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Christopher W. Vaughn-Martel

Christopher Vaughn-Martel’s Answers

2,708 total


  • My ex filed a modification and got a huge percentage of parenting time at temporary orders based on false statements

    My ex and I have joint physical and legal custody. I moved about fifteen miles further away and now live in a much bigger, nicer place which the kids enjoy. He filed a modification requesting to have the kids during the school year for all weekday...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Appealing the temporary orders is not going to work and generally annoys judges. Instead, be better prepared for your final hearing and anticipate the type of evidence you will need to prove your version of the facts. I also think a GAL can assist in sorting out misunderstandings and provide guidance to judges where the parties are alleging completely different realities.

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  • I would like to adopt my 16 year old step daughter.

    my step daughter is 16 years old. Her biological father left my wife before she was born to state unknown and has never been heard from since. He has never had any contact with her ever and has never known him. He has never made any attempt to ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    You may file a petition for adoption in Massachusetts. Because the child is over the age of 14, she will also need to sign and join in the adoption petition. You will need to terminate the biological father's parental rights as part of this process, and there are a number of ways in which that can occur. In this case, you may be ordered by a court to publish notice and make certain other attempts to locate the biological father as part of the process. I strongly suggest that you retain counsel to represent you in the process. Good luck!

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  • Does attorney client privilege apply to communications with lawyers who you tried to recruit but who did not take your case ?

    In a request to produce documents during discovery in a federal civil suit I have been asked to produce all documents received and/ or transmitted by me with refer or relate in any way to the subject matter of the litigation. At several points alo...

    Christopher’s Answer

    If you communicated with an attorney for the purposes of seeking legal advice - even if the attorney was never hired - the communication is protected by attorney-client privilege. This assumes the privilege was not otherwise compromised or waived by you.

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  • Can a individual person put a lien a someone's property in Massachusetts?

    I have been helping my daughter pay her mortgage to keep her children in their home, I can show on paper that I have taken funds from my IRA to help. Do I have a right to put a lien on her property so if she has to sell I will get my money before...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Thanks for your question.

    The answer is not yet. Right now you probably have a dispute as to whether the funds were a gift or whether they were a loan. In order to tie up property and ensure payment, you need to establish liability for the debt in court and obtain a judgment. If they were a gift, you are probably out of luck. Do you have a writing indicating the funds were provided as a loan to keep them afloat? You may have to file suit against your daughter and son-in-law and obtain a judgment that you can record against the property. The court will not be pleased if you are simply colluding with your daughter to tie up marital funds.

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  • Do Housing Court Counterclaims have to be less than $7000? What happens if they're over $7k?

    Would the entire docket be transferred to Small Claims Court or just the tenant's counter-claim portion? If it was partially transferred how would that affect the actual eviction process? Also, are tenants ever responsible for a landlord's att...

    Christopher’s Answer

    First, there is no jurisdiction dollar limit in the housing court.

    Second, I'm not sure why the case would be transferred to small claims unless the housing court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. You need to take your paperwork to an attorney to assist you.

    Tenants can be responsible for a landlord's attorney fee if the parties agreed to same in a written lease agreement.

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  • Moving out of state

    My husband and I recently got married in Massachusetts, we also just had a baby. I have a son who's 4 from a previous relationship. His dad pays his child support but lost all visitation rights through the courts. My husband got a job working in N...

    Christopher’s Answer

    An attorney would have to review your paperwork to find out whether your son's father's parental rights have been terminated. Loss of visitation does not mean termination of parental rights. Depending on the facts, you should obtain written permission or permission from the court. In the event that your current husband is inclined to become a legal parent to your 4 year old, and the biological father is willing to consent, it would probably be cheaper and much more beneficial to have your husband adopt the child. An adoption would forever create a legal parent child relationship between your 4 year old and your husband, and would terminate the biological father's parental rights. That would permit you and your husband to make decisions on behalf of the child without interference and without the need of courts going forward.

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  • Handwritten will in Massachusetts

    What are the requirements for a handwritten will to be valid in Massachusetts?

    Christopher’s Answer

    All of the requirements of a will are the same, regardless if the will is handwritten, typed on a typewriter, or on a computer. If you have questions about validity, or need assistance in probating the will, make an appointment with an attorney.

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  • I won a small claims suit (3,400$). Can i demand a bank check rather than a personal check?

    i don't trust the person i won the suit from. Can i demand a bank check? or do i have to accept any payment they make? If she does only give me a personal check and it bounces what are my options?

    Christopher’s Answer

    Congratulations on your victory!

    If the person is willing to pay you, you can gamble and take the personal check. A bank check is always better! You cannot demand form of payment.

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  • When determining estate gross value do you include joint bank account if account is under surviving owners social security numb

    Number also if tod stock do those also have to be listed in gross estate value

    Christopher’s Answer

    You probably want to have an attorney assist you in carrying out your duties as personal representative. Some items are included in the person's "taxable estate" for IRS purposes and not included in the person's probate estate for state probate purposes. As the others have said, you would include 50% or 100% of a joint account, depending on the facts, and you want to use stock values as close to the date of death as possible.

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  • How do I find out which type of attorney to talk to and locating one that will listen to my story?

    My story ends with the death of my son June 28, 2014 and my granddaughter being taken out of state by her mother afterwards. DCYF was involved neglected every aspect of the case. My son was also hospitalized on several occasions for suicidle attem...

    Christopher’s Answer

    I'm sorry that you are facing an impossibly difficult situation and for the loss of your son. I can't imagine.

    Is it that you can't find an attorney to consult with on your case, or that you can't find an attorney to consult with on your case *for free*. If you are willing to pay for someone's time, just like your car mechanic or dentis or cable company, you will find them eager to help.

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