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Showing posts from February, 2013

DOMA Creates Problems for Second Marriages

Often poorly written legislation has unintended consequences.  DOMA (the so-called Defense of Marriage Act) allows states to ignore marriages from other states or countries, when those marriages are between two people of the same gender.  We've previously written about the problems that this can cause in same-sex divorces: Same-Sex Marriage is Getting Easier, But Same-Sex Divorce is still Tricky.  But the problems don't just end there.

Since some states won't allow you get divorced from a same-sex marriage, residents of those states have been told that they are essentially not married.  Does this mean that they can re-marry in that state?  The answer is yes, but not without potential consequences.

To illustrate the risks, consider the following hypothetical scenario:

Jane Smith and Janet Doe have been living together for years in Texas.  They have friends in Massachusetts and when they heard about the ballot initiative in Maine to legalize same-sex marriage they decided t…

Joint Petition for Modification: A Proposal for an Expanded & Simplified Procedure

UPDATE:  The changes proposed in this post were adopted on June 25, 2013 and became effective August 1, 2013.

Massachusetts Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 412 currently allows for the filing of a Joint Petition for Modification of Child Support when two parents agree that the child support figure should be amended.  Often when there has been a material change in circumstances, two parents can agree that the child support should change to reflect the new circumstances.  If the new agreement can be reduced to a writing, then it can be submitted to the court with a Joint Petition under Rule 412, and the court may approve it without requiring a hearing (although the court may schedule a hearing if they have questions about the agreement).

The obvious benefit to this joint petition process is avoiding the cost and stress of unnecessary trips to court when an agreement is reached between the parties.  When parties can't agree on whether child support should change or not, the…