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Leominster Legal Issues Blog

Does same-sex divorce fall under standard divorce law?

Although you may never wish to think of separating from your same-sex partner after a joyful Massachusetts marriage, there may come a time when it is best to part ways. But under state and federal law, are same-sex divorces handled differently than opposite-sex divorces, or do they fall under standard legal jurisdiction? What do you need to know when divorcing in the state of Massachusetts?

The defining case that answers that question is the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges. This was the landmark case that declared that all 50 U.S. states must acknowledge and perform same-sex marriages under the same legal framework as opposite-sex marriages, granting all rights and responsibilities inherent. While this may seem to only cover the right to marry, one part of the right to marry is the right to divorce. That right to a divorce through due process under the law is also extended to same-sex spouses, so yes, legally your same-sex divorce is the same as opposite-sex divorce.

Defining repetitive stress injuries

Under the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Act, employers are obligated to provide benefits and coverage for illnesses that happened in or because of the workplace, whether those injuries are temporary or lead to permanent disability. One such type of injury is repetitive stress injuries, in which accumulated strain over time can lead to permanent physical or mental damage to the worker. Repetitive stress injuries are also sometimes called repetitive strain injuries.

Identifying repetitive stress injuries can be difficult at first, because the effects are cumulative. For instance, operating a lever in a factory may not cause any harm if it is only done on occasion. If a worker operates that same lever multiple times a day every day for the duration of their employment, over time the continuous and repetitive motion may cause undue and lasting harm to joints and tendons in the hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

What to expect after a serious dog bite attack in Massachusetts

People love to say that a dog is man's best friend. That can be true in many cases. A well-trained and properly cared for dog can be a source of companionship, protection and even medical intervention for those with disabilities, like blindness or diabetes. Unfortunately, dogs can also be incredibly dangerous, particularly to small children.

It only takes a second for a dog to go from adorable pet to vicious biter. Some dogs will bite or attack over the smallest provocation, such as another human hugging their owner. Other dogs may have experienced abuse in their upbringing or have some kind of neurological defect that makes them liable to suddenly "snap" without reason.

Substance abuse and child custody cases

When initiating a divorce claim, you may experience a great deal of fear, pain and loss when facing separation from a spouse with drug or alcohol abuse problems. In particular, while their substance abuse issues may have merit in pursuing grounds for divorce, they may also have an effect on custody cases involving any children you had together. You may be afraid to leave your child with your former spouse in the case of joint custody, even temporary joint custody while trial proceedings take place. Here at the law office of Antonioni and Antonioni, we understand the difficulties, stress, and fear inherent in trying to protect your child while ensuring a successful divorce case.

Under Section 31 of Massachusetts divorce law, divorce courts do take into account any substance abuse involved on the part of both parents, both past and current. A prior history of drug or alcohol abuse or a current habit can have a significant impact on a judge's decision regarding both temporary custody prior to hearings and final custody agreements once the divorce is finalized. If one parent is considered a danger due to substance abuse and the habits surrounding it, they may be deemed a threat to the child(ren) and could be denied custody on those grounds.

Are teachers' pensions considered assets in a divorce?

The pain of divorce is difficult to deal with under any circumstance, but you can spare yourself a great deal of frustration if you know the law surrounding division of assets and property. This includes the division of anything considered a marital asset, and whether or not you are legally obligated to split it with your former spouse upon dissolving your marriage. As a Massachusetts teacher, what if you have retired and are now receiving pension? Do your retirement benefits count as a marital asset, and is it subject to law regarding splitting assets?

Yes, it does. According to the Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System, any pension earned while married qualifies as a marital asset in your divorce case. The time periods of the marriage and divorce impact how much of your pension is granted to your spouse upon retirement, if at all. Divorce courts may make a determination to leave your pension untouched, or grant part of it to your former spouse as part of the divorce settlement.

Can you claim power of attorney over someone else?

When a relative, loved one, or other person deeply involved in your life becomes incapacitated, the experience can be devastating. Adding to the frustration is the possibility that the person is not only mentally or physically incapable of handling his or her own legal and financial matters, but unable to willfully grant power of attorney under Massachusetts law. When that happens, you may have to face the possibility of taking alternative routes to manage the person's financial and legal affairs, particularly if they impact you. But can you claim power of attorney over someone who does not have the capacity to grant it?

Because power of attorney is usually granted, attaining it over someone who cannot grant it would be a difficult option in court. However, you have the option to file a petition with the Massachusetts state courts for guardianship over an incapacitated person. The application requires extensive details on the level of incapacity of the person you seek guardianship over, as well as reasons why you should be granted guardianship powers. Without the other person willfully granting durable power of attorney, the people most likely to gain a guardianship would be a spouse or parent.

Can you modify a divorce agreement?

Filing for divorce is stressful. Once it is over, the last thing you want to think about is going through the process again, but extenuating circumstances may force you to pursue changes in your divorce agreement. Life circumstances may necessitate changes to child custody, child support, alimony or other agreements. Once you have settled a divorce case and received final judgment in Massachusetts courts, do you have the option to modify your divorce agreement?

Yes. The easiest way is for you to file an uncontested agreement in which both parties involved in the divorce proceedings agree unilaterally on the necessary changes. The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court provides a detailed breakdown of the necessary process to follow. Both parties must file a joint petition with the court. The petition must include a notarized outline of any terms that change, including detailed information on changes to child custody or primary residence. The court requires a number of other documents depending on the modifications made, including financial statements and forms from third parties involved in any child custody or child support assessments; the judge may also request unique documents specific to the case. A hearing may or may not be necessary.

Traumatic brain injuries from car accidents can be debilitating

Most people who drive understand that motor vehicle collisions can prove life-altering. There are many difficulties after a serious car crash, such as paying for medical bills, missing work due to an injury and suffering physical pain while you recover. Sometimes, that means people who don't have immediately apparent injuries, like broken bones, feel grateful to walk away from an accident.

Sadly, some of the most serious injuries commonly associated with collisions have symptoms that develop over time. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may not be obvious in the immediate aftermath of a crash, but they can still result in temporary or even permanent disability.

Fair child custody considerations during the holidays

For divorced parents in Massachusetts, the holidays can present a challenging dilemma in terms of who gets the children and when. Figuring out a schedule ahead of time will keep stress to a minimum for both the adults and the children, and allow for more fun and enjoyment for everyone.

The Huffington Post discusses putting together a parenting time plan so everyone knows what to expect. Depending on specific situations and how far apart the parents live, a time plan over the holidays may consist of split time or alternating years. Because it is easy to figure out and implement, alternating which years each parent has the kids for each holiday is a popular choice for both parents and the courts. However, for parents who live in close proximity and communicate in a constructive manner, splitting time and sharing each holiday may work.

Are work injuries more common in December?

When it comes to the prevention of on the job accidents, there are a host of issues that workers and employers should keep in mind. From accident prevention and training programs to being mindful with particularly dangerous activities and identifying problem areas, preventing these mishaps is paramount. Moreover, it can be helpful to review additional factors that could increase the chances of an accident, such as the time of year. For example, you may be wondering if work injuries occur more often in December. In certain occupations, December and other winter months can be a particularly dangerous month.

Data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that fewer work-related injuries occur in December than any other month out of year, according to data taken from recent years. Having said that, it is important to point out that other factors could explain the fewer number of injuries during this time of year. For example, fewer people may be employed in certain outdoor occupations that can have an especially high injury rate. Moreover, fewer people may be working due to the seasonal nature of certain fields and many people take time away from work during the holidays.

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