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Divorce & Family Law: November 2012 Archives

Problems with Service of Summons and Complaint for Divorce

In practice, upon the filing of a Complaint for Divorce, Modification, etc., and our receipt from the court of the original Summons, we often effectuate service of Summons and Complaint on the opposing party by mailing the original Summons, with a copy of the Complaint and the Track Assignment Notice, to the opposing party's attorney.  This way the opposing party, in the privacy of his or her attorney's office, can sign the Acceptance of Service paragraph of the Summons before a Notary Public.  This formally puts the Defendant on notice of the filing of the Plaintiff's lawsuit.  It satisfies the requirement that the Plaintiff serve the Defendant with notice.  But it also eliminates the embarrassment of a Process Server, Constable or Deputy Sheriff having to formally serve the opposing party in person, at work, in the presence of strangers, etc.  Problems can arise, however, if there is a delay in opposing counsel having the opposing party come into his or her office to sign the Acceptance of Service paragraph of the original Summons, especially in cases involving a Complaint for Divorce.

Orders to Vacate the Marital Home

In many divorce cases, when one party tells the other that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and there is no chance of reconciliation, the other party will voluntarily vacate the marital home.  Often the primary caretaker of the minor children remains in the marital home with the minor children, and the other party moves out voluntarily to establish a second household in contemplation of engaging in a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the minor children.  But what happens when the other party does not voluntarily vacate?  What recourse is available to the requesting party to ask a Judge to intervene and issue to the opposing party orders to vacate the marital home? 

Pets Now A Consideration In Connection With Abuse/Harassment Prevention Orders

Signed into law on August 2, 2012 and effective October 31, 2012, Massachusetts now has new legislation applicable to the care and custody of domesticated animals (i.e., the family pet) in connection with abuse prevention/harassment orders, a/k/a restraining orders, issued under M.G.L. c. 209A. 

Registering a Child Support Order from Another State in Massachusetts

Registering a child support order that was obtained in another state or even in another country is accomplished in Massachusetts by following the procedure outlined in M.G.L. c. 209D. Otherwise known as the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act ("UIFSA"), this statutory scheme allows petitioners to register and enforce child support orders here in Massachusetts even though they were obtained in another state or country.

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