My son and daughter-in-law are divorcing. As a grandmother do I have visitation rights?

Grandparents do have legal rights, however, regarding visitation, may require a court order under Massachusetts law. In the event the grandparents and parents can come to an agreement regarding visitation, court intervention is not required. When no such agreement can be made, there are certain situations grandparents may be granted a court order allowing visitations. Under Massachusetts law, grandparents have the right to ask a court for visitation if the parents were married and then divorced; the parents are still married, but they live apart, and there is a court order about the separation; or one or both parents are
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I recently discovered toxic mold in my apartment. Am I allowed to withhold rent until the mold is removed?

Landlords are urged to take mold seriously under Massachusetts law. Mold is considered a top environmental concern which can grow quickly. Regardless of what may appear in a written lease agreement, landlords in Massachusetts are bound by “implied warranty of habitability.” This is a legal doctrine that requires providing tenants with apartments in livable condition. Tenants in Massachusetts have the right to pursue two common legal self-help strategies. The first, known as “rent withholding,” is when tenants decide to stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment uninhabitable. The second strategy, known as “repair and deduct,” involves tenants
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I’ve only been married for 2 weeks, am I eligible for an annulment?

In the state of Massachusetts, a court granted annulment means your marriage never legally happened. Each state’s legislative code sets specific guidelines for what constitutes an annullable marriage. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t annul a marriage based on a short duration. Massachusetts outlines seven specific grounds for annulment. In Massachusetts, annulments require your marriage to be either void or voidable. There are three void marriage grounds: consanguinity, having a blood relation such as brother and sister or first cousins; affinity, meaning you’re related by marriage to your spouse; and bigamy which refers to either you or your spouse is
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Legal Advice

Clients meet with you and present one side of a situation. This is account is solely from how the Client views their situation. The lawyer provides legal advice based upon that information. As the case progresses, more information is learned. The lawyer obtains information from the opposing party as to how they perceive the situation and the lawyer learns information from outside sources, like a police report, or a third party, like a teacher or physician. At this point the Lawyer’s legal may likely change. Sometimes Clients take matters into their own hands and respond impulsively to the opposing party
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How do courts determine if relocation of a child to another state during a divorce is acceptable?

In situations where a custodial parent wishes to relocate with a child, the court will determine whether child custody relocation is in the best interests of the child. While a parent is free to relocate out of state themselves without the child or with the permission of the other parent to take the child, the state of Massachusetts requires a judge ruling regarding relocation contested by a parent. Depending on the current custody agreement, the judge has two different processes for determining if relocation is in the child’s best interest. For joint or shared custody the judge will take into
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I was leaving the construction site after a day’s work and was struck by falling debris causing injury. Do I have a workman’s comp claim?

Workers’ compensation is a benefit used by states to compensate employees of private and government employers when they are injured at work. In the state of Massachusetts, the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) oversees the workers’ compensation system. Workers’compensation insurance covers almost all employees in Massachusetts. You are entitled to file for workers compensation benefits if you suffer a work-related injury or illness, or are a dependent of a worker killed on the job. Employers are required to visibly display the name and address of its Workers’ Compensation insurer and policy information. To qualify for workers’ comp benefits, you must
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Does Massachusetts divide property equally between the spouses during a divorce?

Rather than divide marital property equally, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ family law code seeks to divide it equitably. Massachusetts defines “marital property” as any property—be it income, assets, real estate, or everyday items—that comes into possession of the couple or either of the spouses individually during the course of the marriage. This could include trade secrets, stock holdings, and artistic creations. For individuals of high net worth, or those who make their living by possessing valuable intellectual property, it is especially valuable to have a prenuptial agreement in place to keep this property separate from that held in common in
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My ex-spouse has asked to pick up our children, of whom we share custody, at a different time from that stated in our custody agreement. I’m fine with the change. Do we need to alter the agreement, or is a verbal agreement enough?

As an attorney, my answer is almost always going to be “get it in writing.” While you may have the most amicable divorce in the world, you never know what the future may hold. Contracts fill the gaps left when human trust fails. If this is a one-time, or two-time situation, a verbal agreement might suffice. Of course, without putting it in writing, if you agree to a “quick change,” you may find yourself agreeing to a years-long arrangement without intending to. Moreover, while it is hard to think about, custody agreements in part to protect children from the threat
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Does Massachusetts allow pain-and-suffering claims?

Massachusetts allows pain-and-suffering claims in some cases and up to a certain amount. Pain-and-suffering claims are “non-economic” in that they are not seeking to compensate for a price-tagged, financial loss caused either by damage to property or by high medical bills. The latter type are “economic” damages. In Massachusetts, pain-and-suffering claims must usually be filed alongside economic claims. In the case of car accidents, medical claims must exceed $2000 before a pain-and-suffering claim may also be filed. For car accidents, Massachusetts law also expects victims to rely on their own, or the at-fault party’s, insurance coverage before suing. Some states
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My neighbor’s dog was off-leash and bit me. What are the current laws regarding leashing your dog?

An aggressive dog is a menace to the neighborhood, and potentially a source of great legal trouble for the owner. In Massachusetts, a dog and its owner are not granted any leniency in terms of civil liability even if this is the first occasion on which the dog has bitten someone. Additionally, since Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state, even if a dog is restrained or an owner otherwise takes “reasonable precautions,” the owner is still at fault. If you plan on filing charges, or a lawsuit, be sure to take pictures of your injuries and bring documentation from your
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