being hit with a tort action in the divorce case for battery because you recently beat up your wife and she is now claiming a head injury I am going to be upset and wonder what else you have not told me. This does not give me warm fuzzy feelings and makes me begin to question everything you are telling me. If I can get to that stage in how I am thinking about you, then what do you think a Judge will think? It’s just not a good idea to tell your attorney that you are a perfect angel and then get run over with allegations of maybe sex addictions, or child porn or gambling debts or spending problems or anything along these lines. Tell me please what the issues are going to be, so I can help you. There is an old saying that goes like this, “Knowledge is power. If you give me the knowledge about your case, I am empowered to advocate on your behalf. Without the knowledge I have no power to intercede where or when necessary. I promise you I am not making moral judgments on you or personal calls about how you live your life. I am trying to get the FACTS, so I can represent you to the best of my ability. Don’t handicap me from the beginning of the case.

6. Never lie to your attorney. I wish I had a dime for every client who sits in front of my desk and tells me that they will NOT TEST positive for drug use and then when I tell them, “Great, go right now to the clinic and take a “pee test” they began to explain to me all the reasons why they can’t go for at least three more days. I know right away that they are not telling me the truth about their drug use. DO NOT LIE TO YOUR ATTORNEY. This really should have been one of the Ten Commandments. I promise you someone out there knows and if the opposing counsel can find that person or document they usually will. I know and understand that this is a really hard thing to do; spilling your innermost secrets with an attorney you are not even sure you like, but I promise you it is in your best interest to come clean at this stage of the game.

Finally, while this is certainly not the last issue, it is enough for today. I really do have your best interest at heart. I care about my clients, I want you to get the best results possible and I want you to be able to move on with your life without any fears holding you back at the end of the case. As we work together through your case, I and my staff will come to know more about you than your own mother. So remember, I am not your enemy, I am your advocate seeking to help you in every way I can and for this I need you to keep me informed, up to date and current on what is going on in your life and mindful of the advice I give you during the course of the litigation. If we work together as a team we will be stronger.

Yours,
Susan V. Carroll, Esquire

Salute to Those who Labor

If you think Labor Day is a distinctly American holiday, think again. It actually originated in Canada in 1882 and was quickly adopted by the United States. Interestingly, the form that the observance and celebration should take was actually outlined in the first proposal of what became a legal holiday.

According to the United Stated Department of Labor site, the holiday originally included a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of  workers and their families. Later, speeches by prominent men and women of the community were added to emphasize the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Traditions change and very few of us will be attending any parades today.

So what are we doing?

Labor Day has come to be recognized as a day of rest and celebration. Here in Panama City, our hotels and beaches are packed as tourists celebrate the last weekend of summer.  Ironically, this means longer hours for those employed in the hospitality industry.  It’s also a weekend that retailers offer big sales promotions.  Retail employment makes up about 24% of all jobs in the United States.

Unemployment continues to be a major problem as economic recovery remains elusive.  Since money problems rank in the top 3 causes of divorce, our Family Law practice sees the very real toll  unemployment takes on marriage and families.

If you are currently employed, be thankful not only for a day off, but for the provision of your job. And if you are among the approximately 8.2% of Americans currently unemployed, our wish for you is that the fall season will bring you the opportunity you have been seeking.

To all, we wish a safe and happy Labor Day.

Civil Division in Bay County

Courtroom Conduct

COURTROOM CONDUCT

The Judges and Hearing Officer(s) assigned to the Civil Division in Bay County expect that all litigants, whether or not they are represented by attorneys, will conduct themselves in an appropriate fashion so that all parties will be afforded a fair opportunity to present their case.

The following are meant to assist you in meeting appropriate standards of conduct when you appear in court.

1. Be Truthful in all statements that you make in court. False statements under oath constitute perjury which is a criminal offense.

2. Do not call or write the judge. As a general rule, documents and testimony can be read or heard by the Judge only when in the presence of both parties.

3. Be courteous. Do not interrupt anyone who is speaking. If we have an objection to something a witness says, your attorney will say, AObjection@, and the court will allow her to state the nature of the objection.

4. Treat all the court personnel with respect, including bailiffs, judicial assistants, clerks, court investigators, self-help personnel, judges and hearing officers.

5. Do not make faces or gestures at the opposing party, his or her attorney, witnesses or the Judge while in the courtroom or the Judge=s chambers. Speak directly to the Judge or your attorney, not to the opposing party or a witness. You will be given an opportunity to be heard in court.

6. Show your respect for the court by wearing appropriate attire. Do not come to court in shorts, tank tops, blue jeans, T-shirts, or sneakers.

7. Do not bring food or beverages into the courtroom and do not chew gum or eat candy in the courtroom.

8. Make arrangements for someone to care for your children prior to appearing in court. DO NOT BRING CHILDREN TO COURT without prior order signed by the Judge.

9. Be aware that witnesses you bring to court are not usually permitted to remain in the courtroom while you, your spouse or former spouse or other witnesses will testify.

10. The courthouse is located in a congested area. Parking is limited and time consuming. You must also be prepared to pass through a metal detector at the front door. Please arrive for your hearing at least 15 minutes before the hearing is scheduled to begin.