Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2009

Question of the Week: What is an Abuse Prevention Order?

In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 209A allows the court to create orders that protect people from abuse. These orders, known as “Restraining Orders”, “Abuse Prevention Orders” or “209A Restraining Orders” prohibit the defendant not to abuse or contact and to stay away from the person who has obtained the order, and, if applicable, the person’s minor children. 209A Restraining orders may be obtained against a current or former spouse, a current or former household member, the other parent of a child, a relative by blood or marriage, or anyone with whom the person has had a substantial dating relationship. If the parties do not have one of the relationships described above, the court will not issue a 209A Restraining Order. Obtaining a 209A Restraining Order is a civil proceeding, rather than a criminal proceeding. That means that the person seeking the order must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they have a "reasonable fear of imminent serious physical harm". Put

Financial Crisis? You are not alone.

Often people who are deep in debt, are more afraid to confront the reality of their situation than anything else. That fear can lead people to do things they never thought they would do: to stop opening their mail, to stop answering the phone for fear of dealing with bill collectors, or even to lie to their family and friends. It is important to understand that you are not alone. You are not the first person to go through a crisis and there are resources out there to help you. To read about how even an economic reporter fell into the trap of overusing credit check out this New York Times article: http://tinyurl.com/qukwpb .

Q of the Week: What will I keep if I file for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

When filing for Bankruptcy certain property of the debtor is exempt from the Bankruptcy estate, which means that it is not subject to being taken by the Trustee and used to pay your debts. When filing a Bankruptcy as a resident of Massachusetts a debtor can choose to use the exemptions allowed under either State or Federal law, but you must choose one or the other. There are many exemptions that are similar under both schemes, such as the exemption of most qualified retirement plans. A table of the maximum exemptions as of April 14, 2009 in categories where the state and federal exemptions differ significantly can be found here . Please note that these figures are subject to change and you should consult with an attorney to obtain the most current figures and to decide which option you should choose.

College: Is it the Right Choice?

In Massachusetts, Probate and Family Court Judges have the authority under the child support statute to order divorcing parents (or unwed parents of children involved in paternity cases) to pay for college education expenses for their children. Unfortunately, this can lead to expensive litigation when one parent is unwilling to accept (or to tell their child) that certain colleges are too expensive for their family budget. Even worse, it seems to have become a foregone conclusion that most (if not all) children should go to college. Check out these great thoughts from The Imperfect Parent Blog , too many people (especially in the Probate & Family Court) are afraid to say this: Kids, Don't Go To College: "Why are we pushing college on every kid when not every kid is cut out for it? There’s no shame in not going to college, in fact, going to college just may be a waste of time for most high school grads. And if you listen to some talking radio heads, it may just be a c

One Court instead of Two for Domestic Abuse Cases in Norfolk County – A Pilot Program

Beginning May 4, 2009, Norfolk County will start a pilot program involving the interdepartmental transfer of certain abuse prevention proceedings. In plain English this means that 209A Restraining Order cases opened in a District Court in Norfolk County may be transferred to the Norfolk Probate and Family Court, if there is already an action pending in that Court. EXAMPLE: Whitney and Bobby are married and live in Dedham. One night they get into a fight and Whitney calls the police. Bobby is not arrested but is escorted from the home by the police and Whitney is provided with an emergency 209A Order for Protection from Abuse (commonly called a Restraining Order). The Restraining Order requires that both Whitney and Bobby show up at the Dedham District Court the next day to go in front of a Judge who will decide whether the Restraining Order should be extended. After a hearing the Judge extends the Restraining Order for two months ( “a cooling off period”). That afternoon, Wh