Two lawyers met a cocktail party. One asked the other, “How is business?” The other replied, “Horrible. Yesterday, I chased an ambulance for 20 miles. When I finally caught up to it, there were already two other lawyers hanging on to the bumper.”
Ugh. Jokes aside, getting hurt in a car accident can change your life even if the injury isn’t obvious to those around you.
During the mid 1990’s, Faye, one of the partners at WJS Legal, was involved in two car accidents within a short period of time. The damage to the car was notable, but more challenging was the amount of tissue and nerve damage that she sustained. You wouldn’t know it if you saw her on an average day. She tends to wear high heels* and walks without a limp.
The injury was substantial enough that two independent medical examiners approved her for ongoing treatment when her insurance company tried to end coverage of her therapeutic treatments.** The tissue and nerve damage were significant enough that they impacted how often she could travel for work, thereby making her first career as a sports therapist fairly impractical. Twenty years later, she still has to think about lumbar support in every seat and and bed, as well as struggles with fibromyalgia and migraines. Occasionally, she twists the wrong way in her sleep and is in agony for a couple of days.
Personal injury cases are not about ambulance chasing attorneys. Lawsuits of this type are an attempt to make you the same or “whole” as you were before the accident. Even with the best health insurance, medical expenses can add up quickly. Ability to work may be impacted if you have a physical job, one that requires a lot of travel or if you sit for a long amount of time. If you can’t do the things that you used to be able to do, an injury can also effect relationships with your spouse, children and co-workers. A settlement won’t take away the physical pain, but it can help to make the other burdens of the injury easier.
In Massachusetts, there is a three (3) year Statute of Limitations to file a lawsuit for personal injury. In much more rare circumstances, it is possible that your injury is not known within that window of time and can be extended. The timelines are also slightly different if there is a government agency involved.
Hiring an attorney for a personal injury claim is usually a good idea. We are not intimidated by insurance adjusters who want you to settle quickly and take blame. We specialize in knowing how much an insurance company will actually pay for your injury and are experts in negotiating the best settlement possible.
As always, please let us know if we can assist you with this or any other legal matters.
John & Faye
* Yes, Faye wears a lot of high heels because she loves the look of them. She also does it because it’s usually more comfortable on her back; however, she does realize that it is a false sense of comfort and that she is not actually changing her lumbar position. For that reason, she also rocks more pairs of Vionics than the average person.
** She still does a regimen of chiropractic and message therapy to maintain her back. She also gets scolded by both her message therapist and chiropractor for wearing heels.
*** This blog is dedicated to my friend, Paul Cacolice. He gave me great advice when I first got hurt and continues to lovingly roll his eyes every time a pair of high heels appears on Facebook.
“When can I start dating?”
– Approximately 60% of clients during divorce consultations (based on totally unscientific studies)
We suggest that people use common sense when starting to date during the divorce process. If you think that your dating might create anger in your spouse, it likely will; that anger often leads to prolonged proceedings and increased legal fees.
We recommend keeping the divorce moving towards resolution by following these simple guidelines:
Protect your Assets: If you want to date, remember that you are spending marital assets to pay for the dates. You have the right to move on and to enjoy life, but it may ultimately effect division of marital assets. Typical dating and entertainment expenditures are typically not an issue, but we recommend nothing extravagant, especially if it interferes with your ability to support your family;
Be Smart and Discrete. If you want information to remain private, do not advertise what you are doing on social media. Not might your spouse see it, but potentially your spouse’s attorney (of course, under ethical boundaries). The quickest way to discredit an argument about lack of money are photos of fancy dinners, vacations and adventures;
Be a Parent First: This is not the time to start introducing new “friends” to your children. First of all, children experience a range of emotions during (and after) a divorce. They will often “blame” the first person that they meet for keeping their parents apart, even if that person has nothing to do with the split. Also, rebound relationships are common and it is not in the best interest of the children to be introduced to many “friends.” Lastly, anyone who meets the kids will be open to scrutiny by your spouse and the court for any influence that they might have on your children;
Know Yourself: Everyone wants companionship. In the short term, it may mean surrounding yourself with family and friends or a new puppy; however, at some point in the future, you may want romantic companionship. Even if you wanted the divorce, you may still may not be ready to date beyond something very casual.
As always, please let us know if we can guide in you in any legal matters.
While driving through the Baltimore/ Washington D.C. area, there was a billboard that said, “Don’t get a divorce…get a bigger house.” Four days later, the advertisement is stuck in my head.
Although we are all for buying the house of your dreams, it will not save your marriage. What really happens to your house in a divorce?
1. The marital home is the most sought asset during a divorce. At the beginning of the divorce process, everyone wants to keep the marital home; however, it is rare that that both parties can afford to keep the home on their one income, often determining who could actually keep the house;
2. One spouse keeps the house. If one of the parties can afford to keep the home, they should refinance under their own name and based on their individual income. At the time of refinance, the ownership is often transferred by Quitclaim Deed;
3..Get your name off the mortgage if you don’t own the house. If you have signed a Quitclaim Deed to relinquish ownership rights, make sure that you don’t have any financial responsibility for the mortgage or taxes. We recommend this for both security (in case your ex doesn’t pay the mortgage for any reason) and because any financial obligations will limit your ability to secure your own credit for a future rental or purchase;
4. Sell the house. This can be done either before or after the divorce occurs, but it’s easier if the parties agree how the proceeds will be divided before the house is put on the market;
5. It gets more complicated when the mortgage exceeds the value of the home. Couples that cannot afford to pay the overage due usually have to choose a short sale, renting the home or continuing to live together;
5. Buying a house during the divorce process isn’t always a great idea. The home will be considered a marital asset and subject to division. Also, mortgage underwriters may be a bit concerned about your future income and assets, which could cause delays.
As always, please let us know if we can assist you with any concerns or legal matters.
“You didn’t always hate each other. There had to be nice moments, during the courtship, maybe? Or the wedding?”
-John Beckwith, Wedding Crashers (2005)
The “Divorce Nisi” period is one of the strangest legal concepts for people to grasp. Most people assume that their divorce is final on the day that a Judgement of Divorce is ordered; however, in Massachusetts, parties have to wait 90 days longer for their divorce to become final or absolute.
After months of fighting over airline miles, the Nisi period gives the parties an opportunity to “put away the swords” and consider reconciliation before their divorce becomes final. How often does this happen? Not often, but we always believe in looking at a glass half full and with the hope that it could. There are two defining characteristics of the “Nisi” period:
1. Neither party can remarry; and
2. If the Nisi period has not ended by December 31, the Parties will considered married for tax purposes and must file “joint” or “married, filing separately” for that year.
As always, please let us know if we can be of assistance to you.
It’s ironic that we approach a holiday week that celebrates independence from England by reflecting on how independent we are not. This year is a little different for us. We aren’t going to comment on the immigration issues that divide our country at the moment. What we are thinking about is how we are never truly independent.
This week, the announcement was made public by Wicked Local that we won the best local attorneys in the region. As the news broke, we couldn’t help but thinking about how we got here and it’s not from being independent.
We are the faces of WJS Legal, but we are not the reason for our success. We would be lost without Katie and Kyla, who help keep us organized and moving forward flawlessly. We could not succeed without our realtors and lenders. Our survival depends on our family law clients who trust us with the most intimate and sensitive parts of their lives. We need all of you, who believe in us and support our work. We are, truly, only two people who are surrounded by greatness.
Thank you for always supporting us and Happy 4th of July!
John and Faye
Disclaimer: The material contained in this website does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion as to any particular matter. Nor is it intended to create an attorney-client, business or professional relationship. You should not rely on the information contained in this website without first speaking with an attorney. No claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website are made. This material may be considered advertising under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.