Co-​Parenting Challenges During the Pandemic

Currently, we anticipate another two months of shelter in place. That means at least two more months without daycare and help from sitters, two more months of the kids having marginal (if any) structured learning, and no word regarding what lies ahead for summer camp. What does this mean for co-parenting plans and dealing with our former spouses and partners? Here are three questions that continue to arise in our clients’ minds as we weather the pandemic: read more

New Law Allows Temporary Use of Videoconferences to Notarize and Witness Legal Documents

On April 27, 2020, Governor Baker signed a new Massachusetts law legalizing the use of videoconferencing services in signing documents before notaries public and witnesses during the COVID-19 crisis. This will allow real estate closings, the execution of estate plans, and the signing of other documents that require such formalities to take place remotely. The new law expires by its terms three (3) business days after the end of the Governor’s March 10, 2020, Emergency Declaration. The new law has several requirements that must be strictly observed. read more

Taxpayers: Beware Coronavirus Scams

Government officials have reported a surge of malicious attempts to defraud taxpayers in connection with the coronavirus (COVID-19) Economic Impact Payments. Scams may use calls, text messages, or emails to impersonate IRS agents offering financial relief. Be aware of these scams. Here is information provided by the IRS to help identify and report fraud: read more

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Navigating the Moratorium on MA Residential Foreclosures & Evictions

On April 20th, Governor Baker signed into law a residential mortgage foreclosure and eviction moratorium bill (H 4647) which grants temporary relief to homeowners from foreclosures, and to residential tenants from evictions. Residential property managers and landlords, and residential mortgage holders, must exercise caution to avoid running afoul of the new law. The relief afforded by the legislation expires on the earlier of 120 days after enactment of the legislation (August 18, 2020) or 45 days after the COVID-19 emergency declaration has been lifted, but the governor may postpone expiration of the moratorium to a limited extent. read more

Co-Parenting Considerations for April “Vacation”

There is little differentiation between weekends and weekdays in this remote-work, socially-distant world we’re living in. The “Boys of Summer” have not yet returned home to Fenway Park. The Boston Marathon has been postponed. Under these circumstances, it’s easy to forget that Massachusetts schools would traditionally be “on vacation” next week. For children in intact families, this may have little meaning or impact, but for children with separated or divorced parents this often is a week of great significance, as many parenting plans allocate the February school vacation week to one parent and the April school vacation to the other. In those situations, the February parent would have already enjoyed his or her school vacation time with the children, before the country shut down in mid-March. What happens now, in the midst of this pandemic?  Here are five key considerations. read more

Who will Take Care of Your Children If You Fall Ill To COVID-19

As we face the increasing spread of COVID-19, many parents are considering the possible impact of the pandemic on our abilities to care for our children, and how best to prepare. In Massachusetts, there are several options to appoint an alternative guardian in the event that we are temporarily or permanently unable to care for minors due to COVID-19 (or any other debilitating illness), or in the event of our deaths. A person may become a guardian of a minor by appointment by parent or guardian or upon appointment by the court. (G.L. c. 190B, § 5-201). Although the courts are currently closed, if a guardianship is needed due to an emergency, the court will typically hold a telephonic hearing and may appoint a temporary guardian. A parent or guardian may also appoint a temporary agent to whom he or she delegates his or her powers regarding the care, custody or property of a minor, in which case the appointment may continue for a period not exceeding 60 days. (G.L. c. 190B, § 5-103). read more

Legal Services to Consider when Dealing with Mental Health or Substance Abuse Issues

Mental illness and substance abuse issues can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, marital status, socioeconomic status, and occupation. It is not uncommon for individuals who are struggling with their mental and emotional health to be aware that they need assistance but not know where to turn. The COVID-19 pandemic, economy, and unprecedented social isolation measures may initiate or exacerbate these feelings. If you or a family member grapple with substance abuse or debilitating mental and emotional health issues, there are legal services available (even during the pandemic) that can lend exceptional assistance and support. read more

Working From Home: Information Governance Tips and Considerations

The COVID 19 pandemic has turned the workforce on its head, forcing employees from their brick and mortar offices and into new (in a sense) terrain: Their homes. All businesses deal with information that is deemed confidential, and many have echoed concerns regarding the information governance aspects of our now-seemingly universal work from home situation.
Here are some light-hearted but essential tips for businesses and their home-based staff who are remotely handling and protecting confidential information. read more