Posts

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They Made Me Eat Ice Cream *EVERY* Day

Many, many years ago, when I was quite young, my parents went oversees for about two and a half weeks. While they were there, I stayed with my grandparents. When they returned, I filed my first written Complaint with the proper authority (aka my mom) regarding the cruel treatment that I endured at the hands of my grandparents: they *forced* me to go out for ice cream sundaes every night and I suffered a bit of a belly ache. I tell you, it was horrible.

Jokes aside, I was lucky to have grandparents who wanted to spoil me rotten, but even luckier that they lived well into my adulthood and got to know my children. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have their grandparents to involved in their daily life and for so long.

It is rare, though not uncommon, that grandparents have to fight for the right to see their grandchildren. In order to file a Complaint for Grandparent Visitation in Massachusetts, the following conditions must be met:

1. The parents must be divorced or separated;
2. A parent must be deceased; OR
3. The child was born out of wedlock; AND
4. Paternity has been established;
5. Visitation has previously been denied;
6. The best interest of the child is to have a relationship with the grandparent(s); and
7. The child would suffer harm if the contact and relationship were denied.

Let us know your favorite memory or memories with your grandparents. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Warm regards,
John and Faye

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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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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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Somebody’s Watching Me

Someone’s Watching Me

Do you remember the Rockwell and Michael Jackson song from the 1980’s? For some strange reason, we’ve heard the song a handful of times within the last week. Ironically, one member of our team has also been dealing with credit card information being stolen, likely by a digital pickpocket.

Cyber crime is a criminal act done to commit fraud by stealing personal information, resources, or money by using technology. Did you know that smart phones can be used to steal information from you?  Any time you see someone with their phone out near you, the potential is there that they are trying to hack into either your cell phone or scan the credit cards in your wallet. Unfortunately, there is no way to be able to figure out who is a criminal versus someone who is merely looking at a text. Here’s what you can you do to protect yourself:

* Make sure you have reliable spyware installed on both your computer and cellular telephone;
* Choose strong passwords, change them often, and make them all different;
* Be cautious when using public Wifi or your own hotspot;
* Close your browsers and turn them off when you aren’t using them;
* Use a RFID protected wallet;
* Do not give out bank account or wiring information unless you confirm who is requesting it and the end destination;
* Review credit card and bank statements on a regular basis;
* If in doubt, block the person requesting to connect on social media or double check to see if you are already connected on that platform; and
* Be very cautious if someone makes an unsolicited telephone call you asking for identifying information, even if they introduce themselves as a representative from your credit card company, mortgage lender, bank, or similar.

Essentially, take the time to think before you act and trust your gut.

As always, please let us know if you have questions about this or anything other legal matters that you may have.

 

Helpful Links

Department of Homeland Security:
https://www.dhs.gov/topic/combating-cyber-crime

Old Republic National Title:
https://www.oldrepublictitle.com/panational/newsletter/Cybercrime2.htm

Information of digital pick pocketing:
http://www.fightidentitytheft.com/digital-pickpockets

You know you want to listen to the song….:
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=somebody%27s+watching+me+song#id=1&vid=2d3209714264f5fd355174f9205181ad&action=click

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What is in a Name?

 

2016 was the year of “celebrity” deaths.  One passing that went fairly unnoticed was Richard Trentlage, who wrote the Oscar Meyer Wiener song.

Let’s be totally honest: growing up with a name like “Faye Weiner” can be a challenge. Nobody ever knows how to pronounce or spell it and more than every once in a while, someone will sing that catchy song to you like it’s the first time that anyone has ever thought of doing it.

Having a unique name can be rich with family history and personality; however, if you want to change your name, it is very easy to do through legal proceeding.

The most common type of procedure involves a change of marital status. At the time of marriage or divorce, Massachusetts law allows a person to change surname. You cannot force someone to change their surname; however, there is a growing trend of individuals who strongly want their (soon to be) ex-spouse relinquish their married name at the time of divorce. A while back we posted an article on Facebook and Twitter discussing this topic:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Wjslegal/posts
https://twitter.com/WJSlegal

We often see our clients struggle with their post-divorce surname; the biggest reasons that we hear are concerns about having the same last name as the children, avoiding the process of changing all accounts and legal documents, as well as easier recognition within the community.  Either using your married or maiden name is acceptable and common.

Absent change of marital status, all you need is an original birth certificate, a completed petition to the probate and family court in your county, and a filing fee. Once the documents and fee are submitted, you need to attend a quick judicial hearing. It’s that easy.

….and for those who actually read to the end of this blog, a quick history lesson: the actual last name  “Weiner” is pronounced differently depending from where your ancestors migrated. In this case, the family name is related to wine producers (aka “Wine-er”) in European vineyards.