Alimony Tax Deduction: Time is Running Out!

Alimony is the legal term for spousal support separate and apart from any child support order. Alimony can be Ordered under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208, Sections 34 and 48 – 55. There are different types of alimony known as rehabilitative alimony, reimbursement alimony and general term alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is a short-term length payment designed to help a spouse get on his or her financial feet after a divorce. Reimbursement alimony is when one spouse has paid to put the other spouse through school or job training program and that spouse seeks a divorce once they make it through
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Understanding the Essentials of Annulment in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a no-fault divorce state which means that as long as you show that the marital relationship is over, you can obtain a divorce. For some people, however, there are religious or social beliefs that may result in a need for an annulment.  A legal annulment is different than a religious annulment and are not connected. Often, people have clauses in their divorce agreement that neither party will oppose a religious annulment or religious divorce.  Legally, the difference between the two is that a divorce will end a marriage whereas an annulment determines there never was a legal marriage
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Pets and Divorce: Custody or Property?

Do you think worrying about what happens to a dog or cat, when there is a divorce, is silly? Probably not if you are a pet lover. When a couple decides to divorce, the question of who gets the pets is very common. Pet lovers do not buy an animal, they adopt a family member. However, while the law focuses on the best interests of human children, pets are legally defined as personal property. Therefore, Courts tend to work under this strict interpretation. Under the law, asking for custody or visitation rights for pets is along the lines of asking for those rights
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Is Collaborative Law Right For Your Divorce

The emotional repercussions of the breakdown of a marriage make divorce one of the most complicated of all legal processes. However, complicated court appearances and stressful litigation are not always necessary. For those that are seeking a more respectful method of resolving the issues and want settle outside of court, collaborative law is an excellent option. The Collaborative Law process sets rules, boundaries and guidelines to assist families in reaching a resolution that meets the needs of everyone. There are many experienced attorneys throughout the state of Massachusetts that are collaboratively trained to assist individuals in this regard. What is
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How to Handle False Allegations During Child Custody & Divorce

It seems like everyone knows a story about false allegations during child custody and divorce. One spouse points the finger at the other and receives a restraining order from the court. The wife or husband recognizes that doing this will, almost by default, give them custody of the children and exclusive use of the family home. The accused parent then must defend themselves in court and prove these allegations false. While false accusations are a legal mess, it is also terrible to have someone who you once shared a life make claims of either abuse or neglect. It is something
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Separation Agreements

A Separation Agreement sets forth the specific terms of what is agreed to by the Parties in resolution to their divorce. These terms might include details about custody, parenting schedules, child support, alimony or spousal support, division of property, taxes, and payment of debts and anything else that needs to be addressed when resolving a divorce by an agreement. In a Joint Petition for Divorce, the Separation Agreement is negotiated and drafted prior to filing. In contested litigation, it is drafted at some point prior to the conclusion of a trial on the merits. A well drafted agreement is specific
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Appeals Court Rules on Prenuptial Agreements

The Appeals Court recently ruled on several critical issues involving prenuptial agreements. In Pisano v. Pisano, the Appeals Court addressed the issues of involving a bifurcated trial, a prenuptial agreement, temporary alimony and family loans. The primary issues that resulted in heavily contested litigation all could have been prevented by inclusion of clear provisions in the Prenuptial Agreement. This is not a criticism of those who drafted the document. In many instances, the soon to be married couple are unwilling or unable to address these types of specifics. The Pisano case, however, demonstrates the importance of clear and thoughtful decision-making
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Limited Assistance Representation

Limited Assistance Representation is when an attorney represents or assists a litigant with part, but not all, of his or her legal matter, instead of the standard full representation on an entire case. Limited Assistance Representation allows an attorney to assist a self-represented client with specific issues on a limited basis. This might include preparing or reviewing documents, appearing in court for a crucial event such as a Pretrial Conference or a Motion to Dismiss or giving legal advice. This type of representation is also known as providing unbundled services. This type of limited representation permits the attorney to automatically
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Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act

posted by Eric Schutzbank Many parents-to-be wonder just how much time from work they can take off when their child is born. Effective April 7, 2015, under Massachusetts law, men and women will both be covered under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA), which makes them eligible for eight weeks of job-protected leave related to the birth, adoption, or court-ordered placement of a child in their home. The original MMLA provided female employees the right to take eight weeks of leave after the birth or adoption of a child, without any provisions for male employees or in cases where a
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Child Custody – In the Best Interests of the Children

posted by Eric Schutzbank Divorce is rarely easy, and even less so when it comes to custody and parenting arrangements for children. In Massachusetts, the top priority of the courts is to determine if arrangements are “in the best interests of the children”, but that may not always be as straightforward as it seems. This is not the time to try and do it yourself. Instead, seek competent legal representation and hire an attorney who can ensure that you have a parenting plan that you are comfortable with and is able to meet the necessary legal requirements. Massachusetts recognizes shared
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