WE HELP FAMILIES RESOLVE CONFLICT PEACEFULLY


Thursday, December 31, 2009

Facebook & Twitter causing Divorces?

As this news video from CNN describes more and more people are blaming Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social networking sites for their divorces.

Although I would argue that these sites are simply an outlet for feelings that would otherwise have surfaced in another form, there is still a lesson to be learned here.

Assume that anything you write on the internet (whether on a "private" page or not) is going to be seen by everyone. It is not only discoverable (in the legal sense) but likely to be discovered or passed along or shared by family, friends, or other acquaintances.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What you text can and will be used against you.

We often warn our divorce clients that e-mails they send to their soon to be ex-spouses WILL show up in court. This is because it's almost impossible for two parties involved in an emotional dispute to write correspondence without overtones of disappointment, hurt or anger showing through in tone. This is even more likely in informal correspondence like e-mail.

The same is true for texts, especially now that texts are beginning to replace phone calls as the preferred method of quick short communications. According to this Huffington Post article, "Americans punched out more than 110 billion text messages in December 2008."

There are also significant domestic violence implications with text messaging. For instance, text messages are considered a communication and a violation of a restraining order, even if the victim sent a text message first a reply could result in an arrest and charge of violating a restraining order.

In addition, texts can be another way for abusers to track and control the lives of their victims. This article in the Patriot Ledger makes light of the Tiger Woods scandal and his immature texting, by noting how many wives and girlfriends check their significant other's phone history. This type of monitoring has a darker side when used by abusers.

No matter the context remember that what you put in writing, whether in e-mail, letter, facebook update, tweet, or even a text message leaves a record, and that record could come back to be used against you.

Thanks to DGVElaw for sending us the Patriot Ledger article.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What is the Automatic Restraining Order (Supplemental Probate Court Rule 411)?

In addition to beginning the litigation process, immediately upon the filing of a Complaint for Divorce, the Plaintiff (person who filed the Complaint) is restrained from taking specific actions with respect to their assets and liabilities. Along with the Summons the Court will provide to the Plaintiff, a Notice describing the Rule 411 Automatic Restraining Order. A sample Notice describing the Rule 411 Automatic Restraining Order is available here.

Upon the service of the Complaint and Summons on the other party (the Defendant), they too become restrained by Rule 411. Generally Rule 411 prohibits either party from
a. selling, hiding, encumbering or disposing of any personal property or real property in which either of you have an interest (except for in the case of specific exceptions),
b. incurring any further debt that would burden the credit of the other spouse (such as making charges on joint credit cards),
c. changing the beneficiary designation on any life insurance policy, pension or investment accounts, or
d. doing anything that changes your spouse or your children's coverage under medical, dental, life, automobile or disability insurance.

There are exceptions to Rule 411 which you should discuss with your attorney. Do not violate the Automatic Restraining Order or the Court may, and most likely will, order you to undo whatever action you took and sanction you for violating the Restraining Order.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Meet the Staff of Kelsey & Trask, P.C.

The staff of Kelsey & Trask, P.C. assist our attorneys in bringing quality service and attention to our clients. To learn more about Melissa M. Day, our Administrative Assistant, and Jonathan Eaton, our part-time law clerk, visit our new Staff page.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Sanctity of Marraige

A recent tongue-in-cheek blog post by fellow attorney and blawger, Gabriel Cheong, describes his support for the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act.

The 2010 California Marriage Protection Act, a proposed amendment available at http://rescuemarriage.org/2009/08/22/2010-california-protection-of-marriage-act/, takes Proposition 8 one step further by banning divorce in the state of California.

Support of the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act demonstrates the hypocrisy of attacking gay marriage for being detrimental to the sanctity of marriage when the state allows divorce. Divorce, after all, is the ultimate attack on the sanctity of marriage.

Although this is the classic slippery slope argument, the method can hardly be questioned by those who claim gay marriage will lead to people wanting to marry their pets.

This leads to the question: What does it really mean to protect the sanctity of marriage?

Sanctity is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as 1. the holiness of life and character, or 2. the quality or state of being holy or sacred.

So when you hear pundits, politicians and protesters telling you that the sanctity of marriage is being attacked in the United States, they are right. But it isn't under attack because homosexual couples want to get married. The sanctity of marriage has been under attack since the first time one spouse cheated on their spouse, lied to their spouse, or otherwise disrespected the bonds of marriage.

The fight to keep marriage sacred is not a fight that can be won by the writing of laws, or restricting certain people from enjoying that bond. The fight to keep marriage sacred is an ever vigilant effort by a spouse to support, love and respect their spouse, and it takes two spouses willing to make that effort.

Forcing people to stay in marriages where their spouse is unwilling to make that effort is just as silly as refusing to recognize that homosexuals also have the ability to participate in a sacred bond of support, love and respect with their partners (whether or not the laws support them).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bankruptcy Blog and Website

If you enjoy our Family Law Blog then please check out our brand new Blog devoted solely to bankruptcy law issues: Don't Go Alone: A Bankruptcy Law Blog located at http://bankruptcyma.blogspot.com

We have also opened a new website devoted to providing answers to the many frequently asked questions from our clients: available at http://www.bankruptcylawmass.com or http://bankruptcy.kelseytrask.com



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