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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Middlesex Juvenile and Probate & Family Court Closed

A Trial Court employee who works at the Cambridge courthouses for the Middlesex Juvenile and Probate & Family Courts has tested positive for coronavirus. The courthouses will be closed temporarily for thorough cleaning and you will be notified when the reopening date is determined. As recommended by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, those working in the courthouses should self-quarantine to monitor their health until the courts reopens. Anyone who has concerns or experiences symptoms should contact their health provider. The more that we all are aware of the facts on the coronavirus and are vigilant on our healthy workplace
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Modification of Child Support due to job loss and COVID-19

Times Are Tough The spread of COVID-19 has thrown the certainties of life into disarray. Unfortunately, this uncertainty has had a devastating impact on both the stock market and the everyday commerce that sustains the economy. Freelancers, drivers, hotel, restaurant workers and many others now find themselves physically or legally barred from working. The layoffs aren’t limited to service workers; even people employed in fields who are able to work remotely from home might find themselves laid-off or furloughed as businesses reduce their payrolls in a bid to cut costs during these challenging times. With almost twenty million people unemployed,
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Divorcing During COVID-19

When your relationship is already strained, living under quarantine conditions can quickly shed light on a troubled marriage. Whether you’ve been contemplating divorce for a while or the stress of recent events has become the straw to break the camel’s back, so to speak, our law firm can help you understand the divorce process and your options. During these unprecedented times, we are all taking a look at our lives and examining our relationships. Perhaps the tiny cracks in your relationship have turned into irreparable gaping holes. With a newfound outlook on how we see our futures, some couples may decide to
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