Posts Tagged family law

Out of State Child Support Modification

Child Support and Out-of-State Issues

Whether one parent is living just over the Massachusetts border in New Hampshire but still commutes to Boston every day, or whether the one parent is living on the West Coast while the children live with the other on the South Shore, issues of state jurisdiction may come into play when seeking to modify a Massachusetts child support agreement.

Changing Circumstances, Modifying Orders In Massachusetts, child support is governed either by temporary orders or by final judgements. Temporary orders govern the terms of child support while there is still open legal action in process to establish a final judgement.

The term “final judgement” is something of a misnomer. “Final” does not mean that the judgement can never be altered again. A child support final judgement may be renegotiated in the future. This can be done with the agreement of both parents, or one parent may … Read More »



How to Land on Your Feet After Divorce

Divorce takes a toll emotionally, physically, and mentally on everyone involved. It’s not uncommon for individuals going through a divorce to want to curl up in bed all day and abandon all responsibilities. As tempting as this sounds, it’s not practical. In fact, doing so can even make things worse.

The first step to landing on your feet after divorce is finding acceptance. Just because you’re making the right decision to split up with your partner, doesn’t mean it’s easy, but accepting your post-divorce life means finding new normals.

This will look different for everyone. However, there are several steps you can take to make your new normal as seamless as possible. For starters, get clear on the unknowns. You’ll need to answer questions such as where you will live, what your child custody arrangements will look like, and what your financial needs will be.

Answering questions to unknowns will … Read More »



An Update on Massachusetts Probate & Family Court Reopening Procedures and What It Means for You

Slow Re-Open

With COVID-19 still posing a serious risk to health and safety, the courts, like the rest of our society, continue to adapt their procedures to minimize the risk to court workers and private citizens. The Probate and Family Court is no exception and is adhering to the same general guidelines as the rest of the court system.

What Is Open?

Beginning July 13, Massachusetts courts, including the Probate and Family Court, allowed some in-person business to resume. No jury trials will be seated before September 8, 2020.

As of July 13, only a few types of court proceeding are conducted in-person. These are “trials and evidentiary hearings.” These proceedings are defined as those requiring:

1. That witnesses take oaths before a judge, making it a grave matter subject to perjury penalties 2. In certain cases, that documentary evidence must be presented which cannot be conveyed, for legal or … Read More »



Staying Safe and Saying NO to Domestic Abuse During COVID-19

Strict stay-at-home orders implemented for safety have placed abuse victims directly in harm’s way. Safety measures recommended to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have led to a rise in domestic abuse. For many, this is not a surprise as domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together.

With families in quarantine and isolation worldwide, stress-levels are at an all-time high. The uncertainty of the future can increase anxiety for many. Coupled with unemployment and financial stress, tension among households is sure to rise. With the children at home all day, empty refrigerators, low bank funds, and forced interactions, families everywhere are facing conflict, creating the perfect storm for abusers to intimidate and inflict harm on their victims.

While conflict doesn’t always explode into violence, many living in isolation from their support network have nowhere to turn when violence erupts. As routines change and families are stuck … Read More »



Co-parenting in the Face of Coronavirus

Amid the spread of COVID-19, we are all facing unprecedented times. As this pandemic continues, regulations regarding safe practices change daily. One thing on the mind of parents sharing custody is whether or not their court order is enforceable.

Rest assured, custody, visitation, and placement are in effect and continue to be enforceable during this period of time. Court-ordered arrangements remain obligatory and should be followed accordingly.

Any parent planning to use the pandemic as a reason to deny access to another parent can expect the courts to come down hard on parent agreement violations. Many judges view time of crisis to be particularly critical times for children to maintain some form of normality.

In cases where parents are willing to work together, they should consider the following: which parent has better resources for the child to complete distance learning, if one parent has a high-risk job, the health … Read More »



Is it legal to videotape my spouse behaving badly (verbal or physical abuse, infidelity, etc) as evidence in a divorce case?

As thoughts turn towards divorce, tempers can flare and people may behave in ways they normally would not be proud of, even in a relatively amicable situation. Of course, the bad behavior of a spouse—ranging from neglect of household duties to infidelity to abusive actions—may well have begun long before the divorce, and may well be the reason for it.

In seeking a favorable divorce settlement, one that compensates you for violations of the marriage contract and shields you from your spouse’s ongoing bad behavior, you will want to have evidence to bolster your claims. In a world of smart phones, where everyone has both a video camera and a broadcasting station in their pockets, you may be tempted to record your spouse’s bad behavior.

In a word: don’t.

Massachusetts laws on recording interactions between persons are possibly the strictest in the nation. While many states have “two-party consent” laws, … Read More »



Divorce Modification in Massachusetts

Once a divorce is finalized, the documents are filed with the courts. However, life is unpredictable and circumstances can change over time. In Massachusetts, if an earlier court order or judgment no longer suits the parties because circumstances have changed in a significant way since the order or judgment was issued, the court can “modify” the prior order or judgment.

Cases where a modification might be appropriate include those where the children are significantly older than at the time when the last child support order was issued, or where a person ordered to pay alimony has retired and now has a substantially smaller income than at the time he or she was ordered to pay alimony.

Sometimes a party may want to change an order or judgment because there is a legitimate need to do so, and it would be unfair not to allow a change. For example, when there … Read More »