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Falling into a new house

Doesn’t it seem like everyone moves during the spring and summer? Yes, more homes tend to sell during those seasons; however, there is no wrong time to buy and, in fact, fall and winter are excellent times to consider falling into a new home!

* You can celebrate the winter holidays in your new home;
* There is still more than enough selection of homes available;
* Sellers are more motivated to sell, especially if their house has been on the market for a while (which isn’t usually because there is something “wrong” with the house);
* You can take advantage of homeowner tax breaks for property tax and mortgage interest;
* There won’t be as much competition, so you aren’t as likely to get into a bidding war or to overpay for your new home;
* Moving companies tend to charge less in fall and winter, because they aren’t as busy;
* Your realtor will likely be less busy and can dedicate even more time to personalized service; and
* You will see your property at its worst, which is a hidden gem of information. It’s easy to make the house look pretty in the spring as flowers bloom, but wouldn’t you rather know that the heating systems, roof, and gutters are performing as they should?

As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns by email at faye@wjslegal.com or (508)319-1529.

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Real Estate laws: weird or true?

Laws are always evolving and changing. Some changes are fairly significant, like the child support guidelines taking effect next month, but others are slight clarifications of existing laws, like the one that we recently posted on Facebook regarding easements in condominiums; however, some just don’t make sense, like these real estate ones:

https://www.redfin.com/blog/2016/12/6-weird-real-estate-laws-that-are-actually-on-the-books.html

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Ch-ch-changes to Child Support

Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are changing quicker than David Bowie used to transform into Ziggy Stardust. Starting in September, 2017, there will be massive changes to how child support is calculated. There are a lot of changes in store, but some of the highlights that will be most interesting to our clients:

A blanket 25% reduction in support obligations for children between the ages of 18-23;
A presumptive cap on college contributions, for each parent, at 50% of the cost of attending UMass Amherst (aka “The UMass Formula”);
Removal of modified support based on parenting time; and
Acceptance of unreported income, thereby making it easier to “impute” income.

Like all new rules and guidelines, it will take a while to determine how some of the more detailed changes actually get applied in real cases. Please email or call us if we can help you to better understand how the guideline changes might apply to your specific situation.

A helpful link from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/law-lib/laws-by-subj/about/support.html

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Which is Correct: He, She, or They?

“It depends.”

Yes, that is a very lawyerly answer that we give so often and under so many circumstances; however, we cannot, as lawyers, tell someone whether to identify as a male or female.

People recently highlighted a family with a six year old transgender daughter. The parents made the choice to allow their child, who was assigned male at birth, to fully transition to a female at the age of four. Although it was surprising to read about a child who had transitioned so young, it is not shocking that a child of that age made it clear to their parents who they were and how they identify.

Transgender laws are developing.  Many of the current laws specific to the transgender community involve civil rights, but others include change of name and hate crimes.  We expect that many other areas of law will continue to evolve and change as well.

Some resources that might be useful:

http://www.mass.gov/courts/case-legal-res/law-lib/laws-by-subj/about/transgender.html

http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.pdf

http://www.glaad.org/transgender/transfaqhttps://

www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/transgender-people-and-law

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The Logo

Service.

Lawyers Weekly recently published an excellent article regarding branding during the 2016 Presidential Election. During the campaign, President Trump always wore a suit with a tie and Hillary Clinton wore a pantsuit; the consistency became part of their “logo,” and fodder for SNL. While reading the article, we started to think about what our logo represents: Service.

 

The true inspiration for our logo is the brave service of our military and love of our country. While many lawyers have scales of justice, our scales are enveloped by an American Flag.

 

We could not be the people we are today without those who have died protecting us, veterans, and their families. Our logo was developed with that gratitude in mind and the reason for the giant 9/11 flag that adorns our main hallway. We like the constant reminders of just how fortunate we are to live in the United States, where we have opportunities because of those who keep us safe, both internationally and locally.

 

To those who have given their lives, those who keep us safe, and their families, THANK YOU.