Divorce Law Monitor

  • Demystifying Myths About Dividing Assets in Divorce: Part 3 – The Contribution Factor – Celebrity EditionSeptember 24, 2020

    Perhaps growing up in Los Angeles took some of the fun out of celebrity gossip, but I never understood the fascination with stories about what is in the shopping cart of the (often shorter than advertised) celebrity standing in front of me at the grocery store.  One aspect of celebrity gossip that has piqued my interest in recent years has been celebrity divorces, or more specifically, the public’s reaction to celebrity divorces and how it mirrors a lot of the same misconceptions we hear as divorce practitioners.

    The fairly recent divorce between Amazon founder (and the reason most celebrities no longer go to the grocery store), Jeff Bezos, and his now ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, comes to mind as a situation in which everyone seemed to have a “hot take” about the couples’ divorce financials.  Given the staggering wealth being divided in the divorce, one of the comments I regularly saw on social media was “what did she do to deserve that much of his money?”  Despite the misguided gender stereotypes being at an all-time high, the short response (as confirmed by Mr. Bezos, himself) was “a lot.”

    In the third edition of this series about demystifying myths on dividing … Keep reading

  • What to do When a Spouse Ignores the Divorce ProcessSeptember 17, 2020

    When a marriage becomes irretrievably broken, both spouses generally agree that a divorce is necessary.  However, some divorces are contested by one party, which may make the process more difficult and lead to prolonged negotiations and delay the ultimate resolution.  What can make things even more difficult is when one spouse refuses to even respond or engage in the divorce process.

    When a spouse is dilatory or refuses to participate in the divorce process, here are some helpful tips:

    1. Service

    The first hurdle in any divorce process is actually getting the process started.  Once a Complaint for Divorce is filed, the Summons and a copy of the Complaint for Divorce needs to be served upon the other party.  This is typically done by having a Constable or Sheriff deliver the Summons and Complaint for Divorce to the other spouse.  Once the Summons and Complaint for Divorce are served on the other spouse, the Original Summons, along with a Certificate of Service signed by the person who hand-delivered the Complaint, is returned to the Court for filing.  After the Summons is filed with the Court, the case is ready to proceed and the Court will likely issue a notice of … Keep reading

  • A Review of the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage ActSeptember 11, 2020

    Earlier this summer, which feels like a lifetime ago in these COVID times, the Rhode Island Governor signed the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act into law.  The law, which had been considered in four previous legislative sessions, and takes effect January 1, 2021, repeals current laws regarding paternity and ensures equal access to the security of legal parentage.  Rhode Island was long overdue for this update as the paternity laws had not been updated in over forty years, and the laws as previously written did not recognize today’s broader definition of family.

    Some of the highlights of the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act include the following:

    1. The law allows for LGBTQ couples to establish parentage through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage, negating the necessity of having to undertake a lengthy, and potentially expensive, co-parent adoption process to establish legal parentage.
    2. The law creates a path to parentage and provides protections for children born through surrogacy.
    3. The law expands the paths to legal parentage, including through adoption, acknowledgment, adjudication, genetics, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, de facto parentage, and presumptions.
    4. The law also provides clear standards for establishing parentage in the family court.
    5. While Rhode Island case law has supported de facto
    Keep reading

  • Harassment Prevention Orders Under G.L. c. 258ESeptember 04, 2020

    I have written in the past about 209A Abuse Prevention Orders – the mechanism by which victims of family or household violence can obtain court orders of protection.  Burns & Levinson partners Ronald Barriere and Cici Van Tine recently presented on the issue of divorcing an abusive spouse, which included discussion of the protections available. But what about someone who is being harassed or abused by someone who is not a spouse, family, or household member?

    Under Chapter 258E of the Massachusetts General Laws, someone who is the victim of harassment can request an Order from the Superior Court, District Court, Boston Municipal Court, or Juvenile Court (for parties under age 17) to prevent harassment or abuse.  Unlike when seeking a Chapter 209A Abuse Prevention Order, a party seeking a Chapter 258E Order is not required to show that the parties are related or have a history of any type of marital or dating relationship.  Anyone can obtain a 258E Harassment Prevention Order upon a showing of harassment.

    Harassment for purposes of obtaining a 258E Order is defined as (i) 3 or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person committed with the intent … Keep reading

  • Divorcing an Abusive Spouse: What Do You Need to Know?August 28, 2020

    In episode four of our divorce-focused webinar series, attorneys Ronald Barriere and Carolyn Childs Van Tine aim to demystify the process and help alleviate anxieties common in the dissolution of abusive relationships. For instance, how can the presence of abuse impact the process of selecting a divorce attorney? What are the co-parenting strategies, and what legal options are there when children are involved? Learn the practical considerations and legal procedures you will face and gain insight to help you navigate your divorce with confidence.

    Please note, courtesy of the National Domestic Violence Hotline: “Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. Users of web browser Microsoft Edge will be redirected to Google when clicking the ‘X’ or ‘Escape’ button.”

    Click here to watch the full episode.… Keep reading

Email Confirmation

Thank you for your interest in Burns & Levinson LLP. Please be aware that unsolicited e-mails and information sent to Burns & Levinson though our web site will not be considered confidential, may not receive a response, and do not create an attorney-client relationship with Burns & Levinson. If you are not already a client of Burns & Levinson, do not include anything confidential or secret in this e-mail. Also, please note that our attorneys do not seek to practice law in any jurisdiction in which they are not authorized to do so.

By clicking "OK" you acknowledge that, unless you are a current client, Burns & Levinson does not have any obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information you send us.