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Independence.

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!
Warm Regards,
John and Faye

Our two minutes of fame:

http://www.wickedlocal.com/section/favoriteswinners category=local%20shopping&town=north%20attleborough&cbResetParam=1

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Marinara Money

 

The legal experts of Twitter and Facebook are discussing Donald Trump Jr.’s* recent request for financial disclosures from his soon to be ex-wife, Vanessa. People are confused and asking many questions, including:

 

  • Don’t they have a Prenuptial Agreement** ? The answer to this is probably yes; and
  • Why would he care what his wife has when he’s the one with the deep pockets? Insert boring legal procedure here.

Massachusetts requires that parties make financial disclosures during the divorce process.*** This is true whether the parties have a Prenuptial Agreement** or the divorce is contested. Parties must fill out and exchange Financial Statements, listing all of their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Parties must also exchange three (3) years of individual and joint taxes, bank statements, investment statements, and inheritances**** (such as Vanessa Trump’s alleged inheritance from her father, who was an investor in a marinara sauce company).

As always, please let us know if we can provide any additional information for you regarding this or any other legal matter.

Warmest Regards,
John and Faye

* This is not intended to be a commentary on any member of the Trump family or their politics. It is merely intended to provide information about divorce procedure.

** For more information regarding what makes a Prenuptial Agreement valid, please see: https://wjslegal.com/category/divorce/page/2/

*** We can’t confirm that this is true in every state in the country, but New York seems to have similar requirements to Massachusetts.

**** For more information on whether inheritances are considered individual or marital assets, please see: https://wjslegal.com/category/divorce/page/3/

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Gratitude

“It’s so free this kind of feeling;
It’s like life, it’s so appealing;
When you’ve got so much to say;
It’s called Gratitude and that’s right.”

-Beastie Boys

We have so much to be thankful for this year: our families, clients, vendors, and colleagues. We very much appreciate your business, referrals, and friendship. Happy Thanksgiving!

Warmly,
Faye & John

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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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Five Rings.

We are going on a limb with this one: Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen likely have a prenuptial agreement. We haven’t seen it, but hopefully, he made provisions for him to retain all of his Super Bowl rings and his MVP trophies if their marriage ends.

 

If at the time of the marriage, Brady disclosed that he owns three Super Bowl rings and a couple of trophies, but didn’t make provisions for the future? In that case, his wife may have a claim for rings and trophies for the fourth and fifth as marital assets. OUCH (especially for number five).

 

We love prenuptials for average couples because they create an opportunity for them to have uncomfortable conversations about their priorities and financial future. Have you been married before? Do you have children? Do you have some savings or a home? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then a prenuptial is an important legal protection for you.

 

Protections typically include division of property, alimony, debt, life insurance, health insurance, and what financial support children from a prior relationship might get during the marriage or when the parent dies. In order for a prenuptial to be valid, the following conditions must be met:

  •          Both parties must make full disclosure of all assets and liabilities;
  •          The agreement must be fair and reasonable at the time entered into by the parties;
  •          Both parties must be represented by counsel;
  •          Both parties must sign the document prior to the wedding;
  •          Both parties must sign the document of their own free will;
  •          Both parties must have the capacity or ability to sign the document; and
  •          The agreement must also be fair and reasonable at the time of divorce.

 

Given the second look at the time of divorce, it would be unlikely that our GOAT would lose his fourth and fifth rings if they were not protected in a prenuptial. That would just be unfair and unreasonable, wouldn’t it?

 

On to SIX!