Just when I was getting used to using regular white paper for financial statements, the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court has changed the rule again: all financial statements (both long and short) filed in family court are once again required to be printed out on colored paper. The new rule, which went into effect on Monday, April 7, requires that both types of financial statement be printed on pink paper only, and child support guidelines worksheets once again be printed on yellow paper.
There had long been a requirement that all short statements be printed on pink paper, long statements on purple paper, and child support guidelines worksheets on yellow paper. Then last year, the court briefly permitted all statements to be printed on white paper - a sensible move, I thought.
But now fans of colored paper have complained and apparently contend that the use of colored paper will make it easier for court workers to avoid inappropriately putting these financial documents in the public court files. Financial statements are supposed to be kept in separate files, unavailable to the public. The court's press release says "requiring that the forms be printed on colored paper will assist our staff and judges in identifying the forms in the case folder and that they remain unavailable for public inspection."
Colored paper will be no guarantee. In fact, the only financial statements I have ever found to have been wrongly placed in public court files were in fact on colored paper. Of course, that's probably just because the white paper rule only lasted a short time - eventually I'm sure I will find a white financial statement form in a public file. Still, as a realist, I expect to continue on occasion to find colored financial statement forms in public court files, only now, thanks to the new rule, they should all appear to be pink, and never purple.
If you have read this far, I am very sorry if you feel you have completely wasted your time!
For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.