Quincy Legal Issues Blog

Can my children choose which parent to live with?

There are a lot of tough issues to consider when you and your spouse are going through a divorce. The care of your children is high on the priority list. Both you and your former partner are likely invested in keeping their best interests in mind.

One common question in custody cases is whether or not the children can have a say in who they live with. The ultimate answer is both yes and no; here is what you need to keep in mind as you prepare for your custody decision.

Disturbing new trend in personal debt

Many people in Massachusetts are doing better than they were 10 years ago, in the depths of the Great Recession, when the housing bubble collapsed and took the global economy with it. However, there are still plenty of people who are struggling with debt and need help.

A study of people who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection found a disturbing new trend: Student loan debt is apparently an increasingly big part of the debt that drives people to seek out protection. This is especially troubling because it is difficult to discharge student loan in bankruptcy.

New seed fund for life-sciences startups

Massachusetts has no shortage of highly educated and skilled people working in the sciences, and many of them have exciting ideas that could be turned into new businesses. Unfortunately, many of these would-be entrepreneurs of science are unable to bring their ideas to fruition because they don't have the cash to get their ideas off the ground.

The good news is that there are grants and other funding sources available. Recently, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center announced a new seed fund that aims to provide up to $250,000 in investment for new businesses working in areas such as medical devices, diagnostics and therapeutics. For now, the program focuses on Amherst, Lowell, Springfield and Worcester.

Is a Massachusetts drug court an option for you?

It is no secret that drug addiction is a very real and pervasive problem across Massachusetts and many parts of New England, and if you are among those battling addiction, you probably know just how difficult it can be. If you are also facing a drug-related criminal charge in addition to struggling with addiction, it may serve you well to figure out if you can enter into a Massachusetts drug court program.

Per Mass.gov., drug courts combine supervised probation and mandatory substance abuse treatment, holding addicts accountable for their mistakes while providing them with the help they may need to get better. Because so many people in the state’s prison systems are currently there because of drug-related crimes, one of the main sentiments behind drug court is that, by treating the addiction, the state can reduce future criminal behavior. Do drug courts actually work, and could entering one potentially give you the help and support that you need to get better?

Handwritten wills shake up estate of Aretha Franklin

Massachusetts law requires a will to follow strict rules of formality. One of the most essential requirements is that it be signed in the presence of witnesses. The witnesses can attest to the fact the signature was valid and that the person creating the will appeared to be of sound mind and not improperly pressured or influenced by others.

When no witness is on hand during the signing of a will, it can be hard for the court to know that the will is a valid reflection of the person's wishes. A recent example from another state helps illustrate this issue.

Immigration advocates fight ICE enforcement in courthouses

As the Trump administration continues its efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, many legal battles have been playing out in Massachusetts courts. Recently, a federal court in Boston began hearing arguments over the enforcement activities of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

At issue is a policy under which ICE has been targeting and arresting undocumented immigrants when they show up in Massachusetts courts. The federal government argues that the policy is only used in criminal courts, and only against people who have criminal convictions and pose a public safety or national security risk.

Common questions about business buyouts in divorce

Asset division during a divorce can be a heated process. The situation may grow even more complicated if you have a business involved.

Whether your partner has a documented interest in the company or not, Massachusetts law considers any business a marital asset. Sometimes the most appropriate solution is to buy out your ex’s legal share and continue on your own.

Business types and the S corporation

When launching a new business, entrepreneurs must decide on what structure they want to give the new business entity. Should it be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC or a corporation? Each format has its own advantages and disadvantages. One popular option for small businesses is the S corporation.

The S corporation, or S Subchapter corporation, is an IRS business designation for companies with 100 shareholders or fewer. It is sometimes described as a cross between a corporation and an LLC and shares some of the tax advantages of each.

Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements

Many Massachusetts couples choose to sign a prenuptial agreement. This can be a powerful tool for preserving assets and it can make things much easier in the event of a divorce. Some people say signing a prenuptial agreement is a good way to go into a marriage with open eyes and realistic expectations.

Of course, many couples don't think about signing a prenuptial agreement because they are in love and don't anticipate the possibility that the marriage could later run into trouble, but many marriages do. By then it's too late to sign a prenuptial agreement, but a post-nuptial agreement is a possibility.

2 key considerations on real estate when estate planning

Estate planning in Massachusetts is a valuable tool that when done right, provides ample protection for the testator’s final wishes and beneficiaries’ inheritances. Careful consideration of potential issues that may affect the passing down and ownership of assets, especially those involving residential homes, land and real estate, is crucial for you to create a plan that everyone will abide by if you become incapacitated or die. The home is arguably one of the biggest reasons disputes and confusion arise after someone dies. Adult children, surviving spouses and other relatives may have memories and other reasons for wanting possession of the property. 

The greater the number of individuals involved, the more challenging it can become to determine who the rightful owner is, especially if you do not address the ownership of the home in your estate planning documents. To prevent the matter from escalating to probate court, consider the following pointers when including your home in the estate plans

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