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Survey Says

If you haven’t already figured it out, inspiration for our newsletters often comes from pop culture or current events; this one comes from channel surfing in between innings and randomly catching a question on Family Feud.

What caught our attention? “If your husband told you that he wanted a divorce on Sunday, what would be the first thing that you do on Monday morning?” Of course, we were curious how people answered.

The answers that didn’t find a spot on the survey were entertaining: throw a party, go on a date, have sex with my spouse’s best friend and bad mouth the person.* We can’t tell anyone what to do, but generally speaking, we recommend not doing any of those things.

What *should* you do in the short term?
1. Call a lawyer to familiarize yourself with your legal rights;
2. Take care of yourself by remembering to eat, sleep, exercise and maintain your appearance;
3. Speak positively about your spouse in the presence of your children;
4. Try to avoid hostile confrontations with your spouse;
5. Remind your children that you love them and divorce will not change anything;
6. Seek out a therapist;
7. Answer questions that your spouse may have about things that may have occurred during the marriage in a respectful manner but be careful about asking questions while you are still angry;
8. Start collecting financial information about marital assets; and
9. Retain an attorney.

We realize that some of our suggestions may not be easy to do in the heat of the moment when you are hurt or angry. Chances are good that you will have some heated discussions, but civil discussions are usually more effective and productive.

As always, we are here to help you with any legal questions that you may have. Please feel free to call the office or email us at faye@wjslegal.com.

Regards,
John & Faye

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Kids, Kids, Kids

 

Kids, Kids, Kids

As many of you know, both of us are parents and one of us has a M.Ed. in counseling  and psychological services. Not surprisingly, our view of the world is often child focused.

We cannot reinforce enough the importance of parenting during and after divorce. Accusations of bad parenting probably make up 25% of the calls that we get on a weekly basis.

Divorce effects children of all ages. Some ways to keep your children happy(ish) during and after a divorce:

1. Always remember that your kids should be more important than anything or anyone else;
2. Allow them to see that you are imperfect and vulnerable yet surviving;
3. Maintain and demonstrate positive coping techniques;
4. Vent or soul search with a friend or therapist, but not to your children;
5. Be a good co-parent. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts mandates that all parents of minor children attend a Parent Education class. We also recommend that some parents hire a co-parenting counselor to learn effective communication;
6. Never ever EVER say a negative word about your ex when  your children at in the same location as you. They will hear it, even if you think they are asleep; and
7.  Encourage your kids to share how the divorce is effecting  or has effected them. Some kids are more verbal while others will act out behaviorally. Help your child to identify someone who they feel comfortable confiding in, whether it be an aunt, therapist, teacher, religious leader or you.

As always, please feel free to contact with any legal questions you may have. We also encourage you to read prior newsletters on our website www.wjslegal.com .

Warm regards,
John and Faye

 

 

 

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You Had the Power All Along

We are going to let you in on a little secret. Sellers do not need to attend the closing when they sell a property. In fact, many attorneys would prefer that sellers do not. Here’s why:

1. Small talk between the parties can be downright scary. We recently worked with a buyer who, mid-closing, asked the seller why there were coffins in the basement. Yes, you read that correctly. COFFINS.

It’s safe to say that it was a pretty scary few seconds until the seller gave a “reasonable” response. While this question is a once in a lifetime, small talk between the parties always has the potential to derail a transaction and nobody wants that to happen.

2. In most cases, the seller leaves the closing table without a check in their hands (unless the closing happens at the Registry of Deeds). The transfer of ownership needs to be “on record” before the seller receives a check or wire for their proceeds. Recording may take a couple of hours, especially where some lenders require authorization prior to filing documents at the Registry and (electronic) recording takes a little while to process.

3. Your attorney can sign documents on your behalf with a Limited Power of Attorney. By having your attorney sign for you, your time can be spent signing documents for your next home, working or having coffee with a friend.

A Limited Power of Attorney allows someone to act on your behalf for a specific transaction or purpose. By contrast, a Durable Power of Attorney allows someone to assist you more broadly with legal and financial matters.

As always, please let us know if you have questions about this topic, need representation in the sale or purchase of a home, as well as any other legal matters.

If you are interested in this topic, you may enjoy this article :
https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/5-tips-se lling-a-home-from-out-of-state.

Regards,
John and Faye

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What Happens in Vegas

Nicholas Cage clearly believes in the idea of marriage. He has been married four times, with his most recent marriage lasting only four days prior to filing for an annulment. According to reports, the movie star married a makeup artist in Las Vegas. What is most eyebrow raising about this most recent marriage is that his wife is disputing the annulment, but instead asking for a divorce and alimony.

Alimony is generally not awarded when the marriage is short term, including if an annulment is granted. Why is this case different? The wife is claiming that her reputation has been damaged by the annulment and that her future income will limited for that reason. We have no knowledge of Nevada law or specifics of the case, other than what was reported in the MSM, but Massachusetts courts would likely deny her request for alimony.

Massachusetts allows for alimony based on the length of the marriage and the needs of the parties. We allow for several types of alimony:

1. General Alimony: Support is paid to an ex -spouse who is financially dependent on the former spouse.
2. Rehabilitation Alimony: Support is paid to an ex-spouse who is expected to be self sufficient within a predicted amount of time.
3. Reimbursement Alimony: Support is paid to an ex spouse after a marriage lasting less than five years to make up for costs or expenses that helped him or her start a business, receive an education or similar.
4. Transition Alimony: Support is paid after a marriage of less than five years to help the spouse settle into a new location or life style post divorce.

There are few hard rules regarding alimony because all situations are so different. Whether alimony is appropriate can depend on many things, including child support orders, personal needs, age of the parties and the terms of the overall agreement.

Please let is know if we can answer questions about family law or any other legal matters.

Regards,
John and Faye

Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor

Buying a house is a huge investment. Unless you build the house for your family, there may always be some things that you don’t know about your house before you buy it or for years thereafter.
 
Imagine that of one of the previous owners had died years earlier. The Seller may or may not have actual knowledge of anything that occurred prior to their ownership. Nonetheless, the Seller has no obligation to
tell the Buyer if the person died in the home unless the Buyer asks a direct, specific question about it (ie. Has anyone ever died in this house?).
 
Massachusetts law puts the burden on the Buyer to ask the “right”
questions of the Seller. The most significant way that most Buyers do their due diligence is by getting a very thorough inspection; however, there are two exceptions to this rule:
 
1. Lead paint: Under Section 197a, prior to signing a Purchase and Sales, the Seller must provide a signed copy of a lead paint disclosure. 
The Property Transfer Notification Certification advises the Buyer about
the general dangers of lead paint and provides any information that the Seller might have about its presence in the property. This is one of the few documents that the real estate agents must sign during the entire
transaction, but they are only confirming that they presented the
information to the Buyer; and
 
2. Septic: Sellers must disclose whether there is a septic system on the property. Prior to closing, the Sellers must also provide a Title V which confirms that the system is working properly.  Many Sellers will have the Title V inspection done prior to listing their home to avoid any potential issues that might be raised.
 
Some Buyer questions may also be answered by a simple Google search.  Most sellers would not disclose if the house had some friendly (or unfriendly) ghosts; however, a simple online search might provide an answer to a curious Buyer.
 
Is there anything that you would want or not want to know about
your house?
 
As always, please let us know if you have any questions about this
or any other legal matters.

Regards,
John & Faye