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Massachusetts Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 4.1: Attachment

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(a) Availability of Attachment. Subsequent to the commencement of any action under these rules, real estate, goods and chattels and other property may, in the manner and to the extent provided by law, but subject to the requirements of this rule, be attached and held to satisfy the judgment for damages and costs which the plaintiff may recover. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(a)

(b) Writ of Attachment: Form. The writ of attachment shall bear the signature or facsimile signature of the clerk, be under the seal of the court, be in the name of the Commonwealth, contain the name of the court, the names and residences (if known) of the parties and the date of the complaint, bear teste of the first justice of the court to which it is returnable who is not a party; state the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney (if any), be directed to the sheriffs of the several counties or their deputies, or any other person duly authorized by law, and command them to attach the real estate or personal property of the defendant to the value of an amount approved by the court, and to make due return of the writ with their doings thereon. The writ of attachment shall also state the name of the justice who entered the order approving attachment of property and the date thereof. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(b)

(c) Same: Service. The writ of attachment may be procured in blank from the clerk and shall be filled out by the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney as provided in subdivision (b) of this rule, either of whom shall deliver to the officer making the attachment the original writ of attachment upon which to make his return and a copy thereof.

No property may be attached unless such attachment for a specified amount is approved by order of the court. Except as provided in subdivision (f) of this rule, the order of approval may be entered only after notice to the defendant and hearing and upon a finding by the court that there is a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiff will recover judgment, including interest and costs, in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the attachment over and above any liability insurance shown by the defendant to be available to satisfy the judgment.

An action in which attachment of property is sought may be commenced only by filing the complaint with the court, together with a motion for approval of the attachment. The motion shall be supported by affidavit or affidavits meeting the requirements set forth in subdivision (h) of this rule. Except as provided in subdivision (f) of this rule, the motion and affidavit or affidavits with the notice of hearing thereon shall be served upon the defendant in the manner provided by Rule 4, at the same time the summons and complaint are served upon him.

Inclusion of a copy of the complaint in the notice of hearing shall not constitute personal service of the complaint upon the defendant. The notice shall inform the defendant that by appearing to be heard on the motion for approval of an attachment he will not thereby submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court nor waive service of the complaint and summons upon him in the manner provided by law.

Except as provided in subdivision (e) of this rule, any attachment of property shall be made within 30 days after the order approving the writ of attachment. When attachments of any kind of property are made subsequent to service of the summons and complaint upon the defendant, a copy of the writ of attachment with the officer's endorsement thereon of the date or dates of the attachments shall be promptly served upon the defendant in the manner provided by Rule 5. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(c)

(d) Attachment on Counterclaim, Cross-Claim or Third-Party Complaint. An attachment may be made by a party bringing a counterclaim, a cross-claim, or a third-party complaint in the same manner as upon an original claim. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(d)

(e) Subsequent Attachment. Either before or after expiration of the applicable period prescribed in subdivision (c) of this rule for making attachments, the court may, subject to the provisions of subdivision (f) of this rule, order another or an additional attachment of real estate, goods, and chattels or other property. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(e)

(f) Ex Parte Hearings on Property Attachments. An order approving attachment of property for a specific amount may be entered ex parte upon findings by the court that there is a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiff will recover judgment in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the attachment over and above any liability insurance known or reasonably believed to be available, and that either (i) the person of the defendant is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court in the action, or (ii) there is a clear danger that the defendant if notified in advance of attachment of the property will convey it, remove it from the state or will conceal it, or (iii) there is immediate danger that the defendant will damage or destroy the property to be attached. The motion for such ex parte order shall be accompanied by a certificate by the plaintiff or his attorney of the amount of any liability insurance which he knows or has reason to believe will be available to satisfy any judgment against the defendant in the action. The motion, in the filing of which the plaintiff's attorney shall be subject to the obligations of Rule 11, shall be supported by affidavit or affidavits meeting the requirements set forth in subdivision (h) of this rule. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(f)

(g) Dissolution or Modification of Ex Parte Attachments. On two days' notice to the plaintiff or on such shorter notice as the court may prescribe, a defendant whose real or personal property has been attached pursuant to an ex parte order entered under subdivision (f) of this rule may appear without thereby submitting his person to the jurisdiction of the court, and move the dissolution or modification of the attachment, and in that event the court shall proceed to hear and determine such motion as expeditiously as the ends of justice require. At such hearing the plaintiff shall have the burden of justifying any finding in the ex parte order which the defendant has challenged by affidavit. Nothing herein shall be construed to abolish or limit any means for obtaining dissolution, modification or discharge of an attachment that is otherwise available by law. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(g)

(h) Requirements for Affidavits. Affidavits required by this rule shall set forth specific facts sufficient to warrant the required findings and shall be upon the affiant's own knowledge, information or belief; and, so far as upon information and belief, shall state that he believes this information to be true. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(h)

(i) Form of Hearing. At any hearing held under this rule, either party may adduce testimony and may call witnesses (including any opposing party). The court, for cause shown on the evidence so adduced, may make such interlocutory orders concerning disposition of the property sought to be attached as justice may require. Identical to Mass.R.Civ.P 4.1(i)