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Showing posts from April, 2012

The New Alimony Law: A Primer for the Public

The Divorce Center Offers Seminar Introducing Recent Major Changes to the Massachusetts Alimony Law Effective March 1, the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 Changed the Massachusetts Alimony Law Significantly for the First Time in 30 Years Newton, Mass. – March 28, 2012 – The Divorce Center, a non-profit organization of professionals from multiple disciplines providing support and education for people going through separation or divorce, is offering a seminar entitled: “The New Alimony Law: A Primer for the Public” on May 15, 2012 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Weston Public Library community room, Weston, MA. David L. Rubin, Esq., and Debra L. Smith, Esq., attorneys practicing divorce and family law, will speak on the numerous changes made to the Massachusetts Alimony Law, which has not been updated in 30 years. The changes were prompted by the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 and were effective March 1. The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 changed when and how alimony can b

Press Release: Can Technology Improve How People Get Divorced?

Press Release from Kelsey & Trask, P.C. - April 26, 2012: CAN TECHNOLOGY IMPROVE HOW PEOPLE GET DIVORCED?   Framingham Attorneys providing iPads to their Divorce Clients Social media and technology have changed how we live and connect socially in many ways, and these changes extend to how we break up as well. Even if you're not a member of Second Life, you likely have a second online life made up of your Facebook posts, your Pinterest pictures and your Tweets. So what happens when you get divorced? When do you change your relationship status? Should you change your passwords? Is it safe to use the home computer to communicate with your divorce attorney? If you get divorced, you’ll have to face some of the ways that your online life complicates the break-up. But technology doesn’t just create problems in a divorce; the newest technologies can also be used to solve these problems. At least one innovative firm, Kelsey & Trask, P.C. in Framingham, Massachuset

What does a Collaborative Law Coach do?

Guest Post Introduction:   Gina Arons, PsyD is a clinical psychologist with over 25 years experience working with adults, children, couples and families at her practice in Lincoln, MA.  She is a Collaborative Law coach-facilitator and mediator.  Dr. Arons serves on the board of The Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council (MCLC) and is a member of The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and The Massachusetts Council of Family Mediation.  She wrote the following guest post for us regarding: WHAT DOES A COLLABORATIVE LAW COACH DO? By Gina Arons, PsyD When a couple decides that their marriage has come to an end, Collaborative Law offers an open and respectful divorce process in which clients, attorneys, and other collaborative professionals work together to develop an agreement that is acceptable to each of the parties. As an integral part of this collaborative team, the Collaborative Law Coach serves as a neutral facilitator who works to understand the cl

Should Shared Parenting be Presumptive?

The Minnesota House recently passed a shared parenting bill which has a presumption of at least 45.1% of the parenting time with each parent.  This presumption can be overcome by certain factors.   Attorney Robert Franklin has written an editorial supporting the bill and calling on the Senate and Governor to pass it as well. A similar movement has been trying to get presumptions of shared physical custody passed in Massachusetts, and we reviewed these proposals in our series on Custody Reform . Custody Reform should be based on evidence about what defaults are in the best interest of children. There is evidence of a shift in our society to greater parenting involvement of fathers, but the available evidence is still strongly in favor of very young children spending more time with their mother. Frequent contact with both parents is necessary at a very young age, but equal time doesn't take into account the realities of the unusual feeding and sleeping schedule that newborns h

Can I claim Head of Household if My Ex Claims the Child as an Dependent?

Yes. Here is the exact answer from the IRS FAQ website: Question: For head of household filing status, do you have to claim a child as a dependent to qualify?  Answer: In certain circumstances, you do not have to claim the child as a dependent to qualify for head of household filing status; for example, a custodial parent may be able to claim head of household filing status even if he or she released a claim to exemption for the child. This means that in a divorce or paternity agreement you should designate if one parent will still have the right to qualify for Head of Household, even if the other parent is being given the dependency exemption. For a further discussion on who gets the dependency exemptions in a divorce read our previous post: Child Tax Deductions: Who gets them in a Divorce?

Can the Family Court amend a Restraining Order from the District Court?

In May, 2009 Norfolk County instituted a pilot program allowing 209A Restraining Order cases opened in a District Court in Norfolk County to be transferred to the Norfolk Probate and Family Court, if there is already an action pending in that Court.   We described the program in a post entitled:   One Court instead of Two for Domestic Abuse Cases in Norfolk County – A Pilot Program . That pilot program ended 12 months later and was not renewed, which means that the courts do not currently allow the transfer of a 209A Restraining Order case from district court to the probate and family court.  This raises the question: What happens if there is a 209A Restraining Order in a district court and a Divorce case between the same parties in the Probate and Family Court? If there are no children in the case, the Probate and Family Court is unlikely to concern themselves with the Restraining Order case because the divorce is primarily dealing with financial issues which don't typical

What does a Child Specialist do in a Collaborative Divorce?

Guest Post Introduction:  Dr. Allison J. Bell, Psy.D. has been in private practice in Westchester County, N.Y. since 1987 and is specialty-trained in child-psychology, neuropsychological evaluation of children and marital therapy. For the past fifteen years, Dr. Bell has performed forensic custody evaluation in both Family and Supreme Courts in the southern New York State region. Dr. Bell serves as both a Divorce Coach and a neutral Child Specialist on Interdisciplinary practice teams and is a member of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council . Dr. Bell wrote the following guest post for us regarding: THE CHILD SPECIALIST IN COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE By Allison J. Bell, PsyD. The Collaborative Divorce process is unique amongst methods of obtaining a divorce in that it offers the opportunity for children to express their needs and viewpoints to their parents, through a professional conduit, the Child Specialist. Who is a Child Specialist, what does that person do, and why