Issue March 2011

March 2011

Legislation will help youth aging out of foster care

When children are not able to live safely at home, the Department of Children and Families, pursuant to an order from the Juvenile Court (or, in some instances, the Family and Probate Court), will place them in foster care. Foster care is meant to be temporary, but many stay in DCF custody for years, sometimes for the duration of their childhood. Each year, approximately 800 youth in Massachusetts turn 18 and "age out" of DCF.

A line for a good reason

If you visited the Middlesex Probate and Family Court in Cambridge in the fall of 2010 or January of 2011, you may have experienced a feeling of say, Logan Airport. The long lines into the Middlesex Probate and Family Court building on 208 Cambridge St., and to a certain extent, the Old Third District Court, created some headaches and maybe a brain freeze or two for lawyers and litigants over the past several months.

Child support orders in high income cases — searching for guidelines

Our Child Support Guidelines (the "guidelines") are not meant to apply where the combined annual gross income of the parties exceeds $250,000. In cases where income exceeds this limit, the court should consider the award of support at the $250,000 level as the minimum presumptive order. Additional amounts of child support may be awarded in the court's discretion.1

How divorce lawyers (and clients) can benefit from working with mediators

As the field of dispute resolution expands, and the wallets of clients shrink, mediation is becoming a more and more popular way to resolve issues in a divorce. Many litigators are loathe to turn over control of a case to anyone but a judge. But if both attorneys and mediators are careful to clarify and respect each other's roles, the process can be an effective way to settle simmering disputes without either side getting burned.

The Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA) – Its time has come

One of the legislative priorities of the Massachusetts Guardianship Association is the enactment of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA, the "Guardianship Jurisdiction Act").

New Massachusetts Homestead Act effective March 16, 2011

On Dec. 16, 2010, Gov. Deval Patrick signed Senate Bill 2406, An Act Relative to the Estate of Homestead (hereinafter referred to as the "act"),1 which is a complete revision of the Massachusetts Homestead Law. Although the statute will still be known as M.G.L. chapter 188, the substantive provisions are much improved and, for the most part, clearer to understand.