DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

February 28, 2013

Check the spelling before the tattooing starts

About the Law
Andrew Myers

---- — My friend got tattooed, but there’s a spelling mistake. At first, the parlor admitted fault and promised to take care of it.

But now, they want her to pay half, claiming it wasn’t their fault. After one laser therapy session, they backed out.

Instead of saying “True Love” the tattoo says, “True Loev.”

She is embarrassed. What laws can help her?

There’s no actual law requiring it, but the better practice by tattoo parlors is to present a proof before any work.

This sample is signed by both the parlor and the customer, and protects both in the event of problems.

Check any paperwork, like a signed consent form, for any provisions that might help.

Your friend should ask for formal discussions with management. This is a clear spelling mistake and not some unconventional spelling of a name or other unusual word. I wouldn’t think they’d want this to be seen by a small claims judge. But, that’s your remedy if they won’t resolve this.

Finally, there’s a little known regulation in New Hampshire that states: “The licensee shall not accept as a client any individual who appears to be under the influence of intoxicating beverages or chemical substances.” So, if this was the case and there were witnesses, this might be an “out.”

My wife and I live separate lives under the same roof. We’ve been doing this for two years.

We just received an insurance settlement for a car accident both for injuries and total damage to my car. I want to split the money 50/50 and have her sign an agreement where we both agree we won’t go after each other’s money in a divorce. Will this hold up in divorce court?

This easy solution may or may not hold water in the long run. It appears you’re ultimately headed for divorce court or, as it’s now called, Family Court.

Divorce courts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts have authority to equitably divide all property of the parties, however or whenever acquired.

Courts look at the parties’ property as a whole and then make an equitable distribution. Whether property is individually or jointly owned, it is still considered a marital asset.

So, the answer depends on what else the two of you own. Distribution would be made in the context of all property, and the car accident settlement would be subject to review.

In one case, the N.H. Supreme Court looked at some fairly complex trusts that were drafted to “protect” various assets against a divorce. The court pierced the trusts and equitably divided the property, disregarding the trust instruments.

So, if sophisticated legal documents can be penetrated by a court of equity, your agreement is on the table.

Only in a jointly filed uncontested divorce, in which you both agree to all terms at that time, would the agreement then most likely go without review.

Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to andrew@attorney-myers.com.