Skip to main content
William M. Driscoll

William Driscoll’s Answers

65 total


  • What are my options for fighting "abuse of discretion" from a divorce judgement?

    What type of Attorney should I consult with? The judge clearly abused his discretion according to every professional I have spoken with. He also made huge errors in my income, claiming I made much more than I did. He did not split assets fairly at...

    William’s Answer

    If you seek to appeal a divorce judgment then you should seek the advice of an appellate attorney. The standard of review on appeal is key. An appellate attorney can define viable issues for appeal and the standard of review for each. You must understand that an appeal is not a new trial; there is no new evidence on appeal. If the need be then you have the opportunity to file post-judgment motions in the trial court. An appeal assesses whether the trial court proceedings were properly handled, whether the findings were justified based upon the evidence presented at trial, and whether the judgment is properly supported by the findings. Post-judgment and appellate matters are very procedure driven and very time-sensitive!

    See question 
  • What is the process to appeal a Decision on a Complaint for Modification?

    The judge cited factually incorrect reasons for considerably reducing my child support and alimony....such as citing I pay $3,000 per month for rent....I don't....I pay $2,000 for a three bedroom which is a reasonable rent. Also cited I was unwi...

    William’s Answer

    You have thirty days from the docketing date of the judgment to file a notice of appeal as a matter of right. The critical thing here is the docket date of the judgment. Contact the clerk of the court to determine the docketing date. If you miss the thirty day deadline then you can seek permission to seek appeal, but you must received the permission of the court to do so.
    The docket date is also important for the filing of post-judgment motions. Several critical post-judgment motions must be filed within ten days of the docket date of the judgment. Others may be filed thereafter; however, the early post-judgment motions are often the most critical.
    You state that you have ordered the audio but do not state whether you ordered the entire trial and if any prior hearing dates were relevant to appeal. There is more to do! The rules of appellate procedure are strict and often unforgiving. You may have represented yourself at the trial court level, but doing so at the appellate level is typically a poor choice. Contact a Massachusetts Appeals Attorney for representation!

    See question 
  • In MA, does filing a responsive pleading in a case submit to jurisdiction/service?

    I am in a case where the defendant claims they do not have a regular place of business where I know they do, and they are challenging service made at that address. They have just personally/pro se filed a responsive pleading in the case though, ch...

    William’s Answer

    You seek legal advice on an issue where the answer can turn on slight variance in the facts. Hire an attorney to review all of the facts so as to properly opine on what you perceive to be the issue (and any others that may be present).

    See question 
  • Are trail court transcripts needed for petition for INTERLOCUTORY review of judgment of divorce nisi?

    Please answer yes or no, thanks!

    William’s Answer

    No. Because an interlocutory appeal must be filed within 30 days of the docket date of the decision being appealed there simply is not time to get the audio transcribed to written form. With that said, interlocutory appeal is the rare exception the ban against piecemeal appeals. You should contact an appeals attorney.

    See question 
  • Can a judge order you not to have an attorney during a civil case?

    Our lawyer was disqualified from representing us. The judge gave us 30 days to find an attorney before moving to trial (civil). We couldn't find one. At that point the judge ordered us not to hire an attorney and forced us to move ahead in the tri...

    William’s Answer

    If you lost at trial then your recourse is to appeal the judgment. There is only a very short window of time to appeal as a matter of right, otherwise you will need to seek permission to appeal. There is also the potential for post-judgment motion activity, which is also time sensitive. In short, contact an appellate attorney immediately to determine your legal rights. As mentioned above, you do not include the pertinent information required.

    See question 
  • Is there any way I can fight back my innocents after being found guilty by the jury's in my trial?

    I was wrongly accused of an A&B charge, but my court appoint lawyer misrepresented me. (Even called me by the wrong name in trail) She did not take my case serious and left out a lot of my evidence in court. She also showed up late which got the j...

    William’s Answer

    Your trial attorney should have advised you of your appellate rights and the need to file a Notice of Appeal. If you have not file a Notice of Appeal, it should be filed immediately. Contact your trial attorney to see if it has been filed. As Attorney Clement stated, contact CPCS immediately to ensure that an appellate attorney appointment is proceeding. Appeals must be handled in a timely manner!

    See question 
  • MOTION TO AMEND JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE NISI...IN PURSUANT TO Mass. R. Civ. P. 59(e) and 60(b).

    What happens when motion gets to Judge? Can this be a cost effective tool to change certain wording in the divorce nisi? Can this be a cost effective tool to review issues bothering on incorrect application of the law? Is it wise to disclose that ...

    William’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    There are procedural time limits to post-judgment motions that you must be aware of and comply with. If you do not have an attorney then you should consult one immediately--particularly regarding the appeal! Perfecting an appeal requires that specific steps be taken in a timely manner. Failure to comply with the rules and procedures can result in your forfeiting your right to appeal (i.e., your opponent can move to dismiss your appeal). As for your questions, post-judgment motions are often dealt with without a hearing so the written material must be compelling. It is much more cost-effective to correct a judgment in the trial court than to pursue appeal; however, that all depends upon what you seek to change. I speak globally, and do not answer the remainder of your questions as the answers are dependent upon the facts of your case and the judgment. Consult an attorney. As for the appeal, consult an appeals lawyer!

    See question 
  • It's been a little over 4 months since my husband's criminal appeal was heard. (Dec. 11, 2014).

    When should we expect a decision? is there a time limit for the judges to decide?

    William’s Answer

    This is a question that should be posed to your husband's appellate attorney. Generally speaking, you should hear soon. There are many factors involved, such as the nature of the appeal and the court in which the appeal is being heard (i.e., Appeals Court verses SJC). For example, in the Appeals Court it generally takes longer for a published opinion to issue (requiring the review of all members of the court) verses an unpublished opinion (by the panel alone). There is also a difference with the level of crime/sentence/novelty of issues. Again, contact your appellate counsel.

    See question 
  • I need to file a Pre-trial written memorandum, I am Pro Se and have no idea how to prepare or where to obtain this document

    I am the petitioner, I have been pursuing this on my own without legal representation and have received little or information from the court system as to what is required. Please help.

    William’s Answer

    Not to be coy, but that is why lawyers are trained in the law. In Massachusetts attorneys are permitted to assist clients on a full service basis (i.e., the whole case until the court permits their withdrawal or the case end, whichever occurs first) or, in many courts, on a limited assistance representation basis (i.e., you can contract for one or more services such as preparing your pretrial memorandum). Contact the court clerk and ask for the names and contact information for lawyers eligible for providing Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) services. The names are likely available online. Alternatively, consider full service representation by a lawyer. You may wish to contact one of the many bar associations offering lawyer referral services (e.g., Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations). If you qualify, you may be eligible for a reduced fee.

    See question 
  • My attorney was late to court. Her tardiness resulted in checking in late, which put our case (contempt) to the back of the pile

    Now, I've been charged with a bill for 8 hrs for court. Had she shown up on time to check in, we've had been seen sooner. Am i responsible to pay for her tardiness?

    William’s Answer

    Nothing in the law is black and white. There is no guarantee on call times, even if you are the first to the courthouse. The system in Massachusetts is very different than, say, New Hampshire. In Massachusetts you are able to get a quick court date, but everyone appears in the morning and waits to be called. My understanding of NH is that cases are assigned time windows (e.g., two hours) in which to appear, but you have a long wait to get a court date (please correct me if I am mistaken). It also depends on the particular judge, the work on for that day, and of course, people who agree to a resolution are heard first (i.e., bump the line). When I was doing trial work I would appear early and wait with everyone else. I have been called first, and I have been called last (after 4:00 p.m.).
    As for your attorney's tardiness--talk with them directly. Ranting on a listserv accomplishes nothing but to agitate you. Attorneys are people too, stuff happens (particularly given the outstanding impact Mother Nature has had over the past six weeks!). Consider this, what if your attorney was tardy for another client because you had an emergency that required immediate attention? How would you feel if your attorney acknowledged your emergency was critical, but you were on your own until they got out of court that day--sorry, got to run! As stated eloquently in an earlier posting--communicate with your lawyer. For all you know their roof may have collapsed on their car and they needed to find alternate transportation to get to court. Communicate--talk, listen, talk, listen.

    See question