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:
Many parents with young children are asking what they can do to be prepared if they get sick with COVID-19 and are incapacitated temporarily, or do not recover. Two issues are keeping parents up at night:
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.
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.
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).
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.
This article originally appeared on Citybizlist as part of a series featuring Burns & Levinson attorneys helping businesses and individuals navigate the many challenges that COVID-19 presents.
During this prolonged stay at home period to fight the spread of the coronavirus, many people are grappling with the mental health risks that COVID-19 presents along with the medical risks. The combination of the social isolation and sensational media coverage can trigger waves of anxiety and depression. For those with family members who struggle with mental health issues, substance abuse issues, or a combination of the two, the current situation can be especially trying and leave them feeling helpless.
The Courts have essentially closed, and “non-essential” law firm personnel have been ordered to work from home as much as possible, but that does not mean your probate litigation case must be held in limbo. Here are our Top 5 strategies for remaining proactive in pending and anticipated probate litigation matters.
Within ten days’ time, our personal and professional worlds have been turned upside-down, and many have questions such as, “What happens now to my court case?”. As we adjust to a new “normal” in our homes and our workplaces, the courts, too, are adjusting to their new normal. Courts have issued orders to address COVID-19, ensuring that the wheels of justice do not come to a screeching halt, placing people’s rights in jeopardy. All court orders, from the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, and all Trial Courts can be found here.