I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, despite what may be trying circumstances. Throughout the year there were many changes and clarifications in basic divorce law that will affect the many of you that are planning to divorce in 2017. This period between Christmas and New Years is what I consider the calm before the storm, as January is generally a very busy month for divorce lawyers. This quiet week is the perfect opportunity to both reflect on the past and prepare for the future. Below is a list of blog posts that explain the recent changes to divorce law and what those changes mean for you.
As we say goodbye to 2016, I wish each of you a happy and healthy new year. See you in 2017!
People have very strong opinions on whether to hire a divorce attorney. One friend may tell you, “Oh I didn’t use an attorney, and it was fine.” Another may say, “My attorney was terrible, the ex got everything!” Don’t let others’ experiences with divorce solely guide your decision when hiring legal counsel for your separation.
Many people think it’ll be easier if they don’t bring lawyers into the picture. They think they can save money, or allow the divorce to be less contentious. But even if you’re going to negotiate directly with your spouse or use a mediator, you still need to double check everything with an attorney. You don’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars or drag your spouse into years of litigation, quite the opposite. Double-checking with an attorney can probably save you legal headaches down the road. They can provide more valuable information than you will ever find from google. Guidance on protecting your digital assets, new changes in alimony laws, rights you may not know about or complex processes to avoid.
Every situation is unique. If you have kids or complicated assets, you might need a top shelf divorce … Keep reading
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
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
As a family law attorney, I’m often met with surprise (even outrage!) when I tell my clients that they’re required to participate in a Parent Education Program in connection with their Massachusetts divorce. People always say that it’s so much easier to get married than it is to get divorced, and that’s not entirely without merit.
While everyone knows that divorce is a costly process, both financially and emotionally, litigants too often become so focused on their own pain that they lose sight of the emotional toll the process can put on their children. Recently there have been some important changes to the Parent Education Program.… Keep reading
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 with the Alimony Reform Act!
There has been a new development in the recent challenge to the Alimony Reform Act. As a backdrop, the landmark Alimony Reform Act (M.G.L. c. 208, sections 48-55), which went into effect on March 1, 2012, changed alimony awards by:
Creating durational limits for payments.
Terminating alimony when a payor reaches retirement age.
Suspending, reducing or terminating an alimony obligation when a payee cohabitates. The Act allows for deviation from these timeframes based upon the circumstances of the case.
On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court issued decisions in three cases (Chin v. Merriot, Rodman v. Rodman, and Doktor v. Doktor) interpreting the Act’s language to hold that the retirement and cohabitation provisions apply only prospectively to judgments entered after March 1, 2012 (the date on which the Act became effective).… Keep reading
Smartphones are everywhere, most working professionals have one. What you may not know is that during a divorce, you can use it as a handy tool to help protect your prized possessions from potential loss or destruction. Smartphones, including Androids and iPhones, have a camera. The video capabilities in your hand can be a valuable resource. We learned in a previous post that you must be very careful with video, so you don’t accidentally record speech without notice. But! The capability is on your phone and there are good reasons to use video for more than just capturing your spouse’s bad behavior.… Keep reading
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?
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with it all of the holidays of the season! This time of year is particularly tough for folks who are just getting used to a coparenting situation. It’s also a challenging time for divorce lawyers and family courts, as lots of families are unable to settle holiday scheduling differences without recourse to the courts.
Thanksgiving is on November 26.
Hanukkah is December 6-14.
Christmas falls on a Friday.
Kwanzaa is December 26-January 1.
Work Together to Figure Out Your Schedule for the Holidays
If you haven’t already created a holiday parenting schedule with your ex, you should contact them right away to work out the details. Not everyone has a plan already set either by agreement or judgment, so if you can’t agree on your own you may need to contact your attorney to sort out the situation. With the timeframes for setting motion dates and the court scheduling problems that may arise, this needs to be tackled as soon as possible.
In most cases, scheduling should be possible without … Keep reading
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