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Family Law

What is the Valuation Date for a Divorce?

In Peacock v. Peacock (Memo and Order Rule 23.0 Decision April 29, 2024), the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the Probate and Family Court’s marital home date of valuation. In August 2019, the husband moved out of the marital home. In November 2019, the wife...

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Who Gets the Dog After Couples Break Up?

Domestic animals, such as dogs, are considered personal property under Massachusetts law. When a romantic relationship ends, what happens to the pet the couple jointly owned? This issue has become increasingly common for couples going through a break-up, particularly...

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Massachusetts Mandatory Co-Parenting Course Revised

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Probate and Family Court suspended the requirement for all parties in divorces involving children, actions to establish paternity, complaints for modification and contempt involving custody and/or parenting-time, or any...

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What Happens to a Beneficial Trust Interest in a Divorce?

Whether a beneficial interest in a trust is includable in the marital estate for divorce purposes is a question that has typically led to big disputes between divorcing parties. While the answer to that question still rests on the particular facts and merit of a...

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When Is Sole Legal Custody Appropriate?

"Shared legal custody" is defined in G. L. c. 208, § 31 as "continued mutual responsibility and involvement by both parents in major decisions regarding the child's welfare including matters of education, medical care and emotional, moral and religious development."...

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Is Legal Separation an Option in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts it is not possible for a married couple to obtain a “legal separation.” However, if a couple is separating or is already separated, a married individual can file what is called a Complaint for Separate Support under Massachusetts General Law Chapter...

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Absent Formal Modification, Court Orders Should Be Followed

In Rungta v. Dhanda, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed multiple contempt judgments against father that were issued by the Probate and Family Court. Pursuant to the parties’ divorce judgment from 2013, mother could “claim the child for [F]ederal and [S]tate...

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