Archives: Court Decisions

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Spouse’s Trust Interest Shielded from Division in Divorce

Hi there, I continue to be amazed by the distinguished group of divorce and probate lawyers I have the privilege to work with at Burns & Levinson. Today’s decision on Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, a case which will guide family financial planning across the country, is a credit to their hard work and dedication. We’re proud … Continue Reading

Why You Should Care About Federal Computer Privacy

An often-stated truth is that you shouldn’t access the email of others. Here, “others” means the person you have divorced, are now divorcing, or plan to divorce in the not too distant future. No matter how often this is said, it’s always worth repeating. Don’t snoop in other people’s email accounts! Like most things, it’s … Continue Reading

Definition of Cohabitation Set in Recent Alimony Reform Act Interpretation

The latest in a series of cases interpreting and clarifying the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 has just been decided. Duff-Kareores vs. Kareores was decided by the Supreme Judicial Court on June 15, 2016. What’s the Story? The parties were married in 1995, had two children and divorced in 2004. They then lived separately, complying with … Continue Reading

It’s Not Too Late to Act!

Hi there, Earlier in 2016 our Private Client group happily welcomed Ann “Hether” Hetherwick Cahill as an associate. Hether’s practice focuses on probate and family court litigation, including will contests, removal claims, trust disputes, equity actions, guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, and family law. We’re pleased to feature some of her thoughts on the recent developments … Continue Reading

Massachusetts High Court to Determine Whether a Spouse’s Trust Interest Can Be Reached in Divorce

On April 5, 2016, the collective eyes of Massachusetts divorce attorneys and estate planners were fixed on the Supreme Judicial Court, where the highly-anticipated oral arguments on “further appellate review” of Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl took place. The 2015 Appeals Court decision received national attention for its potential detrimental impact on the estate planning goals of … Continue Reading

Every Child Deserves Representation in a Contested Adoption

In my previous post on Adopting a Stepchild, I explained the steps to go through for an uncontested adoption. Many adoptions are very simple and straightforward. However, in situations where there are disagreements about what is best for a child or a parent’s rights are being terminated, the courts must become further involved. The news … Continue Reading

A Closer Look at the Supreme Court’s Same Sex Marriage Ruling

With the announcement of last week’s Supreme Court decision, proponents of same sex marriage rejoiced and Facebook became much more colorful. After a weekend of celebrating the new-found rights of my gay and lesbian friends, neighbors and colleagues, I sat down today to read all 103 pages of the majority decision and dissenting opinions, including … Continue Reading

SJC Decision Regarding Parent Coordinators: What You Need to Know

I was in my office last week when I heard shrieks of joy coming from down the hall. (We really should have a bell or something we ring for a big win – this yelling is so unprofessional.) My colleagues Sue Stenger, Francine Gardikas, Laura Studen, Robin Lynch Nardone and Andrea Dunbar had just gotten the SJC decision on the … Continue Reading

The International Divorce and Hague Convention Maze

Hi there, One of the most horrifying things to happen in a divorce is to have the other parent take your child, go to another country and refuse to return. The Hague Convention is the international law that governs this type of kidnapping. Not all countries are signatories to the Hague Convention. There are also vast differences … Continue Reading

First SJC Clarification of the New Alimony Reform Act

Hi there, With the coming of spring comes a fresh interpretation of some relatively new legislation that has been closely watched by attorneys around Massachusetts. Any new law will require interpretation by the courts, going up through the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), before lawyers are sure of how the ambiguities in any new law will … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Declares DOMA Unconstitutional: What You Need to Know

Hi there, What an exciting week!  I’m pleased to share the following alert regarding DOMA that my colleagues Lisa Cukier, Christine Fletcher and Peter Zupcofska put together today for clients and friends of our firm.  As we celebrate the fall of DOMA there are still lots of legal issues facing gay and lesbian couples in … Continue Reading

DOMA is Gone!

Today the Supreme Court of the Unites States struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The ruling will make a huge difference for gay couples in states where same-sex is legal, but all states will still retain their right to regulate marriage laws. My colleagues and I are monitoring the coverage of today’s … Continue Reading

Applying for Social Security Survivor’s Benefits During the DOMA Appeal

Hi there, The Supreme Court announces today whether or not they are going to take up a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in a case arising out of Social Security benefits. As promised, here is a different point of view to last week’s post.  This one is authored by my partner Lisa Cukier, one … Continue Reading