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Why are Massachusetts lawmakers debating non-compete agreements?

Commercial trade secrets can be the lifeblood of a company’s competitive edge. Yet there is a debate in Massachusetts over how best to protect these rights.

As background, non-compete agreements are a contractual way to protect a company’s secrets. An agreement might require an employee to refrain from working in a particular industry for a period of time after leaving his or her job, perhaps for a year. The rationale is aimed at preventing a worker from jumping ship to go to a competing business, or to start his or her own new company based on the company’s established model. If a non-compete agreement is not honored, a company has the legal option to sue a former employee.

Estate planning tip: consider a living revocable trust

After an individual’s passing, the reason that a will must be probated is that a court must officially transfer title of the deceased’s assets to the named beneficiaries. A living revocable trust circumvents this requirement because it transfers title to the trust, all while an individual is still alive.

Yet the real benefit of this type of trust is that the creator of the trust, or trustor, also functions as the trustee and beneficiary. He or she may fund the living revocable trust by changing title to the trustee. Since complete control over the trust is retained, including the option of defunding the trust, the IRS does not view this as a change in an individual’s tax liabilities.

A prenuptial agreement can reveal a partner's financial values

Couples may not want to talk about finances before marriage, but this conversation could be just as important as other lifestyle decisions, such as whether to have kids and what kind of values will be conveyed to them.

In both areas, the point of the conversation is to get a feel for the other partner’s values and expectations.  Significant assets or debt obligations may also be disclosed, sometimes to the other partner’s surprise. Yet to the extent that a marriage will require shared obligations and expenses, it is important to know if one partner has substantial student loan debts or other financial constraints.

Can sole custody be requested over the other parent's objection?

Are there reasons to oppose joint custody? The question almost seems anachronistic, given the current trend for shared legal custody awards. Nevertheless, our family law firm has helped clients who have had concerns about the other parent’s ability to provide a stable, nurturing environment.

Our attorneys can provide aggressive representation in a child custody dispute, but we also remind our clients to keep a child’s best interest in the forefront. We never want children to be caught in the middle of an unnecessary dispute, launched simply as an emotional tactic against the other parent. Where legitimate parenting concerns are present, however, we will get to work.

Did the Supreme Court's ruling modify all same-sex family issues?

Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, but the scope of family law is broader than marriage. Take the recent example of a same-sex couple that got married in a neighboring state and had a child by artificial insemination before the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision. Since the couple’s home state did not yet recognize same-sex marriage as legal, only the name of the spouse who gave birth to the child was listed on the birth certificate.

Several months ago, the couple filed for divorce. Unfortunately, state law regarding artificial insemination contemplates only a husband and mother. Consequently, the state court determined that only the parent listed on the birth certificate had parental rights toward the child.

Tips for dividing marital assets in a gray divorce

Are there different financial considerations for a divorce when a person is over the age of 50? Our family law firm would agree.

First, the proximity of retirement in so-called “gray divorces” requires some careful planning. In any divorce, there is a chance that expenses will double while household income will be cut in half. Yet since individuals in gray divorces have fewer working years left before retiring, an attorney might advise that any property division negotiations prioritize liquidity.

Taking a closer look at ADR options in divorce

In last week’s post, we explored options that may save divorcing couples time, expense and emotional upset. Indeed, divorce does not have to be a scorched earth affair. Approaches that seek to avoid or minimize courtroom litigation generally fall under the category of alternative dispute resolution.

Yet a couple may need guidance about which ADR process best suits their needs. A recent article explores how the ADR options of collaborative divorce and mediation may allow couples to part ways with dignity.

Who can contest a will?

 

There are many reasons why people may believe that they should contest some provision within a will. However, not everyone has the legal standing to do so. Understanding who is granted the right to contest a will in certain scenarios is a good place to start when considering whether or not you should attempt to contest a will. There are certain conditions which must be met before anyone can contest a will. Individuals may not contest a will simply on the grounds that they believe they have not received a fair share, for instance.

Forensic accountants can make divorce fair

When a couple decides to divorce, the fair division of assets is often a large source of contention. If you are undergoing a divorce, employing a forensic accountant can help make sure that there are no significant assets being hidden from proper division by courts. Knowing what you can do to give your forensic accountant the best chance of identifying all relevant assets can make your divorce a more streamlined, fair process.

You may not have a great deal of expertise in financial matters, but you may have some useful information about the source of your spouse’s income. Even if it is only a general idea about what kind of documents may be held and where they are, this is useful. You may also have relevant knowledge of your spouse’s close relationships, which could be useful in helping a forensic accountant identify any individuals who may be helping to hide assets. Any sStrange behavior you have noticed may also indicate a spouse is attempting to hide assets, which a forensic accountant can pursue on your behalf.

Tips for minimizing the costs of divorce

There’s a reason that even attorneys hire their own counsel when going through a divorce. As a practical matter, the number of administrative details in a divorce proceeding can be overwhelming. From responding to the procedural requirements, such as court filings and hearings, to reaching agreement on the various issues that need to be settled, the demands upon an individual’s time can be substantial.

In addition to handling the administrative details, an attorney can lend an objective analysis to situations that might be emotionally charged. Any type of change can be hard and require adjustment, and the number of changes brought about by a post-divorce lifestyle is numerous. From visitation agreements to creating a whole new budget, an individual will have to create a new approach.

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