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Consider the pitfalls that could arise after a divorce

Massachusetts couples may find it challenging to see the future as a marriage ends. The emotions that accompany a divorce may also make people worry more about the immediate future. This is helpful, but without looking further into the future, any divorce settlement the parties negotiate could end up causing significant problems in the long run.

For instance, many people expect to be able to live the same way they did during the marriage. However, with the same amount of financial resources now supporting two households instead of one, it may be unrealistic. Each party may have to make financial sacrifices after the divorce. It may be beneficial to consider what it will actually take to live reasonably comfortably.

Setting the stage for post-divorce financial security

The end of a marriage comes with many changes, including financial ones. As part of the divorce process, each party works toward reducing the financial impact of it. Doing so involves more than just dividing marital assets. There are other positive steps that divorcing Massachusetts residents can take in order to achieve the goal of financial security post-divorce.

In order to better know what an individual will need to live on after the divorce, it may help to create a budget. The incomes that used to support one household will now need to cover the expenses of two households. Understanding what it will take to live may require some number crunching. Once a budget is established, it may help determine a strategy for property division and an idea of whether a request for alimony should be made.

A crucial part of child custody: The parenting schedule

During a marriage, dividing parenting time is not an issue. Both parents live in the home and often spend time with the children together. When a Massachusetts couple divorces, the issue of spending time with the children becomes a central part of the proceedings. One part of the child custody agreement that is crucial is the parenting schedule.

Deciding how to divide time with the children is often not as simple as allocating one night a week and weekends to one parent while the other becomes primary custodian. Many Massachusetts parents want to spend as much time with the children as possible. Research backs up that desire by indicating that children of divorce do much better when both parents are as involved as possible.

Massachusetts Alimony Settlement Cannot Be Reopened Because of a Subsequent Clarification of the Law

Sometimes a case is in progress during or shortly after a change in the law, when its application and interpretation are still uncertain. In such cases, the parties may prefer to settle rather than risk an unpredictable result. In the recent case of Demarco v. Demarco, the parties chose to reach a settlement related to spousal support rather than complete the trial. The record suggests that the judge encouraged settlement based upon an assumption about how the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 would apply to the case, but a subsequent opinion by the Supreme Judicial Court made that assumption erroneous. 

Disability Discrimination Claims Under Federal and Massachusetts Laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. A qualified individual is a person who can perform the essential functions of his or her job, with or without reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations can include modified schedules, modified or new equipment, or job restructuring. There are exceptions for situations in which the reasonable accommodation would cause an undue hardship to the employer. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.

Arbitration in Massachusetts Probate and Family Court

Mediation and arbitration are often less expensive and less stressful alternatives to litigation in family law matters. The parties must agree to submit to alternative dispute resolution, however. When agreeing to one of these alternatives, the parties should understand what the agreement entails and whether the decision is subject to judicial review. 

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently reviewed a challenge to a judgment based on an arbitrator's findings and award in Gravlin v. Gravlin.

Massachusetts Search Warrants and Curtilage

Often at issue in drug cases is the validity of searches and seizures of evidence. Even when the police obtain a search warrant, a defendant may challenge a search that is not authorized by the warrant. In Commonwealth v. Sanchez, the Massachusetts Appeals Court considered whether the search of an apartment authorized by a warrant extended to a shed in the back yard of the apartment.

District of Massachusetts Transfers Employees' Case to District of Maryland Despite Wage Act Claims

Both state and federal wage and hour laws protect employees' rights to receive payment of the wages due to them in a timely manner. In some cases, the court must determine which laws, including the laws of which states, apply to a plaintiff's claims. In file000126221232Ossenbruggen v. Cowan Systems, LLC, the District Court of Massachusetts had to consider whether Maryland would apply its own wage laws or Massachusetts' Wage Act in determining if it was appropriate to transfer the case in accordance with a forum selection clause in the contracts between the parties.

Massachusetts Condo Association Can Establish Multiple Successive Priority Liens for Unpaid Common Expenses

Massachusetts General Laws c. 183A, § 6(c) provides that a lien for the unpaid common expenses of a condominium is prior to all other liens on the unit except those recorded before the master deed was recorded, a first mortgage on the unit recorded before the assessment became delinquent, and liens for property taxes and other municipal assessments. The statute further provides that the lien for common expenses does take priority over a first mortgage to the extent of the common expenses assessments that would have become due absent acceleration in the six months immediately preceding the filing of the action to enforce the lien, as well as costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to enforce that lien.

Revocation of Acceptance of Goods under the U.C.C. in Massachusetts

The Uniform Commercial Code ("U.C.C.") is a uniform act that applies to certain commercial agreements, including the sale of goods. The U.C.C. addresses issues such as non-conforming goods, acceptance of the goods, and revocation of that acceptance. The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently addressed the issue of revocation in the case of New England Precision Grinding, Inc. vs. Simply Surgical, LLC.

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