Limited Assistance Representation

Limited Assistance Representation allows an attorney to assist a self-represented client with specific issues on a limited basis.  This might include preparing or reviewing documents, appearing in court or giving legal advice, hence the term unbundled services.  This type of limited representation, compensated or pro bono, permits the attorney to withdraw representation after completing agreed upon services. Although the attorney does not fully participate, the attorney owes the client the same duties of loyalty, competence and confidentiality for the limited representation as he would under full service representation.  The attorney also must review the limitations of the legal assistance with the client, for example in a written description.
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Separation Agreements

Separation agreements allow you to outline specifically in a divorce what you agree to. This might include details about child support, alimony, taxes, and name changes. What you put in the agreement is specific to the situation and concerns you may have. There are two forms of a separation agreement in Massachusetts. One functions as a contract and is binding when you and the other party sign it. The other is non-binding until you get the approval of the judge. However, in both cases each party must agree to sign the agreement. Which type of separation agreement depends on specific details of the case. A lawyer can best outline the difference. If a judge thinks it is unfair or that someone was forced to sign it, he or she may not sign off on it. Further, when children are involved, the agreement must be seen as in the “best interest
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Forensic Accounting For Your Divorce

With the many complications involved in divorce–both financial and the stress it places on the individuals involved–the last thing one needs to deal with is the suspicion that the opposing spouse is hiding assets or unreported income during the legal process of dividing marital assets and debts. It is in cases such as this when a specialist with experience in forensic accounting in divorce cases becomes necessary. This is a very confusing experience for an individual without a professional’s involvement. Locating hidden assets is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. This is why it becomes crucial to employ a professional with expertise and experience in this line of work. Because there are many discrete ways of hiding assets, including false documents and handing assets off to third parties, the complicated process is nearly impossible without the skills of a forensic accountant.
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Why Hiring a Forensic Accountant may be Necessary

With the many complications involved in divorce–both financial and the stress it places on the individuals involved–the last thing one needs to deal with is the suspicion that the opposing spouse is hiding assets or unreported income during the legal process of dividing marital assets and debts. It is in cases such as this when a specialist with experience in forensic accounting in divorce cases becomes necessary. This is a very confusing experience for an individual without a professional’s involvement. Locating hidden assets is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. This is why it becomes crucial to employ a professional with expertise and experience in this line of work. Because there are many discrete ways of hiding assets, including false documents and handing assets off to third parties, the complicated process is nearly impossible without the skills of a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants possess not only the skills
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Family Law Court Orders: Contempt and Enforcement of Court Orders

When a divorce decree is finalized by the court, the decree often contains specific orders to one party specifically called court orders. These orders may include payment of child support or spousal support or a transfer of property to one spouse. The courts may also order specific visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent. Too often, former spouses may elect to ignore these orders which can create numerous problems. The penalties to the offending party for these transgressions can be severe but oftentimes the party who is being harmed needs to file a claim in order to call the court’s attention to the situation. Your family law attorney may suggest you file a contempt of court case against the offending party. What do I have to prove? Before you can file a contempt of court charge against the person who is violating a court order, there are certain conditions that must
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Parenting Time

Divorce can be a stressful time. When children are involved, the experience can be even harder. Figuring out where the child or children will live often transitions into disagreements and arguments, particularly if both parents want sole custody of the children or if one parent feels like he or she is not getting fair visitation rights. Massachusetts law concerning child custody and visitation is pretty clear-cut. First of all, if the parents were married, unless a judge has said otherwise, both parents temporarily share custody of the child until a permanent decision is made by the court. If the parents are unmarried, the mother has sole custody of the child unless a judge says otherwise. Permanent custody of the child can be broken up into four types of custody. Sole legal custody– One parent has the right to make decisions about major issues such as where the child goes to
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Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts

When a child is born to two married parents, the husband is the legal father and his name is put on the child’s birth certificate. However, in the diverse society in which we live, children are born into families of many different dynamics. When parents are unmarried, paternity must be legally established in order for the father to appear on the child’s birth certificate and have legal rights to the child. This is an important step since it also involves future rights of the child. So, how is paternity established in Massachusetts? Voluntary Vs. Involuntary Paternity can be established voluntarily or involuntarily. When both parents agree on who the biological father is, they both sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage” in front of a notary pubic, establishing paternity voluntarily. This acknowledgement is then filed with the Registry of Vital Records, officially establishing paternity.
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Massachusetts Law Regarding Divorce Modification

Divorce agreements cover many details, including child custody, child support, property division, health insurance and many other specifics based on the details of a family’s life. The difficulty is that at the time a divorce agreement is ruled upon and issued, it’s impossible to foresee all future circumstances. Therefore, it’s often necessary to return to court for a divorce modification. Massachusetts’ law allows for these changes, but only for certain provisions and under certain circumstances. Merging Vs. Surviving Provisions Divorce provisions are classified as “merging” or “surviving.” Merging means they can be modified at a later date if circumstances warrant the change. Examples of merging provisions might include child custody or support, college education payments, health benefits or alimony. Surviving provisions are ones that do not change. For example, a divorce agreement may stipulate property division. Which spouse gets the family home? Who keeps the vacation home or timeshare? Or,
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Uncontested and Contested Divorce in Massachusetts

If you’re considering filing for divorce in Massachusetts, make sure you understand the two types of dissolutions available to you. Uncontested Massachusetts Divorce In an uncontested divorce (sometimes referred to as 1A) you and your spouse file a joint petition for divorce along with a separation agreement. The separation agreement, usually drafted with the assistance of an attorney, reviews the equitable division of property, assets, debt, businesses, and inheritances, and clarifies issues surrounding child custody and support. Additionally, where there are minor children involved, the parents must attend a parenting class. The court may request other documents as well. These may include a financial statement, the marriage certificate, and written statements about the reason for dissolution. Once the paperwork is complete, both parties appear before a judge. At this meeting, the judge will ask questions concerning the documents. As long as there are no problems, the judge will order the
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Grandparent’s Visitation Rights In Massachusetts

Child custody disputes don’t only affect parents and children. They can have a major effect on grandparents too. Grandparents whose grandchildren are caught up in custody disputes can feel like they are at the mercy of often uncooperative parents when it comes to getting visitation with their grandchildren. This can be even more complicated when the grandparents are on the side of a parent who has lost custody of their children. The remaining parent can often be hostile about visitation with the other side of the family. Thankfully in Massachusetts grandparents do have some legal avenues they can pursue in these cases. Under certain circumstances, grandparents can seek court ordered visitation with their grandchildren. In order for this to be an option, the parents must be divorcing or living separately. If the parents live together however, there is no right to seek grandparent visitation.
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