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Marital assets subject to equitable distribution in Massachusetts

Couples may not realize just how many assets they have accumulated over the years until they are faced with dividing up property during a divorce. This includes everything from furniture and the family home to investments and retirement accounts. However, asset division is different than simply cleaving marital property in two and walking away with an equal share. Instead, people can expect to receive their share of an equitable distribution of their marital assets.

Massachusetts is an equitable division state. Unlike community property states that require asset division to produce approximately equal shares for both parties, equitable division requires that the portion of assets each person receives must be fair. In both community property and equitable division states, separate property is not included in asset division, and this typically includes assets owned before marriage or received as inheritances or gifts during the union.

Truck drivers must meet a higher standard in DUI cases

Whether you wanted to see the country or make short trips within Massachusetts in order to be home every night, your love of driving may have drawn you to numerous professions that allow you to indulge that passion. You obtained a commercial driver's license, and now, being behind the wheel most of your workday is a way of life for you.

When you obtained your CDL, you became subject to the rules and regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. As such, you must meet a higher standard in many areas of driving about which "regular" drivers don't have to worry. One of those areas involves drunk driving.

Multi-vehicle wreck leads to OUI charges

An accident from which the driver responsible tried to fee has led to the recent arrest of a Massachusetts man. Police filed multiple OUI charges against the driver believed to be responsible for striking multiple vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. The driver was not injured in the wreck.

Police were first called to the scene in the early hours of the evening, when multiple people called 911 to report a multi-vehicle wreck. Upon their arrival, they found one of the vehicles -- a pickup truck -- had collided with a street sign. Witnesses told police that the 62-year-old driver of the truck was the only one responsible for the slew of accidents.

Ryan Dorsey, Naya Rivera reach temporary child custody agreement

For parents, there are few divorce matters quite as important as custody. Since reaching a child custody agreement is usually a priority, many Massachusetts parents reach an agreeable solution before their divorce is even finalized. Actress Naya Rivera and her soon-to-be ex-husband Ryan Dorsey recently handled their child custody matter in this way and agreed to a temporary arrangement while they continue to work out the details of their divorce.

The couple married in July 2014 and share a 2-year-old son. Rivera initially filed divorce papers in Nov. 2016 and requested that she be given primary custody of their son, but then sought a dismissal in Sept. 2017. The couple's apparent attempt to reconcile did not last long, though.

Don't let alienation impact your child custody arrangement

Divorce is an understandably emotional process for everyone involved. Between ending a marriage, dealing with asset division and reaching a settlement everyone can agree on, it is easy to see how emotions can run high. This is especially true during child custody matters, when it can be easy for parents to forget that custody arrangements should focus on their child's best interests.

Custody is one of the most contested issues during divorce in Massachusetts. Many parents fear losing access to their child, and unfortunately handle this by acting irrationally. Because of this, parental alienation -- which involves one parent turning a child against another -- is not uncommon.

Police charge Massachusetts man with 4th DUI

Multiple drunk driving arrests can have serious criminal consequences for drivers. The potential jail time and associated fines typically increase with each DUI conviction, and defendants usually stand to lose their driving privileges for long periods of time. A Massachusetts man was recently arrested for what police said was his fourth drunk driving offense.

Police initially spotted the man's vehicle during a drunk driving patrol. They claim that they observed a safety inspection sticker on his white van that was dated 2015, indicating that it had not undergone a recent inspection. When they tried to initiate a traffic stop, the 46-year-old driver allegedly kept going, initiating a chase. He eventually came to a stop, but then exited his vehicle and began to run. Police eventually used a Taser to stop him.

Family law will feel the impact of tax changes

In marriage, it is not uncommon for one spouse to earn significantly more than the other. Sometimes one partner chooses to stay home to raise children, or accept a lower-paying position that allows them to spend more time with family. While this can work out well during marriage, it can negatively impact a person's ability to financially support themselves after divorce. Alimony is an important aspect of Massachusetts family law that helps address this issue, but changes to the tax laws could affect these payments.

The recently enacted changes to the Internal Revenue Code flip how each ex-spouse will pay taxes for alimony. Currently, the person paying spousal support can deduct his or her payments on their taxes. The recipient, however, owes taxes on the amount received. This usually nets an overall savings between the two. However, starting in 2019, this is going to be reversed -- recipients will no longer pay taxes on spousal support, while deductions for those who pay will disappear.

Has your child developed a prescription drug problem at college?

When your child received that acceptance letter to college, you probably celebrated. Maybe you threw a party or went out for a special dinner. You contemplated your child's future, and believed it to be bright.

Then, you received a phone call from local law enforcement where you child goes to college. Your child now faces charges for prescription drug possession. You may find yourself shocked, mystified and worried. What happened? How did your child end up with a prescription drug problem?

Parenting time being violated? It could be parental alienation

There are many serious matters that must be addressed during a divorce, but for Massachusetts parents, none may be quite so important as child custody. Tensions can easily run high as parents try to figure out how parenting time factors into their child custody agreement. Unfortunately, some parents take things too far, and begin alienating the other parent.

Parental alienation is an understandable fear that is dealt with by many who divorce. While most parents have their children's best interests in mind, some ex-spouse's use their children as pawns during child custody proceedings. Unfairly turning a child against another parent is a serious concern that requires swift movement, as this type of alienation often leads to withheld visitation rights.

Bill would change punishment for first-time OUI offenders

Operating-under-the-influence convictions can have serious implications. Currently, Massachusetts state law requires that people with at least two previous OUI convictions install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. These devices act as Breathalyzers and prevent drivers from turning on their vehicle if any alcohol is detected. If a new bill passes, first-time OUI offenders would have to install IIDs on their cars.

Currently, Massachusetts is one of only two states that does not require first-time offenders to install IIDs. Advocates for the new bill claim that not requiring an IID for a drunk driving arrest is not smart and gives individuals the opportunity to re-offend before punishing them. Mothers Against Drunk Driving -- an advocacy group -- claims that these devices prevented approximately 38,000 Massachusetts drivers from driving while intoxicated over a 10-year period. Others point out that IIDs also give drunk driving offenders the ability to continue driving to and from work or to pick up their children from school.

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