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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 It Safe To Leave an Abusive Marriage?

A co-worker, "Pat",  confides to you during lunch one day that her "marital bliss" has all been a sham and that she thinks she has just learned to accept her husband's abusive behavior.  All of the stories she shares at work about her family are lies and have been for...

Massachusetts: Joint Petition or Complaint for Divorce

In Massachusetts, there are two ways by which a party can file for a divorce. The first is commonly known as a “joint petition.” The second is commonly referred to as a “complaint for divorce.” A “joint petition” is filed when the parties agree on how to resolve all...

Legal Meaning of the Cosby Mistrial

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Bill Cosby’s trial resulted in a mistrial on Saturday.   The jury came back to the judge, for the second time, on Saturday and informed him that they could not reach a verdict.  As a result, the Court declared a “mistrial.” So,...

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...

Grandparent’s Rights in Massachusetts

The issue of visitation rights for grandparent’s rights is governed by Massachusetts G.L. c. 119, s. 39D. Grandparents may seek visitation, “grandparent’s rights,” through the Court with their “unmarried minor” grandchildren if: (1) the parents are divorced, married...

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...

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...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators Over the past few years, we have seen horrible stories pertaining to children who were abused by either those they trusted or others, whom they felt they could trust.  In recent months, the singer R. Kelly has once again...

Massachusetts Contempt: Need to Know

 Massachusetts Contempt: What is it? How do I address it? What are the remedies? I hear people use the word “contempt” all of the time, but there is a lot of confusion about contempt and what to do about contempt. Here’s more information about this issue. What is it? ...

Should my Ex’s New Girlfriend/Boyfriend visit with my child?

You’ve separated from your partner and he now has a new girlfriend. He sees nothing wrong with that girlfriend being present during visitation with your kids. You think that she should not be there. You are not alone. This is a very common issue in the world of...

Family Vacation After the Divorce

The reality of a divorce or separation often hits families the hardest over holidays and vacation time.  Family vacations may have been where many memories were created over the years.  Now, after a breakup of the family, it's an emotional time since nobody is quite...

How to Complete a Financial Statement

One of the biggest concerns in family court is the creation of a financial statement (or in New Hampshire, a financial affidavit). I see clients stress day after day about the information to include, the necessary documents and the mandated disclosure. Here are some...

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...

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...

CWOF – May I have another?

A while back I wrote an article telling you about a CWOF. What is it? How does it work? What does it entail? You can check that article out here: What is a CWOF.   Recently I have had a number of questions about the process of CWOF, including whether it can be done a...

Can I be arrested for a warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts?

Q:  Can I be arrested for a misdemeanor warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts? If there is a warrant, you can be arrested at any time. They don't specifically have people standing by to take you into custody at the DMV, but certainly, law...

Can I get an Annulment, please?

What is an Annulment? In Massachusetts, an annulment is a statement by the Court that you were never legally married. Unlike divorce, which acknowledges that you were married and then terminates that marriage, annulment it is as if the marriage never happened. ...

Kid’s Corner: The “Do’s”

This is part two of my advice for dealing with your children in divorce. I’ve already made my disclaimer that I’m not a therapist by any means. I do have children of my own. I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation...

Massachusetts Complaint for Contempt – Serve that Summons!

Many times a case gets dismissed for failure to provide adequate notice to the other party that a complaint has been filed.  This is because the the other party has a right to be given notice of any actions taken against them or that they are named in a proceeding. ...

What is Sole Custody?

Often people come to me and want “sole custody” of their child.  What does this mean?  Is it often awarded?  Why? How can you convince the Court to award it to you?  Sole Legal Custody in MA:   In Massachusetts, the Court will award “legal” custody, which refers...

Should I Use Software Law Rather than an Attorney?

When I was in law school, my brother gave me a box of software used for estate planning as a gift. He thought that since I was in my first year of law school, it would be a great way to analyze the documents that are used, learn about the process, etc. Though a very...

When Children Take on Parenting: After Effects of Divorce

The son of recently divorced parents finds Mom crying in the kitchen.  "What's wrong, Mom?" he asks.  "Your Dad doesn't love me.  He has a  new girlfriend. How could he do that to us?"  The boy is angered and hurt.  He hugs his mother as she cries.  He consoles her in...

My ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see the kids?

My  ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see our daughter? Absolutely not! If you do it, you are in contempt. Child support and parenting time are two separate issues. If there is an order for support and an order for parenting time, each of the parties...

Statutes, Retrials & Double Jeopardy

If you have seen the news this week, you may have noticed that actor and comedian Bill Cosby is back in court over charges of sexual assault.  While that may not be big news, the overall landscape regarding his crimes is big news.  His alleged crimes, the way they...

Supervised Visitation: The Brad and Angelina Case

Brad and Angelina I’m sure you’ve seen recently that Brad and Angelina have made strides in settling their parenting agreement.  Angelina is maintaining primary custody of the children.  Brad will have “therapeutic visits” with the kids.   Basically, that amounts to...

Why Do I Need a Trust?

Welcome back to my series on estate planning. I hope that our articles have been helpful and informative. If anything else, I want to spark thought on this topic and help you begin deciding what you’d like to see happen when you are gone. Okay, let’s get to Trusts! I...

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...

Do I Need a Holiday Schedule?

Question: Do I need a holiday schedule in my parenting plan/divorce agreement? I see this question a lot in my practice, particularly where the parties seem to be working together and getting along well during the time that they are drafting an agreement.  We can work...

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...

Should Siblings Be Separated by Divorce

When a couple divorces, it is difficult on the entire family.  Often it can be most difficult for the children of the marriage.  Depending on the age of the children, someone has to decide where they will live.  Typically, couples split and the children stay together...

Child Support and Attribution of Income

I hear this statement a lot (more out of frustration than anything else):  “You can’t get blood from a stone. I will just quit my job and she won’t get any support!”   It sounds like the perfect move in theory.   Too bad that it is not true!  Child support and...

Convicted of OUI May Get New Trial

If you follow our blogs or the local news, you may have read about an issue involving the breathalyzers used in Massachusetts for the detection of alcohol. The Draeger Alcotest 9510 is being challenged by defense attorneys, alleging that the results may be inaccurate...

Shared Physical Custody: A Growing Trend

Years ago, when a couple parted ways, it was simply assumed that the children would live with their mother and have visitation with their father. Typically, the father's visitation with his children was for two weekends per month and if feasible for him, a "dinner...

Paternity: How can I establish paternity of my child?

If you are wondering how to establish paternity of your child, chances are, you have read up on some of the variety of ways and may have become confused on the right path to take.  There are a number of valid ways you can go about this and there are good reasons on...

Blanchette: Case on Appeal

Recently the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernest Justin Blanchette, a former deputy sheriff charged with sexual assault of an inmate during transport from the Belknap County jail to the state prison for women in Goffstown. This case shows...

What is a CWOF? Continuance Without a Finding

People often ask me "What is a CWOF?" in Massachusetts?  It's a funny term but it's really just an acronym.  A CWOF is a “continuance without a finding.” This is a disposition that is meant for a first time offender, one that has not had a criminal matter in a long...

For my Massachusetts Divorce, do I need my marriage certificate?

In Massachusetts, when you file a Complaint for Divorce, you must also file a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You may want to keep your copy or you may not have it. So, how do you get one? This is an easy issue to resolve. Contact the city hall in the...

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...

Surviving Divorce Through the Holidays

Happy Holidays! – even during divorce. ​“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” During a divorce, or even after a divorce, the holidays can be a very difficult time of the year. Since the holidays are upon us, here are a few pointers to keep your kids happy, save...

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...

I Want Her Out Now!

I want him/her out - now! When a married couple agrees to divorce, it signals the end of the union. However, it is easy to recognize that there are still many unanswered questions. I am often  asked this question by one of the parties: "We have already agreed the...

Massachusetts: The Annie Dookhan Drug Lab Scandal

Update: if you have not watched Netflix’s “How to Fix a Drug Scandal”, we recommend you do so. It discusses this case and the Sonja Farak case.  If you feel you have been impacted by either of these, please contact us. By now I am sure that a lot of you have heard of...

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...

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...

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...

Brangelina: What If They Divorced in Massachusetts?

I can’t imagine you’ve listened to the news or radio over the past week without having heard something about the pending divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie.  The two separated recently and Jolie filed for divorce.  It's become a nasty case with all sorts of...

Can I Stop Him From Selling Our Home While Child Is Still in School?

Question: My husband moved out of our home two years ago and moved in with another woman. We have guardianship of my granddaughter who will be graduating from high school in 2018. she is going to be going to college after she graduates. My husband said that as soon as...

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...

Letting Go After Your Divorce

Divorce can be devastating even when both parties agree. Letting go after your divorce is difficult at best.  It's an emotional roller coaster, particularly when children are involved.  Sometimes, one party has been the "fixer" in the relationship; the one who has...

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...

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The Queen Had Soul But No Will

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was recently laid to rest.  Her service was like no other in our history. ...

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