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Worcester Family Law Blog

Steps to take in the case of a workplace personal injury

When an individual gets hurt, legal options can depend on a variety of factors. The location and circumstances of the accident, as well as insurance policies in place, are chief among them. For example, when a Massachusetts worker gets a personal injury on the job, there are particular considerations and actions that should be taken from the workplace as well as the injured party. Here are some steps to consider after a workplace accident.

Managers should have protocols in place in advance so they clearly know what to do in the case of a workplace accident. There are clear rights and responsibilities in place designating what employers and employees are required to do. Knowing these regulations in advance is critical in order to do the right thing in the case of an accident.

Modification of co-parenting plan in light of COVID-19

Daily life has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For parents, there are many questions of how to support and care for children with Massachusetts schools closures. Divorced and separated parents can face even more questions in this situation, from modification of child support due to a layoff through to social distancing implications of shared custody. Here are some recommendations that experts have made so far.

First, both parents should stay informed and healthy. This includes practicing hand washing, wiping down surfaces and social distancing. Both parents in a co-parenting relationship can contribute to helping children react appropriately to the situation by both modeling good behaviour and answering questions in an age-appropriate manner.

Dos and don'ts for supporting a friend going through a divorce

Ending a marriage is undoubtedly difficult on the couple in question, but it can also have a strong impact on family and close friends. While it can be tempting to offer advice or dig into Massachusetts family law research right away, it may be better for friends to provide moral support and avoid getting too close to the particulars of a breakup. Here are some pieces of advice for those looking to support a friend going through a divorce.

It is natural for someone going through a divorce to share emotions with loved ones. Sometimes, this might involve sharing negative feelings toward the soon-to-be ex. While friends should be supportive in these conversations, joining in on bashing a former spouse is often not the best strategy. Instead, experts recommend building up the friend, listening and validating their emotions. Chiming in with one's own judgements and opinions can often deter from the process of working through feelings.

Financial aspects of divorce process can be tough to navigate

Dissolving a marriage in Massachusetts can no doubt have emotional, mental and physical consequences. Still, the divorce process can especially be devastating from a financial standpoint. Here are some financial aspects of divorce that are sometimes overlooked initially but can have negative repercussions if not addressed appropriately.

First, people who are going through divorce sometimes overestimate how much alimony or child support they will receive. This is particularly true when the other spouse is the one who made most of the income in the household. It is paramount that spouses who are seeking support payments during divorce have a realistic idea of how much they can expect to receive following the divorce process. This is something an attorney can help determine.

New law aims to reduce personal injury from distracted driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents across the United States, and many states are passing laws to reduce the risk of texting while driving. To prevent personal injury caused by mobile phones behind the wheel, Massachusetts recently passed a hands-free law for all drivers state-wide. State police are currently instituting a "crackdown" to enforce the new law.

According to the state police, dozens of additional patrols have been deployed onto roads to ensure people are not using their mobile devices while driving. Under the new law, people are only permitted to use electronic devices when they are mounted inside the car and are being touched exclusively to activate hands-free mode. These restrictions also apply when a driver is stopped at a red light.

How the new tax laws may affect new spousal support orders

Couples divorcing this and last will find themselves in a different taxation situation, thanks to changes to the Internal Revenue Code. The changes impact couples whose divorces were signed after Dec. 31, 2018. This means that Massachusetts couples who divorced in 2019 and beyond will have some different circumstances to work through regarding spousal support and other issues.

Prior to Dec. 31, 2018, spousal support amounts were tax deductible for the payer while the payee had to claim them as income. This had been the case for more than 75 years. Under the new regulations, the opposite is true; those receiving alimony will no longer need to claim it as income, whereas those paying it will. As for child support payments, they are now ineligible for dependency exemptions.

Certain jobs more correlated with divorce, study finds

Stress of any kind can put a strain on a marriage. However, according a study, certain particularly challenging careers may put some Massachusetts couples at higher risk for a divorce. This information has been gleaned by reviewing U.S. census data about career paths and marital statuses side by side.

According to the study, which based its findings on the 2015 American Community survey, came to the conclusion that certain jobs put people at higher risk for their marriages ending prematurely. Among those at higher risk are military supervisors, dancers, choreographers, bartenders and flight attendants. Researchers have come up with several theories about why this might be.

Modification of child support in light of increased au pair costs

Child support payments are often determined by a variety of factors, including the income of the payor parent and the cost of raising a child. But, what happens when the cost of care increases dramatically due to changes in laws or inflation? Modification of child support on the basis of increased child care costs may be an important topic for Massachusetts parents impacted by the new laws around au-pair visas.

Recently, a federal appeals court handed down a ruling that classified live-in au pairs as domestic workers. Au pairs are live-in child care providers that come to the United States on a temporary J-1 exchange visa. Prior to the ruling, families were required to pay a stipend of at least $195.75 per week for up to 45 hours caring for children. While the visa will continue to be available, the current classification of au pairs as domestic workers means that parents must pay minimum hourly wage to their live-in help.

Is shared or single child custody better for kids' well-being?

When couples split up, the issue of where children will live and when they will see each parent can be particularly contentious. What can make this issue even more challenging in some Massachusetts separations and divorces are the conflicting beliefs people may have about child custody. Some people believe that shared custody is best for children, while others adhere to the notion that one parent having sole or majority custody provides more consistency. But, what does the research say?

According to a study from Wake Forest University, shared custody can be lead to better outcomes for children. Even in situations where there is a difficult co-parenting relationship, the study found that children who lived with each parent at least 35 percent of the time tended to do better academically, emotionally, behaviorally and in terms of physical health. Researchers say the results suggest that strong parent-child bonds are important factors in a child's future development and outcomes.

Before child custody talks, decide how to present divorce to kids

It's no secret that when parents choose to part ways, their kids can struggle to adjust to the new reality. One of the earliest challenges Massachusetts parents face when choosing to divorce is how to share the news with their children. Even if there are touchy debates on issues like child custody, support or property rights happening behind the scenes, children can benefit when parents are able to present a united front and not share too many of the conflict-ridden details when breaking this news.

Experts say that being straightforward, factual and gentle is the best tactic when speaking to children about a divorce. It is likely that the children will want to know the reason behind the breakup, so parents should be prepared to navigate this and other difficult questions. In all answers, be sure to avoid bringing them into adult issues and spare them the specifics. It is also important to make sure children know the divorce is not their fault.

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