5 Key Questions to Answer When Creating Your Will

A will is an important document to ensure that upon your death your assets are distributed according to your wishes rather than as the state determines. If the idea of creating a will feels like you’re tempting fate, think of it as a road map you’re leaving your family, so they don’t have to stress over making the right decisions on your behalf. If you do not have a will, you are considered to have dies intestate and your property will be divided according to specific state laws and rules rather than as you wished. You may have heard of
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Child Support Modification When One Parent Resides in a Different State

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 in the Merrimack Valley, issues of state jurisdiction may come into play when seeking to modify a Massachusetts child support judgment or temporary order. 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
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What does estate planning mean?

When many people hear the term “Estate Planning,” they think of billionaires like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. They think of their elderly parents. Estate planning isn’t only for the wealthy or the elderly. Simply put, estate planning is your opportunity to make legally effective decisions regarding how you want your property, finances, and health care to be handled. Estate planning may also include planning for the care and custody of your minor children or family members with disabilities in the event of your death. It usually involves deciding how and to whom your property will be distributed. Additionally, it
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How To Protect Your Children During a Divorce

Children are more intuitive than we give them credit. Divorce takes a toll on every member of the family, but it’s essential to make sure the children understand that the end of your marriage is not the end of the parent-child relationship. Have an Open Discussion Before sitting down with your child to announce the divorce, make a plan with your ex. Let the kids know what is going on with an open discussion as a family. This isn’t always easy when two parents are struggling to communicate, but the children will be comforted by having the family unit together.
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Know Your Legal Rights When Protesting

Before heading out to participate in a protest, it’s a good idea to have a firm grasp of your legal rights. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and right to petition. This means you have a legal and constitutional right to express your view through protest. Where to Engage in Free Speech Activity In general, you can lawfully engage in free speech activities, such as protests, in traditional “public forums” such as streets, sidewalks,
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Essex and Middlesex County Probate & Family Court tests ‘virtual registry’

The Probate & Family Court is testing the use of videoconferencing for registry assistance to the general public. The Essex and Middlesex Probate & Family Court registers’ offices have begun using Zoom videoconferencing to operate virtual registries. The program creates a virtual registry for Probate & Family Court matters using a Zoom videoconference meeting link that operates during normal business hours – Monday through Friday, from 8am – 4:30pm. when a host from a register’s office is logged in. In Essex and Middlesex, users who enter the virtual registry are placed in a waiting room until the host admits individuals
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The Transformation of the Massachusetts Court System

A message to Massachusetts attorneys from Chief Justice Gants, Justice Carey, and Justice Greene. May 14, 2020 Dear Bar Leaders and Members of the Bar, With two months having passed since our courthouses were physically closed, we want to update the bar, self-represented litigants, and the public regarding the judiciary’s tentative plans for the months ahead. We emphasize the word “tentative” because our plans remain a work in progress, and may vary depending on the data regarding the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Massachusetts, and on the Governor’s orders regarding the State of Emergency. As we move
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Court Rules Involuntary Non-disparaging Clauses Unconstitutional

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), on a case of direct appellate review, recently ruled (May 7, 2020) that involuntary nondisparaging clauses are an “impermissible restraint on speech.” Shak v. Shak, SJC-2748. These types of clauses are frequently used to prevent spouses from discussing their cases on social media. The Court held: “As important as it is to protect a child from the emotional and psychological harm that might follow from one parent’s use of vulgar or disparaging words about the other, merely reciting that interest is not enough to satisfy the heavy burden of restricting speech.” This is a
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Contemplating Your Estate Plan During Covid-19

Get Your Affairs in Order For most of us, coronavirus and the threat it poses has made us contemplate the status of our estate plans. As thousands of people in the Commonwealth have died of COVID-19 and its complications, many thousands more are ill, and many, many thousands more face unemployment and financial hardship. There are also innumerable, lesser losses: newborn grandchildren who have yet to meet their grandparents; weddings canceled and postponed; funerals with only a handful of mourners present to celebrate a life well-lived. All this is enough to make anyone consider life and what will become of
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Middlesex Probate and Family Court Announces Their Move to a Second Location in the Lowell Justice Center under Emergency Closure Protocols

On May 4, 2020, the Middlesex Probate and Family Court entered a historic phase in its service to the people of Middlesex County when it completed the move of half their operation to a new location in the Lowell Justice Center. Originally expecting large numbers of attorneys and litigants to take advantage of the increased access to the court in this large county, the move comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting all access to the court. Although there are judges and employees at the Lowell site daily, like the Cambridge location, it is minimally staffed and operating
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