Amaral & Associates, P.C. - Divorce, Family Law

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Financial Planning For and During a Divorce

financial planning divorce financial planning during a divorce Financial Planning For and During a Divorce Financial Planning 1

A divorce brings about many changes in a person’s life. One of the most significant changes is the financial impact of a divorce. Spouses go from having a combined household with (usually) two separate incomes, to living apart, and supporting themselves on their own. If you are contemplating a divorce, or have already filed for divorce, there are different actions you can take to plan for your own financial future after a divorce.

Create a Budget:

Review your household expenses to see what your weekly/monthly expenses come out to. In addition to including the usual expenses (i.e. mortgage/rent, utilities, heat, cable TV, telephone, groceries, clothing, etc.), don’t forget to include other typical expenses, such as uninsured medical expenses, motor vehicle expenses, child care, vacation and entertainment, education costs for yourself and your children.

Once you have your budget, look at what your income is, and what it is likely to be at the end of the divorce. Don’t … Read More »



How to Ask Your Fiancé for a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial Agreement asking fiance for prenuptial agreement How to Ask Your Fiancé for a Prenuptial Agreement Prenuptial Agreement

Congratulations! You’re engaged. You’re on your way to walking down the aisle on the happiest day of your life. There’s a lot to do to plan for the wedding. Find a location, book a caterer, find a dress, pick out a cake, and oh so much more. But there’s one more thing engaged couples should think of, and that is a prenuptial agreement.

Although the idea of asking your fiancé for a prenuptial agreement can feel like it is killing the romance and the flutter of preparing for your wedding day, it is a wise thing to consider, to protect each other for after you say “I do.” With divorce rates hovering around 60%, a prenuptial agreement is a tool to protect yourself in the even that “I do” turns into “I don’t.”

But how should you approach this topic with your fiancé?

First, start discussing the idea of a prenuptial agreement shortly after you get … Read More »



‘Happy Valentine’s Day. I Want a Divorce.’

'Happy Valentine's Day. I Want a Divorce.' 'Happy Valentine's Day. I Want a Divorce.' valentines day divorceValentine’s Day is approaching — and it turns out the weeks leading up to this most romantic of holidays also mark the highpoint of “divorce season.”

While there’s no national database tracking divorce filings, anecdotally, attorneys report that January and February tend to be the busiest months of the year in terms of divorce inquiries.

Why? In large part it’s a holiday hangover. A recent poll by my divorce mediation company, showed that one in 12 people (and one in eight women!) are considering divorce during the holidays. And as soon as the holidays are over, many make it their New Year’s resolution to begin again and start divorce proceedings.

I’ve worked in family law for 12 years and without fail, my phone starts ringing off the hook on January 2nd. Most start by asking for the lay of the land — they want to know their options.

Unfortunately, most people still think of divorce as the 1980s War of the Roses scenario, where each party … Read More »



Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act: When Does my Alimony Obligation Terminate?

Alimony Obligation Terminate Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act: When Does my Alimony Obligation Terminate? alimony webIn March 2012, the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act became effective. Under the Alimony Reform Act, a spouse’s alimony obligation now has a termination date, whereas under previously Massachusetts alimony law, a spouse’s alimony obligation could last forever.

To determine when your alimony obligation will terminate, you first must know what kind of alimony you are paying. There are four categories of alimony in Massachusetts: General Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony, Reimbursement Alimony, and Transitional Alimony.

General Alimony

General Alimony is the most common type of alimony. Under this type of alimony, a spouse’s alimony obligation lasts for a percentage of the length of the marriage.

For marriages lasting 5 years or less, a spouse’s alimony obligation lasts 50% the number of months the parties were married. For marriages lasting more than 5 years, but less than 10 years, a spouse’s alimony obligation is 60% the number of months the parties were married. For marriages lasting more than 10 years, but less than 15 years, a spouse’s alimony obligation … Read More »



Rehabilitative, Transitional, and Reimbursement  Alimony in Massachusetts

Q: What are Reimbursement Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony, and Transitional Alimony?

A: There are 4 types of alimony under Massachusetts law. The four types are:

General Term Alimony Rehabilitative Alimony Reimbursement Alimony Transitional Alimony Rehabilitative Alimony Q: What is Rehabilitative Alimony?

A: By the statute’s definition, Rehabilitative Alimony for a recipient spouse who is expected to become economically self-sufficient by a predicted time, such as, without limitation, reemployment; completion of job training; or receipt of a sum due from the payor spouse under a judgment.

Q: When is a spouse eligible to receive Rehabilitative Alimony?

A: Rehabilitative Alimony is available to all spouses, regardless of how long they have been married.

Q: When Does Rehabilitative Alimony End?

A: Rehabilitative Alimony ends upon the first of the following to occur:

upon the remarriage of the recipient spouse, the occurrence of a specific event in the future that is outlined in the court order the death of either spouse; After 5 years. Q: Can Rehabilitative Alimony last longer than 5 years?

A: Yes, a spouse can file a complaint for modification upon a showing of compelling circumstances in the event that:

unforeseen events prevent the recipient spouse from being self-supporting at the … Read More »



The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law Case

The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law Case Family Law The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law Case AdobeStock 1135413In Massachusetts, divorce and Family Law cases are handled by the Probate and Family Court. Under Massachusetts, law, proceedings in the Probate and Family Court are public and can be observed by anyone. Additionally, almost all cases in the Probate and Family Court are scheduled to be heard at 8:30 a.m. (which can be as many as 75-100 cases scheduled to be heard that day), and then the judge calls all cases in whatever order he/she deems fit. This means, if your case is heard first, there can be over 100 people in the courtroom to listen to the issues pending in your case.

Additionally, the Probate and Family Court is notoriously backlogged. Thus, it can take a few months before a motion on your case is heard, and a few years before your case goes to trial.

Given the very sensitive nature of divorce and Family … Read More »



Having Your Voice Heard in a Divorce

Having Your Voice Heard in a Divorce voice heard divorce Having Your Voice Heard in a Divorce Adobe Spark 30Divorces can be a lengthy, complicated and emotionally charged process. With all of the procedural nuances of a divorce proceeding and procedural rules of the court, even after several court appearances, it is entirely possible that a spouse will not have had the opportunity to testify and tell his or her side of the story. Oftentimes, the first few court appearances just involve the parties’ attorneys arguing on their respective behalves and a judge making a ruling. It is not until much further into the process that a spouse has an opportunity to speak on own their behalf and tell their side of the story.

Having your voice heard in a divorce can be very therapeutic and cathartic. But all too often that can get swallowed up in the legal technicalities of a divorce. There is, however, an alternative to a long drawn-out divorce, where spouses can tell their side of the story and … Read More »



Divorce Mediation & Negotiation Rule One: Be Cordial

Divorce Mediation & Negotiation Rule One: Be Cordial divorce mediation Divorce Mediation & Negotiation Rule One: Be Cordial Adobe Spark 26Rule One: Be Cordial

(Provided by © National Legal Research Group, Inc.)

There is an old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. By the time the parties are divorcing, the parties are pretty much used to dealing with each other by yelling and screaming. The lawyer should not posture in front of the client and should tell the client that he/she will not posture. Clients watch TV and need to be told that effective advocacy does not mean putting on a show for the client’s benefit.

This is not as simple as it sounds. Unfortunately, television has conditioned many clients that cordial conduct is not what to expect from a lawyer. Rather, the TV lawyer postures, threatens, intimidates and is rude. Then comes the commercial while the other side backs down.

It would be nice, but naive, to suggest that it is sufficient merely to be cordial. … Read More »



Pet “Custody” and Divorce

Pet “Custody” and Divorce pet custody Pet “Custody” and Divorce Adobe Spark 14In all families, pets are just as an important member of the family as anyone else. Unfortunately, the law has not caught up with this view. Therefore, when spouses divorce, “custody” of a pet is not treated on the same level, legally speaking, as custody of child. In child custody matters, the legal standard is the “best interests of the child”. However, for pets, the law considers them property, and subject to property division under marital property laws.

When you think about how important a pet is to the family, thinking of them property is unbelievable. It seems like too much of a sterile and unemotional process, that when you are dividing the silverware and furniture, you have factor Fido into that division.

Although the law has not caught up with the popular mentality about pets, spouses are addressing pet “custody” in a more sensical manner in divorces. In cases involving children, the pets typically follow the children, as much as possible, during each spouse’s … Read More »



Handling a Child Custody Case

Handling a Child Custody Case custody case Handling a Child Custody Case Adobe Spark 8There are not many other types of court cases that are more emotional and stressful than a child custody case. Because emotions are running high during these types of cases, parents can sometimes fall into pitfalls and traps, which can ultimately hurt their case down the road. Here are some tips for parents going through child custody cases.

Talk to Your Children. Parents should NEVER actively involve children in any pending child custody litigation. These are more “adult” conversations for the parents, their attorneys and the court. However, if a child has questions or concerns about what the child custody case, parents should try to answer the child’s questions and address the child’s concerns. These conversations should be age appropriate conversations, and should not, in any, disparage the other parent. A child shouldn’t feel that they have to take sides through this process. Even though the children aren’t actively involved in the litigation, they will still know what is going on, and most likely will be stress because of it. Try … Read More »



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