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Infidelity and Divorce in Massachusetts

Infidelity and Divorce in MassachusettsWe are often asked what impact infidelity will have on a divorce in Massachusetts. In reality, infidelity can impact a divorce in Massachusetts, but not as significantly as many spouses think. Massachusetts is a state that recognizes no-fault divorce, which is the most common ground for filing divorce. Since Massachusetts recognizes no-fault divorce, there are limited grounds in which a spouse can bring up the issue of infidelity.

 

The reality is that if spouses are at the point of divorce, it is not unlikely that one or both spouses have already moved on and entered the dating world again. The main areas where infidelity can impact a divorce is with property division and parenting time.

 

When it comes to property division in Massachusetts, there are a number of factors the Probate and Family Court must consider in dividing the marital estate. Those factors are outlined by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 208, section 34. These factors are:

 

the length of the marriage, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, the age of each of the … Read More »



Do I Have To Give My Spouse Part Of My Business In Our Divorce?

asset division, business planning, divorce and assetsWhen spouses are going through a divorce, one thing that always must be addressed is property division. However, when one or both spouses own a business, or even have an interest in a business, property division can be much more complicated. A common question spouses ask is: Do I have to give my spouse part of my business in our divorce? In Massachusetts, the short answer is No, but the answer isn’t that simple.

 

Under the property division statute in Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 208, section 34, the Probate and Family Court must consider the following factors in dividing the marital estate:

 

length of the marriage, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties, the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income, and the amount and duration of alimony, if any, awarded under sections 48 to 55, inclusive. In fixing the nature and value of the property … Read More »



Does My Spouse Have an Interest in My Business When We Divorce?

divorce and assets Divorce and business, divorce and business partnersIn a divorce, money can be one of the biggest issues spouses fight over. However, when one (or both) spouses own a business, this can be an even more complicated (and sometimes uglier) fight. A common question business owners ask when they are going through a divorce is whether their spouse has an interest in the business. The short answer is yes, but it’s not as straightforward as you think.

 

Under Massachusetts law, all assets owned by spouses, regardless of whether or not they are joint assets, are marital assets. This can include a family owned business, even if only one spouse has an interest in that business. That means the business is a marital asset that is subject to division in equitable distribution. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the non-business owner spouse will end up owning the business or having a financial stake in the business through the divorce. Massachusetts General Laws chapter 208, section 34 outlines factors the Probate and Family Court must consider in the division of marital assets. … Read More »



What Are the Differences Between an ARC Attorney, Guardian ad Litem and Parenting Coordinator?

In high conflict custody cases in Massachusetts, there are many experts that can become involved in your case to help with the conflict and pending issues. The most common experts are Guardians ad Litem, Parenting Coordinators, and ARC Attorneys. However, many parents often confuse these roles. This article will explain what each role is and the difference between these types of experts.

 

 

Guardian ad Litem

A Guardian ad Litem (also known as a GAL) is one of the most common experts in a high conflict custody case. A GAL is typically appointed by the court to investigate the pending issues in the case. A Guardian ad Litem is either a mental health professional that works with divorced or separated families, or a Family Law attorney.

 

Oftentimes, the GAL is asked to investigate the facts of the case and then make recommendations for legal custody, physical custody, and parenting time. A GAL is oftentimes also charged with investigating other issues that arise such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Ultimately, the GAL … Read More »



Can I Date While My Divorce Is Pending?

Divorce Massachusetts, Divorce Mass., Divorce Suffolk County, Divorce Middlesex County, Divorce Essex County, Divorce Norfolk County, Divorce Boston, Divorce Winthrop, Divorce East Boston, Divorce Revere, Divorce Danvers, Divorce Lynnfield, Divorce Marblehead, Divorce Swampscott, Divorce Nahant, Divorce Peabody, Divorce Salem, Divorce Saugus, Divorce Arlington, Divorce Belmont, Divorce Burlington, Divorce Cambridge, Divorce Everett, Divorce Malden, Divorce Medford, Divorce Melrose, Divorce North Reading, Divorce Reading, Divorce Somerville, Divorce Stoneham, Divorce Wakefield, Divorce Watertown, Divorce Wilmington, Divorce Winchester, Divorce Woburn, Divorce Brookline, Divorce Braintree, Divorce Milton, Divorce Quincy, Divorce Chelsea, dating and divorceIt is not uncommon once a marriage is over for spouses to start looking at the dating scene again, even while their divorce is still pending. One of the most common questions divorce attorneys are asked is whether a spouse can date while their divorce is still pending. Well the short answer is: Yes!

 

However, the longer answer requires considering the financial aspect of a divorce as well as custody and parenting issues. On the financial side of a divorce, there are two primary parts of a divorce: property division and support. In … Read More »



Health Insurance Coverage After a Divorce

Health Insurance DivorceIt is not uncommon during a marriage for one spouse to be the primary policyholder of a medical insurance plan and the rest of the family to be covered under that one plan. Typically, the plan is offered through that spouse’s employer. However, when spouses file for divorce, the question arises as to how will the other spouse, and also the children, be covered by medical insurance.

 

In Massachusetts, there are laws that require the policyholder spouse to continue to provide coverage to the children, and also to the other spouse, so long as coverage to the other spouse is available. In the common situation where an insurance policy is provided through a group plan offered by the policyholder’s employer, then pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 175, Section 110I, and Massachusetts General Laws chapter 176G, Section 5A, the policyholder spouse must continue this coverage, unless there is what is known as a “triggering event.” A triggering event is something that would cause a person to no longer be eligible for coverage under a specific medical insurance policy. With … Read More »



Sound Reasons Why You Should Mediate Your Divorce.

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I have been a divorce attorney for over 25 years and a divorce mediator for almost as long. When a potential client asks me whether they should mediate their divorce or whether they should just get their own attorney and file for a contested divorce, I tell them the following. A contested divorce can last well over a year. In fact, in Massachusetts, the tracking order assigned to your contested divorce is for fourteen (14) months. Which means that the life span of a contested divorce can be as much as 14 months. During this time frame, the parties will exchange financial documents, attend numerous hearings on temporary orders in court, have a pre-trial hearing followed up by status conferences and then a trial if your case does not settle. All of this discovery and all of the court hearings and meetings or phone call with your attorney will cost you money in legal fees both to you and your spouse. A divorce attorney can make 10-20 times more in legal fees on a contested case then they can … Read More »



The Legal Status of Parent Coordinators in Massachusetts- An Update

Parenting coordinator Massachusetts

In 2014 we blogged about the legal status of Parent Coordinators in Massachusetts. The article was written just after the Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Bower v. Bournay-Bower. However, since that decision came down in September 2014, a lot has changed.

 

For those who do not know what a Parenting Coordinator is, a Parenting Coordinator is a trained attorney or mental health professional who has a background in child custody and parenting time disputes assist parents to resolve and reach agreement concerning disagreements about co-parenting, custody, and the parenting schedule.

 

Parent Coordinators are commonly used in child custody and parenting matters in Massachusetts to facilitate resolving disputes between parents on issues relating children of divorce and children born out of wedlock. The Parent Coordinator typically acts as a referee to rule on any disputes, or works more like a mediator to help the parents negotiate and resolve any dispute. Using Parent Coordinators can be an effective tool in assisting parents in avoiding lengthy litigation in the Probate and Family Court to resolve custody and parenting … Read More »



5 Essential Tips for Financial Planning After Divorce

divorce financesDivorce is about severing ties and starting over, at the same time. Having a financial plan can help secure your future and give you peace of mind, but this process isn’t without its challenges.

Related: ‘I’m Getting Divorced, and My Spouse Owns Part of My Company’

“You have to reassess everything,” says chartered financial analyst Robert Stammers, director of investor education for the CFA Institute. “Everything you do is built on a set of future goals, and these change when you get divorced. Your future goals aren’t going to be the same; they’re no longer in connection with someone else.”

While untangling your marital finances, then, think about how to fund the divorce along with your new life.

As Laura Pilz, financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, says, “One of the fundamental financial planning rules is that oftentimes, when people get divorced, they think they’re entitled to the life they’ve been living. What ‘divorce’ means is that you’ll get a life that’s 50/50. You’re not guaranteed that you’ll maintain the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to.”

Separating emotions from financial decisions makes for smarter choices, too. “Marriage is about love, … Read More »



Creating New Holiday Traditions for Children After a Divorce

holiday’s and break ups, parenting plans, parenting Massachusetts, parentchildren and divorce, Christmas after divorce, co parenting after divorce, divorce and kids, divorce with children, holidays and divorce, holidays and breakups

Divorce is difficult for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for children. Once parents decide to divorce, the children then have to face the reality of their parents no longer living under the same roof. This is a difficult transition for almost all children, but it can be especially difficult at the holidays. Parents should stress to their children that it is okay to enjoy the holidays during this difficult time—at both parent’s homes.

 

But to help children transition to this new structure of the family, parents should consider developing new traditions that the family as a whole did not do before. This can be something very small, such as selecting a Christmas tree from a specific place, or baking holiday cookies with your children, or something bigger, such as a nice vacation.

 

On the same hand, though, parents should also try to maintain some consistency. If there … Read More »



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