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Monday, September 28, 2015

New Hampshire Supreme Court Weighs in on Treatment of Taxes in Divorce

The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued two orders this month involving the treatment of taxes in a divorce.  First, the Court upheld prior case law stating that in order for a spouse to be able to receive consideration for taxes it would pay if property were to be sold, the sale has to be certain and imminent following the divorce.  Typically this scenario occurs when one spouse is awarded the marital home and the other spouse is awarded real property or other property such as a stock portfolio.  The spouse receiving the marital home will not incur taxes in most instances (although not all, depending on the price of sale), because the sale of a marital home is not generally a taxable event, whereas the sale of commercial property or a vacation home will generate a tax.

In the second case, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that tax debt is marital debt, the division of which can be ordered by the Family Court.  In fact, it was ordered by the Court that the Family Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the allocation of this kind of marital debt.

As you can see, tax treatment is an important consideration in crafting both your mediated agreements and proposals to the court.  At Brennan Lenehan, we can assist you with this legal issue as well as all of your divorce needs.  


Monday, September 14, 2015

Divorce Planning v. Estate Planning

            Protecting your assets in the event of a divorce can be a daunting task.  Some couples prepare estate plan documents thinking this will “protect” their assets and ensure that their intent as to the distribution of those assets will be clear.  This is not always the case in the event of a divorce.  For example, creating an irrevocable trust with your spouse for the benefit of your spouse and children may “protect” your assets in some respects, but it may not necessarily shield your assets from equitable distribution at the time of divorce.

            In order to protect your assets in the event of a divorce, a pre-nuptial agreement is typically used.  Parties sign this agreement prior to the marriage and set out their intent as to their respective assets upon the dissolution of the marriage.  In the 2013 case of Estate of Wilber, 165 N.H. 246, 248 (2013), the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that post-nuptial agreements could be enforced in the State of New Hampshire.  Married couples may now agree as to how their assets should be distributed at the time of divorce and have those agreements enforced by the court.    

We here at Brennan Lenehan can assist you with your “divorce planning” needs.  We understand that parties entering into a marriage do not do so with the intent of divorcing their spouse and that the protection of one’s assets in the event of a divorce can be a very sensitive subject for couples.  We therefore provide the utmost concern and care for our clients in assisting them with this process.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL

              ‘Tis the season!  September is here and our children are off to college.  For all the uncertainties of a new chapter in their lives, one thing is certain:  college is expensive!  How will it be paid?  Did you start planning for the payment of college at conception?  Did you open 529 accounts?  Or, did you both agree that you would find or scrape up the money when the time came to send them to college?

               When an unexpected life event happens, such as a divorce, parents are often at a loss for how they will pay for college.   As of August, 2013, the law now provides parents with the option to address how college expenses will be paid in their final decree of divorce.  If parents agree to allocate college expenses in some fashion, the court merely requires that the parents also identify whether the requirement to pay for college is a modifiable or a non-modifiable event.

               RSA 461-A:21 provides:

Parents may agree to contribute to their child’s college expense or other educational expenses beyond the completion of high school as part of a stipulated decree, signed by both parents and approved by the court.  The agreed-on contribution may be made by one or both parents.  The agreement may provide for contributions to an account to save for college, for the use of an asset, or for payment of education expense as incurred.  Any such agreement shall specify the amount of the contribution, a percentage, or a formula to determine the amount of the contribution.

               Regarding modification, RSA 461-A:22 states:

Every agreement made under RSA 461-A:21 shall state whether the agreement either is modifiable or is not modifiable.  To qualify as not modifiable, the agreement shall state a specific dollar amount to be contributed by either or both parents.  If the parents’ agreement states that it is modifiable, the legal test for modification shall be a substantial change in circumstances that was not foreseeable when the agreement was signed.

               The Court did not always have the authority to approve or enforce the payment of college expense.  In fact, between February 2, 2004 and August 27, 2013, the Court had no authority to address the payment of college in a divorce case.  Prior to February 2, 2004 the court had the authority to order an allocation of payment of college expenses.

               Therefore when it comes to the payment of college expenses, it is important to check the date of the order of your final decree of divorce.  You may find that your spouse is required to assist in the payment of college expense.

               At Brennan Lenehan, we can analyze your court orders to see if there is a requirement for the payment of college expenses for your children by either you, your former spouse or both of you.  We are happy to assist you in what is likely to be one of the most important events in your children’s lives. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gary S. Lenehan: Best Lawyers' 2016 Manchester Criminal Defense: White-Collar "Lawyer of the Year!"

The accolades continue to roll in for Brennan Lenehan lawyers. Once again Gary Lenehan , of counsel, to our firm has been named to the ranks of The Best Lawyers in America! Best Lawyers have also named Gary as  the  Manchester Criminal Defense: White Collar "Lawyer of the Year!" Congratulations Gary!

Gary's recognition is the result of his years of experience and hard work defending people who have been accused by the government. All of us here at Brennan Lenehan share Gary's work ethic and fight every day for the rights of our clients.

If you need a lawyer who is prepared, professional and persuasive call Brennan Lenehan!


Monday, August 17, 2015

Brennan Lenehan Partners Named Best Lawyers

We would like to congratulate our Partners, Kathleen HickeyWilliam Quinn and Michael Iacopino for being named best lawyers!

Attorney Quinn has been named as one of the 10 Best in New Hampshire for 2015 by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys,  

Attorney Hickey has been elected for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Family Law,

Attorney Iacopino has been elected for inclusion in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Brennan Lenehan would like to Congratulate Attorney Rancourt on her Appointment to the Judicial Conduct Committee

We would like to congratulate our Partner, Shareholder and friend, Attorney Jaye L. Rancourt on her appointment by the New Hampshire Bar Association to serve as an attorney member of the Judicial Conduct Committee.  Attorney Rancourt will be replace Wilfred L. Sanders, Jr., Esq. whose term expired on July 1, 2015.  The term of her appointment will expire on July 1, 2018.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Attorney Quinn to Discuss Grandparent Visitation at NBI's Advanced Family Law CLE

On June 12, 2015, Attorney William J. Quinn will present on several advanced family law topics at NBI’s Advanced Family Law CLE.  Among his topics of discussion will be the matter of grandparent visitation rights in New Hampshire.  The ability of grandparents to petition the courts for reasonable visitation with a grandchild is recognized under New Hampshire law where the child’s nuclear family dissolves.  The rights of grandparents however are subject to limitation, most notably, the presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children.  Litigating the matter of grandparent visitation therefore can be complex and involve a myriad of legal issues.  To learn more about grandparent visitation in the State of New Hampshire, you may register for the Advanced Family law CLE here.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Attorneys Quinn & Hickey will Present at the NBI Advanced Family Law CLE

On June 12, 2015, Brennan Lenehan Partners, William J. Quinn and Kathleen A. Hickey, will present at the National Business Institute's Advanced Family Law CLE.  Attorneys Quinn & Hickey will present on topics such as child support, alimony and non-traditional family structures.  For more information about the NBI Advanced Family Law Seminar, please click here.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

IACOPINO LEADS CRIMINAL DEFENSE BAR IN OPPOSITION TO FELONIES FIRST PROPOSAL

 

The requirement of a probable cause hearing . . .  protects 100 percent of felony arrestees 100 percent of the time. Felonies First eliminates that protection and diminishes justice.

 

For centuries people accused of felony crimes in New Hampshire have had an automatic right to a probable cause hearing. The burden of proof at probable cause hearings, although not a high one, is on the prosecution. A bill pending before the legislature effectively eliminates that automatic right and turns the burden of proof on its head.

Brennan Lenehan’s president, Mike Iacopino, has led the state’s criminal defense bar in opposition to the “Felonies First” proposal. The proposal, authored by Hon. Tina Nadeau, Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court and backed by most of the judicial hierarchy, effectively eliminates the right of an accused citizen to have an adversarial probable cause hearing after arrest. Iacopino has testified before the legislature and authored an Op-Ed opposing the measure.

Under the “Felonies First” proposal a person accused of a felony must “challenge probable cause” by asserting “a claim that a material element of the charge is without factual basis or that the charge is legally insufficient to constitute a felony offense.” Iacopino’s Op-Ed describes how this proposal eliminates dues process. Iacopino explains:

Such burden-shifting is incongruent with the notion that the state should bear the burden of proof in criminal proceedings. Requiring an accused person to allege the absence of a factual basis is also inconsistent with the right to remain silent as guaranteed under both state and federal constitutions. Moreover, even if the accused chooses to forgo his right to remain silent at this early stage of the proceeding, the court is not required to provide a hearing. SB 124 requires only that the court “determine whether a hearing is necessary to assist the court in its determination of probable cause.” Despite claims to the contrary, SB 124 does not mandate a probable cause hearing upon request of the accused. SB 124 relegates the important historical constitutional protections afforded by probable cause hearings to a matter of convenience for a judge.

Mike will continue to fight to protect due process rights for all of New Hampshire’s citizens. You can help by urging your state representative to say NO to SB 124. Tell them that Felonies First puts due process last.

 

Op-Ed: https://www.nhbar.org/publications/display-news-issue.asp?id=7784

 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thank you from BLIH & Bill Brennan

Brennan, Lenehan, Iacopino & Hickey and Bill Brennan would like to thank all the people who contributed to the American Red Cross Blood Drive in Bill Brennan’s honor on February 20, 2015. It was a huge success!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Attorney Jaye Rancourt Speaks on Behalf of the ABA in Opposing a Rule Change in Child Neglect Cases

N.H. Supreme Court Hears Opposition to Rule Change in Child Neglect Cases 

Yesterday, the New Hampshire Supreme Court heard from attorneys who urged the state Supreme Court to reject a proposal that would limit free legal counsel for impoverished parents accused of child abuse or neglect.

The proposal would require the appointed attorney for a parent alleged of abuse and/or neglect of his/her child to withdraw from a case following an initial dispositional hearing, unless there was a court order for continued representation.

Presently, indigent parents alleged to have neglected or abused their children are statutorily entitled to court appointed counsel.  Prior to 2011, indigent parents were given access to counsel, but in 2011 lawmakers did away with the statute requiring that any parent accused of abusing or neglecting their child in a child protection case be appointed an attorney to represent them.

In July 2013, the statutory authority requiring court appointment of counsel for indigent parents was reinstated after a state Supreme Court ruling in which the justices found that parents have a constitutional right to counsel in some neglect and abuse cases.  

Proponents of the new rule hope it will establish a middle ground.  Others however feel that the new rule is violative of the statutory rights of indigent parents.  

Shareholder and director of Brennan Lenehan, Jaye Rancourt, speaking on behalf of the Bar Association at yesterday's hearing, said: “Very often an attorney is a counselor, is a social worker, is a trusted adviser for a client. And if you remove the attorney after the disposition, you’re removing the role of that trusted adviser.”

Read more about the proposed rule change and yesterday's hearing here.

 


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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The receipt or viewing of this information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.