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Perfect Advocate

Ms. DeBernardis has been nothing short of the perfect advocate for me.  I can honestly say without hesitation that had I knew of her from the begging [sic] of my divorce, I would have had a much much smoother go of it and would have had a legitimately more favorable outcome.  I am very grateful, however, to have  found her on the tail end of it all and have her wrap it up for me.

She is the perfect blend of tough, when she needs to be, compassionate when the situation calls, patient when she knows I needed to vent, and firm with opposing council [sic] when the situation called for hit.  She also keeps expectations in check… but seems to exceed them at every turn.  She also is prompt in replying and is exceedingly fair with her billing.

I only wish I could do more than just write this testimonial for her to let her know how much I really do appreciate the exemplary service provided.  Whomever decides to use Christine will not be disappointed.  Guaranteed.

– Dan

Can I sign away my rights to my child?

I am asked the question, "can I sign away my rights to my child" rather often, whether it be asked by the father or the mother of a child. Here’s an example of what I see in my practice: You were in a relationship where a child was conceived and you have been...

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...

Divorce and Social Media: Don’t

Whether you are simply contemplating the idea of divorce or in the middle of a full-on legal battle, your best bet with your social media accounts is to disconnect them.  Turn them off.  Shut them down.  Stop posting.  Make it impossible for people to post to your...

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...

Does Your Child Need Her Own Lawyer?

There are times during the separation of two parents that a child is completely thrown into the middle of the situation.  Neither parent intends to do this to the child.  In fact, often neither parent realizes that the child is in the middle of their war.  The child...

Can I Keep My Home

In the first part of this series, we discussed the marital home and what happens in a divorce to that home.  Click here for our last article- What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce.  Continuing that series, we will start with the next question which involves...

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...

Topics You Should Discuss With Your Divorce Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is the first important step in a long list of your divorce. Once you retain a lawyer it is vitally important that you communicate openly and honestly with her.  She is there to to advocate for you to get the best solution for your situation. We...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

The Safe Driving Law in Massachusetts

There is a lot of press recently about texting while driving all over our country but particularly in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Many states have banned texting while driving. There are commercials on TV about texting while driving. There are signs on the...

What is the Automatic Restraining Order?

When a Divorce is filed, an automatic restraining order on assets immediately applies. This prohibits you, and your spouse, from encumbering, selling or transferring certain marital assets during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Notice of this automatic...

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...

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...

Who is Using Your DNA?

Who is using your DNA? If you have watched any television recently, you may have noticed an increase in the DNA profile commercials.  You know the ones – “I thought I was from Italy, but turns out I am mostly Scottish” and they promote that you can also learn your...

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...

What Does Full Disclosure Mean for My Divorce?

Each litigant involved in a paternity or divorce action is required to complete and submit a form to the Court, and the opposing party, must provide “full disclosure" of your financial information.  In Massachusetts it is known as a financial statement.  In New...

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...

Divorce After 50

Picture This:  You married your high school sweetheart.  You settled down and had a couple of kids early in life whom are now out of school and have families of their own.  Through the early years of your marriage things were great, but as you both matured, and the...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Can I sign over or terminate my parental rights?

Often I have people call me to discuss “signing over their parental rights” in hopes that this will either 1) end the drama that happens when they visit with their child or 2) end their obligation to pay child support. This is a difficult question to answer in a...

What qualities do I look for when hiring an attorney?

Choosing an attorney is not a simple process. Do your best to make a good decision at the outset of your case and you will win in the long run with a respected advocate on your side and confidence in every decision that you make along the way. Generally speaking, you...

Parenting During COVID-19 FAQ

We understand this is an unusual time in our history.  We are writing FAQ's as we receive questions.  Please keep those questions coming in and we will do our best to respond.  This...

Parental Alienation – Things to Watch

Over the recent month I have written about parental alienation in a couple of articles.  It is one of those painful situations for both the parents and the children and it's something that does not have to happen at all.  Often the process begins slowly and builds...

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...

When to seek counseling for your child?

Divorce and separation issues are very hard on children.  Whether parents are starting the divorce, discussing the break up or have already gone their individual ways, children are often assumed to be in the dark about the whole situation.  Nothing could be further...

Creating an Irrevocable Trust Can Save Your Loved Ones

The words "irrevocable trust" often seem intimidating to many of my clients.  However, when used properly, this can be an effective estate planning tool.   If designed properly, it can prevent an estate from staying tied up in probate for years.  It can help families...

Save Money During Divorce

How to Save Money During Divorce Gather/organize/prepare. During the process, there will be requests for information and documents. When you receive these, take the time to gather everything, organize it and prepare it in accordance with your attorney’s directions.  ...

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...

Termination of Parental Rights

Separation and divorce are never easy times for a couple in distress.  Couples may be disagreeing over money, their relationship and everything in between.  I often receive calls asking about the "termination of parental rights".  What I learn after listening to 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...

Can my parents get their money back that they loaned us when we got married?

My parents lent my husband & I money while we were married. I now want to make sure that they get their money back during our divorce. Can my parents get their money back that they loaned us when we got married? Maybe. If your parents lent money to either or both...

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...

A Child’s Right to Decide: New Hampshire

New Hampshire: When can my children decide in whose home they want to live? Okay,  New Hampshire readers – I promised you would hear my thoughts on a child's right to decide shortly, so here it is. The law in New Hampshire is different than that in Massachusetts. Read...

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. ...

Can a Child Choose Their Parent After Divorce in Massachusetts

Massachusetts : When can my children decide in whose home they want to live? Often I am asked "can a child choose their parent after the divorce"?, so I thought this would be a great topic of discussion.  It is important to remember that each state handles this...

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...

Is Sexting Cheating?

Some say it's harmless; just flirting and having fun.  Others say it's much more than that - it's a form of cheating whether there is physical contact or not.  While the term "sexting" is certainly not new, it has been in the media more in recent weeks, both with the...

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...

Arsdale Appeals and Alimony

Recently two new cases came down from our SJC that you should be aware of, both relating to alimony. The first, SUSAN VAN ARSDALE vs. WILLIAM VAN ARSDALE, focused on the constitutionality of durational limits of alimony applied retroactively.* To examine the...

Visitation: Part 1: What happens if a parent never shows up for visitation?

     While you hate to give up time with your child, you know that the visitation with his other parent is good for their relationship, can be a very positive thing and (let’s face it) is a little break for you. Even if you don’t look forward to that time when your...

Can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce?

Very popular question!  I often get this question - can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce? or can my husband take my inheritance in the divorce? In my experience, most judges look to keep “family money” within a family.  If your parents saved their entire...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part III

In our last two related posts, 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 or are acquaintances to you or your child.  In this third and final article of this three...

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