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Despite the oppressive heat, it’s almost back to school time again. By this point in the summer most parents are pretty ready for school to begin. One of the best ways to make the school year smoother for your kids is to plan ahead with your coparent! Firm up a schedule as much as you can before the school year begins. There are a variety of apps available that are useful to help divorced parents mutually handle their schedules.
Make sure to include the following on your mutual planning calendar:… Keep reading
Pending Federal legislation could have a huge impact on how judges will divide military pensions during a divorce. In a previous post, I discussed at length how military pension plans currently could be divided in the context of a Massachusetts divorce matter. Massachusetts Probate and Family Court judges generally have the discretion to either divide a pension as an asset or to divide the income resulting from the plan “if, as, and when” it entered pay status.
If the parties agree to (or if the Family Court Judge elects) the “if, as and when” approach, the service member’s pension pay would be divided between the service member and the former spouse based on the rank and years of service of the service member at the time of retirement. However, the pending federal legislation proposed by Representative Steve Russell would instead direct state judges to divide military pensions based on the rank and years of service at the time of the divorce. The enactment of such a bill would hugely influence the retirement pension payments of both retired service members and their former spouses.… Keep reading
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 to bring you part two of this story which our contributor Tiffany Bentley brought to our attention back in April. This case was deemed “unwinnable” by many, so it is hugely important to our client as well as a celebrated achievement for our team.
In Pfannenstiehl, initially both the Trial Court and the Appeals Court went to great lengths to ensure that the wife would benefit from an irrevocable trust established by her (now former) husband’s father. The husband had no access to or control over the trust. Assets and … Keep reading
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 more complicated than that. For instance, there are some minor exceptions, such as “authority to access.” Were you ever granted permission to access the email account? Was authority granted and later rescinded? If you’re even the slightest bit unsure of the answer to these important questions, then the answer is, of course, do not access the account!
However, what happens when this access to information is applied to all the information out there on the web? Is it possible that you could get in trouble for accessing someone’s social media accounts, if they have rescinded permission for you to do so?… Keep reading
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
In addition to being a busy practicing partner here at Burns & Levinson, I’ve been the chair of the Divorce & Family group and co-chair of the Private Client group since 1989. I’ve had the privilege of assisting more people than I can count through some of the most challenging times in their lives. It’s been rewarding, fun and occasionally crazy. The legal world has changed so much, staying up to date with new laws, technologies and ways to communicate continues to be exciting.
I’m thrilled to announce that my very able partner, Robin Lynch Nardone, has agreed to replace me as chair! Robin and I have worked together for 20 years and I know she’ll do a terrific job. Not to worry though, I’m not retiring! This will just give me more time for focusing on my clients, writing these blog posts and my one true love – spending more time with my animals. My horse, Noah, is a big proponent of this decision.… Keep reading
The Appeals Court decision in DeMarco v. DeMarco reminds us that a deal is a deal, even when it’s entered into based upon advice from a trial judge who misinterprets the law.
In this case, the husband and wife were divorced in May 2010. At that time they signed a separation agreement calling for the husband to pay alimony to his wife of until the death of either party, the wife’s remarriage, or such time as the husband had no gross earned income after reaching age 68. After the Alimony Reform Act was passed into law in 2012, the husband filed a complaint for modification seeking to terminate his alimony obligation based upon his having reached full retirement age.… Keep reading
The parties were married in 1995, had two children and divorced in 2004. They then lived separately, complying with their divorce agreement, until they began living together as a family again in 2007. They remarried in December 2012. Alas, things didn’t work out as planned, and the wife filed for a second divorce in June of 2013.
The Alimony Decision
The trial judge held that the length of their marriage, for the purpose of determining the alimony term under the Alimony Reform Act, ran from the date of their first marriage till the service of the second divorce. This included the period when they were living separately, under the terms of a divorce agreement, in the calculation of time that alimony in the new divorce would last. Not surprisingly, this was appealed.… Keep reading
I usually take no position on pending legislation but the proposed changes to the alimony law will adversely affect thousands of pre-existing divorce agreements. If you can, please take the time to read this update and consider calling or writing your State Representative and Senator. There is a lot of well organized force on the other side.
As an update to an earlier blog post, the recent challenge to the Alimony Reform Act continues to move through the legislature. Bill H4110 is currently pending before the full House of Representatives. On April 19, 2016, the House Committee of Steering, Policy and Scheduling reported Bill H4110 to the next sitting of the House for vote. That same day, the House completed a second reading of the Bill, ordering it to a third reading. This is standard procedure and means that the Bill is eligible for a vote by the full House at any time during the remainder of this legislative session. The last day for formal sessions of this legislative session is July 31, 2016, which is also the last day for recorded votes.… Keep reading