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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 »



The Benefits of Settling Your Divorce or Family Law Case Outside of Court

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 ChelseaAll divorce and family law cases are stressful and emotional. Sometimes the first instinct of parents and spouses is to tell their ex “See you in court.” Although it can be emotionally satisfying to have your day in court and have your case heard by a Probate and Family Court judge, it may not be beneficial to you or your children.

 

Probate and Family Court judges all have very large dockets and caseloads. Each judge tries to give an adequate amount of time to each case, but given the backlog within the courts, this is not … Read More »



What You Should Know Before You File for Divorce In Massachusetts

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Divorce, word cloud concept on white background.

Divorce can be a confusing and complicated process. Negotiating your way through the court system can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have the assistance of an attorney to guide you through the system. Here are some facts and other things you should know about filing for divorce in Massachusetts.

 

A vast majority of divorces settle before trial. There are 2 ways to file for divorce in Massachusetts. The first is a joint petition, in which both spouses jointly file for the divorce. The other is a … 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 »



Protecting Your Credit in a Divorce

It is not uncommon for married couples to have joint accounts, including joint credit cards. However, once married couples are involved in a divorce, they must decide how to apportion the credit card debt. At that time, each spouse should be looking to protect their credit as much as possible.

In Massachusetts, each spouse’s credit is effectively protected during the divorce through the automatic financial restraining order that is put into place at the beginning of the divorce through Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 411. That rule states:

The following restraining order shall remain in effect during the pendency of the action, unless it is modified by agreement of the parties or by further order of the court.

(1) Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, belonging to or acquired by, either party, except: (a) as required for reasonable expenses of living; (b) in the ordinary and usual course of business; (c) in the ordinary and usual course of investing; (d) for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in connection with the action; (e) written agreement of … Read More »



FAQ’s About Massachusetts Divorce Law

With the national divorce rate close to 50%, many spouses have questions about divorce and the legal process of divorce. Divorce laws from state to state. Here is a summary of Massachusetts divorce law and frequently asked questions about this topic.

Q: Is there a legal separation in Massachusetts?

A: There is no formal “legal separation” of a couple in Massachusetts. However, if a married couple is now living apart, either spouse may file a Complaint for Separate Support. In the complaint, the Plaintiff must allege one of the following: 1) the Defendant is not providing suitable support, without justifiable cause; 2) the Plaintiff has been deserted by the defendant; 3) the Plaintiff is actually living apart from the Defendant for justifiable cause; or 4) the Plaintiff has justifiable cause for living apart from the Defendant.

In the action, the spouse may seek the following relief: 1) establish that such living apart from the Defendant is for justifiable cause; 2) prohibit Defendant from imposing any restraint on Plaintiff’s personal liberty; 3) grant custody of the minor and unemancipated children; 4) order suitable amount of … Read More »



11 Essential Tips to Create a Brighter Future After Divorce

The key to life after divorce is to follow a post-divorce plan. With so many things affecting your life during and after your divorce, a plan can bring a lot of comfort and needed stability to your life and help you to move more positively into the future. There will inevitably be many things that you cannot control as much as you would like to during this process, so it is important to take hold of those things which you can control and use them to surround yourself with calm during the storm. Just like your children will need predictability, comfort, and safety in order to function most efficiently and effectively, so too is it important to create such an environment for yourself as you embark on this new life after divorce

1. Is a divorce mediator for you? An experienced divorce mediator, who is also a lawyer, can help to keep the peace if you and your spouse are entering divorce on cordial terms and with similar goals for the future. By allowing the divorce process to take place in a collaborative instead of adversarial manner, you can … Read More »



Making the Most of Your First Meeting with a Divorce Lawyer

With the prospect of divorce comes a lot of unknown territory that is sure to make you uneasy. While you may think of meeting with a divorce lawyer as your “first step,” the preparation should actually begin before you walk into their office. There are many things you can do to make sure that this first step is as productive and useful as possible and that much of the uneasiness that comes along with divorce remains at bay.

Arrive early: Just like at the doctor’s office, there is usually preliminary paperwork that you will need to fill out prior to your first meeting. Information that is often needed on this paperwork includes: both parties’ full names, contact information, employment and income information, dates of birth, social security numbers, past addresses, as well as applicable information for your children. Prepare a list of questions: This is a very helpful way to prepare for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer. Once you walk into the lawyer’s office, more likely than not you will be overwhelmed with emotions and the prospect of what is to come. … Read More »



Eight Essential Steps for Women Facing Divorce

From the time you were a little girl, you thought about your wedding day and dreamed about the happily ever after that would follow. Thus, when something changes, and divorce proceedings are initiated, it is hard to force yourself to come to terms with the reality of the situation and develop a plan of action to make sure your life can begin to move in a new and positive direction. The reality of the situation however, is that the steps you take before, during, and after your divorce, are going to redefine the rest of your life. And for this reason, just as all things in life that are worthwhile, your preparation for a divorce requires long term planning. Whether you are initiating divorce proceedings yourself, or were blindsided by a spouse who had an affair, the emotions involved may seem all-consuming. However, there are 8 essential steps a woman can take in order to make the transition into their future as smooth as possible.

1. Budget. Going through a divorce cannot only exhaust you emotionally, but financially as well. It is for this … Read More »



Using Cell Phones and Social Media in Divorce in Massachusetts

In this increasingly digital age, technology is being used as a sword in divorce and family law actions. More and more, spouses and parents are using text messages, Facebook profiles and messages, Twitter, and other social media as evidence in divorce and other family court proceedings. This media is being used to prove infidelity, undisclosed income by a spouse/parent, and many other issues that come up in a divorce or other family law actions.

Like many states, this is happening in the Probate and Family Court actions in Massachusetts. However, in order to introduce evidence from a text message or social media, the party offering the document into evidence must comply with the Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure and Massachusetts laws on evidence. This requires applying certain procedural technicalities to ensure the evidence is properly authenticated, and then allowed into evidence by the court.

One way of obtaining this information properly is by subpoenaing the mobile phone carrier or social networking site for the relevant records. However, to do this, you must properly comply with the Massachusetts Rules … Read More »



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