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

Posts Tagged assets and divorce

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 »



Financial Planning For and During a Divorce

What are the legal fees of divorce?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 forget to factor in any alimony and/or child support that you may be paying or … Read More »



Financial Disclosure in a Divorce

What are the legal fees of divorce?When spouses are going through a divorce, a common concern is that their husband/wife will not fully disclose their assets. In Massachusetts, to protect against this issue, the Court issued Supplemental Probate Court Rule 410, in which both parties must exchange certain financial information within 45 days after the defendant was served the summons and complaint for divorce. Under Supplemental Probate Court Rule 410, spouses must exchange:

 

 

Federal and state income tax returns and schedules for the past three (3) years and any non-public, limited partnership and privately held corporate returns for any entity in which either party has an interest together with all supporting documentation for tax returns, including but not limited to W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s, Schedules C and Schedules E.

 

Statements for the past three (3) years for all bank accounts held in the name of either party individually or jointly, or in the name of another person for the benefit of either party, or held by either party for the benefit of the parties’ minor child(ren).

 

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Can I Modify My Separation Agreement?

Can I Modify My Separation Agreement?It is not uncommon for a spouse to want to modify certain provisions of his or her Separation Agreement after a divorce. As time goes on, circumstances will most certainly change for the former spouses. However it is important that spouses make any changes through the Probate and Family Court, and not through a private agreement, as private agreements are not enforceable through the courts.

 

Before a spouse can seek a modification in the court, he/she must first ascertain if the provision he/she wants modified can be modified. In Massachusetts, Separation Agreements either “merge” or survive”. When a separation agreement “merges” it means that all provisions in the agreement may be modified through a Complaint for Modification, upon a showing of a material change in circumstances. When a separation agreement “survives” it means it has its own independent legal significance, and can only be modified in the rarest of circumstances. The courts have stated that there must be “countervailing equities” to modify a surviving agreement. Although the term “countervailing equities” has not exactly been defined by the court, … Read More »



Financial Planning For and During a Divorce

financial planning divorce

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 forget to factor in any alimony and/or child support that you may be paying or receiving.

Based upon … Read More »



Prenuptial Agreements in Massachusetts

What is a Prenuptial Agreement? Do you need one? Contact Amaral & Associates for the answers you need regarding Prenuptial Agreements in Massachusetts.Q: What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A: A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract between an engaged couple who is planning to marry, in which the contract, divides all (or some) of each individual’s property in the event of divorce and/or death. It can also determine whether any alimony will be paid in the event of a separation or divorce.

Q: Who needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

A: Anyone who is getting married and you have any assets that he/she wants to protect, even if it is just one asset, needs a Prenuptial Agreement.

Q: What are some common terms included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

A: A Prenuptial Agreement can be drafted:

To protect a substantial inheritance or an interest in a trust; To protect an interest in a business; To provide for children from a previous … Read More »



Handling Your Divorce Like an Air-Traffic Controller

compromiseThe stresses placed on divorcing couples, who are making decisions about custody, spousal support, equitable distribution and parenting plans are not unlike those of air-traffic controllers, who are trying to safely land multiple jumbo jets coming in on multiple runways. Perhaps these aren’t life or death decisions, but that depends entirely on your perspective!

I can’t take credit for this brilliant and so-directly-on-point analogy, but am borrowing it for the sake of this conversation. I hope it’s useful to anyone going through the divorce process today, or for those stuck in the seemingly never-ending post-divorce arguments that annoy, irritate and frustrate us.

We embark on the divorce journey for many reasons. For some, it’s a joint decision made, when it’s clear that the marriage isn’t working. For others, it was one spouse taking the initiative to raise the flag and take those first steps. Some go voluntarily into the process, and some go kicking and screaming, maintaining their status as “victim” in their broken fairytale. Regardless of how the travel plans were made, you are nevertheless taking this trip, and are forced to make many inter-related decisions that will ultimately affect your … Read More »



Divorce Can Mean a Trip Down the Economic Ladder for Women

crying womanDivorce can be a one-way ticket down the road to financial instability for many women, especially for those who are middle class or low-income.

It can mean a loss of work hours, more time (and expense) devoted to childcare and a cold slap in the face when it comes to finding a job or finishing an education.

While working-class women tend to be hit harder, not having a job, money or credit of their own is a challenge that can affect women of all socioeconomic brackets, said Bruce McClary, spokesman at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “In a lot of situations you have that career interrupted… It can be very messy in that situation because they have to start right from scratch.”

This was the situation Michelle Bornemann found herself in when she and her husband began divorce proceedings more than four years ago. The Long Island, New York resident, who has two children, had worked for a title insurance company before they were born but has been largely out of the work force since.

“I have nothing to show for a … Read More »



Managing High Asset Divorces in Massachusetts

high net worth

All divorces can be stressful and important to spouses facing a divorce. However, handling divorces with a high asset value has some additional inherent complexities that not all spouses, or even all attorneys, are aware of.

When addressing high asset divorces, there are complicated issues that have to be addressed within alimony, property division, taxes, life insurance, and even child support. In handling such divorces, it often requires the attorney to review a large volume of documentation, particularly financial documents. Because these documents can be highly technical, a knowledgeable divorce attorney typically takes a “team” approach to such divorces, and includes financial professionals in the management of such a divorce. These financial professionals can include a business appraiser, tax professional or accountant, financial planner, forensic economist, and/or certified divorce financial analyst (also known as a CDFA). It is important that your attorney already have a team in place that they have been working with for years.

These professionals can help your attorney work through some very complicated financial issues relating to the divorce, and oftentimes these professionals are also knowledgeable of the law associated with the financial aspects of … Read More »



Getting The Most From A High-Dollar Divorce

Divorce is almost always an emotionally taxing experience. Divorces that involve millions (or billions) of dollars have an added level of intensity and drama. It’s not uncommon for the parties in a divorce to act in irrational ways that may be counter to their own best interests or to make simple financial errors that can cost them dearly in the calculation of a settlement.

One way to minimize these types of mistakes is to involve a valuation expert, an objective professional hired to determine accurate assessments of a couple’s holdings based on conventionally accepted metrics and methodologies. Valuation experts are most commonly, but not always, affiliated with accounting firms and carry special designations. While these credentialed experts are a good choice for valuing a lawyer’s partnership interest, a privately held company or a divorcing client’s stake in her family business, more specialized knowledge may be required to properly handle investment-related interests.

“When assets such as pre-IPO stock or concentrated equity positions are split between a CEO and his soon-to-be ex-wife, for example, all the contingencies around distributions, transfers of ownership and sales should be … Read More »



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