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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Supreme Court rules that cops can’t hold you for even a few extra minutes without good reason after routine traffic stops

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that after police have completed a routine traffic stop, they cannot hold you for even a few extra minutes without the usual suspicion required to detain a person. In Rodriguez v. United States, a case brought by a Nebraska man who was pulled over for driving erratically on a state highway in 2012, the court majority said police lacked probable cause in a search that led to the man’s drug charge.
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Technical problems could overturn recent drunk driving convictions in Massachusetts

As reported by MyFoxBoston.com, technical problems could overturn many recent drunk driving convictions in Massachusetts. The issue involves the use of faulty breathalyser machines. According to the Salem News, prosecutors have started notifying defense attorneys about the problem. Apparently, a solution used in the machines is causing them to produce improper test results. The Essex County District Attorney has told all prosecutors to stop using breathalyzer results in pending cases. It is not known when the problem started, or how many past cases could be called into question
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529A Accounts for Disabled Individuals

posted by Eric Schutzbank Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) became law in December 2014.  Similar to the 529 college saving plans, ABLE allows people with disabilities and their families to put aside funds for disability-related costs.  Set up by the state and administered through financial institutions, the income from qualified 529A Accounts for Disabled Individuals accrues tax-free. The law defines qualified individuals as those eligible for benefits under the Social Security Act title II or XVI.  In addition, if a physician has diagnosed blindness, medical or mental disability causing significant impairment to an individual aged 26 or younger and
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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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Estate and Advanced Care Planning is for Single People too

posted by Eric Schutzbank Being single doesn’t mean you do not need an estate plan. Single people need to be taken care of if they become incapacitated and also want to have a say in how their property is distributed after their death. Single people often have unique considerations when planning for the future. Married couples most often have their spouses act as their fiduciary in the event of incapacitation or death. Older couples with adult children general have their children designated to make decisions when they or their spouse can no longer do so. Single people without children need
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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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White Collar Crimes in Massachusetts

posted by Eric Schutzbank White Collar Crimes in Massachusetts cover a broad range of financially motivated nonviolent criminal activities including embezzlement, fraud, employee theft, and forgery. They can also include internet-related crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud. Statistics show these crimes account for over $400 billion in losses to the U.S economy alone. In Massachusetts, penalties for white collar crimes are especially serious; therefore, it is important to seek the counsel of attorneys who are experienced in defending these types of crimes to ensure the best outcome. Common Types of White Collar Crimes: Financial Fraud: Conspiracy to
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