Andrea T. Dunbar

Potential Changes to Interstate Custody Dispute Law in Massachusetts

After a three month maternity leave, and a few months adjusting to being a full-time working mom, I’m excited to be back to contributing my thoughts to this blog! I’m also excited to be writing on a topic that I not only find interesting but also encounter a great deal in my practice – interstate custody disputes.

Pure Home State Jurisdiction

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a piece about the differences between child custody laws in Massachusetts and Rhode Island with a specific focus on the differences between the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). As detailed in the previous post, Massachusetts was the lone hold-out in adopting the UCCJEA, retaining pure home state jurisdiction when determining where to litigate child custody disputes.… Keep reading

divorce and lottery

divorce and lottery
The odds of this being you in the next Powerball drawing are 1 in 292,000,000+

As people scramble to purchase Powerball tickets for a chance (however small) at the 1.3 billion dollar jackpot, the largest in U.S. history, I couldn’t help but think about the practical considerations that come into play when dealing with divorce and lottery winnings, especially for those who are divorcing, or already divorced. Sure, it’s nice to fantasize about buying a second (or third, or fourth) home in the most exotic of locales, or giving thousands of dollars to charities and every person you’ve ever met, but lottery winnings could also affect property division in a divorce, or a child support and/or alimony obligation.

Can my former spouse claim any of my lottery winnings?

Keep reading
Social Security

Social Security
If you’re going through a divorce later in life, social security benefits should absolutely be a topic of conversation.

A few years back I wrote a post about things to consider when divorcing later in life. One of these considerations was Social Security. Social Security continues to be an important topic of discussion for any couple divorcing later in life, because it can have a significant impact on income and sometimes retirement benefits.

Of course, just when we get comfortable with the rules and how they’re applied, Congress goes and shakes things up. As part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, just signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, the federal government is eliminating two key pieces of Social Security that are important for retirement planning for married and divorce spouses alike.… Keep reading

Divorce and the Common Interest Privilege

Say what?
Say what?

Privilege is one of the most important legal concepts that an attorney can be versed in. Inadvertently waiving the attorney/client privilege or the psychotherapist/patient privilege, for example, can have dire consequences for clients and attorneys alike. An interesting blog post by our esteemed colleagues in the Business Litigation and Employment Law groups got me (well, really Nancy) thinking about a lesser known privilege known as the common interest privilege and how same is relevant to divorce.

First, a little background on the Common Interest Privilege. According to the Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers, a riveting legal treatise more commonly used to prop up a wobbly desk, the common interest privilege applies…… Keep reading

Are Custody Laws Different in MA and RI?

Thinking of moving? Check the child custody laws in that state to see if there are differences.
Thinking of moving? Different child custody laws in each state may make things even more complicated.

While the borders between Massachusetts and Rhode Island appear to be incredibly permeable, this is just not the case when dealing with custody of children. With few exceptions, the home state of the child is where a court proceeding for custody of that child must be commenced. The home state is defined as the state he or she has resided in for six months prior to the beginning of custody proceedings. Put a different way, the residency of the child, not the parents, determines where an initial custody proceeding must be brought.… Keep reading