Julie Cunningham

Julie CunninghamJulie was born and raised in Milton, Massachusetts. After graduating from Milton High School in 1987, Julie attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Julie went on to enroll in the Certified Paralegal Program at Northeastern University where she obtained her certification as a Paralegal in the spring of 1992. Her first job as a paralegal was with the Law Firm of Barry S. Fox and Associates in Needham in July 1992, where she learned the ins and outs of real estate closings. In the summer of 1995, she took a paralegal position with Torney, O’Malley, Mahoney and Jones in Quincy where she worked for the next five years as the sole paralegal to five attorneys. Focusing on real estate, estate planning and personal injury. In the spring of 2000, Julie took some time off start a family. She had twins in the summer of 2000. Julie reentered the paralegal field in 2006 at the law firm of Gariepy and Ivimey, LLP in Pembroke, whose focus was divorce and medical malpractice. In the summer of 2012, Gariepy and Ivimey, LLP dissolved. Julie was offered a paralegal position with Attorney Moody in October of 2012 and has been happy here since.

Julie is married, has two children and loves sports.

Recent Posts

A Declaration of Homestead can provide protection for a multi-use property – Appeals Court upholds lower court decision.

Back in April of this year Attorney Christopher Knoth posted a blog reporting on a Bankruptcy court decision where the Homestead protections pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 188 were found to be available to a mixed-use property.  Last week the Bankruptcy Appeals Court confirmed that decision making several noteworthy points.

The Court specifically noted that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had admonished (in a topic related decision) that the intended public policy and the purpose of the Homestead Act should cause courts to construe the homestead exemptions liberally in favor of debtors.  Consequently the Court held that the mere use of a residence for non-residential purposes, at least when the predominant purpose is residential, does not, by itself, preclude an exemption for the Property.

Although counsel for the appellant argued that any non-residential use of a structure would exempt it from the protections of the Homestead statute (citing that the statute itself specifically defined the properties which could enjoy the protection) the Court firmly rejected that argument (invoking our presently undefeated local professional football franchise to illustrate): “If a homeowner in Foxborough were to rent out her driveway to Patriots fans on Gillette Stadium game-days . . . it defies intuition to think she no longer lives in a single-family dwelling.”

It is still important to note that the Court did not mandate a hard and fast rule but rather indicated that evaluations (to determine a property’s “primary” use) would ultimately be made on a “case by case” basis.

This case provides another clear demonstration that a Declaration of Homestead can be an invaluable protection for Massachusetts homeowners.  The current Homestead statute even allows its filing for a property held in Trust.  Additionally, the Massachusetts Homestead Law increases (doubles) protection amounts for the disabled as well as for homeowners 62 years of age or older.

Contact our office to make sure you have recorded a Declaration of Homestead for your principal residence in Massachusetts!

Attorney Harold F. Moody, Jr.

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