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Hire Her Again Without a Doubt!

I highly recommend Christine DeBernardis. Christine has been my attorney on and off for the past three years. I have had very difficult situations with my ex-husband and ongoing custody disputes. She is honest, fair, and upfront in all situations. She is great about returning phone calls, answering emails/questions. Christine knows what to expect, is always thinking ahead and is well prepared for any situation. I would hire her again without a doubt!

 

 

Is Your Child Being Abused?

A common worry for parents often centers around protecting their child from people who prey on children.   Most children spend their days away from their parents in the care of others, in school, kindergarten, daycare and so forth.  So, what if you suddenly notice...

I Want to Fire My Lawyer!

If you have every said "I want to fire my lawyer, you are not alone".  Many times during a case it can seem confusing or overwhelming.  If you are frustrated or dissatisfied with your attorney, are not happy with the speed, outcome or method of the case, or are at the...

Re-establishing Parenting Time

In August, I wrote about the Parent that Used to Be Absent.  This is a follow up article to that post about re-establishing parenting time and what to realistically expect when trying to do so. Often I speak with a parent that hasn’t seen their child in a long period...

Five Tips for Attending Court

Often I am asked "what do I wear?" or "is there anything that I need to know about going to Court?" Below are tips for attending Court that I find rather useful. 1. Dress appropriately. It is not necessary to wear a suit or formal outfit to Court. Wear an outfit that...

Filing a Protective Order

Filing a protective order (209A) can be a scary time.  Maybe you aren't sure where you will go.  Maybe you have children to consider.  Perhaps your family is not as supportive or available as you need.  There are places and ways to get help so that you are not alone. ...

Domestic Abuse During a Pandemic

The year 2020 is now behind us but in many ways, we are still living through a full scale pandemic.  COVID-19 hit this world  and affected us in a large number of ways we did not expect.  For many, being forced to stay in their homes, brought on anxiety, depression...

What To Do (and Not Do) If Your Spouse Is Cheating

It’s a difficult prospect to think that your spouse may have strayed from your marriage.  Most people find this shocking and upsetting, not knowing what to do (and what not to do)  if your spouse is cheating.  It's hard to decide at that moment about your marriage,...

If I signed my parental rights away can I get them back?

I often get questions from overwhelmed parents who feel that, for one reason or another, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned, if they just give up their parental rights (see my other article for more details on this complex subject).  However, many...

Parenting Your Special Needs Child

Penny and Zach had a stormy relationship from day one.  They argued over food, traveling and holidays.  After they were married, they could not agree on anything except their child's name.    When Baby Levi was 3 and still behind developmentally, Penny sought out...

Wait! We Didn’t Mean to Divorce! Can’t We Get a Do-Over?

During the month of December, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld a lower Court’s decision that a couple cannot “un-divorce,” or “vacate” their divorce, by joint motion to the Court. In this particular case, a couple that had divorced after 24 years of marriage...

Missing Mollie – Trial Update

UPDATE According to the Des Moines Register, a trial date has been set for the man accused of abducting and killing Mollie Tibbetts.  The trial date is set for April 16th, 2019.  He is accused of kidnapping and killing Mollie while she was out for a run.  Updates can...

Can I have an attorney for mediation?

    Often I have people consult my office that either want to or have agreed to attend mediation (through a court process or otherwise). They tell me that they can “work it all out” or that they “don’t want to argue.” Often people tell me that they...

Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Attorney

When seeking a divorce attorney, there are a million questions running through your mind.  It’s wise to make a list of the topics you wish to address so that you can make the most of your time together.  Here are some questions you should be sure make that list: 1. ...

MA: Can I Hire a Lawyer During COVID-19

Q: Can I hire a lawyer during COVID-19 with the courts being closed? Can they still work on my family law related case? A: Even if the court is closed, having an attorney assist you is so important.  Most importantly, you should not go through this alone.  Having an...

Custody: Can My Child Decide?

Very often I am asked “when can my child decide choose where he lives?” or “at what age will the Court listen to my children’s input?” The short answer to this question is that there is no “magic age” to answer "can my child decided" which the court will let the child...

Appeal a Judgment

I recently came across this article "How to Appeal a Judgment without an Attorney."  Being fairly intrigued, I read the article looking for holes that I could use in writing this post.  However, I must admit, it was well written and it was thorough.  It began by...

Estate Planning in Detail

Since estate planning is on my mind this week, I decided to feature a series of blogs that will give information about the many areas of estate planning in detail.  With these general guidelines and information, it is my hope to lessen the stigma of estate planning so...

Absent Parents: The Parent Who Used to be Absent

Absent parents is a topic that I see frequently in my practice. Here’s a perfect example: Mom was pregnant but dad wanted nothing to do with her, or the baby, during pregnancy and for a while thereafter. At some point, for whatever reason, the dad becomes interested...

Paying Child Support Without a Court Order

Paying child support without a court order Paying child support without a court order is a question that comes up very often in my practice.  This can apply anytime there is a child between two people, whether the couple is married, or unmarried.  Here is a common...

Marital Property: What is it?

Far too often I meet with a client for consultation who is concerned that a certain asset is not a marital asset because it is not “in [their] name.” A client may say “well, we have a home but it is in his name only” or “I don’t have a retirement account, but she...

Parenting During COVID-19

How do I handle parenting time during COVID-19 and a stay-at-home mandate? The world is abuzz amidst COVID-19 and daily life seems to have changed for most of us. In fact, it's continuing to change on a regular basis.  This is a new situation - one that we have never...

Free Consultation: Is it Worth It?

We often read other articles and posts and we came across a series of discussions recently debating whether or not there was a benefit to contacting an attorney for a free consultation.  While not all lawyers offer this service, our office does offer this service.  We...

New Hampshire: The First Appearance

    You’ve filed for divorce and you’ve received a notice that you must attend something called a First Appearance. So, what is this?     If you are a party to a divorce action, and you have children of the marriage that are...

The Only Person that can Change a Court Order is the Court!

I come across this issue fairly often, many different contexts, and decided that it was a great issue to discuss here. It is very clear in all contexts. If you are subject to a Court’s Order, that Order remains effective until 1) that order expires or 2) the Court...

I am going to file for divorce myself. I may hire a lawyer later. However, when do I have to move out of the home?

This is a tough question to answer without knowing more about your case. The status of the marital home varies from case to case and is different in New Hampshire than it is in Massachusetts. Is the home being sold? If so, by whom and when? Is your spouse keeping the...

Children and Divorce: It’s Me or Her!

Moving on after a divorce by pursuing  a new relationship can be difficult for the children of the previous marriage.  While the parents may be ready, even eager, to move on and engage in new relationships, a child can only see how the breakup of the marriage affects...

How to Survive the Holidays During Divorce

The holidays are a time for family.  It's supposed to be a time to look back and reflect on those wonderful memories together.  When you are in the midst of a divorce, or you’ve recently completed the divorce process, it's not always easy to recall those happier...

Custody Case Takes a Turn – The Brad Pitt Saga

If you’re not living under a rock, and if you are a loyal reader here on my site, I am sure you’ve heard about the custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Some months ago, Angelina claimed that Brad abused their child and sought full custody of all six...

How do keep my divorce moving forward?

     This is a common question in my field and it’s one of the most difficult to answer, unfortunately. Divorces can take many paths. The outcome of each case is truly dependant on the parties. So, how can you keep your divorce moving forward...

What Constitutes Parental Abduction?

It's a sickening thought, wondering if your child may be abducted by your ex-spouse and taken without your consent, outside of the court's order, maybe even across state lines. Parental abduction is a form of kidnapping in many states.  But what are your legal rights...

New Child Support Guidelines 2017 – Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of our series on the new Child Support Guidelines (2017 version).  This section will address the increase to the minimum child support order.  If you missed our previous article, you can find it here, at:  New Guidelines Overview. Increase of...

Parental Rights – Surrender vs. Termination in NH

Being a parent is one of the most wonderful gifts in the world.  As such, Courts are reluctant to come between a parent and a child.  However, there are times when the court will remove a parent's rights.  This is known as a termination of parental rights.  There are...

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts?

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts? ​When a divorce begins, rarely do the parties consider temporary orders in Massachusetts to be a necessity, however they ask the court for many things.  When the divorce begins, the parties rarely sit in a position to agree...

Substance Abuse and Parenting

A parent or other caregiver with an alcohol or drug addiction has a profound impact on their children.  Substance abuse and parenting are more common than most people realize.  Unfortunately, the parent does not always see that his or her behavior is harmful or won’t...

You Want Me to Communicate with Her? You Don’t Know My Wife!

Sound familiar?  I hear this comment on a regular basis.  It seems counter intuitive to ask that a couple going through a divorce, sometimes a contested and harsh divorce, do the unthinkable - talk to one another.  But that's exactly what I ask of my clients.  You...

Who wants a Life Estate?

I am sure that you’ve all heard the recent news that Hugh Hefner put the Playboy Mansion up for sale.  For a mere $200 mill, you can purchase the mansion and call it your own – with one catch!  Hugh will live out the remainder of his life at the mansion before you can...

Annulment: Legal vs Religious

Annulment:  Legal versus Religious – an important distinction In the past  I wrote an article about annulment in each state:  Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  As I wrapped up the last article, I realized that I should discuss just one more point about annulment that...

Massachusetts OUI Laws

People often ask me what can happen in the event they (or a family member or friend) are pulled over and suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  Here is some information from the Massachusetts website to help explain the Massachusetts OUI...

Myths of Divorce

If you are considering divorce or even in the middle of one, it's critical that you are receiving good advice.  Advice from family and friends may seem helpful but can lead you down the wrong path.  Tips from the bar around the corner are even worse and sometimes...

West Memphis 3 – Reopening of Original Murder Case

UPDATE April 2020: Oxygen Network aired its long awaited show about this case.  It featured Bob Ruff's Truth & Justice working with famed former FBI profiler Jim Clemente and others to re-start an investigation in a manner they believe it should have been done...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part II

In our last post, we wrote about ways you can take precautions to protect your child from sexual predators who are related to the child - either by blood or marriage.  In the second article of this three part series, we will discuss protecting your children from...

Massachusetts: Parent Education Program Attendance

All parties to a divorce action in which there are minor children, are ordered to attend and participate in an approved Massachusetts Parent Education Program. This requirement applies to divorces brought under Ch. 208 §1 (fault divorces); and Ch. 208 §1A and §1B...

Can I lose my inheritance to child support?

Can I lose my inheritance to child support? The question you are asking can also be stated as:  Can the Court award child support based on the money I received in an inheritance? Child support is based on income. It is not based on gifts or inheritances.  For example,...

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?  This is a question that I see often in my practice. The answer is two-fold: there’s the legal advice and the practical advice. Picture this:  you and your partner have separated. You’ve moved out of the home. ...

Can my spouse take my inheritance when we divorce?

Can my spouse take my inheritance when we divorce? Often my clients arrive concerned for their divorce consultations and are very worried about their spouse taking an inheritance that they received during the marriage. Will my husband take a portion of this money when...

Who Gets the Engagement Ring?

The contemplation of marriage, instituted by the engagement of the parties, traditionally brings with it an engagement ring given from one to another.  Some have sentimental value:  engagement rings are handed down and are often heirlooms.  An engagement ring may have...

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire

Supreme Judicial Court Announces Interim Procedure for Attorney and Self-Represented Party Participation in Juror Voir Dire BOSTON, MA – The Supreme Judicial Court today announced an interim procedure to implement a new statute, St. 2014, Chapter 254, Section 2, which...

My best divorce advice: Don’t listen to your family & friends!

Sounds silly, right? It’s the best divorce advice that any attorney can give is don't listen to your family & friends. Your family and friends always want what’s best for you. They are there to love and support you. You look to them for help and guidance. When you...

Estate Planning After Divorce

Estate Planning After Divorce After a divorce, the last thing that anyone wants to think about is seeing an attorney, legal matters, planning the future, that sort of thing. The sad truth is that this is probably the most important time to get your estate plan revised...

I missed my (criminal) court date! What do I do?

You’re going about your day and suddenly realize that you were supposed to be in court. Last week. You thought it was next week, but it was actually last week. Oh no! What do I do!? First, understand that you are in default and a warrant has likely been issued for...

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