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News And Thoughts On The Law In And Around Boston

Understanding how the court would decide child custody

When Massachusetts residents decide to divorce, one of their primary concerns is how to coordinate parenting time. These days, many couples choose to work out an agreement on their own, which often makes the situation better for everyone involved. However, they may need to keep in mind how the court would rule on child custody issues in order to make sure that any arrangement they come to will meet with the court's approval.

As would happen in other states, Massachusetts judges consider numerous factors in child custody cases. The primary factor is what would serve the best interests of the children. This involves looking at each child's relationship with each parent and extended family members, whether either parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, and which parent served as the primary caregiver during the marriage.

Separate your digital lives during, if not before, a divorce

Most married couples, whether here in Massachusetts or elsewhere, tend not to keep certain information private. One spouse may use the other spouse's computer, tablet or phone without thinking anything of it. Often, passwords are only protected from someone outside the relationship. This is not usually a problem during the marriage, but for individuals facing a divorce, access to this digital information could cause issues.

As soon as an individual decides to divorce, or his or her spouse announces the intention to do so, all passwords should be changed. Not only will this keep the party's information private, but it will also keep one party from spying on the other, removing information and more. Even if the parties have separate social media accounts, the passwords on those should change as well. Any shared social media accounts can be closed and deleted, or one party can take them over while the other creates new ones.

What are your legal options when contracts aren't fulfilled?

Massachusetts business owners enter into agreements with other parties for goods and services all the time. More often than not, both parties fulfill their responsibilities under those contracts, and everyone goes about their business. Unfortunately, not all agreements end this way.

Perhaps you agreed to perform a service or provide goods to someone, but the other party failed to pay the agreed-upon price. You probably attempted to discuss the matter with the other party, but to no avail. Now, you wonder what your legal options are for resolving the matter. The best and fastest way to ascertain your options and your rights is to discuss the matter with a Massachusetts attorney with experience in business contracts. Depending on your circumstances, a graduated strategy may be the best way to resolve the matter.

Construction law issues: Weather delays

Even meteorologists cannot accurately predict the weather beyond a certain point. Determining whether any delay-causing weather will occur during a Massachusetts construction project that will last at least months is impossible. This unknown requires careful handling when it comes to entering into a contract in order to minimize its impact and avoid construction law issues. 

Without a doubt, every construction contract should include provisions about the weather. Adding additional time onto the completion date is one way. It is better to come in early on a project than late. Thereafter, the definition of what an adverse weather condition constitutes needs defining. These types of events could automatically extend the time of the contract to compensate for the weather.

A divorce can take a while, so ask for temporary orders

Ending a marriage whether here in Massachusetts or elsewhere is a process. Depending on the situation, it could take months to finalize a divorce. Life does not stop during this time, however. Bills still need to be paid, and parents still need to see their children. This is why temporary orders exist since they provide some certainty in a time when life is changing rapidly.

Who gets to stay in the family home? Who serves as the primary caregiver for the children? Who gets to keep what vehicle? These and other questions can be answered through temporary orders. Massachusetts couples wanting to resolve these matters as they wait for their divorces to be finalized could request for some of these decisions to be made now, pending the outcome of the divorce proceedings.

Construction law issues: Staying on target to meet deadlines

Bidding on building contracts here in Massachusetts requires understanding the potential client's needs, including deadlines. One of the biggest complaints in construction law is delays. Making goals in order to stay on target to meet the client's deadlines could not only win the contract, but could keep a contractor in good graces by not breaching it with unnecessary delays.

Everyone needs to understand his or her part in keeping the project on time and on task. Taking the time to write down and disseminate information regarding what needs to be done and when could help. Construction projects are often a balancing act of receiving supplies and completing tasks. The general contractor's job is to make sure that everyone, including subcontractors, meets the deadlines set in the contract and the plan.

Women tend to initiate divorce more often than men

It may surprise Massachusetts residents to learn that many women are not happy in their marriages. In fact, they initiate divorce proceedings approximately 80 percent of the time. The news that a woman wants to end her marriage often comes as a shock to many of the men involved.

Why is it that so many women are dissatisfied with their marriages? It appears that a disparity in roles continues to exist in marriages. Women complain that their spouses do not listen to them, address their concerns or do their share of the household chores. After years of attempting to fix the problem, these women throw in the towel and file for divorce.

Divorce can affect retirement plans even before age 50

The statistics regarding the number of couples ending their marriages seems to focus on those age 39 and under and those age 50 and above. This does not adequately address those who ages are in between. Massachusetts residents between the ages of 40 and 49 tend to deal with issues from both groups when they divorce. People in this age group wonder about their retirement plans while they also know they may face paying child support.

Numerous couples here in Massachusetts and across the country married later in life and had children then, too. This means that people in their 40s could face rebuilding their retirement accounts while they continue to support their children. This makes the asset division process crucial in order to start out their new lives with some financial security.

How does arbitration work in a construction law dispute?

Many contracts include provisions regarding how to deal with disputes. Construction law is no exception. Using arbitration instead of proceeding directly to a Massachusetts court can keep costs down and keep the dispute private, which could protect the parties involved from any potential negative repercussions from the public.

Before signing a contract that includes an arbitration provision, it may help to gain at least a rudimentary understanding of the process. One of the parties will submit a demand for arbitration to which the other party will respond after receiving notice from the organization providing the service. One such entity is the American Arbitration Association. 

Divorce does not have to follow the traditional path

Even as times have changed, television and movies continue to depict people ending their marriages in courtroom battles. This could make some Massachusetts couples who wish to divorce anxious and believe this will be their fate as well. Fortunately, neither party has to leave the relationship with a last memory of arguing in front of a judge.

Many couples here in Massachusetts and elsewhere take advantage of an alternative dispute resolution method such as collaborative divorce or mediation. These alternatives allow couples to bypass the drama and contention of a tradition courtroom divorce. One of the largest draws to these alternatives is the cost, which is often significantly lower than going to court.

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