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Here, you can find helpful information to assist you in preparing for your legal situation.

By ciaffonitim30339440, Sep 24 2019 01:04AM

What is a Conservatorship? It is a protective legal process in where the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court will have appointed a Conservator -- with fiduciary duties -- to marshal and manage the property of an individual (the Protected Person or the Principal) who is disabled and requires a substitute financial decision maker either (1) to prevent the property from being wasted or dissipated, or (2) facilitate the financial support, care, and welfare of the person.

Note: The execution of a Durable Power of Attorney avoids the Court’s involvement in the Conservatorship. A Durable Power of Attorney involves a competent individual (the Principal) to nominate whom they want to manage their assets and income should the Principal eventually become incapacitated. Here, the Principal also can nominate whom they would want appointed for their Guardianship.

What does a Conservator do? A Conservator has the authority to collect, hold and retain assets of the Principal’s estate, AND the Conservator has the duty to manage, allocate, and invest assets, such as paying the debts and ongoing bills of the Principal.

Note: The Conservator is not personally financially responsible for the Protected Person (the Principal). Rather, the Conservator must pay all of the Principal’s expenses from the Principal’s income and assets.

The Conservator may delegate the duties in management of investments to an agent, but must therein, exercise reasonable care and caution in appointing the agent; such agents include financial planners, accountants, brokers, etc.

Such duties require that the Conservator (1) keeps the Protected Person’s assets and income completely segregated (and not comingled) as well as (2) is obligated to keep proper bookkeeping. The Conservator is ultimately responsible for the proper management of the assets of the Principal.

What is the legal process to obtain a Conservatorship?

- In order to obtain a Conservator, an interested individual or agency must file a “Petition” the Probate & Family Court.

- The Petitioner must also file a “Medical Certificate” signed by a licensed professional (as outlined in the statute). The licensed professional will have evaluated the proposed Protected Person within thirty days prior to the filing of the Petition.

- A “Bond” for the proposed Conservator also must be on file with the Court.

- “Notice” is given to all interested persons as well as to the proposed Protected Person.

- Then a Court hearing date then is scheduled, and at the hearing, the Petitioner must furnish an updated Medical Certificate signed by the licensed professional, who yet again, evaluated the proposed Protected Person within the prior thirty days before the hearing.

- The Medical Certificate must support the need for the Conservatorship.

- The Judge then determines if the petitioners meet the criteria for an appointment of a Conservator, and appoint the conservator accordingly.

Who Can be a Conservator? There is a priority list of people to be appointed by the Probate Court as Conservator.

- First is the Attorney in Fact, nominated during the Principal’s document delineating Durable Power of Attorney.

- Second in the priority list is the “fiduciary” (e.g., a Guardian) that had been previously court-appointed.

- Third, would be a person nominated by the Protected Person.

For good cause, the Court always has the ability to determine that the above individuals would not be appropriate and therefore opt to appoint any other individual.

Once a Conservator has been appointed by the court, that Conservator has the responsibility to file an “Inventory” with the Court within 90 days of the Court appointment, AND a Conservator’s “Financial Plan” must also be filed with the Probate Court.

A Conservator can be appointed either as a Temporary Conservator (for a period of no more than 90 days) or a Permanent Conservator.

Hiring an attorney can be extremely helpful in the court process of obtaining a Conservator. Click here to schedule a consultation with an Attorney to help you with appointing a conservator.

By ciaffonitim30339440, Sep 24 2019 12:29AM

The Mediation Session. The process usually unfolds in the following way: When a client meets with the attorney, they will be provided with an initial interview that will explain specifically what they can expect from the process of mediation. The attorney also will answer any questions or concerns that the client might have about going through the divorce process. The mediation is a voluntary and confidential process, and if either of the parties decide they no longer want to pursue such an option they leave for the alternative divorce process.

The nuances of these particular issues will be explained to you as your attending the mediation. The matters that will be handled in a Mediated Divorce follows: Child custody, Parenting time, Child support, Alimony, Division of assets, Division of debts, and What will happen with the house?

You can also meet and discuss any questions you may concerning these matters by contacting Attorney Ciaffoni. Click here, if you would like to schedule a consultation with Attorney Ciaffoni.

Please note that during a mediation, the Attorney must be a detached and neutral mediator, and while he will be able to provide you legal information (which he may explain), he cannot provide legal advice (information about how to win a litigated form of divorce).

The parties are given an opportunity to ask whatever questions they may have. I want to have a dialogue with the parties. In mediation THEY discuss and decide all of the issues regarding their divorce. I am there to guide the discussion, answer questions, and to help break impasses.

The next step will be a few simple questions:

- BASIC INFO: Where you live? How long has the marriage been? Are they still living together or separated? Do they have children? If so, the children’s names and ages?

- INCOME: the amount in their salary and their means of income?

- ASSETS: what property do the parties own of significant value, and what is the estimate value?

- DEBT: do the parties have any significant debt, and the extent of the debt?

The ball transfers back to the other side of the parties. A checklist of items will be provided to the parties. The Attorney then will gently guide the clients along the procedure one issue at a time, and help the parties decide those issues only when the mediator is needed. In Mediation you will be able to make these decisions with much less influence by the judge or the court. It will give you a lot more liberty in deciding how you want to arrange your life. In total, most mediation sessions take approximately 2 hours. After this has been completed, an appointment for the next session will be scheduled (likely for the following week.) There may be required, multiple mediation sessions to complete the process.

Documentation And Signature. Our team will do the work of completing all court-documents: in particular the Separation Agreement. Which will have been designed according to the decisions of the Husband and Wife during their Mediation session(s). Then this Separation Agreement will be emailed to both parties, and both are advised that they should “review it carefully” and that they should seek independent attorneys for to assess the written agreement. All necessary revisions will be made to the Separation Agreement thereafter. In summation, the parties come in for a final meeting to formally sign all the necessary documents. Congratulations! It is done!

Conclusion By The Courts. The Attorney will file all the necessary documents with the appropriate court, and obtain a Court date for a final divorce hearing. That court date will last only a short 5 minutes, in which the Judge will review and approve the Separation Agreement. The Mediator will not attend this hearing. The divorce will become final 120 days after the Court hearing.

By ciaffonitim30339440, Sep 24 2019 12:16AM

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts it is illegal to “Operate a Vehicle Under the Influence.” It may also be referred to as an OUI, DUI or DWI. This standard applies to persons charged who fall within the the following categories:

- All drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher

- Persons under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher

- All commercial vehicle drivers with a BAC of .04 or higher

- Imparied drivers because of drug influence

Massachusetts also has what is known as “Melanie’s Law,” which was named for a 13 year old girl who was killed by a drunk driver. It may also be referred to as an "Implied Consent Law." This means that you have consented to take these tests by merely driving on the roads within the state wheneven a peace officer has found probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug influence.

Melenies Law, specifically, enhances the penalties associated with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time offenders. Melanies Law means that if you refuse a breathalyzer test without any prior drunk driving offense, then your license can be suspended for 180 days. Then Melenies Law follows accordingly:

- With one prior drunk driving offenses, then the suspension will be 3 years

- With only two prior drunk driving offensesI, then the license suspension will be 5 years

- With three previous drunk driving offenses, then a lifetime driver's license-suspension will result if you refuse the test

Operation under the influence of illegal drugs can be penalized similarly to operation under the influence of alcohol.

Proof of Impairment

Most OUI defendants submit to a chemical test of their blood or breath because of the implied consent law (i.e. Melenies Law). These tests may be proven to have been ininaccurate. However, the OUI can still be proven by the state if you exhibited signs and symptoms of impairment from alcohol. These can be based on the officer’s personal observations or other sources that prove your mental capacity at the time of the incident. The Commonwealth only needs to prove that the driver had "a diminished capacity to operate safely." It does not matter whether the defendant drove in an unsafe or erratic manner. A lay witness may offer their opinion regarding a defendant's level of sobriety or intoxication, but not whether the driver had been drunk at the time of operating the vehicle. See the following list of signs and symptoms used at trial:

- Indications of Impairment

- Odor of alcohol

- Slurred speech

- Confusion

- Inability to follow simple instructions

- Poor performance on field sobriety tests

- Unsteady gait

- Erratic driving conduct

- Flushed appearance

- Asleep at the wheel

-You admitted to drinking or that you had too much to drink

The Law Office of Attorney Ciaffoni has served the Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bristol Counties of Massachusetts for over 20+ years, and has a team of qualified individuals who are willing to assist you in these matters.

Please click here to schedule a consultation with Attorney Ciaffoni if you are dealing with an issue involving a restraining order.

By ciaffonitim30339440, Sep 23 2019 11:58PM

I. The Notice and Issuance of the Order

If you have been served with a notice that a restraining order or such an action is being brought against you, as controversial as is may be, the odds of defeating such claims can be slight. Because of the harsh reality of restraining orders, a defendant should certainly have a lawyer represent them.

Read the notice and try to ascertain from the civil clerk’s office a document that specifies the claims of grievance that has been made against you. The clerk will likely refer to this document as the petitioner’s affidavit.

Do not grow angry or impassioned. While some emotions should be understandable, the harsh reality is those reactions will not help you in this case.

If you are able you prove that you were not at the place, of the date of the alleged incident, then certainly collect that evidence. For example, customer receipts that have dates and times on them, from when you made purchases at the store can show the place and time of your whereabouts. Other examples include photographs with verified dates on them. Other records and credible witnesses that ‘you’ can bring to court may be helpful as well to disprove the alleged misconduct.

A Restraining Order is a Civil Matter, without any criminal Penalties, but any following violations of a restraining order may result in a criminal charge that will be placed on your criminal record, and can potentially result criminal sentencing.

II. Modification

There is the possibility of modifying a restraining order after it has been implemented. These attempts will be difficult to do but can be achieved. A modification does not vacate the restraining order, but can reduce the distance or such items or other aspects of the order.

III. Appealing

Another available option that you have, will be to appeal the decision within the proper time to appeal. After filing an appeal, this process takes usually some time, though it may be worth it. An appeal will be preferable if you are insistent on keeping a clean civil record or seek to preempt potential accusations that you violated the restraining order. In such a case, if the decision to issue the restraining order is overturned by the appellate court, that accusation of violating the restraining order may be exculpated and dropped. That is why in dealing with these cases, you should consult with an attorney from the moment you receive the notice of the order.

The Law Office of Attorney Ciaffoni has served the Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bristol Counties of Massachusetts for over 20+ years, and has a team of qualified individuals who are willing to assist you in these matters.

Please click here to schedule a consultation with Attorney Ciaffoni if you are dealing with an issue involving a restraining order.

By ciaffonitim30339440, Sep 23 2019 11:27PM

During the course of undertaking something serious as a divorce, there will be evidence that you may run across. It is not always obvious whether a certain piece of evidence will be critical to a case or not. That is why it is important that you try to preserve it should you run into it.

In any divorce case, the court will ask certain questions, and the evidence will be relavant thereto. Those questions follow: Who among the parents has been the primary caregiver? What the income has been for each of the parents over the past year? Whether any real or personal property has been given to, or inherited by, one of the parents? Whether that property had been shared between them? Has there been abuse, adultery, or other misconduct?

When addressing these key questions, the court’s decision will often involve certain types of evidence:

1. Text messages and Emails. Conversations that the spouses exchanged with each other will be useful in proving the key questions. Preserve your attempts to communicate with your spouse even when they were unwilling to respond or cooperate.

2. Family calendars. These sorts of calendars will be relevant to prove dates and times of events and family activities. Be sure to preserve dates of any missed parenting time by your spouse and any work trips taken by your spouse. If you have not started this, you can start calendaring these incidents now.

3. Witnesses or family members and friends. This will be necessary if there’s accusations of such things as adultery or abuse. It will likely also be utilized in disproving such misconduct.

4. Social Media Postings. Spouse’s social media posts that would be significant to the case. Be careful what you post online and ask your friends to be careful what they tag you in as well. Print dated screen shots of your spouse’s account or download their posts if possible.

5. Photographs. Take photographs and add the date on them. This may be useful to catalog the disputed property in your home. It will also help to evidence any physical harm committed against you by your spouse.

6. Financial Statements. These usually get freely exchanged between spouses during marriage, but they can become problematic or expensive to obtain from your spouse during divorce. If you can access them, try to preserve them in a safe place.

- Bank statements,

- Tax returns,

- W-2’s,

- Paystubs,

- Retirement account statements, and

- Credit card statements.

Please click here if you would like to schedule a consultation with Attorney Ciaffoni to help you settle a divorce you may be currently dealing with.

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