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Divorce & Family Law: June 2014 Archives

"Self-Modifying" Alimony Provision Struck Down by Massachusetts Appeals Court

In a recent Appeals Court case of Hassey v. Hassey, a provision in a divorce judgment requiring a husband to pay thirty percent of his anticipated future gross income to his former wife was struck down as inconsistent with the terms of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011.

Appeals Court Reverses Conflicting Contempt Finding

In a recent decision [Hoort v. Hoort, Mass. App. Ct., No. 12-P-1853, slip op (May 28, 2014)], the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed a Probate and Family Court Judge's finding of civil contempt against a husband, when the husband was not found in contempt for the exact same issue in a prior contempt action brought by the wife only one year earlier. 

Rights of First Refusal in Parenting Plans

One of the main issues facing divorcing and separating parents is to establish a parenting plan when each party provides care and custody for his or her children.  There are a number of different parenting plans that can be negotiated or ordered.  Under any such plan, the challenge is for one parent to respect the parenting time of the other parent.  Often, one parent wants what is called a "right of first refusal."  This is when the parent who is not scheduled to have the children is under a contractual right to receive notice from the parent who has the children, but is unable to parent during any specific period of scheduled parenting time.  Under those particular circumstances, the parent who is scheduled to be with the children must notify the other parent that he or she is unable to parent for one reason or another and offer the other parent the opportunity to have additional parenting time.  This would be in lieu of asking a babysitter, family member or friend to step in and provide childcare during those periods.  

What are the Procedural Differences Between a Probate and Equity Case?

With the recent enactment of the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code ("MUTC") and the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code ("MUPC"), several procedural differences have become more prominent between probate and equity cases pending at the Probate and Family Courts.

Can a Non-Signatory to an Agreement to Arbitrate be Compelled to Arbitrate?

In yet another decision that underscores the "elemental tenet" of arbitration that a party cannot be compelled to arbitrate if he or she has not agreed to arbitrate, the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently ruled that a non-signatory to an agreement cannot be compelled by a signatory to arbitrate a dispute that the non-signatory did not agree to arbitrate.

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