Posts tagged "Probate and Family Court"

Seeking Special Findings of Fact Regarding Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) in the Probate and Family Court

Congress created the classification of "special immigrant juvenile" in the Immigration Act of 1990, providing that a certain percentage of immigrant juveniles would be allowed to petition for lawful U.S. permanent residency (i.e. "Green Card") if they met specific requirements. 8 U.S.C. § 1101 (a) (27) (J). In 2008, Congress passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act ("TVPRA"), which amended and clarified SIJS requirements.

Seeking Special Findings of Fact Regarding Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) in the Probate and Family Court

Congress created the classification of "special immigrant juvenile" in the Immigration Act of 1990, providing that a certain percentage of immigrant juveniles would be allowed to petition for lawful U.S. permanent residency (i.e. "Green Card") if they met specific requirements. 8 U.S.C. § 1101 (a) (27) (J). In 2008, Congress passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act ("TVPRA"), which amended and clarified SIJS requirements.

What happens at a pre-trial conference?

Many litigants, particularly in highly contested divorce or custody modification actions, often insist that their case will never settle, and will ultimately need to proceed to a trial. In fact, only a very small portion of such cases which are filed in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court proceed to a trial. This is due in part to one of the most important court dates for both lawyers and litigants alike: the pre-trial conference.

Limited Issues Settlement Conferences

Settlement conferences in pending divorce and family law cases often result in the parties entering full and final settlement agreements. The parties in such a case appear at an uncontested hearing when they ask the Judge to approve and incorporate their signed agreement into the court's judgment. This settlement procedure takes place in lieu of the parties taking their contested issues to trial, after which the Judge enters a final judgment on behalf of the parties, which is a final resolution of the case not based on an agreement between the parties, but on the Judge's findings of fact and his or her application of the law to such facts, which must be presented to the Judge in accordance with applicable rules of evidence at trial. Trying a case can indeed be a very expensive and time-consuming process.

Motion Practice in the Probate and Family Court

Picture this: it is a Tuesday morning, at 8:30 a.m., and you arrive at the Probate and Family Court with your attorney to appear for a scheduled hearing on a contested motion that you filed. Once you wait on a long line to get through the metal detectors, you enter the hallway outside the courtroom and your attorney checks the motion calendar list for the Judge assigned to your case. You first learn that your case has been referred to the Probation Department on a different floor of the courthouse for mediation, and your journey through motion practice in the Probate and Family Court begins.

Post-Divorce Series: Modification

To make it easier for parties who enter written agreements for modification to have such agreements incorporated into enforceable court judgments or orders, Rule 412 has been expanded beyond judgments and orders regarding solely child support, and now include uncontested modifications of other child-related judgments and orders, including those related to custody and medical insurance coverage.

Tax Dependency Exemptions

In a case decided last month, the Court held that a Judge of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has the authority to order the allocation of tax dependency exemptions for divorced parents. When parents divorce, only one parent is permitted to claim the tax dependency exemption for parties' minor child(ren) on his/her tax returns. For the 2013 tax year, the tax dependency exemption is $3,900 for each dependent (subject to phase out based upon certain come levels). Disputes between divorcing parties can arise regarding tax dependency exemptions because being able to claim the tax dependency exemption for the minor child(ren) may provide one party with real tax savings.

Department of Children and Families Records in Family Court

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency that receives and responds to reports of abuse and neglect of children. Following a report of child abuse or neglect, DCF's investigation is documented with records that likely contain formation concerning sensitive and personal issues. In deciding issues involving the care and custody of children, the Court may seek information/documents from DCF. In order to do so, the Court must abide by specific rules regarding Department of Children and Families Records in the Family Court.

Impoundment Procedure: It's Not Just for Mitt Romney's Testimony

The Boston Globe's recent request to the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court to vacate portions of an impoundment order issued during Maureen Sullivan Stemberg's post-divorce action in 1990 against her ex-husband, Tom Stemberg (the founder of Staples), and make public the recorded, sworn testimony given by Mitt Romney during the trial highlights how impoundment works in the context of divorce and family law cases in Massachusetts.

"What Happened in Vegas" is Fair Game in Divorce Court... and the "Cost" of a Weekend in Sin City Could be Alimony and Property Payments to Your Former Spouse

The Bachelor Party. In the UK, it's known as "Stag Night"; in France, "enterrement de vie de garcon" - literally, "burial/funeral of the life as a bachelor." For grooms-to-be across the globe, it is a time honored tradition, and in the US, Las Vegas is commonly known as the ideal destination for this debaucherous weekend of gambling, drinking and good-natured hazing. Perhaps thanks to the oft-uttered mantra of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", most bachelors return home no worse for the wear. For others, however, "what happened in Vegas" has resulted in damaged or broken marriages, and one Massachusetts husband will be paying the price for his misdeeds in cold hard cash.

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