August 23, 2017


What You Need to Know about Massachusetts Child Support

Massachusetts has enacted new child support guidelines as of August 1, 2013 and they shall be applied to all child support orders and judgments entered after the effective date. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that these guidelines apply in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order.

In establishing these guidelines, due consideration has been given to the following principles:

1) to minimize the economic impact on the child’s standard of living;

2) to promote joint parental responsibility for child support in proportion to, or as a percentage of, income;

3) to meet the child’s survival needs in the first instance, but to the extent either parent enjoys a higher standard of living, to entitle the child to enjoy that higher standard;

4) to protect a subsistence level of income of parents at the low end of the income range whether or not they are on public assistance;

5) to recognize that the parents should bear any additional expenses resulting from the maintenance of two
separate households instead of one,since it is not the child’s decision that the parents divorce, separate, or otherwise live separately. [Read more…]

Reasons For Spousal Support/Alimony Modification

Prior to the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 there was no statute in MA to guide lawyers, judges and litigants on who was entitled to alimony, who could be ordered to pay, how much and for what period of time.  As a result it was up to the lawyers and parties to try and negotiate and it would be up to the individual judges to decide on a case by case basis if the parties could not agree.   However, today, Massachusetts has enacted legistalion, which provides lawyers, judges and litigants with a clear guide for who can be entitled to receive alimony, who may be obligated to pay it, the potential term of an alimony award as well as the potential amount.  In order to investigate your rights relative to alimony in Massachusetts you should seek the skillful analysis of a lawyer who is well versed in family law and the alimony statute. There are many reasons why you may need to modify an alimony award in your original divorce judgment.

Remarriage or Cohabitation
In most cases, if the spouse who is receiving the support marries or even cohabitates with someone else for a period of three months or more before the alimony period ends, the support should immediately end. However, it is often up to the payor to take the other party to court, by filing a Complaint for Modification, to put an end to the support officially through the courts. This reason is one of the easiest to prove, eliminating the support payments from the date of the filing of the Complaint.

[Read more…]

Choosing the Right Drunk Driving Defense Attorney – Because Everyone Makes Mistakes Sometimes

The consumption of alcohol has been around since almost the beginning of time. Even in ancient times wine was a favorite beverage. Alcohol is so popular, songs have been written about it. But one thing they didn’t have back in the days of Roman empires and ruthless kings were automobiles. If one had too much to drink they didn’t worry about driving while under the influence. But in today’s world driving after a few drinks is a crime. But everyone makes mistakes sometimes and one day you may innocently find yourself looking up drunk driving defense attorneys.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above. People often ask how many drinks that percentage equals but there is no simple answer. BAC will depend on many factors such as: the weight of the drinker, when, how much and if any food has been consumed to absorb the alcohol, the length of time over which the drinks were consumed, and in the case of a charge of OUI/DUI/DWI Drugs, whether or not any illegal or prescription medications are being used. If you weigh 100 pounds two or three drinks may put you over the legal limit. However, your drinking buddy who weighs 180 pounds and ate a large meal could possibly consume up to 4 or 5 drinks over a period of time before being considered legally intoxicated. By the same token, a third friend who weighs 300 pounds and is on a prescription medication may be deemed to be under the influence after one alcoholic beverage.
[Read more…]

Massachusset’s new Alimony Law and how it could affect You

The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act was signed into law in 2011 and became effective a little over a year ago. This law brought about sweeping new changes in the way alimony is awarded in the state, and many orders issued prior to its enactment could be modified as a result.

One of the biggest changes brought about by this act was the length of time a spouse may receive alimony. In the past, alimony was sometimes awarded for an indefinite period even when marriages lasted less than 20 years. The current law requires couples to have been legally married for at least 20 years before alimony will be awarded indefinitely. Those who were married less than that amount of time may receive spousal support for a period of time ranging from 50% to 80% of the number of months married depending on the length of the union.

Alimony may be suspended under certain conditions including if the recipient later remarries. If he or she cohabitates with another for a period of time that exceeds three months, a judge may also order alimony be suspended. In most instances, payments will automatically cease when the spouse who is ordered to pay reaches full retirement age. [Read more…]

What You Need to Know Before Your Divorce in Massachusetts

A divorce can be an extremely difficult period for individuals. But if you proceed with your divorce without knowing how the laws apply to you, your stresses can become legal and financial boondoggles that disrupt your life completely. For Massachusetts residents, here are two important areas of divorce law you should be aware of:

Property Division

In compliance with the General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 208-27, property is divided based on the vocational skill or employment capability of each spouse, the contribution of each spouse to the home, the necessities of each party for capital, the length of the marriage, the conduct of each spouse throughout the marriage, and the age and physical health of each spouse. If you are the primary source of income in the marriage, for example, you may find that your spouse is the primary beneficiary of the settlement. [Read more…]

Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines


Reference: Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

These guidelines shall take effect on January 1, 2009 and shall be applied to all child support orders and judgments entered after the effective date. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that these guidelines apply in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order. Existing orders and judgments less than three years old as of the effective date of these guidelines shall not be modified unless the income of one or both parties has changed or other new circumstance warrants modification.
In recognition of the priority of the interests of the children of the Commonwealth, these child support guidelines are formulated to be used by the justices of the Trial Court, whether the parents of the children are married or unmarried, in setting temporary, permanent or final orders for current child support, in deciding whether to approve agreements for child support, and in deciding cases that are before the court to modify existing orders. The guidelines are intended to be of assistance to members of the bar and to litigants in determining what level of payment would be expected given the relative income levels of the parties. In all cases where an order for child support is requested, a guideline worksheet must be filled out, regardless of the income of the parties.  [Read more…]

Massachsuetts Alimony Reform Act Summary

On September 26, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed An Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth. The effective date of this Act is March 1, 2012. This Act makes significant changes to alimony law in Massachusetts.  According to the Boston Bar Association “This measure will bring consistency in alimony orders, throughout the Commonwealth, and put an end to lifetime alimony.”  Pursuant to the new law the amount of alimony should generally not exceed the recipient’s need or 30 to 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes.

Here is the actual text of the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Law (opens in PDF) that was signed into law.

Massachusetts Alimony Reform Law Summary

  1. Alimony Term Limits
    • Long term marriages (more than 20 years): Alimony will end at retirement age as defined by the Social Security Act.
    • 5 years or less: Maximum Alimony term is 50% of the number of months of marriage.
    • 10 years or less but greater than 5 years: Maximum Alimony term is 60% of the number of months of marriage.
    • 15 years or less but greater than 10 years: Maximum Alimony term is 70% of the number of months of marriage.
    • 20 years or less but greater than 15 years: Maximum Alimony term is 80% of the number of months of marriage.
    • Other term limits apply for “Rehabilitative Alimony, “Reimbursement Alimony”, and “Transitional Alimony”. [Read more…]

What to do if you have been pulled over for OUI/DUI/DWI in Massachusetts

By Massachusetts OUI Defense Attorney Damian Riddle

There are a few simple things you should keep in mind if you have been pulled over in MA for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. It is easy to get arrested for this offense. All the police need to establish is probable cause.

Operation of your motor vehicle

As soon as you see the blue lights go on or some other indication by the police that they want you to pull over, you should do so as quickly and safely as possible. You want to avoid an allegation by the police that you failed to stop for them or tried to out run them, and you also want to avoid an allegation that you pulled over to quickly by slamming on your brakes or that you pulled up on to a curb or didn’t pull over far enough so that your vehicle is still hanging out in the lane of travel. When you pull over always put your car in park.

Initial interaction with police

You should have your license and registration ready to hand to the police officer when they come to your window. If you believe that you are under the influence of alcohol you should avoid making any statements about what, when, where or how much alcohol you have consumed. You can simply say “I do not want to answer any questions officer”. You have the right not to answer any questions and the fact that you refuse to answer any questions cannot be used against you, it cannot be mentioned to a jury during your trial. [Read more…]