Articles

April 15, 2020

Staying Safe and Saying NO to Domestic Abuse During COVID-19

Strict stay-at-home orders implemented for safety have placed abuse victims directly in harm’s way. Safety measures recommended to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have led to a rise in domestic abuse. For many, this is not a surprise as domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together. With families in quarantine and isolation worldwide, stress-levels are at an all-time high. The uncertainty of the future can increase anxiety for many. Coupled with unemployment and financial stress, tension among households is sure to rise. With the children at home all day, empty refrigerators, low bank funds, and forced interactions, families everywhere are facing conflict, creating the perfect storm for abusers to intimidate and inflict harm on their victims. While conflict doesn’t always explode into violence, many living in isolation from their support network have nowhere to turn when violence erupts. As routines change and families are stuck in the confinement of their homes, reports of domestic violence are increasing nationwide. The commonwealth of Massachusetts has very stringent laws in place to protect domestic violence victims. Such laws apply to people who: are or were married are or were living together are related by blood or marriage have children […]
April 13, 2020

How is a Negligent Driver Held Responsible for his or her Actions in Massachusetts?

If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you need to know how the insurance companies determine fault in order to get the compensation you deserve. The commonwealth of Massachusetts is a modified no-fault insurance state. This means that if an individual is deemed to be over fifty percent at fault, they can be held responsible. This also means that, regardless of fault, your own insurance company will pay for your injuries, up to your policy limit. Additionally, Massachusetts law allows individuals the right to legally sue the at-fault party for non-monetary damages, i.e., pain and suffering, if damages exceed the threshold of $2,000. This process requires the determination of responsibility when accidents occur. Because of this, the Massachusetts Legislature has established the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP). SDIP utilizes a strict set of guidelines for determining fault and making sure that safe drivers receive justice. The process involves driver classifications and insurance premium adjustments based on an insured’s driving record. Under this process, an at-fault accident constitutes a surchargeable incident. This means Massachusetts motor vehicle insurers must impose merit-rating surcharges on insured drivers who are more than fifty percent at fault in causing […]
April 10, 2020

Co-parenting in the Face of Coronavirus

Amid the spread of COVID-19, we are all facing unprecedented times. As this pandemic continues, regulations regarding safe practices change daily. One thing on the mind of parents sharing custody is whether or not their court order is enforceable. Rest assured, custody, visitation, and placement are in effect and continue to be enforceable during this period of time. Court-ordered arrangements remain obligatory and should be followed accordingly. Any parent planning to use the pandemic as a reason to deny access to another parent can expect the courts to come down hard on parent agreement violations. Many judges view time of crisis to be particularly critical times for children to maintain some form of normality. In cases where parents are willing to work together, they should consider the following: which parent has better resources for the child to complete distance learning, if one parent has a high-risk job, the health of family members, social distancing rules, etc. In the unfortunate event that a parent is required to self-quarantine or is restricted from having contact with others, efforts should be made to allow for parenting time by video conference or telephone. A critical aspect of co-parenting that may be affected is where […]
December 27, 2019

Holidays, New Years, Superbowl Cheer – Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication

Winter brings with it some of the calendar’s most-anticipated holidays. In colder parts of the world—of which Massachusetts is certainly one, as anyone who has lived through a nor’easter will tell you—people draw together inside to escape the falling snow and the quickly-falling, long winter nights. The winter holidays have something for everyone: the religious and cultural observances of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa; the universal excitement of New Year’s Eve; the shared experience of Super Bowl Sunday. For many people, with celebration there comes alcohol. And with alcohol there comes additional responsibility and potential criminal prosecution. Driving under the influence can have deadly consequences and as such has been targeted by numerous public awareness campaigns. However, even if you leave your keys at home, designate a driver, or plan to take a cab back at the end of the night—which you always should, for safety’s sake–you can still be held criminally liable for your conduct under the influence of alcohol. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “public intoxication” is not, in and of itself, a crime. It is treated as a nuisance offense. So long as an intoxicated person is not causing harm to others, and is not being disruptive, the […]
December 20, 2019

Holiday Custody

The winter holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they are also a top contender for the most stressful time of the year. Regardless of family structure, holiday gatherings and visits can be contentious. Under the stress of cleaning and cooking and visiting in-laws, even close-knit nuclear families, amicably divorced co-parents, or happily mixed step-families might experience some tension and conflict around this time of the year. Given the stress of preparing for holidays, and the emotions invested in family celebrations, it is more important than ever for there to be good channels of communication about scheduling. When child custody agreements are involved, communication is even more important, especially if custody arrangements or their enforcement have been contentious issues in the past. Many shared custody agreements drawn up as part of the divorce settlements will specify holiday visitation and custody rights for each parent. For example, one parent may have the children for Thanksgiving and New Year’s, with the other parent having Christmas and the surrounding days. In the next year, the parents might swap time periods, following an alternating schedule laid out in the custody agreement. Changes happen, however. A flight back from a visit […]
November 6, 2019

A Six Year Fight To Reinstate Alcohol License

The call came in when I was on vacation, while I was relaxing by the pool with my family, The caller said this was an emergency.  The new client was the owner of a small-town convenience store. His livelihood and family’s future was on the line, He was the underdog.  What I could not anticipate was the number of appeals, emergency stays, and bureaucratic hoop-jumping we would face together over the coming six years of litigation. My client was a family-run convenience store in the town of Grafton, located in Worcester County.  The convenience store had a package store license to sell alcohol. In April of 2013, a police sting operation sent in an underage person to buy beer or wine. She was not carded by the staff, however, and succeeded in buying the alcohol. Unfortunately, this was not the first time such a violation had occurred at the convenience store.  The customary penalty for this infraction was a few days’ to a few weeks’ suspension of liquor sales. In August of 2013, however, the Grafton Board of Selectmen voted to revoke the convenience store’s license entirely. The owner then had only a few days to make an appeal to […]
April 19, 2019

Attorney Rubin Wins Liquor License

Attorney David Rubin wins liquor license case for a South Grafton, Massachusetts business owner. Grafton selectmen OK Village Dairy’s alcohol license, with conditions By Richard Price | Worcester Telegram GRAFTON — The Village Dairy, a South Grafton convenience store that was cited five times for liquor sale violations over the years, will get its license back — but with conditions agreed to by the owner. Selectmen voted Tuesday night to allow the renewal of the store’s beer and wine sales license under an agreement that stipulates the owner will install and maintain a scanner to verify the ID of every customer who asks to buy alcohol; that cameras will be installed to review the transactions; and that police will be allowed to conduct quarterly inspections. The owner also agreed to stop sales and notify the chief of police if the equipment is not functioning. The vote was 4-1, with Selectman Craig Dauphinais opposed. He said the store and its owner had too much history. The business owner, Amjad Chaudry, agreed to the terms with his lawyer, David Rubin, who was present. The store will be run in the daytime by a new manager, Mariam Anwar, who the board also met […]
November 26, 2018

Judge favors Village Dairy in Grafton liquor license dispute

By Lisa Redmond | The Grafton News WORCESTER – A superior court judge has ruled in favor of the owner of Village Dairy saying Grafton officials improperly withheld an alcohol license from the South Grafton convenience store, and that the state Alcohol Beverages Control Commission failed to respond to the town’s “willful thwarting″ of the licensing procedure. In a legal battle that began in 2014, Amjad Chaudry, owner of Arslan Inc., d/b/a Village Dairy at 167 Main St., filed a 2017 lawsuit against the Town of Grafton and the ABCC claiming he was improperly prohibited from renewing his liquor license. In April, each party asked Worcester Superior Court Judge William J. Ritter to rule on a request for a judgment. In his August decision, Ritter allowed Village Dairy’s motion for a favorable judgment and denied motions by the town and ABCC, sending the license back to the selectmen. Instead, on Oct. 10 the town filed a notice of appeal to the state Appeals Court, according to the court docket. In his decision, Ritter chastised the town for its actions in this case. Ritter accused town officials of “willful thwarting of the license renewal process.″ Ritter wrote in his decision that […]
November 14, 2018

How Are Child Custody and Visitation Established?

If you are going through a divorce and have children, child custody is arguably the most important matter you will have to deal with during the divorce proceedings. Although custody arrangements can be reviewed and modified until the child turns 18, it is very rare for custody to be changed from one parent to the other after the initial order has been established. This is why it is important to understand how custody and visitation (more often referred to as parenting time) will be determined. There are two types of custody, legal custody and physical custody. The parents may share both legal and physical custody, share legal custody but give one parent sole physical custody, or have one parent have sole primary and physical custody. As you will see below, even when one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent will still retain rights to the child. Legal Custody Legal custody relates solely to the decision-making rights regarding the child. A parent can have legal custody of a child without having physical custody. The parent with legal custody will have the authority to make decisions about the child’s medical, religious, and educational needs. If one parent is awarded sole […]
November 1, 2018

Would we benefit from a prenup?

My fiancé and I are not particularly wealthy, but we are established professionals. Should we get a prenup? You and your fiancé would be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” as it has come You and your fiancé would be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” as it has come to be known. In fact, most, if not all, couples would benefit from a prenuptial agreement. Objections to getting a prenuptial agreement usually come in one of two categories. The first kind asserts that there is no pressing need for the contract: “We don’t have anything financial worth fighting over.” The second appeals to sentiment: “It ruins the romance to talk about money” or, even more wishful, “We’re sure we won’t get divorced.” While no one goes into a marriage planning to get divorced, even the most optimistic couple should acknowledge that divorce is a possibility. While the statistics vary, a good number of American marriages will end in their dissolution by divorce. The wise bride and groom will have to address this possibility on their way into matrimony, rather than deal with the consequences of exiting matrimony unprepared. Even if you have “nothing worth fighting […]
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