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Showing posts from April, 2009

Why doesn't my agreement say [fill in the blank]?

I recently updated by iTunes software and saw the following warning: "You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons ." ( iTunes EULA: Section 10, Paragraph 8 ) Apparently, Apple is worried I am going to use my newest edition of iTunes to manufacture my own MIRV's. (There's an app for THAT?!) I suppose it's possible to figure out a way to launch a first strike from an iPhone (it can do practically everything else), but the likelihood of me trying, or even wanting to is, as we say, de minimus . A good lawyer will go to great lengths to make sure that his client is protected, but sometimes, we fail to distinguish between "what might possibly happen" and "what will probably happen". A good attorney should not try to insulate you from every abstract cont

Mandatory Discovery Expanded to Include Separate Support and Paternity Actions

Effective May 1, 2009, Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 410 will now require mandatory self-disclosure in Paternity and Separate Support cases similar to that already required in Divorce cases. Under the old Rule 410 , parties in divorce cases are required to, within 45 days after the date of service of the Summons, serve on the other party specific documents designed to disclose the basic financial information necessary to settle the case. This includes tax returns for the past three years, last four (4) paycheck stubs, bank account statements, health insurance documentation, retirement account statements and more. Under the new Rule 410 effective May 1, 2009 , parties in Divorce and Separate Support cases are required to, within 45 days after the date of service of the Summons, serve said documents (tax returns for the past three years, last four (4) paycheck stubs, bank account statements, health insurance documentation, retirement account statements, etc.). In additio

Lawyers particularly vulnerable to E-mail Scams

By now most of us have heard of the Nigerian/Check Cashing E-mail scams (hopefully). The basic outline of the scam is as follows: You receive an email that offers to assist you in obtaining money that belongs to you, or offers to buy something from you for a price greater than you advertised it for (typically received when you put something for sale on Ebay or Craigslist or similar sites). The hook is that they are offering to pay YOU money. Once you receive the check and cash it, you just have to send them back a portion of it. The trick is that the check is a bad check, even though your bank may let you draw funds on it after three days. These out of state, or out of country bank checks take advantage of a banking loophole that most banks will allow you to draw on a check after three days, but the bank doesn't actually receive the funds on the check for up to ten (10) days. Once the check bounces, the bank will hold you responsible for the money (often just taking it out o

Q of the Week: What is the Stevenson-Kelsey Spousal Support Calculator?

UPDATE: There is pending legislation for major changes to the alimony statute in Massachusetts. The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 was filed on January 18, 2011 and you can learn more about the Act at MassAlimonyFormula.com or in our recent blog post highlighting the differences between the bill and the current law . Alimony, also called spousal support, is paid by the wage-earning spouse (the spouse who has traditionally earned the majority of the income during the marriage) to the non-wage-earning spouse to allow the non-wage-earning spouse to continue to live in the lifestyle to which he or she has become accustomed during the marriage assuming their is enough income to do so. There is not currently any formula enacted or endorsed by the Massachusetts Legislature or the Courts for the calculation of alimony. The amount of alimony is dependent on the consideration of all of the factors described in M.G.L. c. 208 Section 34. You should consult an attorney t

Kelsey & Trask has gone MOBILE

Check out the Kelsey & Trask MOBILE web site at http://mobile.kelseytrask.com . You can see the link on our main page in the upper left-hand corner: Our NEW on-the-go site is just the basics for when you need our address or phone number or want to use one of our handy calculators on a minute's notice, such as from the Courthouse when you don't have access to your computer. Need help filling out the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet at the courthouse, or just want to get a figure quickly? Check out the mobile K&T Child Support Guidelines Calculator . The mobile Stevenson-Kelsey Spousal Support Calculator and Chapter 7 Means Test Calcula tor are available as well for quick reference on your cellphone or PDA. And if you have an IPhone and want access to the Kelsey & Trask Calculators NOW - THER E'S AN APP FOR THAT , a web-app. Just type in mobile.kelseytrask.com into safari, your IPhone's web-browser; click the "+" sign and click &quo

Q OF THE WEEK: How do I calculate child support?

Child Support is the amount of money paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the support of the children. Child Support is calculated using a formula called the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The formula is presumptive, and Judges can only vary from the formula in specific circumstances. You should consult an attorney to discuss what facts in your case might warrant a variation from the formula. To view the formula and calculate your Child Support click here.

New, Improved and on-line: kelseytrask.com

After a nearly month of planning, programing, coding, compiling, and complaining (not to mention more than a few late nights), the new and improved website for Kelsey & Trask, P.C. is up and running. Our attorneys, Justin L. Kelsey and Matthew P. Trask , are proud of our new website and feel it represents the true face and personality of our firm. We have purposefully posted a large amount of content at http://www.kelseytrask.com . We want our website to be a resource for you, not just a signpost or an advertisement for our firm. We encourage you to take a look around and learn more about us, the law, how we practice, and the ways we can help you or your business in these less-than-certain times. All of the content in our page regarding divorce , paternity , child support , bankruptcy and civil practice are presented in a simple, intuitive question-and-answer format. We have resources for both attorneys and the public, including calculators for the Massachusetts Child Sup

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Bankruptcy or Divorce, which should come first?

If I am facing both divorce and bankruptcy, should I file for bankruptcy before, during, or after filing for divorce? Answer: When a bankruptcy is filed, all lawsuits against the debtor are immediately stayed. If a bankruptcy is filed during a divorce case, the automatic stay applies to the divorce case as well. The divorce Judge may proceed on issues of child support, alimony and custody of children, but may not make any decisions relating to the division of assets and debts without the permission of the bankruptcy court, and any decisions made by the divorce Judge are reviewable by the bankruptcy Judge. Finishing the divorce action before beginning the bankruptcy filing allows the divorce action to proceed to its natural conclusion without interruption by the bankruptcy court. It is still possible, though, for the Bankruptcy Court to undo the Agreement or Judgment of the Divorce Court if it appears the parties were attempting to defraud creditors (for instance if all of the assets

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Why do divorces get so contentious?

One Lawyer's Opinion: Last week, I was having a casual conversation about settlement of divorce cases, and commented: “each side chooses their weapons. The husband will use custody to push the wife’s buttons; the wife will use financial issues to push his. Wind blows, fire burns. It’s just the way it is.” I don’t think there are any lawyers or clients out there that openly admit to following this playbook. Kids are people, after all, not the wedding china, the plasma TV, a 401K or the myriad of other things that family law attorneys use to equitably divide assets during a divorce. Still, my recognition and arguable acquiescence to “the way it is” proved problematic to my preferred practice model. Where does this assumption come from, then? While I don’t use this strategy to leverage a settlement, it is still prevalent in practice, so much so that I subconsciously admitted that that was inherent to divorce and family law practice. The answer, it seems, would be more complex. Certain

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What happens if my spouse files for BANKRUPTCY in the middle of our DIVORCE?

When a bankruptcy is filed, all lawsuits against the debtor (the person filing the bankruptcy) are required to immediately stop. This is called the "automatic stay." If your spouse files for bankruptcy during your divorce case the automatic stay applies to the divorce case as well. The divorce Judge may proceed on issues of child support, alimony and custody of children, but may not make any decisions relating to the division of assets and debts without the permission of the bankruptcy court, and any decisions made by the divorce Judge are reviewable by the bankruptcy Judge. You should consult with an attorney that is familiar with both bankruptcy and divorce law and is admitted to practice in federal court because it may be neceesary to file Motions in the bankruptcy court to ensure that your rights to marital property are protected.