Celebrity Gossip

Can We Divorce Even if My Partner Is Pregnant?

What do Bridget Moynahan, Tiki Barbar, and Denise Richards have in common?  They (or their spouse) were all pregnant while going through a divorce.

Divorce is never easy.  Divorcing while pregnant adds another complication.  In some states it is not even possible to finalize the divorce while a party is pregnant.  However, in Massachusetts, although expecting parents are permitted to finalize a divorce, there are certain obstacles about which a divorcing, expecting parent should be aware.

1. There is a legal presumption that a child born to a woman during a marriage is the child of her spouse.

Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 209(C), section 6, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he is married to the mother at the time of birth of the child or if the child is born within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment or divorce. (While the terms man and woman are contained in the statute, this law applies to same-sex couples, as well.) The husband’s name will automatically be placed on the birth certificate of the child, even if the husband is not the biological parent.  It then becomes the burden … Keep reading

Serving Papers: The Start of a Case

“You’ve been served.” But what does that actually mean? The service of court papers (referred to as “service” throughout this post) has been a hot topic in the news recently as Jason Sudeikis allegedly had his ex-partner and co-parent, Olivia Wilde, served with court documents for a child custody case while she was on stage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Sudeikis swears he knew nothing about the very public way in which Wilde was served. However, most family law lawyers would tell you that Sudeikis’ purported ignorance is suspect considering the purpose of service, and how it is generally accomplished.

Service in its purest form is notice. It is giving the other party to a court case notice that an action has been filed against them. Examples of family court actions where service is necessary include divorce, child custody matters, contempts, modifications, etc. Upon the filing of a court case, the court in which the case was filed issues a summons. Depending on the action, the summons can demand that the party appear at the court on a certain date at a certain time, or take other action, such as filing an answer (a formal response) to the complaint … Keep reading

Demystifying Myths About Dividing Assets in Divorce: Part 3 – The Contribution Factor – Celebrity Edition

Perhaps growing up in Los Angeles took some of the fun out of celebrity gossip, but I never understood the fascination with stories about what is in the shopping cart of the (often shorter than advertised) celebrity standing in front of me at the grocery store.  One aspect of celebrity gossip that has piqued my interest in recent years has been celebrity divorces, or more specifically, the public’s reaction to celebrity divorces and how it mirrors a lot of the same misconceptions we hear as divorce practitioners.

The fairly recent divorce between Amazon founder (and the reason most celebrities no longer go to the grocery store), Jeff Bezos, and his now ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, comes to mind as a situation in which everyone seemed to have a “hot take” about the couples’ divorce financials.  Given the staggering wealth being divided in the divorce, one of the comments I regularly saw on social media was “what did she do to deserve that much of his money?”  Despite the misguided gender stereotypes being at an all-time high, the short response (as confirmed by Mr. Bezos, himself) was “a lot.”

In the third edition of this series about demystifying myths on dividing … Keep reading

First of all, to our past, present, and future readers, we want to thank you for reading and wish you all a very Happy New Year!  We hope that our articles provide you with some new insight and perspective, as well as the occasional levity to the often challenging (but always interesting) divorce process.  In this “fake news” era, I thought it would be helpful to start the year by dispelling some “myths” and “misconceptions” of the divorce process, specifically, as they apply to the ubiquitous issue of dividing assets in a divorce.  I hope you enjoy.

Divorce practitioners are very familiar with our clients’ “friend” who was awarded all of the assets in the divorce because [insert divorce myth here].  The topic of these unscathed friends comes up frequently in the context of the initial intake meeting in which we discuss goals and expectations in the divorce process with our prospective clients.  Truth is, everyone going through the divorce process (for the first time) will inevitably have certain expectations about how the marital assets will be divided at the end of the divorce.  Often times, the expectations are rooted in someone else’s prior experience with the process.  As … Keep reading

First of all, to our past, present, and future readers, we want to thank you for reading and wish you all a very Happy New Year!  We hope that our articles provide you with some new insight and perspective, as well as the occasional levity to the often challenging (but always interesting) divorce process.  In this “fake news” era, I thought it would be helpful to start the year by dispelling some “myths” and “misconceptions” of the divorce process, specifically, as they apply to the ubiquitous issue of dividing assets in a divorce.  I hope you enjoy.

Divorce practitioners are very familiar with our clients’ “friend” who was awarded all of the assets in the divorce because [insert divorce myth here].  The topic of these unscathed friends comes up frequently in the context of the initial intake meeting in which we discuss goals and expectations in the divorce process with our prospective clients.  Truth is, everyone going through the divorce process (for the first time) will inevitably have certain expectations about how the marital assets will be divided at the end of the divorce.  Often times, the expectations are rooted in someone else’s prior experience with the process.  As … Keep reading

Hi there,

On a gorgeous day like today, you just want to sit outside and sip on a tall glass of lemonade. Recently though, the taste of lemonade has been made a little sharp by the fabulous Beyoncé. Infidelity became a hot topic with her recent release of Lemonade, a scathing, seemingly confessional visual album. As strident a response to infidelity as it was, she has also shone a light on the number of marriages that do survive unfaithfulness.… Keep reading

Apples

Hi there,

My clever coworker, Abigail Munafo, pointed out to me today that I have a category entitled “Celebrity Trash,” and I haven’t posted to it in a while. So, it was extremely timely to read that Gwyneth Paltrow is getting divorced from what’s his name. They chose to do it amicably, a good choice, and called it “conscious uncoupling,” a peculiar choice. Coming from a couple who named their child after a fruit, it’s somehow not all that surprising.… Keep reading

Ron Barriere Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer Burns & Levinson

Hi there,Ron Barriere Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer Burns & Levinson

I have the pleasure of working with a very skilled and funny colleague, Ron Barriere, who for reasons unknown to me follows too much reality TV and has written a very informative post on the divorce of Ms. Kim Kardashian.

Best,

Nancy

My house is the battleground in the ongoing war for reality television supremacy.  I have backed the traditional powerhouse of sport; my wife is a staunch supporter of the upstart soap opera-style antics of trashy housewives and amorous bachelors and bachelorettes.  What a godsend, then, has been the “Humpdashian” saga and its mash-up of pro basketball, reality television’s first family, and surprisingly complex family law issues.  (I will leave the “what is real and what is reality TV?” debate to media critics and sociology professors.)  The latest news from the front raises interesting questions about the distinctions between divorce and alimony, and the legal (and, sometimes, religious) significance of fault in the dissolution of a marriage.

I cannot pretend to know the entire back-and-forth of this saga, nor can I comment upon the accuracy – or inaccuracy – of the reportage to date.  Therefore, for the purposes of this article, I’m going to discuss … Keep reading

Domestic Violence in the News

Hi there,

The news has been full of the sad story of football player Jovan Belcher shooting his baby’s mother 9 times, then driving to the practice field and killing himself in front of his coaches. There has been lots of punditry surrounding football and concussions, guns, drugs and alcohol, and even mental illness, but not so much discussion of what is likely the real issue: domestic violence.  (Here’s a link to a good article I recently found about keeping yourself safe in a  domestic violence situation.)

There were plenty of clues that Belcher had anger issues with the girlfriends in his life, and it appears that the Chiefs were aware of this as they were providing counselling for him.  Professional sports is a very high testosterone universe. I have long believed that the professional sports teams, in an attempt to protect their investment in the players, have long sheltered abusers and quieted victims.  Not the same as Penn State, but not dissimilar either.

On a more positive note in the same area, Massachusetts has passed a pet protection law as part of our domestic violence protection. This is wonderful on so many levels, as women … Keep reading

Hi there,

It is always sad to see two such affable celebrities as Arnold and Maria split. They have been together for 34 years and married for 25, and thus are right in the danger zone for divorce. With the kids mainly grown and both of their careers in transition it is no surprise that they also were looking at reevaluating their marriage. I would speculate that they had (or should have had) a prenuptial agreement. Under the circumstances of the marriage (her family wealth, both of their then careers) a prenuptial would have made sense, to at least set the parameters for division of property and spousal support. Pre nuptial agreements cannot effect children’s rights so custody and child support would not have been covered in a prenuptial. If they did not have one, California is a community property state and much of their joint wealth has presumably been accumulated in the time of their marriage, and thus will be equally divided. Interestingly, once they separate their incomes become their own. At their level of wealth, the fight – if there is one – will be about values, not division. They also will not need to worry about … Keep reading