Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

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Posts tagged "Family Law"

New Massachusetts alimony law took effect on March 1

A few months ago we reported on new Massachusetts laws covering alimony. The law, which was signed by Governor Patrick on Sept. 26, 2011, took effect on March 1. While the intent of the law is to limit permanent alimony and provide guidelines for payments based on the length of a marriage, it also gives judges discretion to deviate from the provisions of the statute. Legal observers will be watching to see if judges consistently grant deviations or instead follow the alimony guidelines.

What about Whiskers? Pet custody a growing issue in divorce

The family pet is garnering more attention when divorce is in the air. In Hampshire and Hamden counties and throughout Massachusetts, the law treats pets as marital property when it comes to divorce, though many of the negotiations and proceedings seem more like child custody disputes than arguments about the living room furniture.

Facebook is changing the way we divorce

These days, the first sign of a marriage breakup may come by way of social media. On sites like Facebook, when a married individual changes their relationship status on their web page to "single," it is a clear indication that divorce may be imminent. More and more, Facebook is making its mark on divorce cases in Hampshire and Hamden counties in Massachusetts and throughout the country. One current proceeding in a Midwestern state bears mentioning not only for its impact on divorce proceedings but also for the potential constitutional issues involved.

Massachusetts court rules on same-sex child custody

An important judicial ruling was handed down by the Massachusetts Appeals Court on Feb. 2 regarding the rights of same-sex couples in child custody litigation. The court determined that child custody disputes between same-sex couples shall be treated in the same manner as disagreements are treated between heterosexual couples. The case arose when a same-sex couple from Suffolk County filed for divorce. They had arranged together for the artificial insemination of one partner two months before they were married. At issue was a current state law that refers only to a "husband" and a "married woman."

Fewer divorces in Massachusetts, statistics say

A recent news article offered some interesting facts concerning marriages in Massachusetts. We typically hear that about half of all marriages end in divorce, and for that reason, media reports are full of stories and articles about celebrity breakups and matrimonial law topics. While these often cover important and relevant issues, it bears mentioning that statistics show our state ranks among the lowest in the country when it comes to divorce.

Guardianship: appeals court stops abortion, sterilization order

A Massachusetts appeals court has balked at a probate judge's order directing a mentally ill woman to have an abortion and to undergo forced sterilization. The 32-year-old woman suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder. Pregnant on two previous occasions, the woman had an abortion the first time and gave birth to a baby boy on the second occasion. The boy is being raised by the woman's parents. In December, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) requested that the parents be granted a temporary guardianship for the purpose of consenting to an abortion on the woman's behalf.

Divorce and credit scores: how to get yours back on track

Credit scores are an important part of life for many people in Massachusetts. Good credit scores allow you to obtain loans for a house or a car, and some employers are even starting to take credit scores into account when making hiring decisions. However, certain things can rattle a credit score. The obvious is not making payments on time, but what about getting a divorce?

Research conflicted over health effects of divorce

As many Massachusetts residents know, divorce can have a profound effect on a person's life. In divorce, two merged lives are separated, resulting in significant changes that affect each person differently. A recent study performed by a major university indicated that divorce could negatively affect a person's health.

How to protect your finances in divorce

Divorce is a complicated process. It can involve child custody, alimony, asset division and child support. However, there are steps a person can take to not only make it less complicated, but also to help make sure they are protected when it comes time to divide assets. Today we'll touch on how to protect your finances during your divorce.

New study shows young people avoid marriage to avoid divorce

As many people in Massachusetts who have gone through a divorce know, divorce is not something you plan for. However, sometimes it ends up being the best thing for a couple. It seems, though, that the high rate of divorce in the U.S. has made some young couples wary of marriage.

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