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

Posts Tagged children and divorce

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 »

The New 2017 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines: What’s New? What’s the Same?

Child Support Massachusetts, Child Support Mass., Child Support Suffolk County, Child Support Middlesex County, Child Support Essex County, Child Support Norfolk County, Child Support Boston, Child Support Winthrop, Child Support East Boston, Child Support Revere, Child Support Danvers, Child Support Lynnfield, Child Support Marblehead, Child Support Swampscott, Child Support Nahant, Child Support Peabody, Child Support Salem, Child Support Saugus, Child Support Arlington, Child Support Belmont, Child Support Burlington, Child Support Cambridge, Child Support Everett, Child Support Malden, Child Support Medford, Child Support Melrose, Child Support North Reading, Child Support Reading, Child Support Somerville, Child Support Stoneham, Child Support Wakefield, Child Support Watertown, Child Support Wilmington, Child Support Winchester, Child Support Woburn, Child Support Brookline, Child Support Braintree, Child Support Milton, Child Support Quincy, Child Support ChelseaThe Trial Court of Massachusetts issued new Child Support Guidelines, which took effect last week on September 15th. There are many changes to the new Guidelines, but also a lot of things stayed the same. This article will explain the changes to the new Guidelines, but what also stayed the same compared to the 2013 Child Support … Read More »

How to Effectively Co-Parent At the Beginning of a Divorce

child custody, custody battle, custody case, parenting Massachusetts, parent, parenting plans, parenting Massachusetts, parent

Unhappy family and child custody battle concept sketched on sticky note paper

When parents divorce, there can be a significant impact on the children. For divorces involving children, some judges have referred to such a divorce as a corporate reshuffling, and say that the family corporation remains the same, but has undergone some reshuffling. That is to say, the family unit continues to exist, but in a slightly different format. From the moment parents decide to divorce, they have to realize that although they may no longer be a couple, they will always be co-parents. For this reason, parents have to continue to co-parent their children, regardless of the divorce. To effectively co-parent, parents should follow these tips below:


Show a United Front to the Children. From the time you tell your children that you are divorcing, all through the divorce, parents should be a united front for their children. They should agree when and how to tell the children that they are divorcing, and continue … Read More »

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Thrive After Divorce

happy kidDivorce is prevalent in American culture nowadays. All divorces are painful, but those between parents of small children can be particularly hard, since you worry about your children’s emotional welfare on top of all of the other stressors involved in your divorce. Amidst all of the pain and chaos of your divorce, making sure the kids are okay is of paramount importance for most parents.

As a therapist in private practice, and the author of the upcoming book How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family, parents ask me many questions about how to help their kids deal with divorce in the healthiest possible way. Here are five tips to help your kids cope and even thrive after divorce.

1. Be honest.

Make sure that your kids know that the divorce is final and that you won’t be reconciling with your co-parent. Additionally, admit if you are sad about the divorce; your child will likely be upset and this will validate his or her emotions. If you are going to have to change your … Read More »

Starting New Holiday Traditions After a Divorce

New Holiday

Holidays can be especially tricky to navigate as a newly divorced couple. It takes time to settle into the new normal — for you, your ex, and your children — and the holidays can be a great time for each of you to set new traditions that work for the shift in your family situation.

Parents must still parent

The important thing to remember is that children need to have their needs met; they need to be nurtured and comforted. Spend time with them and remind them that you will always be there for them, no matter what. They need to feel a sense of security from both parents.

Consequently, parents: when planning for the holidays after your divorce, you must rise up and step into your adult mode. It is important that you learn to override your own feelings for your ex and for the challenges of being divorced, and be positive and present when you are with your children. Though your marriage may have failed to survive, your new family structure can still prosper if you take a mature, responsible role in making the best of your new … Read More »

Children of divorce grieving their losses

Handling a Child Custody CaseIn my last two columns, I addressed the grief and loss process experienced by couples during separation and divorce. But what do the children experience? At a time when so many marriages fail, it is important to understand how youngsters are affected by the loss.

Children of divorcing parents go through the same four stages of the loss process that their mothers and fathers do. Youngsters initially feel shock and denial as their parents do. Then they experience the anger-sadness-depression stage. This is usually followed by acceptance and understanding and lastly, children move into the phase of growth and emotional healing.

Since they do not have the advantages of maturity, however, children respond in a much more unconscious and fearful way. Because they are so dependent on the family unit, young people do not really believe they could lose their parents. Feeling that they can always count on the love and continued presence of Mum and Dad is important to their sense of security. On an emotional level, the “loss” of one parent opens up the possibility of losing both. This can be a terrifying prospect for kids. … Read More »

Good Tips for Co-Parenting After a Divorce or Breakup

When a couple divorces (or in the case where they were never married, breaks up), it can be difficult to get along after the breakup or divorce. However, when there are children involved, the couple has no choice but to stay in touch and try to get along after the divorce or break up. As much as one-half of this previous couple may want to ignore the other person and never see or speak to the other person again, the two will have to talk and work together for the sake of the children. Here are some good tips to make things easier for the sake of the kids.

1. Put the children first. Remember, you may not be a couple anymore, but you do have children together. They were innocent in the breakup, and they shouldn’t be pulled into the breakup or divorce. Keep the children out of the “adult” stuff, and put them first amongst all else. As much as you may dislike your former spouse or significant other, you still have to work with him or her for the … Read More »

How to Calculate Your Child Support

Under Massachusetts law, parents who are divorced or separated must continue to support their children. In Massachusetts, a parent’s child support obligation is calculated based upon the Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines are a set of rules that dictate how to calculate a parent’s child support obligation, and what income must be included in the calculation of child support.

The Child Support Guidelines often compare the respective financial circumstances of each parent and also look at the standard of living the child(ren) enjoyed while the parents were still married. In calculating child support, the court considers all sources of income, including salaries, wages, overtime, bonus, income from self-employment, commissions, interest and dividends, disability benefits, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, and many other sources. The court may even impute income to a parent, if the court believes that the parent is not working or earning income to his or her fullest ability.

A parent’s child support obligation is calculated by adding the combined gross incomes of the recipient parent and the payor parent, less any child care, health insurance, dental and vision insurance, … Read More »

Streamlining the Child Support Modification Process in Massachusetts

Child Support letters with gavel and cash

In May 2013, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court expanded Standing Order 3-11, which streamlines the child support modification process in Massachusetts. Through this Standing Order, parents can now complete more user-friendly forms to file for a child support modification with the Probate and Family Court, and also obtain a faster court date to obtain some relief.

This project was originally initiated in 2011 in Bristol County through a federal grant. The project used Bristol County as a test county for the streamlined process. The Probate and Family Court worked together with the Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division to test this program.

As part of the pilot project, the Probate and Family Court and DOR developed a one-page form that contained the Complaint for Modification as well as the Motion for Temporary Orders. This form is more user-friendly than the standard court forms. In addition to the more user-friendly forms, litigants are allowed to complete service of the summons and complaint by first class mail, rather than service by a sheriff … Read More »

New Child Support Guidelines in Massachusetts

On June 20, 2013, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court released new Child Support Guidelines that become effective August 1, 2013. The new Child Support Guidelines revise the Guidelines issued in 2009, and modify several provisions from the 2009 Guidelines. Below is a summary of the changes to the new Child Support Guidelines.

Sources of Income

In the new Guidelines, the Probate and Family Court specifically excludes any income derived from means-tested public assistance programs, like TAFDC, SNAP, and SSI, from computation of child support obligations. Additionally, the Guidelines now explicitly state that the Court may consider none, some, or all overtime income even if overtime was earned prior to entry of a child support order. However, in all cases, where parents’ combined available income is over $250,000, the Guidelines should be applied on the first $250,000 in the same proportion as the Recipient’s and Payor’s actual income as provided on line 1h of the child support guidelines worksheet.

Attribution of Income

In the previous Guidelines, the Court had the authority to attribute income to a parent. Now the Court has clarified … Read More »

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