The Harding Law Firm News

Diving Into the Legal Rights of Pool Owners

The Harding Law Firm - Monday, August 18, 2014
The splashing, the diving, the cannon balls are all part of the joys of a backyard swimming pool. But before you call a contractor or get a do-it-yourself kit, it’s vital you’re aware of your responsibilities. A swimming pool in your yard may seem like the perfect summer past-time, but it represents one of the biggest legal and financial risks associated with your home. The risks of accidental drowning are very real, and your legal liabilities are clear. 
Here is what you need to know about the legalities of owning a swimming pool: 

1)    If you are the owner of the pool, you are the person who has the responsibility for the safety of your family, your guests and even people you haven’t invited onto your property. If you don’t take reasonable measures to ensure your pool is secure, you open yourself to the possibility of a liability lawsuit in the event of an injury or a drowning death. 

2)    Most insurance policies and many town ordinances require that private pools be fenced with barriers that are at least 4-feet high and completely surround the pool. The gates in the fence should be self-closing and securely latched, and the latches should not be accessible to children. 

3)    Invest in a pool cover to use whenever the pool is not in use. You can also purchase a pool alarm you can set to sound if the water is disturbed. 

4)    You or another adult you trust should personally supervise pool use, and you should insist that adult guests be present whenever their children use the pool. You and other adult members of your household should be trained in CPR, so that you have the necessary emergency skills in case of an accident 

5)    Make sure you have lifesaving equipment within easy reach of the pool. 

6)    Your homeowner’s insurance must cover the fact that you have a private pool. Make sure you have a minimum of $1 million in accident coverage associated with the pool in your policy and possibly even more. Even if you post warning signs near your pool, or advise guests that they swim at their own risk, you still remain legally liable for their safety, and your insurance cover should reflect this. 

Be aware of your responsibilities, stay alert and control the number of bathers in your pool, and your summer will go along swimmingly. Enjoy your pool!

Summer Vacation: How Non-Custodial Parents Can Make The Most Of It

The Harding Law Firm - Friday, August 08, 2014


It’s August, the most popular month for family vacations. If you’re a parent without custody of your kids, a little pre-planning will help make the time a wonderful memory. Whether you’re going to the beach, or swimming and picnicking in your own backyard, here are some tips to making the most of your time together: 

1)    Follow the Visitation Schedule: Your kids are counting on it, so don’t disappoint them. If for some reason you need to adjust the schedule, let your ex-spouse and children know as soon as you can. Then schedule another vacation time. 

2)    Make the kids the center of attention. Let them help choose activities and outings. This is an ideal opportunity to get to know their likes and dislikes. At the same time, share with your children your memories of family vacations, and be sure to form new traditions. 

3)    Parents should work together as much as possible to ensure a smooth transition to both homes for the children. Always make them feel welcome in your home. 

4)    Prepare space for vacation visits. If it’s a hotel room, make sure there are enough beds and perhaps a kitchen area for convenient family meals. If you’re vacationing at home, have a separate room for your child, and stock it with some of their favorite toys or games. Give your child the comforts of home, such as their toys, games and snacks. If you have a teenager, be sure to give them plenty of space. 

5)    Be attuned to your child’s needs. If they want constant activity, plan outings to lakes, swimming pools, amusement parks, firework shows, or anything else they come up with. If they prefer quiet time, plan to play cards, lie in a hammock, watch movies or let them sleep in. 

With a bit of planning, you and your kids can celebrate summer with one of the best vacations ever for all of you!