Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2024

The Case of Teddy Bear: A Legal Tug of War Over a Pomeranian

The Case of Teddy Bear: A Legal Tug of War Over a Pomeranian by Nathaniel Butzke   Photo by  Fred Moon  on  Unsplash     The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently made a notable decision in an intriguing legal battle involving former romantic partners and a Pomeranian named Teddy Bear. The case,  Lyman v. Lanser , takes us through the complexities of shared possession of a jointly owned pet. The heart of the dispute was whether the parties’ agreement to share Teddy Bear equally could be legally enforced, an agreement similar to custody arrangements that we typically see concerning children.      Lyman and Lanser's story began with a mutual decision to purchase Teddy Bear in 2018. They followed a pattern of shared pet ownership and agreement to share custody should they separate. When the relationship ended in 2021, they managed to share Teddy Bear amicably. The conflict escalated when Lanser ceased communication and denied Lyman access to Teddy Bear, prompting legal action.      The

April Showers Brought May Flowers: How the Openshaws Prepared for Rainy Days Ahead

April Showers Brought May Flowers: How the Openshaws Prepared for Rainy Days Ahead  by Nathaniel Butzke      Just in time for the rainy season, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court shed new light on what it means to "live" a certain lifestyle as a married couple and how those habits should be reflected in post-divorce alimony. The case, Openshaw v. Openshaw (2024) , revolved around a couple who, during their marriage, didn't just focus on living well but also on saving wisely. When their marriage came to an end, the question arose: should their habit of saving be considered part of their marital lifestyle for the purposes of determining the appropriate amount of alimony?      The court's answer was a resounding YES . In essence, the court argued that saving isn't just a financial strategy; it's a way of life. For the Openshaws, who enjoyed a generous annual income far exceeding their living expenses, setting money aside wasn't merely about preparing fo

Cavanagh v. Cavanagh - The Case, the Conundrum, & the Consequences

Cavanagh v. Cavanagh - The Case, the Conundrum, & the Consequences Introduction by Nathaniel Butzke More than a year after its release, the Massachusetts SJC decision in Cavanagh v. Cavanagh (2002) remains a topic of discussion at every Massachusetts family law and mediation conference.  The decision had many ripple effects, still being felt on the beachhead of every divorce case involving child support or alimony. Following is an in depth review of the case and some of those effects. Introduction: In divorce proceedings, determining alimony awards is a complex process that requires careful consideration of various factors. Judges tasked with making these decisions must weigh the financial circumstances of both parties, ensuring that the supported spouse can maintain a lifestyle similar to that before the divorce, and children have access to similar households in either parents' care. However, interpreting the law governing alimony can present practical challenges, especially