Attorneys and mediators are negotiating, and judges are approving, separation agreements and divorce settlements that may be unfair and inequitable. At first look these agreements appear to be very fair and equitable. It is taken for granted that in a marital break-up, with respect to finances, three basic things need to be considered: child support, alimony and the division of assets. For long-term marriages with children, a stay-at-home spouse and sufficient assets, a settlement may include child support, generous alimony and the marital home. The purpose of this article is to show that what appears fair and equitable at the time of divorce may actually be unfair and inequitable.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, a number of administrative, regulatory and legislative changes have substantially restricted the safeguards available to non-citizens in immigration proceedings. These changes have included an increase in the length of time individuals can be detained without charge; expansion of the grounds upon which non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents, can be removed (deported) from or denied admission to the United States; restrictions on confidential communication with attorneys for detained non-citizens; and limitations on public access to removal hearings.
On Feb. 5, 2002, the Supreme Judicial Court heard oral argument on the first major family-law issue to be argued at the Massachusetts high court this year. In companion cases, Blixt v. Blixt
and Ballarino v. Ballarino
, advocates for the parties to the cases addressed the Massachusetts statute authorizing courts to order grandparent visitation. Defendant parents in both cases argued that G.L.c.119, ß39D impermissibly infringes on parents' fundamental constitutional right to make visitation decisions for their children.