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Same-sex divorce terms must be carefully considered

As bad of a situation as divorce can be, there are some people who are just thankful that they have the chance to legally end a legal marriage, including a same-sex marriage. In fact, same-sex marriage legalization coincides with a drop in teen suicide rates, which shows the results of empowerment. Same-sex couples have fought long and hard to be able to get married. With that right comes the right to divorce. For these individuals, the legal protections they have are the same as those of a same-sex couple. We know that you might feel like you are walking a new path if you are in a same-sex marriage and need to get divorced. We can help you to learn about how the divorce will work in your case. There are some special considerations that we will need to work with you to address. One of these is child custody if you and your spouse had children together. Just like other divorce cases, same-sex divorce cases also have to deal with property division. Massachusetts laws govern how property is divided if the court handles the division. As an alternative method, you and your ex can work together to come to terms about who gets what and other matters related to the divorce. Once an agreement is made, the court will need to approve it. Some same-sex couples have prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. In these cases, the agreement lays out the foundation for the property division settlement. Whether you have a

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Questions to ask when deciding if you should get divorced

As same-sex couples gained the legal right to get married in Massachusetts and in many parts of the United States, the issue of same-sex divorce also became more common. Same-sex couples struggle with the same issues that any couples have, such as trying to decide if divorce is the best option and attempting to figure out what is best for their futures, their families, and the like. Below are a few important questions that renowned divorce writer Dr. Susan Allison suggests couples ask at this time: 1. When did you feel happiest while you and your spouse were married? By determining when you felt the happiest, you can sometimes see why that joy has left the marriage. This can help you see if it’s a temporary issue or something that can’t be fixed. 2. Why did you tie the knot in the first place? Of course, many couples simply fall in love, but there are many other factors that play into this decision. For instance, perhaps it was easier to get married at the time for the sake of health care benefits and getting on the same insurance plan. 3. What scares you the most about staying together? If you dread the thought of putting off divorce, what is is that really worries you? This question helps you see what you’re really afraid of and if it’s something that can only be avoided by ending the relationship. These are just three of the 20 questions Dr. Allison suggests couples ask

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Advice from financial planners on preparing for divorce

Many married couples live comfortably for years without thinking much about how much they have saved for retirement. If they get divorced, as couples over 50 are increasingly doing, and they have to divide up their assets, they often realize that they’ve been spending too much and saving too little. Many Americans reach that realization as they get closer to retirement. However, when you’re suddenly faced with living on roughly half the income you’re used to while maintaining your own home, the financial consequences of inadequate planning can be particularly serious. Financial planners note a number of things that they’ve found with their divorced clients and have some advice based on their experience to help people better prepare for the potential of retirement years without their spouse. — Over 75 percent say that people should learn how to better manage their finances. — Some 73 percent say people should understand the long-term consequences of their divorce. — Almost 57 percent say they should understand the tax implications of their settlement. — Over 50 percent recommend increasing retirement savings. — Almost 43 percent recommend reducing spending. — Over 36 percent suggest getting a prenuptial agreement. — Over 19 percent recommend getting long-term care insurance. — Almost 18 percent recommend selling off high-value assets like real estate before the divorce settlement is final. Many of these recommendations are wise whether you and your spouse live out the rest of your lives together or call it quits. If you’re already at the stage

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Who is at fault for a pedestrian accident in Massachusetts?

Drivers have a great duty to operate their vehicles responsibly. Pedestrians who are injured by automobiles can make claims for money damages against the driver’s liability insurance. To succeed in your claim you will need to show the driver was negligent in hitting you. Typically drivers who hit pedestrians are found to be at fault. But sometimes the pedestrian can do something to contribute to the accident as well. Massachusetts has a modified comparative fault standard, meaning you must be less than 50% at fault for the accident to recover anything. If you meet the threshold of less-than-50%-at-fault, then the court will reduce your award by the percentage they find you liable for. For example, if the court awards you $1 million dollars, but finds that you were 10% at fault for the accident then your damage award would be reduced by $100,00. (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 section 85). When is the Blame Shared for a Pedestrian Accident? Just as drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, there are expectations placed upon pedestrians as well. When a pedestrian victim contributes to the dangerous situation that caused the pedestrian accident, the court will determine how much blame should be attributed to them. The following pedestrian behaviors will usually be held by a court to demonstrate negligence by the pedestrian, which can reduce or even the amount of money the injured pedestrian can recover: • Jaywalking, which involves crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk. • Crossing against

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Lower back pain a lingering effect of many car accidents

Muscle wear and tear causes pain: The lower back is actually the most common site of back pain and injuries when people experience the types of traumas that collisions on the road can cause. When the muscles and ligaments that hold the bones in the spinal column in place become strained or torn, they weaken and may not be able to stabilize the spine correctly. This process is the ultimate cause of lower back pain. Don’t delay examination when pain persists: Those who experience lower back pain in the wake of a bus or car accident should seek medical attention immediately to determine the exact cause of the pain. A precise diagnosis frequently requires a thorough medical exam, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and CT scans. These extra tests may only be needed if the pain doesn’t go away on its own or with conservative treatment. Treatments range from ice or heat to prescription pain medications and extended physical therapies, with the precise treatment approach tailored to the patient. Studies have also proven that resting in bed beyond a day or two may actually be counterproductive to recovery. Moving on may be difficult: For some car accident victims, lower back pain lingers, preventing them from resuming everyday activities such as work and caring for children. When other parties are responsible for such injuries due to their failure to adhere to the required duty of care, they may be legally responsible for medical bills, pain, suffering, and other damages. To pursue

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What is ‘negligence?’

Virtually all personal injury claims and lawsuits are centered on one principle: negligence. This can be defined as “Failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not.” Essentially, what this means is showing no regard or a blatant disregard for the safety of others with your actions (or inactions). When you are injured through no fault of your own, odds are negligence is somehow going to be the root cause of it, and proving that the other party was negligent is what makes you entitled to compensation for your injuries. Negligence in Car Accidents Car accidents are almost entirely about negligence. If you are involved in an accident, there are dozens of ways negligence could have been involved. For example, if you are struck by a driver who runs a red light, they could be held liable for negligence for not paying attention to the changing traffic signal. If they were unable to stop their car, the negligence could mean driving too fast for the road conditions or failing to properly maintain their vehicle’s brakes. If they were intoxicated, then that also contributes to their negligence, and thus their liability for the accident. Premises Liability Law If you slip and fall on a wet floor at a store or fail to notice a rut in the ground and you break your ankle, you could be eligible to receive compensation through “premises

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What areas have the highest divorce rates in Massachusetts?

Overall, Massachusetts has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. Only seven states rank lower than we do. Almost 10 percent of all adults in Massachusetts are divorced, according to the Census Bureau, and another 2 percent are separated. However, the city and possibly even the zip code where you live just might have something to do with your chances of getting divorced. Some areas of Massachusetts have considerably higher divorce rates than the state average. Following are the 10 with the highest percentages of divorced adults: — One part of Fall River (the 02723 zip code) comes in first at 17.7 percent. — Hyannis is second at 15.8 percent. — N. Adams is close behind at 15.6 percent. — The 01604 zip code of Worcester is fourth at 14.4 percent. — Just behind it is Newburyport at 14.2. — Pittsfield ranks sixth at 13.7 percent — Gardner and Taunton are tied for seventh at 13.5 percent — Another section of Fall River (02720) is eighth at 13.4 percent — Amesbury and Athol are tied for ninth at 13.3 percent — The 01605 zip code of Worcester ranks tenth at 13 percent. Divorce rates can vary even within one city, as we see with Fall River and Worcester, let alone within a state. Even if you feel like no one else is in your shoes, you can be assured that many people are. Often having a therapist or even a support group to turn to during a divorce

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Securing your place as your child’s legal parent

Children come into the lives of same-sex couples in a variety of ways. Sometimes they adopt them together. In some cases, one spouse is artificially inseminated and gives birth. In other cases, particularly for male couples, a surrogate is hired to carried the baby. As with heterosexual couples, sometimes a child is already in the picture when they get married. Perhaps one person adopted a child on his/her own while still single. Whatever the case, it’s essential for anyone who is not the biological or adoptive parent to understand that under the law, they aren’t the child’s parent. That means that if the couple gets divorced or the biological or adoptive parent dies, the other parent may have no rights to custody, visitation or decisions regarding that child. Those things will be decided by a court if the parent pursues those rights. While Massachusetts courts have a history of being friendly to same-sex couples and parents, if you and/or your partner move to another state, you can’t necessarily count on the same level of recognition that gay parents have the same bonds with their kids as straight ones. In the current political climate, it’s possible that states could be given more latitude to make laws discriminating against gay couples. That’s why it’s wise to secure your status as your child’s legal parent. That involves either a formal adoption or a court order that is valid in all states that designates your parentage of the child. Many people think that the

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