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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      

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Common Sense.

 

“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.

Warm regards,
John & Faye

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Put Away the Swords

“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.

Warm Regards,
John & Faye

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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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Mmmmm….Donuts….

Do you know what goes really well with chocolate chip waffles and Fruit Loops? Donuts!

Not really, but there are many grandparents who believe “what happens at Nana’s, stays at Nana’s.”  We  know one set of grandparents who have something called “BG Day,” where breakfast with grandparents consists of desserts first, followed by an actual breakfast if the kids have room in their bellies.

Grandparents have certain rights. They get to load them them up on empty calories and sugar then send them home to crash. They get to buy them gifts for the rarely recognized holiday of “Saturday.”  Most importantly, they get to visit with their grandchildren.

It’s not uncommon that grandparents get caught in the cross hairs of divorce. In the most extreme circumstances, grandparents are denied visitation by their “outlaw;” however, unless there is a justifiable reason to deny a grandparent visitation, it is usually presumed that it is in the best interest of the child(ren) to foster that relationship.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about this or any other matter.

Warm regards,
John and Faye

For more information, please see:
https://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-law-about-grandparents-visitation-rights