The Terminator: No More Parental Rights

Occasionally we’re asked what the law requires in order to terminate a parent’s rights to their child. Here’s the answer: “[A] judge must find, by clear and convincing evidence, that the natural parent is unfit to further the welfare and best interests of the child.” See Adoption of Peggy, 436 Mass. 690, 701 (2002). Beyond […]

Massachusetts New “Earned Sick Time” Law

Are you or your business ready for the new sick leave law? Beginning July 1, 2015, Massachusetts will require employers with 11 or more employees to provide paid sick leave for all employees— including part-time employees. Employers with fewer than 11 employees must provide the same amount of sick leave, but are not required to […]

Domestic Violence Help At Your Job

Public scrutiny has recently focused on the NFL’s response to accusations against its players of domestic violence. Massachusetts is currently addressing another side of domestic violence— employers’ treatment of the victims of domestic violence. On August 8, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed a new law that requires employers with fifty or more employees to provide […]

No You Can’t Have A “Sneaky Sleepover” With My Daughter! Oh; I Guess You Can.

Online sexual predators are a legitimate and terrifying concern for many parents. Can a parent get a restraining order to protect his or her teenager against someone the parent dislikes? An S.J.C. case limits the situations where a protective order may be issued.

Surprise! You Have a 17 Year Old Child You Never Knew. Now Pay Up!

Massachusetts laws provide formulas for the calculation of child support, but judges have considerable discretion to adjust their child support orders to fit individual circumstances. In one interesting case, a judge’s child support order required a father to pay seventeen years’ worth of back child support. See O’Meara v. Doherty, 53 Mass. App. Ct. 599 […]

New Guidance on Alimony Reform Act of 2011

In 2011 the Massachusetts legislature completely overhauled the alimony system, eliminating lifetime alimony. Appeals of alimony cases under the new law are now reaching appellate courts for review. The recent Massachusetts Appeals Court decision in Hassey v. Hassey is one of the first broad appellate treatments of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011. See Hassey […]

Leave Me Alone!

Have you or a loved one been the target of abusive or harassing conduct? Is there someone that you wish would just leave you alone? This year the S.J.C. clarified what is needed to obtain a “harassment prevention order” in Massachusetts.

Who Claims the Children on the Tax Return in a Divorce?

In the case of Iv vs. Hang, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 598 (2013), two divorced parents clashed over who could claim dependency tax exemptions for their two children. A Massachusetts Probate Court awarded the exemptions to the father, who was also required to pay child support to the custodial mother. Wanting to claim the exemptions […]

Alimony: Temporary vs. General

The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 identifies different types of alimony and sets limits on how long alimony may last. The limits on “general term” alimony are based on duration of a marriage. See G.L. c. 208, §49. Now state courts are sorting out the legal issues that arise as they apply the new […]

Carry A Cell Phone? This Case is For You.

What could your phone reveal about your daily habits? Today’s phones reveal precise information about their owners’ locations—either via GPS or by tracking which cell phone towers it uses. This information can be valuable for law enforcement officials, who regularly seek cell phone records to track their suspects.