November, 2020 Archives

10 Questions To Help You Create Your Will

Creating a will not at the top of your to-do-list? Maybe it should be! Creating an estate plan is one way to ensure your family is taken care of, and your wishes are carried out in the future.

Having a will isn’t just for the uber-rich or elderly. In fact, everyone should have a will regardless of your marital status, age, or the size of one’s estate.

When writing out your will, many considerations need to be taken into account. Here are ten questions you can answer to help you have peace of mind about your family’s future.

Family Considerations Question #1 Who will raise your children if they’re under the age of 18? When choosing a guardian for your children, consider who your kids will be comfortable with, who shares your values, and who has the capacity to raise additional children.

Question #2 Who will serve as their … Read More »



Modifying Child Custody Agreements: For Safety’s Sake

Final Judgement, Not Final Word

In awarding custody, the goal of a family court, above all, is the safety and wellbeing of the child or children involved. One of these factors is consistency, so courts will be hesitant to change what is called a “final” custody order. While it is possible for later modifications to be made, unless both parents agree to the changes, this is a protracted process.

One exception is when there is a real and imminent threat of harm to a child.

Defining Harm

In Massachusetts, child abuse is defined as a parent or other caretaker either causing physical harm to a child or putting the child in reasonable fear of being harmed. A collection of these incidents, called “a pattern of abuse” in the law can be grounds for modifying custody arrangements and other protective actions, such as mandating supervised visitation between the parent and the … Read More »



10 Questions To Help You Create Your Will

A Holistic Approach to Your Affairs

For many people, especially those approaching middle- or retirement-age, know they should put together a plan for their estate, but feel overwhelmed by the details and options. They continue to put off estate planning for “another day” until, often, it is too late. Younger people also should consider their affairs, because there is no time like the present and because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

In fact, putting together a comprehensive estate plan, whatever your particular situation in life, is easier than you think. There are five major components of any estate plan, addressing both medical care at the end of life and the disposition of one’s property.

Three Options During Life

While handling the affairs of someone who dies intestate—without a will—can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming, some of the most difficult choices facing families are those around medical care and end-of-life decisions. By … Read More »



Divorcing in Massachusetts: Initiating the Process

The Basics When beginning the divorce process in Massachusetts, it is important to answer two key questions. First, is the divorce contested or uncontested? Second, is the divorce at-fault or no-fault?

In answering these questions, couples can gain a better understanding of what awaits them in the legal system as they begin this difficult process.

Contested or Uncontested? The question of whether a divorce is contested or not comes down to whether spouses have been able to come to an agreement on the terms of their separation before filing for divorce.

In an uncontested divorce, both parties have agreed ahead of filing divorce on the division of property, alimony, child support, and child custody. They may have worked this out individually, through their attorneys, or in professional mediation. The couple can then jointly file for the dissolution of their legal union. If all necessary documentation is filed then, their divorce … Read More »



Get the Facts About Parental Rights, Paternity Testing, and Child Support

As far as the Massachusetts courts are concerned, both mothers and fathers have legal rights and obligations when it comes to children. However, a child born to unmarried parents doesn’t automatically have a legal father. The mother is given sole legal and physical custody until paternity is established.

For married couples, the husband is presumed to be the biological father and is responsible for financial obligations. As a presumed father, if you believe you are not the biological father, meeting with an attorney to rebut presumed paternity is a time-sensitive matter and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

In order for an unmarried biological father to be established, paternity must be acknowledged. This can be done in writing if both parents sign a form known as a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage.” In many cases, this form is signed at the child’s birth. If the biological father is not … Read More »



How can I establish paternity if my child’s mother is married to someone else?

A father petitioning for paternity needs to have a full understanding of the legal process. Fathers who are unmarried in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can establish paternity in two ways.

The first route is a voluntary process that utilizes a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage. This is a document signed by both the child’s mother and father, confirming the singing male is the legal father. This form is typically presented to the parents at the hospital when the child is born.

The second route is through an involuntary process, which involves filing a complaint to establish paternity. However, if the mother was married to someone else when the child was born or conceived, the husband must be served with a complaint and summons before the petitioning father can file a complaint to establish paternity.

If the husband signs an Affidavit of Nonpaternity, he will not have to … Read More »