AFTER DIVORCE SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS
N othing disrupts holiday cheer quite like the fresh wound of a divorce. At first, most divorced couples find it difficult to adjust to the holidays. While you may or may not have your children on certain holidays in any given year, it is important to remember that holidays are about celebrating with family and friends and don’t have to occur on one specific day. Children usually won’t complain about celebrating a holiday twice, especially if it involves receiving gifts. While gifts are always nice, remember that they don’t need to be purchased to appreciate the holidays. With separation and divorce, funds for the holidays may not be as plentiful as before. Sometimes the gift of time and attention means more than any store-bought present. Your children will remember the memories that you make with them, not the items that you purchase for them. If you’re celebrating the holidays for the first time after your divorce, understand and acknowledge that it may be especially stressful. As you navigate this season, remember that this is new for everyone, and a little patience and perseverance goes a long way. While old traditions may bring about anxiety or painful memories, starting new family traditions is a way to begin healing and enjoy the holidays. If you can afford it, maybe plan on taking a vacation with friends or family or go to visit out of town relatives. If you prefer to stay local, giving back to the community through volunteering and helping those less fortunate is a rewarding distraction. If you happen to know friends or family members who are going through the holidays for the first time after a divorce, invite them to join your family for the festivities. Most people don’t want to ask for help. Invite them into your home to help them resist the temptation to be alone. We like to view life after divorce as a new chapter. During a divorce, it can seem like you’re traveling through a dark tunnel, but it is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once you reach it, be sure to embrace the change. Whether the
"DURING A DIVORCE, IT CAN SEEM LIKE YOU’RE TRAVELING THROUGH A DARK TUNNEL, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL."
change was something that you wanted or not, embracing your new circumstances will make life and the holidays much more enjoyable. No matter your circumstances this holiday season, we hope that you and your family enjoy this festive season.
– Moses DeWitt
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PERSONAL INJURY - DIVORCE - REAL ESTATE
As we approach the holiday season, we look for ways to help our community. One of our traditions of giving back is donating bikes to “The News Junkie’s” annual holiday bike drive. For years, we have worked with “The News Junkie,” a local radio show on Real Radio 104.1, by donating bikes for their annual bike drive. However, this year, we wanted to go one step further. During 2016, we donated 122 bikes, and in 2017, we were able to provide 116 bikes. This year, we decided to match every bike donated. The program focuses on providing bikes for children in need. The drive unites the entire community, and the radio station partners with a different entity every year. Last year, we worked with the Latino Peace Officers Association and attended the event when each child received their bike. In addition to giving a bike and holiday toys to the children, the Latino Peace Officers Association put on a great event for the kids and even brought in the sheriff’s helicopter, firetrucks, the SWAT team, the canine unit, and tons of games. A bike is a kid’s first sense of freedom. They learn from scraped knees and cut elbows. As a child, I cherished all those moments, and I hope to be able to help other children have similar fond memories. We also want to ensure that every child is safe when out having fun, which is why Helmet Heads of Florida is donating a helmet for every bike. While it’s a fun event for everyone involved, it’s more important to the area than most people realize. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, deaths among Florida bicyclists under the age of 20 has tripled since 1975. In 2017 alone, 783 fatal bicycle accidents happened in the U.S., and 125 of those occurred in the Sunshine State. A recent study conducted by AAA found that among Florida bicyclists, 36% don’t wear a helmet when riding. Helmets save lives, and we want to make sure every child has access to one. If you want to help lower these statistics by getting involved with Helmet Heads of Florida, visit HelmetHeadsofFlorida.org for more information. We hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday! ONE HELMET AT A TIME HELPING OUR COMMUNITY
HORSING AROUND MEET A DIFFERENT KIND OF THERAPY ANIMAL
Horses have been loyal and useful companions to humans for centuries. But unbeknownst to many who fear these long-legged, 1,000-plus-pound mammals, horses are also naturally intuitive and extremely sensitive to the moods of people around them. These traits make them excellent therapy animals for those with autism, cerebral palsy, chronic illnesses, and PTSD, among many more. In fact, there are dedicated horse-riding camps geared toward chronically ill children and adults all over the world. However, riding horses isn’t the only way to benefit from equine therapy; horses are also fantastic comfort animals that can relieve anxiety and promote a positive environment for bedridden patients — as long as the doorway is big enough. Meet Peyo, the 14-year-old “love stallion” from Dijon, France, who is cheering up chronically ill patients one nuzzle at a time. This accomplished artistic dressage competitor accompanies his owner, Hassen Bouchakour, on visits to hospitals and nursing homes, bringing joy with every clop of his hooves. Patients suffering from all manner of ailments blossom when Peyo comes to visit, laughing and smiling while being nudged by his soft nose. He seems to have a keen sense for patients who are truly suffering, and though his handler is always nearby, Peyo often chooses which rooms to enter of his own volition. Having a horse in a hospital room may not sound very sanitary, but Peyo goes through a strict grooming regimen to be deemed hygienic enough to be around patients. His hooves are greased, his mane and tail are braided, and his entire body is rubbed down with antibacterial lotion before being covered by a blanket. Before Peyo became a therapy horse, he was almost put up for sale by Bouchakour, who had a hard time wrangling Peyo’s fiery personality. But, over time, when they traveled to shows and competitions together, Bouchakour noticed the horse was drawn to the injured and disabled and would instantly calm at their touch. “It is one of the most pure, honest, and sweet things,” Bouchakour says. “They like each other very much without asking for anything else.”
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THE DEVIL’S GREATEST TRICK TORT REFORM The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist. For years, insurance companies have pushed ad campaigns and marketing efforts encouraging tort reform. Pointing to frivolous lawsuits, insurance companies have tried to convince the public that tort reform is a necessity. In fact, the reality is quite different. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, you may understand why tort reform is not good for anyone except the insurance companies. We have all heard stories of frivolous cases, which have been parodied in movies and television for decades. The McDonald’s coffee case was an ongoing joke on late night television shows and continues to live on as part of pop culture folklore. However, the true details of the case never made headlines. The woman who sued McDonald’s suffered third-degree burns (the most serious kind) and required skin grafts on her inner thighs and elsewhere. McDonald’s received more than 700 previous reports of injuries from its coffee, including reports of third-degree burns, and had paid settlements in some cases. The woman offered to settle the case for $20,000 to cover her medical expenses and lost income. However, McDonald’s refused and never offered more than $800, so the case went to trial. The jury found the woman to be partially at fault for her injuries, reducing the compensation for her injuries accordingly. However, the jury, upset by McDonald’s unwillingness
to correct a policy despite hundreds of people suffering injuries, awarded the woman nearly $3 million in punitive damages, which made headlines. Ultimately, the woman and McDonald’s reached a confidential settlement to avoid years of appeals and uncertainty. Truth be told, most people who are injured simply want to get their medical bills paid so they don’t have a mountain of debt due to an accident that wasn’t their fault. Most injury attorneys I speak with are in favor of measures to restrict frivolous lawsuits. However, frivolous lawsuits are the exception, not the rule. While insurance companies may want to convince the public otherwise, frivolous lawsuits have harsh consequences and subject any attorney filing one to sanctions and potential discipline. In the upcoming 2020 legislative session, we are expecting to see a renewed tort reform push to limit medical malpractice damages and reduce attorneys fees for workers' compensation claims along with several other measures. Many of these measures were previously struck down by the Florida Supreme Court. However, emboldened by the appointment of three new Florida Supreme Court justices, insurance companies are expected to take another crack at tort reform. We will keep you posted throughout the year as the legislative session unfolds.
BACON-WRAPPED CHESTNUTS MOE'S MUNCHIES
BREAK TAKE A
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 8-oz cans water chestnuts
1 lb sliced bacon, quartered
Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), but can substitute with coconut aminos
1. Heat an oven to 400 F. 2. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment and set aside. 3. Drain liquid from canned water chestnuts, add tamari to cover, and let soak for 15 minutes in the cans. 4. Drain tamari, roll each chestnut in coconut sugar, wrap with bacon, and spear on toothpick. 5. Place chestnuts on prepared rack. Bake for 30–35 minutes. 6. Plate and serve.
Inspired by “Paleo Happy Hour” by Kelly Milton
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Surviving the Holidays After Divorce
Peyo the Therapy Horse
Helping Our Community One Helmet at a Time
An Update on Tort Reform
Florida City Sues Family Over Extreme Christmas Display
FLORIDA CITY BATTLES TO END ‘EXTREME’ LIGHTS DISPLAY
litter in their yards, and potential injury or death to pedestrians due to the traffic. Police officers in Plantation were dispatched to the light display multiple times each season for complaints by neighbors, accidents, and traffic control. After a two-year battle in court, a judge ruled in favor of the Hyatts, claiming the city could not prove the display was dangerous or a nuisance. The city had spent nearly half a million dollars fighting their case. For the Hyatts, Christmas 2016 was a celebration, though their display was restrained due to the timing of the court’s decision. By 2017, “Hyatt Extreme Christmas” was in full swing again, much to their neighbors’ chagrin. Mark Hyatt rode the wave of support for his display all the way to a vacant seat on the Plantation City Council in 2016, but the highs would soon stop there. Plantation news outlets reported in 2018 that Mark Hyatt filed for divorce, effectively ending any hope of another “Hyatt Extreme Christmas.” As the snow has settled, an extravagant lights display has instead become a story of nasty court battles with a sad ending for the Hyatts and their “extreme” Christmas devotees.
There’s nothing quite like the magic of twinkling Christmas lights. But for city officials in Plantation, Florida, Christmas lights are a stark reminder of a prolonged fight, nearly $500,000 in court fees, and continued drama. In 2014, Plantation sued residents Mark and Kathy Hyatt for their “Hyatt Extreme Christmas” lights display, claiming it was a “public nuisance.” Each year, the Hyatts decorated their yard with more than 200,000 lights, snow, a Christmas tree, a Nativity scene, a functioning Ferris wheel, and more. Their creation was featured on two nationally televised programs and attracted flocks of visitors.
But, for the Hyatt’s neighbors, extreme didn’t even begin to explain the chaos. Neighbors complained to the city about increased traffic,
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