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Showing posts from October, 2009

Can we hire one attorney to represent us both in our Divorce?

Don't believe everything you see in the movies. In the popular teen pregnancy flick Juno the adopting parents end up getting divorced and the Husband states "I called Gerta Rauss. She says she can represent both of us. They call it 'collaborative divorce.' It’s apparently all the rage right now." Although, collaborative law is "all the rage" right now, it does not involve one lawyer representing both parties. It is not ethical or practical for a lawyer to represent both parties in a Divorce, whether through collaborative law or litigation In fact, Rule 1.7 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits a lawyer from representing a client if that representation will be directly adverse to another client unless the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client AND each client consents after consultation. Although both clients might consent, it is not reasonable to be

M.G.L. 93H and Data Privacy Basics

Massachusetts has enacted one of the strictest data-privacy laws in the country and is scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2010. Any personal information that any business entity maintains or stores is subject to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93H , while M.G.L 93I governs the destruction of physical and electronic documents and data. Both M.G.L. 93H and M.G.L. 93I define “personal information” as a person’s last name and either his or her first name or first initial, combined with any one of the following: a social security number ; driver’s license number or state-issued identification card number; financial account number , debit or credit card number, with or without any required security code, access code, personal identification number or password that would permit access to a resident’s financial account. Guidance for business’ implementation of M.G.L. 93H can be found in 201 CMR 17.00 , and creates an affirmative duty to every person that “owns, stores or ma

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

President Obama on September 30, 2009 proclaimed October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As with any issue that endangers the health, safety or welfare of individuals, the first step towards ending that danger is to raise Awareness. It seems that we are bombarded everyday with walkathons, and fund raisers, and pharmaceutical commercials that want to raise our Cancer Awareness, our Heart Disease Awareness, even our Awareness of Erectile Dysfunction. It becomes easy to forget that there are dangers in this world, and even in our own backyard, that don't stem from viruses or diseases. There are dangers, such as Domestic Violence that aren't caused by hunger or a germ, but instead by poor choices and a failure of support. It's hard to know if there will ever be a cure for cancer, but we know the cure for Domestic Violence. A safe home and access to justice can provide victims of Domestic Violence with a voice to end their suffering. If you or someone you k

Is there a Criminal Record of a 209A Restraining Order?

If you are served with a Complaint for Protection from Abuse (sometimes referred to as a 209A Restraining Order because of the statute: M.G.L. c. 209A ) then your name and the Complaint are recorded in the Domestic Violence Record Keeping System which is visible to Judges and law enforcement officials (and certain airport personnel) through CARI (Court Activity Record Information), a subset of CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information). There is presently no statutory provision in Massachusetts allowing these records to be expunged. This is explained in greater detail in a Massachusetts Bar Association article which indicates that the Mass Bar proposed an amendment to the statute, mandating expungement of the record when the Order was vacated at the first hearing (after being issued on an ex parte hearing, which most 209A Orders are initially). Unfortunately, this legislation was not enacted by the legislature, and today the law remains that there is no statute allowing these rec

Family Law Blogs Directory and other Useful Tidbits

We'd like to thank J. Benjamin Stevens for adding us to his Directory of State-Specific Family Law Blogs . If you follow our blog and are looking for information that might be more specific to your state then check out the directory . In addition, if you're contemplating divorce or currently involved in a divorce, there is some other great advice to be found on Attorney Stevens' website , including the latest post "Tips to Minimize the Difficulties of Divorce" .

New State Median Family Income Figures Released

The United States Department of Justice has released the Census Bureau State Median Family Income By Family Size figures for means test calculations on Bankruptcy Cases filed on or after November 1, 2009. The new figures are available on the U.S. Trustee's website here . These figures apply only to cases filed on or after November 1, 2009. For Massachusetts, the new State Median Family Income figures are as follows: Family of 1: $53,505 Family of 2: $69,451 Family of 3: $82,591 Family of 4*: $99,648 *Add $6,900 for each individual member in excess of 4. Try our Chapter 7 Means Test Calculator by clicking here or on your mobile device by clicking here , now updated with a NEW feature that allows you to choose whether to use the old or new Median Family Income figures. For additional questions regarding the new State Median Family Income figures, or any questions regarding Bankruptcy or the Chapter 7 Means Test, please contact Attorney Matthew Trask at (508)