You Have a Right to an Attorney, But Only if Your Case is “Meritorious”

BREAKING NEWS! The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that an indigent, unrepresented parent(s) seeking to 1) remove a guardian or 2) modify the terms of the guardianship “by seeking a substantial change in the provisions for visitation,” is entitled to have an attorney appointed, “provided the parent presents a meritorious claim.” See L.B. & […]

It’s Called “Security Deposit” for a Reason. But is it Security for the Landlord or the Tenant?

Landlords in Massachusetts should sit up and pay attention. A recent decision from the Supreme Judicial Court illustrates yet another potential consequence (in addition to the already widely known potential for treble damages, costs and attorney’s fees) for mismanagement of a tenant’s security deposit. See Meikle v. Nurse, SJC-11859, slip op. (April 27, 2016). In […]

It’s Called Child Support For A Reason: It Belongs to the Child

Many employees benefit from employer provided stock programs. But did you know that in a divorce involving a child support obligation that income realized from vested restricted stock units (“RSU”) could be included for purposes of calculating child support? This was the issue in the recent Massachusetts Appeals case Hoegen v. Hoegen, Mass.App.Ct. No. 14-P-1491. […]

Don’t Dance and Drink

You’re at a club; you’re on the dance floor; people are dancing with drinks in their hands; your foot hits a wet spot; and as a result of the fall, your leg gets broken. Is the club responsible for your injury? In Sarkisian v. Concept Restaurants, Inc., the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced an expansion […]

Using Craigslist as a Weapon

Craigslist is a popular online venue for all kinds of transactions and advertisements. But one Massachusetts couple recently found themselves on the guilty end of a criminal harassment conviction after using the site as a vehicle for cyber-harassment. And the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed their convictions in its decision: Commonwealth v. Willam P. (& Gail […]

“What?! Grandma Left Everything to Cousin Joe?!”

The death of a parent is difficult enough. But the pain of that loss is often magnified when suspicions arise or are confirmed that someone (often another family member) unduly influenced[1] the dying parent, and caused them to execute or alter estate planning documents in such a way as to generously benefit one person, potentially […]

Divorcing Parents and Moving Children

When contemplating a divorce, one spouse may desire to relocate to another state, for various reasons. If there are children involved in the divorce, and the spouse desiring to relocate is the primary custodian of those children, moving to another state is not a guarantee. A recent decision by the Massachusetts Appeals Court added to […]

Adoptions, Sperm Donors and Notice

Adoptions are the happiest occurrences that take place in any courthouse on any given day. But because of advances in science that allow for artificial insemination, legal determinations must continually be made as to what constitutes being a “lawful parent.” The question raised in a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case of Adoption of a […]

Holding Attorneys Accountable

Have you ever had to deal with a difficult attorney? Did you ever wonder what it would take for the judge to punish that attorney, by making the attorney pay legal fees?

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 […]