If you follow us on Facebook*, you probably know that we love to reference movies and television shows. We bet you know some of these names: Vinny Gambini. Rachel Zane. Saul Goodman. Fletcher Reede, Sol & Robert. Rebecca Bunch. Lionel Hutz. Elle Woods.
What do all of these names have in common? They are all attorneys created by Hollywood and take creative liberties about what it like to practice law in the real world.
1. Attorneys are more like chess players than dramatic actors. If you walk into a court house, you won’t see lawyers slamming their fists on the table or hear dramatic music. What you will find is lawyers huddled in a corner or in a conference room, trying to position their client in the most favorable way. There are, however, those Elle Woods toe tapping moments, where a new realization changes our next move.
2. Attorneys are actually decent people. Being an attorney means that you get to help people in your community with real solutions. We are generally nice people, just trying to perform a service, not the nasty, self serving jerks that Hollywood often makes us out to be.
3. Attorneys are pretty honest. We present evidence that is favorable to support our client’s position. We can be creative in arguments and questioning. We can present alternative explanations. Much to the surprise of some clients and as Fletcher Reede once said, we “cannot lie.”
4. Attorneys put a lot of work into an argument. Good attorneys can make a strong argument and make it appear effortless. One of our best friends participated scholarship pageants when we were in college. Did she wake up every morning looking like a Disney princess? Nope, but she wanted to win, so she practiced her singing and spent a lot of time fine tuning her interview skills. Similarly, attorneys spend hours, days and months looking at evidence and planning to argue our client’s position.
Who is your favorite lawyer on television or in a movie?**
If we can assist you in any legal matters, please call or email us at fayejslgal.com.
John & Faye
* If you don’t, you should: https://www.facebook.com/Wjslegal/?ref=bookmarks
** Ours is currently Saul Goodman!
“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.