Court Rules Involuntary Nondisparaging Clauses Unconstitutional

The 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 landmark
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Breathalyzers Test Results Ruled Inadmissible Pending Reforms

In a ruling certain to affect thousands of cases, District Court Judge Robert Brenna has ruled that no Breathalyzer tests administered in Massachusetts can be used in Court until the state’s Office of Alcohol Testing (OAT) undergoes major reforms. Judge Brennan further held that OAT must prove that its results are accurate. The reforms required by the Court include the providing of additional training for staff and instituting rule for complying with discovery requests by defense attorneys. The discovery compliance rules must be similar to those followed by the state police’s crime management unit. Judge Brenan’s ruling is based in
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Alimony Beyond Durational Limits

The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 established durational term limits for general term alimony for marriages less than twenty years in length. The law also permitted Alimony Payors to file Modification Complaints seeking to termination general term alimony if such durational limits had been exceeded. The law established a blanket exception for durational term limits if an alimony recipient could show that the durational limit should be extended for good cause shown. In the case of Barcalow v. Barcalow, the trial judge found that a disabled alimony recipient was entitled to continue receiving alimony payments beyond the durational limits. The
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