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Showing posts from May, 2010

Massachusetts House of Representatives to Vote on CORI Reform

On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, the Massachusetts House of Representatives will vote on legislation to reform Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) laws ( House No. 4703 ). According to the MBA "The purpose of CORI reform is to better facilitate the rehabilitation of offenders back into society and thereby increase public safety. We support efforts to correct some of the unfairness and injustice which occurs by the continued presence and use of inaccurate CORI. CORI laws need to be revised to provide our citizens with greater accuracy, earlier sealing of records and greater clarity in the reports." The Massachusetts Senate has already passed sentencing legislation that included similar CORI reform and passage of the House Bill will result in a committee being formed to iron out the differences between the two bills (the next step towards having the legislation enacted). These reforms to the CORI system are supported by the MBA and you should call your state representativ

Should your Mediator draft Court Paperwork?

Once an agreement is reached, a mediator who is also an attorney can help the individuals prepare court documents, such as the Separation Agreement. If you need assistance preparing your Financial Statement, or you need advice as to whether an Agreement is in your best interest then you should consult with an individual attorney. Although, a Mediator can help you prepare an Agreement, they cannot provide you with individual legal advice. Some attorneys do not believe it is appropriate, or "kosher", for attorney/mediators to prepare any court documents because it is too close to the services performed by individual legal counsel. At Kelsey & Trask, P.C. we assist our mediation clients in completing the necessary court forms to ensure that they have been adequately informed about how to successfully present a Joint Petition for Divorce. We believe the goal of a divorce mediation is to reach this successful conclusion and part of that is correctly filling out a Joint Peti

What do you think of Hampshire County's "Special Procedure's for Cases Involving Children"

On April 7, 2010, the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Courts in Massachusetts, Paula M. Carey, signed Standing Order 1-10: Special Procedures for Cases Involving Children. That order sets out the details for a pilot program in the Hampshire Division of the Probate and Family Court. The pilot program is intended to provide special services and requirements related to the resolution of child-related issues in any case involving children (such as Divorce, Separate Support, Paternity, Support/Custody/Visitation, Modification, Contempt, Guardianship and Termination of Parental Rights cases). The order requires, among other things, that attorneys and parents/care-givers attempt to solve parenting related problems before seeking the assistance of the court, and to conduct themselves in a way that recognizes the unique issues involved in child-related cases. More specifically, the order requires that parties and their attorneys participate in an "Introductory Meeting"

What if I can't take the Parent Education Course? Is there an alternative option?

Under Standing Order 4-08 of the Probate & Family Court , if you have any minor children at the time of the filing of your divorce case, you are required to attend the Court-sponsored Parents Apart education program before you can present either a settlement of your case, or present your case for trial. A brochure which lists the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the various organizations that provide this program, in alphabetical order by town, is available by clicking here. You should immediately enroll in and attend this course because your case cannot end until you have completed the course, which consists of two 3 hour sessions. After completion of the program you will be provided with a golden Certificate of Completion, which you must provide to the Court. If you give this golden copy to your attorney, they can ensure that it is properly filed with the Court and this requirement fulfilled. But, what if you can't attend? I have worked on numerous cases where

Latest iPhone App now available in the App Store: Alimony 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 . In addition to the Kelsey & Trask MOBILE web site at http://mobile.kelseytrask.com , our Massachusetts Child Support Calculator App , and our Means Test App , we are now offering the Divorce Spousal Support Calculator as an iPhone App . You can calculate alimony the same as in the full calculator located on our website , but you can also save your calculations, e-mail them, and view the accompanying Article. And the App is FREE! Don't worry Droid and Blackberry users, you can still use the mobile calculator in your web browser here.

How can I calculate Child Support AND Alimony?

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 . Dealing with a case that includes the potential for both child support and alimony can be quite complicated. For purposes of this discussion, I will assume that the person receiving alimony is also the custodial parent (i.e. the person receiving child support). First let's get some definitions: 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. To view the formula and calculate Child Support click her

The Fight for Gay Marriage and Gay Divorce

As described in a recent article on CNN Living ( Serious legal hurdles for gay divorce ), just because gay and lesbians can get married doesn't mean they can get divorced. Gay and Lesbian couples who marry in one of the few states that allow gay marriage may not be able to get divorced if they move to another state. Currently only Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As the CNN article describes, the Texas Attorney General is appealing a ruling by a Texas Judge allowing a lesbian couple (who had been married in Massachusetts) to get a divorce in Texas. An attorney who represents a gay couple awaiting the Texas decision noted "Ironically, if the attorney general [of Texas] is so against gay marriage, why is he trying to hard to keep these two men together?" Regardless of the ruling in that case, getting divorced in other states isn't the only hurtle facing gay and le