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Fields and Dennis LLP
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Archive for April 2013

MA Family Law: Inconsistency Standard v. Material Change of Circumstances

What standard must a Probate and Family Court use when faced with a modification of a child support order when the case is within the Child Support Guidelines?  The trial judge in this case dismissed the modification complaint because, although the ex-husband’s income had increased, she found there was not a “substantial and material change…

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MA Family Law: Modifying Age of Emancipation of an Out-of-State Child Support Order

As mediators and lawyers, we are often confronted with out-of-state divorce judgments.  Since Massachusetts has the most generous emancipation statute in the country, those out-of-state judgments often provide that support ends long before a child’s 23rd birthday, depending on the state.  Steve and Mary Ellen Freddo had four children and were divorced in Florida.  Following…

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MA Family Law: Imputing Income: Reasonable Efforts to Find Employment

The Probate and Family Court imputed income to an ex-wife based on her present ability to obtain employment.  On appeal, the Appeals Court reminds us that the test for imputing income is a two-part inquiry: (1) whether the person has a present ability to obtain a particular job and (2) whether the person exercised “reasonable…

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MA Family Law: Court Must Consider Tax Consequences if Presented

Court Must Consider Tax Consequences if Presented.  Under the Internal Revenue Code, alimony cannot be contingent on a child-related event lest it be re-characterized as non-deductible support.  Here, the Probate and Family Court entered a judgment requiring the Father to pay alimony until the youngest child graduated from high school at which point it would…

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Family Mediation Quarterly: President’s Letter

Dear Mediators: The most recent professional development meeting, “Collaborative Law and Mediation Tools and Techniques: A Common Ground” was a product of the joint committee of the MCFM and the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council chaired by our own Lynn Cooper.  The panelists, in addition to Lynn, were Dan Finn, Kate Fanger, Karen Levitt, and Lisa…

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Attorney Jon Fields Elected to the Board of Directors of the MA-AFCC

On Friday, April 5th, Attorney Jon Fields was elected to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (MA-AFCC).  Mr. Fields has always been deeply involved in the family law arena, and he has over 22 years of experience representing clients.  Family law can be a complex…

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"Gray Divorce" on the Rise

While the circumstances of each divorce vary from couple to couple, there has been a recent influx in “Gray Divorce,” or divorce involving couples over the age of fifty.  This growing phenomenon poses its own set of complications. Most of these issues involve alimony and retirement, things which younger married couples sometimes haven’t even begun…

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Extreme Divorce Avoidance: Man Jumps from Window to Avoid Divorce

Divorce is a difficult decision, one that is not came upon lightly, and it is hard on everyone involved.  This proved especially true for one couple in Jerusalem.  In early March, a man actually jumped out of a courthouse bathroom window to avoid divorce proceedings. This sounds extreme and it is safe to say that…

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