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Showing posts from June, 2013

All Your Children under the New Child Support Guidelines

The Duggar Family (from  examiner.com ) The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines recognize that families with multiple children have increased expenses (although those expenses are not simply doubled with each additional child). The 2009 guidelines included a multiplier for each additional child (up to 5, sorry Duggars).  This multiplier directly increases the amount of child support owed by a specific percentage.  In the 2013 guidelines these percentages were increased, though due to the reduction in the base rates for support the impact on prior orders may simply cancel each other out. The increase in rates is shown below: Obviously from the chart there is not a suggested multiplier for families like the Duggars or Octomom, but the guidelines do at least address these situations by setting a minimum presumption: "The guidelines formula applies to families with 1-5 children. For more than five children, the order should be at least the amount ordered for five chi

SCOTUS avoids 14th Amendment analysis on Prop 8 through Standing Analysis, Still a Win?

In the second of a pair of same-sex marriage rights cases, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to deal with the substantive issue declaring a lack of standing instead.  In deciding the case on standing the Court avoided addressing the constitutionality of denying same-sex couples the right to marry.  However, in deciding the issue on standing the majority decision can be read to condone the actions of the public officials who refused to defend Prop 8. Known as the Prop 8 case (a/k/a Prop H8), everything you need to know about Hollingsworth v. Perry is summarized below: Prior to reaching SCOTUS here is what happened: California Supreme Court follow Massachusetts in declaring denial of same-sex marriages in violation of the California Constitution. California voters then pass Proposition 8, amending the California Constitution to define marriage for opposite sex couples only. Same-sex couples sued California's governor and state and local officials claiming Pro

DOMA No More, SCOTUS finds Section 3 Unconstitutional

In the first of a pair of same-sex marriage rights cases decided today, the Supreme Court of the United States declared portions of DOMA (the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act") unconstitutional.  Although there were some concerns about jurisdiction in this case due to the executive branches failure to defend DOMA vigorously the court determined there was jurisdiction and that DOMA is unconstitutional under the equal liberty of persons protected by the Fifth Amendment. Known as the DOMA case, everything you need to know about United States v. Windsor  is summarized below: Prior to reaching SCOTUS here is what happened: Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, two women, met in New York City in 1963 and began a long-term relationship. Windsor and Spyer registered as domestic partners when New York City gave that right to same-sex couples in 1993. In 2007, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, then residents of New York, were married in Ontorio Canada. Under the laws of the State o

Changes in the Law reflected in the New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

Between 2009 and 2013 a lot has changed.  In 2009 Kanye West was the only one who couldn't wait for Taylor Swift to finish her speech and in 2013 ain't nobody got time for that.  We went from not knowing who Susan Boyle was to again not knowing who Susan Boyle is.  And your Three Wolf Moon T-shirt is probably getting a little worse for wear. Believe it or not, Massachusetts family laws relating to support between 2009 and 2013 have seen some significant changes as well.  With the new child support guidelines, released on June 20, 2013 and taking effect on August 1, 2013, the Chief Justice and the Child Support Task Force had the opportunity to reflect these changes in the new guidelines. More specifically, the guidelines reference both the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 and the recent decision in Morales v. Morales .  Since we have discussed both of these changes in previous posts (links above) we will only address here how the new guidelines reference these changes: The Ali

The Increased Impact of Shared Parenting under the New Child Support Guidelines

In 2009, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines added language acknowledging the increase in shared parenting by specifically defining how the Court should calculate child support differently when parents share parenting time "equally, or approximately equally."  The 2009 Guidelines recognized the sharing of parenting costs in shared parenting arrangements, determining the presumptive support amount "by calculating the child support guidelines twice, first with one parent as the Recipient, and second with the other parent as the Recipient. The difference in the calculations shall be paid to the parent with the lower weekly support amount." Prior to this addition there was significant deviation in how different Judges handled the question of child support in shared parenting arrangements, ranging from no child support to standard child support guidelines, both extremes of which fail to recognize the financial impact of shared parenting. However, the 2009

High Income Households under the New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

The new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines effective on August 1, 2013 provide more specificity for the court on how to calculate child support when the combined household income exceeds $250,000. Under the new guidelines, the Court is still given significant discretion as to child support orders in these households but the language of the new guidelines clarifies a few key issues that had previously led to confusion over the court's presumptions and authority in these cases. Under the old guidelines, the language read: These guidelines are not meant to apply where the combined annual gross income of the parties exceeds $250,000. In cases where income exceeds this limit, the Court should consider the award of support at the $250,000 level as the minimum presumptive order. Additional amounts of child support may be awarded in the Court’s discretion. Under the new guidelines, this section reads: These guidelines are calculated up to a maximum combined available annual

New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines will Reduce Support for Many

On Thursday, June 20, 2013 Chief Justice of the Trial Court, Robert A. Mulligan, announced via Press Release the latest revisions to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines which will become effective on August 1, 2013.  Federal rules require that the court review the guidelines every four years, and the current guidelines were enacted in January of 2009. The Chief Justice, with the assistance of a task force he appointed in 2012, reviewed the guidelines with the hope of "producing guidelines based on the current economic climate for families raising children in Massachusetts." Since August 1 is pretty close, we at Kelsey & Trask, P.C. want to help everyone understand these new guidelines and how they affect current divorce, paternity and child support modification cases.  Over the next few days we will be posting multiple blogs regarding the changes these new child support guidelines will implement, and providing an updated user-friendly calculator to assist with

Summer Lovin' Series: Unmarried Parents with a Baby on the Way!

Summer is finally here.  The air is humid, the sunblock is out, and it's finally time for vacations and school break.  But enjoying summer too much has its consequences.  Our Summer Lovin' series is about those consequences for Unmarried Parents in Massachusetts: Summer Lovin' Series #1: Unmarried Parents with a Baby on the Way! Unmarried parents who are separated can still plan for the baby's arrival together.  This planning should include how to pay for the expenses of the pregnancy and birth, and how to pay for the expenses of the child once he or she arrives.  In addition, for parents who are living apart, they should begin to consider a reasonable parenting plan for when the baby arrives. A Parenting Plan is a comprehensive agreement which sets out both the time that children will spend with each parent as well as the rights and obligations of each parent to the children and the other parent during their parenting time. It can include a holiday visitat

Should You give your Ex-Husband a Father's Day Card?

UPDATE: There is at least one company now offering greeting cards designed specifically for ex's:  https://xcardsgreetings.com/   If you don't live in the NY/NJ area you may have to order online, but if you plan ahead you could really make an impression on your ex. Original Post: I recently wrote about the lack of any Mother's Day cards designed specifically "For My Ex-Wife."  Of course the same is true for Father's Day.   The seasonal section is now  full of cards ranging from religious to sappy to funny (or appropriately politically correct kinda-funny).  There are cards separated into sections "For My Husband", "From Daughter", "From Son", for grandfathers and even great-grandfathers. But there aren't any cards in the aisle labeled "For My Ex-Husband." Why not? One Judge in Plymouth County has a standard speech he gives divorcing spouses right before he approves their final divorce.  Judge James Menno

What can Beer teach us about Hiring a Lawyer?

Last Friday, May 31, 2013, I attended the American Craft Beer Festival at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.  It included more than 140 brewers providing samples of over 600 different beers.  I would not call myself a connoisseur of beer and went primarily because of the interest of a friend.  However, when I considered how I would rate the various beers that I sampled, I discovered that some clearly stood well above the others. Before I attended ACBF, I knew that all beers were not created equal, but I would not have gone out of my way to find a particular beer.  What I learned at the ACBF, though, is that some beers are truly worth going out of your way to find.  Specifically my favorites were Lunch from the  Maine Beer Company  and Koko Brown from the  Kona Brewing Company . So now that I've whet your appetite for a good beer, let me explain why I think there is actually a lesson in my experience that can help you hire a lawyer. By now most people know that th