Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act

Many parents-to-be wonder just how much time from work they can take off when their child is born.

Effective April 7, 2015, under Massachusetts law, men and women will both be covered under the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA), which makes them eligible for eight weeks of job-protected leave related to the birth, adoption, or court-ordered placement of a child in their home.  The original MMLA provided female employees the right to take eight weeks of leave after the birth or adoption of a child, without any provisions for male employees or in cases where a child was placed in the home by court order (for example, a guardianship or a foster care situation.)

The amendments to the MMLA provide that men are also eligible to take the eight weeks off to bond with the new child, under the following circumstances: [Read more…]

Excellent Advocate

Compassionate. Easy to talk to. Direct. Extremely well informed and connected. This is not the guy lawyer jokes are written about. This is an honest, calm, reasonable person who advocates tirelessly for the truth. A valuable member of our MA legal system.

by a Child Custody client

Massachusetts Law Regarding Divorce Modification

Divorce agreements cover many details, including child custody, child support, property division, health insurance and many other specifics based on the details of a family’s life. The difficulty is that at the time a divorce agreement is ruled upon and issued, it’s impossible to foresee all future circumstances. Therefore, it’s often necessary to return to court to modify the terms of your existing Divorce Judgment. Massachusetts’ law allows for changes to be made to certain provisions as long as the legal standards are met.

Merging Vs. Surviving Provisions
Divorce provisions are classified as either “merging” or “surviving.” These are legal terms that should be included in your Separation Agreement. “Merging” means that the provisions of your Judgment can be modified at a later date if circumstances warrant the change and the burden of proof is met. Examples of provisions in your Judgment that may merge include child custody, child support, college education payments, health insurance benefits, and alimony. “Surviving” means that the provisions of your Separation Agreement cannot be modified in the future except in limited circumstances. Examples of surviving provisions often include the division of assets and sometimes alimony. [Read more…]

Charged with Contempt in Massachusetts For Not Paying Child Support

Have you been suddenly charged with contempt in Massachusetts for not paying your child support that was ordered by the court? Perhaps it’s in reverse and you’re filing for contempt against your spouse for not doing what was required with a court order. Either way, it’s a contentious form of family law that you never want to go through if you can amicably work it out. But in both scenarios, you have to work with a Massachusetts family law attorney to go through the proper steps to assure the contempt charge gets ironed out in the best possible way.

If you’re the one receiving a contempt charge from your spouse or ex-spouse for reneging on a court order in child support payments, you’re going to need to respond to the summons immediately. The summons is notification that there is a contempt complaint pending. The summons will include a copy of the complaint for contempt, which will outline the issues. You have to send that summons back with a logical answer before the required deadline. [Read more…]

Excellent attorney!

I would highly recommend Attorney Gary Todd! He is very knowledgable in his field and, in my case, produced excellent results. I think I most appreciated the fact that he is very easy to talk to and is an excellent listener — totally without judgment. Gary made a very difficult time much easier, and I am very thankful for that. I recommend him 100%.

by a client

Amazing, start to finish.

Attorney Gary Todd is an exceptional advocate, skilled litigator and incredibly compassionate individual who represents your best interests inside and out of the court room. During this incredibly difficult time in my life, Attorney Todd helped me understand the process while assuring me that it would be handled in the best possible manner. I was under an incredible amount of stress trying to keep my family, my job and everything else in order but knowing that Attorney Todd had my best interest represented and everything under control, I was able to successfully manage it all during this time of personal crisis. Thank you, Gary!

by a Family client

Grandparent’s Visitation Rights

Child custody disputes don’t only affect parents and children. They can have a major effect on grandparents too. Grandparents whose grandchildren are caught up in custody disputes can feel like they are at the mercy of often uncooperative parents when it comes to getting visitation with their grandchildren.

This can be even more complicated when the grandparents are on the side of a parent who has lost custody of their children or have limited parenting time. The remaining parent can often be hostile about visitation with the other side of the family. Thankfully in Massachusetts grandparents do have some legal avenues they can pursue in these cases.

Under certain circumstances, grandparents can seek court ordered visitation with their grandchildren. In order for this to be an option, the parents must be divorcing or living separately. If the parents live together however, there is no right to seek grandparent visitation.

In addition to divorcing or separated parents, the court must also determine grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child. The grandparents must be able to show (1) they have a significant pre-existing relationship with the child, and (2) that failure to grant visitation would significantly harm the child’s health, safety, or welfare. More than a typical grandparent-grandchild relationship must be shown and detailed to the Court to prove that a significant pre-existing relationship exists.

When compared to a parent’s right to visit with their child in a divorce scenario, a grandparent has a higher burden of proof. A detailed affidavit is required along with the petition for grandparent visitation that specifies how all the requirements for court ordered visitation are met. Due to this need, it is highly advisable that any grandparents seeking to petition a court for visitation seek out the expertise of a Massachusetts family law attorney who will prepare an affidavit and represent the grandparents before a judge.

Massachusetts Child Custody and Visitation Laws

“The arrangements that couples make in order to maintain civility in the midst of their journey to divorce are often most elaborate when the professed top priority is to protect a child.” ― John Irving

Divorce is rarely easy, and even less so when it comes to custody and visitation arrangements for children. In Massachusetts, the top priority of the courts is to determine arrangements that are “in the best interests of the child”, but that may not always be as straightforward as it seems. This is not the time to try and do it yourself. Instead, seek competent legal representation and hire an attorney.

Massachusetts recognizes shared legal custody, sole legal custody, shared physical custody and sole physical custody, as defined under General Laws Chapter 208, s. 31. When a couple files for divorce, both parents are automatically granted temporary shared legal custody. This allows both parents to have equal responsibility (and rights) concerning major decisions like medical care, education and religious development. During what can be contentious times, differing ideas about the schooling or religious upbringing of children can surface. Having an attorney can make sure that these discussions and decisions remain on track and comply with the law. [Read more…]

Very professional, experienced and successful

Gary handled my divorce several years ago but i have had to return to court because of issues with my ex-husband. I have retained Gary’s services for each court visit and we have come out of the courtroom victorious each time. Gary has kept me informed and made me feel comfortable and confident about each court appearance. I would highly recommend Gary and Todd & Weld.

by a Divorce client

Massachusetts Domestic Violence Laws

In the state of Massachusetts, domestic violence laws include physical harm or the intent to physically harm, the infliction of fear of physical harm, and involuntary sexual relationship against a family or other household member. This crime is especially serious if the victim was violated by the suspect while a protective order was in place.

Definition of a household member:

  • people who are or have once been married
  • individuals that have children together
  • individuals that are related through marriage or by blood
  • individuals who live together or have lived together, such as roommates
  • individuals in a dating or engagement relationship if the Court deems such relationship substantive after consideration of several factors, including the length of the relationship, type of relationship, frequency of contact, and duration since the relationship terminated.

Assault can range from actual physical harm or the intent to commit physical harm against another individual. This means that even a serious threat to commit physical harm can be considered assault. Simple assault is in itself a crime, but in Massachusetts, assault against a family or household member is considered a much more serious offense. [Read more…]