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Jason V. Owens

Jason Owens’s Answers

56 total


  • How long does it take to establish residency so can file for divorce & child support. I do not have a place of my own yet and we

    had to move because loosing house in P.A. due to non payment of mortgage. I have no job as of yet and husband stateing has no money either.

    Jason’s Answer

    The short and straight-forward answer is that you must reside in Massachusetts for one year, and your child for at least six months, before you can file for divorce in Massachusetts. While there are exceptions to these rules, they include complex legal concepts that lay persons generally struggle to understand and follow -- and any drafting or procedural mistake you make (based on advice you received over the internet) can have a incurable negative impact on your case moving forward. You need to sit down with an experienced family law attorney if you would like to file for divorce sooner.

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  • How would I file a subpeona for financial statements from my exhusband? His attorney has just filed and served one on me.

    have been divorced for 7 years exhusband and his attorney continue to attempt to modify the final orders and QDROS have refused to turn over monies due to me etc they continue to subpeona my financial records

    Jason’s Answer

    It simply isn't ethical for a lawyer to try to instruct on you drafting complex legal documents such as subpoenas and qualified domestic relations orders over the internet. You may be able to get some help from the lawyer of the day at your local probate court, but what you really need to do is consult with an attorney.

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  • Can my ex-wife's new husband's income be considered in child support?

    There is an order of joint physical and legal custody in place and the guidelines are being used for child support. The new husband's income has bettered the financial situation of my ex-wife which has a trickle down effect to my child and that...

    Jason’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The answer, in my opinion, is: it depends. It lay within a judge's sound discretion to attribute income to a party whose financial position is dramatically affected by the party's new and wealthy spouse. The key word here is "dramatically". If the husband of your former wife is very wealthy, and his wealth is expended in dramatic and easily quantifiable ways on your former wife, such as the purchase of new cars, extremely valuable jewelry, lavish vacations, real estate purchased in the wife's or both spouses' names, and/or other forms of extremely clear and significant "gifts" that measurably and noticeably increase your former wife's personal wealth, then a good lawyer could probably equate such gifts to capital investments, trust benefits, or other forms of unearned income that the child support guidelines define as income available for the payment of child support. This scenario is unusual, of course. In most cases, a new husband's financial contribution is comparable to a roommate; that is a person who helps reduce your former wife's expenses by splitting costs like rent and utilities. Judge's don't attribute income to people who have roommates -- or to those whose new spouses help lower their living expenses in undramatic ways. Child support is a function of a party's measurable income, not their expenses or the trickle down economic benefits of a new spouse.

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  • Can i get custody back of my 16 yr old daughter from her father if she wants to move back with me..we have joint custody?

    My daughter had previously lived with me up until just 7 months ago. She moved with my sister in virginia...me and the father agreed to this. She only stayed 3 months and then decided to move wth her father. We both also agreed to this. Its been a...

    Jason’s Answer

    I am not sure that any jurisdictional issues exist between MA and VA, where your sister would only have legal standing in VA if she brought a guardianship action, and both parents live in MA. That being a said, you want your daughter to move back to Massachusetts as soon as possible. The reality is that despite a 16-year old's status as a "minor", Massachusetts law recognizes that 16-year old residents have certain "adult" legal rights, such as the right to operate a motor vehicle or drop out of high school. Indeed, the Probate Court's authority is generally limited to making orders affecting the parties rather than the parties' children. Your former could file a Contempt against you if your daughter refuses to attend "visits" at his home, but a Probate Court judge would likely find that you were not in Contempt when you have no way to force a 16-year old child to do much of anything. Indeed, the only real legal means for compelling a 16-year old child directly is through the juvenile court, under the Child In Need of Services (CHINS) law. However, even CHINS is of questionable value with a 16-year old, when a child this age has the legal right to find substantial employment, purchase a car, and drop out of high school. So...does the Probate Court retain jurisdiction over your daughter's "custody"? Yes. But your daughter's preferences are very, very important too. The point is: your daughter is very nearly an adult, and the practical power of a judge to tell her where to live and what to do decreases significantly every day, even if the Court retains the technical authority to determine custody until she turns 18.

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  • Can I legally make my biological father pay for half of my college tuition?

    When I was 5 there was a paternity test, at 11 I was actually introduced to my father. At 16, my mother kicked me out and my father persuaded me to tell the judge that I wanted to live with him. I ended up running away at 17 because of the how d...

    Jason’s Answer

    Given your age, there is no conventional means for obtaining the type of retroactive child support you are seeking. In Massachusetts, however, the Probate and Family Courts have broad equitable jurisdiction. I would recommend that you read the case of Santagate v. Tower. In that case, a mother was able to obtain "restitution" payments for unpaid child support from her children's father many years after the ordinary deadlines for filing had passed. Filing a complaint in equity is no easy task, and there are no assurances that your request would be approved by a judge. Nevertheless, you ought to read the case and compare it to your situation.

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  • We filed for an uncontested divorce in MA, however our court date will be a problem for him - he's in jail.

    He's in jail and I don't know when he will be available. Will the divorce be put on hold because he is not free to go to our court date?

    Jason’s Answer

    Many judges would probably accept a signed Affidavit from him explaining why he cannot appear in court and, most importantly, describing in detail how he has read the Separation Agreement and your Financial Statement, understands it, and he believes it is a fair and reasonable resolution of all issues relating to the divorce. I have used similar Affidavits when a client is overseas, in the hospital, or unable to appear a final hearing to enter an agreement for some other reason.

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  • I am trying to get custody of my 2 1/2 yr old niece. Her mother has agreed to give me custody . we live in mass.

    My niece wants to give us custody of her daughter. She can't provide a good stable life for her and knows that we can provide a better life for her. We are all in agreement regarding what everyone's roles will be. We just don't know how to make th...

    Jason’s Answer

    Contact the Probate and Family Court in your county for information about seeking a Temporary Guardianship of a Minor. You should know that short of adopting the child, there is really no way to "set in stone" a guardianship. If and when your niece withdraws her consent, or if the father surfaces seeking custody, your guardianship will be challenged. That being said, the first step is a Temporary Guardianship, and that is where you should start.

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  • ANY LEGAL CUSTODY OR PHYSICAL RIGHTS OVER CHILD TRANSFERED FROM RHODE ISLAND TO MASSACHUSETS?

    MY SON WAS BORN IN RHODE ISLAND OUT OF WEDLOCK. NOW LIVES IN MASSACHUSETS.THEY GAVE MY SON TO MY MY EX GIRLFRIEND. SHE NOW HAS PHYSICAL AND LEGAL CUSTODY OVER HIM TEMPORAROLY.BECAUSE HE WAS BORN IN RHODE ISLAND,DO I HAVE ANY LEGAL RIGHTS? HE NOW L...

    Jason’s Answer

    Yes, you have custody and visitation rights. You just have to come to MA to exercise those rights. Please be aware that interstate jurisdiction over child support is very different from jurisdiction over custody/visitation. Massachusetts probably has jurisdiction over custody/visitation, but if there is a child support order in Rhode Island, then Rhode Island should retain jurisdiction over child support. Again, assuming there is a RI child support order, you should not agree to Massachusetts taking jurisdiction over child support unless you are prepared to pay child support under the Massachusetts guidelines (which are very, VERY different from the Rhode Island guidelines). You can absolutely go to Massachusetts and seek visitation or custody in a Massachusetts court without it affecting a Rhode Island child support order; however, you need to be quite careful in doing so, as you will likely be encouraged to transfer to child support to MA by probation officers and even the judge at various points.

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  • Is it possible to get a change of venue on a child custody/support case in Mass?

    I am wondering how easy/not easy it may be to get a change of venue on a child custody/support case. All custody and support has been determined some time ago,however, there may be need to go back in to court. The mother has moved to the NH bo...

    Jason’s Answer

    The key is whether mother also agrees to change venue to the same court you would like to have the case heard in. It is fairly rare for venue to be changed without both parties agreeing, since a judge is likely to view the single party's request as a form of "forum shopping" - i.e. trying to get a new judge or gain some strategic advantage by changing courts. If you both agree on a specific court you'd like to move the case to, then talk to the staff at the court that presently has venue about the process for a transfer.

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  • I recieved a judgement on child support,and the child suport work sheet was made with false numbers.how can the courts do this?

    I make $187 a week,I supplied the courts with my taxes,my most recent pay check.My sons father makes $1580 a week.(he is seeking child support) His lawyer made out the guideline sheet with out me present,and put me down as $400 a week,and the fath...

    Jason’s Answer

    There are many, many arguments that attorneys employ - and that are supported under the law - through which they "impute" (i.e. assign) income to an opposing party that exceeds what the party's paystub or tax documents say. There are also many, many strategic issues involved in child support. For example: did you submit your own child support guideline worksheet to the court, with your own numbers on it? There is a reason that your son's father's attorney submitted a guideline worksheet: he wanted the judge to use it. Did you file a Motion or an Opposition to Father's Motion detailing your numbers and argument?

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