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Some states take issue with EPA's new definition of 'navigable U.S. waters'

Land use regulations in Massachusetts are ever-evolving, and different municipalities have significantly different requirements and restrictions. To avoid time-consuming pitfalls and oversights that could affect the success of your development project, it is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with each jurisdiction's codes and practices.

For many projects, environmental restrictions are one area of particular concern, as these regulations often change and are enforced by local, state and federal authorities. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a new ruling meant to clarify which kinds of wetlands and other water resources are protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act. However, some states governments have taken issue with the rule.

Do non-compete laws in Massachusetts strike a fair balance for employers and employees?

The debate over a possible ban of non-compete agreements in Massachusetts has flared up again in the Legislature. Lawmakers are considering whether current law strikes a fair balance between protecting employers' trade secrets and ensuring that employees have reasonable opportunities to change jobs, start new companies and innovate.

Lawmakers recently heard arguments over five bills that would severely restrict the use of or altogether ban non-compete agreements in Massachusetts. So far, only a few states have taken such measures.

Is debt division a major part of your divorce?

Massachusetts is a state where marital property is divided based on the principle of equitable distribution, which basically means a fair division. "Fair" is not always "equal," however.

Equitable distribution may involve the spouses' shared debts, and dividing debts and assets can be particularly complicated when one or both spouses own a business. If you are planning or going through a divorce that involves significant assets and debts, then work with a family law attorney with the knowledge and resources to ensure that all assets and debts are accounted for and properly valued.

Trademark concerns for Massachusetts business owners

As a business owner, you can establish your right to a trademark or servicemark through regular use of the mark, but it's a good idea, in terms of protecting against liabilities, to register the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Researching, registering, maintaining and licensing trademarks can seem tedious to business owners who want to focus their energies elsewhere, and many companies turn to an intellectual property lawyer for help in these matters.

Can a family law firm help with estate planning?

Although readers may associate the area of family law with litigation issues like divorce or child custody, our Worcester County, Massachusetts law firm also pairs estate planning with family law services. We recommend that individuals in all stages of life prepare an estate plan. 

For example, parents should prepare for the possibility that there may not be a surviving spouse, or that their minor children will require a guardian. A will can be the vehicle for nominating a guardian until minor children reach the age of 18. A will can also nominate a conservator, the individual managing inherited assets left to minor children. A trust may also be a smart strategy for directing how inherited assets or income will be disturbed to heirs. 

Don't let an unfair divorce settlement cut you out of retirement benefits

People in the United States are living longer than ever before, and these days you need a good retirement plan. One major life event that can throw a kink in your plan, however, is divorce.

In addition to updating your estate planning documents to reflect your new situation, you may need to consider your options for a fair and equitable division of retirement funds. Retirement assets subject to division in divorce may include 401(k)s, IRA accounts, pension benefits and other investments.

Recognizing discrimination in the enforcement of HOA rules

Imagine for a moment that you are living in a development that has a homeowners association. Despite the added expense each month, you're fairly happy with the association because they have rules in place that make sure that everyone living in the development is in compliance with these rules, thereby greatly reducing the likelihood of a disputes between neighbors.

But one day, you receive a letter from the association that orders you to take down a ramp you had installed to help your child get into the house easier because of their disabling condition. In the letter, the association explains that the ramp is against its policies and tells you that if you don't take it down, you may incur consequences.

Can you appeal a divorce decree in Massachusetts?

Whether you're a regular reader of our blog or a first time visitor, chances are you are aware of the fact that Massachusetts divides property in a divorce according to the equitable distribution rule. Despite what is suggested by its title, equitable distribution doesn't mean a 50/50 cut of marital property. In fact, there are a lot of things that are taken into consideration, which means one spouse could end up getting "more" in the divorce and yet still have the distribution be considered fair in the eyes of the court.

The problem many here in Massachusetts see with the equitable distribution rule is that is can leave the "losing" spouse feeling disappointed in the final judgment. This might lead them to believe that justice has not been served. In situations such as this, anyone without the right legal background could be left with a large number of questions, which might lead them to the question we're putting forth in today's post title: can you appeal a divorce decree in Massachusetts?

High court decision may affect religious freedom in the workplace

As you may already know, government regulations such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act exist as a way to prevent employers from discriminating against their employees. Though many employees are unaware of these protections, most are happy that they have them, especially if their claim of discrimination leads to litigation. That's because these regulations not only hold employers accountable for violating employment law, they also give employees remedy when a violation occurs.

For those unfamiliar with what constitutes as discrimination in the workplace, we'd like you to consider a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in which religious discrimination was a main issue. The case involved a Muslim-American woman who claimed that Abercrombie & Fitch denied her a job because her religious identity violated one of the retailer's policies. The high court agreed with the woman and ruled in her favor.

Could a parent's disability affect their custody rights?

For a lot of parents across Massachusetts -- or the nation for that matter -- their children mean everything to them, which is why the prospect of losing custody of them is oftentimes a devastating thought for so many. Unfortunately, because of how our state laws are set up, parents can lose custody of their children. You should know though that you have the right to fight back against this decision and can do so with the help of a lawyer.

The question we're posing in our post title is one circumstance in which a parent might lose custody of their child because of a court ruling. That's because Section 28 of our state's General Laws, which covers care of a child, states that the courts must do what is in a child's best interest when it comes to determining custody. If a parent is considered unfit or unable to care for the child, a judge may award custody to another parent or in some cases a third party altogether.

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